The year I was in England, the Tour de France started in London. (I know, it doesn’t make any sense to me either.) I used to be a big fan of the tour, so I was super-excited for the opportunity to see the riders in person. The first day was individual time trials, and the second day was the actual start. I took the train into London both days.
On Day 1 my friend and I, anticipating huge crowds, left Brighton very early to make sure we staked out a good spot to see the riders. We were some of the very first spectators and found a spot near Buckingham Palace where the course doubled up so that we could see the riders head up the loop and come back down again. Not minutes after we found our spot, I looked up to see a rider warming up on the loop opposite us. I grabbed my friend’s arm and said, “Oh my gosh, that’s Tom Boonen!” Boonen had been my favorite cyclist for a few years – he’s a strong rider, he’s cute, he seems like a nice guy. He’s all around adorable. And there he was! In person! I’ve never been excited about any other sport. I don’t think I’d be that gaga if I ever saw a famous actor or singer on the street. But it was exciting to see Boonen ride by after watching him on TV for so long.
The thrill never wore off that day, watching cyclist after cyclist speed by. Sadly, one blurred speeding cyclist looks like another in a photo album. And my pictures of Boonen don’t do justice to that moment of first recognizing him. So out of all my photos, this one is my favorite: