Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Le Tour de France

Now that FIFA Copa Mundial is over, my TV viewing time has been filled with one of my annual obsessions -- the Tour de France. If you're not familiar with the Tour de France, it's an annual bike race over 23 days covering roughly 2,200 miles (3,600 kilometers) through France and its surrounding countries. The trek is broken into daily segments called "stages" with a few rest days built in.

My little obsession started in my triathlete days. I just so happened to run across the Tour on TV while riding my bike on my stationary trainer, and I've been hooked ever since. (Those were the days before I had my cycling accident, which lead to partial paralysis in my left hand, which was cured by a surgery leaving a six inch scar on my left elbow, but I digress -- as usual.)

Yellow Jersey (maillot jaune), Green Jersey (maillot vert), King of the Mountain (or Red Polka Dot Jersey - Maillot à Pois Rouges), and the White Jersey (maillot blanc) -- I can't wait to see who wins what. My family doesn't understand my strange desire to watch other people bike for hours on end, and that's okay. They just add it to the list of my quirks and move on.

But, in honor of le Tour de France, here are a few randoms:

1. Tour riders will pedal an average of 324,000 to 486,000 strokes over the course of the race.

2. A single rider burns approximately 123,900 calories during the three week ride. That's about 6,500 calories per day.

3. For stages other than the sprints, rider must use a bike which weighs at least 14.998 pounds. (There are newborn babies heavier than that.)

4. The main group (called the peloton) stops en masse when they decide it's time for a bio break.

5. "Boiling the saucepan over" is cycling slang for "doping."

Vive le Tour.

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