Saturday, July 8, 2017

Tour Talk, week 2

Good Saturday morning to you all! It's been a rather tumultuous ride during the first week to say the least. Stage 8 is underway as I type (I'm sitting here w/ the stage on the telly and a nice steaming cup of joe). P&P just talked about the finish of yesterdays stage, "the closest finish in Tour history". They showed the picture they used to determine the winner, and I just don't see how they can say either rider won. The red line looked exactly the same, touching each tire IMO...I personally think it should have been a tie...there's a first for everything. The person Paul talked to said they determined the time difference as .0003 seconds. That's three Ten-THOUSANDS of a second. I'd personally call that a tie. I think BoasHag got gypped. Just my 2 cents worth. And looking thru the 'what might have been' glasses, if BoasHag can get THAT close to Kittel, where WOULD Cav have been? I'd say he'd have won that one by a CLEAR margin. Again, just my 2 cents worth.

So...what's in store for us this next week? Tomorrow is a BEAST of a stage...three HC climbs. Today everybody better be saving a huge breakaway today and a mini break from that. Not sure if the sprinters teams will throw away the energy to pull them back or not...time will tell. OK. I need to get back to the stage. Oh...on a personal note, we've got a fire about 8 miles north of started Thursday afternoon and quickly blew up into 3000 acres. Not sure what it is now but the slurry bombers and choppers have been flying and our sky is totally occluded with the smoke, and outside it looks very sun, just a diffuse brown glow...very odd. And everything has a nice coating of ash...some pretty large pieces too, no wonder fires spread so very easily...large pieces of ash blow so many miles from the fire, how do you stop THAT?

And JD, is this the same Video you put the link to in your comment in the last post?  (I tried to open your link but got a screen saying something about it being ASO property and was blocked).

This is the one Susie mentioned...2 penguins, one passing, pretty darn funny! A very nice animal summary of the entire Cav/Sagan ordeal.

OK. Back to le Tour.

Game ON!

Sunday 7/9/17 update: we have had a fire burning since Thursday evening right outsdide of town. As of Friday morning it was at 3400 acres, Sat morning it was over 6000 acres, and it exploded to over 19,000 acres this morning, and the latest bulletin says it's now over 24,000 acres and only 10% contained. This fire is literally a few miles out of town, and is at and crossing Tepesquet Canyon Rd (which I did a road bike ride on a week ago Saturday, and is chock full of horses, cattle and other ranch animals and families). Here's a few pics from the local news:

 Satellite heat map of the fire as of EARLY this morning (Sunday). It's already much bigger now. You can clearly see the northeast side of Santa Maria. The fire started at the north-west end of the heat-map on Hwy 166 by a car (sparks I gather) and the winds have blown it south/south-east (our standard winds). 

This is a satellite shot showing the smoke blowing early yesterday (Saturday) morning. Santa Maria is under the intense smoke just after where it starts. The promontory sticking out under the smoke as it goes offshore is where I work: Vandenberg Air Force Base. I drove out to the base yesterday morning after it was apparent I was NOT going to do a road bike ride (due to it snowing ash in Santa Maria) and the base was also under the smoke, and there was tons of ash right at my parking lot. So no road ride yesterday at all.

This is a 3d heat-map (same time as the 1st one) showing the roads. The yellow line cutting thru the middle of the fields just below the fire is Santa Maria Mesa Rd (which we did last Saturday), and you can see at the bottom right of the picture where it ties into Tepesquet Cyn Rd (the yellow line going north at the right of the picture). If you follow the rd up the canyon you can see the fire is AT the road, and that was as of it's likely crossed and is moving fast east/south-east. We've got a LOT of super-dry fuel as we had record rains this winter/spring, and now we have record fuel for what's shaping up to be a HORRIBLE fire season.

I'll update further as the fire progresses. Pretty crazy stuff for sure having a major fire (as of this afternoon the biggest in California) just a few miles from town.


  1. Stage 8 is in the history books. GREAT ride by the French guy (won't slander his name trying to spell it OR say it). A real young'un too...1st tour, gets a stage win...we'll be seeing more of this guy in the future I'd say! And about "Nate Dog"! Finished TENTH in the stage, with the GC guys! That's pretty awesome! I didn't get to see Taylors video diary today (Maybe I FF'd thru it, some areas I moved fast to get to the climbs). Tomorrow I'd assume he'll mention how well Nate did today...I think we'll be seeing more of THIS young'un in the future too! And TOMORROW! The QUEEN STAGE! (and then a rest day on Monday). On paper it looks ferocious! As hard as nearly the entire peleton worked today, tomorrow should prove pretty interesting for sure! I think the big pile of GC guys vying for 2nd and 3rd will get whittled down significantly after tomorrow.

  2. Whew....FINALLY finished watching Stage 9 (it was a LONG one for sure!) The Tour is chock full of surprises at any moment, nobody can say that it isn't. Seeing pretty much everybody who is anybody in the GC up w/ Froome on the final climb was good. Watching them taking turns attacking him was GREAT! Seeing Porte crash out was HORRIBLE! And he took out Dan Martin (not intentional obviously). That he wasn't hurt and was able to catch back on and finish just a minute down was pretty amazing! And again, would'a, could'a, should'a's....what if Ritchie HADN'T crashed and taken out Dan?

    In the final kilometers I found myself rooting for Romain Bardet of all people (I'll root for pretty much ANYBODY if it means taking time away from Mr. Roboto at this point). I had counted him out but he's alive and kicking, and was looking pretty great today...well done Romain! But in the end, no time gains on Froome (DAMN!) Team Sky losing Thomas is a huge blow, but if any team can take it, that would be Sky.

    What else...hmm...well, it was interesting to see Uran not only up in the front but WINNING the stage! (WTH is Talansky? So much for that guy...I've rooted for him over and over again, and OBVIOUSLY I've been disappointed a LOT, like ALWAYS). Yeah...he's out. Oh, and Contador...bye bye Alberto...he folded like a tent today. So Porte, Contador and Martin are all pretty much out of GC contention barring something freakish like a meteorite striking the lead group (as they won't be in it and can thus take the lead). Well, maybe Martin will be with the lead group...he's a fighter, I'll give him that. HOpefully Porte is ok...we'll know tomorrow. A rest day...hooray! I can get to bed EARLY!

    OK...that's all I can think of at the moment. The end of another weekend is always sad. Mondays...blah!

  3. Matt - you ok? Please keep us informed while the fire is still raging. We worry!

    I hated yesterday's stage! 1st because of what happened to poor Richie but also because it will now be almost impossible for Sky not to win the TDF AGAIN! I actually don't detest Froome like I did years ago but I DO detest the Supervillain team, mostly because of Brailsford & that I've been thinking they were cheating since Day ONE (not Day one of this TDF but since the team's inception). I do feel terrible for Gerraint as he was the one guy I really liked on that team.

    I understand that descents are part of cycling & one must be proficient in this aspect as all others to win a Grand Tour but those roads were NOT safe! There's a reason they hadn't used that climb since 1974! And I hope it's another 40 before they use it again. Plus, to not even finish uphill on a day wih 3 HC climbs? WHAT A WASTE!

    The only good thing about yesterday is that now we know the handful that have a chance at the Final podium. However, I bet that 2 of the current Top 8 guys will either not finish the Tour or will finish far down the final standings. SOMEone will crack or crash out. And possibly on some do-nothing stage.

    And sorry, sorry, here's my annual bitching about French TV - WHY, WHY, WHY do they REFUSE to use split screens?! We have proof they can as we saw yesterday during Richie's road medical treatment. On Saturday we barely saw ANYthing with the GC guys as the French TV kept the ONE camera on the French break guy/eventual winner. I would have liked to have seen BOTH!

    And gosh, poor Richie. He is LUCKY he is not hurt worse! The way he slammed into the cliffside across the road? My god, I thought maybe he was paralyzed or worse. And poor Dan Martin, did nothing wrong & gets taken down by a falling/spinning Richie. I'm still hopeful he may finish on the podium yet.

    About the Aru controversy - I'm SHOCKED the old cyclists on NBCSN seem to think it's FINE to attack when the YJ has a mechanical! The 1st 10-12 years I watched cycling, I didn't know or understand the "unwritten rules" but they were eventually hammered into my head & I grew to really respect this aspect of cycling. NOW they want to "change the rules"?! Humpfh!

  4. Hey Susie...I'm also SO not a fan of the super-team (HOW can they be THIS dominant and NOT be cheating?). I had my eyes opened by you know who and HIS super team..and we now know how they did it. Seems pretty impossible that ALL the contenders are THAT far away (and all pretty much together except for Froome)...and even his teammates are above some of the contenders! I no longer have my rose colored glasses...they've been snatched off my face and dashed to the now I see treachery and deceit everywhere.

    As to the unwritten rules, I can actually see it both ways. Way back when Contador attached Schleck I was upset and HATED it. But it worked, Alberto won that edition (later to have it stripped and given to Andy). But on the OTHER side of the coin, why should the competitors wait when the yellow jersey has a problem? Did the Yellow slow and wait for Martin to catch back on? A bona-fide contender? NOT! I think it was Bobke that said something about 'your equipment is part of the race...issues happen to everybody, why should ONE person be singled out to NOT be attacked and time gained on by his rivals? The yellow surely gains time on his rivals when THEY have bad luck. What's good for the goose is good for the gander. I've changed my tune and now agree w/ Bobke. It's just part of racing. (that all aid, if say ANYBODY ELSE was in yellow and Froome took advantage of them for a mechanical I'd likely be there is THAT to consider).

    Haven't heard anything yet about Richie...hope it's nothing serious...he did clobber that wall pretty hard (along with poor unsuspecting Dan).

  5. Oh, and as to the fire, the town is in no threat (the winds predominantly blow south-east, taking the fire away from town). It was only the first day or 2 that we had the rather unusual southwest winds blowing everything over the town. Now it's just all the homes/ranches in Tepesquet Cyn that are at risk. Last nights news said it's over 30,000 acres and was only 20% contained. The problem is once it crosses Tepesquet cyn rd it gets into REALLY ROUGH terrain and they will have a very hard time fighting it. And with the winds blowing their normal direction we aren't even aware there's a fire 10 miles away as everything blows away from us.

    And back to le Tour, on the pre-show this morning they talked to Ritchie in the hospital...fractured pelvis/fractured collarbone. He's lucky, it could have been SO much worse. Also they lost 13 riders from Stage 9...3 from crashes (I think) and the rest from time cutoffs, including Demare (sp?)...the French sprinter who totally had an inappropriate sprint back in Stage 4 (but he still kept the win) as he went first right (when Sagan was following him and shutting out Cav against the barriers) and then wildly left totally blocking other sprinters. Can't believe they didn't relegate him. But he's gone now, and took 3 of his teammates with him as they tried to get him in under the cutoff (no hope).

  6. Thank goodness Matt that you're ok & the fire is going the other direction! When I didn't see an update on here from you yesterday, I got worried!

    About "WAITGATE" - it took me YEARS to understand cycling's "unwritten rules" & I eventually liked & respected them. It really made pro-cycling unique. But if ALL of today's riders want to jettison them, I guess MAYBE I could accept it, but to attack right when you KNOW a competitor has a mechanical problem (like Aru did although he denies it), still just seems disgusting. It's one thing if the "race is already on" (as the saying goes), but to do it right when you see the guy has a bike problem? And I think that should be the "rule" for ANY of the GC guys when they are all fighting for the stage. But if any of the guys crack (INCLUDING the YJ), well, that's fine to attack then.

    The only guy I was sad to see missed the time cut on Sunday was Cav's leadout man, Renshaw. I was hoping he'd be able to help Boss Hog again in the sprints or maybe have a go himself. ANYONE but Kittel again! I like Kittel but don't want to see him win every freakin sprint! It just reminds you all over again that Sagan was, er, "given the elbow" & poor Cav had to leave due to injury. I'm now even rooting for Grepeil! I tell you, those top sprinters have SO much pressure to win at least 1 Tour stage!

    Ok, question - do you think Contador will try something on one of the 2 remaining mt stages? It seems he crashed quite hard twice on Sunday & that's at least partially why he couldn't keep up with the other GCers on the final mt. If Trek puts 2 guys in the early break on one of those stages that will be a sign that something may go down later. Let's HOPE!

    And maybe Astana can cause Sky problems with them sitting 3rd & 5th. Fingers crossed!

    As for Quintana, I don't think there's much of chance. His team has lost 2 of his mt helpers & he just doesn't have it after the Giro.

    And I guess you & I were both wrong about Bardet, Matt! However, I'm still not convinced. If he makes it to the final podium 2 years in a row, I'll have to tip my hat though. Of course, that will only INCREASE the pressure on him to be the next French TDF champ!

    Rae? I hope you're able to watch the Tour. Having browser problems again? We miss hearing from you! Hope everything is alright. :)

    Till tomorrow!

  7. Haven't seen todays stage yet, but I 'hear' things (on a flat stage like today when Kittel is most likely going to win I'm not such a A-hole about NOT having anybody talk Tour around me (on the Mt stages I want to watch it like it's live off my DVR and NOT know who wins/crashes/etc).

    I hear Bouhanni had some serious "improper" interactions vs other sprinters today (more than 1), yet he only gets fined some unknown amount and docked a minute in overall time (like THAT matters to a guy who's over an hour down). Haven't seen the video in person yet, but apparently it's night and day over what Sagan SEEMS to have done (the helicopter view) and got ejected from the ENTIRE TOUR for. Hey UCI, how about applying the rules equally! You set a new (and ridiculous) standard w/ you need to be consistent. I'll have more to say after I watch the stage tonight.

  8. Well...after watching the stage, I think my friend was messing with me...didn't see ANY of that. Ha ha...nice one had me! (at this point I think I'd believe just about anything, which I think he was counting on). And yawn, another win for Kittel. Griepel was so far back it's like he wasn't even trying. 10th I think? WTH? Lotto was killing themselves for least they 'were'...if I were on that team I don't think I'd be putting out too much energy for him anymore at this point. Whatever's going on with him right now, he is SO outgunned this year that there's almost no point for his team even trying. And Bobke said it over and over, WHY are you helping Quick Step? Make THEM bring back the break. It's just like the guys helping Froome chase down Bardet the other day...are you kidding me? Froome was FINALLY ALONE, and you HELP HIM? Make HIM do the work, tire him out a bit. Bobke said, just go ahead and GIVE him the yellow. You don't get him isolated very often, when you do, MAKE him do the work! It might pay dividends later in the race as you wear him down. Much like Kittel, right now he's invincible! Don't help them win!

  9. the live (morning) broadcast yesterday didn't mention a word of Bouhani-gate, but this mornings pre-race show DID! So Scott wasn't messing with my mind. He did smack a guy (now I can't remember which one, but it wasn't Sabatini)...and then almost took him out during the sprint lead-outs, and got a measly 200 euro fine along with the hour time penalty. WHAT A CROCK! Who is on this UCI jury? WTH are they thinking? Throw out Sagan and give this guy a slap on the wrist? nice...way to be consistent and fair (NOT!)

  10. Plus, Bouhani has a HISTORY of doing that crap! That the jury did not even relegate him is PATHETIC!

    I usually enjoy TDF sprint stages but NOT SO MUCH right now! All but ONE of the sprint teams should feel embarrassed!

    Also, isn't it odd that we haven't heard or read a peep this year about bike "motors" at the Tour? I wonder if the ASO or UCI sent down the command to 'zip it'?

    I'm taking vacation time tomorrow morning to watch the stage LIVE. I HOPE we'll see some good action on one of the only 3 mt-top finishes in this year's Tour. I plan to stay home next Thursday too as it's the other Mt-top finish. I have to say, I don't fancy this year's route at all. IF a healthy Cav & Sagan were still in the race it would probably would have been exciting but without them, woof!

    One more thing - I've decided I like Cannondale's jerseys as they stand out in the peloton! Bright & unique color so you can easily spot them! :) However, the only thing I like about Trek's kit are their red helmets.

  11. The beauty of a DVR is that I watch EVERY stage (like it's) live! I can pause, feed the dogs, do laundry, etc etc and go un-pause and move on. Can't live w/out the's what makes the TV work FOR me on MY schedule. W/out it I'd be a slave to the schedule.

    Agree this year is difficult w/ Cav and Sagan out.

    As to the electric motors, I haven't seen it on the video yet but I'm assuming they (UCI) have people throughout each day's route with the FLIR cameras watching the riders go by...they will show temperature. Any motors/batteries on/in a bike will glow yellow to red right thru the carbon...can't hide the heat of a motor and battery (FLIR is the leading mfr of infra-red cameras...we have a bunch of them at work as night-time perimeter cameras). You can also get a FLIR device that plugs into a cell phone (via the 3.5mm plug...same as a headphone plug), load their app on your phone and you now have your own pretty inexpensive IR cam, the phone is the view screen (one of my engineers bought it, like $200 but way cool!) IF I were to have been off for this years Tour of CA I was going to borrow his device and load the app, and then film the peleton passing by...would have been cool to see for myself (alas I worked down south the entire ToC and missed it ALL).

  12. ahhh yes...another BORING STAGE, Kittel wins again (big surprise there). Having a hard time with this...losing Cav and Sagan really seems to have given him the open door. And WTH is with Griepel? he's nowhere to be seen in any of the he ok? His team is still putting a guy on the front (as Bobke continually laments how STUPID that is...HELPING Quick Step is continually giving Kittel the sprint).

    We'll see how today goes...a mt top finish...hooray! I'm rooting for ANYBODY but Froome! Maybe Bardet can pull off a miracle and win the stage and gain back time...or maybe Aru can do it...they're about the only 2 with a realistic chance IF they can break Froome/Sky.

  13. I don't want to give too much away about today's (THURS) stage but just know it started badly with rain AND fog (curses!) which lasted over halfway BUT on the descent of Bales, things cleared & heated up a bit. THEN, on the last 2 climbs, things got REALLY interesting! :)

    Unfortunately, I just read that a couple of the GC guys are being penalized for taking bottles from some road people in the final 10K (against rules it seems) but that the FRENCH rider who did the exact same thing at the exact same time (there is video!) is NOT! ALL the other teams better protest this & even threaten to stop the race tomorrow because that cannot stand! I hope the Primetime show tonight covers this.

  14. HOLY SMOKES! Some GC EXCITEMENT! Just when I NEVER thought I'd see it (in this years race anyway). WAY TO GO GUYS! Aru, Bardet, Martin, Uran...allof them FANTASTIC today! To see Froome (and Sky) LOSE the yellow, whether for a day or 3, doesn't bother me in the least! (not sorry about them not being able to tie the record of holding the Yellow the entire tour either).

    To see Froome CRACK...FINALLY! Didn't think I'd ever see it. Though it took a rather ridiculous finish up the near vertical ramp to do it. Though actually that wasn't it, I think it was the effort Sky has been putting in since the start FINALLY taking it's toll. The other GC guys mentioned above had it at the end, just not Froome. He IS HUMAN AFTER ALL! Though will anybody be able to take the yellow away in the end? I doubt it...but you never know! A good crop of contenders after all this year! And quite honestly, it wouldn't bother me in the LEAST if Bardet were to overcome his deficit and win in Paris...been a LONG time since a Frenchman has won. Though I very much doubt it...but then again I had already discounted him being on the podium...and he's looking VERY GOOD right now! FOUR GUYS inside a minute! (if only Uran could have got a bit more back..he's still almost a minute...55 secs I think). And Dan Martin...look at him! He lost 1:15 when he was taken out by Porte, and yet he's only about a minute 30something down...put THAT time back and he'd be in the top three! So he's still got fire in his engine!

    Too bad about Contador and Q today...but I guess it was expected. Contador is pretty beat up, and Q...well, he's one a Grand Tour to far this year. Movistar really got greedy...if they want him to TRULY contend for le Tour, he needs to focus on this one race much like Sky (and he who shall not be mentioned from a decade ago's team). Honestly, if Valverde hadn't crashed out, HE might be inside the top 5 today...but we'll never know sadly.

    OK...finally..some EXCITEMENT! HOORAY!!

  15. Hello all, I've been watching although sometimes I am a day behind (I just finished stage 11). I've been helping my millennial move into her own apartment the past week, plus working and trying to get ready to paint and refloor the family room.

    Janann, so happy to see you here, and so sorry about what you've gone through! I'm glad that your hubs is recovered & I hope without long term consequences.

    Yes, Susie, I am thinking about hanging up my stethoscope maybe this winter. I'll be 63 and although I don't really want to stop working, arthritis in my fingers is a problem, everyone in my department is MUCH younger (mostly 20s-30s and I am the oldest by several years) and I am not feeling so engaged in the work.

    The Tour so far has been so crazy with all the crashed out riders! Sagan DQ'd! I am happy for the French having some competitive riders -- sad realizing that this is Thomas Voeckler's last tour -- all the guys that I loved when I first started watching will be retired... but there are young and exciting riders up and coming.

    Have you been enjoying the NBCSPORTS coverage as much as I have? It seems much more interesting that it has been for several years -- I like the additional commentary by Bobke, CVV, even Steve Porino -- and the interviews in the studio after the stage. The one with J. Vaughters was particularly interesting, when he talked bluntly about hoping that Talansky would give up the GC dream and go for stages (hope he's said the same to him in person!) I wonder if anyone is saying the same to TJ Van G?

    As for Sky, if there is ever some proof of wrong-doing -- boy, remember how they axed Bobby Julich for admitting to past doping? (I was a big fan of Bobby J!)

    You know, obviously I am no expert, but I swear that Contador's position on the bike is much different than it was in his prime, especially when he's out of the saddle. Could it be because he is no longer on a Specialized? or he's been coached into a different position? I wonder if that has an influence (besides the lack of good Spanish steaks) on his decreasing performance. I know he is older but not that old yet!

    Although Griepel has been a top tier sprinter, he never has broken into the very top of that tier it seems to me, not winning the bigger races with any consistency. It seems that there has always been someone to overshadow him -- and he is getting on for a sprinter, isn't he? Degenkolb seems like he has never quite gotten his mojo back after that training crash either

    Well I'm off to sleep, will finish stage 12 in the morning! The only problem with watching via PS Vue is I can't replay the stage pre-shows. Still, I get the whole 4 or so hours of race so I am content

    1. And this is Rae, by the way. Google posts with my other name.

  16. Rae! So glad to hear from you & that you're watching & loving the Tour too! :) And I agree the NBC coverage is even better this year which I think is because they are not holding back on their opinions even when it's critical of the UCI, ASO or the race itself. Let it rip, boyz!

    And I agree Contador looks different - no longer "ass-dancing" up the mts. Probably because of age & that he's heavier than his younger self. He used to be a twig! The main reason I really hoped he'd at least get on the podium this year is to kick Tinkov in the teeth (he'd said Contador was all washed up, etc, & sheesh, I HATED that guy & hope he NEVER comes back to the sport!)

    About yesterday - for the 1st 3 HOURS, I was actually griping about taking vacation time to sit home & watch. RAIN & FOG! My two LEAST favorite things at the Tour! And then there was no attacking on the Bales. Harumph! Finally, with Sky's "unscheduled trip" into the RVs, things got interesting but all we really kept seeing over the next mt were riders being dropped off the back, one after the other & no real action. UNTIL that last climb! Oooohey! And seeing Froome struggle like that when he isn't injured was certainly new! Not that I'm counting him out! He is by FAR the best TTer of the remaining GC guys & unless he is down by over a minute before that TT, I don't think he has anything to worry about. Of course, there's still over a week till we get there!

    Good news this morning that the stoopid UCI "jury" reversed their penalty on Uran & Bennett. Of course, if yesterday's stage winner who was ALSO seen taking a bottle & a drink had not been FRENCH do you think they'd have reversed? Heck no!

    Today's stage was action from the gun! ALL DAY LONG! I was here at work & only able to read cyclingnews blog updates but goodness, I can't wait to see it tonight on TV!

    Up until the last 10 minutes of yesterday's stage, I was REALLY not liking this year's Tour. Well, things are LOOKIN' UP! :) :) :)

    Have fun this weekend, everyone! Vive le Tour!

  17. Hey Rae, welcome back...long time no hear! Susie, I was kind of chuckling to myself just imagining you rather steamed about taking vacation for that stage...I was thinking I'd be TICKED too if I had done the same...and then it got better...MUCH BETTER! And then today...yowza! SO NICE to see an actual bike race for 1st, not just 2nd n 3rd.

    Of course I agree that Froome SHOULD be able to wipe out 30 seconds of time in the final TT, and most likely more. But it would sure be something to see him in that position (and keep in mind that anybody going into the final TT w/ 30 or more seconds on him would likely turn themselves inside out to hold him off...the yellow jersey gives you wings after all!) But I very much doubt any of the contenders will have that much time on him (if any) when we get that far..but hey..who would have thought we'd be where we are now? Anything can happen! We've now seen Froome crack...the first chink in the armor! Enough contenders chipping away at him and even w/ his super team eventually it comes down to him either doing it or not (like yesterdays finish).

    LOVED it that Contador attacked today, shades of the old pistolero! And Dan Martin...gosh, you just can't say enough about that guy...only his bad luck being in the one spot where Porte took him out in his crash is keeping him off the podium (as of now)...but he's sure a fighter! Hope we see lots more of that in the coming days. And the same for Aru, Bardet, and Uran...LOVELOVELOVE that we have an actual BIKE RACE for the entire podium...1st time in a LONG TIME that we've had that. That chase down to the finish after the last climb today was just FANTASTIC! Attack after never knew who was going next. And Aru did an admirable job considering he had ZERO teammates almost the entire day. And speaking of his teammates, sure sad to see Fulsang drop...he was a heck of a tough guy to even START today. What a HUGE loss for Aru in the coming days as he TRIES to hold onto a very tiny lead. is shaping up to be the best Tour in recent memory! And also agree that I LOVE the commentary crew...P&P, Paul, Bobke n Christian, w/ Jens in the field and Steve on the moto...I think it's their best overall team ever! The whole thing really fits together well! And then there's Taylor Phinney and his daily video diary's....(missed him today, must have been out of the room darn it!) He's quite a character and I hope we'll be seeing LOTS more of him in the years to come! Happy Bastille Day everybody! And Kudos for Barguil for his huge win today! VERY WELL DONE!!

  18. Oh, and Rae, I'm HOPING to go out at 62 (just a bit over 5 years now)...but we'll see how things go. Jeannie is doing her planning and scheming and such for us...she's a real planner (thank goodness, cuz I'm more of a take it as it comes type of guy). All I can say is go out as soon as you realistically can and then just enjoy! A good friend of mine just retired back in March at 63, and he's really having a blast! He's still in good shape, and he's getting in LOTS of bike rides all of a sudden and getting pretty strong again! Next time we ride I'll really have my work cut out for me. Just chatted w/ him for an hour or so tonight and he's loving it! Makes me jealous...but I know this next 5 years will be gone in a blink (that's the scary part).

  19. Hi Rae! Good to hear from you. Hopefully everything will go smoothly as you plan when to retire. I've heard that you often "just know" when the time is right.

    I've been falling behind on my stages this week. My family is performing in Wizard of Oz at the community theater and we opened last night. Lots of LATE nights leading up to that. But...I was able to get caught up today and can visit the internet again. I'm like you Matt, I like to use my DVR as my own live race and try to avoid info.

    I also really like this group for race commentary. They haven't been afraid to argue some interesting issues among themselves this year. Made some of those less interesting stages (sprint=Kittel) more bearable.They've had some interesting interviews after the stages, too.

    I agree, Susie! The end of that stage was action-filled! I was also glad to see the number of GC guys fighting to get some time. I'm cheering for Dan Martin. Hoping he can get some of the time back that he lost in that terrible accident.

    I think I might be responsible for some of the problems these poor guys have been having. I put them on my fantasy cycling team. Cavendish, Sagan, Martin, Porte, team, kiss of death. Starting to think I should send Talansky an email to warn him of his fate. 😧

    Interesting finish to today's stage. Weird interview I just saw with one of Aru's Astana teammate. Didn't exactly seem supportive of the yellow jersey.

    Scary to think about a huge fire so close, Matt!! Hopefully they'll get a handle on that soon!

    We had maybe the worst thunderstorm I've ever seen this week. Incredible intense lightning, hail, and buckets of rain for a continuous 3 hours with @ 70 mph winds. Electricity was out, trees down on our lane & property & all over town, water coming in EVERYWHERE after 7.5 in of rain during that 3 hours. Took quite a bit of cleanup!

    Have a great Sunday all!

  20. Hey JD...welcome back, glad you were able to sneak some time out of your INCREDIBLY BUSY schedule to not only catch up but to stop by and comment! I laughed out loud at your "Kiss of Death" team! I didn't even do one this year as like you, I feel that I jinx the guys as everybody I pick seems to fold like a cheap tent! (And to relate that KOD to other areas, I've always thought I should make a "pay for" newsletter for stocks...where I'd tell in advance what stocks I'm about to buy so the people who pay for my newsletter have a chance to get OUT of that stock...cuz it seems as soon as I buy in it tanks. I'd think people w/ big money in the market would pay for that kind of advance info, wouldn't they?)

    OK...on to yesterday's stage. WTH Astana? Man, you guys SUCK! What a pitiful team! I was happy that Aru was able to take the jersey from Froome (heck, I'd have been happy if SATAN could do that)...but as to a guy and team to root for, not so much. I could pull for Bardet and AG2R, and certainly Dan Martin and Quick Step...I'd root either of those guys all the way into Paris! But Astana? Vino STILL managing? Uhm...yeah....we all remember HIM. Not exactly the poster child of fair play. The fact that he's allowed to manage a team seems kind of against everything the UCI and pro cycling are all 'for' these days (clean riding, etc etc).

    To see Aru clear at the back in the final 5k (or more accurately, NOT to see Aru RIGHT ON FROOMES WHEEL) blew my mind! Where is his team? ANYBODY?? Crickets. And then after the race Steve talked to one of his guys, and he wasn't exactly a happy camper about his 'leader' nor his team having the yellow. Yep...that interview just about summs up my feelings for that entire team. Steve "did you know you lost the yellow jersey?" Astana guy "good". Yeah...not something you expect to hear in the TDF.

    But on the brighter side, FOUR GUYS w/in 29 seconds of the lead after 14 stages! THAT is pretty awesome! And being as Astana (the anti-super-team) won't be not-trying to control the peleton in Stage 15, it's probably a good thing (as Froome aluded to in his interview). As much as I don't really care for Froome (and that's mostly just because he's SO dominant and I'm getting tired of him being unbeatable), compared to Aru and Astana he and Sky are THE MAN and THE TEAM. Dang...never thought I'd think/say that...but after just 2 days in yellow on Aru/Astana, I was looking forward to Sky having it back (or anybody else...say AG2R would be good, same for Quick Step).

    OK. Enough on Stage 14. I'll open a new post for the final 7 stages.

    It's really great having our 'crew' back...I know in recent years the Asylum has pretty much collapsed...and that's on me...I'm not doing a good job at all on posting, and due to that everybody is drifting apart. Even so, I love TOUR TIME as it pulls us back together even if only for a few weeks.

    Happy Sunday to the Asylum.

    Viva le Tour!