Friday, September 4, 2009

Ladies and gentlemen the co-pilots and navigators for my trip. From left to right: Velonews 2009 Official Tour guide, map of France purchased for 9 Euro just off the Champs-Elysees, map of the Environs de Barcelona and the Costa Brava purchased at a gas station somewhere in the south of france for a price I can't remember and my iphone, purchased at the AT&T store in the marina for a price I don't care to disclose. These four things alone are what got me through 4 weeks, 4 countries and one municipality. God bless them.

After the prologue was over I couldn't wait to get out of Monaco. Not exactly my cup of tea. Stage 2 was a flat stage that ended in the small town of Brignoles. The last few kms leading into the town were on a highway that was still open to traffic when I showed up, so I decided to ride up and over a little hill just outside town which dropped down into this little spot, Forcalquieret. Seeing how the Tour was finishing just a couple kms away the entire town was closed down and they were having a little party down one of the side streets in celebration. Le Tour in your neighborhood = time to party.

Had too much at the party and you need a ride home? These guys got you covered.

Dry grass.

Green grass.
Seeing how it was a pretty flat stage it was pretty certain to be a bunch sprint finish so I found a place up against the barriers with 175m to go and sat there in the blaring sun with a long sleeve shirt wrapped around my head that I continually soaked with water to keep cool for 3 hours. When they finally came rolling through I wasn't disappointed. My man Mark Cavendish was already way out front and captured the first of his six stage victories right in front of me. Bought the brand new Columbia cap on my way back to the car and spotted this on a wall. I'm not sure what it says but I'm pretty sure I can agree with it.

After all the fun I had the day before standing around for hours on end I decided not to wait at the line for the finish of stage three and instead, watch from somewhere in the middle of the course. My trusty Velonews Tour guide suggested watching from a little town called Les Beaux de Provence, so I figured why not and headed out there.

I found a spot right near the base of the Cat. 4 climb that was shaded by trees and seeing how the gendarmes wouldn't let me ride any further decided to make this my spot for the day. This family was awesome, folding chairs and KOM gear.

After the race passed by I rode up the climb to check out the fort at the top of the hill. Pretty great views.

A vineyard on the side of the road on the way back to the car.

Self portrait/beard check #2. I don't know if you can see how ripped my abs are in this picture but, I hope you can.

After driving through Arles on my way from Les Beaux de Provence I got in to Montpelier pretty late in the afternoon and was super lucky to get a hotel room in town the night before the Team Time Trial. Woke up the next day and drove across town to get to the start and saw this ditch on the way. This was the first time and definitely not the last during the trip that I really regretted not bringing a board.

EVERYONE gets stuck in traffic.

The publicity caravan is ridiculous. Kids stand on these floats in the sun for hours everyday getting driven around France while throwing shit at people on the side of the road for sponsors that probably pay the ASO way too much money to be involved, littering everywhere they go. Not super stoked on these things. They were kind of cool looking though. I mean, come on, a giant Caisse D'epargne TT helmet with a girrafe and a bunch of other crazy shit? Makes a whole lot of sense to me.

Anyway, I made it to the start area and was instantly stoked. I love the shit out of TT bikes and these Giants are some of the coolest. Murdered out.

These Wiliers are nuts too. I love the curved downtube.

The Place de Comedie.

Gimme Gimme Gimme Gimme Gimme Gimme I want I want I need!!!!!

Did a quick walk around and found a pretty good spot to watch the first couple teams fly by from.

I was standing around for a while and was starting to get a little bored and then all of a sudden... Are you fucking kidding me?! Is that, it is isn't it?

The fucking Devil!!! This dude is one of the original super fans. So stoked I saw this dude.

Back to regular ass waiting.

Then, they came! This was the first time in a few years that the Team Time Trial was back in the tour so I was pretty stoked. Caisse D'epargne on course.


Shitty or artistic? You make the call. Rabobank.

Vai Alessandro!!! Alessandro Ballan and Team Lampre. Love the dude, love the team.

Then there's this dude. Eric Zabel knows a thing or two about winning and this year decided to share some of that knowledge with Mark Cavendish. It's kind of made a difference. If you don't know this dude, get your hands on a copy of the Hell On Wheels DVD about the T-mobile team during the 2003 Tour. It's pretty damn awesome.

Bob Stapleton.

Remember the whole Allez Kim! thing from the first post? This is where it came from. There was a Kim Kirchen fan club consisting of about 15 kids and three or four adults outside the Columbia bus chanting "Allez Kim!" over and over again for about a half an hour til he came out and signed autographs for them all. Needless to say, they went apeshit.

Oh, Carlos.

Team Cervelo warming up.


One of my favorites. Full time lunatic, time trialing bad ass and purveyor of the best chamois cream in the biz, Dave Zabriske.

Fuck this guy.

Lucky bastards. If I had that in the focus things might have gone a little smoother.

Holy shit! I found a hole in the fence and snuck in to the invite only area. Team Saxo Bank. And crocodile.

I would like this bike a lot more if it was just called the TT instead of the TTR. Bjarne Riis is a bit much for me.

Lance Armstrong's Yoshitomo Nara TT bike that he would use in Annecy. When I first saw it I was blown away. Yeah, go ahead, touch it.

Alberto Contador is a bum. His bike is pretty nuts though.

This team absolutley fucking killed it. Any stage that there was a chance for Cavendish, these guys were at the front. So strong, and Hincapie's my boy so...

The mob scene around the Astana bus.

Levi and Kloden.

Yep. Hey mister, gimme some stuff.

Til the sun goes down over Santa Monica Boulevard! I had to. I wonder if there's any Sheryl Crow on that ipod.

And then there was Ben. So hot right now. It took every ounce of my strength not to remind him at the top of my lungs that you never go full retard.

Yes Christine Taylor, their legs are very big.


Dirk Demol, Paris-Roubaix winner and full time bad ass.

Kloden heading to the stat ramp.

Lance Armstrong being escorted to the start ramp.

Alberto Contador being escorted to the start ramp. See a difference?

Johan Bruyneel getting some love.

Everyone's going nuts!

Everyone's leaving.

On the way back to the car I saw this guy. I'm really in to the whole step-through, mustache bar thing right now.

Well, that's it for stages two, three and four. They were all totally different and all really fun. Up next is stage 5, Barcelona and Andorra. These updates take for fucking ever. You better be enjoying them!

No comments:

Post a Comment