Thursday, July 8, 2010

Time flies when you're having tea

When you're just riding along in the peloton of a race, just trying to get through the stage safely is called "sitting in". The past two days in the Tour, Lance and the Radio Shack boys have been doing just that. Stage 4 (yesterday) and 5 (today) were stages for the sprinters. And with 3 days of upheaval in the rain and on the cobbles that came before, I can only imagine how it must feel to have a couple of stages to recover.

Alas, I can only wait for my time to recover after our trip, as we pressed on  yesterday with our nearly non-stop travels across the town. With a late start, we missed our guided walk of the West End by about 5 minutes, so we focused on the nearby park that Rach wanted to visit. On our way back to the hotel to regroup, we stumbled on the changing of the Guard again. This time we got a much better view of the Guards being paraded to Buckingham Palace. I was in marching band as a kid, and a lot of people thought we were nerds. I guarantee nobody calls these guys nerds and gets away with it.

video

We wound up spending most of our afternoon in  Hyde Park. We had a wonderful dinner at a pub recommended by a colleague of mine, and then spent our evening in Piccadilly Circus visiting a couple of pubs.While cyclists are tied up in the Tour right now, the rest of the sporting world (aside from the few folks who actually care what Lebron is going to do) are enjoying the World Cup of Soccer/Football. Being here in Europe, there are just a few fans of the Spain side, that played it's way into Sunday's final match. Walking into the circus, we came across a public celebration that I just can't imagine seeing the likes of back in the states.

video

It's not a great video but I think you get the idea. The party was going when we got there, and was still going pretty strong when we left the pubs to head home. They even managed to get a Spanish flag atop the statue at the middle of the square. I guess this is why some places have open container laws, but frankly even with the alcohol, they didn't seem to get out of control.And with the bars closing around 11, leaving only clubs and a few restaurants open later to serve booze, it's a good thing you can carry around a beer.

Last nights celebration might have reminded the English of their soccer inferiority of late, but today's stage of Le Tour saw Mark Cavendish win in a balls out bunch sprint, much to the delight of the folks here in England. Hailing from the Isle of Man, Cavendish has been called out for his lack of success so far this tour, but he outdueled all the big guns today for a win at the line, and without his full HTC lead out train.

Finally, while Rach got the PC first AGAIN and provided a lot better detail of our past couple days, I'd be remiss if I didn't mention my new favorite place in the UK; Tower of London. That place is simply alive with history, and while the women obviously will be drawn to the Crown Jewels, there's way more stuff that guys will dig. Canons, swords, suits of armor, and of course stories of betrayals and executions. We were fortunate enough to have one of the leaders of the Yeoman Warders (aka Beefeaters) as our tour guide and he was a fantastic storyteller. We wound up spending another 2 hours after the tour exploring the whole place, and could have spent another hour at least.

Two Beefeaters, and 1 guy who isn't as picky about his meats.
Tomorrow, we leave for Paris.

Notes:

- Other than a couple beers, we've actually eaten pretty well, and I'm feeling skinny. Our only big meals have been breakfast and we're definitely walking that off long before we have a late lunch. I have no idea what I weigh, but I can't believe I've gained anything, and I'm guessing I've lost some.

- I was hoping to find a bike shop or a bike share here in London to ride for a bit while were here. Alas, it was not to be. But I'll definitely be riding in Paris for sure.

- Too many great pics to share them all here, but this is the one I took of Rach at the park yesterday that I just had to share. She looks great, though my ability to pose her puts me on par with a very average senior portrait photographer (at best).

Hyde Park in London, or Congrats to the Class of 2010? 

2 comments:

  1. *sigh* The dirt path behind Rach is Rotten Roe (corruption of Route de Roi)... My wife used to cycle along there on her way to Uni. Gotta get back to London! For your reading pleasure:
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rotten_Row

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  2. Thanks! We knew that was Rotten Row but not all those details. Thanks!

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