Cool! Here’s a picture of me on the site of Velo Echappe, the company that led the Tour De France trip I went on this summer. What a great day! I’m the dork on the right side with the grey, circa 1986 helmet and the "Bike Hub" jersey/jacket combo. This was taken by "Mags", a really nice, non-riding tour fanatic from Purdue (go Boilermakers) at the top of Alp d’Huez on the first day of riding on the trip. I think I made it up to the top near the middle of the pack. Pablo, John and Robin (the three guys from the far left) kicked our asses and lead the way and, kindly, waited for the rest of the group at the top.
How many of us get to have that realization that you are about to live out one of your dreams? I’ll always remember that nervous-in-a-happy-kind-of-way feeling I had at the bottom of the climb. Prior to that ride, I had never ridden a climb longer than two miles (this one was about 8.5) and had never ridden at altitude and I had never done a ride with a serious gradient. Minnesota doesn’t have any real climbing, so I wasn’t sure what it would be like. I was a little uncertain about how I’d get to the top, but I was sure I would.
I stopped to take a couple pictures and got behind the rest of the group. But, I remember riding along with a guy named Quincy as the road tilted up. We were both kind of bearing down and getting ready for the climbing, and I said to him, "Are you ready to do the ride you’ve always dreamed of doing?" And, up at top, you can see how glad we were to have completed the climb.
I haven’t been that happy since. Those days were absolutely pure bliss. Even the hours in the saddle climbing where I thought my lungs would explode. Good times.