Yesterday, I was lucky enough to watch le Tour de France simply by driving five minutes down the road to le Grand Bornand. I could have watched from the end, but I’ll be doing that today in Annecy. Instead, I joined some friends on a little rise next to the track which gave us a great view of the race. This photo is one of the many floats that drove past before the cyclists came through. I’ll post more photos on my next entry, once I’ve checked out Annecy.
Watching the floats go past is actually, for me, more interesting than the race. I know some people reading this have just lost all respect for me, but please let me explain. I do have the utmost respect for the cyclists: I can’t imagine riding even 5km of the course they rode today. However, they whizz past so quickly that it’s all over very quickly. The floats last for at least forty minutes and involve cheesy dancing to cheesy music, lots of freebies chucked at the expectant crowd, an obligatory fire truck spraying the hot crowd with water, and, most importantly, bizarre behaviour from the onlookers. Today, I watched a little kid wrestling with an adult for a plastic inflatable baton. The adult had no qualms about using all her strength against the little boy who gave in quickly. A little girl was also involved in a scrap with another woman, and the woman won. What did she win? A plastic device with a branded balloon attached. I think the plastic device is meant to help kids blow up balloons. The woman also had no problem wrestling it off the litle girl, and seconds later, she walked past me and back to her husband grinning about her new children’s toy. Amongst my five friends, two were going for the freebies, and both came out with scraped skin during scrambles to pick freebies up from the ground. Other freebies included: spotty red hat with supermarket logo; washing powder sachet; sweets; hat for sleeping in; and fridge magnets. Obviously wrestle-worthy items.
I’d also love to rattle on about the influx of cyclists on the roads matching the influx of tennis court usage in England during Wimbledon, or a French friend saying that he wonders if this bike race is really worth it because of the local road closures it causes (insert image of my jaw dropping to the floor as I reflect on all those friends back in Australia who set their alarm at stupid hours just to watch the stages in comparison to a few road closures putting out the locals who are so lucky to have this tour on their doorstep). I could rattle on about these things, but I have to go and watch the next stage of le Tour de France now. I’m making the most of it even if my French friend would rather not.