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I split the day with ear-to-ear grins plastered across my face, then with frowns of teeth-grinding exertion. So those odd colons and parenthesis above as the blog title? Those are smiley faces and frowns. Obviously.
I’ll set things off on the right foot and begin with the good; sleeping late was pleasant. Then when I was told, “You have friends by the bus” by a loyal staff member I knew exactly who it was and was immediately euphoric! My dear friends Matt, his wife Jesse, and awesome parents Pattie and David were here from east-coast-USA for a wedding… AND the Tour de France. Pattie has a very special place in my heart since baked goods are the cat’s pajamas and she has been baking for me since Matt and I were teammates back in the very neon green Louis-Garneau amateur days. I reckon that was 2004 and ought-5. Racing across New England, fueled by Pattie’s finest culinary concoctions made for the best long summer weekends.
So this well traveled crew didn’t disappoint when they surprised me at the start (…okay, I heard a rumor they were coming, but actually connecting at the start with family and friends is akin to finding a needle in a haystack amid the roving circus that is the Tour de France start village) with a patriotic red, white, and blue bag full of maple and Justin‘s goodies in hand. Straight from New England, there are two novelty sized, small maple syrup containers, one of which I will likely race with tomorrow, in addition to hard maple candies which are pure and sweet and divine, plus some other fine New England goodness. And truth be told, I would have been elated to see them even without the bag of hometown flavors. Their hugs and high fives plastered a smile on my face…
…long enough for the race to start and then ramp directly into a mean category 2, at which point my smile left.
THANKFULLY I saw Matt and Jesse later in the stage, which was a surprise, as we neared the top of the day’s vicious cat 1 climb. Ironically, in today’s first jaunt into the mountains for the Tour, we were graced with the best weather of the entire Tour rather than the ominous and angry wet skies we’ve seen til now. Minus the half hour of righteous rain today, anyway, but we’ll forget that because the sun actually came out today for a few glorious minutes.