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!
Been waiting for this Alp d’Huez race for you. Very interested to see the profile. Good luck. Thanks for covering La Course and Cheng Ji.
Cheng Ji actually got the lantern rouge (which was actually contested quite a bit in the past but this year he made it by far).
Nice vantage point for Le Tour. Were you lucky to enough to be in a building at the end of the Rue de Rivoli? Two years ago I watched from opposite that spot (in Jardin des Tuileries) and was very jealous of those on the balconies opposite.
Yup, up a few floors. I was in the Jardin last year as well – from a spectator standpoint it’s in my opinion the best place to watch the final stage – so many options and so much better views than on the Champs.
As I watched on TV yesterday, I kept thinking, “I wonder where Ray is?” That was followed by the thought that you should have been sitting with or at least contributed in some way to Bobke’s commentary.
We need daily technical coverage and you are the man!
Good luck on the on the race!
I am training for The Nations Tri and the current in the river has me scared. Love your race reports!
Thanks for what you do!
Nothing to be afraid of there – I barely noticed the current in the Potomac last year (1st Oly, 2nd Tri)…so you should be ok.
You can always swim w/ WaveOne @ National Harbor to get some practice in the Potomac (or maybe its the Anacostia there…whatever) somewhat expensive ($25) but worth trying once.
Once again good recap of the 5 things you did this week, great photos. Also nice to read your blog on Mondays.
Good luck in your tri this week.
Did you happen to see which computer the Bretagne Seche team were using for the Tour? Looked pretty big. Maybe Garmin 1000?
What is the name of the noodle place you ate at?
Chez Ann: link to tripadvisor.com
Happy birthday Ray!
Huh, it appears we share a birthday…
Happy belated birthday to you!
Woot, awesome! Happy B-Day to you as well!
It was as if you were stalking me, lol.
I was at the Arc before La Course and then on Rue du Rivoli for the mens race.
You captured me in a photo above (i was on the railings on the Jardin side).
Jealously saw ye guys on the balcony and thought wow “what a view”.
Bumped into Chrissie Wellington too just to top the weekend off.
She was so friendly and down to earth. An absolute living legend.
That’s pretty funny! Indeed, quite the view. 😉
And funny on Chrissie, another friend ran into her at the airport yesterday. Funny small world.
People of the Caravan don’t throw any stuffs in Paris (especially where you have fences) for safety reasons (kids running everywhere to catch them,…). I’ve been at the begining of the stage in Orsay close to RER B station to catch stuff from caravan and afterwards, I came back to Paris with RER B and I’ve seen the caravan a second time. I think it was the only way to enjoy fully the caravan and the final part of the Tour de France.
You are so blessed! I always enjoy reading your weekend recaps!
Can’t wait for race report from Alp d’Heuz! Have fun; it’s on my bucket list.
You had a 3 hour London layover……….for a 1h15min flight. *Ouch*.
Welcome to the world’s most inefficient airport. Sigh.
Came across this interesting YouTube video about the TdF that was mentioned in a British press article:
link to youtube.com
The ‘discussion’ in the comments section as to who was to blame gets quite heated. Personally I think both were at fault, the spectator probably more. Either way, mad skills by Kevin Reza.
Those noodles look amazing. It’s almost midnight here and I could go for a bowl!