Epic Camp was truly an incredible experience; one I will not soon forget.
The training was grueling, and pushed each of us beyond our limits. (I'm laughing thinking back to Day 5. That day of camp, Col d'Iseran in particular, freaking crusshhhed me. Hard to put into words how bad I felt that night and the following day. I also questioned my sanity/ what the effffff I was doing with my life while running in circles around a parking lot on Day 6 — the only strip of land without a 5+% grade — to finish off my 10km run for camp completion.) France did not disappoint with its beauty, and... wait for it... hospitality. Save for the debacle with Air France re: my bike, all those I encountered in France could not have been more friendly and gracious.
Our support and lodging was next level -- huge shout out to Pyrenees Multisport. Ian and Julie are the best in the business. If you ever look to do a bike camp or riding tour of France, Spain, Italy or Corsica look to these two for the organizing.
And, last but certainly not least, the people on the camp were fantastic. It was really cool to see how tight-knit our crew became over the 12 days. A touch reminiscent of fraternity pledgeship, we became very close with one another by virtue of enduring some brutal days. I'm looking forward to staying in touch with everyone.
Yellow Jersey (Maillot Jaune), Overall Points Leader - John and Adam K duked it out all camp for this one. When the triathlon ended on the final day, John finished as the points leader. However, the rules allowed people to tack on until 4pm. Adam chose to do so (he got some grief for this), but ultimately took the jersey.
Polka Dot Jersey, King of the Mountains - Adam K took this one pretty handily. That said, Walter, Shannon and John were pretty strong with their KOM points.
Red Jersey, Points Leader Over 50 - Murray Lapworth took this one. He and Peter were smashing themselves over the course of the camp in truly impressive fashion. I'm 20 years their younger and would have been picking myself up off the canvas after some of the efforts they put out, particularly on the bike. Very impressive work by these two. I hope Murray frames this jersey after what he put himself through in getting in.
Thankfully I parlayed my camp trip with Tour de France spectating. Me, Phil, Ian and Murray made our way from Morzine to Luchon the morning after the camp wrapped. And by morning I mean 5am. I had far too much to drink (to borrow from the parlance of those on the camp, I got pissed) on the final night of camp, which made this AM departure tough, to put it mildly. Thankfully I slept all but about 20 minutes of the 8-hour ride from Morzine to Toulouse (where we picked up our rental cars), which is basically driving from Switzerland to Spain. And yes, going out hard in Morzine with JB, Joules and Peter was definitely worth it. I mean, when am I going to be in Morzine again?
TOUR DE FRANCE SPECTATING
The Tour spectating was amazing.
For Stage 8, Phil and I rode from the center of Luchon to the top of Col de Peyresourde (~18 miles) to see the final climb of the day. Here are some pictures and a Snapchat video from the day. It was freaking awesome.
Here's my Snapchat video from the day...
Oh, and Chris Froome went on to win Stage 8, taking the Yellow Jersey, with a downright absurd descent down from Col de Peyresourde. Here's a quick video of that; him fearless, just chilling on his top tube going a zillion miles an hour.
This one is a bit longer, but is an awesome recap of the stage. This dude, Vegan Cyclist is f'ing hilarious. And no, I'm not just plugging myself here... shocker, there's another vegan dude who rides a bike.
For Stage 9, Phil, Ian and I drove from Luchon to the start line in Vielha, Spain (~45 minute drive). From there, Ian and I rode about 3/4 the way up the first climb of the day, Port de la Bonaigua, to spectate. Here are some pictures and videos of that...
Snapchat video from the day...