I could be watching the Tour

Today’s theme is watching. Oh, chickens. It’s July, and if you’ve spent any time here in the summer, you know this is TOUR DE FRANCE MONTH. Due to circumstances beyond my control, this was the time we had to be in Europe. We left on day three, and we’ll arrive home again with a mere handful of stages left. For me, the Tour is best watched in its entirety, from the Grand Depart to the very last sprint on the Champs-Elysees. (Forgive the lack of diacriticals there. That is a skill I have yet to master.)

I love the long, lazy days of rolling through the spectacular French countryside; I love the brutal Pyrenees, the harsh Alps. I love the cobblestones waiting to trip the unwary rider, the shared camaraderie of the feed zone. I love the strange characters collected by the roadside, the invariable dramas that play out over the course of three weeks of relentless pursuit. I love it because of the sheer magnitude of what it demands. It is an unforgiving trial, torturous in the extreme, and only the strong survive.

And I get to watch it all from the comfort of my sofa, like a lesser Roman empress, following the tribulations of people who are actually exerting themselves while I lie around in air-conditioned comfort.

Not thisĀ  year. If I’m lucky, I’ll manage a few stages–probably no more than four. And considering the fact that I am missing it to actually SEE France, I won’t regret a single one.