UPDATE: See full photo-gallery of Perlacer Forst here

For those of you who don’t sprechen sie duetsch (or l√∞ fran√flais …. or el espanól), the title of this post is commending Lance Armstrong’s outstanding final time trial victory earlier today, which will pave the way for him to ride into Paris tomorrow to claim his 7th consecutive Tour de France win. Helluva feat, and an excellent performance today. The time trial was great to watch, as Lance was down to Iban Basso, who has been in 2nd overall in the race for a couple weeks, at the first time check, but proceeded to blow by everyone, winning the stage and beating local hero (here in Germany, that is) Jan Ullrich by 23 seconds. It was a heartbreaking performance for Michael Rasmussen, who has been riding in 3rd place overall for some time now. Going into the stage, he had 2:12 on Ullrich in 4th, and as Ullrich is a former time trial world champion, Rasmussen was going to have to have a perfect ride to keep that gap open over the 55km time trial to stay on the podium. He had anything but a perfect ride, though, experiencing 2 crashes and 4 bike changes….. he slipped to 7th overall in the race, and Ullrich jumped into 3rd overall.

In the time trial, there were 4 Americans in the top 8, and there will be 3 Americans in the top 10 overall after tomorrow’s (mostly ceremonial) stage ending in Paris. It will be interesting to see what happens in the coming years with Lance retiring. Not that cycling is by any means popular in the US, but at least with Lance’s fame, people were aware when the Tour was going on, and whenever Lance took the lead. Not to mention, it’s on OLN 23 hours a day, and a lot this year on Discovery Channel/TLC due to Discovery Channel taking over sponsorship from USPS for Lance’s team. But I don’t think the other 3 or 4 big Americans in the race, George Hincappie, Bobby Julich, and Floyd Landis, have what it takes to be the “next Lance”, and will therefore probably never become household names in the US. Tyler Hamilton might have had that opportunity, and he got a following during and after last year’s tour because he came off as a completely humble and all around “good guy”, but he got busted for doping, so he’s 1) out of cycling for a couple years, and 2) out of the running for ever being an iconic figure in American sports.

One name to look out for in the next couple years, though, is Tom Danielson. He is on Discovery (wasn’t at the Tour this year from an injury at the Giro de Italia) and Lance has personally tapped him to be his predecessor – you may have caught an hour show on Discovery Channel last month profiling him. This would be especially cool if he is the next big thing because his wife, Kristin, happens to be one of Alisha’s teammates on Ford-Basis Cycling! In fact, when Alisha was racing in Minnesota in June, Tom had some time off to recover from surgery, and he came and stayed with her team for a week. So if you’re counting, that means Alisha is now just 1 degree of seperation from knowing Lance (Alisha -> Tom -> Lance), so that gives me 2 degrees of seperation (Joe -> Alisha -> Tom -> Lance), and if you know me or Alisha, your are also just 2 degrees of seperation to being a personal friend with Lance! At this rate, Alisha figures she’ll be buds with Lance, hanging out with him at Sheryl Crow’s house by this time next year. 😉

Anywhooo, I started this post with the intention of describing some of my own recent cycling adventures, albiet they are somewhat less exciting than winning the Tour de France. But I did go on a nice ride today through Perlacher Forst (yeah, there’s no “e” on purpose), a very nice, large city/state/national? forest right on the southern edge of Munich. It is much like Umstead Park in Raleigh, but much bigger I think, with dozens (100+?) miles of trails. Actually, the trails are set up all in straight lines in a grid, which I found a bit unusul. The city of Munich itself is far from utilizing a grid/block system for its own streets, but this big forest is perfectly divided into 500m blocks….. oh well. Most of the trails are dirt/cinder/small rock, but there are several bigger asphalt trails that criss-cross the forest suitable for my road bike.

My first surprise of the day came after I was a couple miles into the forest, and had just gone under an S-bahn line that goes through the middle of the park. I rode right into a little canteen on the side of the trail, that was only accessible via bike. There were lots of bikes leaning on the building and on posts, and a small bar and ice cream stand. Then there were several bar tables set up with groups of old men playing poker, and other people standing around sharing a coke or bier. All in all, it was quite charming, especially with the knowledge that everyone there had arrived on bike.

So I stopped there for a minute, but then kept heading south. I rode for another couple miles, and the trail turned into a small residential road, then I ran into a bier-garten (imagine that!). This was another impressively large garten, but it didn’t seem to busy today. I walked around to take a picture or two, but didn’t partake in any drinks just yet.

I kept going towards the south, and in a while was in the village of Straå≤lach. There I did decide to stop, as it was time for some lunch. So it wasn’t too hard to find a biergarten to drop into, where I got some Paar Wiener Wurstel (paired wieners) and a couple Radlers.


I headed through town and ran across a few more quaint biergartens, saw some mini-golf, European Style, then headed out onto the open road.


I went down to the next small town where there was another entrace to Perlacher Forst, then I booked it back North through the forest to get back in time to watch le Tour (in French, or course – I followed it on cyclingnews.com too to get the English commentary). Before leaving the forest, though, I stopped at this unique wooden fountain to fill up my water bottle.

That’s all for today, I think. I should be moving into a new apartment next week, out of this hotel, so I’m looking forward to that. We found an excellent apartment right in the middle of town, near dozens of cafes, markets, bars, in walking distance to 2 U-bahn stations, decent price (well, within my company’s budget, so that’s all I care about! If I was paying for it, we’d be living out in sticks somewhere). Anyway, I’m sure i’ll have more to blog on that later.