It’s July, which means in the Harrison Household, we’re watching the Tour de France every night for the better part of three weeks. That’s right, three hours of cycling every night, for 21 days. (And before you judge me, check out the required uniform.)
These guys are impressive for a lot of reasons. When you crash, you don’t go to the locker room and sit the rest of the game out. You get back on the bike, ride next to the med car, get your skin stuck back together, and finish riding the 100 miles left. Then you get back on the bike again in the morning and do it again.
It’s not a job that you can do as a hobby, but one you have to be totally invested in to compete. You have to monitor your food intake for possible accidental steroid ingestion, there is constant attention in regards to your physical state just so you can compeate. And it’s not like you can go into the gym for a couple of hours, and call it good. You have to get on the bike and do it, for hours at a lonely time. It’s a lot like writing in that respect, but whereas authors get chair butt, cyclists get to wear spandex–and look good in it.
I like the balance of the team and individual that cycling has where there is a goal, but it’s the individual sacrifice and skill that makes it happen. It’s a game of strategy, not just a bunch of guys out in a group. Each team has a leader, who’s generally strong all around, but can give a good sprint at the end and win the stage. He’s helped up to the front by the rest of the team, who draft off each other, the front guy pealing off when he gets fatigued to let the next guy pull until they reach the end, and the leaders of every other team fight it out for the last 100 or so meters.
That’s the theory.
This year, a series of crashes have pulled out many of the leaders of the teams that were expected to win, and in some teams, the leader backup. The result? There are no more expectations. Let me say that again. There are no more expectations–and as a result, EVERYONE thinks they might have a shot at a piece of glory. Everyone is doing things outside of their normal responsibilities of the team. Everyone is pushing themselves, having the chance in this short span of time to show that they can do more than shunt bottles from the car to other team members or ride 150 miles just so they can pull the rest of the team for a scant hundred yards.
They are riding. They are doing what they love. And they are crashing. They are failing. They are getting their hopes snatched out from under them. But this year . . . they are trying beyond what everyone expects of them. And every now and then they cross that line first–because they saw a chance to shine and they took it, ran with it, made it their moment.
Don’t buy into the lie that just because others can do it better than you that you can’t do it as well.
Fail? The med car will stitch you up.