Category Archives: Tdf trip planning

Information on seeing the Tour de France in person, including the process I go through myself each year- figuring out the TdF route, finding places to stay, rental cars, trains & more.

Hydrocarbon loading and missing France

smoked_outJust a couple weeks ago I couldn’t imagine a scene like you see above; partly because you don’t see large trucks like the White Ram 350, license plate# 819 1689, in France. And partly because, if you did, they’d likely be friendlier towards cyclists! Fortunately he wasn’t driving erratically so we were never fearful he was going to do something stupid and reckless.

Nice morning, as usual, and without the fog up on Skyline that we had on Tuesday’s ride. No leg warmers needed! Both Kevins showed up, along with Karen, Eric, Karl and, for the Kings segment, there was somebody waiting at the base of Huddart whom I didn’t see again, and mistakenly thought it was Marcus (because it would often be the case that I’d see Marcus only briefly at the start of a climb, and never again, as there’s no way I can come close to his speed on a climb). The climb up Kings was steady but unspectacular, punctuated by a stop to see if we could fix Eric’s loose crank arm (we couldn’t because we hadn’t yet transferred the multi tools from our travel bikes to our regular bikes).

I do miss France. It would be really nice if France were in the Southern Hemisphere, so during our slower (and colder) winter months, I could spend a bit more time there, without feeling like I’m abandoning the business. But that’s not the case; the reality is that the weather in France, in the areas I enjoy riding, closely mirrors our weather here (with the exception that the higher altitudes would be getting snow).

If I was a person of means, no question I’d have a place in southern France, likely in the Pyrenees. I’d want to spend about half the summer there, riding the familiar and exploring the unfamiliar. An interesting thing to think about, because such dreams have a definitive timeframe in which they could evolve into something real; at what age would I no longer be able to climb the big mountains I enjoy so much? So far, I can still ride pretty much wherever I want without thinking my body will break in half. How much longer? My plan is to just keep moving, let momentum keep me going, for as long as I can. Perhaps the most-tangible aspect of approaching a time where I can’t ride like I’d like to is found in my continuing annual trips to France. Who knows how much longer I’ll be strong enough, and thus incentive to keep going while I can. –Mike–

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It’s over, it’s time to come home

IMG_3171sky_partyThere was never much doubt that Froome and Team Sky were going to pull it off this year; it wasn’t until the penultimate stage (Alpe d’Huez, when Quintana attacked) that looked like it was even possible to put a dent in their machine. So if you were looking for drama, not much there. But even with the conclusion not too much in doubt, there are so many side stories, battles for other podium spots and jerseys, that keep it interesting. In fact, watching some of the coverage, you had two entirely separate races going on, so who do you give airtime to?

Lotto Soudal's invincible leadout train that helped Greipel win the final stage.
Lotto Soudal’s invincible leadout train that helped Greipel win the final stage.
But for us, that being myself and my son Kevin, it was 8 solid days of riding in a row, plus Paris at the end. The funny thing about Paris, a non-riding day, is that it is a lot more tiring than any of the others! Oh sure, you’re not drenched in sweat, your pee isn’t bright orange and the consistency of jello (mostly kidding…mostly), your legs aren’t talking to you about that extra 20 pounds of gear you’re lugging up the hills. But figuring out where you need to be, and when, and how to get through a city that’s had most of its access shut down… that’s not so easy. But eventually we got were we were supposed to be. Well, not quite. We really need to be home, and that’s still a day and a half away.

Planes, trains & automobiles. Nothing about bikes! But for now the bikes and the trains and the cars are finished for this trip; it’s just a couple of planes back home. Finally get to see my daughter Becky and my wife Karen again, and the crazy psycho Corgi and our new killer kitty. I’m ready. I think Kevin is too. –Mike–

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