Heinz Fischer: "I wished that Paris was much further away"
Remember our 'Ride to Paris' contest? And our two winners Ricky and Heinz? It's more than a month since Le Tour arrived at the Champs-Elysées - but Ricky and Heinz will keep the memory of this ride forever. Read all about Heinz' experiences on the ride.
“What happened to Cadel Evans anyway?” .... “You’re in top form now after your cycling hol-iday, aren’t you?” ... Anna continues to ask questions. Even though I was able to answer them, I couldn’t figure out why my daughter wanted to know all of this.
During dinner, I couldn’t even say how happy I was that night because I simply couldn’t believe my luckAnna then said that BMC was riding with a group from Grenchen to Paris to see the final stage of the Tour de France and that they had invited two people to join them or rather had raffled off two spots. That would really have been something for me but I had sadly missed the entry date. That didn’t bother me in the least because I really didn’t think I would have a chance to be selected anyway. When Anna continued with the subject, I did ask myself why she was telling me all of this. Then she said all of a sudden that they did enter me on time and that I had been picked. I couldn’t even say how happy I was that night because I simply couldn’t believe my luck.
There were only a few days until the start. My only preparations consisted of picking up some rain gear (which I thankfully didn’t need) and just enjoying the feeling of anticipation. And before I knew it, I was standing in front of the BMC building in Grenchen and opened the door. In front of me, I saw a group of people with red team bikes. Two people from BMC greeted me and they were then joined by a third: “I’m Cadel.” Of course, I recognized the winner of the 2011 Tour de France immediately.
And we started off right the next morning. It was really a great feeling riding the disc-brake equipped bikesDavid had selected a great route for us with most of it away from roads with a lot of traffic. It was just a short while and we had crossed the Doubs and entered into France. It was really a great feeling riding the disc-brake equipped bikes. They had such precise handling and a forgiving ride. We were also so lucky to have Lisa and Stefania along with us as two extremely likeable support team members, who not only were responsible for luggage transport, but also provided us with amazing meals time and time again and were simply there for us. They also thoughtfully placed a small surprise for each of us in our rooms.
I was enjoying the trip so much that it didn’t take long before I wished that Paris was much further away. But that wasn’t the case. We were getting closer in giant steps. When I saw the retired Concorde on Sunday morning, it dawned on me that it couldn’t be much further. And just a short time later, as if out of thin air, the Eiffel Tower rose up before me... What a feeling! After having never visited I was enjoying the trip so much that it didn’t take long before I wished that Paris was much further away.Paris before and having watched the final stage of the Tour de France on television for some four decades, I was suddenly here. And, for our greatest pleasure, we were able to ride, or rather enjoy, the last kilometers until the Arc de Triomphe on streets closed to traffic. After an enjoyable picnic in front of the Eiffel tower, we moved over to the race course where we went into the BMC box about 50 meters from the finish line. There we were treated to culinary delights and could watch the race from up close. Having the chance to watch the finish of probably the most prestigious sprint in all of cycling from that vantage point was simply unbelievable. The final highlight was the after-race party with the BMC team once the race was over.
After that, or better said on the next morning, it was already time to say farewell. I went back to the Arc de Triomphe, where the daily routine had once more set in, and then boarded the train back to Basel. During the trip home, I had the time to think back on the past several days, days that had been full of highlights and that had brought me many special encounters. Beyond that, it was the warmth that I felt over and over again that made this trip so unforget-table. I want to thank everyone who participated so much for that. Of course, my biggest thanks go out to BMC for inviting me on this incomparable trip, and of course to Anna and Julian whose entry made it all possible in the first place. Finally, a shout-out to Romeo who was part of our group but who was only able to be there for a short part of our trip because of a silly mishap.