No one else had joined us overnight, but one car and one other campervan got in during the first part of the morning. After breakfast we walked up the road, passed a bunch of cows, cut across a field uphill and into La Rosiere. We are parked just below the ‘2 km to go’ sign as we passed it just around the corner and up the hill a bit. There were, contrary to what we’d been told was allowed, quite a few campervans parked in various places.
We saw a small area of cement next to a building near the upper end of the village – it was fenced in and had a dog house in one corner. I looked in and there was a real St Bernard lying inside looking very unhappy. We read the sign and apparently she (her name is Cybelle) gets walked 3 times a day for an hour each time, but I don’t think she wants to be in a cage with cement the other 21 hours – poor thing.
The fnish is quite something – a whole large area for the tv crews, along with a huge screen showing, at this moment, the end of yesterday’s stage. Much of it is roped off from the public, but we got around it and over to the other side for a cappuccino at a nice outside table overlooking the finish area.
It was the most expensive cap we’ve had yet – almost 3 times what the previous high was. It was also very different from what I’d become used to in Italy. There wasn’t nearly as much creamy foam, and it was extremely strong but very good. I added the rest of a packet of honey that Colin had taken from a previous cafe for me, and that wasn’t enough so I added the small chocolate that came with my cup. I know, for some people that’s almost like sacrilege but so I made a cafe mocca – I don’t care, it was now delicious.
Walked back down to the campervan and looked at various places to park a chair – i ended up across the road and down a bit from the spot I’d originally chosen so I wouldn’t get the group of campervans in the background of all of my shots.
I took Mo for a little walk down the hill towards the campground, and there are several campervans parked right across from the entrance. At least a couple of them are British, and there’s a fairly large group of folks in yellow shirts that got off a tour bus that’s parked in the campground’s driveway.
Not long before the racers arrived a white van came along honking it’s horn and hanging pink t-shirts out the window – I thought it was like at other races and they were selling them for 20 euros each, but they were actually throwing them out for free. The Belgian lady next to us got two and when she saw my look of disappointment she gave me one! I was so happy – I ran inside the campervan and changed into it immediately – it’s beautiful and long and fits great.
The fellow in the car that arrived this morning set up a table and is selling knives that have wooden handles with bike racers on them – apparently they have ‘lock-blades’.
The Belgian man had the race on his tv so we knew how close they were (in addition to hearing the heli’s somewhere below us). About 1 minute before the first racer appeared two amateur riders came up – I almost shouted at them to get the -blank- off the road. What were they thinking? That would never happen at the Tour.
Finally the police motos and the first rider arrived, followed about a minute later by a group of four that contained Daniel Martin, Adam Yates, Geraint Thomas and Romain Bardet. The camera-moto was driving right alongside them and was pointed directly at me – maybe I’ll be on tv!!
Nibali came along a good 10 or 11 minutes back of the leader – I guess this is just a warmup for the Tour for him, although he did look good – not as if he’d cracked or anything.
It was at least ½ hour until the last rider passed, and within about 20 minutes or so we had taken down the flags and hit the road. Downhill on switchbacks for miles and miles to the town of Bourg-St-Maurice – must have been a horrible climb up for the racers.
Just after the town we turned up a small road that is on the route of the final stage of the race tomorrow – there were signs that said it was closed and a couple of campervans came back down towards us – they said they were taking a different route but we decided to keep going. The Belgians were right behind us, as well as a couple of other campervans and once in a while we saw a black arrow on a yellow-green background pointing us ahead so we knew we were still on the right road.
We passed through an area called ‘Valley of the Glaciers’ – I took a photo of the sign, then my next one was of a snow covered mountain. Colin pointed out later that it was almost the exact shot that had been on the sign, and I hadn’t even realized it at the time.
We pulled over for a moment at the summit of the next pass, and the Belgians and others passed us.
Down down down, past the Lac de Roselend and the town of Beaufort, then up up up again – time to start looking for a camping spot. We passed the Belgians at a place that had 3 or 4 others in it, but there wasn’t room for anyone else.
We continued on a short ways almost to the town that is at the summit and decided to turn around and go back to a very small spot just below where the Belgians are. It is the perfect size for the campervan so we pulled in and got settled.
After dinner I took Mo for a walk – just across the road from us there’s a sign that indicates that 3 different walks start there – one is 5 minutes, one 20 and one 45. I followed the very small paved road down and it ended very shortly in the yard area of 3 houses and a small barn. No indication of where any of the trails went from there so we hiked cross-country up the hill and back to the road.
Just before 8:00 we saw a farm-lady walking in the middle of the road, and then looked out the door and saw a couple of cows along the side of the road, then more and more cows coming right down the middle of the road.
There must have been 30 or 40 of them, and we figured they were coming from fields up the road and back home to be milked. A small car coming up the hill had to stop right in front of us, but he kept on edging forward, then tried to drive (slowly) right through the cows! I yelled at him to back off, and hoped that one of the cows would kick his car, or maybe drop a big pattie on it, but no such luck.