Last week, Bell's Team members Jason Aric Jones and Dan Kotwicki ventured over to France to follow the Tour de France around, riding some of the classic Tour routes. Both tackled classic "beyond category" climbs such as the Col du Galibier, Col de la Madeleine, Col du Telegraphe, and the notorious Alpe d'Huez.
Dan K. also had the good fortune to compete in the public stage of the Tour. Every year the organizers of the Tour pick one actual Tour stage for members of the public to compete in. A lottery is held and competition for racing slots is fierce, with many Euro neo-pros competing. This year, the Tour organizers picked the public stage race to be held on the Stage 16 Mourenx to Pau section of the Tour, located in the notorious Pyrenee Mountains bordering France and Spain. Among other challenges, the stage includes the "off category" Col d'Aubisque climb and is 180.5 km in length!
Over 8,000!! racers competed in this race. It was incredibly hairy with a 50 km, 1500 meter descent reaching speeds of 60 mph! Luckily, Dan K. has those incredible MTB skills! In the end, Dan finished an impressive 501 out of 8,000+ competitors. Even more impressive when you consider that Dan 1. Doesn't Live or Train in the Mountains, and 2. Arrived in Southern France only days before the Race! So, finishing in the top six percent of competitors was quite a feat.
No word yet on if Dan will be selected to fill a spot on the Discovery Team roster next year!