I'm leaving tomorrow and getting a bit excited now. The first stage I may be able to see is Stage 4 on Tuesday, if I can find my way across to the route (Lorient-Mur de-Bretagne) from where I spend the first 2 nights in Rennes.
After that I join my tour and we stay in Hede, just north of Rennes, for the next 2 nights and ride to the end of Stage 5 at Cap Frehel, then the start of Stage 6 the next day in Dinan. I've holidayed in this beautiful part of Brittany before and am really looking forward to riding the roads rather than driving around with a family in tow....just don't tell them that ;)
I'm just looking at the map of the Pyrennes stages - Argeles-Gazost (or nearby) would be a great place for this years tour. It's close to the finish for stage 12, en route for stage13 and within striking distance for the start of Stage 14. In 1986 we stayed several days at Arras-en-Lavendan which is just 3 kms up the road and it was great there. I saw peletons of weekend cyclists up and down the road to the Col du Soulor, and they all seemed to stop for pastis at our inn on the way back !!
Looking at the maps now if I could choose I would follow the tour from Stage 8 next Saturday, through the Pyrennes until at least Montpellier, then maybe into the Alps. For combining riding with following the tour I reckon the middle week looks the best.
I spent the whole day packing and copying documents etc - I'm glad I didn't have to pack a bike !! Now I'm just looking forward to getting on the plane and having a relaxing journey.
Haven't had a ride since Wednesday so it will be a week between rides when I roll out with the Topbike team from our hotel in Hede to the stage 5 finish in Cap Frehel. I have 48 hours on the ground after flying to iron out the wrinkles and get ready to go, so should all be good. A friend told me that during the Tour even casual cyclists on the road get cheered by the enthusiastic locals - that would be a change and a real buzz !
Took a key to the neighbour today so he can feed the cats for a couple of weeks and, bizarrely, met his plumber, a keen a capable ex-comp cyclist who has recently returned from following the Giro d'Italia close up. We had a good chat for a few minutes there ...
Hopefully I can post a few reports over the next 2 weeks - maybe even some photos, if I can wrangle the camera and the EeePC OK.