Biking, Travel

Annecy to Provence

After another late night of planning, organizing and generally trying to dig this tour out of the hole we seem to have collapsed in, we had an early morning departure planned.The goal was to load up the buses and vans with everyone’s luggage and cycle the group from Megeve to Annecy via Albertville.It was only about a 45K ride and the first 2/3 of it were downhill on a narrow, twisty mountain road.The dark tunnels made it interesting, that’s for sure!The road is so narrow that when a bigger vehicle meets another, they stop to inch by each other.Once we go to the flats near Annecy we merged onto the bike lane and I had to tuck in behind a client because 1) there was a ridiculous headwind and 2) I was completely shattered.

The crowds in Annecy were amazing.The road circling the lake was closed for the Time Trial and the halfway mark clock was a few hundred meters up the road from our viewing point, Chappet House, a quaint hotel on the lake.

TT Half way point

The crowd

The clients all eventually arrived at the house and although it took several hours, lots of scrambling, some money spent and some calming down of people, everyone eventually was fed and nicely liquored up and they enjoyed watching the racers come by at blistering paces.It was incredible to see just how teeny tiny the riders had gotten after 2 weeks of racing.

Skinny fast dudes

When Armstrong went through the Americans in the crowd went bananas (embarrassingly so…) but I will admit that it was impressive to see the caravan.I got to see George Hincapie and a few of the Italians I really like so it was worth it.

Armstrong coming by, can you tell?

A few more hours of relaxing for the guests meant it was time for us to scramble to get clients back to the buses parked 2K away (in, of course, a last minute torrential downpour).We also had to pack 110 bikes, luggage, clean the hotel and then drive 4 hours down to Provence.All in a day’s work, HAHAHA.

I drove our trusty 9 passenger with Crystèle, another coordinator.She was lovely but, holy hell, the woman is a TERRIBLE driver.Unfortunately for me, she had to drive while I scrambled to coordinate buses, driver schedules, 5 separate hotel drop offs/pick ups for the next morning.Long live blackberries, that’s all I’ll say.I have never before experienced the feeling of completely running out of hours in a day to get things done and I hope to never again!

We finally arrived in Provence at the MOST spectacular Château I have ever had the privilege to stay in, Château de Rochegude.Thankfully we managed to arrive about 30 minutes before the bus so I had a few moments to take it all in, chat with the concierge and his dog and prepare.Of course, as was de rigueur for this trip, the guests arrived at 1:30AM and everything went completely sideways for about an hour until they were all in bed…I finally fell into bed at about 3, knowing that Ryan was somewhere on the road with all the bikes and having promised 3 riders that I would take them to the Mt. Ventoux the next morning to meet the bikes and send them on their way before awaiting the arrival of all the other riders a few hours later.I wanted everyone to enjoy the Château for a few hours in the morning!

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