And I mean drove! It took us between five and six hours to get here! Jeesh! The internet service is kind of wonky again here so I am putting up this post while sitting in the lobby and then am going up to te room and hope to get some pictures up if I am still connected...
Well folks, today le Tour de France got started back up after the riders had a rest day yesterday. We drove from our hotel in Pouzilhac to the start of the race in Saint-Paul Trois Chateaux in order to catch the festivities and watch the riders take off.
Hotel parking lot this morning - lots of rain!
When we first arrived, we began walking to the start and ran into the publicity caravan which throws out all sorts of swag to the fans. Anything from hats to t-shirts to sausages, yes, sausages, Since the place where we ran into the caravan was just the very beginning, they had not begun to throw out anything yet which was unfortunate, but I’m hoping to catch some swag from them on another day as I really want one of those polka dot hats and shirts for the king of the mountains.
A sample of the caravan! I want a polka dot shirt!
We took lots of photos of the caravan and then resumed walking to the start where we ran into the line-up of team buses. It was about an hour and a half or so before the start and the riders were all loaded on the buses already. We stood there as each bus drove by and took lots of photos again. I looked for some folks in the team cars like Jonathan Vaughters from Garmin and Johan Bruynel from Radio Shack but saw no recognizable faces. The riders were in the back of the buses too and so we couldn’t see them either.
Little Tommy Voeckler's Europcar Bus!
I kind of hope Little Tommy Voeckler wins because the French will go insane!!
Garmin! Love those guys!
We then found the start and each staked out a place. I got behind an old man and what appeared to be his grandchildren and it was a pretty good spot until other people started piling in around us. It’s le Tour and everyone is excited I know!
The riders finally pulled up and I managed to get a few okay shots. I tried holding my camera up to take a photo of my man, Mark Cavendish, but it didn’t work out too well. Bernie got a great shot of him and I will have to get a copy because I love me some Cavendish, bad attitude and all.
Big George Hincapie from the US was right in front of me and I got some shots of him leaning on his bike, no really good ones of his face though. Tyler Farrar, another American was also close by. If I had had something for Big George to autograph, I would have shouted at him but I didn’t. Maybe I will bump into him again. I heard rom our original guide Katherine that if you have big boobs you’ve got a better chance of getting autographs. So, I should be okay in that department. (Sorry Aunt Linda – just being honest here!).
So exciting at the start!
It's Big George Hincapie, I promise it is!
Finally the riders were off and so were we. We actually stayed in Saint-Paul Trois Chateaux for lunch where for 16 Euro we had a three course meal consisting of a salad with chicken, leg of lamb, and cheesecake. It was all very good.
We ate outside - this is a view from our table.
We are now driving to Italy as I type this and I plan to post once we get to the hotel. We have been driving for a couple of hours and have a couple of more to go. It is chilly here in the Alps and as I mentioned in the previous post, snowing in some places. The morning actually started out with pouring rain and was quite cold, but by the time we arrived in Saint-Paul Trois Chateaux, the sun was out and it was in the 80s I would guess judging by the heat from the sun and the sweat down my back. I packed some warm clothes and will have them ready for the colder mountain stages this week.
The Alps are absolutely gorgeous as we are driving though. I haven’t taken any pictures because it is raining again and very foggy. Hopefully when we drive back through on our way to Grenoble I will be able to get some good shots.
I think that is all the news from this Tuesday in France. I am looking forward to a nice dinner at the hotel and a good night of rest so that I will be all ready for tomorrow where we will watch the race on the television and see the stage end live! Vive le Tour!
Found this one when going throught the photos just now...
There's my man Cav in the green! Woot!