If you’ve been to the tour you have a deep understanding of the extent of the passion that Europeans have for the sport of cycling. Simply watching crazed 3-days-drunk super-fans chase cyclists up the steepest hills in the Tour doesn’t quite give a sense of the extraordinary numbers reaching to catch even the slightest glimpse of cycling’s superstars. By example, this year’s queen stage on Mont Ventoux saw the equivalent of the number of people who attended the past 10 Superbowls on a single stretch of 12 miles of road. And all that for a 2 minute glimpse of the passing whirl of wheels and color or their sporting heroes. This unbridled passion for the tour begins on day one in whichever European destination city is lucky enough to be chosen for that given year, and lasts for 3 unimaginable weeks.
This year the mayhem began Monaco. Tucked between the Mediterranean Ocean and the most amazing set of hills imaginable, Monaco, along with having the highest density of millionaires in the world, is a cyclists dream. Glorious warm weather year round, very little rain, and a labyrinth of long steep amazing climbs make it a place where cyclists have long spent their offseason preparing for the upcoming season and the chaos that July will bring.
For many years, just about a 10 minute ride down the road in Nice, Lance Armstrong called this region home while he prepared for his run of tour domination. It was actually the countless named and unnamed climbs in the South of France that helped create one the greatest champions that the Sporting world has ever know.
Now, for those of you who may be new to cycling, you should know that cyclists in general are obsessed with comparison. We are constantly testing ourselves. We test ourselves against the competition, we test ourselves against our friends, heck we even test ourselves against ourselves. My favorite story of what I like to call Personal Comparison Syndrome (PCS) comes from a good friend, and former professional cyclist who would actually time his morning foray into the “think-tank” to see if he could set a personal record for “expeditious system flushing”…….and he did this for 5 straight years. Most often though, we choose a ride that we use to compare our fitness from one period of the year to the next. In Boulder, Colordo, the climb of choice is Flagstaff Mountain from the right hand turn to the amphitheater. In Tucson, Arizona you may find someone chasing their best time up Mt. Lemon. And in the South of France, you would find Lance racing up a 12km climb called the Col de la Madone; a climb that he found so important to him that he actually helped name a Trek bike in its likeness.
I tell you all of this, because the proximity of the start of this year’s Tour to this mountain, the much anticipated return of Lance, and the release of the latest model of our flagship bike, the Madone all happened to coincide in Monaco. So in honor of this, we decided to invite the world’s cycling media there to spend a bit of time with us prior to the Tour, and to test our newest road machine on the climb where it got its name. The goal was to give them a sense of the “larger than life” Tour experience coupled with the internal testing experience that cycling’s greatest champion had prior to each of his championships. The result is what you see in the video. Alas, certain folks have all the funJ.
I would be remiss if I didn’t take a quick minute to thank all of those who made this event happen. John Wood from Trek Travel (for the amazing support), Ben Harper from K-Swiss (for the coolest clothes ever), the staff at the Vista Palace Hotel, the folks at the Auberge de la Madone and of course all the amazing folks at Trek who worked so hard. Thanks to all of you. And, for those of you who watch and who are reading this, thanks to you too.
Don’t worry about where you’re going, just keep riding,