Just as the ski season was starting last November,Â U.S. world masters director Dick Hunt asked if I was interested in joining him and about 10 other folks from Bend on a 2-week bicycle tour around the Provence region ofÂ France. After many xc races over the winter months, longÂ trips and dedicated training, a spring vacation is always refreshing.Â Â The price was reasonable andÂ having never been to France, the chance to see a beautiful area by bike sounded wonderful.Â My preparation for the long climbs was somewhat limited, since the mountain roads near Bend are still snow-covered.Â I put in about a dozen short rides, a few rides of 100k+, and learned a bit of French. Dick is a euro-cycling expert, having done many tours in France, Italy and Switzerland. He has the details all planned – routes, hotels, support van, etc. Everyone I talk with who has ridden in the regionÂ says to get a smaller gear – a 27, no a 29, no a 32, you'll need a triple.Â We will ride about 100km/day, with plenty of climbing. Our routeÂ starts near Nice and follows small roads along the 'Route Napolean' towards the Mt. Ventoux area. Twelve days later we will return to Nice, fully enriched by the sights and smells of France -Â mountains, small towns, cuisine, and culture – with noÂ worries about having the right wax du jour. Look for the post-ride report for details and photos of what should be a fantastic trip.