Dec 2004
Drinking Burgundy
with Hills on the Side
by Joanne Ratinoff

Once we escaped Paris during rush hour and got into Dijon and a good bottle of burgundy, our vacation began. We spent our first day drinking burgundy on the famous burgundy wine route Vosné-Romanée and Clos Vougeot, etc. Lunch at Chez Losset in Flagey-Echezeau was truly spectacular -- Kurt could not even finish the fois gras, it was so rich. At 9 a.m. the next morning in Grenoble we met up with Russell, an Englishman who leads small French cycling tours (see his highly informative website at We rode with Russell and 5 of his friends and, as is often the case at home here, I was the only gal in the sufferfest. (Hint: not wise to attempt a 50 mile cols ride including two Cat 1 climbs with the local hammer heads when you are old, not as fit as they are, jet-lagged and hung over.) Nevertheless, Russell and his compatriots were quite hospitable and the scenery memorable. Kurt descended the cobblestones for the first time and did just fine. On July 16 we climbed Alpe d'Huez with fellow LaG'er Steve Edwards who managed a very very respectable time up on a crappy bike; happily, I beat Sheryl Crow's time (whew!). As it was already getting very crowded on the mountain, we opted to avoid the 600,000+ spectators and, along with Steve, Jordan Smith and Susan Gans, watched Lance annihilate Ivan Basso in the TT the next week on TV from our hotel.

Kurt and I did another great ride in the Vercours. We started in Pont de Royans, rode to the Col de Carri, descended the Col de la Machine into St. Jean de Royans and returned to the start. Lance won the stage that day and was, at that point, only 22 seconds down from the maillot jaune and in second place. We figured Lance had his 6th TDF win and we were getting pretty excited. We also climbed the famous Col de Telegraph and the Galibier. As Bob Roll says, the Galibier is a piece of evil 10 unremitting miles from Valloire to the top and the last km. is the steepest! But the descent was fun especially the Telegraph. I will leave the story of Kurt and Jordan's climb (and my walk with my bike) up the Bastille in Grenoble to another time. And, of course, watching the TDF riders come into Paris is an event that anyone who loves to ride a bike should do at least once.

First Day in Grenoble

With friends Steve & Jordan

In the Vercours

With the "Most Famous" Chef







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