I guess it was 5am or so, the sky was starting to get brighter, and some of the early birds were starting to move around. It was fairly cool, maybe 50 or so, and it actually made me glad I wasn't atop the mountain as I'm sure it was pretty cold up there, especially with the wind that was blowing. I munched on some stuff, chatted with some of my neighbors, gathered my supplies, water and food for the trip up. I guess it was 7am or so when I started walking up, a lot of other folks were doing the same.
It was a long walk up and there was no shortage of people to talk to. Plenty of English speaking folks, for that matter plenty of people speaking just about any language. The wall of people just kept getting thicker and thicker, walkers, bikers, campers everywhere.
The hike up the mountain was no small task, 20km to the summit and a good portion of it at 10% grade or more.
I walked up to a little past Chalet Reynard, into the "bare" zone, nothing but dirt and rocks on the top of the mountain.
Since I had to get out of this place that night and drive back to Geneva for my early flight the following morning, I decided I would start walking back down the mountain to watch the race come by. So I walked back down, probably to around the 6km point. The whole mountain was like in the photo above, a mass of people everywhere.
The race came through, and it was a phenomenal experience. I gave up trying to take photos, as I didn't want to miss what was really going on. I filmed some neat video clips, but can't figure out how to edit them and to post them here. A nice clip of Lance and Alberto going by. The fans were incredible, the biggest party I have ever attended for sure. The whole hike up the mountain was like in the photo above, a mass of people everywhere. The walk down after the race made me glad I was only 7km or so from where I parked. It was chaos, walkers, bikes, cars.... I made it back to the car, and spent a few hours trying to get out of the area. Of course the GPS kept directing me back onto roads that were either closed still or just gridlocked, but eventually I made it out. I drove all night and made it up to Geneva in the early morning around 1:30am. I parked in the rental car return garage, and went to sleep for an hour or 2 (remember the song "I'll sleep when I'm dead"? LOL). Woke up and opened the airport up, made my 7am flight to Paris for the final day of the tour in Paris!