Sometimes watching the TdF live is more about the spectacle and atmosphere than the race itself. It was certainly like this on Sunday, when Shoko and I made our way from the Pyrenees to the tiny village of St. Geniès de Fontedit, north of Béziers. Why St. Geniès you ask? This is where ‘Aussie Steve’ (to distinguish him from fellow blog buddy ‘American Steve’) and his wife Julia have bought a village house. It’s great to meet virtual friends in person, if for no other reason to confirm that they are real.
Well, Steve is real – real Australian! You’ll know what I mean soon enough, but first here’s our stash from the publicity caravan the day before – most of which ended up in the garbage, except for some madeleines in my stomach and a bottle opener in the kitchen.
After a nice lunch with Steve, Julia and The Moms they pulled out the Down Under paraphenalia that we were encouraged to wear for the Tour. Here I am modelling my Aussie apron and big hand that is both upside down and right side up (I’ll let you figure that one out, but it was an obvious error in construction).
After 30 minutes or so of this the caravan passed us by to throw dried sausages and lens cleaners at the villages down the road. Steve, Shoko and I walked a bit to scope out a good spot to see the riders on the outskirts of town, before heading back home to watch a bit of the Tour on the télé.
Here is an example of what makes the Tour de France so great. The local community has gotten together to make a giant bicycle of some sort that makes no sense from ground level, but looks pretty neat from the helicopter shot. The sign in the foreground sums it up nicely – Crazy for The Tour.
And the peloton shortly after. All we have are blurry photos, so Ill spare you. It was pretty quick, especially compared with the slow slog of the stage the day before. Luckily, what was lacking in riders was made up for in good company…and TV! We made our way back to the house and caught the last 40 km or so, Cavendish finishing at the complete opposite end of things on this day.
Lastly, I leave you with a some fellow bald legs. Steve is a relatively recent convert and now can’t stand it when his legs get ‘dirty’. American Steve…you will join us. It’s only a matter of time.