Join Date: Sep 2010
Bikes: 2015 Specialized Diverge Comp Carbon, 2011 Cervelo R3, 2011 Trek 2.1, 2011 Trek X-Caliber
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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