Tuesday, July 20, 2004

good morning from the circus

> the mountain is a circus this morning, filled with cycling fans from the world over all
> packed onto this beautiful mountaintop in the Alps. they call Alpe d'Huez the island
> in
> the sun & boy is the sun shining this morning. just blue sky and sunshine...what a day
> for the time trial. people have pitched tents and parked rv's in every open patch of
> ground...the hotels are filled and bikes are everywhere. alpe d'huez is a big ski
> resort
> so there are a bunch of hotels, restaurants, bars, small airstrip, and even a skating
> rink. it's a really cool village. today it's more like a city with more than a
> million
> spectators expected on the mountain. it's indescribable.
> on the back side of the mountain is a glacier where people are skiing even as i type.
> they close it down by about noon as the temps warm, but folks are hopping on the tram
> at
> the crack of dawn to get some turns in.
> a couple more notes from yesterday...
> -the other ex-postie is Dylan Casey...he can still ride a bike!
> -for you hockey fans out there, Curtis Lesychin and Radek Bonk are in another trek
> travel
> group also staying in our hotel and they too know how to ride their bikes!
> -i said it last year and i'll say it again, the riding over here is phenomenal. great
> roads, challenging climbs, incredible scenery, and if a car honks at you it's too cheer
> you on, not hassle you. plan a trip over here and ride. you won't be disappointed.
> -watching old french guys on old bikes, with sculpted legs just hammer up these climbs
> turning over huge gears.
> -there's nothing like settling into a climb that's going to take anywhere from
> 45minutes
> to an hour and a half. you just get into a rhythm and your mind discovers a zen-like
> state where you know you're suffering, but you are also enjoying the pain. when you
> get
> to the top you are rewarded with a nice blast of endorphins and a big smile crosses
> your
> face. tomorrow we climb the col du glandon, a climb of some 22km if my memory is
> correct...that one will take a while. i don't think it's too steep, but it seems to go
> on forever. at the top we'll stop for lunch and to watch the race come by literally at
> our feet.
> Well, it's time to wade back out into the circus, grab some breakfast, and prepare for
> the day's events, namely the time trial up the mountain. After having ridden the
> course,
> we have a whole new level of respect for what these guys are going to do. It should be
> a
> fun day...follow the action LIVE on www.cyclingnews.com or watch for us on tv on OLN.
> cheers,
> Chris and Melanie
> p.s. thanks for all of the emails in return. we can't reply to many of them due to
> very
> limited internet access, but keep them coming...we're reading them. also, if you have
> specific questions about something, ask away and we'll do our best to answer either in
> a
> separate email or in one of these electronic postcards.

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