TdF Thursday July 21

Our final “real” ride of the trip today, bittersweet. After our exertions yesterday Phil made an executive decision to shorten the planned route by 10 super steep km, and that was certainly the right decision, although part of me wanted one more Category 1 notch on my handlebars. 

We still climbed a bit and then descended into Chamonix, the halfway point of the ride and a good place for a coffee. Perhaps I’m not telling you anything surprising, but it’s really pretty there. 

Mt. Blanc looms more impressively over Chamonix than any mountain over any town I’ve ever been to. 

Here’s a shot reflecting an increase in my on-bike photography confidence without any corresponding gain in competence. 

We finished the ride in the company of a couple of genial Italian guys, and indeed we were part of a huge stream of cyclists making our way to the day’s start in the village of Sallanche. We didn’t have VIP access today, but that was probably perfect. It was a time trial stage, meaning that the departure lasted pretty much all day. 

The village turned it into a huge party, and we had a fun time walking around looking at stuff.

 I ate a massive portion of tartiflette (potatoes au gratin with ham), washed down with a glass of beer or three and followed by ice cream. Remind me why I can’t climb hills like I used to???

I was really glad to get a picture with the Devil, a Tour fixture for as long as I can remember. 

We got back to the hotel in time to see Chris Froome’s increasing and imperturbable dominance, relaxed for a while on the patio and had our final Swiss dinner before turning in at a shockingly early 11 PM. 

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