Go Dad Go!

A self-important blog about riding bikes, raising kids and the all-too-rare nexus of these two pursuits.

Thursday, July 27, 2006

Stage 17 Update - from July 21

I hereby resolve NOT to follow any of next year's mountain stages or time trials on my Blackberry. That's how I "watched" yesterday's Homeric stage, and let me tell you, it's just not the same.

Here's how it all went: I awoke like I normally do, by the Declan alarm, around 6:15. I stumbled to his crib and pulled him out, carried him to the living room, turned on the TV with my toe and together we settled into the couch. There was a commercial on -- "Stupid Fast," I think -- and for a moment I considered drifting back to sleep. But then two things happened: first, Declan grabbed my chest hair; then, just a split second later, Floyd appeared, obviously alone and obviously moving very fast. A double-shot of adrenaline: I was fully awake.

But I was skeptical and remained that way in the shower, up the Col des Aravis, drinking my coffee and into le Grand-Bornand, figuring that at any time T-Mobile and Rabobank would crank up the pace and whittle the lead down in the span of the climb up the Joux-Plane. But as he shot up the Col de la Columbiere, evidently not slowing and definitely taking very good care of himself -- there was practically an H2O IV and a perpetual shower from his team car -- my skepticism started to attenuate, and I reluctantly started to believe.

Unfortunatley, I started to believe and had to leave. I considered the alternatives, none of them good and all of them involving alienating people I work with, and decided that unlike the mano-a-mano Alpe d'Huez stage, this one really just involved following time gaps, and would be good enough followed via tiny text.

Next thing I know I'm calling Karen and asking her to place the phone by the TV and turn up Paul and Phil real loud. She was about to oblige, but I reconsidered; even I have my limits. But I guessed then what I later heard was the case: that Floyd's abundantly evident determination was inspiring -- that though he was racing the clock as much as Sastre or Pereiro, just watching him ride, all alone, would bring tears to eyes and send hearts racing (and I know this is true, because I heard as much from a number of you).

I've made up for missing that epic effort by watching the entire rebroadcast last night and reading every recap and interview I could find. In Floyd, I've found, we've discovered our hero, though a very different kind than Lance. His story, of course, is far more modest than cancer recovery, though the last couple of days have definitely raised his profile. But it's his demeanor that I find refreshing: it's aw-shucks plus surfer dude with just a dash of Armstrong-esque hubris.

Which makes me think: the best part of the story of the last couple of days, besides the ride itself, is the Wednesday night beer.

The best Floyd quote is something like, "Word got around the peloton that I was planning something, and guys said, "No, don't do it," and I said, "Sorry -- grab a Coke, cause we're going."

And the best image isn't Landis' triumphant, vindicated fist-pump at the finish; it's the picture of him minutes later, still wearing the same defiant look on his face.

So I'm a full Floyd convert, which of course worries me intensely, because his final victory is far from assured. In any Tour, but in this one most of all, anything can happen. Making up 30 seconds on Pereiro or 18 on Sastre is no mean feat, even without mishaps -- as Landis had in both of this Tour's first two time trials.

So I'm being cautious in my optimism, but I'm feeling the need for a new hero, and I'd thus love to see Floyd take the Yellow Jersey tomorrow. I'll be glued to my TV -- the entire time -- watching it unfold.
All of this makes our game downright intriguing, and tempting to try to predict -- though I won't try; you can use the attached to make some forecasts on your own. Remember that the Yellow Jersey wins 20 points, Green and Polka-Dot 15 and Best Young Rider and Most Combative (unknown until Sunday) 10 each. The color-coding means that Wes currently holds the Green and Polka-Dot Jerseys; Rachel and Robin hold Yellow, Polka-Dot and White.

Standings through Friday:

Dan and Kelly Fee 62
Tony Farrell 60
Christian Newman 57
Kat Campbell 56
Romas Pencyla 54
Jodi Hall 50
Tad Sennott 50
Walter Lamerton 49
Wes Cole 48
Pete November 46
Rachel & Robin Bordoli 46
Elizabeth Eppler 45
Andy Sessions 44
Paul Keys 44
Richard Stagliano 38
Robin Fee 38
Tom Lariviere 37
Brandon Correia 33
Dave Fee 33
Julie Mikuta 32
David McCarthy 31
Jon Chapman 31
Pam Stover 30
Doug Hall 29
Everett Harper 28
Alan Levy 27
Rob Kelley 27
Angela Fee 26
Bob Fee 26
Jim Fee 25
Peter Lester 24
Anne Mahle 23
Kiernan McGuire 22
Annetta Stroud 21
Greg Widmyer 16
Karen Fee 15
Michael Fee 15
Steve Earhart 14
Don Fee 8
Jordan Cantwell 7


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