Thursday, July 23, 2015

You don’t have to be a cycling rock star to ride with the
pros…or at least very close to them.
(Photo: Jordi Lippe)More than 12 million people turn out to watch the Tour de
France, the month-long cycling event, each year.
This year I was one of them.
Over the past 11 years my cycling fanatic fiancée, Ross, has gotten up
early every morning in July to watch 198 men battle it out on one of the
toughest courses in the world in an epic battle to claim that yellow jersey.
 So, with his 30th birthday approaching I began to research ways he could
get close enough to see the race in person and also how he could participate
in it.
 Related: Bike Around the World—These 7 Cycling Tours Will Blow
Your MindAs someone who doesn’t even own a bike I didn’t know
where to begin.
So I started a blind search of "how to ride the Tour de France when
you’re not a pro.
" While I found blog posts of how people have camped out and tried to finagle
their way from town to town with the pros, I quickly learned that a tour group
was the safest way to go.
Unless you’re a local, figuring out road closures, rules and
accommodations can be tricky.
Ouste.
A tiny little town along the route in the Pyrenees.
(Photo: Jordi Lippe)
Within days of the 2015 Tour route being announced, the
best hotels were snatched up and even if you snag one, you’re still
left figuring out parking, camping conditions, etc.
Having a tour group not only meant I could let someone else do the driving
through those endless roundabouts, but also provide meals, access to the stage
viewing and overnights.
It would be like a Tour de France butler.
Related: Philly Just Got Bike Share And It Is AwesomeAfter months of research
I settled on the group Sporting Tours UK.
They offered a trip that catered to both riders and non riders which allowed
Ross to actually ride a portion of the Tour route hours before the pros while
I watched from the sidelines.
I chose the 3-day Pyrenean trip because over my decade’s worth of
casual Tour television watching, I knew the best stages to see were the
mountains.
That is where the riders make most of their tactical moves.
Col du Port has been featured on the Tour 14 times.
Ross posed his bike after proudly completing the 10.
6 mile climb.
(Photo: Jordi Lippe)
I first revealed the news to Ross only four days before
we left.
 I’m pretty sure he remained in shock for several days.
It wasn’t until he spent an hour-and-a-half climbing mountains like
the Col du Tourmalet and La Pierre-Saint-Martin did it sink in he was in the
same spot legends had been years before him and who were about to come through
just hours after him.
It took me two hours to hike to this spot along Col La Pierre-Saint-Martin.
The riders still had 14km to go.
These were the sprinters hanging on as I cheered them along.
(Photo: Jordi Lippe)
Each day when we would meet back up at the hotel he
would recount his incredible adventures of biking through small French towns,
running into the famous Tour de France devil aka 63-year-old Didi Senft and
maneuvering through a herd of cows all while taking in the incredible views
from 7,000 feet.
At one point he even went back down the mountain halfway after reaching the
top just to ride back up again, relishing the unique opportunity.
Some may call it crazy, but as I learned from the other cycling fanatics on
my trip, it made perfect sense.
Related: Biking Lake Tahoe—Crazy Inclines, Bears and Even a CasinoWhile
I chose to skip the five hours in the saddle, I too had an athletic experience
of my own.
Prior to leaving for our trip, I imagined myself sleeping in and strolling
through adorable French towns before being dropped off right before the riders
came through.
I did get to see charming spots, but my stroll became a full on hike.
Each day I would walk over two hours uphill to get a good spot (otherwise
known as the steepest part of the climb) to catch approximately one minute of
action before walking back the bus.
Like Ross, my legs were sore at the end of the day, I had blisters on my feet
and I’m pretty sure my pedometer exploded.
Luckily baguettes and cheese are readily available before the climb to
provide sustenance.
Whether you are a cycling fan or a full-on cyclist, seeing the Tour de France
in person provides a whole new appreciation for just how massive and
incredibly challenging this race is.
In my research I also found several other tour groups that offered variety of
packages to suit a range of interests.
Trek Travel can get you a prime spot at the finish line and Thompson Bike
Tours get arrange meet-and-greets with the pros.
And if you’re like me and just going along for the ride, note that
there is plenty of entertainment in the forms of costumes, appropriate
early-morning drinking and a caravan of cars handing out free stuff an hour
before the professionals come through.
Vive le Tour!Let World traveling club Travel inspire you every day.
Hang out with us on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram,
and Pinterest.
 Check out our original adventure travel series A Broad Abroad.
  One woman gave her fiancee the ultimate vacation present for a
cycling fanatic—a chance to ride along the Tour de France.
.
I first revealed the news to Ross only four days before we left.
 I’m pretty sure he remained in shock for several days.
It wasn’t until he spent an hour-and-a-half climbing mountains like
the Col du Tourmalet and La Pierre-Saint-Martin did it sink in he was in the
same spot legends had been years before him and who were about to come through
just hours after him.
It took me two hours to hike to this spot along Col La Pierre-Saint-Martin.
The riders still had 14km to go.
These were the sprinters hanging on as I cheered them along.
(Photo: Jordi Lippe)
Each day when we would meet back up at the hotel he
would recount his incredible adventures of biking through small French towns,
running into the famous Tour de France devil aka 63-year-old Didi Senft and
maneuvering through a herd of cows all while taking in the incredible views
from 7,000 feet.
At one point he even went back down the mountain halfway after reaching the
top just to ride back up again, relishing the unique opportunity.
Some may call it crazy, but as I learned from the other cycling fanatics on
my trip, it made perfect sense.
Related: Biking Lake Tahoe—Crazy Inclines, Bears and Even a CasinoWhile
I chose to skip the five hours in the saddle, I too had an athletic experience
of my own.
Prior to leaving for our trip, I imagined myself sleeping in and strolling
through adorable French towns before being dropped off right before the riders
came through.
I did get to see charming spots, but my stroll became a full on hike.
Each day I would walk over two hours uphill to get a good spot (otherwise
known as the steepest part of the climb) to catch approximately one minute of
action before walking back the bus.
Like Ross, my legs were sore at the end of the day, I had blisters on my feet
and I’m pretty sure my pedometer exploded.
Luckily baguettes and cheese are readily available before the climb to
provide sustenance.
Whether you are a cycling fan or a full-on cyclist, seeing the Tour de France
in person provides a whole new appreciation for just how massive and
incredibly challenging this race is.
In my research I also found several other tour groups that offered variety of
packages to suit a range of interests.
Trek Travel can get you a prime spot at the finish line and Thompson Bike
Tours get arrange meet-and-greets with the pros.
And if you’re like me and just going along for the ride, note that
there is plenty of entertainment in the forms of costumes, appropriate
early-morning drinking and a caravan of cars handing out free stuff an hour
before the professionals come through.
Vive le Tour!Let World traveling club Travel inspire you every day.
Hang out with us on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram,
and Pinterest.
 Check out our original adventure travel series A Broad Abroad.
  One woman gave her fiancee the ultimate vacation present for a
cycling fanatic—a chance to ride along the Tour de France.

0 commentaires:

Post a Comment

Travel Club. Powered by Blogger.

Popular Posts

Popular Posts

.