Friday morning, Ged and I will be leaving Florence and driving 620km (385mi) to Morzine, France to ride part of stage eight of the Tour de France on Saturday and watch the riders come through on Sunday.
In case you're from Mars or live under a rock, the 97th TDF has been underway since July 3rd and continues on until the 25th.
As a result, it's been TDF madness in our apartment. We're constantly checking riders' twitter pages, various blogs and daily race re-cap videos. This is definitely a time when you realize the greatness of the Internet.
Friday: Leave Florence in the early morning.
Drive the six hours to Morzine.
Set up our tent on the side of a mountain (which is a ski resort in winter).
Saturday: Ride the final part of the stage near Morzine, then turn off and head toward the nearby lake.
Watch the match for third place of the World Cup.
Sunday: Engage in celebration and fraternize with other Tour enthusiasts.
Cheer on the riders as they finish the stage that afternoon.
Watch the World Cup Final.
Here's the lowdown on the part I'll be attempting to ride:
I circled the path we're planning on riding in the picture below. Going downhill first then veering off to the right to head to that lake, then coming back the way we came and climbing up that hill.
The particular part of the stage we'll be experiencing is circled below.
Lastly, here's the gradient and altitude info:
All of the riding I've been doing has basically been in preparation for this. While I know I'm a slowpoke and I'll be riding next to the old boys on clunkers come Saturday, I'm still excited to be in the atmosphere of this grand spectacle. I've never been exposed to Le Tour before, so the greatness of it all is coming at me pretty hard and fast.
The chaos that has struck it so far is only adding to my anticipation. Loads of crashes, blood and broken bones. Ged's own giddiness is adding to my anxiousness as well.
You can expect some fantastic photographs from me and maybe even news of getting to touch one of the riders as he climbs by. (Hint: I'm hoping to give Lance a good push up if the gradient is steep enough)
After France, we're headed to Spain for further debauchery and shenanigans. Not to sound dramatic or anything, but you for sure won't wanna miss what happens in Espana.
So, now that I've given you all the information you could possibly want to know--diagrams, gradients, altitudes--I think the only question left to ask is Can I do it?