THAT TIME I RACED IN FRANCE

TODD BROWN


YES, I HEARD THE RAINDROPS.  Yes, the road was wet.  No, I didn't expect a downpour.

But, there I was cutting through a warm and balmy wind when the heavy clouds opened up.

And, it felt good...

... instantly I was transported back to 2004, the summer of my first - only - Tour de France.

Little did I know rain was going to be a big thing.  That's what happens in France, in the summer.  And, I mean a lot of rain.

But, it's not the end of the world.  Because, like this morning, it's warm and balmy at the lower altitudes.

I wanted to do 2 things for sure:  ride as many stages as possible, and be on the Alpe D'Huez for the time trial.

As for the first, we rode a ton.  Like, 8 of 10 days and 800 miles.

Famous stages.

My favorite was descending the Col De La Croix de Fer.

We left in the rain, climbed up in the sun and dried out.  Stopped at the top, and bought an ill-fitting t-shirt.  When we came out clouds were gathering.  It was time to go fast.

Just as we got going a team of young Spaniards came flying by.

It was on.

Whether there were 9 hairpins or 90, I'm not sure.  

I am darn sure I've never been more on the edge... stressed my tires more... nor had more fun than that long race to the bottom. 

Carving 180 degree turns hard. 
Slicing fastfastfast bends. 
Stabbing the brakes.

All 20 or so of us jockeying for position.

Not a car in site.

Nothing better.

It's funny how a rare rainy day can bring back a singular point in time.

The TT up AdH was just what I hoped for.  A giant, giant party.  All day... really days in advance... but especially that day.  100's of 1000's on both sides of the road, and the fastest racers alive coming by 1 at a time for hours.

That's entertainment.

I breathed deep and thought of my pals.  We swore we'd go back again.  The closest we got was riding all the stages of the Tour of California in 2012.

That was also the year we got going in the bike biz, it wasn't yet PEDALindustries but we were on our way.  And, it all started with a T-shirt... 

... there's something about a t-shirt that fits amazing, gets softer the more you wash it, and uses an ink you can't even feel.

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166 lbs 
UpperBody and Core
7.5 hours sleep
https://www.strava.com/activities/3688614105




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  • Mark Nebeker on

    Dude, I was there, for the last two weeks, riding all that awesomeness, watching lean thoroughbreds dance up Alpe d’Huez, had breakfast with Cheryl Crow that morning. You probably passed my butt up one of the climbs.

  • Mark Nebeker on

    Dude, I was there, for the last two weeks, riding all that awesomeness, watching lean thoroughbreds dance up Alpe d’Huez, had breakfast with Cheryl Crow that morning. You probably passed my butt up one of the climbs.


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