The Quixotic Pastor

Thursday, July 26, 2007

Tour De France, Tour De Life?

Thanks to DH, I have started watching the Tour De France --or at least most parts of it-- every year since 2001.

I marvel that these men can climb mountains on a bike --most of them without benefit of drugs or blood doping, despite what you may have heard in the news lately. I marvel that they can ride 188 km [117 miles] in a little over 4 hours. [DH once persuaded me to do a 22 mile bike tour up Mission Point in the Grand Traverse area of Michigan. I had to get off and walk the bike up one hill. I rested --a lot. It took me I think 2-3 hours to complete the ride. And every year, we visit Mackinac Island and ride the 9 flat miles around it. Sometimes we ride our local rail trail too. We haven't ridden much this summer, because our bikes require some repair and we haven't made time.]

I marvel that they descend those same mountains they climb, sometimes at speeds up to 50 mph --on thin little wheels, with a helmet as their only protection. Used to, they didn't wear helmets.

I marvel that they can ride for 21 days on those hard little seats. [Part of the reason why I rested so much on my 22 mile ride is that my butt got really sore and I had to get off the bike!]

I marvel that it is such a "civilized" sport, in the sense that co-operation among riders on a team or many riders in the Pelaton is a must, and that it is a sport that tends to reward generosity yet at the same time be competitive. It is rarely a violent sport --when it is, it is by accident, not by design.

I marvel that "domestiques" ride back to the team cars to get water for their colleagues, then peddle back up to them and hand out the water bottles --even Lance Armstrong did this for his team a time or two.

I marvel that mostly they keep pedaling, even when there's absolutely no hope of a stage win or the triumph of winning one of those special jerseys ... even when one of their fellows betrays them. Sometimes they "bonk" and barely survive --or fall-- or hit something. Sometimes they have to drop out, and end up in one of the rescue cars.

Sounds like a "Tour De Life" to me.

Right now, I'm peddling hard, but don't seem to be making much progress. Afraid I am about to "bonk". Should I start looking for that car to pick me up?

Somebody bring me some water ...


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