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Friday, July 10, 2009

Tourtorial #1 - Le Tour: just like your average girls’ night out

To humour me, some of my friends are reading my blog but don't know anything about the tour or cycling. This has led to questions about what certain phrases mean. To ease them into it, I’ve compared some of the following phrases to a girls night out. The English translation for the French words are in brackets:

Peloton (group of riders, comes from French word for herd) the main big group you go out in, start the night with, walk to the next bar with. There’s some breakaways – usually someone meets a guy or someone’s outside drunk dialling/texting their ex boyfriend - but there’s usually a big bunch of you who head home together.

Domestique (servant, cyclist who works hard for team leader and some others)– the mate who gets the drinks, goes to the toilet with you, holds your hair while you vomit and holds your hand to lead you out to the dance floor. If she’s not performing well or for whatever reason is not there, you and your whole group can sometimes fall to pieces.

Team leader/General Classification leader/yellow jersey winner – the girl in the group we all want to be – she’s confident, pretty AND usually nice - but people not in your group can often misunderstand her and think she's arrogant. She’s got EVERYTHING plus she’s dancing with the guy we all wanted too – yeah, we all have our good qualities, but you know there’s something special about this one.

Grimpeur (climber) – the lanky and skinny girl of the group who has flashes of brilliance during the middle of the night when we start to hit our peak or is the one who leaves us for dead when we walk to the next bar and our feet hurt from our high heels. She sometimes looks good in polka dots too.

Tete de la course (front of the course) – the girl who gets socially excited and/or has too much to drink and goes hard early. If she remembers to have water and gets some air, she will make it through the whole night out on the dance floor while the rest of you are still seated talking about life and love. If not, she’s the one you have to hug while she’s crying or holding her hair while she vomits, or you actually don’t know where she gets to but you find out next day she passed out and was asleep somewhere.

Stagiare (apprentice) - someone’s younger sister, cousin, nephew who’s just turned 18 and is on her first night out with you. She learns a lot from you all.

Etape (stage) each bar you go to or plan to go to on the night out

Allez (go) you yell this repeatedly as you do jaeger shots

Bidon (drink bottle) cocktail glass

Jaune (yellow) the colour of your eyeballs the next day

Vert (green) how you feel the next day

Combative (aggressive rider) the girl who attacks you verbally or physically when she’s drunk. It's sometimes the same person as Tete de la course

Commissaire (race referee) the officious bouncer who reckons tete de la course has had her last drink and you all should leave. Combative takes offence.

Soigneur (team assistant) if it’s a hen’s night, this would be the bridesmaid

Roleur (strong rider who drives bunch on flat stages) the mate who motivates you in the last hour to keep going, have another drink, and gets you to the last bar, then home

Lanterne Rouge (red lantern refers to red light on back of a train)
You break off from the group and end up waking up somewhere that doesn’t look familiar. You are the last one home

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