12 July 2012

I am in France

And loving every minute of it
I arrived into Lyon. My bike did not. But now my bike is here. It decided to stay an extra day in Los Angeles, California. But a miracle worker at Frontier Airlines managed to transport the bike on British Airways without me checking it in. I don't understand the workings of not possible, but apparently much is possible when others believe it is not. So now, I have a bike in France. 
A strange thing happens when one resigns to not having a bike on a cycling vacation - other activities can be just as fun. Sure the added hours at the airport three times and the time spent on the phone and texting took away some quality time, but that can be subtracted from sleep, not from doing fun things. After all this is vacation - routine is not expected or maybe even desired. 
I went to the Tour de France yesterday. First I want to admit that I walked through the barriers. Middle-aged women can get away with a lot, no one was going to throw me out, I look like I could be Tejay van Garderen's Aunt. My only dilemma was trying to figure out how to climb over the barricade in a skirt, but that problem resolved itself when I saw a break in the fence located behind a team bus, and skirted right through (pun). There was no hesitation, I moved the barrier aside and walked through replacing it behind me. I was back where I feel comfortable, walking around the team area, recognizing faces and seeing familiar characters, sites and scenes. 
Riders spent time with family and friends, talked of the day's plans, offered interviews, visited with staff, and where more than courteous to fans. The scene was truly fantastic. So pleasant that I had to remind myself that an incredible competition was about to commence. I was keenly aware that those at the Tour de France are the best of the best, the true top in the sport. The best riders were there, the best support staff, best mecahnics, talented drivers, successful photographers and writers, people who really know what they are doing. This after all is the Tour de France, the greatest sporting event in the world.
I would like to share some images from the day - my time watching the riders with friends and family and French fans. 

All photographs by Karen at Pedal Dancer® (click any image to enlarge)
This is the Tour de France
Manuel Quinziato in interview
Orica Greenedge kangaroo
George's bike
Tyler Farrar
Some family time for George Hincapie with his wife and son (and daughter behind)
Sylvain Chavenel
Egoi Martinez discussing stage plans
Tejay listening to an interview question
*** Please see more photos from Part II : Photos from Stage 10 Tour de France