7.TwentyTwo.20Ten

M+M on Col de Marie Blanque

M+M on Col de Marie Blanque

Although the weather in the Pyrenees continued to be cooler and cloudy (with bouts of rain) it was still wonderful setting to be vacationing and watching the TdF.  We had to get up fairly early this morning to get to our location on the hill (Col de Marie Blanque) since many of the mountain roads closed early.  Our original intention was to ride from our hotel to the Col de Marie Blanque (which Max had done the day before), however due to the rain we decided to take the bus and then hike up the road once at the base of the mountain.  The Spyns group reserved a private chateau just a km or so from the base of the Col de Marie Blanque.  We were hidden away and out of the rain… plus they provided big screen televisions (plus food and spirits!) for viewing of the race.  Of course, Max and I decided that we couldn’t be this close to the race (IN FRANCE) and not view the stage in person so we moved out of the chateau toward the base of the mountain.  As we got there the rain had subsided so we continued on up the road hoping to make it to some steeper sections for better (slower) viewing of the riders.  We hiked up another 4 km to the “5k to Sommet” banners.  This was a perfect spot!  Not too many folks around… we could see the riders come around the first corner, pass on by (in arm distance reach), and then around the next bend toward the summit of Col de Marie Blanque.  We ran into two friends from our group… Larry and his father Bob (who had just turned 70 this year).  Bob decided it was his onetime chance to run along side of the riders… so he took his shirt off (in hopes of getting noticed) and ran along side of the breakaway for about 100 ft before falling into the dirt on the side of the road.  It was very fortunate that he did not fall into the road in front of the riders… that would have been bad!!  With my coordination and the speed of the riders I would not trust myself to make a successful run.  I opted for the photo shots.  Once the breakaway and the giant peloton passed by we worked our way back to the chateau to watch the finish on the Col de Tourmalet on the big screens!  It was a great day!

The lion of the TdF Caravan

The lion of the TdF Caravan

Walking into Escot (base of Col de Marie Blanque)

Walking into Escot (base of Col de Marie Blanque)

Escot

Escot

Max 5K from the Col de Marie Blanque (Cat 1)

Max 5K from the Col de Marie Blanque (Cat 1)

Breakaway Group leading up the Col de Marie Blanque

Breakaway Group leading up the Col de Marie Blanque

Chase 2

Chase 2

Peloton

Peloton

Peloton cont'd

Peloton cont'd

2010 TdF Chamption - Alberto Contador (yellow jersey)

2010 TdF Chamption - Alberto Contador (yellow jersey)

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