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I have been writing in this space for a few years now. Visit the archives to get a feel for my style.
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Wednesday, July 21, 2004
I'm watching the OLNTV repeat broadcast of the 16th stage of the Tour de France. The race today was a time-trial up the infamous Alpe D'Huez. He was the fastest person up the mountain, taking 39 minutes and 41 seconds to ride 9.6 miles. He was the only rider to race up the mountain in under forty minutes. He finished a minute faster than the second place rider, Jan Ullrich.
Two remarks: One, he caught up with the rider ahead of him, Ivan Basso. In time-trials, races start two minutes apart. I've seen him catch up with riders ahead of him in relatively flat time trials, but this was up a mountain! Two: In an overhead camera angle, looking down on the road at Lance chugging up the mountain, I saw on the road, in huge white painted letters, the exhortation: "Rip their balls off Lance." He did. Oh, yes, he did.
Tuesday, July 20, 2004
Thirty-five years ago, man first walked on the moon. The President has declared that we would return to the moon, and I am eager to see it happen.
Tonight, in a brief celebration, I watched the episode from the HBO mini-series From the Earth to the Moon featuring the lunar landing (episode six: "Mare Tranquilitatis"). The show focused on the preparation by the crew (Neil Armstrong, Buzz Aldrin, Michael Collins) and the flight operations team. In a series of flashbacks, the episode described the easy-going attitude of Collins (who never set foot on the moon, orbiting instead in the command module), the decision behind Armstrong walking on the moon first before Aldrin (Armstrong was the mission commander), and the strain of working in simulators, preparing for the worst.
The moon landing was the singular human achievement of the 20th century. I hope we try it again in the 21st century.