Long travel day to France behind us

Larry standing in for my son Kevin, sleeping on the train…
It’s 10pm here, probably 2pm back home? Time to get to sleep after being up pretty much continuously since 7am yesterday morning. It starts with a 9:30am flight from SFO to Chicago, followed a couple hours later by a 6:20pm (Chicago time) flight to Paris, arriving 9:30am (Paris time), then a train that’s supposed to leave at 11:57am (Paris time) but is delayed due to suspicious baggage, which might also have been why they chased us (and everyone else) out of the place we were eating in the train station 30 minutes prior. So the train we’re taking to Grenoble, which has a 14 minute connection in Lyon, is now 10 minutes late. 4 minute connection. That’s just not possible with two people, two bikes, two suitcases, right?

Good inexpensive food is never an issue in France…
That’s where technology comes in. When you buy your European train tickets from Trainline.eu, they send you updates on what track your next train will be leaving from, which saves you a LOT of grief in crowded, complicated euro train stations. And it turns out we arrived on track K, and were leaving on track J which, just this one time in my life, actually was adjacent, just like it ought to be!

So my friend Larry from the way-back days, who’s seeing the Tour de France for the first time, arrived with me in Grenoble in one piece, not much the worse for wear. Of course, Larry can sleep on planes, and trains, and even hotel rooms, while I’m up plotting out details and just generally a bit restless because, as they say, does anybody really know what time it is? I sure don’t!

That rarest of all rare photos; me having a beer!
Tomorrow morning we take a train out to an obscure city adjacent to the Vercors, a spectacular mini-mountain-range, where we’ll do a pretty gnarly 54 miles ride, carrying all of our camera gear because the end of the ride conveniently drops us off near tomorrow’s Tour de France stage finish! Then we take another train back to Grenoble, pick up the rental car which we’ll need for a couple days from now, and just keep on moving on, one foot in front of the other, riding our bikes in France.

Riding yes, blogging no

It’s crunch time; I leave for France early Sunday, a different trip than those past since I won’t be going with my son (Kevin), but I won’t be going alone either. This time I’ll be meeting up with a friend from the way way way wayback days, Larry, that I used to race with back in the early-mid 70s. Technically not race “with” as he was on a rival team, although the two of us did do a 600 mile bike tour of Northern California back then too.

The big question was whether I’d be in shape for this trip, due to the issues my expired-warranty 61-year-old body has forced upon me. There had been a pretty steady decline in my cycling performance for about a year and a half, and the medication I’m taking for my body’s desire to manufacture too many blood platelets isn’t in the performance-enhancing category. The opposite, actually.

And yet the past two months I’ve been showing steady improvement and am now riding strong than I have since September 2015. Fastest times up Kings the “normal” way (not through the park) on Tuesday, and through the park Thursday, in even longer than that. In fact, yesterday’s time through the park was faster than a week ago, even though I forgot to use my asthma inhaler!

I’m not sure what’s going on, but for the moment, I’ll have more, please. There may be a logical explanation; I have to drink a *lot* more water due to the medication, and it’s possible that I’ve been a bit dehydrated the past few years due to the breathing issues (very tough to drink when you’re breathing very heavily, so when climbing, I’ve tended not to drink much at all, but now I’m forcing myself to… and it might be a very good thing for my cycling).

Overall, I feel like I’m ready. We’ll find out in a few days!