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Jul. 8, 2013
Tour de France Journal - Rest Day
Blame an attractive high school French teacher and early exposure to the films of Francois Truffaut for Matt Walsh's francophile tendencies. Then later came bike racing and watching the grandest race of all, the Tour de France. So as a freelance writer, there’s pretty much no place he’d rather be than in France on the race routes of Le Tour. It’s always an adventure that goes full-gas.

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Rest day.

Okay, rest day seems silly if you aren’t a pro rider one week into tackling the grandest grand tour of them all, the Tour de France.

I mean, it’s not like I’ve been battling in Corsica, riding a team time trial in Nice and then hammering -- or being hammered -- in two monster stages in the Pyrenees.

rest day 1

Nevertheless, everybody at the Tour -- riders, mechanics, team personnel,Tour staff, journalists, photographers, soigneurs, technical support people -- they all need a well-deserved break.

The Tour moves so fast and the only analogy I can think of is packing up Las Vegas, every casino and restaurant, and transporting everything 200 miles every day and setting it up again. The scale is incredible and the logistics mind-bending. Then again, the Tour has been doing it for a hundred years now so they have most of the kinks worked out.

rest day 2

So my day was restful but only if you consider seven hours in a car driving from yesterday’s finish town of Bagneres de Bigorre to Nantes. We’re in Brittany now where I learned my French so long ago in the regional capital city of Rennes.

I arrived in Nantes at around 6:30 PM and it’s a stunning city -- a UNESCO heritage site, which is a fancy term for having a lot of cool architecture and history. Like Montpellier and Marseille, the centre ville section of Nantes is everything you want in France. There are beautiful public squares packed with outdoor tables, restaurants, bars and hangouts you never want to leave.

I sat outside at the Saint Croix creperie and had the Crepe du Chevalier, which is the Knight’s crepe. It’s the medieval version of having the yellow jersey, the winner, the champion. Like I said, I did seven hours behind the wheel and I deserved a king’s crepe. It was brilliant and I was more than tempted to order two.

rest day 3

Then I got out my race bible and made plans for tomorrow, the sprinter stage from Saint Gildas Des Bois to the walled pirate town of Saint Malo. I get excited just saying those magic names.

And besides having an up-close view of what I consider the most astonishing athletic event known to man and bike, there are more crepes on the horizon.

Au revoir and good night.

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Guest Starring
Team Clif Bar, Tour

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We like getting our heart rates up, taking a big breath of fresh air, savoring delicious food. But we also love telling stories and here's where we type 'em up. (BTW, it works both ways; leave a comment—please and thank you.)

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