Wednesday, July 11, 2012

and how was your day?

You can easily find yourself in the wrong place at the wrong time when traveling in a foreign land. You just get hit with so many weird situations, like "Where did that guy go that just set his backpack down beside me and walked away?" or "How trustworthy is this deposed Nigerian prince?" But this morning I got caught up in an international brouhaha that got way out of control.

So there I am, small cafe table, impossibly good espresso with a croissant that makes you want to slap somebody and all of a sudden I hear loud, angry voices yelling in something close to English. I pay attention and, lo and behold, a group of British cycling fans is coming to blows with a group of Australian cycling fans. As the only person in the cafe NOT involved in the fracas AND who speaks English, I feel obliged to try and diplomatically resolve the situation. Unbeknownst to me, the proprietor of this lovely little cafe has phoned the gendarmes (police) who arrive tout suite and arrest everyone who speaks English, including your fearless reporter.

First, French prison isn't too bad. They put me in a cell by myself since I speak neither British English or Australian (which honestly sounds like a bunch of gobbledy gook). Unsurprisingly, French jails serve French food, so this was a pretty nice way to catch a decent meal and not tap into my precious per diem. For a jail, there was a pretty decent wine list and they were quite generous with the pour. I found the red a tad cloying but the white was quite dry and refreshing. The sorbet course was a bit of a disappointment given the rest of the meal, but overall and given the circumstances it could have been worse.

The big bonus was finding myself in close enough proximity to some Cofidis riders and staff members who were in cells directly across from mine, that I was able to conduct some very illuminating and quite thorough interviews. Always on the job, that's how I roll. Neither the Aussies nor the Brits claimed me as a friend or combatant, so the French authorities released me with a quite touching apology and several complimentary passes to Euro Disney. All in all, my day in a foreign jail was nothing like I imagined it might be and I got to see a side of France most tourists miss out on.

Our top ten in the Luna Cycles Big Deal Fantasy Tour de France presented by Uncle Chuck's New School Pregreaser has stagnated a bit and today's stage did little to increase or decrease any of the gaps between our teams. Tomorrow's stage could prove a bit more explosive as it is short, but with four significant climbs and if Evans, Nibali and Vandenbroucke can find the legs, lungs and guts to go for it, it might be a hard day for Wiggins and Team Sky.

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