20 June 2010

I'm going to France!

The time has come to depart!

I am (almost) ready to travel to France. I have my communications almost sorted out, my accommodations set, my transportation ready and waiting. Of course it feels like I still have 100 things left to do, but that doesn't stop me from having a dinner party tonight, yes the night before I leave for 5 weeks. How joyously crazy is that?

Even though the weeks ahead are unknown outside of a framework of locations, I am so grateful to have the freedom to go. I am thankful to my family (who make it possible), house-sitter friend, and other friends who have encouraged me to go for it.

I look so forward to my journey. Why would I want to go anywhere else? Why would I want to ride a bike anywhere other than France? These questions are not really questions, but statements. I love riding in France. I like thinking about it in future present and past tense. I simply like the style of being in France.

I am also going to the Tour de France for a 6th time in 2010. If you are in France look for me. I will (not being wearing my new team kit which did not arrive in time, bummer) be wearing nondescript black and white clothing on a very flashy black and yellow Scott bike. I will be one of a zillion fans at Stage 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, and 20 of the 2010 Tour de France.
Here's my plan:
Stage 13: Cote de Saint Ferreol 7.5km from finish in Revel
Stage 14: Start in Revel
Stage 15: at the top of the last climb of Port de Bales (I'm staying in Luchon)
Stage 16: either on Col de Peyresourde, or on the Col d'Aspin
Stage 17: Finish on top of the Col du Tourmalet (staying near Argeles-Gazost)
Stage 18: Start in Sallies-de-Bearn
Stage 19: (traveling to Paris by plane)
Stage 20: in Paris on the Champs Élysées (my Birthday!)

The rest of the time I will be wandering about in the Pyrenees. I will be posting stories and images of my travels. I will be staying in Saint Savin, Gan, Arrens-Marsous, Biert, Crechetes, Guchan, St-Martin-le-Vieil, Saint Mamet, Beaucens, Paris, Toulouse - here I come!

And I will be seeing how fast and how slow I can ride up some of these climbs: Col d’Agnes, Col de Ares, Col d'Artigaux, Col d'Azet, Col de Buret, Col de la Core, Col des Marrous, Col de Mente, Col de Pailhères, Col de Port, Col de’Portet d Aspet, Col du Portillon, Col de Tramassel, Horquette d’Ancizan, Lac d'Estaing, Pla d’Adet, Plateau de Beille, Spandelles, Superbagneres. And a few repeats up Col du Tourmalet, Col d'Aspin, Col du Peyresourde, Col d'Ichere, Col de la Marie Blanc, Col du Soulor, Col d'Aubisque, Luz Ardiden, Hautacam. And perhaps by the time I return to the USA I will better remember when and why some of these climbs are Col du, Col de, or Col de la. Col d' - well that's any easy one.  

One of my favorite pictures of France, the road east of Lourdes heading to Bagneres-de-Bigorre. What an amazing experience to be on that road on a bike.