Wow. It is Tour time again! I can’t believe it.
This year I travelled to France with my friend and cycling teammate, Ben Dodge. For the last 3 years I’ve gone with a different friend each time. Each time they tell me how much they loved the trip – and each time they are mysteriously busy when the Tour rolls around. The trip is a blast, but it’s a lot of work as well. I am going to need some more friends soon!
For today’s stage we went to the Colombier, which some say is the toughest climb in all of France. It is a lot of sections of 12% grade, for about 12 miles.
Ben & I drove up and down the mountain the day before looking for a place to park. Finally, we saw an opening to a grove where a bunch of cars were parked.
We turned in and were immediately greeted by two things that would be odd to find anywhere but at the Tour. The first were two VW Westfalia vans that were converted into bars complete with several taps. The second were three female mannequins adorned with Belgium national team jerseys.
So we had basically been transported to a Belgian night club perched on the side of a mountain.
Ben and I set up camp and settled in for some sleep. The Belgians had other plans though. They had a stadium quality speaker system and they blasted techno until 4 in the morning.
Ben and I woke up around 8, suited up and went down the mountain and back up. What an intense, but beautiful climb.
We got back around 11 and most of the Belgians were still asleep. The ones that were awake were huddled under a tent and were slowly sipping some Duvel to wake up. Techno was still playing but it was decidedly more mellow.
Ben and I set up along the road and ran with the riders. I heard we even got a sweet helicopter shot on TV.
On to Toussuire!