Every time that my wife Jan and I encounter the Tour de France in person, we learn something new. Yesterday (Sunday), we learned that some people are very — very — serious about getting themselves in place to watch the cyclists race past.
Yesterday we were driving from home base in Daglan to Trémolat with good friends from Toronto, Keith and Kathy, to have lunch at Le Vieux Logis (about which, more later). Just outside the village of Le Buisson-de-Cadouin, the road heading west starts to climb, twisting up a long hill.
As our car climbed up, we were startled to see a camper or two parked beside the road — and then, lots of them. Have a look:
And here’s another group of campers:
And here are some campers who obviously are favouring one rider in the Tour, namely the young French cyclist Warren Barguil, who rides for Team Sunweb:
Now for a bit of background, in case you’ve been wondering what all the fuss is about.
TDF in the Dordogne: The Tour has been to our département, the Dordogne, many times, but it’s not an annual occurrence. So when the route of Stage 10 was announced, it’s a big deal for towns and villages along the way. This stage of the Tour, set for tomorrow (July 11) runs for 178 kilometres, from the département capital of Périgueux to finish in Bergerac.
Getting prepared. For weeks, there have signs posted along the way, announcing that the roads will be barred to traffic. And also for weeks, all sorts of decorations have been put up in many if not most of the towns and villages — ranging from coloured ribbons and bunting, to decorated old bicycles, to a huge model bicycle-with-rider that will greet the cyclists as they enter Lalinde.
A place to watch. In case you’re not familiar with the Tour, the reason why all the campers are perched on a hill is because a hill is a great place to watch the race. As the cyclists climb, they naturally slow down a bit, so that they are not a blur as they whizz past you. Also, by looking down a hill, you get a better view of how the pack of cyclists is forming up.
What about us? This afternoon, we are just getting set — poaching salmon, roasting beef, making salads, chilling the wine and beer. There are to be nine of us friends at our picnic, at a spot we’ve found that should give us a good view. At least, we’re hoping. We leave early tomorrow morning, to make sure we reach our intended spot before the roads are closed.
More to come in a later post, once we’ve seen the cyclists.