hit tracker Dave Shields Author Blog: July 2005

A journal detailing my efforts to launch my career as a novelist. The goals are to share info about succeeding in this field with other aspiring authors, to provide updates to the many supporters who have asked me for them, and ultimately to build the momentum necessary to assure success in this venture.

Sunday, July 31, 2005

Europeqn Adventure

Wow, whqt q trip this hqs been: Frqnce is both gorgeous qnd complex, just like their keyboqrds: <i dont hqve time to hunt qnd peck; though; unless it is qn unreqdqble error:

This country gets better qround every corner: Absolutely incredible1 The luck >ive hqd is qlmost beyond imqginqtion: Im more excited thqn ever qbout the potentiql of my new book: I hope thqt I cqn write it qs good qs Im imqgining it right now:

Thqnks for reqding1

Wednesday, July 27, 2005

What Adventures Today!

Gotta type quick. Can't believe I've got Internet access for a moment. On a trip around France filling in details on my new manuscript and trying to find my way. I don't think it would be possible to accomplish more than I am, but I'm still running way behind schedule. Language is a big challenge, but the people are very kind and try to help.

Today in Gap a policeman ran into the road and waved me over. They'd clocked me going 82K in a 50 kph zone. I wasn't being dangerous, just trying to get things done. The fine was 90 Euros. That's about $125. YIKES!!!

I didn't have that much and they didn't want dollars. Go figure. The world has changed. Three of them surrounded me and they definitely wanted their money, now. They kept motioning kissing their fingers. Finally, using a little computer translator I have I realized they wanted me to go to town and buy a "tobacco stamp" while they held my license and registration. I didn't want to because these cities were built to confuse enemies, and these days they do an even better job of disorienting tourists. I had a 0% chance of figuring out who sold tobacco stamps and then finding my way back. Eventually two of them offered to lead me by bicycle. The first guy took off and I followed him. He kept looking back past me, presumably for the other guy. We made lots of turns and finally reached a bank. He motioned for me to pull over and we waited. After a long time he came to my window looking frustrated. He handed me my licence and registration.

"You go," he said. "Leave."

I took my papers and scrammed, then spent nearly an hour trying to figure out where I was and how to get back on my route. Many people tried to help but none spoke much English and their French was fast and complex. I had little hope, but eventually I stumbled my way out of town.

Just before 9:00 p.m. I reached a village called Riez and stopped to read my map. I was running out of sunlight and noticed people camping in a dirt lot. I pulled in thinking that it would be so enjoyable to explore the town. Then I noticed a flier with today's date and something about an event at the cathedral costing 12 Euros.

I packed my maps and papers in a backpack, grabbed an apple, and headed off. Can you believe that I walked in the very moment a 16 piece orchestra started playing a concerto? I gladly paid my money and sat in the back row of about 100 people to do my paperwork. What an atmosphere! You can't imagine the accoustics in that place.

Monday, July 25, 2005

On My Way to Paris

What a day it's been. One interview after another all day long. I'm at JFK and just have a moment for a last minute update. I want to tell my wife and daughters that I miss them very much and I can't wait to get home next week. It's been a long trip and I can't wait to hug you all.

I'll add entries to my blog if I get a chance on this trip, but I don't know whether I'll be able to or not. Au Revoir!

Wednesday, July 20, 2005

A Case of Neglect?

In a way, I haven't been neglecting my blog as much as it might seem. If you click on this link and read the articles in the yellow box on the left you'll get a pretty good sense of what I've been up to. The challenge with the blog and other projects is that when I'm not doing an interview there is an avalanche of other jobs to do instead. The major ones are chasing down new interviews, learning rudimentary French for my upcoming trip on the 25th (I hope to speak enough to keep me out of trouble during my research jaunt around the perimeter of the country), working on the manuscript for The Tour, and just surviving here in the Big Apple. Don't get me wrong, I really enjoy New York, but my heart is in small town Utah. My wife tells me that the girls are growing up without me. I can't wait to get back.

Saturday, July 16, 2005

What a Day!

Are any of you watching the Tour de France? I'm watching moving from New York Starbucks to New York Starbucks watching streaming Danish video of the stages and listening to Eurosport audio in between doing media interviews and calling other media trying to drum up new interviews. Today, though, I was glued to the screen, my hands pressed so tightly over my headphones that I missed a call from Sporting News Radio. What an incredible stage! If you don't know what all the fuss is about regarding the Tour de France, go wherever you have to (bar, sports club, bike shop) to see the OLN broadcast today. I know that they will air it at least two more times. After you watch, if you can't figure out what all the excitement is about I suggest you see your cardiologist because there is a good chance you have no pulse. The Lance Armstrong era is about to end. Grab on and at least give yourself a taste.

Wednesday, July 13, 2005

Pavlov's Author

I heard that they'd be broadcasting the Tour de France on the big screen in Times Square so I went over there and the next thing I knew, they pointed a television camera at the crowd. Having been promoting my book non stop for over a year now, I did the first thing that came to mind. I showed a copy of my book to the camera. Next thing I know, my cell phone is ringing off the hook. I couldn't believe how many people saw me and either called or e-mailed. The most amazing thing is that both my three year old and seven year old daughters were watching separate televisions at the time and both saw me. Why would little girls be watching cycling, you ask? Hey. My girls have great taste.

Tuesday, July 12, 2005

Jet Lagged?

I arrived in NYC this morning after taking the red eye from Salt Lake City. Although I got almost no sleep, I had a ton of energy. I took the train into town, set up my computer, and started watching streaming Danish Television video of today's stage with Eurosport audio. I was thrilled that everything worked so well.

Then, just as things got exciting my computer started experiencing the effects of too much travel and too little sleep. Crash after crash after crash. I'd get problem solved, hear a bit of what was going on, and then it would go haywire again. I'd spend another half an hour repairing things and repeat the process. Aaarrggghhh!

I could see enough to know that Armstrong was spectacular. As in six of the last seven Tours, he put the competition away on the first big mountain stage. Sure, there are a couple of guys within reach, but he's a far superior time trialist to any of them. This guy is on another planet, both physically and mentally. He's inconceivably strong in both areas.

If you want to be able to tell your children that you watched the best Tour de France rider ever, you'd better tune in now. I can't think of another athlete or team who has so dominated an event. Other than in 2003, Lance hasn't merely won each year. He's crushed and demoralized all contenders. In 2003 all he did was prove that no matter how deeply he is forced to dig for victory, he can do it. Hail to "The Boss."

The question is, what's a guy with such an insatiable appetite for victory going to do in retirement? I'll make you a bet. He won't ride off quietly into the sunset.

Tuesday, July 05, 2005


Two days ago I met Dave Zabriskie's family. They've been glued to the television set like so many of us, but they obviously have a lot more at stake. They also have daily (at least) conversations with the Z Man himself. It was fun to hear the inside scoop. Not surprisingly, Dave remains 100% committed to supporting Ivan Basso. But at the time, he was also dreaming of staying in the yellow jersey for a day or two more.

Then, this morning, tragedy struck. Only 1200 meters from the finish of another epic performance, his chain derailed. Dave was putting so much force into the pedals that the sudden lack of resistance practically flipped the bike over. He went down hard. X-rays have confirmed no broken ribs, but the road rash is severe and the bruises are deep.

Dave will race tomorrow's stage, but who knows what sort of effect such a tremendous collision with the pavement is going to have on him. His accomplishments so far virtually insure that the camera will remain on him. I look forward to seeing what it has to show.

The race has heated up for me, too. I'm doing lots of radio and television interviews, including another appearance on CNN tomorrow morning. I love teaching people about this incredible sport, and I'm grateful for the continuing opportunities.

Saturday, July 02, 2005

Z Man!

Did you see Dave Zabriskie today? What a performance! He'll wear the yellow jersey in tomorrow's Tour de France stage! I'm proud to say that I called my shot. Check the first installment of my Daily Peloton column.

The radio interviews have been interesting. This morning I did one on Sporting News Radio that will remain particularly memorable, for two reasons. One was that the host, who knows almost nothing about cycling, thinks he could win a stage of the Tour de France. When he first suggested it I thought it was a funny joke, but after talking with him I think he just might be serious. I'm going to write more about that in my next Daily Peloton column.

The other reason I'll always remember this interview is logistics. My wife went to her Saturday morning aerobics, so she handed all three kids off to me to tend for the morning. (shudder) Because I'm so obsessed with the work of marketing my book, I think the kids and my wife were likely shuddering more than me, though. Turns out that we were all under-reacting.

Just before 8:30 a.m., Sporting News Radio calls me for the interview and I say to my seven-year-old, "I'm going out on the deck for a phone conversation. Will you watch your sisters for me?" She agrees.

No sooner do we go on-air than my three year old starts a tantrum. The six month old was capable of only one reaction... joining in. The seven-year-old is alternately frantically trying to care for them, and looking miserably at me. I'm watching the chaos while talking to host Scott Wetzel, and at one point the conversation turns to our families. The thoughts racing through my mind were too numerous to catalogue.

When the interview ended I opened the door and the full force of the tantrum hit me. It took a long while to get things into control. Once we did my seven-year-old, whose baby sitting performance went above and beyond the call of duty, said something to me I'll never forget.

"Daddy, I need a Tylenol."