I think that means something like "Live in France", which Lisa and I did for the last week. We were invited to join the RadioShack VIP program for the week, and it was a great opportunity to for me to get to know the inside people a little bit better. On the whole it was a wonderful time. There was a lot of good socializing, good food, good riding and general fun.
The trip started in the lower elevations and wine country near Gordes, France. It was very beautiful. The jagged cliffs and rock formations, accented by the wineries and old cities was beautiful. I was able to do three very nice rides in the area, the ultimate being that of Mount Ventoux. I did not take the traditional route to the top; instead, I came up first from the east slopes, then descended to meet the rest of the group that was tackling the climb and rode with them to the top. It was a big undertaking for most of them, and everyone completed the monster climb in good spirits and proud of their efforts.
Post Ventoux, it was a long journey into the heart of the Alps for our next hotel. We stayed in Les Deux Alps, which was probably as picturesque of a setting in the high mountains as you can get. It is a ski village resting at about 1700 meters above sea level, surrounded by 3000 meter plus peaks. In the winter it is obviously a ski haven, but in the summer it is also an active town with lots of hiking, road cycling and downhill mountain biking. Just prior to our arrival, they had hosted some downhill festival/competition. It is crazy for me to try and imagine riding down the slopes of these massive mountains.
We stayed in Les Deux Alps for three nights and took in two great TdF viewings. The first was up on Col du Lautaret, which is the base of Col du Galibier from the south. The setting was beautiful and really fun to be at, except that I was really missing Lisa. She came down with major flu-like symptoms on that morning, and it wrecked her for the days we were in Les Deux Alps. Unfortunately, this meant she also missed the great viewing the following day at Alp d'Huez. After a great ride in the area finishing at the summit of Alp d'Huez, I got to watch one of the most exciting stages of the Tour. After all that excitement, the group was taken off the mountain by helicopter, which was a real treat, except the clouds had rolled in, so the views were not so spectacular.
The day after Alp d'Huez was time for the drive to Grenoble for the final TT. The showdown was set with Cadel Evans in prime striking position to take his first TdF. Lisa was on the upswing and happy to be back with the group at our viewing/lunch location. We were both really happy to arrive in Grenoble after a crazy 3hr+ drive from Les Deux Alps to Grenoble. Maybe you are asking, why crazy? Hint: Grenoble is only 50km from Les Deux Alps. The traffic was unbelievable. Lisa and I stayed calm and collected though, just enjoying the scenery and spending time together. After the viewing, we split from the group and headed back toward Girona. We were sad to leave and end the fun with everyone, but we will cherish the trip and opportunities we had forever.
Now we are back in Girona and catching up on life. We came home to a clean apartment but somehow within a matter of about 15 minutes, it was a giant mess, frustrating! I guess that gives up something to do though. Last night we went out in search of a good burger and salad to quench Lisa's craving after not eating much for three days. We came away largely unsatisfied, but the date was still fun! Tonight we are headed out to dinner with a couple friends. We were planning a BBQ, but thanks to the random public holidays that shut everything down, we were unable to get any food for the BBQ. Oh well, it will still be a good time to catch up with friends we haven't seen in a long time. Better jet, dinner is in 15 minutes!
Oh quickly, thanks to Kyle for the suggestion to link my Twitter to my blog. And a big thanks to Lisa for making everything work and look so pretty!