Saturday, August 9, 2008

July 30 Clermont L Herault to Boissoron 135 K

Who won the Tour De France? I'm in France and I haven't been able to follow the Tour. Back home I'd be glued to the tube watching the daily highlights and enjoying commentary by Phil Ligget and Paul Sherwin and even Bob Roll!!! My bike repair was complete and I was pulling away from the bike shop by 11:30. Today I had a French road cyclist come up alongside on a big climb and we ended up riding and talking for an hour to St Martin (???) where he continued on and I got me an ice cream bar. It was another extremely hot day. Oh, did I tell you, every day has been blue skies and bright sunshine and hot!!! This part of France reminds me of the Southwest USA. A mix of arid & semi-arid climate, even cactus here and there. Vineyards for days I've been passing. I also stopped for a walking tour of St Gilhem of the Desert, a very old town with a women's monastery. St Gilhem was Charlemagne's cousin, I believe, who walked away from his Nobility to answer the call to be a monk. The town is listed as a UNESCO sight.

Thursday, August 7, 2008

July 31 Boissoron to Bedoin 135 K

Today was my "Roquemaure" day, my laundry day. Going through this town I spotted a laundrymat and my clothes needed a laundrymat. Smell the point??? But as I attempted to read the directions I couldn't figure it out so I flagged a young guy down out front and, VOILA, he spoke English really well. So he helped me do the laundry by reading the signs for me and also typed a blog post to let you all know "I was alive and well in Roquemaure". After cycling through France for 5 weeks I will never take a dryer for ??? This afternoon I met a Swiss cyclo-tourist named Nicole who is 2 weeks into her first ever bike tour and loving it. We road together for an hour (photo) until we went different ways. It was nice to have a good conversation in English. But don't these people who speak 4 or 5 laguages fluently tick you off : ) . And too I was buzzed by two fighter jets today. That was shocking, cause you don't hear them coming. They just appear.

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

july 31 Roquemaure

alive and well and mont Ventoux is in my view . more soon !!

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

August 1 Mont Ventoux 45 K

WOW! What a day! What a mountain! What a climb! Mont Ventoux is everything you've heard and more. If you are a cyclist, Mont Ventoux is ranked as the most difficult climb in professional cycling. For sure, the most difficult climb in the Tour de France. I chose to climb the infamous, more difficult side from the village of Bedoin. It is 22 kilometers from the centre village. The first 6K are at about 4-7% with a 100 meter flat spot just before the famous hairpin turn to the left and the beginning of the wall. At 15K from the top there is a sign, The Geant Of Provence. 10%, and I think more at times, it goes up, up, up, never an easy kilometer. Truly an incredibly difficult climb. I have respect for all the recreational and club riders who can claim they've climbed Mont Ventoux. And my repect for the pros who race this mountain has gone up a zillion times. I tried to imagine being in the TDF and approaching Bedoin after 120 miles of racing in the heat and facing Mont Ventoux. Awesome. I took some photos at the top and got my just rewards fo climbing, I got to roll down one of the greatest mountains in the world. I was smiling and whistling all the way down. Not a car or a cyclist passed me.