The Big Day. July 18th 2012 Go Cadel!! (except he didn’t)
Day 17 of the 2012 Tour de France ride. Our group had the most heavenly unforgettable day today sitting on the zig-zag slopes on the way up the Col de Tourmalet in the 32 degree heat with our Aussie flags and yellow Tour shirts on and the stupendous mountain ski slopes all around us and the deep blue sky above.
It was a day to remember and so much fun!!
The Col du Tourmalet mountain road above us was totally lined with campavans. It was chaos.
Every fatso in Europe comes there to get a sunburn and pissed whilst waiting for the Tour de France climb and hopefully get their heads on the telly.
We hoped/wondered whether some might fall off the edge – campavan and all…..
To just tell you the amazing facts: the head riders (Wiggins and Cadel Evans would have been nice but No) came through Bareges at 2.25 pm . They rode 12 kms up this steep MOTHER of a mountain in TWENTY minutes doing an average of 20 kms per hour which is beyond my comprehension.
So they reach the summit at 2.46 pm in searing heat! I took 30 minutes to drive up yesterday (because of the chaos of vans, people, on-coming traffic, cows, sheep, cyclists n crap everywhere on this narrow road.
BUT – this was the 2nd hill they had already done yesterday and although the highest – they had TWO more mountains to ascend afterwards!
Are you impressed????
They rode 197 kms.
I shall never show off again about my legs being pistons (which they are). These guys are super-human machines.
I shall also confess now that I shan’t be returning as Elle McPherson after all.
Thank god for elasticated waist pants. Dammit.
Far too much beautiful French food and wine each day…
I’m so shat off. We are exercising hard for 5-6 hours every day (even today we did about 4 hours up n back to the Col to watch le Tour de F) and we are all getting fatter!
It was so exciting to see first all the advertisers zooming past in their open vans hurling marketing junk at us and dancing to hip hop and then …….
6 huge thrumming copters flying up the valley towards us filming.
We went spastic and formed large flags for the camera and screamed our heads off.
Then photographers arrived and positioned themselves and then it went all quiet as we waited for the first 3 riders to come into view.
Very thrilling. The peloton just looked like a herd of buzzards zooming past but we saw Our Cadel in the midst and shrieked him on (see the photo – there is a chopper in the background like Where’s Wally.)
Those poor riders must get yelled at continuously for 21 days straight!
Afterwards we strode off down the mount with about 8 million other cars and walkers and cyclists and got back for a shower and a beer and then to the pub to watch the rest of the Tour de France for that day.
Ahhhh……… you should have been there!