Rad photo of rad band getting rad c/o rad guy Clint, stolen from his Instagram and used without permission in a very un-rad manner. Sorry Clint.
Stage 11 - Albertville to La Toussuire.
Today - the day I'm writing this, not the day that I watched the stage (I'm aware that I play a little fast and loose with tense in this blog, mostly because I like to write about races in the present tense, as it gives them an urgency, whereas I like to write about the daily events of my life in the past tense, as it gives them a little space, and encourages reflection. This kind of thing bothers some people) - is the last day of school holidays. I mean, there's still the weekend to go, and for me the first few days at school are generally pretty cruisy, but this is the last day I'll be able to lie in bed while the rest of you have to go to work - at least until spring break arrives in September. It's a good time to stop and think for a bit, to figure out what the hell has happened over the past two weeks. Plus, the tour is about halfway over - perhaps all over, bar the shouting. So maybe I'll even cast my eyes over what's going on with that.
But let's face it, I probably won't. When I started out with this tour diary I knew that the focus was not going to be the tour itself, but rather my experiences of watching the tour, in the same way that I used to write about going to punk rock shows, rather than just the shows. As such, there's been a lot of JD Salinger and not a lot of Tejay Van Garderen. This is probably something of a shame, firstly because I quite like Tejay Van Garderen, despite the crimes against nomenclature his parents visited upon him, but also secondly because I've been watching the tour every night, and have actually been interested in it most nights (you know, aside from this one). Like the rumour I spread about myself only ever reading the sports section of the Herald-Sun, or the one that here at New Timer House the only coffee we drink is International Roast, my claimed disinterest is a knee-jerk reaction to the expectation that I be up on all things cycling. You could call it working-class pretension, sure, but you could also call it a safeguard against annoying conversations about fancy coffee, popular literature and dickheads pontificating about Chris Froome.
Here in the relative solitude of the bedroom, however, there's no chance of me engaging with dickheads - you know, aside from the one at the keyboard - so I should be just spewing forth with voluminous honesty about Wiggins' potty mouth, Cadel's long-range attacks, Peter Sagan's freaking hilarious shenanigans, Jens Voigt, Vincenzo Nibali, Chris Horner. But I haven't been, really. Sure, there's enough cycling in there for my friend Sarah K to write that "You're writing really well, but I still don't care about cycling at all", but for me the emphasis has been more on the stuff surrounding the tour. Why? Because it's been so freaking rad. Kind of like the record cover above. Sure, there was probably a record attached to that photo, and the record was probably the thread that drew all of the elements together for the photo - much like the tour has been the knots that have tied all of these entries together - but really, who gives a crap what that record sounds like? That photo is radness captured on film. No matter how good the record, it is now a secondary consideration, not entirely necessary.
And you know what? At the moment, the things surrounding me are like that photo. Not the skater in the photo though, and not the band. No, when I wake up in the morning these days, things are like that sky.
When I'm back at work next week things might go back to being rough. I'll be getting less sleep, drinking coffee for survival rather than joy, reading psychologists reports rather than renaissance poetry. Perhaps then I'll need to start writing about the racing again, in order to take my mind off the general attrition of everyday life. But perhaps not. Perhaps over the past two weeks, something has changed, that the change will echo through the entire term, and I'll never write about racing again. That'd be ok. I mean, it'd be ok for me. You'd have to go back to reading about the tour on Cycling News. But that's your problem.