Tour de France 2018

Wednesday July 18, 2018
Alpe d'Huez, France

Thursday July 19, 2018
Tour de France!

Friday July 20, 2018
Col de l’Iseran

watch Geraint Thomas win the 12th stage of the Tour de France at the finish line on Alpe d'Huez

Game Day!
I got up, showered, then started wandering town looking for the finish line.
I had to ask someone, they pointed me in the right direction.
I picked a spot just before the finish line and started waiting....

08:00 Europe time 17:00 California time

08:01 Europe time 17:01 California time

08:03 Europe time 17:03 California time

04:31 Europe time 19:31 California time
Kent: Any Huez souvenirs on the radar Dusty?  So cool!  I'll be watching this stage
Kent:  I'm still packing too many clothes.....

08:03 Europe time 23:03 California time
Dusty: The finish line...4 italian kids are already staking out the best free spots..
Dusty: 10 hours early

08:05 Europe time 23:05 California time
Dusty: 25m marker just went in where i had been standing

08:12 Europe time 23:12 California time
Kent: Looks good weather
Kent:  I assume women's race will finish a few hours before men's
Kent: Have a fun day! 

08:16 Europe time 23:16 California time
Dusty:  I'm at the finish line itself now
Dusty:  May just sit here all day, what else am I going to do?!  It is a sweet day in the alps..

08:21 Europe time 23:21 California time
Kent: Do you think it will be tough to hold your spot? 

08:24 Europe time 23:24 California time
Dusty: No clue..
Dusty: would help if I found an English speaker..
Dusty: so far not many people but starting to get busier.

08:28 Europe time 23:28 California time
Dusty: Just noticed there no finish line painted on the ground yet..
Dusty: I assume that will be fixed shortly

08:17 Europe time 17:17 California time

My new spot, about 5 meters past the finish line.

08:40 Europe time 17:40 California time

Some sort of staff meeting

09:01 Europe time 18:01 California time

Dozens of police showed up at 9am

09:15 Europe time 18:15 California time

I got to watch them slowly assemble the electronic signs over and beside the finish line.
Within an hour after I started waiting I had befriended an English speaking a man from Japan and a woman from Sunnyvale CA next to me.
The guy had several cameras and an ultralight folding chair - he was prepared.
She was an avid cycling fan who drove in alone from Stuttgart where she and her husband are living abroad.
She was even staying in the condo complex right next to the finish line.
In theory we could have had each other hold our places while we used the facilities or wandered around... but none of us ever moved from our spots.

10:14 Europe time 19:14 California time

Feeding the ethernet cable from one side to the other.
I watched them install the finish line itself, which is now protected with the blue tarp, as well as all the Skoda ads on the ground.

10:48 Europe time 01:48 California time
Ray: Leaving tourist group hell finally and starting "Florence on your own" tour
Ray: Wish us luck making meetup at 1630!
Freaky to be 100km from the cruise ship that's leaving dock at 7pm!!
Annabelle says she'd rather medieval torture to another tour

10:56 Europe time 01:56 California time
Dusty: Buy the 75 euro museum passes and show the kids David!

11:03 Europe time 02:03 California time
Dusty: You can do both the ufizzi and david in about 3 hours with those passes..

11:16 Europe time 02:16 California time
Dusty: Bargello is fantastic and has short if any lines.
Dusty: lots famous statues

11:21 Europe time 02:21 California time
Ray: Zero line at the Museo Galileo!

11:37 Europe time 02:37 California time
Dusty: Say hi to his finger for us

12:22 Europe time 21:22 California time

We watched nearly a dozen different sponsors hand out free samples.
We were given free:
- bottled water
- cold chicken wings
- Haribo candy
- reusable shopping bags
- eyeglass cleaning cloth
- hats

They also sprayed the crowd with water repeatadly since it was hot and sunny, which caused us to worry about electronics.
I tried to help the Japanese guy keep his cameras dry.

12:34 Europe time 21:34 California time

12:54 Europe time 21:54 California time

13:15 Europe time 22:15 California time

If you spend enough money, you can ride up Alpe d'Huez on Tour de France day along with lots of other rich cyclists, all of whom need their photo op under the finish sign of course.

13:33 Europe time 22:33 California time

I've been waiting for over 5 hours - I'm still grinning ear to ear!

13:36 Europe time 04:36 California time
Ray: Lunchtime in a place we know well!

13:37 Europe time 04:37 California time
Dusty: I hear the beer is cheap there

13:41 Europe time 04:41 California time
Ray: It's on its way!! But only the small beer this time
Ray: And I'll keep cussing to a minimum, but Annabelle's a potty mouth!

13:41 Europe time 04:41 California time
Ray: How's the TDF?

13:46 Europe time 04:46 California time
Ray: Oh, and our friend...

13:48 Europe time 04:48 California time
Dusty: I am about 10 people / 20' from the finish line still on the right side if you're watching tv....
You know you're in a decent spot when dozens if not hundreds of others have taken selfies where you are standing
Dusty:   Another 3h or so and the cyclists get here..
hanging w a japanese dude who has more cameras and gear than I'll ever own
and a woman from Sunnyvale CA who cycles alone,
her husband is back home in Stuttgart...couple of English speakers....

13:52 Europe time 04:52 California time
Ray: Can you move from that spot? What if you have to pee?

14:00 Europe time 05:00 California time
Dusty: They will probably be able to hold it for me
Dusty:  Hoping not to test that.

14:06 Europe time 05:06 California time
Dusty: Just had to chase off a woman crowding me
Dusty: Attitude..
Dusty: I have plenty of it when i need to
Dusty: She was feeding me some sob story about missing out on a freeby they were handing out..
Dusty: then she parked her sorry ass in half my spot..
Dusty: fortunately she spoke English...
Dusty: told her we'd all been her 6h, which was true, I got a sarcastic "yeah right" in reply
Dusty: when she finally left after about 10m I could see she was with some high end tour group..
Dusty: screw rich entitled #$%#$ with attitude...
Dusty: and yes i may resemble most or all of that description.

14:14 Europe time 23:14 California time

14:15 Europe time 23:15 California time

PANO - scroll right

14:22 Europe time 23:22 California time

Jens Voigt is in the black shirt facing away from me - this was sadly the best picture I got of him...

14:51 Europe time 23:51 California time

The guy with the mic spent at least half an hour straight talking, then asking the crowd questions and awarding prizes for correct answers.
Since it was all in French I didn't play.

15:08 Europe time 06:08 California time
Dusty: Getting some shade after 7.5h of sun

15:15 Europe time 06:15 California time
Dusty: They have handed our free - sponsored water (vittel), hats (lcl) haribos, sausage snacks, chicken wings, and other stuff
Dusty: Everything you need to survive 8h in the sun

15:25 Europe time 06:25 California time
Dusty: There's a small tv hanging directly across from me under a tent, but the glare has been so bad I couldn't see
Dusty:  With the sun moving i can finally watch the race

15:28 Europe time 06:28 California time
Dusty: Still not even 2 people deep, the problem is you can barely see well on the line itself..
Dusty: in back of amyone and you won't see much.
Dusty: but there are plenty of places to watch with great visibility

15:45 Europe time 06:45 California time
Ray: Are the winners coming in yet?

15:49 Europe time 06:49 California time
Dusty: Another hour at least

15:26 Europe time 00:26 California time

Two of the women who present awards at the end of the stage.

15:52 Europe time 00:52 California time

My bike is on the hillside with a small cable locking the wheels in place, right in front of the line of people seated in the grass.
While I occasionally turned my head to check on it, I didn't worry about it...

16:19 Europe time 01:19 California time

We saw over a dozen different floats, perhaps closer to two dozen....
The French announcer dude tried to high five every single driver and person on his side of a float, he did pretty well and didn't loose an arm, they must do this every day.

16:34 Europe time 07:34 California time
Ray: That'll be so cool
Ray: Awesome they gave you vittles and water so you didn't drop.

16:36 Europe time 07:36 California time
Ray: That reminds me - thanks for the call, Paul! Sorry I couldn't talk
Ray: We had to beeline it to meetup spot and it's like herding cats
Ray: Now about to walk back to tour bus - and yup, one family is not here.

16:38 Europe time 07:38 California time
Paul: They can just take the 2 hour train down to Rome and meet up with the tour again tomorrow
Paul: But as you said, they would miss the cruise buffet

16:40 Europe time 07:40 California time
Ray: Actually, it would be the included 5 star dinner tonight and the buffet in morn
Ray: I told family I sorta hoped bus got a flat tire - Sophie said no, that would mean we also missed seeing cousins for the night.

16:44 Europe time 07:44 California time
Dusty: Endless parade of sponsor floats..
Dusty: like at least 20m worth

16:49 Europe time 07:49 California time
Paul: Better than the 3 hour pre-Palio festivities?

16:49 Europe time 07:49 California time
Paul: You seem to enjoy excruciating waits for Euro-events

16:58 Europe time 07:58 California time
Dusty: Moves much faster than Palio parade

17:00 Europe time 08:00 California time
Dusty: Kent I'm wearing my flourescent yellow rain jersey, once the sun went behind the building the breeze grew chilly

17:02 Europe time 08:02 California time
Dusty: I am 1-1/2 skoda barriers from the finish line

17:20 Europe time 08:20 California time
Ray: Bitchin'
Ray: I'm gonna see if any photos of u on the news yet...

16:19 Europe time 01:19 California time

16:19 Europe time 01:19 California time

16:19 Europe time 01:19 California time

16:19 Europe time 01:19 California time

16:23 Europe time 01:23 California time

16:23 Europe time 01:23 California time

16:23 Europe time 01:23 California time

16:24 Europe time 01:24 California time

16:50 Europe time 01:50 California time

17:05 Europe time 02:05 California time

So I am apparently the only serious Tour de France fan who doesn't have some sort of app to track the race live.
(At home I watch nearly every stage live to avoid having it spoiled for me, so no need for an app)
There was a huge TV screen way down at the other end of the street for us to watch, but I couldn't see it.
The announcers were describing the race, but it was all in French.
I had no real idea where anyone was.
Finally the cyclists got to the bottom of Alp d'Huez, I knew it took around 45 minutes for the pros to get up it.
The announcer got more and more animated, and Kent texted that it was a close race.

Finally, after over 9 hours of waiting, the crowd at the other end of the street got noisy, the race was here!

17:39 Europe time 08:39 California time
Dusty: Might be an amazing finish

17:42 Europe time 02:42 California time

17:42 Europe time 02:42 California time

17:42 Europe time 02:42 California time

17:42 Europe time 02:42 California time

17:42 Europe time 02:42 California time

17:42 Europe time 02:42 California time

Geraint Thomas wins, keeping his yellow jersey and beating his teammate Chris Froome!
He's also the first Briton to win on Alpe d'Huez.
I had watched the shade form over the finish line over the last couple of hours and was disappointed at the quality of my pictures.
Between the shade and the fact that the cyclists were moving very quickly the pics suffered.
The video turned out much better....

Later I took some stills from the video feed.
This is the first of three video stills, the others two are much better.
As Geraint Thomas crosses the line, I'm in the upper left corner in my flourescent yellow long sleeve cycling jersey.
Not a great picture, but shows where I spent the entire day.

Second of three pictures from the video feed

A few seconds later after crossing the finish line, me and Geraint Thomas.
I'm out of focus to the right in my flourescent yellow long sleeve cycling jersey
(the last of the three pictures from the video feed is four pictures below, the next three are mine)

17:42 Europe time 02:42 California time

Tom Dumoulin

17:42 Europe time 02:42 California time

Chris Froome was bood as he crossed the finish line...

17:42 Europe time 02:42 California time

Steven Kruijswijk
Note that he's over the 'K' of the first SKODA banner after the finish line in my picture

Third and last picture from the video feed, a couple of seconds after my picture of Steven Kruijswijk above.

A few seconds after my picture, Steven Kruijswijk has collapsed and being pushed up the hill on the 'A' of the next SKODA banner.
I'm directly below the small white Alpe Huez sign in the upper right corner in my flourescent yellow long sleeve cycling jersey
I'm looking downhill away from the camera, with my iphone taking pictures in one hand and canon taking video in the other.

17:42 Europe time 02:42 California time

Roman Bardet

17:42 Europe time 02:42 California time

Vincenzo Nibali

17:43 Europe time 02:43 California time

Mikel Landa

17:43 Europe time 02:43 California time

Nairo Quintana

17:43 Europe time 02:43 California time

Nairo Quintana

17:44 Europe time 02:44 California time

Egan Bernal

17:44 Europe time 02:44 California time

Dan Martin

After waiting over nine hours, I'd seen the top ten cyclists finish over the course of 3 minutes.
I now realized it would be a while before the rest of the cyclists got to the top.
Meanwhile a mob was quickly making its way uphill past me toward the stage.
The woman from Sunnyvale next to me quickly announced she was headed uphill too, and I realized if I wanted any pictures of the award ceremony I was going to need to move now.
I unlocked my bike and wandered uphill with it in a large crowd.
I got near the stage and got a few pictures of Quintana.

17:46 Europe time 02:46 California time

Nairo Quintana

17:47 Europe time 02:47 California time

Nairo Quintana riding back downhill

18:03 Europe time 03:03 California time

I pushed in closer but couldn't get a clear view of the stage no matter what.
When the awards ceremony started I held my cannon over the crowd, zoomed in, took lots of pictures and hoped for the best.
The results weren't too bad

17:48 Europe time 08:48 California time
Kent: Was!  Can't believe so many at the top!  What a race!

17:49 Europe time 08:49 California time
Dusty: They flew by the finish
Dusty:   After a minute I basically yelled 'jesus christ they are fast!'  I yelled for Quintana on the line

17:50 Europe time 08:50 California time
Dusty: I moved, I'm in the mob in front of the stage now

17:51 Europe time 08:51 California time
Ray: I couldn't download live stream, will have to seek out pics later.

17:53 Europe time 08:53 California time
Dusty: I got some decent pics!  Most in the shade unfortunately...

17:59 Europe time 08:59 California time
Dusty: I got reasonable pics of most of the first finishers

18:00 Europe time 09:00 California time
Kent: I looked for you, but they were cruising at the end
Kent:  I could see where you said you were briefly
Kent:  Great spot!

18:03 Europe time 03:03 California time

Geraint Thomas, stage winner and yellow jersey (GC / general classification) winner

18:05 Europe time 03:05 California time

Pierre Latour, best young rider winner

18:08 Europe time 03:08 California time

18:10 Europe time 03:10 California time

18:12 Europe time 03:12 California time

Steven Kruijswijk, most agressive rider - Kruijswijk broke free withi 73km to go, only to get passed at 3km to go by the top 4 finishers

18:12 Europe time 09:12 California time
Kent: Nairo blew up early on the climb and came back
Kent:   Commentary is saying best Huez race he's seen in 29 years.

18:20 Europe time 09:20 California time
Dusty: You saw alot more of it than i did...but that's ok

18:21 Europe time 09:21 California time
Dusty: Ceremony is stalled, it just occurred to me they need the green jersey to get his butt up the hill before they can give him his jersey..

18:23 Europe time 09:23 California time
Dusty: There are cameramen directly in front of the stage
Dusty:  I am at about 4 o clock and 8 feet away in a mob

18:22 Europe time 03:22 California time

Julian Alaphilippe, king of the mountains

18:25 Europe time 03:25 California time

Peter Sagan, best sprinter

Finally they were done awarding medals, and I was done watching.
It was pretty much too crowded to walk or ride anywhere.
I slowly made my way downhill, taking pictures as I went.

18:26 Europe time 09:26 California time
Kent: Crowd booed Froome when he took the lead for a bit.

18:27 Europe time 09:27 California time
Ray: What a day for you! Great experience! I was telling fam today about you and Palio...

18:34 Europe time 09:34 California time
Dusty: Crowd booed loudly for Froome any time his name was mentioned

18:35 Europe time 09:35 California time
Dusty: Just saw him ride back down towards his bus ..
Dusty: he got bood a little

18:46 Europe time 09:46 California time
Paul: There's certainly an American Gato that needs to pee really badly in those mountains I'm sure.

18:56 Europe time 09:56 California time
Dusty:   Headed to Bourg St Maurice to do Col d l'iseran  tomorrow...80% chance of thunderstorms

18:33 Europe time 03:33 California time

PANO - scroll right

18:33 Europe time 03:33 California time

18:33 Europe time 03:33 California time

18:35 Europe time 03:35 California time

18:40 Europe time 03:40 California time

18:41 Europe time 03:41 California time

18:44 Europe time 03:44 California time

18:46 Europe time 03:46 California time

18:46 Europe time 03:46 California time

18:46 Europe time 03:46 California time

I got back to my condo, then went out to find out where I needed to leave my keys tomorrow morning in about 9 hours.
After much confusion, I determined that the gal I needed to return my keys to works as a waitress at a nearby hotel.
The front desk had no idea who she was or why anyone with an AirBnB would be trying to return keys in a dropbox.
Fortunately they were pretty sharp and sorted it out pretty quickly.
Now I knew where to leave my keys

19:15 Europe time 04:15 California time

20:50 Europe time 05:50 California time

View from my porch.

19:02 Europe time 10:02 California time
Kent: You must be trapped right now.

19:25 Europe time 10:25 California time
Paul: Looking for you in pics of the finish line, but most pics blur the crowd or individuals are indistinguishable

19:26 Europe time 10:26 California time
Dusty: Would be if i had to drive anywhere..
Dusty:  lotsa gridlock...
Dusty: figured out where to leave the keys for the airbnb..
Dusty: note that if one is serious about renting out ones place, you should have a door that will lock behind you so you can leave the keys inside...

19:48 Europe time 10:48 California time
Dusty: I've got it tivod
Dusty:  Best shot is when the program starts, they show the finish line hours before anyone gets there, but I'll be there

20:08 Europe time 11:08 California time
Paul: Ray, where you taking the family in Rome tomorrow? If looking for somewhere you've not been,
remember that the Capitol Museum is second only to the Vatican Museum,
and has awesome AC - never had bad lines either
Paul: Also it's right by the forum if you guys are going to the Forum or Colosseum

20:09 Europe time 11:09 California time
Paul: Entrance is in that cool square that was designers by Michelangelo on the hill by the Forum

20:11 Europe time 11:11 California time
Dusty: You mean Capitoline?  That's ok but in wouldn't spend my 1 day in roma there..
Dusty: kids need to see collusium and forum!

20:12 Europe time 11:12 California time
Dusty: And i presume after that no more walking and lots of AC

20:11 Europe time 11:11 California time
Kent: I like the Capitol museum a ton
Kent:  It's got a ton of the goodies
Kent:  I liked the colossus fragments in particular.

20:15 Europe time 11:15 California time
Paul: I don't disagree Dusty, gotta take the kids to the highlights, but it's great AC and convenient to many of those popular attractions- and if the family was wanting to see just one museum on the trip then  it's a good one, with AC, not overwhelming (could just do 60-90 minutes and really enjoy it)
Paul: Lots of ifs, but it could fit the bill if those ifs are relevant

20:16 Europe time 11:16 California time
Dusty: I prefer both the Bhorgese and National Museum
Dusty:   I suspect the kids would like Borghese better because it is great art but it is a long walk, even with a taxi i think

20:17 Europe time 11:17 California time
Dusty: Yeah there's no way to do either of my museums plus colosseum plus forum, unless you're insane and blitz europe so fast it makes your head spin like i do....

20:20 Europe time 11:20 California time
Kent: It's a great museum
Kent:  Dusty, your trips are like the griswalds in the louvre
Kent:  :)

20:28 Europe time 11:28 California time
Dusty: I dunno, I stop and take plenty of pictures..
Dusty: actually don't remember that one..
Dusty: course now that i think about it obviously even i can't do that, i did 2 museums in a day..
Dusty: 1 woulda been plenty for any rational person

20:36 Europe time 11:36 California time
Paul: It'd take the whole trip to get to the Borghese, and you need reservations
Paul: Capitol is better than the National, if just for the awesome view of the Forum from the C Museum

20:41 Europe time 11:41 California time
Paul: This was the crowd in the Capitol Museum when I was there
Paul: Mob!

20:42 Europe time 11:42 California time
Dusty: I used my cannon w the zoom at the awards ceremony, we'll see if any of those turn out, some should, had direct sunlight there
Dusty:  Photographers note : there will never be sunlight at the finish of the TDF on Alpe d'Huez

20:43 Europe time 11:43 California time
Dusty: Shade of a big ugly ski resort next to it

20:44 Europe time 11:44 California time
Dusty: I think what bothered me about that museum was only the entrance was Michelangelo, there weren't any others inside..
Dusty: plenty of cool stuff in it for sure

20:46 Europe time 11:46 California time
Paul: Well, if you rate museums exclusively by the number of Michelangelo pieces, then it's hard for a museum with none to compete I guess

20:47 Europe time 11:47 California time
Dusty: At the time that was pretty much my thinking yes
Dusty:  I was on a huge Michelangelo kick.

20:47 Europe time 11:47 California time
Dusty: And it certainly isn't the only criteria i use

20:49 Europe time 11:49 California time
Dusty: Though it was a higher part of the equation then

21:16 Europe time 06:16 California time

I left to find a place to eat, and quickly settled on the first restaurant I found.
I was famished.

21:05 Europe time 12:05 California time
Kent: Enjoy!  Are you driving tonight to stage for your ride? 

21:17 Europe time 12:17 California time
Dusty: Nope, headed to the bars looking for trouble like i do every night, wearing my gang colors

21:17 Europe time 12:17 California time
Dusty: Stone Brewing cycling jersey

21:23 Europe time 12:23 California time
Kent: Nice!

21:36 Europe time 06:36 California time

21:55 Europe time 06:55 California time

21:26 Europe time 12:26 California time
Dusty: Sat down 2m walk away for dinner ..
Dusty: this place has almost as good a view as my airbnb, except this view is pretty blocked by this pos ski resort in front of it

21:28 Europe time 12:28 California time
Dusty: I walked the town last night, finding any place that will serve me is all I can ask right now
Dusty:  Hadn't intended to stop so soon but i could easily spend the next hour failing to get service everywhere else

21:30 Europe time 12:30 California time
Dusty: Also don't have to worry about running out of battery and not being able to find my way back without google maps, this place is a huge maze

21:32 Europe time 12:32 California time
Dusty: Just realized a short while ago I can still drive back to Grenoble for my hotel reservation tomorrow night..
Dusty: I'm afraid I'll get in too late to eat at the place I keep raving about though

Wednesday July 18, 2018
Alpe d'Huez, France

Thursday July 19, 2018
Tour de France!

Friday July 20, 2018
Col de l’Iseran