Tour de Withlacoochee


I’ve spent many July mornings sitting in front of the television listening to Phil Liggett and Paul Sherwen describe the events of the day’s stage of the Tour de France. This July I’ve ridden my bike more than I’ve watched others ride so last Thursday when Christophe Riblon took stage 18 in an epic climb on Alpe d’Huez I was riding another leg of the Tour de Withlacoochee in Citrus and Hernando counties.

While there are similarities in the two rides…people riding bikes…there are also many differences.

Our ride did not include a rider in the maillot jaune (yellow jersey), but I wore a blue Chihuly shirt. IMG_0457

No high tech machines costing thousands of dollars, just a $20 garage sale cruiser.

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We rode past a general store instead of castles, but like the Tour de France, we encountered beautiful surroundings and communities with names I was unable to pronounce.

There were no people lining the route cheering us on, but armadillos, turkeys, gopher tortoises, and a fawn  quietly watched us ride.

No one handed us a bag to sling across our bodies to provide nourishment as we passed a feeding station, but we sat in an air conditioned restaurant overlooking the river and dined on hamburgers, Philly cheese steak, and fries.

I may have missed the live broadcast of stage 18, but no problem…I recorded it and watched Christophe Riblon climb on the podium on my schedule…after riding stage 2 from Nobleton to Floral City on the Tour de Withlacoochee.

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