Tour de France 17' Experience

My name is Frank Renia of the Nederlands.

I rode my bike almost everyday during the Tour. I also did recovery rides. I had some mountains in mind that I wanted to climb. On my last vacation, 2 years back, I  had a Garmin Forerunner watch, now I had a Garmin Edge 800, so I had much better view on everything I did and where I was, that was really so much better.

I went to Alpe d'Huez, Col de Grand Serre, Col du Lautaret en later to Col du Galibier, that was a spectacular view and a good climb to do. I was afraid of it, I thought it was gonna be to steep, to tough for me, but I managed quite easily. But after all these climbs, I just got bored of always climbing in France. There is no flat ground; only climbing. I just did not have any motivation anymore, in more and more climbing, and decided spontaneously to go home, and that felt really good.

That Tour passed through my French village, on the way up to Col de la Croix de Fer. This is normal over there: they climb to Alpe d'Huez, descending from Col de la Croix de Fer, or they climb up to Col du Glandon/Col de la Croix de Fer, every year. If they don't finish at Alpe d'Huez, they will pass by real close, and they will go to Alpe d'Huez next year. For French people, the Tour HAS goes through this region. A Tour without Alpe d'Huez or Col du Glandon/Col de la Croix de Fer is no real Tour.

Watching to Tour pass by is a life changing experience. Two hours before the peloton passes by, first the comercial caravan passes by, and they throw away a sorts of souvenirs: French cheese, meat, stickers, hats, magazines, bags. Than you have to wait for a long long time. I went to the bottom of the Col de la Croix de Fer at a hairpin to see the "tete de la course" come by, but they climb up real fast. Later the bunch passed me by, I caught a drinking bottle from Rigoberto Uran Uran. That was nice. Exactly where I thought they would drop drinking bottles. Two years ago, Chris Froome did the same over there, I think also to please the crowd. I ran back inside a restaurant and watched to whole ride on a big screen tv. But nobody understood how important my Cannonade-Drapac bottle was for me, but that is ok. It was a good venture!