Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Itinerary for the Tour de France

I always wanted to see a couple stages of the Tour de France. And I always thought I would like to tackle an epic climb such as the Alpe d'Huez, the Col d' Tourmalet, or the famous Mont Ventoux.

I was diagnosed with cancer in the summer of 2009. As I sorted through the many treatment options available for me I was also presented with the opportunity to take a Trek Travel tour sponsored by my local bike shop, The Bike Lane, in Burke and Reston, Virginia.

Life is too short to wish "I should have while I was still healthy enough..."

I signed up. Not sure of what lies ahead in life I wanted to take this trip when I could. And since it involves a lot of riding and climbing, I also wanted to do it when I was young enough to ride the high mountains. Maybe more importantly, it became my goal that I started looking forward to on November 9. Or it was Goal #1a along with the Mount Washington Auto Road Bicycle Hillclimb race on August 21.

So I am leaving Friday.

Friday July 16 -- Leave Washington-Dulles at 9:00 p.m. and fly overnight to Madrid. Since I will arrive on Saturday and have to do an extra day somewhere, I decided to do it in Madrid and not France. Saturday will be a day spent sightseeing the capital of Spain.

Sunday July 18 -- Fly from Madrid to Toulouse, France

Monday July 19 -- In the morning we are transported to St. Lary Soulon and then are fit to our Trek Madone bikes. There are riding options each day and I will be choosing to ride the longest route each day. Our warm up ride Monday will take us up the Pla d' Adet. 35 kilometers and 1,000 meters of climbing. That's a lot of climbing over a short distance.

Tuesday July 20 -- A 100 km ride, 1,500 meters of climbing, from St. Lary - Col d' Aspin - Col du Tourmalet and return. We then have mountain climb viewing of the Tour at La Mongie which is a ski village on the Tourmalet about 4km from the summit. I'll be the one with the cow bell.

Wednesday July 21 -- The pros have a rest day and we will ride 100 km, 3,000 meters of climbing including the Col d' Azet, Port de Beles and the Col de Perysourde.

Thursday July 22 -- A short 50 km in the mountains including a ride to the summit of the Col du Tourmalet and then watching the Tour tackle it twice as fast as we dreamed. Maybe three times as fast. And we'll be at the mountain top finish.*

Friday July 23 -- Easy spin in Bordeaux in wine country and watching at the finish line of the Tour. 50 km, flat as a pancake. Somehow I think we'll appreciate this. Maybe we'll see Tyler Farrar win his first stage at the Tour.

Saturday July 24 -- We get to ride the time trial course and then watch the time trial where the Tour will probably be decided. 50 km.

Sunday July 25 -- A train ride to Paris. We will be at the Automobile Club of France on the Champs Élysées watching the Tour go by us -- eight times.

As for the riding portion, people ask me how many miles we will ride. Only 250 which doesn't sound like a lot. A few weekends ago I did 207 in one weekend. While it's not that much it that will include almost 30,000' of climbing.

On Sunday, Ashley will fly into Paris and join me. On Monday and Tuesday we will be sightseeing in Paris. On Wednesday we will leave for Switzerland where we will do a whirlwind tour of the country, seeing Interlaken before ending in Zurich. In Zurich we will meet up with Ben Zahler, a student we were area reps for a number of years ago when he was an exchange student to the U.S.

We will go bike riding in the mountains.

Sunday August 1 -- Leave Zurich for Madrid then fly Madrid to Washington-Dulles.

Life is short. Enjoy the simple pleasures. Life is Good!

*EPILOGUE - The viewing for the tour was along the route about 10 km from the summit. Wishful thinking had me read that we would be at the finish line. On neither day were we able to get closer than 4km from the summit due to restrictions of the Tour de France.

1 comment:

  1. Wow. One of us is really insane. Be sure to get one of those bikes with the motor hidden in the tubing. Wow. Also let us know what meds you are on, because we will all want some.