A week ago I was in Paris, watching the finale of the Tour de France. To be truthful, the finale isn’t all that exciting; it mainly serves to bracket the experience and bring some closure. The earlier stages we see are much more fun, because we get to ride to them!
Well today it was time to get back to the regular Sunday routine, which meant up Old LaHonda, Haskins to Pescadero, north on Stage and then… things kinda fell apart. Get to that shortly. Old LaHonda was pretty ugly for me, 23:44 I think. I gave permission to Kevin to fly at light-speed, and that he did. If not for a bunch of cars that got in the way a few times, he would have had an 18-something. And therein lies the tale; that effort did a real number on his banged-up knee. Not banged up from riding, but from hitting a counter or table in our room in France. He did OK on Haskins but was really limping into Pescadero. We had the usual excellent chicken club sandwich, along with a cookie for him, and the closest thing I could manage to a french-style pasty for me (cherry turnover).
It wasn’t too far into Stage that it was decided he’d be calling for a sag but guess what, no cell coverage on Stage Road! Had to get all the way to San Gregorio to call in the sag, which met us at La Honda, after a painfully-slow ride from the coast. Once that was taken care of, I was on my own to have some fun, and it actually was. My 3rd-best time for the climb from just outside of LaHonda to the top so yes, I was feeling much better than I did earlier on Old LaHonda.
Where do I begin? It’s 12:30am here, the next day, so this is going to be a bit on the brief side. Once again we took the train the Lannemezan, about an hour ten minutes to the east, and once again rode up the long & fairly-boring valley rode but this time kept riding another 20k past the turnoff for the Col d’ Aspin, past Arreau, all the way to the base of the Col d Portet. The thunderstorms certainly weren’t in evidence most of the day; it was low-80s in the valley, but once we began the very serious climb we were up into the mid-90s. Yikes! I had planned on stopping at the intersection where one way takes you to the Pla d’Adet, the other up to the Col d Portet itself, and that plan turned out to be a good one, since they weren’t allowing bikes up the hill.
Kevin and I parked ourselves in a pretty decent place, and waited a bit over 2 hours for the race to come to us. This was that crazy super-short stage, just 40 miles, with three big climbs. It was going to be fast and furious and there was an assumption it would actually decide something. In the end, it did. Despite Quintana winning the stage, he’s way too far out of contention for the overall win to matter, but what we did see was Froome fading away, pretty much right in front of us. More later-