Yesterday I witnessed stage 19 of the annual Tour De France, Albertville to Saint-Gervais Mont Blanc, and it was AWESOME. It was hands down by far one of the coolest things I’ve ever done.
Mom and I got up at 7am and walked 7.5 miles to the hill overlooking the small village of Talloires, where we camped out for 4 hours on the hillside, eating fresh baked fromage (cheese) bread from the bakery and drinking beers from the campsite beside us for 1.50 euro each. We got there about 10am with racers expected to pass around 2pm. We weren’t the only ones with this great idea, there were many spectators, locals and tourists alike, who had arrived before us and many pouring in and filling up the winding hillsides up until showtime.
The hill where we sat was on top of a winding road full of twists and turns with a steep incline at first which becomes more gradual towards the end. I’m very proud to say I cycled all the way up this hill last week when cycling the lake… How cool is that to say?! I cycled up one of the hills on one of the most arguably difficult stages of this amazing race. However this hill is only a warmup for what the cyclists where going to endure that day. After they whizzed by us they were to climb Mont Blanc, the highest mountain in the alps.
At around noon sponsors came through, blasting music, cheering through microphones and throwing out free samples to the crowds. They really know how to amp up a crowd! I’m not much into parades anymore but yesterday I was just as excited as all the kids around me.
Everybody loves free shit. People were going crazy, not only the kids, but full-on adults, leaping, jumping, stealing other peoples catch, items such as colored pencils and juice boxes. A green bucket hat landed at my feet, which I would obviously never wear, and I gave it to the little kid next to me. Mom caught a cookie and some mini colored pencils from a bakery truck. After the parade, with an hour until takeoff, I walked down the hill into the village for a bathroom, stopped for espresso and bought two beers to-go and back up the hill I went. I had perfect timing, just 20 minutes later the riders arrived. Helicopters were circling overhead.
The breakaway group (first group of riders) passed they came and went so fast. I was expecting them to be kinda slow since we were on a HILL.. When I rode up that thing it took a solid 30 minutes, however I am no professional biker, that’s for sure! There were about 20 people in the first group. Also- shout out to JP Kraus for keeping me updated on whereabouts of the riders prior to their arrival!
And then came the rest.
My heart was pounding, watching these cyclists was so unexpectedly exhilarating I actually began to tear up. Crowds were roaring cheering these riders on. I didn’t expect to feel the way I did watching them cycle through these hills. There was so much build-up in the morning of hurry up and waiting, with such a short but so sweet result. As they passed six helicopters hovered above us. I felt like I was having an out-of-body experience . It was seriously life changing. This race is a commitment to 21 days of racing over 800 miles. Incredible. #goals
It all came and went so fast. It was probably one of the greatest stages and locations in France to watch. I imagine Paris will be insane with hundreds of thousands of people gathering. Lake Annecy was perfect and calm.
The 8 mile walk back to Annecy was upon us and it was all worth it. We ended up walking 17 miles total, walking through quaint small villages, along the lake and that morning stopping at the best bakery yet, called Boulangerie Le Fournil De Mon Pere.
I told myself no bread this day.. But the smell literally hypnotized and drew me in. The line was out the door. This bakery is in the village of Menthon Saint Bernard and is where we purchased the loaf of cheese bread. The most delicious bread I’ve ever eaten, it was so pillowy soft, like a cloud, melt in your mouth fresh with chunks of local white cheese. Outstanding. I also sampled a quiche and mini chocolate croissant. Best one on lake Annecy yet!
We walked along the lake back to Annecy, a storm was brewing and it grew dark and cloudy but it was so beautiful.
Finally made it home around 6pm, made some dinner and then watched 5 hours of Outlander on Netflix. I highly recommend this show to anyone looking for something good to watch. It is intoxicating, couldn’t stop watching. #netflixandchill
Now we are going crepe tasting..