A Lift from RadioShack at the Port de Balès

Talk about an adventure! But this time, instead of the Tour providing all the excitement, I created some of my own. The Tour didn’t disappoint by any means, and I managed to give myself an unforgettable day. Here are all the details:

I had a very interesting experience yesterday at the Tour de France. I had this great idea to ride the last 55km of the race and meet the crew at the Finish. This was the plan anyway. What actually happened, I will never forget…

With a big smile and a full water bottle I headed off on my 10km march to the base of the Port de Balès. Frankie followed the off-course route while I got back on the race course and headed for the final climb. The roads were great and the gendarmerie were making everyone except me stop since I have the special credentials that allow me to ride the course when others can’t. I made it to the base of the climb about 2 hours before the riders would get there–30 minutes before the caravan–so I was in a perfect spot to make it to the end with 90 minutes to spare.

As soon as I hit the base, I was stopped by the gendarmerie. I showed him my credentials and he said, “You cannot go up the climb”. I begged him to let me go, but he refused! There were several American fans there that knew me and even they pleaded with him to allow me to pass, knowing I had to get to the Finish to do post-race interviews. The cop would not give in. Finally, I had to call Versus to try to send a message to him. By this time, the caravan has started to go up the climb and it was very dangerous for me to start climbing with hundreds of crazy sponsor cars weaving all over the roads, throwing swag to fans.

At this point, I had to call the crew to tell them of the situation and that I may not be able to work after the Finish since I was stuck 40km away at the base of the climb. Then, out of nowhere, I saw a Team RadioShack car and guess who was driving: my old friend Allen Lim! I quickly threw my TREK on top, got into the car and we headed up the climb. When we got to the ‘5km to the summit’ sign, they pulled over to feed the RadioShack boyz. So I got back on my bike and started to tear up the final 5km of the climb.

There were tens of thousands of people cheering me on and throwing water on me. It was incredible! I was the only cyclist on the road and people were going crazy. I went over the top and ripped the descent…much to the dismay of the police officers trying to stop me.

At 5km from the Finish–BAM: I flat! I did a quick fix and managed to get to the line with 20 minutes to spare.

It was extremely stressful, but, in the end, an adventure I will never forget!

Ciao~
Robbie

Note: italicized text reprinted from versus.com

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