Tour de France, Giro d'Italia, Vuelta a España, Tour Down Under and more
I know it's corny, but I didn't know what else to call it, and I didn't want to pollute the actual race discussion thread, so here's my TdF experiences.
Today was the first riding day with the Cycling Australia tour group. I'm definitely in the bottom 5 of the riders. But I expected that. Today we rode the last 75 km of the route. I forgot to turn my garmin on and missed the first 5km, and seeing it was down hill and flat, lost a chance to boost my averages. Oh well
Todays ride consisted of one cat 3 and two cat 4 climbs, but with more downhill than uphill. I have plenty of photos and a couple of vids from the finish line, but need to load them all and check them out before posting them. The last 15km was pretty much stop start with lots of traffic lights as we were riding in to Lyon and riding in amongst the French traffic. For those who have never been outside Australia, riding on the right hand side of the road and in amongst the traffic, even though minimal toady, is learning experience. Sydney traffic has nothing on the traffic here.
Anyway, here's my Garmin details from todays ride.
The tour is lead by Scott Sunderland. Scott's very good at breaking down the days action, both as it happens and post race, usually at dinner. He also provides pretty accurate predictions about how the following days race will pan out, who the major team and individual players will be, and what Sky has to do to defend the yellow jersey. Scott also tells a lot of pretty good stories from his racing days, not just about his races, but more about other riders and events that he witnessed.
The tour organisers run a pretty good show. They have a couple of vans, that keep us fuelled and hydrated on the ride. Get ahead of us and scout out good photo locations as the bunch rides past. And generally look after us riders very well. So a big shout out goes to Will Maley and his team, both on and off the road.
On the coach heading for our first ride.
At the end of the ride we got to hang out for a bit behind the scenes.
Checking out the media centre behind the scenes.
The official race callers booth. Right on the finish line.
The dint left by the Green Wedge.
Where we get to hang out for the afternoon and watch the race. It's located about 120 metres from the finish line.
Heading for the hospitality zone for VIP's.
And there are a lot of VIP's, so more like a back stage pass.
The view from up top.
The coolest job of the day.
We picked up an escort on the way back to the hotel.
Shortly after we arrived back at the hotel, all the official tour cars started arriving. We're not sure who is staying here, but lots of people walking around with official TDF lanyards.
Unfortunately I'm having problems loading my videos, so no action shots of the actual race at this stage. For todays finish we were sharing our area with the sponsors of OPQS. There was a lot of shouting as the break away and Albasini and Matteo Trentin raced for the line. And then there was a lot of champagne.
I'm getting the same message.
I think in your garmin settings you might have it set to private or something like that.
Looks like a fun time though.
Sent from my GT-P5110 using Tapatalk 2
OK give it a try now. Changed it so everyone can see.
Couldn't get wifi last night so haven't had a chance to upload anything and we're about to head and climb Ventoux today. The mountain was absolutely crazy yesterday. And Aussies everywhere. If you're wearing an Aussie jersey (as we are) the French crowds shout out "allez, allez, Auzziee" as ride past. I can definitely say that the crowds give you a lift worth 3 to 5 kmph (maybe 1 to 2 km going up 7%+ gradients) an hour as you ride past.
Here's yesterdays ride. Only managed to get to the 15km to go banner before the crowds and official vehicles made it impossible to get further up.
Gees it felt like a bit of a nightmare at first today. But then it turned in to an awesome experience. Photos later. Dinner time now, after a very long day.
Oh, I forgot to turn my Garmin back on on the decent for the first 6km and only realised when we passed the chateaux.
Last edited by briztoon on Tue Jul 16, 2013 7:48 am, edited 1 time in total.
So you will be on Alpe D'huez on Wednesday ?... I think half the world will be riding it the day before the tour comes through!.
We have about 10 bus loads going up!.
Look out for the Americans in yellow kit... They are all ex or serving vets, lot of the wounded,we meet them at the Madona de Ghissilo ( bad spelling! ) today, one guy is in a hand trike... He made it up the Gavia yesterday!!!... Awe inspiring.
Stage 15 up Mont Ventoux was crazy. We road from about 60km out, over a cat 4 climb and in to the town of Bedoin at the base of Mont Ventoux. The town was a sea of people. We then headed for the mountain with the plan to ride up as far as we could then head back down before the road closed. We'd get changed and find some where on the Mont to watch the race.
A couple of us only made it as far as the 15km marker and just couldn't get past the official vehicles and fans heading up the mountain. So we took a couple of quick photos and headed back down.
Tour organisers estimated there were close to 400,000 people on the Ventoux yesterday. Some of us decided it was just too busy to head up the mountain that late to find a decent vantage point, with the race not due to come past for another 2 hours. So we headed in to Bedoin to catch some of the side action, then headed about half a kilometre out of Bedoin, where we had ridden in that day.
This is 4 hours before the race came through just down from the 15km banner.
These boys road up Ventoux then back down.
Sky chasing the breakaway.
The peloton went past us at about 80kmph and I've never felt a wind like it. No wonder guys can sit in the middle and do little to no effort, they get sucked along.
Road up Ventoux today. It was the hardest day of my life.
Pre ride prep.
I made it.
I road from 7.8km up to the Simpson Memorial with a Dane named Jesper. We road at the same pace and got talking, encouraging each other etc. Seriously, without Jesper I don't know if I would have made it. We stopped at this natural spring out in the treeless zone to refill our water bottles. Jesper is all black. The sweat just poured off us, like does on Froome.
That was seriously the sweetest water I have ever drunk.
The Simpson Memorial. Jesper decided to stay here after the photos and I continued to the summit alone.
We road down the back way from Ventoux, the scenery was stunning, so were the roads.
We ride up Alpe-d'Huez on Thursday in front of the crowds. I saw kids as young as six riding with their parents, a father towing his son in a bike trailer up Ventoux today, as well as three guys on roller blades kitted out in latex going up. The father was yelling out with every peddle stroke and every one who passed him yelled out encouragement.
Two of our group made it up in the top 450 (out of 12,000+) on Strava. I was second to last in our group.
Short ride and much easier than yesterday, but a long day. It's just gone on midnight, and we're home, showered and fed. No photos tonight as I'm too tired to upload them, etc. Have to make do with just the Garmin summary.
Tomorrow/today we climb the Col du Galibier and thursday we climb Alpe-d'Huez.
Yesterday we rode to the village of Gap, then up the Col de Manse and down to the finish line. The decent down was pretty hairy as they had hosed the surface to cool the tarmac, but that just brought the oil to the surface. It was much narrow and steeper than what it appeared on the t.v. coverage, and I'm not surprised Contador crashed on the decent.
After we finished the ride we spent the afternoon watching the race in Izoard hospitality zone, and had a official tour of the media centre.
On the ride up to Col de Manse, we had this mountain to our left.
The view of Gap from the Col de Manse.
The La Flamme Rouge.
Behind the scenes of the interview area.
Everyone relaxing in the Izoard hospitality zone.
Riders coming through the finish.
The rides and the schedule are getting pretty intense, so I don't have the time to upload and post photos at the moment, only my Garmin details. I know they're nothing special, but felt like putting them up anyway.
If you ever have the chance to go on such a tour, do it. Don't stress too much (like I did) about your level fitness or skill (or in my case, lack there of). Riding is all in the mind. Before I arrived in France, the tallest mountain (and I use the term very loosely here) was Mt. Gravatt in Brisbane.
Alp d'Huez was crazy, the ride up was partly fun checking out and being cheered on by the fans, partly chaos with all the pedestrians and riders heading up the Mountain, and partly seat of you pants numbing as it started to rain half way up and I was exhausted by the previous days riding. I had literally nothing left in my legs by the last couple of kilometres (much like Froome) and it was a case of just keeping turning the peddles over.
And then the ride down was pure chaos as half a million people try to descend off the Mountain, or climb back up to their lodges. 13 kilometres down hill squeezing the life out of the brakes and zigzagging between cars, vans and thousands of other bikes.
What an awesome day.
So riding up Alp d'Huez in the rain and cold took it's toll on me and I woke up with a cold. Myself and a couple of other riders took today off and stayed in the start village of Bourg-d'Oisana, and checked out all the team cars, buses, bikes, watched sign on and riders roll out. Sat around and ate pizza and watched the race on a big screen. Hopefully I am well enough for our last day of riding tomorrow.
Anyway photo time. You guys can put names to riders as I don't know them all. Oh, check out some of the riders in the back ground as you might see a Cav or Sagan or Gilbert, as well.
If I had wanted to I could have reached out and patted Andy Schleck on the the shoulder, I was that close to many of the riders. Instead I just called out names hoping to get a wave likes hundreds of others and cheered the riders on.
Arrived in Paris last night. We're going for a ride on the Champs Elysees today with 5,000 other people as part of the tours 100 year celebrations. I'm in the process of still uploading a lot of photos from the last couple of days. A lot of riders, bikes, team cars, and buses, and some action shots from stage 20 Annecy to Annecy-Semnoz.
Our final stage ride for the tour was from our hotel in Chambery up the Cat 1 Mont Renard and back down to our restaurant near the village of Les Deserts on the race route. Only thing is our tour guides didn't tell us that we would have to ride up hill from Chambery to intercept the race rout at the bottom of the Cat 1 climb at the village of St. Jean-d'Arvey, so it felt like we rode up a Cat 1 climb to then start another.
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