Must be in the front row.
Yesterday we viewed the TT in a private room sponsored (provided by) the American Embassy in Paris. They are located just of the Champs Elises near the Place de la Concord. We had approximately 175 guest. Some were the Champions Club we supported on the earlier trip and many of our sponsors joined us for this weekend’s events.
The multiple monitors played the days TT live but most of the Champions Club and/or sponsors did not watch much. That is until about just before 4:00 PM when the Jan Ulrich/Lance showdown was to happen. The sentiment was 100% unanimous. We all wanted Lance to beat Ulrich and possibly even win the stage. But at the same time, most of us did not want Ulrich to crash and effect the outcome. A straight up TT with the fastest guy based purely on the legs. Nonetheless, the crowd was loud as any Superbowl party. That was fun!!!
If you have ever seen the Pierce Brosnan movie The Thomas Crown Affair, there is a funny series of scenes. While he is trying to steal one of the paintings in a museum, he is thinks the authorities may be onto him. In these scenes he dresses in a suit and top hat. His attire is inspired by one of the famous painting by Renee Magritte called “Son of Man.” This painting depicts a man in a nice suit and top hat but also has his face covered by an apple. In order to throw off the scent of the authorities he sends in hundreds of men in exactly the same clothing (suit and top hat). This is able to confuse the authorities and he is able to pull off the heist.
Well, this morning was a fun ride organized by ASO (tour organization). A fun ride off 10,000 I believe. Each and EVERY rider had a retro looking yellow tour winners jersey as part of the bonus for signing up for this ride. As I was driving by the Champs Elises to do an errand, all I could see was a huge long sea off yellow. Well, if you had ANY intention of spotting your friend/spouse/aquaintance at all in this melee, forget it! You would never ever find your friend in this massive sea of yellow. Supposedly this group got to do a lap on the finishing circuit on the Champs the morning of the stage before the race came through. I’m not exactly sure of the course but nonetheless it was a huge ride.
This afternoon we were to watch the stage live. Our grand stand seats were only about a kilometer and a half from our hotel. We could have walked but we decided to take a bus so we could stay together as a group as much as possible. Not easy to get about 200 people to one spot as a group in an easy fashion. The bus took us to a subway across the road from the grand stand seats. We went under the subway tunnel and down a block or two and we were at our seats. I had no idea how good it was to be until we sat down in our seats. When we sat down, I realized we were sitting 50 meters just past the finish line and across the road. Can you say bad ass seats? These were the equivalent of sitting on the 50 yard line at Lambeau Field in the Green Bay Packers hey day.
I Believe it was Bob Uker in a commercial who often said, “Must be in the front row.” Well, I was basically there!
The day did not finish there. The team and sponsor dinner was this evening. This particular event had started in 97 I believe as a way to celebrate the race win or loose. It makes the dinner/event even sweeter as Lance and the team Celebrates his 5th consecutive victory in the Super Bowl of Cycling. All told we had approximately 440 riders, staff, sponsors and guests. As in the past few years, a few people got up to speak. Thomas Weisel spoke, Dan Osipow our current GM also spoke and Lance had a few inside stories to tell from the three weeks of racing. While I really enjoy listening to Lance speak (very motivational) and tell great stories, I think for me (and many others) the highlight was the last guest speaker. Robin Williams has done this dinner/event for the past few years. Although for me it is my first trip to the final day of the tour. Robin is Robin and he had everyone rolling on the floor laughing. Cocktails started at 8:30 and Dinner was supposed to start at 9:00. It all got started late and after all was said and done we left the dinner about 1:30 AM Monday morning. I was too shagged from working the Champions Club event AND helping these final two days, I had no energy to go party. Although my mind wanted to it was off to bed to catch a noon flight. Time to go home.