|Newsletter - 2001 Archive|
For the first time in my life, & I'm a 74 year old life long cyclist, I have had the opportunity to watch every stage of the Tour de France. It meant getting up early as I felt that waiting for the evening show was a risk. Despite the heavy dose of purile commercials OLN (Outdoor Life Network) were forced to push onto us, it was worth it. It was an awesome display of the many facets of bike racing.
Without knowing the precise time the first stage started or the last stage finished I can only guess at the total time the race took. But it would seem that the 3,500 kms took at least 500 hours, an average speed of 7 kph!
The last control closed at approximately 5 PM, July 29, some 529 hours later. The average speed for the 3,454 km was 6.5 km/h.
If we make an adjustment for Lance Armstrong being the last rider out of the first control (not really his fault, is it?), he finished the route in 526 hours, or 6.6 km/h, the lowest time of any rider. A true champion, indeed!
I hope they had some suitable pins for this brave, albeit slow bunch of randonneurs. The spirit of the group was good as they essentially stuck together the whole time, often dining and finding sleeping arrangements together.
We should give the organizers of the Dunkirk-Paris "Tour de France" randonnee some barbs about making the riders ride the same piece of busy Parisian road 10 times just before the finish. That was poor planning, for sure.