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Tour de France 2011

October 21, 2010 1 comment

The route for the 2011 Tour de France was unveiled on Tuesday. Somehow, despite my professed love of the Tour, I always miss the unveiling, but fortunately, Joel pointed out the news yesterday, so I immediately checked it out.

What immediately caught my (and Joel’s) eye were the ante-penultimate and penultimate stages. Once again, as has been the custom the last couple of years, the penultimate stage will be an individual time trial. What makes it special for us is that it will be in Grenoble, where Joel spent the fall a year ago and where we visited him a a year ago next week. And the ante-penultimate stage will be a stunning day in the Alps, with climbs over the Col du Télégraphe and Col du Galibier as warmups for the stage-ending climb of Alpe-d’Huez. This holds special interest to us as well, since we made that climb 51 weeks ago today. (By car.) If only the timing of our trip were different.

But regardless of our personal stake in these stages, can you imagine? The final two days before the ceremonial ride into Paris consist of the famed ride up Alpe-d’Huez and an individual time trial! So much can change so late in the Tour. And I haven’t even mentioned the stage that precedes that of the Alpe-d’Huez climb. It’s a monster too, starting in Pinerolo, Italy, climbing the Col Agnel into France, then the Col d’Isoard, followed by a stage-ending climb up the Col du Galibier to a finish at the resort of Serre-Chevalier. That’s two successive Alpine stages ending with climbs and then the time trial.

I can’t wait.

And don’t spoil it for me by bringing up drugs. I’m sure (2008 and 2010 champion) Contador is clean. It was the steak.

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Categories: Cycling

Worth Dying For, II

October 21, 2010 Leave a comment

On Sunday, I wrote that Lee Child’s 15th and newest Jack Reacher thriller, Worth Dying For, would be available on Tuesday. I speculated that “I’ll start it Tuesday night, read a little bit each night through Friday, then finish it Saturday.

Ha. I finished it half an hour ago, which is to say, Thursday night. I feel cheap, somehow. Manipulated, powerless to resist. It wasn’t even one of Child’s better efforts, much weaker than its predecessor, the superb 61 Hours, which came out last May. But no matter. One page in and I was hooked.

At least I’m not alone. My friend Werner wrote me last week saying he needs to join Reacher Addicts Anonymous. And get this. The current New Yorker, which arrived at our house today, has a four-page (!) ad for Worth Dying For. Evidently I’m completely predictable, a high-brow type of guy living a more dangerous, adventurous, violent (but all-observant, brilliantly calculating) life through Jack.

In case you’re thinking I can’t be that swept up by Reacher novels if I can put one down to look at a New Yorker, let me assure you that I have yet to read a word of the new issue. Joel’s the one who paged through it, found the ad, and showed it to me.

I have my life back. But I want Jack to get to Virginia already. And I want to be there when he does.

Categories: Books