The World According to Nick
My take on Software, Technology, Politics, and anything else I feel like talking about.
Tuesday, July 06, 2004

Le Tour 

It's Tour de France 24/7 on OLN these days. Never heard of the Outdoor Life Network? Neither did I until this weekend, but it's the official station for the Tour de France and they're showing it live in the morning, with re-broadcasts of the day's stage throughout the day into the night. I've taken quite an interest in this year's Tour. Partially because I've gotten into doing Tri's in which you spend a great deal cycling, and partially because Lance is attempting to break a record and win his 6th Tour in a row. Interestingly enough, another record could be set this year. Jan Ullrich won in 1997, and then came in 2nd behind Armstrong 5 years in a row. The same person has never come in 2nd 6 years in a row. Maybe I'm so interested in this years tour because France is really pissing me off of late, and Lance winning 6 years in a row would be a great way of us thumbing our nose at them... beating them in their own country... again.

Mostly I enjoy watching the cycling. A few interesting points that I noticed this weekend. One was watching how carefully the U.S. Postal team was protecting Lance. Every time you saw him near the head of the Peletone, he'd be surrounded by his team mates. They're like his personal body guards, making sure he doesn't get involved in a crash early on (of which there have been several). If you don't watch a lot of cycling (which most Americans don't), it would probably be hard to watch the Tour because of the team dynamics. It's hard to watch the really good riders, because their team mates are constantly taking over for them, letting them draft, doing the hard work, then moving to the rear to let another team mate take over for a while. It is all very well rehearsed and drilled, but makes things hard to follow until you figure out the dynamics.

The other interesting thing I took notice of was one of the remarks made by the commentators for "color" during Monday's stage. The first two stages (and part of the third) this year are in Belgium. One of the commentators was talking about how they were crossing the "linguistic border" of Belgium. Interestingly enough, Belgium has a very large French speaking population. In fact, one region speaks Flemish, and another speaks French. There is a river in southern Belgium which marks the divider between the two regions. People on one side of the river can't speak to people on the other side even though they're in the same country. I found this amazing, especially given how much people in Europe chastise the American educational system for not making students take more than one foreign language. You guys should talk... you have countries where your own populations can't speak to each other! We should talk... we're almost getting to be that way too.


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Name: Nick
Home: Wauwatosa, WI, United States

I'm a Software Consultant in the Milwaukee area. Among various geeky pursuits, I'm also an amateur triathlete, and enjoy rock climbing. I also like to think I'm a political pundit.

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