09 August 2008

Tour de France - Come and Gone

OK, it's been two weeks, would you believe me that it has taken this long to recover from the intense excitement? Well, you shouldn't I just haven't gotten around to processing the photos until now.

I feel that the Tour de France is the closest that this country gets to NASCAR, especially in la France profonde. There is intense excitement, press coverage, and pre-partying followed by a relatively boring passing of events. Keep in mind that in all of the stages except for the last few miles in Paris, you wait for several hours to witness the group pass your position one time. If it's a mountain stage it may last 20 minutes, but in a faster stage they will have come and gone in five minutes or less.

In Paris, where we were, of course, they pass eight times giving you three to four hours of waiting for about ten minutes of watching the riders spread over an hour. I have to admit that, for me, it has little more appeal than comes from the curiosity of watching a large, public spectacle. At the very least, it gave me the chance to test my new lens (NIKKOR 18-200mm f/3.5-5.6G IF-ED AF-S DX VR: OMG!!! Look at all those letters, it's so awesome!!!) under somewhat challenging conditions. It performed admirably.

We put ourselves at the corner of the Tuileries garden at the end of the Louvre and had a commanding view of the corner. Here's where we were standing:

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This level of cycling is similar to motorsports in another respect; the precision and speed of the "pit crew" which is, in this case, the chase Skoda. One of the teams suffered a rear wheel flat and swapped it out in a matter of seconds, it was over before I realized what was happening.

All in all it was a pleasant experience, it's always impressive to see athletes at the absolute top of their skill.

Full album:

Tour de France 2008

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