Again, It's Not About the Bike
? or how three amateur riders experienced the 2002 Tour de France
we were above the hawks.? For boys from Connecticut, that was a thrill.
The Dunk Rock Roadies are a bunch of cyclists who have gotten together informally over the last few years to ride regularly and help each other stave off the creeping signs of being over fifty years old. Dunk Rock Road is a short, dead end byway lined by 250-year-old stonewalls in Guilford, Connecticut. This Long Island shoreline town of under 20,000 is famous for its large town green. The town is criss-crossed and surrounded by miles of superb, twisting roads, which offer endless choices for avid riders. Dunk Rock Road is less than a mile long but somehow has 6-8 riders of age who have gotten serious, or at least our version of serious, about bicycling. Our version includes 100+ miles of riding per week during the season and lots of chatting and good-natured ribbing. We all allow fellow riders to talk at length about their latest ailments because we understand that we well may need the same indulgence the next week. But, we are still improving as riders and fancy that we look quite good in our spandex and US Postal shirts. By mid summer we usually lose our winter tummy tires and do quite well. We often push a 20-mile an hour average on our regular Thursday night training rides through a hilly, winding 25-mile country loop. Weekend rides that are longer drop into the 17-mile an hour average, but we can kick it up pretty well if a young buck joins us. Over the years, it has developed into a tight group, which enjoys and relies on each other as we move inexorably into what is supposed to be our declining years.
Our bunch had often talked of going on longer biking adventures and have done some centuries together. We have increasingly become Tour de France and Lance fans. On New Year?s Day, 2002, while visiting Guilford, Peter Thomson said, ?Why don?t you get the Dunk Rock Roadies to come over to the Tour this year? I?ll set it up and show you around.? On a cold January day in New England when you haven?t been on your bike in weeks, what could sound better? We looked up the route on the Internet and started to plan and dream right there. Peter went back to Spain after the holidays and I started to feel out the Dunkers. In a few weeks I had the token, but binding, $10 deposits of five of them and we were on. Later in the winter Peter laid out a route and secured a series of fine hotels for us. By spring we got our gears changed to assist us in serious climbing and really started to spin. We were all very concerned about getting blown off the mountains in Spain and France. By late May, Peter had started climbing in the Pyrenees and