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Au revoir, les baroudeurs

In a way, it’s a relief that Le Tour is over for this year; the Big Guy and I have had a tough time keeping up with watching every stage, and to miss one would be unthinkable.

But I’m still going to miss it — at least I always knew there was something good on TV! In fact, I still have a box full of videotaped stages from prior Tours going back to 2004. I rarely look at them but I can’t bear to get rid of them.

These days, if you want to revisit past Tours all you have to do is search You Tube. I could spend hours watching the clips I’ve found there already — including yet another version of Kraftwerk’s classic song. This one is an extended remix of the original tune with more recent footage including Marco Pantani, Jan Ullrich, Lance Armstrong, Floyd Landis, Laurent Fignon, Greg Lemond, Eddie Merckx, Richard Virenque, and more −− plus it contains lots of scenery shots for those (like myself) who love to watch the Tour to see the gorgeous French countryside.  (It’s a bit long, but hang in there for the final fireworks show at Le Tour Eiffel.)

I was a little unhappy that I overslept this morning and missed the first two hours of the ride into Paris. The Big Guy and I watched yesterday’s time trial and to him, that was the end of the race; it didn’t even occur to him to wake me up at 4:30 this morning. That’s the difference between him and me — he knows who won, so the drama is over for him, while I enjoy the full spectacle, right up to the closing ceremony. Ah, well.

Strangely enough, up until 2003 I had little to no interest in watching the Tour de France. I might never have gotten into it at all if the Big Guy hadn’t bought himself a new bike a few months before the Tour. The bike shop gave him a free subscription to Bicycling Magazine, and the magazine was full of Tour predictions and athlete profiles, including Lance Armstrong and David Millar.

I watched every single televised moment of the race that year, even though I’d never heard of 99% of the riders. When it was over I could scarcely wait for the Vuelta de Espana to begin. I missed Phil Liggett and Paul Sherwin, and as I rode my bike down the bike trail I could still hear their voices echoing in my head. At the end of July I sat down with my journal and wrote down — purely from memory — as many riders’ names as I could recall, and I filled up nearly two pages of my notebook with everybody from Joseba Beloki and Frederic Finot to Jean Patrick Nazon and Haimar Zulbedia.

I enjoyed doing the KAL this year, and I did manage to finish up my first sleeve as I watched the peloton ride onto the Champs Elysees.

Switching gears a bit (sorry, couldn’t resist the pun!) something happened last weekend that caught me completely by surprise. Last Saturday morning I had planned to visit my mom so she could help me figure out how to deal with a bit of trouble I was having with my SKB. But I was still rubbing the sleep out of my eyes when I got a call from her informing me that she was in Dixon (45 minutes to an hour away) at the Wool Festival. She was super excited and kept raving about how awesome it was and how she wished I could be there to see it.

Now, I’ve never had a chance to go to Rhinebeck or any other similar events, and I foolishly assumed we didn’t have anything of the sort anywhere near the Sacramento area. Turns out I was way wrong. At this yearly event, there were many different breeds of sheep, including some she’d never knew existed. There was sheep shearing, spinning demonstrations, yarns of all colors and descriptions, and knitted goods for sale. There where sheep dog trials and bands playing and …

Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to drop everything and drive down to Dixon at such short notice, but I’m definitely marking my calendar for next year. And if you’re on Ravelry, you can see some great event photos here.

Now that the Tour is in the history books, I’ve been very busy adding projects to my queue, including some gorgeous sock patterns, a shawl (which will be a first for me) and more. I’m anxious to blog about my future knitting plans, but I think I’ll save all of it for tomorrow. In the meantime, I’ll leave you with just a bit of a teaser:

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