We enjoyed an afternoon out on the side of the road at Montluel today as we watched the Tour de France roll by.

Montluel is only about a 20 minute train ride form the center of Lyon and so getting out to the race was not difficult. We had timed our trip to arrive in time for the publicity caravan but, as the headwind that blew hard all day was making it slow going for the riders, everything was running maybe half an hour behind schedule. It was no big deal for us and we found a nice space on the side of the road to await the caravan and the riders that would follow.

For Jamie, the caravan is the highlight of a visit to the Tour de France. He loves chasing after the key rings, candy, and snacks that the caravan throws out in his general direction, and positioned next to a couple of older gentlemen, he lucked out by being gifted hats and candy from others, too. It was great fun and some of the floats in the caravan are incredibly creative – and the water sprayed from the Vittel cars is especially welcome on a hot day!

With the caravan all over, we had about a 90 minute wait before the riders rolled through town. I took advantage of that time to keep an eye on how the race was developing and to take Jamie on a walk around town in search of his afternoon snack. Having found a couple of cupcakes in a supermarket and snaffled some Coke Zero for Cécile, we headed back for the short wait until the riders arrived.

The race, even at the relatively slow pace it was moving today, is gone in a flash but it is always worth it to see some of the best endurance athletes in the world up close. I might not be doing a lot of long-distance cycling these days, but I can still appreciate the difficulty of cycling for hundreds of kilometers day after day, especially in the gusting headwinds that are so common to that part of the Rhone valley.

We’ll head out again tomorrow to see the end of the stage in Culoz and hopefully, at least for Jamie, snag some more gear for the dress up box in his bedroom.

Image by Benoit Prieur

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