It’s been a few years since I haven’t been doing bike tours when the Tour de France comes to town, so it was a lot of fun to get out and see it in the area over the past few days. We happen to have friends who live on the main ring road of Malaucène, finish village of the Ventwo (get it?) stage, so John and I drove over there in the morning, took a ride, and camped out there all afternoon.
We’ve got a bunch of videos from all three days that you can see on our Instagram feed. I don’t have the technical abilities to upload them here right now.
This day was probably one of the best I’ve had viewing the Tour de France, probably because we had a cool living room to watch the whole thing, followed by a few short outings to the front steps to see the Caravan, breakaway riders, and winner (Wout!) fly by.
The next stage finished 4 km from my place, according to this photo I took on my morning grocery run.
But the best stuff happened after the Nimes stage. It’s a long story, which you can get a gist of by listening to The Cycling Podcast’s Stage 12 episode. Essentially, the last time Lionel Birnie, Richard Moore (author of Slaying the Badger, among others) and Francois Thomazeau (man of many talents, including covering 32 Tours as a journalist) were in Nimes, they didn’t have the greatest time with a local pub, which didn’t allow them to record their pre-dinner podcast.
I felt bad for my town’s reputation and wanted them to have a better experience this time around. I tweeted to Richard after the stage and offered to find them a podcast-friendly terrace to record. They were late, so I needed to drink quite a bit to hold their table, but the sacrifice was worth it and I got to watch them work their magic and even had the mic shoved into my hand for a short plug of 44|5.
Everything was gravy after this one, so it was with a light heart that John and I drove out to Sommières and rode along the Tour route for 40 km the next morning (see Instagram for some heavy breathing up the one and only categorized climb of the day). I’d done this sort of thing in the past once or twice, but it’s really a lot of fun that I’d sort of forgotten about. You get quiet roads with not-yet-drunk roadside fans. Perfect.
And finally, we all know who won this stage – Mark Cavendish. I’ve always loved the way the French call Cavendish: Le Cav – it seems to elevate ‘Cav’ to a new and unique level, where, after 34 TDF victories, he definitely belongs.