I have to admit that I have been very geeky about this whole thing. JM and I used to watch the Tour in L.A., just to get little glimpses of France. Now, here we were, expecting it to come right through town!
It was obvious from looking at the schedule that was printed in the newspaper that we’d have to look fast and not blink, otherwise we would miss it, but part of seeing the Tour is the experience of being there as much as seeing the racers.
Mom was also very excited, because she has been following it on television this year and she used to watch it with Bob, so I think there was a nostalgia thing going on there as well.
It was not sunny today, and a little drizzly, which I think was probably a good thing, because standing outside in the sun for a couple of hours would not have been great fun. Of course, people complained about the weather a bit, but they always do.
The Gendarmes started closing of the streets at 11 am, and the neighbors and visitors started to gather then too. I would say that just about the whole village was out on the Tour route and there were tons of cars parked everywhere.
A brief aside about the cars: there were signs up everywhere that the Tour was going through, and yet cars kept coming down Cours Colbert (which wasn’t blocked) and trying to go through the village and over the bridge (which WAS blocked) and then seeming surprised that they couldn’t get through. Yes, if you’re not interested in the Tour, I can see that it would be annoying, but this is not an unknown event. Certainly most people can change their schedules for 3 hours once a year to let everyone else have a bit of fun, no?
Anyway, that aside, almost everyone was in a good mood. I always find the Gendarmes friendly and pleasant at these kinds of things. They’re always happy to chat and kibbitz with the bystanders, and not at all looking like they’re just waiting for an excuse to shoot you down where you stand.
We went out for the first part of the event, which is the Caravan. It’s all the publicity vehicles that go along with the tour: very loud, very bright and amusing, lots of completely useless items being tossed to the crowd and loads of fun.
Of course, Shmoo came with us, and as usual was a big hit. There is something about this giant dog with the goofy ears that just appeals to people. Everyone wanted to pat him or get a kiss and he was quite the spoiled baby. I was impressed by how good he was, and not the least bit frightened of the crowd or noise. He only got upset when I left him with JM while I walked away with the camera; he did not like the pack separating at all!
The caravan came through for about 20 minutes to half-an-hour, but the racers weren’t scheduled for another hour-and-fifteen minutes, so we came home to have lunch, although most people just stayed in place.
At 1:30, I went back out and JM waited for Mom. I got a good place to take some pics but was surprised not to see them. Mom decided to go up to the bathroom at the last minute, and she and JM missed the peloton coming through! I couldn’t believe it! All that time waiting, and they missed the event itself. So, hats off to my dear husband for being a good son-in-law, even at the cost of not seeing the Tour.
When the riders did come through, it was unbelievably fast; I have to admit that you almost can’t see a thing, it goes by so quickly. I was in a good spot, but actually had to move so as not to get run over! It was odd to see something that we’ve watched on TV so many times that up close and personal.
We’ll be eagerly watching the repeat TV coverage tonight, because one of the riders did actually fall in the village, so I’m hoping there will be at least a few shots of the Possum Kingdom for people to see.
Ciao for now.