Tour de France 2011
Last week I was in France for a wedding and being an avid cyclist I had to check out where the Tour de France would be traveling during my trip. I really wanted to go to the 2nd day of the tour to see the time trials but that would have involved a 6-8 hour drive to the far western edge of France. Instead we decided to rent a car and catch the finish in Lisieux, a small town about 100 miles from Paris.
The town was easy to find and we scored an awesome parking spot about 200 meters from the finish line. I’ll admit, I had no idea where I was when I parked on the side of the road. It just looked like a good point to pull off and have a lunch. A British man approached and said he just found the finish line was right around the corner! SCORE!!
We walked around the awards podium a bit and tried to get into where the team buses would be parked. No luck. So we picked a spot at the 300 meter mark where we could see a bend in the road and the finish line. Now we wait…
Overall the kids were in great spirits. During our almost 4 hour wait for the riders to come by, there was a parade of floats passing out candy, stinky goat cheese puffs, hats, shirts and even a car passing out laundry detergent? All of the excitement trying to catch the schwag from the vendors made the time pass by pretty quickly.
Some of the more famous floats headed up the procession. I love the lion.
As the floats and parade of race support cars started to thin out, the black clouds moved in. The wind kicked up and the ran began to fall. We scurried to put on our raincoats and I was doing everything to keep my camera dry! Luckily it rained just long enough to get everyone significantly wet and then the sun popped back out just in time for the riders to come by.
The 4 hour wait was well worth it to be able to see the Tour de France in person. I have watched it on TV for the past 10 years and to actually experience it first hand was a thrill. More importantly I was able to make memories for my kids that will last a lifetime. Here is an image of me (sporting my Pelotonia 11 t-shirt!) and my daughter. I think she has caught TDF fever!