I'm in Belgrade, Serbia now

I am lying on a bed in a hotel room Belgrade, Serbia as I write this.

Wizz air took me from Charleroi (Brussel South) Airport to Nikola Tesla Airport in Belgrade. Airbus A320 with pink painting on it.

The Hotel is OK for the price. It has free Wifi. It is very close to the hospital I am going to be treated at.

In Japanese: 続きをどうぞ [I'm in Belgrade, Serbia now]の続きを読む
  1. 2013/11/19(火) 00:53:19|
  2. はじめに
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TdF Diary V

Calvi, ... sigh. What a mess! After stage 2, I came down to Calvi.

Oh by the way I saw a well-tanned good-looking guy climbing on his shiny bike up Col de Vizzavona who looked just like Mario Cipollini and the bike had also the name Cipollini on it. Everybody who was a fan of cycling sport was taken aback and looked arround to seek nods among the crowds that he was not dreaming (me too). We, spectators, collectively decided that it was not a lookalike.

It was Mario silently and subtlely plugging his bike brand. Yeah, Italy is close and he might as well have a vacation villa on the island. Who knows?

I did not know the history of Corsica but decided before ciming here that like Alsace area in France this island belonged to another country before being converted to France as the names of towns and villages and family names of the locals do not conform to French conventions.

I did not know, however, that there was a (were?) political movement to get independence from France. This island economy seems to be doing well presumably owing to its tourism industry. Just like in the Pyrenees, we saw grafitis in the parcours showing the name, in initials, of this political group. They were done poorly, though. White spray cans were used but with no style. On the other hand, those graphitis done in the Pyrenees have difinitely finesse or elegance.

DVB-T television did not work in the mountains. I only had a radio scanner. It was s hot day.

I checked out the camping site in Calvi 08:00 that Ichecked in 20:00 the previous evening (11€). I shopped for the day. Casino (supermarket) at 08:30 as soon as they opened. By the time I arrived the top of the last climb of the day, it was arround 09:00. There were people already there. It is only 10 to 15 minutes from the center of the town. I settled and started setting up the flags. Mixed the yellow color into the base white paint and drew "Jan" on the road.

There were not so much competition; I easily single-handedly conquered the hill.

The problem was the exit. At the foot of the hill, the Gendarmerie directed the traffic to go on a detour. Everyone followed and I came back to a different point in Calvi where we were stopped by them again. I was caged in. If I wanted to drive to Bastia, I would have done extra 30km detour or more. Waste of time and money. So I stayed until cose to 20:00. The Gendarmerie said it would be closed till 20:00 but they abandoned the post by 19:45.

In Japanese:
数日全くインターネットが使えない状況でした。マクドナルドは無いし、山の上では携帯電話さえ繋がらない。今はレンヌ近くの 35520 La Meziereという街のマクドナルドでネットに繋がりました。これからサンマロ方向へ向かいます。現地時間日曜日正午
  1. 2013/07/08(月) 19:03:59|
  2. はじめに
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TdF Diary part IV

I had a bit of time to finally experiment with the solar panel at the camping la Matonara (which by the way did not impress me with their facilities but cost reasonablely enough). The verdict: it does not impress me with its performance at all.

Now I'm writing this in the morning on the roadside just 1.5km down Col de !!! It is sunny today but it does not have enough juice to charge my iPhone while I write this. Maybe I wasted my money.

The Grand Départ, not so special anyway, was OK. After that everybody moved to the big roundabout area where the peloton was to come back before leaving for Bastia.

After that I left for a camping site near Vivario, near Col de Vizzabona. 11 € for one night. Checked out 07:30. It is Sunday and people showed up here. Local peeps?

I was expecting (or not expection) those candy vending people here on this island. There they were! Amazing! I saw these (I think the same folks) evey year as far as I can remember. I'll try to photo them so you can see.

The spot I stayed for Stage 2 was just 1 or 1.5 km from the summit of Vizzavona and there were many people. I put up the flags and painted. Not much since the traffic, 12:15 cut off time for incoming cars, settled just before the passage of the publicity caravan.

There were Canadians and Norwegians besides French peeps. Canadian couples were from Quebec, French speaking part. I did the usual thing. I got a bottle of juice in exchange for my service. "David Veilleux" on the road.

"EDDIE" for a bottle of mineral water ( Eduard Boasson Hagen).

Today I got a T-shirt from Carrefour pre-caravan vans. AT-shirt with red polka dots and 100th edition of TdF logo. Nice!

Sprinters were difinitely not having their day. After the peloton passed, I saw groupettos in various tastes. André Greipel out of the saddle with the jersey flying open. Marcel Kittel in yellow sweating like a horse or waterfall led by his teammates. Mark Cavendish like a treasured sheep literally surrounded (not led!) by many of his sheepherders (teammates). Since Cav is shorter than any other QuickStep riders, he just looked caged in like an animal.

Everybody including Kittel himself knew that the German would retain the yellow for one day. I believe Kittel slept in it the previous night.

Drove 110 km to a camping site (la dolce vita!) in Calvi. Used costly roaming service to get online. Surprise! Who won the stage? Jan Bakelants!! Good! I brought yellow color for this occasion.
  1. 2013/07/03(水) 02:35:27|
  2. はじめに
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TdF Diary part III

Many (if not all) riders and staff members who belong to or once belonged to the team(s) I suppot or supported recognize me because I follow(ed) them so frequently. I did not expected this when I started out in 2004. The first race I went to was Rund um Köln. I've come a long way.

If by any wild chance, I won a lottery and got enough money to do so, I would spend it on buying a cycling team. I wish. I live only once.
  1. 2013/07/03(水) 02:35:15|
  2. はじめに
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TdF Diary part II

Thursday morning, before I slept I found Merida-Lampre's hotel and Cannondale/Saxo-Tinkoff's hotel by chance. So after the check-in I took my bike and revisited the latter. It was the other side of the road from the harbour empty yard where the presentation would later take place.

At the hotel where Saxo-Tinkoff was staying I saw Japanese media people and greeted. I asked and they told me BMC's hotel was nearby and RadioShack-Leopard's hotel was on the other side of the small harbour. So I went and found the hotel. "Costa Salina" housed Belkin, Europecar and RSLT. OK I got what I needed to know. Came back to la Matonara and took a shower and changed. I packed a bit of food/drink, camera and flags and walked to the harbour. I was the first one to squat behind the barrier. It was 12:20.

Last year I showed up at place de Lambert in Liége arround 7:00. I began squatting arround 7:30?? There was a man before me but this man abandoned after a while. And I stayed. This makes me the first squatter for two years in a row! I am not making this up. Let's see what I can do in 2014 in Yorkshire.

I saw TP (Team Presentation) in Brest, Rotterdam, Liége and Porto-Vecchio. I liked the one in Rotterdam and Liége.

I liked the former because it was multilingual although French was missing. The moderators spoke in Dutch, English and Italian.

I liked the latter as the live band accompanied the show although English was missing. The band's female vocalist was from Sicily and helped the moderators communicate with Vincenzo Nibali. So French and Italian were used.

OK I am not sure if I can make it to Yorkshire next year but I am expecting English will be the main language.

If the Grand Depart were held in Luxembourg, a minimum of four language would be used. English, French, German and Luxembourgish. These are minimum. Additionally others could be available like Portuguese or Italian as many people working in the media have various ethnic backgrounds.

This year's show was not bad but not so memorable. Oh by the way, Nicolas Roche was never formally introduced to the public. He is well-know in France and his name was indeed referred on the stage. He is the only one who did not get properly introduced. The roster the MC had got Nicki Sørensen's name on it instead of Roche.

No McDonald's in sight. No free wifi. I had to turn on the expensive roaming option on to get to the net.

Finally Trek announced that it had acquired the license from Leopard SA. It was about the time. Next year, the team will be Trek-(sub-sponsor, if any). There are rumors that staff (and riders) who are strongly linked to JB will be purged. I just hope everybody I like stays.

Friday morning I woke up a bit late. I needed a good sleep. It had been a while since I last slept on my back. I got up arround 9:00 and got a shower. I had to get to the hotel and get the autograph from Jan Bakelants.

The hotel's parking, where people stalked on riders, was not so crowded. In fact, almost deserted. Not so many people came all the way to Corsica after all. I don't know this had been expected by ASO or the tourism office of the island. Norwegians, New zealanders (or Australians) are easy to spot as always. The former wear that Jerseys or shirts with Norwegian flag or letters proudly. The latter have flags and kangaroo figures or kiwi figures (flightless birds). And recent years Czechs have been ubiquitous. They now enjoy their place in cycling sport.

Cycling sport is not too nationalistic. That is what I like about it. A team consisting of multinational riders and staff members aiming the one goal. This is beautiful.
  1. 2013/07/03(水) 02:35:05|
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