We got there before 8 a.m. because they were going to close roads soon afterward so we had a few minutes waiting for things to get rolling. I saw “the Badger” Bernard Hinault, five time winner of le Tour, walking towards me. I whipped out my flag and pen and boldly asked him to sign. He was very gracious. Score!
The VIP area is interesting. They give away some free stuff and there are opportunities to take goofy fun photos. Some of the team members come in to their sponsors area after signing in and most go back to the buses.
The buses are where the action is and I was able to see Fabian Cancellara work with his mechanic on his bike. Then Jens came out in the polka-dot jersey for King of the Mountain and he was mobbed by fans and reporters. He handled it all with aplomb signing his autograph and posing in many photos. He made sure to stop and pose for pictures with Tanya (President of Trek Travel) and JB (President of Trek).
We began walking back to the beautiful horse racetrack where the start was staged in York. There was the injured Mark Cavendish rolling out of the parking lot with his wife driving the Mercedes SUV. He rolled down the window to greet someone and everyone began shouting encouragement and you could see he was feeling very emotional about leaving the tour.
We all met back at our bus and rode a short distance to the Cedar Court Hotel for another gourmet three course meal. I just had a starter. What I really wanted was a cheese toastie and cup of tomato soup. Then we walked a short distance to the train station and caught the express train to London.
We are staying at the Athenaeum Hotel in Mayfair. This is the biggest hotel room I have ever had in London. Tempting to just stay in but a caesar salad sounded good. This was our one night when dinner was on our own. I went in search of Chop’d for salad and it was closed. On my way back to get room service I bumped into Jim from the team and we agreed to relive our college days and go to the Hard Rock Cafe.
An hour later Jim, Steve and I were standing in line with all the 20 year olds to put our name in for a table. Two and a half hour wait so we went to the bar where we had a lot of fun remembering our favorite songs from the 70s, 80s and present day (yes I skipped the 90s on purpose). Steve’s mom was a big band singer so he had met a lot of famous musicians. We stayed out late for a night before our last ride. Totally worth it.
Tomorrow we are back on our bikes. I am excited. We get to ride the last part of the course and have VIP access again.