Yorkshire Rocks Stage 1

Everywhere we went today there were cyclists and walkers and drivers headed to the somewhere along the Le Tour de France Stage 1 route.  Estimates range from 1 million to 3 million people lining the course. At the end of the race Paul Sherwen said that the racers will not be dealing with sore legs so much as sore ears from the crowds shouting all day. There were a few occasions where the fans did not leave enough room for the peloton. Overall the atmosphere was fantastic and Yorkshire should be proud. 

We cycled from the top of the moors (14 miles) to West Tanfield. Brian and Gabe did the full 52 miles today but the rest of us chose to give our legs a break.The scenery was even more breathtaking today and the weather cooperated. If you saw it on the telly–the photography was untouched. It was really that beautiful today.

Trek Travel arranged for a private room at the Bull Inn in West Tanfield with a television, lunch service and easy access to the course.  The first “rush from the room” was for the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, aka Prince William and Kate. It was lovely to see how thrilled all of the Yorkshire people were to have their support. It was fun to observe how great both of them are at meeting and greeting people, especially children. One person overheard Prince William jokiing with a young boy who ran round to get in line for a second handshake.

Trek Racer Jens Voigt broke away with two other riders from the start. Then Jensie shed those two after the first big climb. The last climb of the day did him in and the peloton caught him before West Tanfield. We were about 30 kilometers from the finish so the peloton went by very fast. It was thrilling. How can they go that fast on these hills???

In the last 500 meters Trek Racer Fabian Cancellara made the race even more interesting by charging past the sprint trains and going for the finish. Unfortunately he ran out of gas before the line. The stage was won by Marcel Kittel of team Giant-Shimano. For me this was completely overshadowed by Mark Cavendish’s crash. His injuries have most likely taken him out of the Tour.  I am disappointed for him and le Tour. It will be less exciting without him.

We had quite a hike to the car (parking was some distance from the village, thus incentivizing bicycling to the race). We had time to shower at the Timble Inn and meet up on the patio for canapes and drinks. Another delicious dinner was on offer but I was still full from the Steak and Ale pie at the Bull Inn (yum).

Tomorrow is an early start and I need to pack. Good night.

Brilliant Day in Yorkshire

On the eve of the Grand Depart of the Tour de France, Trek Travel gave me a taste of the wicked hills of Yorkshire. 

 

We met below the Timble Inn (excellent ***** accommodation) and got fitted on our bikes. Love the all carbon bike with the new shifting system. Sorry I do not know all the names of the bike model and gear–I am saving that brain space for remembering the names of my fellow riders!

Off we went with our trusty directions and 2 guides, Sam and Gabe.  Ilona was driving the van and she kept reminding us the van was our friend. How true! First she gave me a lift through A59 so I did not have to cope with the traffic whilst going uphill. Then she helped me get the last 3 miles to Grassington so I could eat lunch before 2:30.  It was a long day of hilly climbing. The amazing Yorkshire countryside made the suffering joyful.

Even though there were snacks and drinks galore, I could barely take on water from the heartburn. My fellow rider Laurie thinks it from all the time over our handlebars. We stopped at Boulton Abbey along the way and I met a group of riders near the restrooms who are from all over North America and New Zealand, met on a ride in India, and reunited to ride in Yorkshire and watch the Tour.

We enjoyed Grassington and had a lovely sandwich in a pub next to a table with 2 giant yellow labs and a Schnauzer. The atmosphere was fun from all the cyclists who have come into the County to see the Tour de France. 

We got a lift in the van to the Timble Inn and had time to shower and rest. Then met for our coach to the Trek Racing Team’s hotel in Skipton. Gabe downplayed what we might see since on the eve of the Tour the team had a lot on their minds. We met the team liaison Nathlie and she gave us an opportunity to see the Trek Racing Team vehicles including bike mechanic/kitchen van and the team bus. The German members of the team were watching the Germany-France World Cup game on the big screen at the front of the bus. Thankfully Germany won and there was much cheering. 

The bus is fascinating–a motorhome like interior with every inch cleverly providing some function. Not a lot of comfort though when you think about 12 people are in it when they are on the go.

Then Nathlie arranged a meet and greet for us. WE GOT TO MEET THE ENTIRE TEAM. It was awesome. The staff came too. Afterward the people who spoke with the chef shared that the racers have a calorie count on their computer and it is his job to replace those calories everyday. Sourcing wholesome nutritious food is easy now that he has done it a few times.

We then went to dinner and enjoyed traditional Yorkshire pudding with beef and gravy. Yum. This is not what the team ate. They had quinoa and salmon with lots of vegetables. Jens Voigt was telling us that he will start the race at 4.5 body fat and drop to 3.9 by the end! 

It made us feel better when we heard the racers say Yorkshire is hilly! Even to them.

Then it was off to the the Timble Inn for a much better night’s sleep than I have had since I left the States. Good thing because we have another challenging day of riding ahead to get to our viewing Pub on the course. Cheers!