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  • I was in, I think, about the fourth day of biking west in France. I'd been revved up to get to the next village on the map and had fallen into a bit of a trance. I was in biking shorts, on my vintage French Racer, with gear on the back.

    Just outside of a village, I looked up to see stuff happening on the previously-empty road up ahead. Suddenly cars, men with emergency jackets on and people were setting up barriers, signs, and gathering on the sides of the road. I didn't understand what was going on until I started seeing the cyclists pass.

    I tail-ended the peloton, attaching my ever-hopeful self to the pack from a distance, an increasingly long distance...And as they wound into the village, I saw a podium with about 200 villagers gathered around the square. They were hooting and clapping the pack coming in and at the very end, while a man on the podium was announcing things, he enthusiastically drew attention to my late arrival: A middle-aged woman, biking through, with a Canadian flag on her pannier.

    People started clapping and yelling at me in French. I waved to the crowd and yelled "Viva la Canada!" and biked right on through to my next destination.

    I could not stop laughing.
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