Friday, July 23, 2010


Our bus was an hour late this morning so we had time to check out Lourdes. I don't think I will be coming back here soon. (And am not posting any pictures either...)

We had an uneventful ride to the village of Budos were we ate a picnic lunch before our ride past the vineyards to Bordeaux. We had 15 guys trying their best to organize a pace line -- that's what I get for starting it. While all are "avid" cyclists for wanting to come to the Tour, we had different abilities and it took 15 miles to sort it out.

We had riders of differing abilities and experience. One inexperienced but strong rider would move to the front and then pick up the pace which would blow the line.

King of the Mountains

Another rider would alternately pedal furiously then coast, near the back, which would send the end of the line yo-yo-ing.

James Hartzberg (L) Rich McCrea (R)

I moved to the front as we reached the town of La Brede and saw the last King of the Mountain opportunity for our group. I picked up the pace then attacked while announcing "KOM Points!" It so happened that our guide, Dave Edwards, was at the top of the hill and I was caught way off the front and blew the peloton to pieces. It was great!

Carnage of the KOM Hill
Dave Thackrey and Paul Sommer

It wasn't until we left La Brede that we had four of us in a nice relaxing line each taking 20 second pulls. Dennis McDonald, Tom Michaud, Peter Pellicano and I formed a nice team.

We had a fifth rider join us, Paul Sommer, who immediately went to the front and tried to do all the work himself. He apparently was oblivious that while he was working up front, we continued our 20 second pulls, sometimes letting him get 20-30 meters out in front while other times we passed him effortlessly. And we laughed the entire way to Bordeaux. (Sorry Paul)

We rode into Bordeaux, checked into the hotel, then went out on the course to watch the finish. The actual finish line was impossible to get near to be able to see (4-5 people deep) but we could stand there and watch the big screen. Instead, Peter and I chose to go to the end of the finishing chute to see riders come by after the race and go to their team buses. I got some good pictures including what will be probably my last photo of Lance Armstrong.

Lance Armstrong handing his bottle to a child

Dinner was at the L'Orleans restaurant. I had duck. It was very good and will probably be the last time I ever eat duck. Our evening was a group meal but one of our riders, Susan Alexander, missed it. Instead she ended up meeting up with Robbie Ventura and Frankie Andreau and eating with them. I think she won the night.

Tomorrow will be the Individual Time Trial and our last day of riding. I am sad to see that end but also just finished chatting with Ashley, who will be flying out tomorrow to Paris where she will join me in the City of Lights on Sunday. One exciting week is drawing to a close while another is still ahead.

Note: Actually, it would not be the last photograph I took of Lance nor the last time I would have duck on this trip.

Nor would it be the last time I would visit Lourdes. I returned one year later and rode from Lourdes to Soulor.

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