Saturday, July 16, 2016

Marquis de Cottonwood

Yesterday I successfully made it up Little Cottonwood Canyon in the heat of the day (Just over 100F at the base of the canyon) and, as should be evidenced by writing this post, I did not die. This was done to celebrate the Bastille Day Tour De France stage up Mount Ventoux (Thursday July 14th).

Bastille Day is a big celebration in France, and the TDF stage is often part of the national celebration with some feat of over-the-top cycling effort by one or more French nationals marking the date. This year all Bastille Day celebrations were upset by an act of violence in the French city of Nice that took the lives of at least 84 people. Despite that attack TDF stage 12 will be a stage that contributes both to the wonderful history of Bastille Day stages, and to the lore of stages on Mount Ventoux.

I know this one story about Bastille Day, and I like it enough to be hesitant to check it out much because I suspect it is just apocryphal invention. Bastille Day is the day that the prison of the Bastille was stormed during the French revolution, and the prisoners held therein freed. The story has one prisoner –The Marquis de Sade- screaming at the attacking crowds from inside the Bastille; “Storm The Bastille!” he screams. In other words the Marquis de Sade, having grown uncomfortable with his bondage, invented the first recorded instance of a “Safe Word”; although in this early instance it was a “Safe Phrase”.

I was literally shaking from the effort when I pulled over at the 2nd entrance to Snowbird Ski resort. I wanted to take this picture of a sign pointing to the medical facility so I could add it to the blog. I took off my jersey to cool off for a moment too. It is in this picture, but it may be difficult to make out. It is the red thing that looks like it has a picture of a mushroom cloud on it; that’s right I have this jersey with a f**king picture of a mushroom cloud on it!

This year’s Bastille Day TDF stage route was shortened because Mount Ventoux was experiencing 125 km/hour winds. This is a lot of wind. Too much to bicycle in, and maybe too much to stand around in. The crowds found themselves crammed down the mountain into a much tighter space, and the riders found themselves bicycling though crowds crammed into a much smaller space. The camera crews on motorcycles found themselves barely able to pass through the crowds, and at several times were stopped dead by the throngs. The camera crews on motorcycles often try and get good photos of the race leader, and at one dead stop the race leader –Chris Froome- crashed into one motorcycle and fell over, and then his bike got run over and broken by another motorcycle. Unable to continue on bike, and with a replacement bike delayed by the same throng of fans that caused the accident, Froome did the only thing he could do, he ran up the hill.

I did not have to run up LCC, but I did lose the replaceable heal to my now old SIDI bicycling shoes. I am hoping to find a suitable replacement.

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