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have you been to the tour?

Road Cycling “It is by riding a bicycle that you learn the contours of a country best, since you have to sweat up the hills and coast down them. Thus you remember them as they actually are, while in a motor car only a high hill impresses you, and you have no such accurate remembrance of country you have driven through as you gain by riding a bicycle.” -- Ernest Hemingway

have you been to the tour?

Old 03-27-10, 04:18 PM
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have you been to the tour?

I'm live'n the dream this year and traveling to france to see stage 8 and 9 of the tour. For those who have seen the tour I have a question. Stage 9 is a big mountain stage and I want to get a good road side spot, how early do you have to get up the road to get a good spot?
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Old 03-27-10, 05:35 PM
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I have about 6 or so years ago. I only watched a few stages and the TT. Most of the time I arrived whenever and spots were pretty easy to get. I imagine the mountain stages are going to be a bit more tough. All of the ones I saw were in the flats / around town so I'm not sure on how early you should get there for those stages.
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Old 03-27-10, 05:48 PM
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Go up early. Pack a lunch. Spend the day. Make friends from all over the world.

IIRC, they clamp down the road 1 hour before the Publicity Caravan comes through.
When that comes through, try to stand away from the crowd so you can catch the schwag*. If you're in a crowd, you'll lose everything in a scrum with an 11-year-old.

I was on l'Alpe d'Huez in 2008. Bought food in Le Bourg d'Oisans. Hiked up. Ran into several people that I knew from the U.S.
We found a spot on the lower steeper slopes. Set up camp there. Then made forays up to the higher levels to see if there was anything better.

Get a spot that allows you to see well down the mountain so that you can see the riders coming. It baffles me that people stand on the exit apex of a blind corner. You travel all that way to see the race, you might as well see some of the race.

*schwag: free stuff. Not the stuff that you buy and then brag about on BF and get heckled for buying the wrong stuff or paying too much for it.
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Old 03-27-10, 05:53 PM
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I'd love to go but i doubt i ever will get too
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Old 03-27-10, 05:55 PM
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The Tour de Fred?

Every Saturday.
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Old 03-27-10, 06:14 PM
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I will be watching TdF aswell. Me and my cousin are going to follow about 2/3 of the race. Really looking forward to it.

Thinking about bringing my bike to use instead of hiking by foot up the mountains. Have no idea of how early we have to be there, but I guess we will start early and spend the day up there. Meet some people, look at the caravan etc.
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Old 03-27-10, 06:15 PM
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Last year we rode the Col D'Aspin the morning of the stage and watched they guys go past a couple hours later. Just spend the day and join the masses.
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Old 03-27-10, 06:21 PM
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OP, where are you planning on spectating from? I just read the tour profile and it appears stage 9 is going to be the BIG mountian stage this year.
The Madeleine, because it's the biggest and last climb of the day, will obviously be the most difficult to get a spot on, especially as the ride moves closer to the top.
That being said, I have no idea how far in advance you need to get up there to stake a spot out. Phil and Paul have mentioned spectators camping out on Alp D'huez days before the stage. It's like a 3 day party.
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Old 03-27-10, 06:47 PM
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Don't make us work - just tell us what mountain you want to sit on.

It all depends on the place. The Galibier road closed the night before. Other in-route climbs can be around 9:00 in the morning.
I stayed in Valloire and actually walked from my hotel 11 miles to the top of the Galibier, and then back.

So, its really really awesome, but be prepared. You will be waiting hours upon hours ahead of time. Then the caravan comes through, then within an hour the riders. And whoosh - they are gone and its all over. The whoosh can be longer and spread out on steep mountains.
But its awesome. I was actually chucked a can of Buckler. Ok, so its NA beer, but still I can say I was tossed a can of beer out of a car by a pretty girl. You also need to decide based on location to take lots of pictures or just a couple. I found I wanted so many pictures as they rode by, I kinda missed it all one of the days. To just stand, cheer, and take it in is nice instead of viewing though a camera screen. In my attempt for artsy pics, I came 2 inches away from tripping right into LA.

The polka dot hats seemed to be tough to get but I finally snagged on, and the PMU big green hands were fairly easy. So for the swag, if you are standing with 500,000 people on a mountain, with a totally dense crowd around you - well then be prepared for little if any stuff. One day I picked a boring spot along a pasture, about a mile before the road closure. About a dozen other people who missed the road closing decided it was a nice spot too. We ended up being just enough people to make good noise that they poured swag out on us, but small enough a crowd that everyone got lots.

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Old 03-27-10, 08:24 PM
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Originally Posted by NCROADBIKER View Post
I'd love to go but i doubt i ever will get too
not with that attitude you wont
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Old 03-27-10, 08:34 PM
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I was there once, but it was when Lemond was winning his third one. My experience may be different from what you might expect this year.

Last edited by mollusk; 03-27-10 at 08:36 PM. Reason: typo
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Old 03-27-10, 09:09 PM
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when I was in high school my dream was to get one of the red coke water bottles they all used to ride with, only in the tour. I'm a photographer so the picture taking is a big part of it. My goal is as some one mentioned above to be standing some place where I can see them coming up toward me and then to be right on the side when they pass by. I'm staying in Morzine-avoriaz so I'll probably watch stage 9 from col de la colombiere, for stage 8 I want see them going through the town. I'm so psyched, I've been watching it on tv since the early 80's.
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Old 03-27-10, 10:10 PM
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A few days in advance is not unusual for an iconic climb.

It's a fantastic way to spend a few days.
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