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  1. #16
    Join Date
    Feb 2005
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    Concord, MA
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    So, the 7 non-Ventoux riders headed out today, to a cafe, about 12 miles away. Other than the GPS file from Trek pointing us up a dirt/scarred pavement road with a 10% grade, it was non-eventful. Then, DH and I were the only ones who went with the leader, to do an optional out and back 6K climb/6K descent to a cherry orchard. It was awesome. Then we all rode to Bedoin, to the base of Ventoux, for lunch. There was an 8 mile false flat, with a headwind that almost killed me, but we were the first ones in. Some of the Ventoux people were back. They all did it... Had a great lunch and then decided to ride the 13K back to the hotel, instead of another 34K. I think everyone did, and 3 women who did Ventoux took the van back. We sat by the pool for a bit. Tonight, dinner is on our own in town. We are going with the single guy. It was really a great day, rode about 36 miles.
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  2. #17
    Join Date
    Sep 2009
    Location
    Tucson, AZ
    Posts
    2,045
    Keep sharing Crankin - sounds great. What is the scenery like? What about the cafes? We loved afternoon tea and cake in England. We didn't have time in Ireland but loved having scones at breakfast. The DH took the full Irish breakfast every day. Too much meat for me.
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  3. #18
    Join Date
    Feb 2005
    Location
    Concord, MA
    Posts
    13,129
    The scenery looks like just what you see on TV, watching the Tour. It's hot and sort of a desert climate, but with trees. Grapevines, lavender, and lots of produce. Little farm roads, and narrow switchbacks. France has typical European breakfasts (not English breakfasts), a buffet of fruit, baguettes, croissants, pastries, cereal, yogurt, hard or soft
    boiled eggs, and ham, cheese.
    Today we rode 52 miles. About 5 of them were from getting lost after lunch. This morning we rode from Mazan to Sault, with a 20K moderate climb through a gorge. The climb to Sault right before the stop was hard and we did it twice, as I said. We had lunch pre-arranged by Trek at a cafe and then after the guide saved us, we were on a moderate climb for like 10 miles, followed by a scary, tight switch back descent on chip seal, for 4 miles. I never went over 22. When we got closer to our stop, it became a milder straight descent, until we started climbing up to the town of Gorges. It's 90 degrees and I was shot. But I am now lying in air conditioned luxury. I've had to be rigorous with my eating and hydrating, as well as chamois butter and other things to keep the saddle sores at bay. Heat is destructive in so many ways.
    Last edited by Crankin; 06-24-2015 at 07:17 AM.
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  4. #19
    Join Date
    Feb 2005
    Location
    Concord, MA
    Posts
    13,129
    So, our last day of riding went quite well, but I had to do a lot of mental self talk to get me through. My body is starting to rebel from the riding, the heat, and all of the eating and drinking. We rode about 30 miles, with a stop at a market in Roussillon, then rode to another small town and had lunch at Les Terrasses Luberon. I seriously wanted to take the van back, but I didn't. We rode through LaCoste back to Gordes, with the big climb, but, this time, we hadn't been riding 50 miles when we started the climb.
    Had the most outstanding dinner in an outdoor garden restaurant last night, after a few relaxing hours at the pool. Yesterday, we saw tons of sunflowers, just like at the tour.
    Getting ready to leave for the train to the airport. We have a very long travel day, 3 hours on the train and 6 in the air. We were able to upgrade again, so I hope to sleep.
    DH just calculated we rode 175 miles, with 14k feet of climbing.
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  5. #20
    Join Date
    Sep 2009
    Location
    Tucson, AZ
    Posts
    2,045
    All in all- sounds like you had a great trip in spite of the heat. Hope the travel home went smoothly
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  6. #21
    Join Date
    Feb 2005
    Location
    Concord, MA
    Posts
    13,129
    We made it home, on time... so nice to feel the 60 degree temperature! I slept an hour on the train and several on the plane, so despite trying, I did nothing more than doze all night. Got out of bed at 5, unpacked, and started the laundry, which is mostly the bike clothes. At 9:30 I am going to meet my best friend, ever, from middle school/high school for breakfast. I have not seen her since January 1972. She is in town for the weekend and this is a great way to finish my trip. Tomorrow, my friend and I (and another friend, who lives here) are going to a celebration of life luncheon, for my HS boyfriend, who recently died.
    All, in all, this trip was a winner. The plusses were the riding and the food, and the scenery. The minuses were, compared to other bike tours, I felt rushed, and there were little cultural/historical side activities. We had chosen the explorer (cheaper) level trip than the last time we did a Trek Travel trip, so some of this may be the difference in price, between the Explorer trip and the Luxury version. We chose the Explorer trip, because we thought there would be less of an azzhole factor in the other participants, and I think that was true. We also let Trek plan our hotel, etc. we used in Paris for the beginning of the trip, and while the hotel was fine, we did not need the Paris Pass, and other things we bought, as those things were really touristy. We won't do that again.
    Sometimes I wonder about my riding ability, compared to the others... quite a few of the women who did Ventoux don't ride half as much as I do. They do run and hike, and other stuff that is hard. And, they don't even look like they are in great shape. I seriously don't know if I could have done Ventoux, even with my 11-34 gearing; I know I could not have done it with the bike I was riding there. DH says I could, and with me, it's mostly in my head. I like climbing, but I think my suffering quotient has decreased as I age.
    I will post some pictures, when DH is done uploading them.
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  7. #22
    Join Date
    Nov 2007
    Location
    Western Canada-prairies, mountain & ocean
    Posts
    6,982
    Quote Originally Posted by Crankin View Post
    The plusses were the riding and the food, and the scenery. The minuses were, compared to other bike tours, I felt rushed, and there were little cultural/historical side activities. We had chosen the explorer (cheaper) level trip than the last time we did a Trek Travel trip, so some of this may be the difference in price, between the Explorer trip and the Luxury version. We chose the Explorer trip, because we thought there would be less of an azzhole factor in the other participants, and I think that was true. We also let Trek plan our hotel, etc. we used in Paris for the beginning of the trip, and while the hotel was fine, we did not need the Paris Pass, and other things we bought, as those things were really touristy. We won't do that again.
    Sometimes I wonder about my riding ability, compared to the others... quite a few of the women who did Ventoux don't ride half as much as I do. .
    You're probably a good cyclist, Crankin. I'm very different from you when cycling in foreign countries outside of North America: For myself personally, I do want to enjoy the cultural sights, some views, etc. It would bother me immensely to be cycling a lot and bypass a lot of key historic sights, interesting restaurants..I'm in a foreign country.

    I don't mind some of the touristy stuff but like to visit it on our own time. That's part of the country's history / heritage also but just well over-marketed.
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  8. #23
    Join Date
    Nov 2009
    Location
    Indianapolis, Indiana
    Posts
    10,956
    I've been really enjoying your posts on your great trip. I'm looking forward to your photos!

  9. #24
    Join Date
    Feb 2005
    Location
    Concord, MA
    Posts
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    ShootingStar, we *did* see awesome scenery, and passed many castles, farms, chateaus, etc. I was very conscious of noticing this stuff, as I rode, because sometimes, I get too wrapped up in the riding. Just seeing the fields of sunflowers was above expectations. However, on other supported bike trips I've done, they always arranged walking/historic tours, trips to breweries, wineries, etc., sometimes places that the ordinairy traveler might not know about. And the restaurants we ate in (some with the group, others on recommendations from the leaders, on our own) were nothing but fantastic. The only cultural thing that was part of the trip was a cooking lesson/demo at the restaurant we ate in on the last night. We wanted the time to relax, and I am glad we did. I think part of it was dinner was scheduled too early, and I just felt like i had less time.
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  10. #25
    Join Date
    Jun 2006
    Location
    pacific NW
    Posts
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    Very enjoyable to read about your tour. Sounds like it was a great experience. I sort of wish I could get DH interested in this sort of thing, but then I remember what a pain in the butt travelling to Italy was.

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  11. #26
    Join Date
    Feb 2005
    Location
    Concord, MA
    Posts
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    Why was traveling to Italy a pain? I guess, as a traveler, you have to be prepared and accepting that certain stuff does happen. And, in the world of air travel, it is worth it to pay a little more for upgrades. We are lucky that 1) we live on the coast and have access to a lot of non-stop flights (though when we went to Italy 2 years ago, we did fly through NYC) and 2) DH traveled for business, every week, Monday-Thursday for any years. He has permanent gold status on Delta because of this, so even if we are flying coach, we get to check in in a separate line and board earlier. On this flight, we had booked our trip on premium economy and got offers to upgrade 2 days before our flights. It was worth the extra money we paid each way. Let's put it this way, if we had originally booked business class, it would have been another 3,000.00 each and this way, we each paid an extra 300.00 going there and 180.00 coming home. The flat bed and the service are worth it, if you can swing it. We also paid 100.00 to become part of the TSA/Customs Trusted Traveler program. We went to the customs office and were interviewed and they do a background check. So now we get to go through a separate security line, no taking off shoes, etc. in most airports in the USA. We do not have to go through the regular customs line when we get back to the USA; just swipe your passport on a machine, it takes your picture and fingerprint, and that's it. No one looks through your bags, either, you just show your receipt.
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  12. #27
    Join Date
    Jun 2006
    Location
    pacific NW
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    On the flight out, we sat on the runway for 5 hours before they decided to scrub the flight and start over in the morning. During the trip, the 9/11 terrorist attack occurred and my flight home was 5 days after that. It was utter pandemonium! Getting out of Italy wasn't so bad, but the connecting flight out of Heathrow was pure hell. I remember standing OUTSIDE the terminal for several hours in the rain just waiting to get in the line to get in line inside the terminal. Not typical travelling conditions, but it made me wary of international travel...

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  13. #28
    Join Date
    Feb 2005
    Location
    Concord, MA
    Posts
    13,129
    Well, being a few days after 9/11 most likely had a lot to do with that. But, in Europe, people tend to queue up with no logical pattern, far in advance of a departing flight. They generally do not pay attention to who goes in which line, so you have coach people standing in the priority flyer line. However, my DH has a big mouth (in a nice way), so he just cuts in front of the people, telling them, this line is clearly marked for first class/business/priority. Then, we have a little talk with the gate agent. But, you have to remember, you are in a different culture and this is what they do. However, I only saw pushing/shoving and huge lines going through customs in Milan, about ten years ago, as well as in the UK, the same year. Nothing like that recently. Ever been on a flight to San Juan? It's the same thing, so there is definitely a cultural component, that you just have to deal with. It certainly wouldn't stop me from traveling.
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