Tuesday, July 22, 2008
I love to watch the Tour de France. This morning I was up early to take our neighbor to the airport so I checked in "live" before leaving the house, and then backed up the broadcast ( isn't technology grand!)and watched it from where I left off while I had a leisurely breakfast. There was more work to do but it could wait. I had missed too many mornings with Le Tour and wasn't going to let this one slip away. Today the riders, 150 of them left now, had to climb two mountains. They are in the French Alps, near the Italian border. The first mountain was about 7000 feet, then they had to descend way back down only to be faced with a 9,100 foot climb, over the highest mountain pass in Europe. Now just in case you aren't aware, they are doing this on bicycles! When they descend, they can be going up to 50 miles per hour on a narrow, winding road with steep drop offs. There were several crashes. The first rider over the 9,100 foot pass soon found himself over the edge, hanging on to a rock, watching his bike slide away down the mountain side. But the ascent, miles and miles of steep grade with no relief, pushing and pushing to the top! What incredible physical shape one must be in to achieve this, and what determination it must take to keep going! After all of that, there is only one winner. The rest are just participants. At the end of 21 days, plus a couple of rest days, there is only room for the top three on the podium. Most know by now that they will not win, and yet they keep going. It amazes me.