Sunday, 2 August 2009

Allez le Bleu Part Deux

As promised, here is a picture of the mega motorhome we watched the end of the Ventoux stage outside. The little black square next to the door is a 19" flat screen tv with booming sound and the door toward the back is their 'motorbike garage'...

In the last episode we left our three intrepid... oh, who am I kidding? When we got back to Lyon, we had dinner, a couple of drinks and wandered down to the pub we finished in the night before. Chatting to the bar staff we had met, we asked where was good to go and set off with our list in hand. At the next pub we got talking with the owner of the previous pub. He was young, down to earth, had great English and was happy to talk. He taught us a bit about Lyon and I was really seeing the attraction to the city. I would like to go back and do it properly (the theme that seems to be running throughout the whole of France...)

We moved onto the next venue; a long, thin bar with many tables out the front in the mall. After a few drinks we got talking to a bar tender. He guessed we were Australian and we got talking about melbourne. When he asked, and I quote: "Do you know Lucan?" my first thought was 'ha, there are, like 4 million people in melbourne- what a dickhead...' but then I suddenly realised that, yes, I knew Lucan- I've known Lucan for about 16 years. He is one of my closest friends and here I am on the other side of the world and some dude thinks that because I lived in melbourne, I must know Lucan. It was both surreal and hilarious! Despite his confidence in my knowing Lucan, he didn't believe me. I promptly phoned Lucan (thanks Orange Fr- no thanks to O2) and handed the phone over to Clement, and disbelief turned to laughter, which turned to "shit, I'm paying for this"...

The responsibility of the weekend had ended; we had done the driving and navigating, it was time to go mental. Lyon on Saturday night was the start. Despite starting Monday morning early enough, it seems the breadstick, jam and yoghurt breakfast took longer than we expected and we were soon pushing shit uphill when it came to getting the train to Paris on time. We needed to drop the car off, pick up tickets and jump on the train by 11am. Being within 2kms of the entrance to the car depot, yet not knowing where we were and running the clock down to 9 minutes was mildly concerning. Yet; never fear. Australian males know how to make something out of nothing. 11:56am. Matt: drop the car off. Nathan: pick up the tix. Brett: get beer and find our platform. 11:59: QUICK, JUMP! Doors close. Us: 'hahaha, pissed it in.'

I love European trains. So smooth, so comfortable. 4 beers in I decided to build an SNCF 4 seater- complete with table and lamp- into my home bar on the estate. Now sober, I realise that was a dumb idea. ...besides, which estate would I choose?

We arrived in Paris (far too soon. The only downfall of European trains is the speed) and took longer to get out of Gare du Nord than to get from Lyon to Paris. From there it was straight to Le Louvre to find the greatest planter box in inner Paris- the box that Lucan, Dave and I stood on to watch the 2006 final stage of le Tour. Eventually we settled on a barrier next to a park, next to the course, next to le Louvre, as far away from the pack of embarrassing Aussies as we could get.

Not that we didn't make our own party...

I have about a thousand pics like this:

So I'll put up something unique:

...a cheating cyclist!

No, my opinion of cyclists threw a full 180 when I read Robbie McEwen's twitter on Friday night after Astarloza, a Euskadi rider got busted on EPO:
"Astarloza, you're a wanker. While I'm at it, Ricco - stay gone, we don't want you back amongst us. Go ride with Kohl."
I previously thought that to do what they do, you must be on something but the outrage that came from big names after what I think was the 'cleanest' tour in years was huge and made me reconsider. Either that, or they are getting great at bluffing. But I wan't to think they're clean. Partly for the love of sport, and because it presents an opportunity for Brett and Kerry Packer's spirit to create the 'super league of cycling, athletics and weight lifting'- where everyone is on something. Think of the opportunities.

So we left Paris seeing my favourite elements of Paris life:

The wannabe rock stars:

The hot girls dancing (non-moulin rouge):

The ridiculously fit black dudes:

...and the ongoing question of why I don't live here.

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