In Which I Win! I Win!

Andy celebrates my winning the contest for L'Essentiel readers.

One of our little local newspapers runs regular contests for readers. You send in a text message, and maybe you will win tickets to a concert or something.

I have entered before and won (tickets to see Kate Nash, which I was unable to use, alas). I have entered before and not won.

On Tuesday, the contest was “Win a Chat with the Schleck Brothers and Laurent Didier.” (Didier, another Lux pro-cyclist, will be on the new RadioShack-Nissan-Trek team with the Schlecks.)

Perfect sort of contest for me, you would think, right?

Except I didn’t see it.

The Spouse saw it, and mentioned it in passing over the phone late in the day.

I, of course, dropped my phone with The Spouse still talking to me and ran to the kitchen to root through the stack of newspapers to find the contest details.

Long story short: I was one of the lucky winners!

THANK YOU SPOUSE! (This brave man also accompanied me to the premier of The Road Uphill. He’s a trooper.)

Now came the really hard part: thinking up some brilliant questions to ask.

It’s harder than you think. There’s so much information out there on the Internet. It feels stupid to ask something one can find the answer to by Googling. And, yeah, I follow them both on Twitter. But I didn’t want to be Creepy Stalker Lady. Even though I sort of am.

But seriously, I didn’t want to get too personal (“So, Frank. Kid gave you the flu, eh?” “Oh, Andy–mazel tov on the engagement!”).

I didn’t want to ask anything . . . controversial (“Ya think The Shack is gonna get you a little higher up that podium this year?”).

I didn’t want to get into sponsorship territory (“What do you look for in a bike?”).

I didn’t want to leave Didier out of the conversation by asking questions just to the Schlecks (“What did you get each other for Christmas?”).

I cobbled together a list, but the whole thing was complicated by the fact most of the conversations took place in Luxembourgish.

Nothing could be worse than asking a question in English that they had JUST answered in Luxembourgish.

Can you imagine?

So, in the end, I asked Frank how one trains for descending mountains at breakneck speed (His answer: You can’t.). And I asked Andy why he never whomps those idiots who run alongside him at the summits (His answer: They are just there to get on TV–why give them more air time?).

Both little conversations went back and forth much longer than it appears from reading the article in the paper, which was really nice (I’m talking to Frank and Andy Schleck! We’re having a conversation! Squee!).

Alas, the paper misquoted me, and wrote that I asked about the proximity of the media cars to the riders–which, I’ll admit, was probably a better question, but one I would have been loathe to ask given that a newspaper invited me there. Still. I suppose since people were speaking three languages there (Luxembourgish, French, and English for me) I ought to be impressed that anyone understood anyone else at all. But then again, that’s so Luxembourg.

After the boys left, we all got invited to have a little crémant and some snacks. Again: so Luxembourgish.

Anyhow, here’s the link to the article, photos, and a little video. See if you can spot me.


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  1. Kathy says:

    Oooh–how exciting!! You can see how happy Andy is that you won, too!!! :) Did you ask your questions in English and they translated, or in French? And extra husband points to the Spouse for bringing this to your attention!

    • The Expatresse says:

      I just apologized and said, “Imma gonna ask my question in English–but you can answer in French if you prefer.” They answered me in English.

      I may be wrong, but I think they prefer English to French. But that’s just a feeling I get.

  2. Anita says:

    It looks like this was the truly awesome experience I expected it to be. I’m so happy you won!

    Good job asking a smart question and blending with the locals. I’m sure it is something you’ll remember for a long time.

    The Spouse has been quite a winner this winter, hasn’t he? Good job, The Spouse!

  3. Neel says:

    Well done!
    Not sure they’ll like you calling them “one of our little local newspapers” at the L’Essentiel though. After all, it is the most read media in Luxembourg :-)

    • The Expatresse says:

      Did you notice in the video I said “this funny little country,” too? Way to impress the people, Beet.

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