Velogal's Blog

Sunday, July 10, 2005

The photo is a guy and his daughter, who are originally from Michigan, but have lived in Germany for five years. Showing support for Lance doesn’t exactly make him popular in town, he told me. So his daughter made their tee shirts, they painted the US flag on their faces, and they cheered with other Lance fans at the finish today. The guy told me that his LiveStrong band had just broken, and how difficult it is to get one when you don’t live in the US. Yeah – I gave him one of the bands that I was wearing….

Well, I kissed off going back up the mountain to Gerardmer for the start this morning – fighting the race traffic again on the same road just didn’t appeal to me. Getting down the mountain last night was pretty ugly. But the worst is yet to come…

I drove down to Mulhouse and found an Ibis not too far from the Arriveé. I sat in their lounge and hooked up to wifi – hotels here are totally cool with that. Kicked back and did a lot of emails and stuff that I hadn’t had time to do. I headed over to the finish at a leisurely pace and it just felt good to not rush.

I like watching the crews set up everything – It’s such a huge operation. Each person or crew has to do their job exactly right and on time – no excuses, no screwing up. So I was standing by the empty podium, when I saw two guys walk over to the stage carrying two boxes. They opened them and took out five round, thick, black cushions from each box. They carefully placed them on the two metal benches on each side of the podium, where the dignitaries sit during the short ceremonies. Five on each side. You can see the pic in the smugmug gallery. Now, I don’t think those folks sit there much longer than 15-20 minutes, but I guess they need to have their bums comfy-cozy so they can smile pretty for the TV cameras. Happy bums make happy smiles…

So, as usual, I got relegated out of the media mosh-pit at the finish line, and had to go to the back with other non-important photogs. The guys (mostly) who get to be right at the finish are the photogs with Konica numbered vests - they are the green-sticker vehicle people. VIP – Very Important Photographers. So, to heck with ‘em – I found a good spot - I stood right on the corner where the riders turned into the team bus area – Equipes.

I’m putting a lot of photos of their faces in the gallery – Most of them look like they are ready for Journée de Repos – Rest Day. But then they all had a long bus ride tonight from Mulhouse to Grenoble – I think its maybe 400 or so kilometers. Not the best way to recover from two days of heavy-duty climbing. And, I’ve said before, there’s not much rest on Rest Day for these guys.


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