Mont Saywhat?

What are YOU on?

Hey, this guy looks familiar. …

I needed a rest day after Mont Ventoux, having thrown my back out while picking my jaw up off the floor.

The smart money was saying that Zoom-Zoom Froome would not win the stage, but would take time on his rivals for The Big Shirt. Uh huh. Not even Nairo Quintana was buying that one, and he was riding alongside the yellow jersey. For a while, anyway.

Now Zoom-Zoom has more than four minutes on everyone with a week left to race and even the dumb money is going, “Mmm hmm.” For his part, Zoom-Zoom says there is no comparison to be made between him and Ol’ Whatsisface. You remember. That guy.

“I’m not cheating. End of story,” says Zoom-Zoom.

Well, actually, no, it’s not the end of the story, Zoom-Zoom old scout. These tales take a while to spin, if recent history is any guide, and this big yellow book is liable to remain open for a spell. Sorry ’bout that.

See, the last few tenants left the maillot jaune in an awful state and we’re still trying to get the damage deposit back.

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21 Responses to “Mont Saywhat?”

  1. Sharon Says:

    I still love that cartoon Patrick – – classic. Unfortunately haven’t had much time to watch or keep up with le tour this year.

    This hasn’t been one of the best years in memory. First the bike accident in January and now a reorg at work that will surely leave me without a desk or chair within two weeks unless I am willing to move far away. I will get a sev package, a little early pension in a couple of years and hubby has a good job, so not so bad off as far as money. But trying to figure out what to do with no job. Should I try to start over with a new career, work part-time or do nothing but fun on a budget. I’ve worked since I was 16 and even during summers and college so feels really strange. Not sure how it will all work out – -but likely to have lots of free time to ride very soon.

    • Patrick O'Grady Says:

      Well, damn, Sharon, that sounds like a shock to the system. I’ve always joked that I’m on the Work Unto Death program (which is actually not that funny, when you think about it). But lately, I confess I’ve been thinking it might be nice to work a bit less and play a bit more. Money, of course, is the stumbling block.

      If you’re OK for now, and the hubster doesn’t object, I’d say take a bit of a break and catch up on your fun. You can always look for work in a casual fashion and hope you don’t find it too soon.

      Before you know it fall will be here, and is there a better time to ride the bike? I can’t think of one.

    • Patrick O'Brien Says:

      Bummer Sharon. Maybe it’s an opportunity to live on what you expect from your retirement income and see how it works out. We lived on our retirement income for 2 years before the decision to retire came to make sure it was enough, including for when you get that dreaded statement from the dentist, “you need two crowns.”

    • sharon Says:

      Tks for the support guys. I think we are ok for money as we have no debt, no house pmt, etc and retirement funds saved. But I’m only 52 and everyone I know works. I am sure I will find there are others my age who don’t work, but they are mostly the shopper/country club set and don’t think I would enjoy their company. Just going to have to figure out if I will be comfortable having all this free time while hubby and friends work. Maybe will find something part-time that will be fulfilling or maybe I’ll get used to it. I do love the fall bike rides for sure. It’s winter that worries me more.

    • khal spencer Says:

      I know people who retired at sixty and hit the wall emotionally–they suddenly had no wind in their sails. I guess you have to ask where you are on the treadmill of life before you decide whether to be free as a bird, do volunteer work, or find another occupation.

      Like Patrick, I turn sixty clicks next year. Not ready to retire as Mr. Mortgage is still with us, along with a Ph.D. student and post-doc. Sometime around 62 (or sooner, if I keep pissing off Management) I’ll have to have a mid-to-late life crisis and decide what to do next. Sheesh. Like Joni Mitchell said,

      “…And the seasons they go round and round
      And the painted ponies go up and down
      We’re captive on the carousel of time
      We can’t return we can only look
      Behind from where we came
      And go round and round and round
      In the circle game”

      I’m starting to feel those circles a little bit more these days.

      • Patrick O'Brien Says:

        I went at 55 and after nine years have never regretted it. But, as you say Khal, some folks just aren’t ready. Some people love their work. We have so many different interests that we stay busy every day. We do some volunteer work for the Forest Service every year helping a a historic preservationist on projects in our area. Plus this damn house exacts its pint of blood periodically. So, Sharon, what do you love to do?

      • khal spencer Says:

        One of my techs went at sixty and got despondent, in spite of all his plans. He couldn’t deal with the lack of the workplace (he worked here over thirty years). But he retired just as the laboratory went into that 2004-5 shutdown under Director Nanos and I couldn’t hire him back.

        My grandfather, who worked in a Chevy plant in Buffalo, worked past retirement age in the sixties and back then, he could be forced into retirement. He too was despondent, and found a job pumping gas.

        I know a lot of people who are absolutely thrilled to be off of the treadmill. I guess its something you have to analyze and then do it. My old mentor at LANL stayed just long enough to be satisfied that I wouldn’t blow myself up in the laboratory, and then he took the gold watch and moved east to be near his son and son’s family. He never looked back. My U of Hawaii mentor did the same–got out at sixty and planned on moving to Montana to settle at the family ranch and rebuild three WWII era Jeeps. Unfortunately, the Grim Reaper got him before he got to Montana. Sad.

      • Sharon Says:

        I love working, but also love live music, cycling, kayaking, hiking, traveling, cooking, gardening, reading. I think I will miss working and the accomplishment aspect, but I’ve got plenty of things to look forward to – – except for my friends who can’t join me because they are working. I think that may be the thing that will be key for me is to find people who like to do some of the things I like to do but who are not working.

    • Patrick O'Grady Says:

      My old man retired at age 54 after 30 years in the Air Force and promptly drank himself to death. Oh, he got a real-estate license like all the other colonels, but then they spent their days at the O Club slamming martinis and talking shit to each other instead of to house-hunters.

      Contrast Dad with our neighbor Marv’, who quit a lot of jobs but never retired. He was busy as a one-armed paperhanger doing whatever pleased him — playing in two or three bands, teaching guitar, playing for the dying at hospice, working wood, hitting the thrift stores, talking your ear off, you name it — until about two weeks before he died in his 80s.

      As K notes, I’m 59 going on 60, and frankly I would not miss having to slobber on cue like Pavlov’s dog. I have three part-time jobs with enough variety to keep me from going insane — writing, editing, cartooning — but I’d like to spend more time riding the bike and less time on deadline. Ride to places and then write about it. Snap a few pix. Draw a ‘toon now and then. Play with technology for fun instead of profit.

      Alas, I have no official pension, being a free-lancer (though we do have the usual savings mechanisms). So I’ll have to keep doing something to keep the cash coming in. The trick is to do more of the fun stuff and less of the exasperating bits, though the latter pays better.

      • Patrick O'Brien Says:

        I had a similar experience Patrick. My Dad retired at 55 from being a machinist and supervisor. He promptly fell into the bottle, a constant problem during his life. But, after 6 months, he got a job as a greens keeper at the local country club and never looked back. Said he loved working outside with guys half his age, and he kept up with them even though they tested him. First time I saw him six months after he took the job, he was buffed, tan, and happy. Kept at it for 17 years, and got a regional rep as the go to guy for cutting fairways and rough. He loved it. There is a lesson there I guess.

  2. chri5p Says:

    Reading Brailsford’s spray at the media this morning and I was kind of impressed with that until a) I realised that yes, I had heard it all before in years past and b) I squinted at his pic a bit and he started to look like Bjarne Riis. Make what you will of that. It’s a shame because watching the GC guy stick it to le grimpeurs in the mountains was always one of my favourite things about Le Beeg Shew.

    • Patrick O'Grady Says:

      Yeah, I miss being able to enjoy the performances. I still get caught up in the moment — and then I think, “Hey, wait a minute here. …” It’s sad, but it’s gonna have to be guilty until proven innocent for a while. Shit, the dope cops just popped the Tour of Turkey winner, f’chrissakes.

  3. John Says:

    When I tell non-cycling acquaintances of the ball sport fan variety that I follow bicycle racing, the universal reply for the last couple years has been, “Ah, they’re all on drugs!”.

    I usually offer all the usual explanations/excuses and what not, but now I’m not sure I even believe those stories anymore. And after yesterday’s “performance” on the Bald, Windy Mountain, I’m completely at a loss.

    Any suggestions?

    (Hmmm. “Bald, Windy Mountain”….that reminds me, it’s taco night.)

  4. Khal Spencer Says:

    I guess we had the same thought about revisiting that cartoon after Ventoux, eh?

  5. John Says:

    Froome makes Armstrong look subtle.

    • Patrick O'Brien Says:

      Armstrong was a natural with the press. It is hard to do, but he picked up the skill somewhere. Slicker than my ass after a prostate exam. Damn doc, can’t you give me more than one kleenex to wipe this shit off? I had to brake hard coming home after the appointment and would have slid off the truck seat if it hadn’t been for the seat belt.

  6. Steve O Says:

    Can someone explain the shirtless guy with the russet potato? He’s definitely on something.

  7. Patrick O'Brien Says:

    Congratulations, you won the Tour de France. You can pick up your final jersey, prize money, trophy, and stuffed lion one year from now after all drug tests are complete, we re-test every sample from your entire career, and you pass the polygraph examination.

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