You can never turn your back on Le Tour de France. She is the most beautiful woman you’v even fallen in love with but she demands 100% of your attention at all times.
Turn your back on her for a few seconds and she will stab you between the shoulder blades, laughing hysterically as you bleed out on a curb somewhere in France.
After yesterday’s fabulous day in Bergerac and Eymet, I knew the probability was higher that I would get sloppy, fail on the logistics and take my eye off the French she-devil I adore. So she was more than happy to smack me good.
Basically, I spent too much time in the start town of Eymet enjoying the party atmosphere in 13th century surroundings and miscalculated how much time I’d need to beat the sprinters into Pau with all the road closures. After two days of zooming right in and finding a parking garage with very little up front research, I got cocky.
It was a 2.5 hour drive that I thought was an hour. Stupid me, sorry ma cheri, please don’t hit me and put away that sharp knife. It was beat the clock all the way as I drove around the Southwest of France, listening to French radio give me updates on how many kilometers the riders had left. I actually, amazingly all things considered, made it to see the sprint, catching it at the 3.5 K mark, just in time to see them all rip by.
But it was too far a walk to the team buses at that point and by the time I’d get there those buses would be gone. No photos, no cool images, nothing. So I did what every little boy in France does — I walked into the nearest patisserie and bought a chocolate eclair. Imagine, chocolate icing and chocolate filling. A diabetic delight.
Then I jumped in the car and did the 38 minutes into Tarbes and a hotel on the Place Verdun. Just a block away, the Cannondale-Drapac had set up shop. With a big climbing stage tomorrow, doubt they’re having the panaché Monaco, demi-bouteille de rouge, canard grillé and a massive chocolate desert.
Now, tomorrow, that is going to be full improv. If I had a press credential, I’d just hit the race route before the caravan and drive right up the the reserved Press parking at the top of the Col de Peyresourde. Easy cheesy, bring a sandwich, a liter of water, a bottle of red and a notepad and camera. Bang, done.
Only that road will be closed to the normal fans so it will be a question of side roads and how far up and I can get. We’ll see what happens. If it turns into an insane and frustrating mess, I’ll hit the finish town in Peyragudes and enjoy the fireworks from there. Ya just never know in Le Grand Shindig.