Thursday, July 7, 2011

l’Etape du Tour: Final Preparations

This is the fourth in a weekly series by guest blogger, Michael Lowe, leading up to his Étape Du Tour ride on July 11th:

I’m all packed up and ready to go. My bike is in its box. I have my fingers crossed that Delta (i) accepts it without any hassle, (ii) gets it to Paris without a hitch, and (iii) it arrives in one piece – or at least not broken, since I already took it apart to get it into the box.

I’m about as excited as I can be. I drove back from Bristol to my main home in Louisville, just around the corner from Jeff and Kathy – who operate this great site. I’m supposed to get a good night’s sleep since it’s hard to sleep on the plane, but there’s too much adrenaline pumping through my system!

I’d love to take a ride, just to get tired so I can sleep, but I needed to get the bike securely in the box in advance of tonight. I last rode on Tuesday evening and won’t ride again until Saturday or maybe Sunday. Not the best of last minute preparation, but it will have to do!

There is one thing I have not detailed, and that’s the cameras I will use on the ride. I usually carry a small Canon Elph in my jersey pocket. I can pull it out, turn it on, point and shoot, all with one hand, while riding my bike. I use the photos to create mini-travelogues and post them on Facebook for my family and close friends to see where I’ve been riding. I will be carrying it in my jersey pocket during l’Etape and taking lots of still shots.

I thought about using a “Helmet Cam”. So I ordered a Contour HD video camera that attached to my helmet. It had a 140 degree fixed wide angle lens and filmed at 720 dpi (HD). I was hoping to turn it on at the start, film the beginning of l’Etape, and then record as much of the ride as I could. However, after the initial excitement of its arrival and several training rides, I learned that without anti-vibration the picture quality was just not acceptable. So then it started to look like one of those pieces of equipment that looks good in a catalogue (think “collapsible LED backpacking lamp”) but do you really need it … and the weight … and … so I packed it up and sent it back. My little Elph will need to do the job!

All right. Time to sleep! (If I can.)

Michael Lowe splits his time between Louisville, KY (his home) and Bristol, VA (his workplace). He's an avid cyclist, and also enjoys writing, photography, gardening, travel and hiking. He's hiked portions of the AT inside GSMNP, but completing a thru hike of the entire AT remains on his bucket list. His notes on l'Etape were written as a friend in support of this site, and we'd like to say thanks by pointing out that if you're a fan of adventure fantasy, we recommend Michael's books Wizardmont and Bryunzet, the first two parts of his Promise of the Stones series. If you're a fan of history, check out Charlotte's Story, the true story of how Michael's mother survived as a young girl in Berlin, Germany between 1943 and 1951.


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