Thursday, July 16, 2009

Reaching the Summit- Your Personal Tour de France

Poster by artist Mike Valenti .

The 96th running of the Tour de France is heading toward its final week in the high Alps and culminating in an extraordinarily difficult stage on Mount Ventoux.

Lance Armstrong, on far right, climbing the Pyrenees.

Seven time winner, Lance Armstrong, is riding the Tour again after retiring 3-1/2 years ago. It is amazing to watch him fight the battle once again.

It seems we are all climbing personal mountains these days. Is it me or do they seem steeper? Many of us face these personal mountains in our businesses, or with challenges in our personal lives. Our quest to live an enriched, balanced and meaningful life is often like climbing mountains. To reach the summit we must use the right equipment. Imagine trying to peddle up a steep grade on a heavy, three-speed bike. Today’s superstars on the road ride a multi-speed carbon or titanium bike with aerodynamic components. They do specialized core and strength training. Their nutritional needs are carefully planned so they don’t “bonk” and run on empty. We all need special training and equipment to navigate life in these rapidly changing times.

Thousands of spectators watch the Tour de France on Alpe d’Huez.

I seem to be climbing a lot of “mountains” lately. Last year, Marla told me she was tired of living with an “old man.” I guess I was complaining a lot about this ailment or that. She suggested that I needed a big goal, and that I should go on another bike tour. I took her advice, made a plan, and started training. I will ride the same routes as the pros the last week of the Tour de France.

Dazed and confused on the summit of Alpe d’Huez in 2007.

Like many well intended plans, I had ups and downs. The hardest part was finding time to train between a career and personal life. I had to focus on the goal as it was very easy to make excuses. Relaxing with a beer and watching TV seemed like a great alternative to hitting the road for a ride.

The road up to the Col du Galibier in 2007.

As in any endeavor there were lessons to be learned…

- rediscovering my fullest potential

- grab opportunities where ever they are

- quit blaming and take responsibility

- learn from mistakes and set backs

- take risks and get out of your comfort zone

Dick with son-in-law, Ray, on the summit of the Col du Galibier.

We all have mountains to climb. You stare up and high above is the distant summit. You start to second guess yourself.

“Can I do it?”

“Am I prepared?”

“Am I really ready for such a steep journey?”

Well, it’s time to go for it!

It’s all about the journey to the top!

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