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  1. #1
    Senior Member 1855Cru's Avatar
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    A day at the Tour de France

    I have been in France for 10 days now of my 4 month visit and have been enjoying the glorious weather, great food and wine and superb cycling immensely. Saturday was Bastille Day and also happened to be the day Le Tour was passing relatively close to where I'm staying. I got up early, had a fortifying coffee at the local café and took off for the near 60 mile ride to Saint Laurent La Vernède to watch the race go by.

    After reaching the historic town of Uzes, I followed the race route up to St. Laurent passing literally thousands of people who were already camped out by the side of the road with picnics and wine spread out before them. I was given many cheers and shouts of "Bon Courage" by the spectators as well as a few "you're going the wrong way!!" remarks It was a lot of fun and everyone was in a jovial mood no doubt enhanced by the prodigious amounts of wine being consumed

    One thing I did notice was how poor the road conditions were, at times bone jarringly rough for long distances, like riding on cobblestones. I'm not sure how the Tour riders ride for so long at such speeds under these conditions.

    I found some fellow Brits in a camper just south of St. Laurent and in a good spot to watch the race so I stopped and said hi. Tony and Sharon were from Liverpool and had been following the tour for a week. They invited me to join them and offered me a lovely cup of tea even though it was about 85 degrees

    About an hour and a half before the riders appeared, the caravan came through in a circus like scene. Dozens and dozens of cars and vans that have been converted into carnival float like vehicles whizzed by with music blaring and throwing out gifts of food, hats, water and other mostly useless paraphernalia. It was great fun and built anticipation for the arrival of the riders themselves. At last a breakaway group of about 10 riders came by, heads down in determination trying to build as big a lead as possible and I'm sure there was a Frenchman or two in the group hoping for glory on France's independence day.

    About 5 mins later the peleton came through en masse and I got pics of Wiggins and Cavendish but sadly the whole things was over in a flash. It is impossible to take pics and watch the riders at the same time but fun anyway.

    You can see some of my pics here https://picasaweb.google.com/1176139...IjB9uPFi-6StwE

    It was a fun day and a great experience but I now had a 60 mile ride back home. I detoured back via the town of Chateauneuf du Pape for lunch and some vinous reinforcements and finally got home tired but happy
    http://www.ablokeandabike.blogspot.com

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  2. #2
    SuperGimp TrojanHorse's Avatar
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    That's the tough part of watching a grand tour - they really go fast and they're gone... that explains the huge crowds on hills of course but it always amazes me how much time people are willing to give up staking out a decent spot to watch for about 10 seconds of noise and fury as the riders go blazing through.

    Sounds like you had a great day!

  3. #3
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    1855: If some clydes came over to your parts, would you host us?


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    It is impossible to take pics and watch the riders at the same time but fun anyway.



    Interesting that you mention this. I was watching today, and noticed that most folks are not taking pics. I thought, it must be impossible to watch and photo at the same time.
    Thanks so much for sharing your pics, I love those pre race floats, especially the yellow jersey one. You are so lucky to have seen it!

  5. #5
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    You mention the road conditions: I believe the roads of the tour itself are carefully groomed and resurfaced not long after the route is announced. If you look at the TV coverage it's often beautiful new blacktop

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by Brando_T. View Post
    You mention the road conditions: I believe the roads of the tour itself are carefully groomed and resurfaced not long after the route is announced. If you look at the TV coverage it's often beautiful new blacktop
    Not true in all cases. There can be very rough spots, especially on small mountain roads. The true conditions often don't show well from a speeding motorbike camera. In fact, during the first descent yesterday a rider dropped his chain due to a bumby surface. He tried to get it back on my pedaling and ended up mashing his gears, which required a bike change.

    BTW...Anyone realize that 1st and 2nd place in the GC and held by Clydes. Both Wiggins and Froome are over 6' tall. I refer to them as C.H.O.s--Clydes in Height Only.

  7. #7
    Senior Member 1855Cru's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Brando_T. View Post
    You mention the road conditions: I believe the roads of the tour itself are carefully groomed and resurfaced not long after the route is announced. If you look at the TV coverage it's often beautiful new blacktop
    Brando,

    As Indyfabz says, not true at all, the 13+ km of the route that I rode was often pretty bad and none of it had been resurfaced at all. The ride was bone jarring at times and you had to ride with both hands firmly on the bars. A lot of the roads they use are small country back roads and these see essentially no improvement before the race..
    http://www.ablokeandabike.blogspot.com

    2011 Cervelo R3
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