‘Two minutes of lurid lycra’


Tour logoFor those who have been watching the Tour de France on Versus and have fantasized about trying those climbs in the Pyrenees and the Alps, The New York Times offered a story this week on the 50 or more touring companies that arrange for amateur cyclists to ride the same stages that the pros do.
The story, “Following the Path of Lance Armstrong,” focused on two New Yorkers who will try “to emulate some of the most competitive athletes on the planet for a week this month” with the help of Steve Bauer Bike Tours of St. Catherines, Ontario.
“More amateurs have begun to see the roads of France as an enticing destination: if you really want to test your skills, why not ride the same roads you saw Mr. Armstrong ride?” the story asked.
A friend and former newspaper colleague who writes about wine lives in the south of France along one of those roads that this year was part of Stage 2 of the Tour. Lance and the other 170-plus riders passed right by his house July 5 on the 116-mile route from Monaco to Brignoles.

On the road from Monaco to Brignoles

On the road from Monaco to Brignoles

Judging from the photos he posted on Facebook, it appears that watching the carnival that accompanies the Tour would be more fun than the passage of “two minutes of lurid lycra,” as English novelist Julian Barnes wrote of the Tour in a 2002 book “Something to Declare: Essays on France.”

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2 Comments

Filed under Cool stuff, Journeys

2 responses to “‘Two minutes of lurid lycra’

  1. zack

    Hey Jim, just got back from my trip to the Fish Creek trail in the Apache-Sitgreaves National Forest in Arizona and am now beginning the process of catching up with some of the blogs I read. Pleased to see a Julian Barnes quote, as he’s one of the writers on my list to get around to soon (new additions include Mary Gordon and Rick Bass); I nabbed a copy of Metroland, his first, within the past couple months off one of my trading sites. Anyway, let me know if you’ll be stopping through Alpine, AZ, or the Gila Forest on the New Mexico side and I might have some recommendations for ya. On the way back, at a pit stop in NM, I met a cyclist who, with her girlfriend, is headed east to Florida – from Tucson – and then up to Boston, if I remember correctly. Can show you their site later.

    Any word on the prison tour de France?

    Oh, I also have some items to return to you – thanks again for lending ’em to me.

    • Zack,
      I’ve read a couple of Rick Bass books. The one I remember best was, I believe, “Notes on a Montana Winter.” It recounted a winter spent in the Yak River Valley in far northwestern Montana in a cabin built by a former AP colleague, Holger Jensen, who figures briefly in the story. Bass seemed to spend all of his time cutting wood to stay warm.
      I believe we will pass through the Gila National Forest in New Mexico. I understand we will have the option of making a side trip — about a 90-mile round trip — to Gila Springs to view an ancient Indian site. Not sure whether I want to take that option, as it wouldn’t get me any closer to Florida.
      Jim

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