Tony Martin Wins Stage Twenty of the 2011 TDF

Stage 20-42.5 km
Individual Time Trial: Grenoble to Grenoble

I usually have a team ride on Saturday mornings. Reserving our hard training for other days, “The Muffin Ride” is nothing too intense. We put in about 55 miles in total, stopping halfway for espresso and a muffin. It’s generally a familiar crew of five to ten riders but sometimes there are new faces. We have a non-drop neutral rollout, then intermediate sprints, and a final “Temple” sprint (ending at a Baha’i Temple) before going our separate ways and drinking smoothies. I had considered attending this ride last night, but today I stayed home.

It was easy to stay home today, because once again the Chicago area was ravaged by thunderstorms. A thunderstorm begins when an updraft of warm air condenses into a cumulus cloud. As more warm air collects the cumulus cloud continues to grow. Soon water droplets forming in the cloud become too heavy for the rising air to hold. While this is happening, cold air (which is heavier than warm air) starts entering the cloud. The cold air begins to lower beneath the warm air (a downdraft), pulling the heavy water downwards, resulting in rain. The storm at this point becomes a cumulonimbus cloud. Once lightning and thunder starts to occur, it becomes a thunderstorm. The formation of lightning is an entirely different story, but there was plenty of that too.

During these thunderstorms a great leak sprung in the roof of my house above my bed. At about 5am I awoke to find myself lying in a large damp spot. Unsure of how this may have happened I thought about the previous night’s activities. I then saw a drip from the ceiling and realized that Cumulonimbus downdrafts had pulled water from a cloud, and that this water had seeped into unsealed cracks in our roof. I slept for the next three hours spooning a pot. Each time a drip hit my new companion, a light splash covered my sleeping body.

I awoke and looked at the ceiling, made coffee as usual, thought about my team ride and how I was glad I got to have slept in, then turned on the individual time trial in the Tour de France. Cadel Evans rode as if a great and shining light had emerged from beneath his skinsuit, driven the seething darkness from within him, and lifted his troubled sole through the streets of Grenoble. During this rapture, Cadel took back any time he had lost from anyone in the mountains, then piled on some more time and won the Tour de France. The Tenspeed Heroes are happy for him, and for Australia. In perhaps my most honest assessment of this Tour I can say this: Cadel Evans really looks like a Hero when he smiles.

Oh, and Tony Martin won the stage.