I had dinner on Friday night with Jim and Jan, a couple who is retired from the Navy and are now volunteering with JAARS/Wycliffe. During his twenty-five or so years with the Navy, Jim served on at least three different aircraft carriers, including the USS Midway – the same one that I got to tour and party on at the beginning of August, in San Diego. He was telling us stories of the Vietnam and Cold Wars, and how Soviet trawlers would like to annoy large American ships by continually crossing their paths, tempting collisions. Carriers are big boats, and they don’t stop or turn easily. Plus, turning a carrier changes the direction of the deck runways, which isn’t good for any pilots who are airborne at the time. Continue reading
Today I learned that the flag of the Netherlands is in fact red, white, and blue; there is absolutely no orange in it. Having believed for the past EIGHT YEARS that it is orange, white, and blue, and having believed that they could win today’s World Cup final, I am currently in shock management mode. (Apparently, orange is the royal color as inspired by William of Orange etc. My mistake was completely justifiable as red and orange can look alike on screens. Rather than me adjusting my misconceptions, I think that the Netherlands should change their flag colors.)
The first week of the Tour de France is over, which means that the uber-exciting sprint stages have finished and it’s on to the mountain grind. Amend that – normally uber-exciting. There were only three real group sprint finishes this time, and only two drag races between sprint posterboy Mark Cavendish (HTC-Columbia) and my personal favorite, Tyler Farrar (Garmin-Transitions). Farrar’s losses in both cases were pardonable; with a cracked wrist and elbow from Stage 2 (the “Stockeau Massacre“), it was amazing that he was sprinting at all. In the GC, I’m looking forward to seeing how Canadian time trial champ Ryder Hesjedal (Garmin-Transitions) shoulders the load as his team’s main GC contender. Rumor also has it that Team RadioShack will ride in support of Levi Leipheimer; it’s about time. Continue reading
I’m really not a fan of France, even though I took three – maybe four? – years of French, but there are exceptions to everything. In this case, the exceptions are: the Revolutionary War (although that was mainly because they hated the British), cheese, chocolate, guttural rs, and the Tour. As in, le Tour de France.
Instead of raving obsessively about it, I’ll just mention that I’d really like to see Garmin’s Tyler Farrar (the 25-year-0ld Washington sprinter) take a stage and stick it to Mark Cavendish. Of course, now that they’ve started on the mountains, all the sprinters will be hanging on for dear life, so we won’t see much out of them, but later on there might be a few chances. I really think Farrar can do it (oh, and become the first American in twenty years to take a sprint finish). It’s comforting to know I’m not the only one out there who considers this a possibility; see this article. However, Dean is also his teammate – he wouldn’t be much use if he didn’t believe it.
Also – Astana what? We all know it’s Team Livestrong using Kazakh money. I would really like to see Levi Leipheimer in the yellow, though, just because he kind of gets lost in all the attention surrounding Armstrong and Contador and whatever drama they’ve got themselves into. And can Armstrong please stop advertising anything and everything to with cycling? Please?
Some good/entertaining links for following this year’s Tour: