At 6:00 p.m. this evening I rode with 100 other cyclists from Pauillac to a spot in the countryside. This time I wore shorts and carried two backpacks. The distance was only 3 miles (5 km) but traffic was completely backed up. We learned to ride like the French. Simply ride into the left lane and when oncoming traffic approached maneuver very carefully back close to the yellow line.
I went to my bike, removed my pedals, seat, and Garmin mount. I am sorry to see our riding end. For the six days of riding I rode 300 miles and climbed more than 29,000 feet. I am sure I rode more on Wednesday than anyone in our group and today our group of eight went "exploring" (i.e., had a hard time following the Trek Travel directions) and we ended up with even more miles. Plus when I arrived at the viewing location I turned around and went riding on my own. I am sure I rode more miles than any of the 25 people in our group this week. One the bike is the one time I feel good.
We left this morning with one of the Trek Travel guides, Stephanie Chapman, to bike to Pauillac. When we came to the Tour route at Avenson we were required to dismount and walk across the route. At the other side we waited as the Tour caravan was coming by. This time I was in an excellent position to grab the swag they were throwing. I scooped up three polka dot caps and saw some young kids. I ended up giving all three caps to the kids. To a child in France, they LOVE getting something from the Tour.
Au revoir my French kids
Candy. Gave it to the kids. Key chains. Gave them to the kids. The green foam fingers. Gave to the kids. In turn their mother taught them to say "thank you very much" to their new Santa Claus. I only kept laundry detergent (true) and the L'Equipe newspaper.
We arrived at the Trek location which was the amazing Chateau Pichon.
Lunch was downstairs through the wine cellars. Both lunch and the location were awesome.
We were right on the course and could cheer and photograph each rider as they came by. Since I kept the newspaper, I was the only one in our group that had the list of riders in order as they were coming, unless they had been passed by the rider behind them.
The most memorable moment was sitting and trying to talk with the locals. Just like soccer parents, they brought their chairs and sat next to the course. They remained seated until Lance Armstrong was coming. Then everybody stood. They truly wanted to see this great champion of their tour. Don't tell me the French (people) don't love Lance. They do.
|L-R Standing: Rich McCrea, Donna Thackrey, French Guy|
Tom Michaud, Debbie Michaub
On Wall: Dave Thackrey, Mike Bandemer, David Eenigenberg.
Tomorrow I will board an early private train ride to Paris to see the final stage and to meet Ashley in Paris.
|Map and Stats displayed in Ride with GPS.com|