Friday, December 11, 2009

Parte Numero Cinco!!!

After those few nice rest days camping in Spain it was time to drive all the way across France in two days through torrential downpours to get to Verbier, Switzerland in time for the mountain top finsish of stage 15.


After staying the night at some shitty overpriced motel somewhere on the side of the autoroute just outside Lyon after the first day of driving I got up early and was gonna try to make it all the way to, and set up camp in Verbier by that night. After countless exits off the autoroute looking for an ATM along the way, which brought me about as close to completely losing it as I've ever been I finally made it to Switzerland. By the time I arrived it was starting to get dark, still raining super hard and the temperature was dipping down into the low 40's so I decided to check into a chalet that was literally just across the France-Switzerland border. The old dude at the front desk asked me if I wanted to see the room first and I said no. I was so tired I didn't even care and when I got up to my room I saw this gem. Matching floor and wall carpet. So awesome!

Woke up early the next day and drove the hour through the swiss alps to get to Verbier and found a perfect spot to park just about 2 km from the finish of the stage. Not a bad view for a few days.

Went for a walk around Verbier and came upon this road signage. Aw!!!

Jesus, that sign was no joke! These kids were running around singing a song about Tom Boonen. I wish I could remember how it went.

After my walk I decided to head back to the car and make some dinner on my new little camp stove. First warm dinner in a while. What's your kitchen view like?

Spent the rest of the night listening to the jazz and classical station on the radio in the car while looking out the back windshield across the valley at the mountain range. I'd have to say I was pretty content. This is what I look like after sleeping in the backseat of a car for probably the 12th time of the trip

video
A little panoramic video of the view. There was a fresh dusting of snow on the top of the mountains from the storm that came through a couple days earlier. Hung out for a while, had breakfast, got the kit on and headed down the hill to go for a little ride and head right back up the hill to check out what the big dudes would be handling the next day.

Probably one of the funnest climbs I've ever done. It was pretty difficult but the gradient didn't really change so once I found my rhythm and where my limit was it was great. Not too many people on the hill either because the stage still wasn't 'til the next day.

Early rise again the next day and headed back down the hill to do the climb again. It was really fun doing the ride the day of the stage. A ton of people riding and everyone along the side of the road seemed to be enjoying themselves. An old woman actually called me Andy Schleck on my way up the climb. Pretty funny. After my ride I got some food in me and headed up to the beer tent that was set up about 50 feet from my car to watch the early action of the stage while it headed my way. Since I don't drink anymore and I was taking up valuable bar real estate I felt compelled to spend some money and ended up drinking about 7 or 8 espressos while watching. These people were making money hand over fist. Not a bad gig, rent a couple a couple flat screen TV's, get a ton of beer, espresso and water and follow le Tour around making a ton of money.

We all know what happened that day. Alberto Contador blowing le Tour apart.

Cycling really is a family sport.


After the stage ended I decided to walk into town to check out what was going on. This mural/sculpture is on the roadside along the route . I think this is a reenactment of an accident during a Tour of Switzerland in which a cyclist ran over a goose and went down. Funny stuff.

I came upon the Lampre mechanics working on the team bikes outside the bus. I want a Wilier! Alessandro Ballan's world championship rig.

Serious stuff!


Foyer of a restaurant in town.


Spent the night in the car again and decided to load up on some groceries before heading out of town. On my way back into town the Lampre team passed me on their way down the hill for their rest day ride. I got to the grocery store and found myself grocery shopping next to the Lampre soigneurs. They were going nuts for Philadelphia cream cheese. After I finished up I decided to hang out on the side of the road and wait for the Lampre guys to head back up and caught Columbia heading out for their ride.

Lampre heading back up the hill.

Vai Allesandro! Dropped by his own team.

Got in the car and started heading towards the Col de la Colombiere for stage 17 and passed Columbia on their way back up the hill. Verbier was a pretty rad place and basically all that I saw of Switzerland was pretty amazing, too. Up next, the Col de la Colombiere. Hopefully the time in between posts won't be quite as long as it was this time.

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