Wednesday, July 07, 2010

Le Tour!

It's that time in the summer: Le Tour de France!

Today was Stage 4: from Cambrai to Reims, 153.5 kn, or 95 miles. It was a considerably easier day for the cyclists that yesterday, when there were crash-after-crash, and cobblestones, and trouble! Today's big headaches were the 8+ roundabouts that the cyclists had to navigate. It's pretty interesting to watch: how can these cyclists, more than 150, split at a moment's notice and half of the pelaton go one direction, and half of the cyclists go the other (so half are circling the roundabout clockwise, and half are circling counter-clockwise, and then they all meet up again on the other end of the circle - without a wreck???) It was even pretty, to watch.
This weekend, Daughter #1, the Spouse o' Mine, and I went to the Tour of Lawrence and enjoyed the cycling competitions there. What fun! We watched the criteriums, where the cyclists ride in a loop around the city blocks, for anywhere from 30-75 minutes. They are lead by one motorcycle, and followed by another motorcycle. There are corner marshals on every corner who blow their whistles as the racers approach their corners. This is to alert the spectators that the race is heading their way. The cyclists pass in just a matter of seconds. The whistles are also for safety's sake. Too often a pedestrian steps off the curb without looking for a racing cyclist who may be barreling down the road at 30 miles an hour.

Here is a photo of Daughter #2 in last year's Tour of Lawrence:

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