Sunday, January 8, 2023

Dreaming of July

 The year 2023 has started off foggy and damp and yet already our small village is a buzz with news of something coming our way on a hot, hopefully sunny, July day.

Our narrow, potholed, grungy main street is going to be swept through by Le Tour de France. 

The Tour!

It’s hard to explain my wild enthusiasm for this event normally experienced from my armchair. I am bubbling over with excitement that for an afternoon our elegant and history filled region is going to be the focus of attention of the entire world. I’ve even discovered the count down clock on the official Tour site. Today the start is 173 days 14hours 8 minutes and 10 seconds away.

For years I’ve spent July afternoons watching the Tour on television in the cool comfort of home. I’ve wasted hours cheering for those crazy young men beating themselves up, holding my breath as they scream down insane mountain lanes and hoping they keep their legs pumping as they struggle up even steeper mountain peeks. I dream of visiting the incredibly diverse countryside artistically revealed by the television crews. 

This July 8th I’ll be live in person cheering and partying along the route of stage 8 Libourne - Limoges  201 KM.

I’ll brave whatever weather nature throws at us, pull up a beach chair, gather up a bunch of friends, and sit for hours waiting for some crazy athletes in brightly colored jerseys to come whizzing by in the flash of an eye. I’ve already started to scrutinize where I can maximize this fleeting experience. Do I want to watch them gliding past long sweeps of sunflowers? Do I want to try to get a birds eye view from a house along the main street? Or do I want to anxiously stand on the very narrow very tight right hand turn that starts the climb up main street? They’ll be coming flying into that nasty turn from a long straightaway. There will certainly be entanglements.

It has been thirty three years since the peloton raced up the main street of Bourdeilles. Friends tell me of sitting at their grandmother’s tables impatiently getting through lunch hoping not to miss the big event. These old timers remember hearing cheers, jumping up from the lunch table and running out the front door. The cheering swept up the street, a flash of colors zipped by within arms reach, and swoosh the riders were gone. Folks turned to look at each other on the narrow sidewalk wondering if they had really seen anything  - there was nothing but dust settling. One friend say she thinks she spotted the yellow jersey, maybe.

No one has started to plan yet, but with warmer weather we’ll start to plot how to create some roadside eye-catching thing to draw an extra nanosecond of attention to our impressive medieval chateau and its 40-meter tower perched over the Dronne River. The helicopter and the history announcer will appreciate our help in showing off France.

Our small village anticipation will last for months, but the helicopters and the riders will pass in the blink of an eye. You can be sure that most, well lots, of Bourdeilles 500-some citizens will be looking for the swag and letting go of some big small town cheers.


Kathie K said...

How exciting for you. I love cycling and would love to see the Tour de France in person, if even only for the few seconds it takes for the riders to go by. It amazes me how fast their legs pump!

Anonymous said...

We are already planning…. Will be there July1-13 !

Anonymous said...

woo hoo!!!

vicky said...

Last summer while in Annecy, my daughter and a friend took a train to Cluses to see Le Tour whiz through. First came trucks tossing out trinkets, caps, granola bars, candy and drinks to the crowds. Then came the cyclers and suddenly it was over. An unforgettable adventure for them!!

Jeanie said...

This is so exciting! We, too, are Tour viewers and with Rick as a former racer and avid cyclist still, we someday hope to be in France during Tour time. I love that your town is having the honor of this! Definitely something to anticipate!

RWard said...

VERY EXCITING!!! We were in Paris for the finish (and celebratory parade) in 2010. Great memory!