I doubt you'll have had much time to have been watching the Tour de France, Bush, with your foreign policy reaping its disastrous results throughout the world. The Middle East is a cauldron now, with wars and civil wars and the threat of further wars, no end in sight. Not much use, today, in adding my voice to the cacophony of voices on the rights and wrongs of the whole mess. I'm as conflicted as most other people I know and don't see my way to moral or any other kind of clarity. So the Tour looks like a good bet for today.
Pehaps, Bush, your reputed passion for mountain biking, you do set aside time to watch the recaps. If so, I'm sure we can agree that yesterday and the day before stand out in the record books as being amongst the most amazing in the history of the Tour. In case you weren't watching, here's what happened: our own local lad from Temecula, California, Floyd Landis, has been amongst the favorites all along. He was doing very nicely since the start, pacing himself well but keeping up with the four or five front runners, even wearing the yellow jersey of the overall leader of the race on a couple of the stages. Then came stage 16, a gruelling series of climbs in the Alps, and Landis, in the parlance, "cracked." Or "bonked." He just plain ran out of steam, and unlike Lance Armstrong, lacked the team support to see him through a very bad day. He labored through the last miles of the stage at a snail's pace and ended up a full ten minutes behind the leaders.
Disaster. You'd think the man was out of the running for the last three stages, right? Well yesterday, stage 17, he made the most amazing come-back that I've ever seen in the Tour. Another day of tough riding in the Alps--and he left the whole pack of them in the dust. Well, the dust had pretty much settled before they hit his trail. He led the race almost from start to finish, thundering up steep mountainsides and making the precipitous descents at hair-raising speeds, ending up with a stage win and an overall standing in third place, a mere thirty seconds behind the current yellow jersey wearer, the Spaniard Oscar Pereiro and his fellow countryman Carlos Sastre. A truly amazing feat
Paul Sherwen, a former professional cyclist who is now the race commentator for OLN, the station airing the Tour in the United States, was astounded: “I’ve been on the Tour for 28 years," he said, "and I’m racking my brain trying to think of something I can compare it to."
Stay tuned, Bush. The stage today, just completed, changed nothing in the overal standings. Tomorrow, a long time trial, will decide the winner. It's going to be an exciting finish to a wholly unpredicatable race.
More About Hybrids
I'm glad to read that Toyota is finally doing with their hybrids what a few enterprising owners have been doing for a while--adding a plug-in component which will charge the battery, allowing some 50 miles of driving before the gas motor even kicks in. For people like me, who rarely drive more than fifty miles at a stretch, it will mean incredible gas mileage. Check out the New York Times article this morning, Bush. You're way behind the times on this one, too.