Tour de France 2004 Stage 19 - Besancon to Besancon

Today was the best ride of the trip. Tammy and I figured that while we had suffered up some mountain climbs we hadn't really gotten any distance in. We decided that since today's ride would be "flatter" (this is a relative term) we would do the 115km option. We left on our bikes straight from Beaune and rode to Besancon for the time trial. We rode with a fast group in a huge bunch for the first 70 k's and then fell off the back. The speed kept getting faster and it was very hard to stay on. We'd get shot off the back and then have to kill ourselves to get back on a wheel. Then we realized that we were on vacation and I could stare at a rear wheel in Minnesota. Time to smell the flowers! We let the group ride off. It's amazing how fast they ride off, in minutes we weren't even able to see them. We pedaled along and had a simply great ride along the valleys in rural France. We went through so many small villages, stopped at a bakery for some pastries, went along rivers. It was simply wonderful.

We ended up clicking off 125 km which is I believe 78 miles or so in the Queens measurements. That is the longest ride Tammy has ever done topping her previous 67 mile record. She's now saying that she might do a century with me. She's doing great on the bike. Clearly the running and workout out she's done has paid in spades.

The time trial was great. Lance pounded a resounding fist of authority on the tour besting Ullrich by just over a minute. I was able to see the podium presentation for the first time. It was also the first time I heard any booing. There are many people who believe that Lance dopes and there were a number of boo's as he received the stage victory.

We headed back to the bus and rode back to Beaune. After a banquet dinner in the hotel we took a walk in Beaune. I just couldn't live with the idea we would be at this great village and not even see it! I wish we would have had a day to spend there as it looked like an incredible town.