Chasing the Tour – Part one, the dream

It was July 2012 and the 99th edition of the Tour de France had just finished on the Champs-Elysees.  Mark Cavendish took the stage off the lead-out wheel of the Malliot Jaune Sir Bradley Wiggins, Chris Froome dreamt of the day that he would be allowed to lead the team, and that was it.  The broadcast ended, and those 3 long weeks of late nights, early rides and sleeping under the desk in the office whilst the boss was in meetings was over.

  Cav, Froomedog & Wiggo celebrating Team Sky's dominance of the 2012 Tour de France

Cav, Froomedog & Wiggo celebrating Team Sky's dominance of the 2012 Tour de France

The very next priority then became working out how we could be at the 2013 race, the centieme anniversaire edition of le Tour de France.

It had been a life-long dream - well, perhaps not life-long but I do recall the exact moment of the dream taking hold in 1997 when I was on a family holiday to Fraser Island.  My Uncle said that an Australian company Bikestyle was taking groups of cyclo-tourists to the Tour de France to follow it every day, every stage, live – and after 16 years of dreaming I was pretty sure that 2013 was the year that this dream needed to come true!

… and yes, if you ask Claire she will tell you that I’ve use the same ‘excuse’ to justify my two prior trips, but in my defence- neither of those had actually included riding - they were mostly drinking wine, eating fois-grois and collecting things from the Tour’s Caravan! More importantly, I proposed to Claire at the 2010 Tour de France so I'd consider that pretty fair warning that the Tour would likely play an ongoing role in our life!

  I decided that bringing 6 PMU hands home from the 2010 Tour was a good idea.  Now that they've spent 3 years in a cupboard, I've decided they'll make a great wedding present for TeamKP's Ash & Alix!

I decided that bringing 6 PMU hands home from the 2010 Tour was a good idea.  Now that they've spent 3 years in a cupboard, I've decided they'll make a great wedding present for TeamKP's Ash & Alix!

  One can never have too many Carrefour casquettes (especially true when your man-crush Tommy Voeckler is the reigning KOM!)

One can never have too many Carrefour casquettes (especially true when your man-crush Tommy Voeckler is the reigning KOM!)

Anyway. Fast forward to June 2013 and I’d obtained permission from the Minister for Fun & Finance (Claire) and twisted Aaron’s arm to come for the adventure.  Training was complete, bikes were packed and bags were in the “taxi” (read: call the family last minute and ask them for a lift!) and we we’re all heading off for 17 days in the Alps, Pyrenees & Paris. 

  Go on baggage handlers - give it your best shot! 

Go on baggage handlers - give it your best shot! 

Mark Ross convinced me that we should consider a ‘taper’ before our Tour (ok, I’ll admit that I didn’t take much convincing- it was a freezing cold morning at MySweetopia and the suggestion of storing the bikes and exploring Europe in the summer was fairly attractive at the time) so we booked a few weeks on the front of the tour to explore Europe as well.

Plus Claire had been training particularly hard under the tutelage of Crankstar Coach Steve George, TeamKP Mentor and all-round hard-man Craig Briant and the rest of the supportive and encouraging TeamKP and I figured she’d probably appreciate the break too!

So au revoir Australie, bonjour et bienvenue France and Vive le Tour!

Well, that was the plan… if it wasn’t for that pesky ‘enforcer’ at the Virgin Check-in counter who had other ideas!

Cam

 

P.S. For the record Claire is pretty excited that she covered as many KM’s training in the first half of 2013 as she did in the entire year of 2012, and if you ask, Claire can also recount from memory the exact additional number of vertical metres and increase in average speeds for good measure!

Cameron is the Club Captain of the Kangaroo Point Cycling Club and will be blogging his way around France with the support of Claire the Treasurer and Aaron the President of the Kangaroo Point Cycling Club.

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