Is there such a thing as a good spot to watch a bunch of cyclists tear past at forty or sixty kilometres per hour? I suspect there is, and it is on a padded sofa in front of a large screen. We don’t have a sofa or a screen, just a map of the route and the expected times of its whizzing by, so we wandered around the villages surrounding our mooring today, in reconnaissance mode rather than in the sightseeing one, trying to make a decision.
Charny-sur-Marne will be the first to see the riders, and it is a designated refreshment station. That’s sort of like a pit stop in a formula one race, except that no-one stops. The team “domestics” grab bags of sustenance held out by the ground crew as they race past, and ride through the pack to supply the front riders in their teams, who try to stay clear of the tangles which often ensue at the pickup point.
It might be interesting to watch there, but it could be crowded and we might not see anything at all. Perhaps if we wander down to the next village Bras-sur-Meuse, two minutes of racing further on, or even just a few kilometres up the first gentle climb towards the Bayonet Trenches of the war, we may see a little more as the front runners begin to climb.
We walked along the route for seven kilometres today and could not decide where we will wait tomorrow.
With a day to go there a little last-minute cleaning of buildings and mowing of lawns is evident, but apart from the few signs warning of road closures, and some truckloads of barricades arriving in the villages there is no hint that tomorrow, for a few precious minutes the eyes of the world will be here.
We thought perhaps we may struggle to find a mooring within a reasonable distance of the route, but we are alone.
I suspect we won’t need to camp out to preserve our vantage spot, which given our indecision in that regard is no bad thing.