Recap of L’Etape San Antonio Tour de France Weekend


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James and I left Utah and are out Number One-ing all month!

 

We’re event people — or at least we used to be pre-COVID. Back in the olden days, all our RV trips revolved around various events around the country; cycling, RV-related events, whatever. We like having an end-goal, or a purpose, on our trips. Makes it more fun for us.

This past weekend we started getting back to our old RVing ways. We headed to Texas for the inaugural L’Etape San Antonio by Tour de France. We were so stoked when we learned about it, we even missed our beloved Sea Otter to attend!

L’Etape Tour de France is an extra special event because it’s the only American stage of a worldwide amateur cycling series put on by, as the name states, the one and only ‘Tour de France’.

It’s actually a perfect event for James and me, because it’s competitive if you want it to be, or not competitive at all. Similar to a typical ‘5k event’ in that way. You’ve got the uber serious people looking all hard core with their expensive gear lining up at the front, and then the tutu-wearing, music-cranking, likely-hungover fun lovers at the back whooping it up. James identifies with the racers up front. I find the people at the back more to my liking.

The races/rides happened on Sunday, but the festivities went on all weekend with an expo and music. Alberto Contador was around all weekend, and we both got to meet him on Saturday!

 

We got him to do his famous “El pistolero” finger point with us:

I want to blow this picture up and hang it over my side of the bed.

I also got to say something to him!

I’m quite sure whatever I said was gibberish, being I was in full-on fangirl mode. Especially seeing the look on his face in this pic. “Vut ezz this crazy person say-eenk?

Alberto also took the stage on Saturday for a Q&A session. I did a live Facebook video, so you can find that over on our Facebook page if interested. I had forgotten about his stroke, back in ‘04, and he talked briefly about that as one of the hardest times in his life. Pretty inspiring that his greatest wins came after a life-threatening health scare.

Expo browsing. Love Bianchi!

On Saturday afternoon there was a “Champions Dinner” at the coolest venue: Chicken N Pickle. It’s a restaurant, a pickleball facility, and a bar with a great vibe, all spread over a pretty large area. Indoor seating, outdoor seating, areas you can rent for parties… every town needs a Chicken N Pickle!

Alberto spoke again at Chicken N Pickle, but it was a lot of the same stuff that he said earlier. The dinner was fantastic, too. Though it better have been for what we paid for it! They did something magic with grilled broccoli. Is it weird to get excited over broccoli?

 

That wrapped up Saturday festivities for us. We headed back to our RV park, Tejas Valley RV Park, watched an episode of Servant of the People, and then crashed out knowing we had a big cycling day ahead.

I woke up Sunday in the wee hours with the distinct feeling I was moving. I looked at the clock — 4:30am. And yes. We were definitely moving. James had broken camp and was driving us to the event parking lot. Because, you know, endurance events always seem to have to start at ridiculous-thirty in the morning.

Pitch black out. Sane people are still in bed.

Since James was racing in the 100 mile event, he was scheduled for a 7am race start, and since I had signed up in the 60 mile event, my rollout time was a more pleasant 7:50am. We got to the venue extra early so we could get ready right there in the parking lot. I just love that about RVing — having our own staging area right at cycling events! I can’t imagine attending an event without my rolling bathroom ever again.

Parking our house right at the race start!

Along the race route, there was an opportunity to win a green jersey at a sprint point. There was also an opportunity to win a polka-dot King/Queen of Mountain jersey, but James is no climber. He’s a great sprinter, though… and his goal was to go all-out on the sprint. Sadly, though, it wasn’t meant to be. In his defense, the sprint was 85 miles into the race for the 100 milers and only like 45 miles for the 60 mile racers, so those racing the shorter course had a bit of an advantage. Plus, it was almost 3/4ths of a mile long! Come on Tour organizers, that’s no sprint! Anyways, even if it had been an actual sprint, James wouldn’t have placed. He had screwed up his nutrition so was dealing with pesky leg cramps that started at around mile 60 and nagged him till the finish.

James and his leg cramps finishing his 100 miles.

I had no such issues, as I was riding with the tutu-wearing people and actually having fun! I’ve got to give kudos to the race organizers. Loved riding on mostly closed roads, with a course well-marked, and cops everywhere. Towards the end of my ride, I found myself in a little pack of fit cycling women:

One of the women had a “Queen of the Downhill” jersey on, ha! I told her I wanted to get that jersey.

This is how I found Mel when I got back from my ride. Clearly he was missing us terribly.

So anyways, we ate post-ride BBQ, stayed for the awards ceremony, showered up in the parking lot (yay for post-event parking lot showers!), then rolled out. We were snuggled in bed at around 7:30pm, watched another episode of Servant of the People, and were both sound asleep by 8pm last night.

Onwards to our next exciting event: Goat Yoga!

To the L’Etape organizers… when looking at next year’s event dates, please don’t make it compete with Sea Otter again! We want to do both!

 

 

 

 



After 15 years as an educator in both the public K-12 setting and the University level in Special Physical Education, Stef made the leap to her true passion… the fitness world. She’s currently a personal trainer and wellness coach specializing in seniors, medical conditions, and injuries. Stef loves running, cycling, and being “Mugga” to her two favorite mini-humans — Punky and Marshmallow. ❤️


    2 thoughts on “Recap of L’Etape San Antonio Tour de France Weekend

    1. Dave Koontz

      My wife & I bought a Coachmen Beyond last month & hope to do some adventures like this. We followed THE Tour for a week in 2004 with one of the bike tour companies. Great fun after watching many Tours on TV!

      Reply
      1. Stefany - Post author

        Congrats on your Beyond! Very cool you experienced following the actual TDF; we’d love to do that someday!

        Reply

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