Tour de France Diaries Stage 9 – Cote de Bales

Stage 9 – Cote de Bales

This Tour is turning into my own personal Groundhog Day.  It goes as follows:

1)      Get woken up by flies buzzing my face at around 9 am.  I am bleary eyed, groggy, sniffly, sweaty and I turn and realize a 6’2” 200 lb Chinese guys is 2 inches away from me, snoring.  For those of you who don’t know – I somehow talked my friend, Lei, into coming with me.  I got him a costume as well so the two of us could go up there and maximize TV coverage.  He thought he was in for a fun, relaxing vacation in France.  Sorry Lei!

2)      Get up, take some allergy medicine, drink some water and wake up the “Beast from the East” (Lei’s nickname)

3)      Try to find food.  Strangely, in France the culinary highlight of the day has been the breakfasts, where we go to a “Patisserie” and buy a sh*t-ton of food.  Lei and I wait in what is invariably a long line.  When we get to the counter we mumble and point and take way too long.   We hear the French hissing to themselves behind us.

4)      We gorge ourselves on pastries.  I love pastries but to me they almost have to be accompanied by coffee.  Patisserie only serve Pastries.  No coffee.  Major bummer.

5)      Lei & I head back to the campervan and begin to pack up and get ready.  I love Lei but he is not the fastest guy in the world so usually I take out the costumes, load them onto the bikes and pack the bag, all in the time it takes for him to find his sunglasses.

Bottle Boy's three rigs.

6)      We make our way up the climb.  This involves a lot of knee smashing, slow RPM climbing, where we are constantly cheered on by people who can’t believe we are climbing with what appears to be either a huge set of golf clubs or a coffin.

"Allez Bottle Boy!"

7)      We scope out our running spots and sit together and eat lunch.

8)      The crazy caravan comes by.  The caravan is great the first time you’ve seen it.  After the 11th time, its still cool, but you don’t need any of the hats or key chains or signs they are throwing out as you pass by.  When I first saw the caravan I tried to jump for everything they threw out, but I got nothing.  Now, I just lay on the side of the road and get pelted with stuff.  It feels as if they are aiming right at me and throwing as far as they can.

9)      When I hear the helicopters I put on the suit.  First the pants and then the shoes  – Even Bottle Boy puts his pants on one leg at a timeJ   I wait until the last minute because its hot in there and I don’t want to attract too much attention.

A motor powered mascot. Someday, Bottle Boy. Someday.

10)   I say a few prayers to the costume Gods that I don’t take out the peloton but still manage to get a good shot.  So far the Gods have smiled on me.

11)   Run

12)   Run

13)   Run

14)   Take off the costume, pack it up and descend to Lei’s spot.

15)   We get to the car.  By this time we are sweaty, overheated and overtired.  I usually have a beer to decompress and then we pack up.

Its beer thirty.

16)   Drive for 3 hours, stop for food and pray we can find a gas station that is open.  In addition to needing gas regularly, our car also has a slow leak in the left tire, so we have to find a place that is open.  In France and in the evening, this is easier said then done.

17)   Get as close as possible to the final climb, usually around 1 am or so.  Try to find a parking spot, which is usually very difficult given it seems that most of Holland and Belgium and every man woman and child from Luxemberg are following the tour via campervan.  Eventually we find a spot .

18)   2 am, get into the bed in the campervan, which is really just a giant shelf space.

19)   See step 1.

So that’s pretty much how it went today.  This stage was exciting because Andy Schleck dropped his chain right after attacking and Contador didn’t wait for him.  I guess I was running alongside Andy right after he re-mounted.  I should have given him a push 🙂

Thanks for reading!


7 Responses to “Tour de France Diaries Stage 9 – Cote de Bales”

  1. MalcolmCog Says:

    Hey bottle boy ! You are certainly on tv, I have seen you on most mountain stages, and you usually get a mention off the commentators Phil Ligget and Paul Sherwen when they see the bottle running along. They also say the cleanable bottle is a brilliant idea.
    Keep it up to the end !

  2. Stephanie Says:

    My boyfriend and I have been watching every second of Le Tour and we absolutely love your bottle costumes!!! I really want a bottle doll for my office. Just the bottle isn’t enough…it needs the legs, sneakers and arms!!! Any chance you will have any made and sell them?

    Keep up the running!!!!


  3. kit Says:

    Oh my god. I love you guys. I asked myself yesterday “who the heck are the marketing geniuses behind this bottle boy thing,” and now I just find out it’s you and your friend biking that big mother up the hill?

    I love it. You wanna do a $0.00 9/10-branded bottle you just let me know. 😉

  4. Mr.Fabulous Says:

    Love seeing you guys on Versus Tour coverage! Every time you get into the shot, Phil gets all excited… “And there’s the Clean Bottle! His name is Dave!”… like he’s some sort of fan or something. Not sure if you’re paying for that, but it’s absolutely priceless.

    One thing… make a 32oz-er, 22oz is too small 😦

    Best of luck!

    – mf

  5. jONES Says:

    Just got one of these bottles the other day at REI. It’s one of those ideas that seems so obvious, now that somebody’s done it, but you wonder why it took so long.

    “Hey- what if we sliced the bread before we sold it?”

  6. Shane Says:

    Hey Dave,

    I met you on the Aubisque – you were kind enough to give me a couple of your bottles, which as I mentioned that day, represent a giant leap for botte-kind.

    Just wanted to check in – love this post – hilarious and very true to my experience following the tour (minus the costume of course). Looking forward to seeing the video you shot on our ascent together.

    Peace, Shane (from Nova Scotia, Canada)

  7. Eye Laser Surgery · Says:

    me and my best friend are members of the local town golf club, i am really excited to play golf -.,

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