19 July 2014

Two hours from the Tour

We are so lucky to live where we do...and we are constantly grateful for our opportunities here. Our location between the alps and the sea mean that we have relatively easy access to both.

We utilised our access to the alps this week to watch Stage 14 of the Tour de France. There were 3 steep and/or long climbs in this stage but we chose to wait for the riders at the Col du Lautaret which sits at 2057 metres altitude. While this Col wasn't the highest point, it offered the best parking opportunities. It was a fortunate choice because we heard later that the roads to the other high points were closed to traffic last night!

We left our BnB at 6.30am and were in our chosen position (after several changes and a few domestics!) by 7.30am.

Our road was closed at 10.00am. Closure heralds a lovely peaceful silence during which the waiting crowd settle themselves. This peace is short-lived though...soon the people realise that they have the freedom to walk all over the road, graffiti the bitumen, talk, laugh, cycle, dance, party, blow horns...and all of this comes to a head with the arrival of the caravan.

After dancing to the music of the caravan and scrambling for the treasures thrown from the passing vehicles, the crowd settles again in a tense wait. The next signal to get excited comes with the arrival of helicopters (4 of them!) which initially fly over to view the situation at the summit but soon become constant companions as they hover over the cyclists winding their way up the climb.

When the breakaway and peleton finally arrive they pass far too quickly. Then a stunned hush falls over the crowd as each person comes to terms with the end of a great day...





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