5. Rotterdam. Tania and I were at the start of the Tour de France for the Prologue and it was a great experience. The next day, we rode our bikes from Rotterdam to Gouda (home of the cheese). It is a beautiful small town with very good pizza and cold Heinekens. On the way back to Rotterdam we got stopped by a bridge—a new experience.
4. First Ride of the Year. Sometime in March I woke up and made the decision that, despite the 30-degree weather, I would take my first ride to work. The ride is 22.4 miles there and 22.4 miles back. I love that ride. I surpassed my goal of 30 trips by bike to the office this year and there is no better way to get to work than by bike. My only bad experience was one July morning when I stopped to help someone fix a flat and got absolutely killed by mosquitos and did not do a very good job of helping with the flat. Thankfully, another Trek employee, Dave Studner, came along.
3. Copenhagen. I attended the Velo City Conference in Copenhagen in June. The highlight of my visit was a two-hour ride around the city. There is one bridge that has a counter that 35,000 cyclists a day pass over. Amazing.
2. Ride the Drive in Madison. Over the past two years, Trek has worked with the City of Madison to put on a ride called Ride the Drive. Six of the best miles of road in Madison are closed to cars on a Sunday and opened to cyclists, runners, and walkers. Last year we held Ride the Drive and 15,000 people participated. This year the Mayor wanted to do two events. At the first Ride the Drive in June we had 30,000 participants, and in August we had a rider show up who won that little race in France 7 times and we had 60,000 people participate. I am looking forward to Ride the Drive in 2011.
1. L’ Étape. Every year the Tour De France holds an amateur race on the toughest stage. Tania and I have done the L’ Étape five times and this year was one of the best. We rode 105 miles with 3 great climbs. First up the Marie Le Blanc, followed by the Solour, followed by one of the all-time great Tour climbs, the Col de Tourmalet. This year I dropped 20 pounds so that I would be able to keep up with my wife. I felt great after the first 90 miles as we hit the base of the Tourmalet. We hit Luz Saint Sauveur with 10k to go. I started to fold like a lawn chair as the grade hit 10% plus. (Similar to last year’s climb up Ventoux, when I almost died with 5k to go and was saved by 5 ice-cold cokes at the Trek Travel rest stop.) I pulled it together and will never forget the sight with 5k to go. You could see the top of the mountain and hundreds of cyclists looking like ants and they zigzagged back and forth, climbing to the top. All I said to myself was you have got to be kidding me. We did end up finishing and my lovely wife, for the fifth year in a row, showed incredible patience. Lesson of the 2010 L’ Étape Campaign: losing 20 pounds wasn’t enough. A new and improved plan for 2011 is under development.
Here’s to a great 2010 and a better 2011.