Ok, it was a short weekend for me – but here’s how it went down!
1) I flew back from the US
After meetings in Seattle this past week I grabbed an evening flight back to Paris (via London). This was pretty much the last possible flight I could catch and still be able to see the entirety of the Tour (and La Course) on Sunday.
The sunset leaving Seattle with Mt. Rainer in the background was quite nice – even if the flight was delayed 2 hours. To be honest, I didn’t mind since the delay was announced over 30 hours in advance, so I just arrived at the airport later, and then it cut down on a 3+ hour connection I had in London.
By late Saturday afternoon I was back home, quick Parisian customs and all!
2) Watched La Course…by The Tour de France
Yup, I watched the full race from start to finish – and from just about every possible angle on the course. To read the whole post about it, swing over here.
3) Watched the Tour de France Caravan come into town
In between the women’s finish and the men’s arrival I had about 2 hours. So I worked my way home in an attempt to clean-up a bit. Along the way the caravan came through for its final few kilometers on the long journey over the last few weeks.
I’m always impressed with just how much energy the folks working on the caravan have. It’s somewhat mind boggling.
As was the case in the past, they don’t throw out any goodies/free stuff on this portion of the stage (or perhaps at all the last day). Rather, it’s all just waving from here on out.
Sunshine and smiles…that’s about it!
4) Watched the Tour de France
With the parade over the Tour and all remaining men in the field arrived into Paris around 5:30PM. They first did a slightly extended loop including the Louvre before settling in on the main set between the Arch and the Tuileries. Oh, and along the way some pretty planes flew over as the riders hit the Champs-Élysées for the first time.
After the initial loop at a bit more of a ‘celebration’ pace, things kicked into gear and the peloton started to form a long snake.
This snake would scream down Rue du Rivoli (above) and then whip through the turns of Concorde before skipping up the cobbled Champs-Élysées.
It was soon that an accident occurred that would briefly scatter the field, and most notably put Chinese rider Cheng Ji at the back of the field. This is of note because it would be the first Chinese rider to ever finish the Tour de France.
The crowds quite vigorously cheered his every loop as he slowly slipped further and further away from the peloton – soon risking being passed.
Normally once passed the riders aren’t permitted to continue (as was the case last year). However, he soon found himself at the back of the peloton and riding along.
Meanwhile, while that was going on, the race ended. A screaming sprint down Rivoli and a few moments and a zig-zag through Concorde it was all over.
Within about 1-2 minutes of the winners hitting the finish line and the last team cars and random celebrating riders going through, the banners were already coming down. Waste no time!
At this point the crowds started to disperse (especially given things were already coming down).
But Cheng Ji apparently had different plans. Despite us trying to figure out from our position if he was coming around for his final lap – we couldn’t see anyone passing by across the way beyond Concorde
However, quite some time later we heard cheers and what appeared to be a rider getting through the police barricades setup to get back to the finish area. Unfortunately, I couldn’t quite get a photo of it quick enough – nor have I found any other photos that actually show him finishing, but I’m going to assume that this photo was taken after completing the extra lap and thus he’s become the first Chinese rider to finish the Tour de France. Congrats!
Finally – a huge thanks to Matthew and David for the incredible view from your office – it was great!
We attempted to search out a new place to eat this evening, in hopes of not falling back on our usual awesome spots. Given it was a Sunday evening, that means a fair bit limited selection – but one place that we’ve seen on numerous occasions was open, which is a small Chinese noodle shop just up the hill from us.
The place has always been jam-packed, but it was also across the street from a Sushi place we frequent, and in most cases our mind had been set on sushi.
Well, we’re glad we diverted tonight. This place was awesome. They were actually making the noodles in the back (or, rather, the open kitchen) – and they were awesome. Plus, the bowl of soup was less than 6€, with a menu option option including an appetizer and a side dish for 9€ all-in.
So much awesome for under 10€. Definitely on our list of places to go back to, especially in the colder months.
With that – a busy week ahead including the Alpe d’Huez Triathlon I’ll be racing on Thursday (yup, mid-week). Good times!
Thanks for reading!