I am one of President George W. Bush's gardeners. Mr. George likes to talk to me.

Friday, July 09, 2004

Crashes and More Crashes

These are difficult conditions. The combination of poor roads, rainy weather, and rider fatigue is causing many riders to go down hard. In yesterday's race alone, I fell on 37 separate occasions. To make matters worse, many of the riders who toppled over were shouting at me and using language that would make our Vice President indignant. One rider clopped me over the head with a water bottle and a rider from Cofidis poured Power Gel into my shorts. Because I value the nobility of high sportsmanship, such behavior put me in a foul mood.

The worst crash of the day didn't involve other riders. I had returned to the team car to retrieve water bottles for Mr. Lance and company. Mr. Johan, the team manager, stuffed bottles into my jersey and filled my handlebar basket with food packets. I was sprinting into the rain to catch up to the peleton, when a 90-degree turn caught me off guard. I didn't even try to make the turn. Instead, I rode straight into the hay bales and covered my face with my arms. The impact caused me to tumble through the air and into the window of a building labeled "Gendarme." More shouting ensued. I ignored the accusations and hurried to pick up the bottles, food packets, my copy of Mrs. Dalloway, and allen wrenches, which lay strewn on the ground like yard sale debris. Mr. Lance sent a couple riders back to help me rejoin the team. After such an emotional day, I slept well in my tent.

Thanks for reading.


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