Stage 16: Col d’Aubesque, Pyrenean Glory

Beautiful beautiful beautiful. I have to resist singing “The Hills Are Alive!” when I arrive at my mountaintop destinations. Col d’Aubesque, the second HC climb of Stage 16, is best described in photos...... … [Read more...]

Stage 16 – You Call Yourself a Sprinter? The Irony of Tour de France Sprinters

“Hey man, you a sprinter or a climber?” “Oh yeah, dude, I’m totally a sprinter. I got these huge hulking sprinter muscles that are just too big to haul over a mountain, know what I mean?” This is how a conversation might go amongst amateur sprinters, and with good reason. If you live in criterium-land as I do in Southern California, you could destroy the field as a great sprinter … [Read more...]

Stage 15 – It’s All About Celebrating All the Small Victories In Between

“You don’t have rooms??” “You have not reserved hotel?” “You have no where to stay?? IN THE PYRENEES?????” In many accents, said in many different ways, I was told not fewer than once a day that I was crazy for not having booked all of my rooms months in advance. “There are 5,000 people who work for the Tour de France,” explained Amoury Sports Organizer … [Read more...]

Stage 15: Inside the VIP Village

Two weeks into the Tour de France, and today was the first day I’d indulged the fruits of the VIP Village. Full of food, snacks, news, chill areas and places to catch your breath before diving into the storm, the Village was much more welcoming than I’d thought! I thought it was going to be an awful, crowded mess of a place full of useless schwag, which is why I hadn’t visited the … [Read more...]

Stage 14: In With The Crazies

It’s easy to criticize a bike race and it’s players from afar – he should have done this, he should have done that, how could he X, Y, and Z, etc. But experiencing things first hand is a whole different ball of wax. Today I had the privilege to drive the course from Revel to Aix 3 Domaines, which included an HC climb and a Category 1 climb. You could tell which of the cars had … [Read more...]

Stage 13 – Through the Valleys of Hell, to the Meadows of Sun(flowers)

The bounty is always sweeter when you’ve had to go through hell to get it. This is one of the reasons Le Tour is the revered bike race it is – three weeks of grueling racing, over cobbles, through crashes, through the many cities, towns, and miles of roads. Making it through the race is a feat unto itself. Winning it and you have the delicious bounty you’ve trained your whole life for. My … [Read more...]

Stage 12 – Hors Hell

Riders and teams race through beautiful scenic landscapes, up and around beautiful mountain passes and get squeezed down to just a lane that one motorcycle can fit through. However, the stage setup crew, the VIP and Tour de France Village crew, and many of us press folk get to ride the “hors course”, which means “off course” in French. This is the route that is meant to get you to the … [Read more...]

Stage 11: “On Tears And A Contagiously Good Attitude”

Mark Cavendish did it after Stage 5. Cadel Evans did it after Stage 9, and again after Stage 10. When you’ve been holding it together for long enough, “being strong” can wear you down and break that dam of tears you've been holding back. This morning, after just one more frustrating exchange with a French receptionist, I bit my lip and ran to my car to keep from bursting into tears … [Read more...]

Rest, Celebrations, and the World Cup

MORZINE, FRANCE – The Tour pace is go-go-go – wake up early, push through traffic to get to the start, scramble to the start, rush to either the finish or some picturesque point along the road, then scramble to the Press Room and the finish to see how it all shakes up. Sunday evening after Stage 8 atop Morzine-Avoriaz, the city celebrated both the Tour de France and the World Cup by opening … [Read more...]

How to Give a Good Speech and Stay Classy When You’ve Had a Bad, Bad Day

Today, Stage 8 of Le Tour de France (Station des Rousses to Morzine-Avioriaz) was a rough day for Lance Armstrong – a couple of crashes and lost time. I admired how composed he was in the face of disappointment and physical exhaustion from racing, then having to answer to the world’s media. “Horrible-ness happened – now please tell me about it,” to paraphrase the questions inquiring … [Read more...]