Pau Already

When every day is Saturday.

Pau Already

Moving way too fast.

Thursday, July 22

It is unbelievable that by this time next week we’ll be on a west-bound plane. It has been so fun and so quick. A month just isn’t what it used to be.

Tour this wayToday we decided to do a bit of recon for a viewing spot of tomorrow’s arrival of stage 18 of le Tour. We wanted to find a place far enough out that it would be free from the crushing crowds found near the finish and yet close enough that we could get to it via public transport. The schedule has the Tour passing through the towns of Cadaujac and Le Bouscaut about 15 kms south of Bordeaux—a distance that looked about right for our requirements—so we grabbed a tram; transferred to a bus that we took to the end of the line. Le Bouscaut was another kilometer walk down the road. Our confidence in being in the right spot was bolstered when a truck pulled up and a man jumped out and mounted a couple of the yellow and black “Tour riders this way” signs. We didn’t decide if we’ll stay around the end of the bus line or walk into town. There’s a 90-degree right-hander as they enter Cadaujac and they can get pretty exciting, but back at the bus stop, we’ll have a little longer view—it all happens so fast. We’ll figure that out tomorrow.

Our tram and bus trip also brought us into one of Bordeaux’s wine making centers so after a quick stop for something cool to drink; we continued our hike to Chateau Bouscaut. Surrounded by stone walls and several hectors of grapevines, the chateau itself was rather typically spectacular.  Our self-guided tour took us past the stainless steel fermenter/cooling tanks, the bottling room, tasting room and on into a few of the opulent rooms that the chateau rents out.

Returning to the city we watched the end of stage 17 on the tube—Schleck and Cantador fighting it out to the finish at the Col du Tourmalet. Go Andy! What followed the race was simply amazing. Immediately following the race, France 2, the local Tour TV producer, aired a 20-minute stand-up interview with President Sarkozy.  After about 15 minutes of questioning by the French equivalent of Bob Costas, they added Lance Armstrong to the set, then Andy Schleck and finally Alberto Contador. The Prez had kind words to say to them all, but I thought it was fairly obvious that he felt that the Texas boy was the big kahuna on the stage. It just couldn’t believe Nicolas would talk for that long with some TV schmo. It’d never be allowed with the POTUS.

Tonight we headed across the river from the hotel to Place des Quinconces where le Tour will end tomorrow. A few TV and a support trucks had just begun arriving after making the trip from the end of today’s event. By morning, there’ll be dozens more.