In late May, we poured over maps of the stages of the Tour de France. This year, we said, we would travel to see the cyclists climb the real mountains that we’ve seen so many times on TV.
The Alps didn’t fit our schedules and the Pyrenees — well, they are very far away. But there are also real mountains in one of our favorite regions, Alsace-Lorraine (and parts of Franche-Comté), and those stages fell on a convenient weekend. So we found a budget hotel and booked one night, planning to watch two stages.
We were excited about the finish of Stage 7 on the top of La Planche des Belles Filles, which has an incline of 22% for the last 500 meters! Anita’s only concern was whether she could keep from yelling at all the fans that always crowd around the leaders on the top of the big climbs.
It was lovely weather when we arrived in Lorraine.
We stayed overnight just outside of Mulhouse, not more than an hour away. We were exhausted and spent what little energy we had strategizing for Stage 8.
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