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Jul 27, 2009

Beginners.

 The color yellow is very 'in' at the moment, mainly because of the Tour de France. It is a spectacular event that my husband and I follow every year. Infact, now that it is over, we are in mourning. "What are we going to do now, Babe?" I asked my husband this morning as we turned on the taped version (we are about eight hours behind France where we live). "I really don't know..." he answered, sadly. Happily for us, though, we have a DVR, so we have the whole tour recorded, and we can skip through all of the commercials in just a few seconds. What a relief! I can't imagine having to watch hours of the same commercials just in order to see the bicycle race. Anyway, we sort of celebrated Alberto Contador's win today, and Mark Cavendish's successful entrance into Paris, by going on a bicycle ride around one of the local parks. My husband is a serious cyclist, but I am just a beginner. I suppose I'm not particularly competitive; I don't really care about racing. When I ride my bike, I like to only push myself a little bit. All the straining and pain, I think, are overrated. I like to look at the trees and birds and enjoy the wind in my face. I would make a terrible professional cyclist. First of all, no one would sponsor me because I would lose all the time. Secondly, I just don't have the build for sprinting or climbing.

Grammar notes.

Related vocabulary: spectacular, to mourn, commercial, to strain.

Exs:

The firework display was spectacular!

We are mourning the loss of our grandmother.

Some commercials are downright irritating.

The weight lifter strained his leg. He was too concerned about winning.

Advanced.

Alberto Contador was quite incredible to watch this year. It is amazing what you learn about these competitive athletes by listening to the commentators over the course of three weeks. We have all heard about Lance Armstrong, the amazing physical animal that he is, overcoming horrendous cancer, and winning seven times. But did you know that young Contador also had quite a scare. Apparently, during a race, he collapsed. It was found that he had a brain haemorrage. He was immediately operated on, and had a titanium plate put in his head. It sounds awful doesn't it? Well, he is obviously fine now. Infact, he is so fine, that he has won three major tours this year: Il Giro D'Italia, The Tour Down Under, and the Tour de France. Three in seven months is really quite incredible. "This is like watching a James Bond movie," says my husband every time we sit down to watch the Tour. You have the incredible athletes with thighs like tree truncks, flying up steep mountains at a rate that makes me feel dizzy. Then, you have the spectacular views of France, and all the historic information of buildings and towns. All that is lacking is a good gun fight and perhaps an explosion or two. But James Bond or no James Bond, I'm celebrating Contador's win. I am a half Spaniard, after all. My loyalties lie in that part of the world. I know the Spanish culture well, and I can guarantee that there will be huge celebrations all over the country. So, I will join the party from my little corner of the planet, lift a glass of Rioja, and say, "Well done, Alberto!"

Grammar notes.

 Related vocabulary: horrendous, commentators, dizzy, loyalty.

Exs:

This cheese is horrendous. It stinks and tastes awful!

The commentators of this soccer match are very biased towards their own country's team.

The ride at the fairground spun us around so much that we all got dizzy.

My dog has the greatest loyalty towards our family.