Stage 21: Wrap-Up

In case you were wondering about the champagne and stuffed animals, the final stage into Paris is historically more of a celebratory parade than a bike race. The parade into town, in the shadow of the Arc de Triomphe, is reminiscent of the home-comings of victorious armies in bygone days.

The finish was also a bit of a formality, with HTC once again proving they have the best lead-out train in the world, and ‘Cav demonstrating that he is the best of the fast men.

This year’s Tour was filled with the dramatic, and the traumatic. I’ve compiled a list of a few key take-aways from le Tour; things to keep in mind to help with your own training and racing.

  • Life happens. In the Tour, it’s crashes and illness. Often it’s the same for us, but sometimes it’s a sick kid, a pressing work project, or even a spat with your spouse that derails your plans. The riders who crashed out of this year’s Tour aren’t bewailing their fate, they are planning their next race and using this as motivation – a good lesson for all of us.
  • Nothing is ever certain. This is why we race, to find out how things actually unfold. Voeckler should never have had the yellow, nor kept it for 10 days, much less finished 4th. His teammate, Pierre Rolland, was never a candidate for the Top 10 or the White Jersey. Contador was supposed to win, and Cavendish wasn’t supposed to make it over the mountains. Don’t be afraid to try, as history is filled with examples of people doing the impossible.
  • Never give up. It’s taken Cadel Evans years to achieve the top step in Paris, years when the critics said it could never happen. As Churchill said, never, never, never give in. There’s a reason these stories inspire you, because we were made to overcome. Keep plugging; good things will happen.

I hope you’ve enjoyed the Tour as much as I have. I hope this brief commentary has provided a bit of perspective and insight. Mostly though, I hope you were inspired by the beauty and struggle of the sport. Sport is a microcosm for life, and it’s lessons are more far-reaching than the obvious. Here’s wishing you the best in sport, and in life.

Steen A. Rose is an elite cycling and triathlon coach. He started coaching in 2003, and has been an Elite Coach with Training Bible Coaching since 2009. Steen is also captain of the Sun & Ski/Subaru Cycling and Triathlon teams. He has been racing since 1997, holds a Category 1 license, and has 13 state championships, 3 national medals, and 4 international podiums to his credit. He can be reached at srose@trainingbible.com

Stage 19: Battle Royale

Where to start?

First French win in this year’s Tour? First French win on Alpe D’Huez since 1986? First French White Jersey (Best Young Rider) win since 1979? Alberto Contador throwing caution to the wind and attacking from the gun, trying to salvage his Tour? Thomas Voeckler initially riding away from F. Schleck and Evans only to come unglued at the end of the day and lose his shot at the podium?

To pick just one thing to write about from today’s stage is overwhelming, so I won’t even try. I’m going to go ride my bike! I encourage you to do the same. Anyone who doesn’t want to immediately climb on a bike after watching today’s stage must not have a pulse. What a beautiful sport! Be inspired, get outside and feel the sun on your shoulders and the wind in your hair. Relish the whoosh as you speed down a hill, and revel in the feeling of your muscles overcoming gravity as you fight your way up a climb.

Cycling really is the most beautiful sport, but the best thing about it is that it’s a participant sport, not a spectator sport. Go. Ride. Be free. Fly. Smile. Be Alive!

Steen A. Rose is an elite cycling and triathlon coach. He started coaching in 2003, and has been an Elite Coach with Training Bible Coaching since 2009. Steen is also captain of the Sun & Ski/Subaru Cycling and Triathlon teams. He has been racing since 1997, holds a Category 1 license, and has 13 state championships, 3 national medals, and 4 international podiums to his credit. He can be reached at srose@trainingbible.com