The return of Superman? That's what we thought then. Now, not so much.
In 2005 Lance Armstrong was at the top of his game in the world of long-distance cycling. He was our American hero. A picture of inspiration and encouragement. An icon who overcame cancer and became the poster boy of the Livestrong motto. No matter what you think of him today with the controversy surrounding him, stepping down from the first place podium and giving back his yellow jersey because of doping and lying, at the time, we believed he was an amazing athlete and a role model. It's a damn shame he lied and embarrassed us as a country.
In July of 2005, a group of my closets friends caught up with the tour on the 10th stage in Grenoble and followed the riders down through the South of France, the Pyrenees, the Alps and back up into Paris. It was going to be Lance's 5th win of the Tour de France and we were elated to be stalking him through France.
This was a three-week adventure spent laughing, eating, drinking and laughing some more. This trip was one of the most memorable of my life at the time.
This is a photographic journal of our time spent in France following the 2005 Tour de France.
Here was our morning ritual of cramming way too many bikes and bags into tiny euro cars. The entire point of the trip was to follow the tour from stage to stage. A few of the boys had planned on riding a portion of the tour route before the main peloton came through while the roads were still open to the public. The rest of us would catch up with them and commence to drink and eat and laugh ourselves into a silly frenzy.
We were so dedicated to this trip that we even brought a 9-month-old baby with us. Laila took her first steps in a hotel room in Provance and went to her first wine tasting in Chateauneuf du pape.
Our guide, John, seen in the middle of this picture, surprised us with the most magnificent picnic. It took him hours to create and set up. There will never be another one like it.
We spent an afternoon slipping across the border into Spain for lunch. We couldn't pass up an opportunity to eat Paella.
Being on the Champs Elysees with a massive sea of humanity was an experience never to be forgotten. We made sure we had plenty of beer and wine with us for the Superbowl of bike racing. It was hours of jockeying and maneuvering from street to street to find the best view of the riders. We were in trees, on shoulders and even standing on beer cans to give us the extra inch.