Tour de France 2014 - Stage 18

It's not like we planned it this way, but one cannot visit France while Le Tour is on and not got and see a stage. Unlike 2012 this was a short trip though, so just the one stage this year.

However, the chosen stage was the final foray into the mountains for the race and we managed to position ourselves on the final HC climb. Usually one would take a bike and ride up the final climb before finding a spot to watch. Due to injury this wasn't an option, but we found a great spot on the first decent kick of the climb a couple kilometres from the left turn to Hautacam. And sat. And waited.

In previous years I've enjoyed taking 'serious' pictures at races but again, due to only the single stage this year, decided to stick to 'fun' pictures that tried to capture the atmosphere. Hopefully that comes over.

As the race came by I stuck a fisheye lens on the camera and held it in my uphill hand with one finger on the shutter. Yes, this produced a lot of rubbish, but it also got a few good shots and importantly it meant I could watch all the action up close without being stuck behind a viewfinder.

The most interesting thing about the whole day was that you'd think this would feel like hours of waiting - but not at all. So much happening, people to chat to and things to see. Even with the 2-4km walk up and back it's highly recommended... but next time we'll be on a bike for sure!

09:20

Pratiwi on the walk up Hautacam & shady bank where we chose to wait. Great spot. Pays to start early (9am at bottom).

09:45

Who'd have known watching strangers pass by on a hill was so entertaining. Note guy on a chopper: More of that later!

12:40

Some loon rode this Chopper part way up Hautacam. Another loon borrowed it wink Messing about at Le Tour - love it! grin

14:30

At a sports event show your colours. Aussies go down better in France than Brits (funny that!), so let's go that way!

15:20

Here comes the caravan! Luckily we picked the right side to avoid a soaking! Hot as it was, might not have been best.

15:45

Much amusement was had when inflatable walrus met inflatable kangaroo. And yes - we kept it clean! wink

16:15

Fisheye is on and ready for the riders. Few crowd & scenery shots first. Beautiful place to spend the day, huh?

16:44

@NieveMikel & Kadri, away since the Tourmalet were separated by 11s as they past. Looked to be suffering & doomed.

16:45

@vincenzonibali cool as a cucumber as the peloton passed. Teammate Fulsgang, 3 minutes down after a job well done.

16:52

Yelling at @richie_porte & confusing @TrekFactory wink Hope 'roo & flag was what brought the smile Richie. #GoAussie grin

16:56

Seconds before Jack Bauer somehow found energy to wheelie up one of steepest parts of the climb. Real crowd pleaser!

16:56

With no GC contender to protect @tinkoff_saxo were just out having fun!

17:01

Exchanging a few words with @luke_durbridge1 - who TBH didn't say much wink Got a rye smile out of him though smile

17:02

Pratiwi, 'chopper boy' & the 'roo shouting at @AndreGreipel. Hope the Aussie theme wasn't confusing - we love Andre!

17:20

What happens when you are the only camper for miles with a TV and the stage hasn't yet finished. Make friends fast!

17:22

Heading down to team buses, along with everyone else! You go to small races to meet riders & not Le Tour! #NotAChance

17:58

After a big day out, time for some rest. Some of us are even - dare I say - feeling a little deflated! #BoomTish grin