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It's Only a Bike Race -

How Hard Can It Be?

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Winner of New Book Awards Prize!

 


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The Awards Judge Organization proudly announces the

Winners of the First Annual 2015-16

NEW BOOK AWARDS

Los Angeles, CA—The Awards Judge Organization has announced the Winners of the First Annual NEW BOOK AWARDS.   The New Book Awards were created to boost recognition for outstanding literary achievement filtered out of a wide spectrum of America’s diverse literary community.  One purpose of the awards is to bring attention to independent and self-published works that might otherwise go unnoticed.  The New Book Award winners range from well-known and established writers to aspiring authors and first works. There are no quotas for diversity; the winners list simply reflects the quality chosen through a natural selection process.

The Awards Judge Organization (AJO) is a national independent product review & ratings commission.

The full text of the press release announcing the list of award winners including "It's Only A Bike Race" can be found at www.newbookawards.com

Le Tour de France - A Vacation On Wheels?

Riding a bicycle around France during July sounds like an idyllic way to spend a few weeks during the summer. Visiting different regions of the country while on a leisurely ride through vineyards and sunflower fields seems like a fun pastime in which all French gentlemen should aspire to partake at least once during their lifetime. Just to add a little adventure and interest to the two-wheeled vacation, there would be a small prize for the first man to return to Paris. …. This was the ill-informed overall impression of the Tour de France that the author had gained during five years of studying French at high school on the other side of the world.

Some twenty years later when he was able to make his long-awaited first trip to France, he began to discover that his pre-conceived notions of the event were removed from reality by a large distance - over 3,000 kilometers to be exact. Having realized the extent of his original misperceptions about the Tour de France, the author was eager to discover whether it was still possible to enjoy the Tour de France in the way he had visualized it as a youngster. Substituting a campervan for a bicycle, he decided to follow the Tour de France for three weeks with the aim of enjoying the race while simultaneously taking in the sights, sounds and tastes of France. This book tells the story of his quest.

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Of Kings and Presidents

July 11, 2014

The route of Le Tour de France is following a clockwise rotation this year, as part of the annual rotation that sends it anti-clockwise in odd-numbered years. This all means that after the first three stages in northern France we are now finally heading in a direction that brings us closer to the sun, we hope. But at today’s stage there was a man who brought the sunshine with him. Heaven only knows what possesses a man in his 40s who decides to dress as a bee while watching the world’s greatest bicycle race, but apparently the same spirit possesses him every year at the same time. Psychiatrists may debate among themselves about the meaning of the giant fly swatter that the King Bee carries, but there is no debating the fact that he enjoys himself and that he also provided imaginative entertainment for the busload of 7-year-olds who were waiting impatiently for the arrival of the spectacular circus that is Le Tour de France.

But speaking of spectacular events, two black helicopters landed in a field opposite us just before the bike riders arrived in Roucy where we were waiting for them. The landing site was just behind the children who were glued to the whole event with little noses strained against a wire-mesh fence, but the big news was that Francois Hollande, the President of France, was at today’s stage. Just before the landing it had been broadcast on the web that he was riding in the car of the Tour Director, Christian Prudhomme. The logic of providing security for important people would say that it does not make sense that his vehicle would be identified so clearly and publicly, however the arrival of the helicopters would explain the very unusual and heavy presence of gendarmes at our location. In other words the earlier announcement was a diversion and the President was in fact in a helicopter instead of a car. The fact that both helicopters departed immediately after the riders had passed through the town tends to support this position. Meanwhile I’m trying not to be offended by being ignored like this. This is the message I’ll leave on his voicemail: “So Francois, I heard you were in town – and you didn’t call?”

The mystery of the occupants of the two helicopters is something that I am presently unable to answer (at least until Francois returns my call), but I can provide the answer to another question that frequently crosses the minds of those who watch the parade of cyclists up and down the roads in France.

How come that guy is wearing a yellow jersey?

The Tour de France awards prizes in several different categories apart from that for the man who finishes with the lowest time at the end of three weeks. Not all riders are good at riding up mountains, nor is everyone good at riding fast for short distances (sprinting), and even fewer riders at good at both. For this reason the organizers of the Tour award prizes for the best mountain climber and best sprinter each day and throughout the entire Tour. Riders accumulate points in these categories on each stage and the highest score in each category at the finish of the Tour wins the honor of “King of the Mountain” or “Points Classification”. At the end of the first stage of the Tour the winner of that stage is awarded a yellow jersey, or maillot jaune, which identifies him as the leader in the General Classification. In the same way, the rider who scores the most climbing points on the first stage is awarded a white jersey with red polka-dots and the rider who has scored the most sprinting points is awarded a green jersey. These riders wear their special jerseys for the next day’s stage and are able to continue to wear that jersey through subsequent stages until another rider has beaten their time or point score. All of this means that at the end of each day’s stage, prizes are awarded to that day’s winners in each category and then the overall leaders in each category are announced at which point one or more of the special jerseys may change hands. There is also another category for the best rider under 25 years of age, and this honor is signified by a white jersey.

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