I'm in Montelimar, the start point for tomorrow's Etape. It's also well known for it's nougat. And probably not much else from the look of it.
Don't get me wrong, it's a very pretty town, but I don't think much happens here on a Sunday.
Except today there are 9,500 cyclists in town to sign on for tomorrow's adventure.
Very few women (other than the Las Vegas lesbians), it's mostly men in their 30's and 40's, all looking fit and very few with hair on their legs.
The registration process was painless, as you'd expect from an organisation that's done this 19 or 20 times before.
Line up in your number group – I'm 7017 – sign the paperwork and they give you an envelope.
Next stop, collect a t-shirt.
Next have your timing chip activated.
Then collect your back pack, containing a few freebies, and the official part of the day was completed.
There is an area setup displaying, and of course selling, all sorts of things that a cyclist might need for tomorrow. From a $15,000 Trek bike (the same one as Lance rides) to a pair of socks.
I managed to remember to pack both my bike & socks, so I didn't really need anything.
I wanted an official Etape jersey, but by the time we got here they only had Small and Very Large left.
I wandered around looking at and listening to all the people – lots of English accents – collected a few freebies (a nice Skoda hat & a Tour de France mouse mat) and bought a great ice cream: two scoops, peach and pear.
In the end I succumbed to a little shopping: A new helmet; a copy of Rouler magazine (bike porn at it's finest), a wind breaker (don't want to get cold on the 20k descent tomorrow) and a classic Molteni / Campagnolo jersey, just like Merckx used to wear.
Now it's back on the bus to Valence, watch the end of today's stage into Verbier, and get to bed early – I'm getting up at 4am.