Last year we made the switch and jumped ship from Comcast cable and internet to DirecTV and DSL through Qwest. This July has made me aware that we may have chosen poorly, or at the very least didn't do our homework. DirecTV, or at least our package, doesn't get Versus which means no Tour de France coverage for me this year. I'm also terribly disappointed with the performance of DSL. Maybe if I'd gone straight from dial-up to DSL it wouldn't be that big of a deal, but cable is clearly superior. The one bright spot of the switch has been our conversion to a DV-R. Being able to watch what we want, when we want, and the ability to forward through the commercials is fantastic. Anything less would be uncivilized.
Anyhoo, The Tour. I've been halfheartedly following it online but the exitement just isn't there when reading stage summaries and other print type info. My one shining discovery has been that of George the Cyclist. George is a gentleman who is following the Tour by bicycle. It's really quite an impressive feat, considering the distances. He is not required to follow the entire course, and therefore can take shortcuts when they are available. But he's still covering a lot of ground, as he wrote on Saturday: "And today is a much anticipated rest day. I'll till do 50 or more miles on the way to Foix, the Stage 11 finish. I've done at least 100 miles four of the last five days, so half that will be a relieve [sic]."
One of the most fascinating things I have found is George's attitude toward touring. A credit card tourer he is not. His daily food budget is running something along the lines of $10. And considering the dollar's weakness that's damn cheap. Shopping at the local supermarkets, freebie handouts from the Tour Caravan and dumpster diving seem to cover the main portion of George's dietary needs. From another post:
I was able, however, to supplement my supplies with some Sunday dumpster-diving. It has been chilly enough in the foothills of the Pyrenees that four liter-sized bottles of citrus-flavored water were still perspiring, not having cooled to air temperature. Four deli sandwiches in sealed wedge-shaped plastic containers with an expiration date of the day before were also refrigertor temperautre. A bag of croissants and a day-old "L'Equipe," perhaps the prize of the dive, rounded out my harvest. They help the budget. It has taken a hit of late having to cough up three to five dollars for a drink to watch The Tour in a bar when I'm not watching it at the Finish Line. So far I've been in bars for the conclusion of six of the ten stages. When I usually don't even spend ten dollars a day on food, five dollars for a drink is an extravagance...
A very different take on the Tour. And while I may not always know who is winning by reading George, I certainly feel like I know mour about the Tour.