LE TOUR DE FRANCE 2021

And so it begins

Wow! what a start to Le Tour! The first weekend and a lot more exciting than I was expecting. The first week is usually full of crashes as with 180 odd elite cyclists from the pro world most are trying to be at the front of the peloton to either be in a position to sprint or keep their team’s GC men safe and touches of wheels or handlebars on some narrow roads are inevitable.

First 4 stages in Brittany

However, this year some buffoon of a woman was on the side of the road with a silly cardboard sign which she was aiming at the TV camera for her own personal gain and hit one of the Jumbo Visma riders who was in the first row travelling at around 40 mph and within milliseconds we had 3/4 of the peloton lying in the road. Truly awful and a lot of flesh wounds and painful bruises. It appears the police are now after this woman and will charge her with reckless endangerment.

Doesn’t get more stupid than this!
Tony Martin getting knocked off his bike which resulted in this …..
Day 1 mayhem

With about 10K to the finish the inevitable touch of bars and once again about 130 riders are involved in another crash in which Chris Froome is injured but struggles on to the finish.

Chris Froome in trouble

Chris struggled on to the finish, I hope he can continue. The race continued with a fairly predictable win for World Champion Alaphilippe, a Frenchman zooming off on a finish ideally suited to his skill sets. A well deserved win despite all the carnage to many of the teams. After watching all of this I personally did not feel much like venturing out on the roads, so a personal “rest day” was in order!

Day 2, and another incredible day’s racing with another Frenchman taking the win. This young first timer in the Tour wanted to get a stage win to dedicate it to his Grandfather who was a prominent rider in the early 70’s and although finishing second several times never got the win or the yellow jersey. Well he did it, the grandson that is, took the stage win, and the overall and of course that coveted “Yellow Jersey” Well done Van de Poel junior!

Day 3 should have been a simple Sprint Day but the carnage on the roads continued with poor old Geraint Thomas coming off in what seemed a minor crash but yet another painful shoulder injury which the medics relocated as he lay there and he was off again and caught up with the peloton for a decent but painful result.

That looks painful!

No more problems until 10K from the finish when last year’s long time leader, Roglic gets knocked off his bike

That’s only a minor injury compared to all the ones on his thighs and rear end

But despite all this he made it back and finished overall in 20th position.

Now we are coming into the sprint with yellow jersey leading out his team’s sprinter for another team win and before they cross the line Sagan is nicely positioned in 3rd with the fastest sprinter on his inside and they collide at around 45 mph and both hit the ground.

Enough to put anyone off riding a bicycle

Day 4, yet another pancake road to what is predicted to be a mass sprint for the line, and so it was! With a fantastic and well timed lead out Mark Cavendish increased his number of wins to 31 and is now only 3 behind all time winner, Eddy, on 34.

Back in the Colorado mountains the weather has changed with showers and thunderstorms making any distance riding a non practicable venture, unless you like getting wet! I managed 27.80 after two attempts on Sunday. Nothing yesterday due to the hospital visit, and a dismal 6.30 before I got wet today and since then it has been AWFUL !!!

TONY DOWN

PLANTS & PLANS

Weeding over!
Now to replant

The weeding she is finished! Now clean the car and on with other duties ….. well that was the plan. However, moved the car and the check engine light has gone out …… now what ? Phone the shop and they said OK so saved $484 for the time being. Off again on a beer quest and I’m now restocked.

De-fluffed of Cottonwood

3 days of intensive weeding has left the body a bit tired and the odometer about 75 miles behind schedule. Today I’m planning an earlier start and then a visit to a few plant nurseries and even Walmart, to see what stocks are left and hopefully pick up the sap remover. Need to get the Beemer ready just in case the man from Grand junction follows through and pays me a visit.

Nearly threw this one out and then I noticed it was growing

No time to waste, so on with the kit and let’s get on the road. Not too bad, a bit cooler, a few more clouds, but 27.53 puts me in a position to pass another goal if I take a second ride later this afternoon. Second ride completed and the total for the day 38.61 which takes me through the 900 banner after 3 days off gardening.

Now we approach the start of this year’s Tour De France and the end of the month along with , hopefully, a new plan in the cancer battle.

Starts on Saturday

We had the arrival of long time visitor, Howard, who has been living off the grid down in Arizona but was ordered out by the Rangers as a fire was getting too close and now all the AZ forests are closed. Forced to move my car back under the Cottonwood and then the temps shot down and it rained!

Some serious rain at last

I still have lots to do, plants, Beemer, the quest for miles, fill out my PERA forms, and clean up the workshop again. Beemer battery checks out fully charged, bike reduced to $6400, let’s hope it sells. Ride goes well with another 32.54. Pera forms all printed, I wonder how much this one will be worth this time around, I’ll guess about 3K?

Not a great start to the morning as we are in a showery belt of rain and that could last all day. Some things I can do while the cycling is on hold, fit the NEW Beemer battery which tested fully charged, Complete those PERA forms and give the bed an oil change. Showers and high winds all day! However I got a few miles in regardless and a hard earnt 14.27 is in the box. Now it’s time for 3 weeks of Tour De France!

TONY DOWN

MORE MANIC WEEDING

Let’s see where we left off last time, just got round the bottom corner …….

Turning the corner …..
Thorny bushes that didn’t survive
The last weeds I should be on today!

With a good session yesterday afternoon, and the threat of yet more strong winds it looks like, no riding, more weeding! Two hours on the lower bed and now it looks like I mean business!

Several bushes get yanked out as they didn’t survive the Colorado winter, unlike the roses which thought it was great. I’m thinking another 3 days of weeding and then I’ll be ready for some plants. Afternoon session 1, and finally I’m round the entire perimeter of the bed and ready to tackle some of the display areas while thinking where the new plants will go. The wind is kicking up another storm as more and more clouds build up.

Walkway through the wild strawberries all done
Close of play, 6/21/21
Nearly there!
Last section for today!
You can see where I’ve been

So with all the weeding I’m two days behind schedule for the global ride. I’m covered in bug bites and itching like hell! I did get some more water on the beds last night so the remaining areas could be finished today or I could revert to riding.

Time for some more pics of the garden and those super roses that are wonderful this year.

Roses in full bloom
The bed of many colors

…… and the decision is more weeding! Two areas to weed, so time for kneepads and the bucket and fork. Time to bring on the Solstice dancers

First you need a handy “HENGE”{

So the Solstice Gang finished the weeding and I’m thankful and it does look pretty good. Now to see if I can find some dianthus and maybe a rose or two

Amazing what Solstice Fairys can do





TONY DOWN

JUNE PART 2

Very true and a lot are getting pretty close to me at high speed on my rides!!

Mowing did not get done! Only one person to blame here but I do have a lot of other gardening tasks to do. Still a lot of weeding on the center bed, always slow progress, but a good feeling when its done.

Plenty of planting but not until ALL the ground is ready. Thinking a lot more roses, and my old reliable dianthus but perennial and not the annuals which can easily slip in if not noticed!!

Good job the “Bidens” and NO embarrassment . Loved the NEW Red Arrows display

Today, Wednesday’s plan, some more weeding and then a 20 miler to cross the 800 mark. Well that’s the plan we will see how it goes. My thermometer says 105F ! Weeding underway and the top level is finished in Round 1 . The ride goes well in very warm conditions and variable winds that were difficult to deal with on the outbound run but good for the high speed return where 23.31 took me up to 803.20 for the year.

With 800 behind me and into the second half of the month I am setting myself an ambitious target of 25 miles a day with 14 days to go. There are a couple of days I know where the target will not be met with that annoying car sensor that they will need for 3 hours, 2 of them being to cool down before they can work on it and as nothing else has been forthcoming from the hospital my meeting with Dr Cathcart on 6/28 which still worries the crap out of me as we keep pushing things back.

So with gardening and cycling the only things left in my lonely, miserable existence I will fight on through the current heat and loveless society that I live in for the last few months. Did not envisage the end being like this as I’m now not allowed to have my bedroom door open as its “stinky” in there! Just how cruel and unkind can you be? and NEVER a word of endearment.

A ride which keeps me away for a couple of hours and nets 23.35 to start the day. Now just need to push that out to 30+ and then some weeding and a dig over of MY Memorial Rose Garden, which unlike me should be back year after year!

Part 2 of the ride completed as conditions started going downhill with increasing winds and ominous skies. When I stopped for a drink I noticed the black skies were coming backwards towards the town from a strong upper Easterly even though where I was the wind was Westerly ! Finished the day on 34.12

34.12 not bad!

Another Friday, not sure what today holds, my back is very sore, maybe from the cycling or maybe the body is saying take a day off! I could do some more weeding and I could clean the car which is covered in the annoying cottonwood fluff! A ride to the Post Office for an ebay sale, and they have some of the special padded envelopes that are as rare as the proverbial so I grab some of those and the ride gets extended to 15.31

The plan now changes to cleaning the JAG and then topping off the mileage with another 12 or so. The Cottonwood fluff gets removed from all the places it shouldn’t and the car moved for a wipe over but then it comes on to rain! I end up moving the car away from the sap and fluff and a bit later it pours down with lightning and thunder to boot!

Another ebay sale forces me out to get it in the post for midday as they close early of Saturdays. Another 11.58 in the bag and now a bit of gardening and remove some tree branches and then get some “sap remover” to clean the car! Tree branches cleaned up, sawn and area swept, and then the weather becomes stormy with rain in the wind, STORM WARNINGS and of course exceedingly WINDY! I give up!!

Here we are on Sunday morning, Father’s Day, and after the failures of hitting yesterday’s target a bit behind in my global travels but I’ll get some but that wind is still with me which is so annoying. First up some strimming up the side alleyway which takes a bit over the hour but its done again for another couple of weeks and now some more weeding. Weeding goes on for the rest of the afternoon as the wind builds up. No ride so I’m about 40 miles behind my plan!

Monday morning and something has bitten me just below my right eye, which of course has swollen up making things very difficult to see! Some allergy pills and a little better. Phone call about the Beemer which sounds a bit more promising.

Or in my case by day after a sting in the eye!

TONY DOWN

BRING ON THE MOWER!

The mower got sent off for a service and today it gets it’s first outing on what used to be the lawn. After the ravages of winter and snow plows destroying the frontage initial shortening of the grass is done with the strimmer. Today it’s mowing time!

What a gorgeous rose!

Meanwhile an early photo of a superb rose, nicely opening and inside petals still tight as can be …… delightful! This morning just a shorty ride to top off the task and then back to weeding and clear up and mowing if I’m feeling on top of it. Temps up to 99F , or so it says!

Pool bed gets it’s makeover

Pools up and running and all weeding complete in this sector

Cycling wise a bit late getting out there but after only 1/2 mile I knew Plan A to the lakes and back was not going to work as it was a nasty strong headwind to kick off with! Turn round and blunder around in town for 16.38 and decide enough is enough for today and back to more weeding.

Rounding the corner to the lower level

Time for a look at what I’ve done and what’s still to come in the front bed jungle

A lot of weeding and pruning and I have the scars to prove it!

Weeded roses along the “Scuffy Bed” looking good
A lot of fruit on the Maple
Producing a handful of ripe toms a day
A whole load of weeding here!
and a load more to come

A bicycle race happening here in Dolores this morning and they have been coming past the house for over 90 minutes on their way to Norwood which is about 30 miles past Telluride. I’m told they started in Cortez and its Stage 3 of a multi stage event. They must have set start times as the roads are not closed

Too far for me !

Well I did get out there and completed 24.20 for the morning run in the hope of making a decent 30 for the day with a bit of effort later on. Might go for a little weeding shortly but that might easily go the other way as its so warm. Chaos this morning with no water as they were trenching down at the school and as you would expect they hit the mains water pipe for the town! Phase 2 of the riding gets underway and the ever present wind is not too bad and I rack up 37.41 for the day so all my targets have been met.

Good enough with another 30+ for the day



TONY DOWN

AND THE WINNER IS ?

Much loved Alex

After yesterday’s visit to the Durango Hospital for a repeat of the blood work it looks like depression is the clear winner as my forecast life expectancy is grim! I know the likes of Alex Trebek fought his cancer bravely and said he was not afraid of death but that is not my case, I’m lonely and terrified!

The bloody “Check Engine Light” came on again as soon as I started the car at the hospital. Couldn’t hear or see anything untoward but it does drive me mad so yet another visit to the car shop and put it on a diagnostic machine. I seem to remember the dealership said they changed a Co2 sensor, what ever that does.

Where does it go ?

The sooner (at least a week) they get this blood work complete then I might get some satisfaction from the Doctors and some idea of what life span I have left.

Tuesday 8 June, and somewhat better after some comforting calls and a 10 mile ride followed by weeding. Two sales on ebay to brighten things up and an appointment for this annoying check engine light.

Today, Wednesday, should be much of the same before the next batch of howling winds arrive. Slow ride round town and another 17.16 in the pot which I hope to drag out to 25 by close of play. Amazing how quickly roses grow and due to weather and feeling so weak during March the roses were untouched but are now back in full flow. A major attack was launched and I survived but well bloodied by new thorns! A lot more watering everywhere and a lot gets done but still more to come. The day finishes on 24.20 and takes me over the 650 line, would like to be through 700 by Sunday.

Today the weather is more strong winds, the trip to Durango for the diagnostics (JAG) then a 1445 diagnostic (ME) on the leaking Soma thing with Doctor Madison in Cortez. Another no ride day

Day goes pretty much to plan and the diagnostic says another component or sensor required in the exhaust/emissions dept for the cost of $484, fitted. Over to the Durango hospital and hand in my chemo bag and pump. Home again for lunch and then Doctor Madison for 1445.

We discuss all things surgical and what is going on down there. Seems that the tumor that the Denver surgeon said had shrunk by 2/3 after the first 8 sessions of chemo has now gathered strength again and after the pause in various chemo plans is now growing happily while the ones in the liver are quiet. The leakage from this area comes as water, above and below the tumor, and the build up of volume causes the pain which was then blowing the patch and everything was getting wet along with anal leaks of the water build up.

Saturday morning, supposedly a bit of a heatwave/global warming/jetstream in the wrong place/storms/whatever? Anyway temps will be in the low 90’sF this morning as I try to break the 700 banner after a good 36.27 miles yesterday.

25,42 adds to the total which is now 711.95 and a free day to get some more if the wind behaves. Hair still falling out which worries me and some energy returning if I work in small doses which has been the case. A good session of weeding wraps up the week.

TONY DOWN

BUILDING A DOG

The puppy “SASHA” on arrival

Meanwhile the self assembly puppy which arrived somewhere in the 8 weeks old area has now made it through week 11 and in normal circumstances would have been ready for a new home at around week 12. However the mother did not want to feed them and they were fostered. Apparently this model wasn’t keen on feeding but all that has changed and food is gone in a flash!

We are not sure who the majority share holder is in the genes department but it seems that can be discovered by ancestry .com

Going back to the owner’s manual and the building instruction booklet we have laid out the pieces as below

All the pieces ready for assembly

Taking a lot of care we followed the instructions as per the pictures but it looks like there was a page missing as this is what we have

Well customer service says that what we ordered

TONY DOWN

BUILDING DEPRESSION

More Weather Alerts, this time a storm warnings, already past us and over Durango with rain and hail and fortunately moving East so unless there is a major turn round in the World’s rotation we should be safe.

Sat around waiting to see if the weather would improve and it rained! Now sitting around waiting for it to dry out!

Time to review self and current situation. Weight up to 168-70 from 154, more energy but not full on power. No more recent teeth falling out, hair now falling out at an alarming rate! Sleeping better. Hernia problem improved when lower patch falls off. Still plenty of depression caused by all of the above and other factors as well.

Waited for the wet roads to dry and then the wind was back again so Monday’s ride became a rest day! So here we are in month 6 on 1st June. Target another 400 for the month and hope the weather settles down.

First ride of the month tops out at 34.12 and the lawn gets mowed so a reasonable day all in all. New Sidi kit a good fit!

Day 2 of the month and only 16.15 this morning but then into full sales mode on TY bits followed by afternoon weeding. Energy appears to be on the rise!

Should be a nice warm day but busy again sorting the Safari as we have a renter! Time to de-winterize the water system, get all my clothes out of the closets and reconnect the hot water tank. Zoom meeting at 1430 with Dr Cathcart and find out about this special blood check I had to do. Nobody seems to know what happened to the blood or what the results were? Zoom canceled and now an early morning phone call on Monday. It looks like we are losing track of what’s going on!

Full day off yesterday sorting out Safari and a LOT of weeding. Still a lot more to come and maybe get the pool and waterfall up and running on Sunday. want to be up in the 600’s by the end of the week.

Good start to the day with 25.38, into town for some medication and a new set of knee pads as the elastic has gone in the current set and they keep falling down. All complete in town and out to finish up hitting 34.64 for the day and closing in on the 600 banner!

Saturday and her ladyship wants to go to the Montezuma with talk of pool even. Not having had the cue out of it’s case since March 2020 I declined the chance to be first out! Need some practice first. Morning ride knocked up 27.07 with some very windy stretches and now apparently I’m not welcome while she is having lunch with Carol ….. just how unpleasant can some people be ? Never mind you will have all the time to yourself when I’m DEAD which would seem not that far away by my calculations. You might remember I was given 6 months to live without treatment, well 3 months of the 6 has slipped by and the hospital cocked up the blood work 2 weeks ago so by my reckoning I have 2.5 months left !! Can’t say that I really give a shit what will happen as I’ve had enough of all of it and leading a solitary existence until the final moments, which are not far off, and will come as a blessing in a loveless life. Now asking the old question ” Death where is thy sting? “

TONY DOWN

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