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  1. #1
    Cowboy up
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    Touring with Le Tour

    Salute from Metz! I am cycling in France and Belgium and seeing some of the Tour de France stages along the way. I have met many great people and visited beautiful towns along the way. I am even being hosted by locals in Metz for the weekend. Metz has been fantastic to visit and I am grateful for their kindness.

    I will ride to Nancy today and then train to Besancon for the time trial. Then go to either Etapes 10 or 11. Probably Col du Grand Colombier or Col de la Madeleine or Col de la Croix de Fer. Any recommendations?

    I learned about the rivalry between Metz and Nancy and if one is hosting a TdF stage the other will have to be included, hence the start at Tomblaine. This has its roots in the region's influence in the wars including Franco Prussian, World War I and Word War II. en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Metz

    I started riding in Lille and rode to Tournai for the finish of stage 2 won by Cavendish. Then I rode to Orchies and saw the early part of stage 3 outiside of town. Next rode to Saint Quentin to see the finish. I took a train to Metz to see the finish the next day.

    I saw Peter Sagan winning stage 6 in Metz from inside the 25 meter line. The place erupts when the race arrives.











    Ciao!

  2. #2
    Anphaque II
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    Just kidding !


    Sounds like an awesome trip/adventure!

    And thanks for sharing the awesome pics! I really like the '4:00 O'Clock' angle shots. It really shows the gaps/depth of the sprint finish.
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  3. #3
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    Whoa!!! One of those things I'd wanna do before I croak.... I am envious Oh now gotta save up some $$$ hahaha

  4. #4
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    Thou shalt not covet thy neighbor's French cycling trip.

  5. #5
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    So cool! More pics please!

  6. #6
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    Great time!
    Mapie is a conventional looking former Hollywood bon viveur, now leading a quiet life in a house made of wood by an isolated beach. He has cultivated a taste for culture, and is a celebrated raconteur amongst his local associates, who are artists, actors, and other leftfield/eccentric types. I imagine he has a telescope, and an unusual sculpture outside his front door. He is also a beach comber. The Rydster.

  7. #7
    Cowboy up
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    Bonjour from Besançon. I've been enjoying spending time with people in Metz and Nancy. The tour however has gone on without me in Tomblaine and Besançon. I met an American couple in Nancy and they invited me for lunch on their canal boat. They've done many boat and cycling trips in Europe. I still wanted to visit the cities the tour was in. The cities are all amazingly beautiful and I will post some more photos of them later.

    Etape 3 outside of Orchies

    Breakaway group. They stayed away much of the stage but were caught in the last few kilometers IIRC.



    Peloton









    Etape 5 Saint Quentin. At about 200 meters from the finish. I made a video of the sprint that I will post later.









    He looked at me and was clearly not happy. Caught in a crash and bloodied. Still, I would like to have the talent to be in his place.





    .
    Last edited by Art853; 07-10-2012 at 12:21 PM.

  8. #8
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    Great pics--thanks

  9. #9
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    It looks as if Mr. Cav is growling right at you!
    What a great trip.
    Next year in Paris!

  10. #10
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    Thanks for sharing!! My Number 1 thing to do on the bucket list

  11. #11
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    Wife and I are flying there on Saturday from Seattle to follow the last week. Needless to say, I'm not getting much done at work. Threads like this do not help either.

  12. #12
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    Great photos!!! Keep them coming; you are bringing all of us there with you

  13. #13
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    I took a train to Albertville. I will ride up the Col de la Madeleine. A friend from France recommended the Col de la Croix de Fer. He would have to recommend it. It's twice as far and the Madeleine is in between.

    A few from Besançon.

    Citadel



















    I will start the Etape 11 route Wednesday.
    Last edited by Art853; 07-17-2012 at 05:41 AM.

  14. #14
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    Starting in Albertville I met two friends at the bottom of the Col de la Madeleine and we rode up the Col. I knew they were in the area and I recommended they rent touring bikes for the Alps but I didn't know I would see them that morning. They continued to Saint Jean de Maurienne and I rode up Col du Glandon continuing along the stage 11 route. It was a difficult stage and I thought the time gaps would be significant.

    Col du Glandon






    I translated his German as "HTFU."


    On the climb to Col de la Croix de Fer


    Col de la Croix de Fer






    She barked when I showed her her photo.






    Lead break arrives




    Followed soon by Maillot Jaune group




    It gets hectic fast with the MJ peleton.








    Last but not least over the Col de la Croix de Fer with one teammate.

  15. #15
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    Great Pic's, thanks for sharing!!

  16. #16
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    fantastic.

    what camera/lens setup are you using?

    extremely jealous, mind if I ask roughly what the trip has cost you?

    Chad

  17. #17
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    how did you organize where you would go/be, did you use a "tour guide" service I have seen advertised?

    Chad

  18. #18
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    just one more question, are you camping along the way or are you staying in hotels?

  19. #19
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    I am really jealous. I just spent the last week in Paris on business but couldnt get out of the city at all. I really wanted to get to a few stages. I was lucky enough last year to be able to ride some portions of a couple stages.

  20. #20
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    More from Col de la Croix de Fer



    Orienteers from New Zealand and Australia. They ran up to the Col from the last town and down at the end of the day.







    Caravan arrives







    TV crew arrives followed by an inquiry.



    Lead riders were hammering hard to the Col









    The descent












  21. #21
    Cowboy up
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    Climbing Col de la Madeleine I met up with some friends.







    Wild strawberry. Amazing flavor.











    I could hear his bagpipes for about 20 minutes while riding up the col. Great sound. He is in fact from Scotland and has the thick accent to prove it. He was fun to talk with.



    Friends in high places






  22. #22
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    Damn!

    Great pics! That is a great trip!

  23. #23
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    niiiiiice
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  24. #24
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    Wow thats some great shots, Thanks for sharing. My wife and I are going to celebrate our 20th anniversary in france next year, Hopefully I will be able to catch a few stages.
    It's not about reaching your goals, It's about rising above them

  25. #25
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    I then rode into Saint Jean de Maurienne to see the stage 12 start.....and missed it by an hour or so. Ooops. I didn't realize it started about 11 am and it took me longer to get there than I planned. I saw my friends again so that was fun. I met a guy who said he was at the Garmin bus during the warmup and Christian Vande Velde came over to talk with him and was very friendly. He was happy and enjoyed the start because it is a rare chance to meet the racers.

    I considered riding over more Cols in the Alps to return to Toulouse but I decided to take a train instead. In order to get my bike on the train I had to go to Lyon. In Lyon there there were few options so I went to Grenoble for the evening. The next day I was able to board a train to Paris and then to Toulouse.

    Grenoble in the morning. Fête Nationale.



    Fête Nationale celebrations being watched in a bar near Gare de Lyon.



    Fireworks in Toulouse







    Public bikes!

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