In July, high temperatures bring an intensity to the air as wheat fields turn golden, announcing it is high time for harvest. I clip into my carbon road bike and head towards the Maroon Bells. My preferred approach to the base of the climb is a circuitous route that rises gently up the valley floor. The smell of freshly bailed hay and straw marks the height of summer, and it reminds me that my favorite of the three Grand Tours is about to commence. The smell – and the anticipation of Stage One of the Tour – triggers in me a rush of excitement, even a burst of adrenaline. My hands slip to my drop bars and I envision I’m in the men-filled peloton.