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Monday, January 19, 2009

Taking in the atmosphere at the Tour Down Under in Adelaide

Lance Armstrong was looking good last night in his comeback race at the Tour Down Under in Adelaide - can you pick him out here? - and he didn't seem to mind coming 64th in the exciting 30 lap 51-kilometre criterium. In fact he's playing down his chances of coming anywhere on this Tour. Although Terry tells me that's how he plays the game. I know very little about cycling or the Tour, but I love watching it, especially Le Tour de France. Le Tour reminds me of two things. Firstly, my dear old school friend Darren Lawson who I studied French with for years during high school, whose dream was always to ride in the Tour de France (when my dream was to become a journalist and travel the world); Darren made it to the Barcelona Olympics in 1992 and we were all very proud of him. Secondly, the race reminds me of the many summers Terry and I have spent in Europe, before we were travel writers, in the days when we could afford the time to take a long siesta in the sweltering afternoons and watch some TV. Naturally we watched the Tour de France, and although I've never been mad about France the scenery inspired me to go to some of those tiny villages and terrific mountain areas which they rode through. We'd already seen Armstrong earlier yesterday - we were riding right alongside him in a taxi as he cycled through the streets of Adelaide (but neither Terry nor I were quick enough to grab a camera; read Terry's post about the experience here). He not only seemed in great shape but he seemed happy to be cruising around Adelaide in the sunshine - with a police escort. We hadn't intended on watching the Tour Down Under at all - we're in Adelaide working on two guidebooks and we're busy enough as it is with our research, writing and Terry's shooting - but it seemed a good opportunity for Terry to get some pics for the DK book, and simply to take in the vibe. The streets were buzzing! The wide verandahs of every old pub on the circuit were crowded with fans enjoying some beers and enjoying Aussie Robbie McEwen racing to victory. But then Australians love any excuse to soak up the sun and soak up some spirits - just as I love any excuse to soak up a city's atmosphere. If you're interested in following the Tour Down Under you can keep up with the news here.


Nomadic Matt said...

lance armstrong is always looking good!

Lara Dunston said...

He's looked in peak form this week, and the Aussie women have been going nuts here in Adelaide.