Velogal's Blog

Tuesday, August 16, 2005

Pretty quiet on the cycling front right now... I see that Lance is going to be in Lowry, Colorado tomorrow for the opening of a 24 Hour Fitness: go to for more info. Wonder if he will bring his bike? Lotsa great climbing in Colorado to entice him to take a little ride...

I was going through some old pics and found some from the Tour 2002 - all I had then was a Sony Cybershot 505V. It took really nice, sharp images if nothing moved - it had a 10x Carl Zeiss zoom lens, and the battery life sucked. But I had a lot of fun shots, and lost a whole bunch of them in a computer crash a couple of years ago. But this pic of a French couple beside my car and Go Lance banner made me smile. I don’t remember what stage it was, but I sure experienced how much the French people loved Lance.

I was driving the green Skoda diesel and it was really a sweet car... For whatever reason, I pulled over beside the road on a totally flat part of the course. I think there was a huge traffic jam with busses and RVs, so I knew I was too late to get anywhere significant, and said to Hell with it and pulled over to wait for the peloton to fly by. I parked about two feet off the road, with a line of spectator cars parked in front of me and behind me. I got out to put up my Go Lance banner and American flag. There was a slight bend in the road, and I knew that the huge neon yellow banner would be visible to the peloton from way down the road.

Johan and Dirk always honked and/or flashed their headlights at me from the team car when they saw me with my banner that year, and Lance waggled his fingers at me when they were just riding tempo on the flats, or grunted at me when he was climbing. So that year, I always found a spot kinda away from the crowds and stood with my banner in silent suport, waiting to see if I received any acknowledgement from the team guys that they saw the banner...

Well, here I was, right in the middle of the French countryside, with my yellow Go Lance tee shirt, my yellow Go Lance hat, my huge Go Lance banner and the Stars and Stripes. The French fans had been at their spots for and long time already, and were picque-nicking with their tables, chairs, dogs, and food. I wasn’t sure what kind of reception I would get, but I just smiled and nodded to them all. I decided to open my trunk and tie the banner to it and to a signpost that I parked right up against. I was rummaging around in my car for anything I could find to use for string or rope.

Much to my pleasant surprise, the folks from the car behind me walked up with bungee cords, and the people in front of me brought some heavy twine. None of them spoke English and I knew about ten words in French. But they all pitched in and helped me get my sign up.. We all did a lot of laughing and communicating with gestures to get the banner up, and it was real clear that Lance was a favorite in that spot!

The two people in the photo (I think their names are Bernard and Christine) invited me to picque-nique with them - they had a tablecloth spread out on the ground just out of the picture. They fed me pate on delicious rough, country bread, peches and Cinzano... Yummy.. The people parked in front of me later offered cafe au lait out of a huge thermos and sweet biscuits.

These people were so warm and welcoming - I had a most lovely, charming afternoon with them - it didn’t matter one bit that we spoke different languages...

And, yes, when the Posties came by, the headlights flashed, the horn tooted and several of my Posties waved at me when they saw the banner...


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