Well, the trip has been completed and due to some airline difficulties (of which no fault was Discovery’s) Laura and I did not get back to home until around 11 PM Monday evening and with all of the partying on Sunday night I was unable to post until today and I apologize for that.
The final day began with Laura and I getting up early to visit the Marmottan Museum, which houses a select collection from Monet including the painting Impression: soleil levant and helped to give the movement it’s name. We left the Marmottan and headed toward the Champs Elysees for the Tour events for the day. We managed to catch a Metro (subway) by ourselves and found our way to the tour site. However, we came out on the wrong side of the road. After some help from a friendly family we managed to get ourselves to the correct side of the road. As Hall mentioned in his post the sights and sounds of the fans were unbelievable. It was everything I expected plus a lot more, but without the less appealing antagonistic portrayal that our media shows of the European sport spectators. It all seemed to be fun revelry enjoyed by all with each team supporter having fun making their existence known.
Since Hall described our lunch I will refrain from covering that meal suffice to say it was delicious. We made our way over to the seating area after carefully and somewhat forcefully getting through the pack of crowd that wanted to gain access to same area where I had a chance to speak with Manuel Beltran, a rider from Discovery Channel who had to drop out of the race due to an injury suffered in a crash. He was very gracious and willing talk with us about the tour and some about his education.
I was amazed at the speed they were traveling and the ease they seemed have maintaining their speed throughout the 8 laps. It was fun to watch as small breakaways took place and then to see the peloton swallow them up during the next lap. The racing was fast an furious and it took me a couple of laps to get determine an effective method of taking pictures of what I wanted, but once I found a system a was able to take some great shots of:
I cannot believe the whirlwind the past 4 days have been. It has been an amazing experience for Laura and me from all standpoints. I have a number of hours ahead of me to put together my documentary from hours of video footage and over 900 photos that we took during our trip. I cannot thank everyone at Discovery enough for this incredible opportunity and would like to especially thank Lori Conner for her help with the details, Hall Davidson for his guidance, excitement, knowledge and incredible energy level that was infectious to all of of us, and to Jose Mercado for his willingness to answer my never ending questions about all aspects of France and it’s people and culture as well as his willingness to guide through an amazing city. It will be an adventure that we will never forget.