Tour de France 2010!
I realized how much I liked biking when I went to the Tour de France last year. Cycling was always my least favourite part of triathlons until I went to France… actually seeing the tour changed my entire perspective and I got really into cycling. It is one of my favourite sport events! For the month of July, I’m pretty much waking up at 6 every morning to watch it. I couldn’t miss the tour this year, so I left for France on July 19th with my mom to watch the final stages. It was very exciting from the beginning even though it started out with absolute carnage. An amazing tour makes for an amazing trip!
We started in the Pyrenees, in the town of Luz St Saveur. The first day was sunny and beautiful so we got to see what the area looked like before the fog and rain. It had a very different feel from the Alps but I just love being in France! It’s so nice to ride my bike around and drink café au lait in quaint little town squares…little things that make me happy! On the tour rest day my mom and I went biking to Gavarnie to check out some nice waterfalls. The weather held up for the most part, and it was so beautiful!! Later in the afternoon we biked over to the thermal springs and went swimming with a bunch a dudes in speedos and serious, serious bike tans!
I was ready and excited to bike up Tourmalet on Thursday. I had gone over my plan with Dr.Paul, who did my knee surgery back in may. He didn’t want me to ride tourmalet but there wasn’t much stopping me, until I woke up that morning and saw the weather. It was pouring rain and 50 degrees. Just awful!! We had to leave at 7 am before they closed the roads and I decided against it at the last minute. My mom and I met up with Wendle, Liz and Britney and we all dressed up and went into town as the riders came by. There was a massive screen in the town square where we watched and drank cappuccinos. A lot of Spanish people were there and obnoxiously cheering for Contador, but it was an AMAZING stage. It is crazy how those guys can just race up there like that and make it look so easy when it’s a 10 % grade.
We went to a local bowling alley that night. I haven’t been bowling in years but it was so much fun! The next morning we left for Bordeaux to watch the end of the stage. Wendle had passes from Phil Ligget and I was lucky enough to get one! We watched the race in the Versus trucks that were live on the air. Then went into the finish chute and I tried to blend in with doping control at the end of the chute. Success! It was ridiculous as soon at peloton arrived! Liz and I were just watching the chaos.. and somewhat participating.
Throughout the tour, I loved seeing the Canadian flag up on the leader board. Ryder Hesjedal did extremely well in the tour and I’m a big fan. He makes Canada proud not only because is he a top cyclist, he was also one of the nicest that I met.
The next day was the time trial and we had passes for the finish. Unfortunately the roads were closed all day, we couldn’t even bike there! We went to a chateau along the course with the Oakley crew and drank wine while watching. Love France!
After the time trial we rushed off to the train station and hopped on a TGV up to Paris. I have to admit that I have very mixed emotions about the last day in Paris. Its always fun and such an incredibly exciting atmosphere, but also the last day of the tour.
In Paris we went into the media area on the Champs Élysées. We scored a spot right at the finish line where all the TV cameras were. When the riders go by it feels like a massive gust of wind. We were so close that I couldn’t even lean out over the barricade because I would have been hit !
I went down to the Columbia bus and drank champagne… and got soaked in champagne there thanks to Mick Rogers! We stopped by the Cervélo bus for more champagne.. and more champagne. I rarely ever drink, but the Tour de France is an exception. An empty stomach and a few glasses of champagne meant that I was feeling pretty good at that point.
We went into the street to watch victory laps and met up with the barricade renegades. Liz was drinking champagne with George Hincapie and Wendle passed the flag to Lance! Within hours, the news had broke and she was on all the news sites… We had a ridiculous celebratory dinner at a Brasserie in Paris. It was such a great day!!
Paris is my favourite city in the world. I have spent a lot of time there since I was young and know my way around really well. Better than most cities in North America even. I stopped by a YSL exhibit at the Petite Palais and also discovered the most delicious macaroons EVER at LaDuree.
I had a blast at the tour this year and it was better than I could have ever expected! I hope that my knee is fully healed so I can do the Etape again and stay longer than a few days. I’m always sad to leave Europe, especially after the tour! It makes it a little easier when you have things to look forward to though… I am shooting a new campaign with Under Armour on the 4th and I am so excited. This fall I will be moving to New York City and taking time off school to pursue my newly discovered passion. I can barely wait!
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