This July, Michael Valenti embarked on the journey of a lifetime following and drawing all 21 days of the Tour de France with his two friends and a motorhome by his side. We caught up with him at the start of his journey and were fortunate enough to speak with him again now that it’s over. The verdict? “I’m doing it again, the game is definitely on!”
So welcome back, it’s great to talk to you again. It’s probably a tough question, but if you had to choose, what was the best part of this whole thing?
The people I met. I met people from all over the world and it was easy to talk to them, it was easy to communicate whether we spoke the same language or not. It had a lot to do with everyone had the same passion for the Tour.
What was the most unexpected part?
It was easier than I thought it was going to be because we planned it well. That was unexpected. It went smoothly. As much as there was planning, there was some luck involved as well. You had to have the perfect mix of planning, stamina and luck.
Did all your training pay off?
Without a doubt. I will definitely do that again. I have not had that backpack on since I’ve been back though. Just say no to the 25lb pack.
What expectation did you have going into the trip that did or didn’t pan out how you thought?
The big realization I had after was that I did not see as much cycling and racing as I thought I would or could. It was difficult to follow, because of my phone’s geographical restrictions I couldn’t see parts of the tour in English. I had this vision of we’ll watch it every day like we do back home, I had all the packages and we couldn’t use any of them! And we definitely did not spend enough time in bars. Because at each stop, as soon as I finished working, it was time to leave and move on to the next city. It was time to go. I think I would linger longer next time.
What are your plans for the future?
Do it again, get smarter about sharing with more people, I might do it a little differently. I may not chase the route so closely each day, I might do something where I hit the highlights for longer. Look for three or four places where I invest three days and take a deeper dive into the area and capture a more full experience. And it would do two things for me: I would be able to take an actual bicycle ride, and I’d be able to go to that bar or wherever and watch it on TV. It would afford me more freedom.
There’s another crazy concept on the table as well, but you’ll have to wait until next year to find out if that one works out.
In case you missed it: Michael Valenti’s 21 Days of Cycling Art