Velogal's Blog

Friday, July 15, 2005

I talked with the guys at the Discovery team bus this morning, and found out that Triki is OK, but that he didn’t want to stop riding yesterday after his crash. It’s a huge defeat for a rider to abandon the race. They feel like they are letting the team down, plus it’s a source of pride to finish the Tour, both as an individual, and as a team. Lance’s team has finished with all nine guys for several years now, so to be the first to abandon is a huge let down.

Triki got up and rode for a while, but he was totally on automatic – just guts, grit and training himself to never give up. When Johan and the staff realized that Triki was totally out of it, Johan gave the order to take him off the bike. The guys told me that Triki was riding with no memory of crashing at all, and altho he was several minutes back, he thought he was out in front, leading the peloton. Wow – just riding totally on cellular memory, I guess. I heard that one of his best friends, Oscar Sevilla, was the rider whose wheel accidentally touched Triki’s wheel and knocked him down. Triki spent the night in a hospital for observation, and is flying back to Spain today to recover.

Well, I had an interesting experience today when I arrived at the finish in Montpellier. The press parking area is huge and always spills over into some remote field, as it did today. I was following a car driven by Frankie Andreu, with Craig Hummer. We were directed to a dusty field where there were already lots of cars parked. I headed over to the far end of the field where there was a slight promise of shade for later afternoon. Frankie had parked in the line-up of press cars, so I was kinda isolated in the corner of the pasture.

I was getting my stuff out of my car when this guy walks up to me. He was a short, older man, wearing plaid Bermuda shorts, a faded tee shirt and a baseball cap. He was carrying a lavender and yellow little ditty bag backpack. “Madam,” he said, “ I am with Customs and I want to see your passport.”

I looked at this dude walking up to me in the middle of nowhere - Yeah, right – you’re Customs and I’m Sheryl Crowe. I thought, dude, I’m not gonna fall for this crap, how gullible do you think I am? Hand him my passport, and he’ll take off with it in flash. He showed me very authentic-looking identification. I looked at it, but how the Hell do I know what a Customs ID looks like? Plus anything can be easily faked.

“No,” I said. He again insisted, and showed me his ID again. “Non, M’sieu – non moleste pas.” Or something like that to tell him not to bother me. He spoke a little English, and I told him if he didn’t leave me alone, I’d call a Gendarme. This was ridiculous – he had to be a thief, thinking that a woman alone would be a gullible, easy target. He insisted and I told him that I would only show my passport if he went and got a Gendarme. He said for me to stay right here, and walked away. I thought, well, I’ll never see him again, but I’m moving my car so he doesn’t come back and steal everything. So I moved the Peugeot up by Frankie’s car.

I was getting my cameras out of the car, and what did I see but two Obviously Official Gendarmes and this old guy looking all around, and then they spotted me. Holy Shit, I thought, I am in deep doo-doo now. Well, he was Legit, but what he was doing out in a dusty cow pasture, and why he decided that I looked like a terrorist or something, I’ll never know. What I do know is that all three of them were pretty pissed. But I stood my ground, and told them (as best I could) that he didn’t have a uniform or anything, and how would I know he wasn’t part of a gang of thieves?

Well, they made me show my passport and identification papers that I had leased the car. They read every line of both documents in detail. They conferred at length, and decided not to throw me in a dungeon or stand me in front of a firing squad. They waggled their fingers at me and admonished me in rapid French – I assume for defying a French Customs Agent. Oh, well…. C’est Le Tour, I guess….


  • Aloha, I'm glad to hear that Triki is okay, and, yeah, that was a real bummer.

    However, the race is still on and still exciting, and I have no doubt that the team will hunker down and keep the yellow! That's what they are all about.

    Check out the Nike Oregon Chrono...

    By Anonymous Shirl, At 5:54 PM  

  • As Sheryl says...."These are the days when anything goes."

    Any rider can tumble at any time. Glad to hear the favorable report on Triki. And then they were eight and they had the hearts to take on the load from their fallen brother.

    Go Lance...good luck to all in the Pyrenees!

    By Anonymous Mark, At 11:55 PM  

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