No Giant Screen viewing for me on this stage as it was situated on a narrow road between vineyards alongside the finishing stretch with not a sliver of shade. I arrived at noon, more than five hours before the peloton, and though there were a few fans already lined up along the barriers, most were cowering in the minimal shade the barriers provided. The sun was searing and not even the cold water the Vittel reps were passing out was enough to entice me to stay.
The heat was melting my brain. I committed a semi-catastrophic faux pas heading to Dijon for the next stage start rather than Dole. I didn't realize my mistake until I reached the tourist office in Dijon and asked where the departure point for The Tour was the next day and the woman at the desk didn't have a map or brochure at the ready and had to go to the computer to find out. It was only a twenty-mile mistake, but since every mile is crucial, this was a huge setback. There were some consolations though.
Dijon is a much bigger city than Dole, and I was able to find a bike shop with just the tire I needed. My rear tire had worn through the tread. Usually I put on a new tire at the Grand Départ, but since I was some 500 miles short on my training this year due to my limited mileage riding with Jamina for two weeks, I wasn't in need of a new tire just yet, nor to put on a new chain, which I did at the same time. The forty-minute mechanical was my lunch/rest stop and also allowed me to recharge my iPad, as my generator hub has slowed down on the job. I'm only getting about half the charge I was earlier. I don't know if it's due to the generator wearing out or the adapter or the batteries I'm charging.
It had been twenty miles from Nuits-Saint-Georges, the stage finish, to Dijon, then thirty miles to Dole. Nuits-Saint-Georges is a wine town. It was lined with small wineries offering tastings.
Many of its Tour decorations were wine oriented.
The fans along the route also joined in the spirit. One of the top French riders is a Pinot.
It was doubly embarrassing to have confused Dijon with Dole because I passed through Dole on my way to Düsseldorf to scout out The Tour route. It still paid off as I know where the starting point was below the city center along a river and sporting fields. My way into the city hadn't taken me pat any course markers, so I would have been groping. I was three miles into the neutralized zone that went on for five miles when Skippy came towards me. It was nearly eight p.m. and he was just competing the transfer from Nuits-Saint-Georges. My first question for him was, "Who won the stage," as I had been so undone by my diversion I hadn't bothered to stop to follow it on my iPad. It was no surprise that Kittel had won his third spring, though this was in a photo finish, in contrast to his convincing two-bike length win the day before. He also accumulated enough points to take the Green Jersey from Démare. But without Sagan, it is a hollow conquest.
Skippy was heading into the city looking for a place to stay, hopefully a hostel, while I was heading out of the city knowing I had an idyllic campsite awaiting me. He seemed to have no more worries than me, knowing he always finds a place and that it will have an interesting story. Last night he ended up in a convent, locked into an attic room with a chamber pot as his toilet until the sisters let him out in the morning.
I had an hour of cycling ahead of me, but it only got me ten miles down the course. Without my Dijon fiasco, I would have been at least twenty miles further. I camped in a field just beyond Belmont, which had lined all its hedges and walls on the route with Yellow.
It had even Yellowfied it's crucifix.
When I stopped for one photo someone asked if I needed water and filled my bottle with cold fluid. The evening before when I had stopped outside a tourist office to take advantage of its wifi and also to prepare my dinner of ravioli and couscous a woman asked if I'd like her to heat up my meal for me. My most exemplary act of kindness though came in Luxembourg when I had stopped in a bus shelter with seats for a snack. As I was eating a guy who had been washing his car across the street came over and put a cup of coffee and a slice of apple bread on the seat beside me without saying a word. At first I thought he was reserving the seat for himself, but then realized this was an offering. It came with two packs of sugar and a stir stick.