Not-Quite-Liveblog: 2009 TdF, Stage 1

07.4.2009 | 10:16 am

Just a quick level-set here: I don’t actually plan to liveblog any of the stages of this TdF — the time the stages air conflict smack-dab with my riding time. And as excited as I am about this Tour, it’s more important to me to get a daily ride in.

Further, I’ve got a mental energy problem. Liveblogging requires that I be "on," and right now, my mind is elsewhere. So some stages, I won’t post anything at all.

Finally, you’ll want to be sure to be check in on Monday, because I’ll be announcing a very exciting new contest, as well as a giveaway exclusively for Team Fatty San Jose. I guarantee that the prizes for both of these contests are going to make your jaws drop. And I wouldn’t be surprised if a whole bunch of people suddenly join Team Fatty San Jose so they can get a shot at that prize.

10:44 – Please note that the times I’m posting are the times I watch, not the times the events actually occurred. Because, you see, I feel that the time I watch something is more important than when the event happened. I’m sure you agree.

10:45 -  Lance is the first person I see begin his stage. I have to say, this is a pretty exciting moment. Honestly, this is bound to be an incredibly dramatic Tour.

10:47 – In the pre-race show, I could have sworn that Team Fatty member Bob Roll pronounced "Tour de France" correctly. Slip of the tongue, or contractual obligation?

10:48 - By the way, Craig Hummer is anchoring. In the interest of blood pressure optimization, I hereby resolve to not get irritated by every little thing he says.

10:51 – In the interview before the Armstrong rides, it’s interesting to hear him say, "Contador’s the leader for now." Clearly, this matter is not settled.

10:55 – I watch these guys and the position they hold during these TTs, and I wonder how it’s possible to ride so flat for so long. I bet the fact that they don’t have their knees pushing into their stomachs helps.

10:57 – Armstrong through the first time check, currently in first.

10:58 – You know what’s fun? Listening to Phil and Paul gush over Armstrong again. Hearing these two go on about him is like coming home after a long trip.

10:59 – "There are no words to describe this magnificent athlete." Except of course the million or so words they’ll dedicate to him over the course of the next few weeks.

11:00 – Since I didn’t mention that I’d be delayed-blogging this, I’m pretty sure nobody is reading this as I write it. That is perfectly fine. I’m using this blog to write the things I’d say out loud if there were anyone in the room watching this with me. Except I won’t ask you to go get me another Diet Coke.

11:03 – Another thing I hadn’t thought of in years: Lance’s most identifiable feature during a TT is his hump. That hump is remarkable.

11:05 – Lance has the current best time: 20:12. With so many people still to begin, though, that time is just an enormous target. No way will it stand.

11:07 – The camera followed Armstrong for the entire TT. I wonder how many other cyclists will get the same kind of attention (hint: either one or none).

11:08 – Wow, Leipheimer’s socks seem especially tall. practically come up to his knees.

11:10 – Tony Martin’s time check is faster than Armstrong by 12 seconds. Phil and Paul commence Lance Armstrong apologetics.

11:12 – Not to be rude or anything, but Tony Martin just handled a downhill hairpin really badly. As in, I could do better. But on the other hand, I’ve never ridden a TT bike.

11:14 – Just zoomed past several commercials. Every commercial break has a Cadillac ad. Each of which features a sultry woman and does not even remotely pretend to mention that they also sponsor a cycling team (which is not at the Tour).

11:17 – David Millar’s on his way. Good for him.

11:18 – Hey, it looks like Versus is partnering with Bicycling Magazine for the TdF.

11:20 – And Leipheimer, who got around four seconds worth of video coverage during his ride, moves into top position. Tony Martin evidently overcame his prissy hairpin execution and was faster than Armstrong too. I must have missed that when I was talking about Cadillac. Priorities, you know.

11:22 – I really enjoy fast forwarding past commercials as I watch this. I think that even if I do have a stage I could watch live I’ll wait for forty minutes, just to give myself the pleasure of skipping the endless Cadillac and ED ads.

11:27 – Leipheimer’s being interviewed. Right after Leipheimer said he had a not-great ride, the interviewer asked how he felt about his ride. Nice work, Frankie. Sterling interviewing. Pfff.

11:29 – Wow, Millar locked his bike up in that hairpin, barely missing the barrier in a hairpin. I should probably revise my assertion that I could handle those hairpins better than these guys. Cameras often make slopes look a lot flatter than they are.

11:31 – Millar’s across, doesn’t beat Leipheimer, but is good enough for fifth (for now). I think I’ll fast-forward a bit.

11:34 – Just hopped forward 45 minutes or so, and feel pretty pleased with myself for having done so, because the top 5 has not changed. I believe I’ll zip forward another fifteen minutes.

11:36 – OK, now I’m on Dave Zabriskie. But not literally. Do you suppose he applies DZNuts even for a short ride like this? Because he should. He should make a point of wearing it ALL THE TIME, NO MATTER WHAT. Including when he’s not riding.

11:38 – And there’s Kloden. Evidently I magically fast forwarded right to the correct spot to start watching again. I am so pleased with myself. In fact, I feel downright smug.

11:47 – Susan’s awake now, so I’m putting both this Liveblog and the watching of this stage on hold for a bit.

4:51 – OK, I am back. Aren’t you relieved?

4:52 – I’ve been watching some of this while I made guacamole for the impending family barbecue. During which Kloden moved into first place. I posit, indeed, that Kloden moved into first because I was making guacamole while I watched him race. Even though he had actually raced approximately five hours before I made the guacamole. Such is the power of the avacado.

4:56 – Everyone’s on the road.

4:57 – You know, Contador doesn’t have a lot of excess fat. He also doesn’t have a lot of non-excess fat.

4:58 – It occurs to me that doing these non-live blogs is a bad idea. I don’t read your comments as I write, because they have spoilers. And you can’t follow along the race as I write, so my comments are kind of non-contextual.

5:00 – Contador has the fastest time at the time check.

5:01 – I will never ever ever get used to the crowds getting so close to the cyclists. Cadel Evans hasd a couple of yahoos standing and yelling right where the best line looked to be. I propose that as bikes get lighter and lighter, cyclists should be allowed to mount small cannons on their handlebars, the weight of which would be included in the UCI bike weight.

5:03 – Bradley Wiggins moved in to first place.

5:04 – You know I didn’t really have any expectations for this stage, but from the look of the road, this is really a tricky and interesting course.

5:06 – Cancellara moves into the lead Or rather, he roughly shoulders everyone aside moving into the lead. Twenty seconds, this late in the stage. Wow. Phil and Paul go crazy.

5:08 – Contador takes what would have been first place if it hadn’t been for Cancellara’s incredible performance. Now it’s good for second.

5:09 – Consider how many Astana guys are in the top 10. Is it conceivable that Astana could sweep the Paris podium? That would be incredible.

5:10 – Cadel Evans takes 5th. A solid effort, upon which he could have improved by going faster.

5:11 – Here comes Carlos Sastre. This guy’s one of my favorite perennial TdF contenders, but he seems to be getting a little b5:it of the Rodney Dangerfield treatment. 21st over the line.

5:13 – Naturally, Phil and Paul are obsessing over the "Who leads Astana?" question. They’re treating Contador’s impressive performance as the answer. I assert that’s a little bit simplistic.

5:20 - Cancellara’s come up and got his big collection of leaders’ jerseys, and now I find, to my surprise, that I am hanging around to watch the post-race analysis. Here’s the thing: I really love hearing Phil, Paul, and Bob chat.

5:23 – I’m not the only one who finds the Garmin-Slipstream skinsuits disconcerting, right? The long sleeves are close enough to fleshtone that it looks like the skinsuits are sleeveless.

5:26 – Contador gets the climber’s jersey. Why do I find that funny? I can’t help but imagine Contador feels such a jersey might be beneath him.

5:27 – A shot of Phil and Paul, who evidently have no air conditioning in their booth. They are sweating heavily.

5:28 – Another Cadillac ad. Do you suppose they don’t know that Rock Racing isn’t in the Tour? I mean, it’s not a big stretch to imagine Michael Ball implying to the GM brass that they were, without technically lying. "It’s the biggest race in the world. Of course we’ll be there." (Not to race, but we’ve got awesome roadside observation points staked out.)

5:31 – And there’s Roll and Hummer. Bob looks sad. Except whenever Hummer says something stupid, at which time Bob has a very particular smile. Hummer’s clearly learned to recognize that smile, and when he sees Bob use it, he quickly rephrases or starts over.

5:33 – Bob asserts that Astana was dominant today. Good thing we have post-race commentary analysis to help us catch the details that we would otherwise miss.

5:35 – Frankie asks Cancellara what it was like to put on the yellow jersey. Cancellara affirms that he liked it. Seriously, Frankie, you need a new guy to feed you questions.

5:37 – Hummer wraps up, and you know what? He did a good summary. I am hopeful.

Okay, that’s it. I will not be liveblogging stage 2 or 3, though I may possibly liveblog other people’s liveblogs. Just to be ultra-meta.

And now, I’m off to get to work on the burgers and set things on fire. Happy Independence Day, U.S.A.!


  1. Comment by Angie G | 07.4.2009 | 11:25 am

    I’m with you Fatty. I have successfully gained control of the remote from my husband and the baseball season. We have committed to contests of strength to win the remote every day. I do have the advantage being premenopasal and quite sneeky!! :-)

    Contador just came thru ahead of Martin at the 7.5K mark. Team Astana is so strong. Evans is behind at the mid mark, Sastre yet to come.

    Wiggins just beat Kloden, new leader.

    I’m on the edge of my seat. Phil and Paul are in rare form today too.

    Oooh Sastre 32 sec back. Looks like Conatador will be giving Wiggins a run for his money.

    Canchellara just caught Menchov and just beat Wiggins time by 20 secs. WOW!!!!

    Have a great ride today!! Hope Susan is feeling better. Can’t wait to see when my Win Susan!! message to the Chalkbot gets printed.

  2. Comment by Steve | 07.4.2009 | 11:30 am

    Fatty, it was fun to see you at the top of the Loop yesterday! I shoulda climbed faster so I could have met you before you started down.

    Now…I’m wondering if you can use your award-winning blogging skills to somehow get rid of Craig Hummer. Please.

  3. Comment by aussie kev | 07.4.2009 | 11:35 am

    “fabulous canchellara”

    allez cadel

  4. Comment by tcrdave | 07.4.2009 | 2:24 pm

    Good Job Elden,

    I vote velonews to hire you for live updates. Your commentary is much more interesting.


  5. Comment by Lissee (formerly knwn as Bitter) | 07.4.2009 | 4:18 pm

    *grin* Nice commentary.

    Does anyone know if you can catch the tour anywhere online this year? Or do I have to find a friend that subscribes to Versus?

    I suddenly have a hankering to watch Lance ride this TDF.

  6. Comment by Roo | 07.4.2009 | 4:21 pm

    What is up with all the ED commercials anyway?

  7. Comment by Leslie | 07.4.2009 | 4:50 pm

    I want to know how long the actual coverage of the TdF is on Versus, once you remove all the ads.

    I am emailing Versus to complain about the ED ads. I have four boys (10 and under) who watch the Tour every day with me, and I really really don’t want to have to explain what that stuff is for right now. Can’t Versus get Hammer or something related to cycling to advertise during the Tour?? And PLEASE drop Hummer from the broadcast!!


  8. Comment by jj | 07.4.2009 | 6:15 pm

    “I’m not the only one who finds the Garmin-Slipstream skinsuits disconcerting, right? The long sleeves are close enough to fleshtone that it looks like the skinsuits are sleeveless.”

    Nope. I caught a quick glance of David Millar in the start-house and had to do a double-take as I confusedly thought he’d had Felt tatooed vertically onto his arm. Was relieved to realize that sponsorship hadn’t gone quite that far.

  9. Comment by Tony G. | 07.4.2009 | 6:34 pm

    I was actually contemplating tattooing “Garmin” on my left arm, and “Felt” on my right. Aside from the fact that I ride a Cannondale and like Tom Tom, this seems like the easiest way to get noticed by Garmin-Slipstream. Besides, it’s not likely that I’ll tattoo “Astana” across my chest any time soon.

  10. Comment by neca | 07.4.2009 | 6:52 pm

    I can’t help but feel this whole “Lance v. Alberto” is overhyped. They must be afraid no one in American will watch unless Lance is likely to win.

    The Garmin suits are weird – they look like tank tops.

    Craig and Frankie make me miss Al Trautwig.

    Happy 4th to you & your family!

  11. Comment by Boz | 07.4.2009 | 7:04 pm

    I passed a group on the local bike trail at a pretty good clip. One of them yelled “way to go Lance”. I almost stopped and turned around to explain to them I’m not Lance. Some facts: Lance is lean, I’m fat. Lance has a teal and yellow kit. I was in red and black. Lance rides a Trek. I ride a cheap, Taiwan aluminum and carbon something or other. Lance is wealthy, I’m not. The only thing Lance and I have in common is Lance’s girl friend’s last name is Hansen. My next ex-wife’s last name will be Hansen.

    Plus, Phil and Paul were nowhere to be seem.

  12. Comment by Boz | 07.4.2009 | 7:06 pm

    I meant SEEN. Nowhere to be seen.

  13. Comment by Jamieson | 07.4.2009 | 8:03 pm

    Fatty – I think that the Cadillac ads are there because Saab (GM) had been part of the Verus coverage and had some cycling specific ads that they ran. With the GM bankruptcy and sale of Saab, Cadillac (GM) likely stepped in as a replacement sponsor.

    I hope that they can come up with some cycling specific ads that might not be all about the team that isn’t at the tour. Maybe they can have an ad about the new CTS wagon and how I’d like to have that as my new get to the ride/mountain bike trails car.

  14. Comment by Maile in Florida | 07.4.2009 | 9:05 pm

    “4:52 – …I posit, indeed, that Kloden moved into first because I was making guacamole…Such is the power of the avacado.” In French the word for avocado is identical to the word for lawyer. Coincidence? I think not.

  15. Comment by Maile in Florida | 07.4.2009 | 9:08 pm

    “5:10 – Cadel Evans takes 5th. A solid effort, upon which he could have improved by going faster.” Much as I love Cadel, this comment proved once again why LOL is not mere alphabet soup.

  16. Comment by LuckyLab | 07.4.2009 | 9:09 pm

    I’m waiting to see my WIN SUSAN! Chalkbot message, too. I really think everyone needs to do this. Now. Go. Seriously. Go, now.

  17. Comment by Jeff | 07.4.2009 | 9:14 pm

    Hey Fatty, I just had to laugh when I heard how much Cadillac is donating to some charity, only 1000$ I believe it was (maybe it was 10,000 but still, come on!)… You should teach them a thing or two about raising money for good causes :o)

  18. Comment by LoPhat | 07.4.2009 | 10:47 pm

    First, I find it important to gloat that I now have Versus in HD. But there are some issues with it, that I have described here:

    I am also forced to note that “such is the power of the avocado” is a wonderful term of phrase. Not quite up there with “farcical aquatic ceremony”, but what is…

  19. Comment by bjchild | 07.5.2009 | 12:10 am

    I love the Versus announcers. One of them (after going on and on about Lance) got his tongued twisted when he shifted over to Levi and called him “Levi Armstrong?”

  20. Comment by Big Mike In Oz | 07.5.2009 | 12:29 am

    I’ve always be fascinated by Lance’s hump. My current theory is that it houses an extra lung. Or heart. Or, based on the size of that monstrosity, one of each.

  21. Comment by Born 4 Lycra | 07.5.2009 | 3:01 am

    I’m with you on the Garmin skinsuits I really thought they were painted on particularly on the arms and i was a bit worried about seeing one of the boys standing around without a bike.
    Anyhow got to say our coverage in Oz is not bad – I think whenever you guys went to ads we got aerial shots of Monaco.
    As a proud Anglo Ozzie Frenchman I really hope Tom Boonen is a bit of a failure no physical damage or anything I just think it will be justice when Quickstep review the whole thing and say we should have gone with Davis not the DRUG taking playboy. What an injustice.

  22. Comment by Kathleen@ForgingAhead | 07.5.2009 | 3:36 pm

    You write it. We read it and laugh. Works for me!

  23. Comment by Ruth | 07.5.2009 | 4:03 pm

    WOW! Way to be thorough. Great commentary

  24. Comment by Bobbi | 07.5.2009 | 10:16 pm

    Bob, are you okay? you’ve lost so much weight. Bobbi

  25. Comment by Kt | 07.6.2009 | 12:27 pm

    I have come to the conclusion that Lance owns the Versus TdF coverage.

    It has turned into a love-fest surrounding Lance. Enough, already, Versus. Can we please talk about other things now, like the race, the bikes, the other riders? Pretty please?

    I would not have been able to live-blog (if I blogged, that is) anything because I was on the trainer for half the show. I like to think I beat each and every one of those guys to the line. It helps my ego to think that way.

    Fatty, I like your live-blogging (or not-so-live-blogging as the case may be). Keep it up when you can, don’t worry about us. We’re easily amused.

  26. Comment by Todd | 07.6.2009 | 2:50 pm

    The first time I saw the Garmin-Slipstream skinsuits, I thought to myself, “when did David Millar get the Felt logo tattooed on his bicep?”

  27. Comment by Evil Cyclist | 07.6.2009 | 2:57 pm

    Your best entry ever:
    “I propose that as bikes get lighter and lighter, cyclists should be allowed to mount small cannons on their handlebars, the weight of which would be included in the UCI bike weight.”

    Gives me hope for your otherwise pure soul.

    -Evil C.


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