Some unexpected fun
I’m here to work, so there is seldom time to play, visit and mostly no real time to relax. With so many Champions club members and an almost equal amount of bikes, it makes for a busy trip. Saturday afternoon we had about a little over 20 of the members arrive and about 15 to 18 of them brought bikes/rode. The trip will top out at about 40 people and about 32 will have bikes.
Today we rode the Col du Portillon which is only about 15 Ks from our hotel here in Spain. Our ride for today was from the hotel to the base of the Col du Portillon, up it, down the back side, then off the race course for about 20 Ks, back towards the race course (getting back on it about 15 Ks Before they would hit the Col) and back to the hotel. All told about 90 Ks of riding. We ate lunch, Andrew (one of our helpers/staff) and I packed the bikes in our rental trailer for tomorrow’s transfer and then had some free time to watch some of the race.
Andrew and I took a team car and headed to the base of the Col du Portillon. We had about 40 minutes before the race would hit the base of the climb. We saw parked cars about a solid 4 Ks from the bottom. There were cars parked on both sides of the road AND a row double parked on one lane. No one was getting out of here fast for sure. I did not want to walk so I powered down the only lane (opposite side of the road) and towards the climb. I parked about a half of a Kilometer from the base and like the other fools, double parked in the one side of the traffic lane. We walked about half way and saw a better spot. Right smack on the corner with an open spot next to the sidewalk. Got it! Not 5 seconds was a police officer who told me to not park there as it was the front of a Firehouse. So I saw another spot 30 meters away. Unfortunately there were two motorcycles there so I sort of had to park perpendicular to the road BETWEEN the two motorcycles. The same officer saw me and when I walked towards him he told me I could not park there for the same reason. We pretended tow go move it and when he turned to see the helicopters coming, it meant he had to go to work and we just left the car in the (supposedly illegal) spot and walked up a little ways. I did not want to go to far and get stuck in traffic so we went only a short way up the climb to the sign that said 8 Ks to the summit. We saw most of the race go by (just not the grupetto) and headed back to the hotel to watch it on TV.
That was the best of both worlds. Watching it live on the side of the road AND turning around and seeing the remainder on TV. It was also the best of both worlds in respect to getting to come her to work. A job I love to do AND get a little free time to play. That was some unexpected fun for sure.
Here is a photo of the race at the base of the Portillon. Stage #14 Not a great picture but there is a guy getting a bottle but more so hanging on to the bottle a little too long to get some aid in the climb.