But after the landscape shot is where things started to go sideways. See those riders dangling off the front? That was a breakaway attempt. Normal enough. Apparently, such attempts happened all morning, and it took ~70km for the break to finally stick. Less normal. All that hammering put the pack a full 10 minutes ahead of even the fastest time. Which meant that my but doable transfer back to the course was just out of reach. I arrived to the course in time to see the leaders pass… great.
Unable to get ahead of the course to shoot at the next exit point, I hung onto the back of the caravan until my exit, then it was straight off to the climb to Emosson. Organization warned us of narrow roads and very limited parking at the Emosson dam, and that if we were to arrive solo by car, we would not be allowed up the climb. So, no go for me and Le Jeep. Luckily shuttles would be provided. Unluckily, they would only run up the climb until 3pm, when the race was scheduled to finish around 5pm.
Luckily, despite time setbacks, my trajectory put me at the designated parking before 3pm! Unluckily, that trajectory overlapped with the publicity caravan, and stuck me behind it.
I was not, in fact, going to make the shuttle.
I parked and ran back to the course, desperately scanning for any other journalists who were carpooling that I could beg for a ride. Just cars of officials, team cars, sponsor cars already filled with people: nobody that could help me.
I should have probably just stayed put – parking was even near a downhill hairpin. I could have made that work. I could have walked a little to the first block of fans I encountered and shot there. No. That would be a reasonable way to cut losses. Not for me. Somehow, “walk up the 10k climb with all your gear, in blazing heat and direct sun, for as long as you can until the riders get to you” seemed like a good idea.
Spoiler alert: not a good idea.