Springtime in Paris may bring flowers, but summer brings the Tour. This year there are 21 stages and almost 2,200 miles. We caught Stage 4 and a moment of Stage 5 as the race passed near the Loire Valley. The first day we saw an individual time trial, which was fun since there’s something to watch for 6 hours as the 178 riders are sent out one at a time to beat the clock on an 18 mile circuit around the town of Cholet. The start, finish and pits area were all within a few blocks of each other, so we got to see a little bit of everything including the riders slumping over their bikes after they cross the finish.
The next day was a more usual road course between two towns. We picked a spot on the side of a country road and waited for the pack to come cruising through. The anticipation built as the helicopters, team vehicles, press motorcycles and police cruised past us in a seemingly endless parade. Then out of nowhere, the peloton appeared, and swept by us in a 20 second gust of wind. And that was it. We got in the car and drove to Leonardo Davinci’s house in Amboise for lunch.