Monday, July 24, 2006

Le Tour and Rain on My Parade

Patty here...

I’ve mentioned this before but I’m a huge fan of Le Tour de France, which just ended on Sunday after three weeks and a day, twenty stages, twenty-four hundred miles, and more thrills than nude mud-wrestling.

It was awesome to see American Floyd Landis ride into Paris wearing the yellow jersey. This is the eighth year in a row that an American has stood in front of the Arc de Triomphe wearing the maillot jaune (Lance Armstrong has claimed that honor for the past seven years), but Landis is only the third American to win in the tour’s history. He’s a San Diego boy with a bad hip and a can-do attitude.

He was written off after a bad day in the mountains when he “hit the wall” AKA “bonking,” which is when you fall apart due to lack of food and water. He roared back the following day. He left the main field behind shortly after the start and rode alone across five mountains to win the stage and regain enough time to win the tour in the time trial the next day. His transcendent ride will go down in Tour de France history.

I used to do some cycling myself. I took a couple of bike trips in France and once competed in the Rosarita to Encenada Bike Race in Mexico. I went with a couple of jocks, including my main squeeze, Will. I learned a lot from him that day. One, when a guy tells you there aren’t any hills don’t believe him. Two, you can make it if you want to. Just like Floyd.

The lessons you learn under that sort of pressure are sometimes the best lessons. I just finished editing and proofreading my third book SHORT CHANGE and even though I’m now more mouse potato than contender, I bonked, not from lack of food but from lack of brain cells. I’m done, though. The manuscript is packed and ready to go to my editor. It sort of feels like I’m riding into Paris wearing a yellow jersey right now.

You can blame Paul for all this talk about biking. Last Tuesday (7/18/06 Meyer & Me) he challenged his fellow Naked Authors to post their embarassing photos, so I began searching through my albums to find a few. A few? Sheesh! For one thing I discovered that I seem to take a lot of rain-challenged vacations. Case in point. This is a picture of me on a bike trip in the Burgundy area of France. It was raining. You gotta love the outfit. The picture I’m NOT showing you is from the day before when I poked a hole in a Hefty trashcan liner and slipped it over my head. P.S. There’s shopping in France, too (see Shopping 7/17/06).

This second photo is of me trekking through a pasture dotted with sheep caca on the Island of Mull in Scotland. I had a map. As I recall it said something like, “Unlock the farmer’s gate and walk through the sheep pen…” And I always do as I’m instructed. It rained, but as you can see I came prepared with my Lilliputian windbreaker. The rain was the least of my worries. It was also the opening day of hunting season—who knew?—which is why you see no livestock in the photo, and I look like a deer caught in the flashbulb.

Here’s yet another bad-weather adventure. Me at the helm of a sailboat near San Miguel Island, one of the Channel Islands off the coast of Santa Barbara, California. Once you leave the island, there's no landmass until you reach Hawaii. Not many people go to San Miguel on vacation, because the place is deserted and to get there you might have to put on foul weather gear, which makes you look…how can I put this…FOUL.

I’m taking a less inclement vacation this year. A sailing trip off the coast of Maine. Did I choose wisely?

Happy Monday!


  1. You're slick in a slicker, Patty. And judging from the size of that wheel, when you say you're going sailing, you don't mean a 12-foot daysailer. Just what the heck is that you're steering, Captain? As for the pink windbreaker, a wise choice during hunting season...assuming there are no pink deer thereabouts. And the bike photo? In my experience, women NEVER want to be photographed bundled up against the weather or while they're engaged in some physical activity. I have no idea why.

  2. You've identified a new peril: the threat of bonking.

  3. I'd tell you about the boat, Paul, but does size really matter?

  4. Patty, you're the only woman I know with a whole Rainbow Coalition of foul weather gear.

    And on you, it's dashing.


  5. Yeah, Louise, and this is only the beginning. Stay tuned.

  6. You went to a professional for your book jacket picture when you had these to hand? What an apt analogy to compare writing to Le Tour de France. Congratulations on completing your own long ride.

  7. Thanks, Tish. Can hardly wait until I see you on the final lap of the Champs-Elysees!

  8. I'm also a huge tour fan, and wondered after the big "drug" brouhaha who'd end up in yellow. The Landis comeback was awesome and reminded me why I like the Tour, even without Lance.

    Jealous of your raingear, though. I don't think I own an umbrella :)

  9. I was a little worried about a Lanceless tour, too, especially when Basso and Ulrich got bounced, but it was great drama. I watched every minute of it. And again, happy birthday, Lori.