Thursday, July 1, 2010

PERSEVERANCE & THE TOUR DE FRANCE

The Tour de France starts on Saturday! It is a captivating, 3 week long, 2258 mile, stage race around France and neighboring countries. I have always thought of it as a metaphor for perseverance and the grueling struggle to achieve greatness. The racers will endure impossible climbs in the Alps & the Pyrenees, treacherous cobblestones, crashes, mechanical breakdowns, illness, and that is just for starters. First held in 1903, this year’s race will have plenty of drama, guts and glory!

A rider from the 1950’s braves almost crazy conditions on his ascent in the high Alps. The road is gravel!

The Tour de France in the 1950’s.

Lance Armstrong came out retirement last year and amazingly got third place! 2010 will be Lance’s last ride in the TDF. He is one of the oldest riders at 38!

Lance’s new team for 2010 is Team Radio Shack. I will definitely be rooting for the old guy from Austin. The race will be broadcast on the Versus channel.

My 90 year old mom loves to watch the race go through the many little towns in France. Everyone helps to get their town spruced up with new paint and flowers. There is a lot of pride and it’s an honor to be chosen as part of the race route.

The scenery is majestic and very diverse. The riders are probably too tense and tired to even look at the beautiful Riviera below.

I have ridden many of the routes of the Tour de France in the French Alps. Fans camp out or bring their trailers along the side of the race route for days before the actual riders come through. I loved seeing race spectators at the roadside with their folding chairs and tables, wine, bread, and cheese, toasting the spectacle.

Many of the mountain routes are impossibly steep! It is amazing how fast the great climbers can get to the summit of the cols.

The race can be dangerous when the pack is close together. A little mistake can bring down a lot of riders. Ouch!

The tour always brings out the crazies and loonies! The guy with the antlers has been a fixture for a few years.

I’m standing next to “The Devil” at last year’s Tour at Lac Annecy. The guy is from Germany and advertises products as he spurs on the riders.

The Devil in action on one of the race stages. He definitely knows the trick to get on TV.

The riders head toward the finish. Their muscles are working at max and their heart rate is red-lined!

After three incredibly tough weeks the racers finish in Paris. I watched the finish last year along with over a million people on the Champs-Elysees!

Many of us are fighting the good fight and doing our utmost to persevere as we move out of the recession. The climb out of this tough economy has been a challenge, but we can see the summit of prosperity ahead! I’ll be on the climb with you wearing the WESCO FABRICS jersey! Allez….allez!

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