Sunday, July 26, 2009

Sufficient preparation will prevent you hitting the wall on Mont Ventoux

I was sure the team had prepared well.

A lovely steak, cooked to perfection, fresh vegies, just right, a very nice red to wash it down and even finished off the meal with strawberry crepes. How more prepared than that could you get for Stage 20 of the Tour de France? Monsieur Gate would be proud of us.

Coffee and some Swiss chocolate and we were ready for the attack on Mont Ventoux.

Because of the fact that afternoon in France, well Europe really, as the Tour has been to Spain, Italy, Andorra and Switzerland as well as France, is late evening here, there have been some nights when we have been in the gruppetto (and let the faithful old DVD recorder take over) so that we can show fit for work the next day.

But last night, being Saturday, we were really prepared to see it through to the summit and not bonk (now, now, behave and look up your cycling terminology!).

So there was no DVD recorder operating.

We made it above the treeline and into the headwind, still holding strong. There the attacks came quick and fast as the top GC riders caught almost all of the breakaway.

And then it happened …

Oh, pardon me, I must digress a moment …

Here we still allow the general public to celebrate our Territory Day (1 July - marking the commencement of Self Government in the Territory on 1 July 1978) by amassing a large number of noisy munitions, oh sorry, fireworks, and then spending that one evening terrorising the populace. One could not be blamed for thinking that they had been beamed up and dropped in Afghanistan or Iraq because of the scream of rockets overhead and boom boom of the "entertainment".

The government puts on a very nice, very expensive, spectacular display for the enjoyment of all, but feels it should allow everyone to do there own thing as well, if they so feel inclined.

Very nice, very liberal and you would think that would be appreciated. But no, the bloody idiots keep it up for the next 6 months or so, especially, it seems, around midnight, for best effect.

Dogs and cats just love this type of entertainment and every year there are calls from the RSPCA warning people to “lock up their animals. Nice advice but how long should you keep them in solitary confinement to protect them from sporadic idiocy?

Our dog is terrified of firecrackers.

So, at the point when we were almost to the summit, it happened.

Quite close by someone felt the urge to recelebrate Territory Day. There was an enormous series of very loud bangs. Eight or ten of them and very loud. I jumped nearly off my bike. The dog came straight through the back door and straight out the front door, which was open as we were enjoying the gentle breeze cooling the tropical evening.

We called her, but she was terrified and leaving the warzone, at speed.

I won’t go into all the boring details but let me just tell you that by the time we got back to the house with the terrified dog shivering in fear; it was almost time for the presentations.

Damm, this was worse than the gruppetto; we would be lucky to make the lanterne rouge this time!

And the worst problem? No DVD recorder running.

So that, dear people is how lack of preparation can cause a serious failure.