Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Arles to L Cap D'Adge





So the room in Arles was pure luxury and we slept past 10....wonderful garden breakfast (which we later found out was $20 each - ouch!) The order for the day was to deal with the car so John took off for Barcelona airport to swap the car, the only location they have cars, and was 4+ hours away. Riley and I extended our reservation but moved to a room with 2 beds which was much more like previous rooms, tiny, tiny....but clean and air conditioned. All was fine as we were wiped out and relaxed in the morning and finally went to explore around noon. We came back around 2 for swim to cool off, it was over 90 and humid.

The riders were due around 3:30 so we headed out and it was a 2 minute walk to the bridge we were to see them. We waited, and waited and, finally around 4:15 the VIP cars, press and police started coming, but we knew from experience not to get ready until the 4 helicopters are overhead. 4:45 the helicopters where whirring and we scurried to our spot on the narrow bridge and the lead pack of 4 came by, honestly, not all that thrilled. At this point I am thinking, is this really worth it all.

5 minutes later the motorcycles come, which means the peleton is right behind them and it was amazing....175 guys that create such a force it blew off peoples hats. They were packed from sidewalk to sidewalk on the bridge, wheels are <1 class="blsp-spelling-error" id="SPELLING_ERROR_7">peleton but I could not believe it when it went by, it was like a freight train. It was so exhilarating I had goose bumps and tears in my eyes. You can see their muscles working, the expressions on their faces, truly amazing!

After that we had to rest....we were wiped out. The trip was catching up with us. New hotel nearly every night, walking for hours each day and going to bed at midnight.

Meanwhile Johns trip to Barcelona took 6+ hours due to a major accident but he did get the car swapped out- Yahoo!!! Love that guy. And then he headed to Lloret de Mar to meet up with JD. He met up with the group we started with, JD's soccer team, for the farewell beach dinner and a night with JD. They hit the road around 10 and met Riley and I around 2pm. Riley and I slept until 10:30 and barely got out of the room by noon. We had a nice cafe lunch and toured Arles. There is theater and coliseum that holds 20,000 that was built in 6AD. Very old Roman ruins, what you expect to see in Italy. Riley was very interested and it was true European history.

Once reunited with the boys we hit the road..... We stocked up with food as we now have our biggest consumer back on board. Side note, Europe is so, so expensive..... I cannot tell you how much we are spending as it would be shameful. And we are frugal. A simple breakfast cafe, water, croissants and fruit is 15Euro which is about $22. They have no tap water and each bottle is 4Euro, $6. We stopped keeping track and save when we can and enjoy the rest of the time.

We decided to not chase the tour today and head for the next Tour start, stage 5 in Cap D'Adge. About 2 hours and we found it and the Tourist Bureau was once again so helpful. We booked family room about 300M from the beach. It has Queen bed, unheard of in Europe, usually they push 2 twins together, and then a loft with 2 twins for the kids. We can see the beach and all is good. Pricey....well yes of course.

The kids and John headed for a swim in the Med and then the pool and I did a bit of work. We then rented bikes for 24 hours and went exploring. Beautiful seaside town, not too touristy and very quaint. We decided to eat in and bought a roasted chicken, warm baguette, salami, cheese, chips, cold bottle of local wine, Orangina and some pastries. We made a nice dinner on the patio. even used a towel for a table cloth. It was terrific, we laughed and are happy to be a family again.

JD did miss us and filled us with stories of his adventures in Spain when we left.

We plan to get up early, which is about 9 these days, and head to see the team buses and the riders. JD has not gotten the feel of the tour so we can do that. The official start is about 5K from the beach so we plan to ride our bikes and see them take off.

After that.....well hard to say! We may go back to El Bruc so JD can meet Andreau and Turin, Riley can see Cherub and we can our last 2 nights relaxing in Spain... Will see tomorrow.

And training...right, this is/was an Ironman blog before I started drinking wine, eating cheese and baguettes every day. Let's see - ran 45 minutes today in 90 degree weather. That's about all there is these days. Come next Monday, I am back at it.

Side note....so we rented very cool bikes. New Mtn bikes, nice shocks etc. First time I had ridden since IM CdA. All I can think of is, the bike is so darn heavy..... I am dreaming of riding the Tour Rider's bikes....