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Location: Stevens Point, Wisconsin, United States

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Greetings from France

Arrived Rochegude in Provence on Friday, so today was our first tuneup ride. There are 25 people here with the Velo Echappe' group and a corresponding number of mostly exotic bikes. I raised the average age of the field by a significant number just showing up. Today we finished the checkin-process for the Etape' du Tour, the stage of the Tour de France that's chosen each year for an amateur race. So Monday I have to tackle the 172km stage from Montelimar--20km from here--to Mount Ventoux! I'm scared. I'm also likely to be the oldest rider. However it works out, it will be an amazing experience. For one thing, there are over 9,500 riders registered. I've never even seen a field of bikers that large. I just hope I can hang on to a few groups to lessen the strain. At the 150km mark we reach Bedoin, whereupon the 22km climb of Mount Ventoux begins. Stay tuned to learn whether Bailiff makes it...

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