The Tour de France live!

I saw the end of the Tour de France live today and it was spectacular.

The race didn’t start until nearly 5:00 PM local time today so I had plenty of time to catch up on sleep (which I did by sleeping until 10 am) and relax before heading out to watch the Tour.

Pokemon Go started an event today and released the first Legendary Pokemon (Articuno and Lugia) as raid battle targets, so I tried my hand at the first one I saw, and I failed. And I failed again, and again, but it was still fun and it wasn’t even noon yet!

But time started to pass quickly as I started packing and changing outfits for the day. And eventually it became half passed 3. So I asked my dad if he wanted to head out to grab some lunch on our way to the Champs-Élysées where the Tour would do 8 laps before concluding for the year.

Our hotel, the Holiday Inn Paris Opera – Grands Blvd, is directly outside of a metro station. Literally, outside the door are the stairs leading into the metro station.

We hopped on Line 8 which took us to Line 1 which should have dropped us off at the Champs-Élysées, but that stop was skipped because of the Tour so we got off at the next stop.

This worked out in our favor because we were situated next to a bridge the riders crossed over right before heading to the Champs-Élysées, which was right after they came over a bridge just far enough away we could see them in the distance before they whizzed passed us.

Many people walked from the first vantage point to the Champs-Élysées; my dad and I walked to the Franklin D Roosevelt circle not far from our original spot which allowed us to see the riders ride towards and away from the Arc de Triomphe (which we will be visiting and entering in 23 hours).

Given the 8 laps the riders made along the same road, this meant spectators at the Champs-Élysées could see the riders zoom by 16 times if they arrived at the Avenue early enough. My dad and I, however, were not there so we missed a couple laps and a few of the potential video/photo ops.

But 10 times was plenty for the riders passing by us, and I got plenty of video footage on my cameras, and my dad shot numerous (a few hundred) photos.

Alas, the race ended around 7:15 PM and we had to head out with the rest of the thousands of spectators.

As for the experience, it was great.

Seeing the best of the best (at least those still in the ride after crashes and what not) live, in person, at the most famous bike race in modern history was exceptional. I would gladly visit next year, and even make it an annual tradition.

The only thing which would make watching the Tour live any better would have been getting a signature or meet & greet with the riders. I’ll just have to wait and see how things go in the next few years to see if my dream comes true.

Flight to San Diego #1: SMF – SLC

I chose to run the Rock ‘N’ Roll San Diego for the first weekend of June. To get to San Diego, I chose to fly on Delta. My chosen route with Delta was Sacramento (SMF) → Salt Lake City (SLC) → San Diego (SAN) so I could check out the Delta Sky Club in SLC.

The Delta credit cards from American Express currently have their highest sign-up bonuses being offered, 60,000 points for the Delta Gold card with the annual fee waived the first year. These points are good for 1 or 2 round trip tickets for longer flights, like SFO – JFK, or roughly 5 or 6 short one-way segments like SFO-LAX.

To the Airport!

The trip to SMF was smooth without any congestion on the drive to the airport. Once at the airport, security was not busy at all so I spent maybe 10 minutes going through TSA. Delta flies out of Terminal A which is also used only by United and American which might account for the speed of security compared to Terminal B which has 7 airlines.

The Airplane

My flight to SLC was on an Airbus 319-100 which seats 126 people and has 2 cabins, First and Comfort+/Economy. Having only 2 cabins meant boarding went quickly, first Pre-boarding, then First Class and Diamond Medallion members, with Sky board followed by Group 1, 2, and 3 to finish things off.

The overhead storage bins were like buckets that came down from the ceiling and we dumped our luggage into them. I recently got a carry-on suitcase with a battery from Away called “The Bigger Carry-On” and it fit just fine in the overhead bin. Seating was 3 on either side of the aisle, so a 3-3 configuration.

 

This airplane felt new because the light and air vent controls looked like a WiFi router, which it might have been since there was an illuminated “WiFi” icon during the flight. The In-Flight Entertainment (IFE) also seemed updated because even though there was a screen in the back of the headrest on each seat, the screens were independent of one another and they were touch screens.

What impressed me was not only the touch and independence of each screen, but the fact there were hours of modern movies (like Moana, Hidden Figures, and Rogue One), TV series, and full albums all for free.

On the underside of the IFE screen was a headphone jack and a USB port. Each of these inputs had a blue light illuminating them but the light would switch off and on without any known reason. I couldn’t tell if my camera was charging or not, so I used the universal power socket that was on the near the floor of the seats in front of me.

Being about 6’ 2”, leg room is of great importance to me. With that said, I chose the window because SMF-SLC is just over an hour.

I didn’t have much to complain about in terms of legroom. My knees were about an inch away from the seat in front of me while my feet were directly below my knees and the seat was upright. Even the tray table was well above my knees when my legs were in the same position.

The short duration of this flight meant I didn’t find using the available GoGo WiFi worthwhile to use, but I did take a water and pretzel snack when the food cart came through. Another consequence of such a short flight was not being able to tell if the seats were comfortable. They weren’t uncomfortable and they looked new, but I couldn’t tell if they would hurt during a 2+ hour flight.

Landing in Salt Lake City went smoothly and I had a 3 hour layover so I headed from Gate D13 to the Delta SkyClub located between the D and C gates. The review of my flight from Salt Lake City to San Diego will be published in a few days, and videos of my flights can be found here.

If you think it’s as awesome as I did to have a battery for charging various things while sitting around with a carry-on suitcase, and you’d like $20 off your order of an Away suitcase, you can use my referral link and I will also get $20.

Action Cameras and YouTube Videos

I am joining the world of action camera videography. With a couple GoPro cameras in hand, I will be cataloging my traveling, races and training on YouTube.

There will be separate channels for travel and races and another for full length recordings of me training.

On the travel and races channel, I have uploaded a time lapse of my recent trip on Amtrak to San Jose. And I have begun uploading my run workouts as I prepare for the Rock ‘N’ Roll San Diego race weekend.

I already have several videos planned for this summer with the first coming from my weekend of racing in San Diego. The majority of my planned videos will be from my trip to Europe in July. These will include time lapses of the flights going to and coming back from Europe, and train rides throughout Europe.

A couple more videos I will be creating will be a follow up to my blog about my TomTom Spark and a brand new blog post about my newest phone, the OnePlus 3T.