Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Part six, six, six!

After leaving Verbier I drove back towards France the way I came passing cyclo-tour group after group riding through the passes which made me super jealous. The weather was perfect and the terrain looked super fun. I had shit to do though, namely get to the Col de la Colombiere for stage 17.

If you can't ride it, I guess driving it isn't that bad. I can't remember if this is before or after my car got searched when I was crossing the border back in to France.

After a few wrong turns which ended up actually yielding a few positives, including a camping pad that I'd needed a couple weeks earlier, I finally got onto the Col and found a pretty great spot to camp and spend the next couple days.

My view looking out of the front of my tent until two German or Belgian or whatever the fuck they were jerks came through and put their tent in front of mine blocking half my view. Words were exchanged, but you can only get your point across so well when you're yelling at dudes who don't really speak your language and seeing how there were two of them, both bigger than myself, fighting wasn't really an option, and yes, at this point in the trip I almost would've fought anyone. They didn't show up until the second day though so for one night this was mine, all mine.

Got the tent set up and went for a hike half way up the trail across the road and came across this little guy. I was half scared shitless, half amazed. I didn't, and still don't know what kind of animal this is. It was getting dark so I decided to head back to the tent, make some dinner and pass out.

Woke up and still had another day to kill before the stage came through, so I decided to finish the hike I started the previous day. The view from about 2/3rds of the way up.

The trail to the ridge line is near the right border of the frame. The view from the top was amazing. To one side the Alps and to the other the valley below and Lake Geneva. There was some haze in the air this day so the pictures toward the lake aren't that great.

A 360 degree view from the col. Filmed this with my digital camera and for whatever reason eventhough I rotated it, blogger won't upload it properly. Turn your computer or head for full effect.

The hike back down was rough. It took longer than I expected to get to the top and I didn't bring enough food so I was a little shaky on the way down. Had to get a flick of the sign though.

Aloha Fixed sticker smack-dab in the middle. After I put the sticker up I headed to the little restaurant at the top of the climb to watch the end of stage 16 on TV and drink some orange soda. If you don't remember this was the stage that Jens Voigt took that horrible fall during, when it happened everyone watching had the craziest reaction. It was pretty gnarly.

This is what I woke up to the day of the stage. Wind and rain.

HQ. Salami, chocolate dipped rice cakes, box of orange juice and an assortment of other crap. I decided to wait the storm out inside the tent.

Things can get really boring. This is a study of the creases in the tent fabric.

Passed out for a while and woke up to semi-clear skies and an oven for a tent. The heat and the sunburn I got from the hike the previous day gave me a nice red hue.

Unzipped the tent and looked across the valley towards the road to see things had gotten a little more crowded from when I woke earlier in the day.

Bikes and bikes!

Walked a few kms downhill from the summit and found the perfect place to watch the race from. Check me out! I'm directly to the right of the graphic at 1'32" wearing what looks like all black and again at 3'49" on the left of the frame for a split second yelling at Lance. Pretty damn stoked.

After the the Schlecks, Contador, Kloden, Armstrong, Nibali and Wiggins, Pellizoti in full KOM kit and bike and Dave Zabriskie came through. This was the closest I had gotten to the riders all tour and by this point they looked pretty rough. Andy Schleck looked like he was 50 and Wiggins looked like a skeleton. It's crazy what these guys put themselves through.

After his awesome solo effort earlier in the stage Thor was in no mans land, behind the leaders but still ahead of the grupetto. This guy is an absolute beast.

Back of the first grupetto. Vai Allesandro!
Tony Martin leading another group. He's gonna be a good one.

Allez Kim! Cancellara on the far left and a bloodied Cervelo rider with Kim Kirchen.

This is why you don't even bother trying to drive or even really ride off a summit finish or crossing for probably, at least, 45 minutes to an hour afterwardds.

Aforementioned tent ruining my view. Fuckers! After the stage was over I decided to be lazy and camp another night before making it down to Lake Annecy for the ITT. I mean, come on, would you want to leave this?

Up early, try to leave nothing but flattened grass behind.

It was a little windy.

After almost having a nervous breakdown due the fact that I couldn't find the one key I had for the car, which had fallen out into the grass somewhere while I was packing, I was packed and ready to roll.

Off down the hill towards Annecy.


  1. Great update man. Fantastic photographs (as usual), but I really wanted to see a flic of the Belgian/Germans tents getting pissed on or set fire to as you were driving off.
    Two things though some of the video links were not working, and that little animal was a German/Belgian critter known as "dinner", "supper", "good eats", or "lady friend" to hill folks.

  2. The links are working fine now. SNOWDEN and windstorms. Party.

  3. when I got back from my hike and saw the tent there I almost pulled the stakes out of the ground and let it get blown away by the wind. I'm still pissed about it.

  4. I figured if anyone would watch that cliip and be able to hear the music it would be you. Hilarious.