For the past three weeks, I have watched the 100 edition of the Tour de France: an epic bicycle race of over 180 riders participating in 21 stages all over the country of France. The stages average over 100 miles each and some feature the mountains of the Pyrenees and the Alps.
Most people in the States know of the Tour because of Lance Armstrong and doping. I was intrigues and for the past three years I have come to appreciate the race despite of its faults.
Below are some of the things that I have learned while watching:
1. This earth is a truly beautiful place! As the riders race of 2000 miles all around the french countryside, they past some truly beautiful sites: fields of lavender, hundreds of wine vineyards, the beautiful mountains and crystal clear streams, the beaches with the lovely blue green water, all of it so gorgeous and speaking to the goodness of its Creator!
2. The mind is a powerful thing! On stage17 this year, the riders raced up Alpe d’Huez, a mountain that goes up for over 8 miles. And the riders had to do it twice in one day! And most did! It’s amazing what you can do when you set your mind to it.
3. In life, one should always strive for something. While in the restaurant Zoe’s Kitchen, I saw that the restaurant was sponsoring a runner named Zoe Romano who was running, that’s right, RUNNING the entire route of the Tour de France, all 2000+ miles for charity! You’ve got to be kidding me! Why would anyone do that!?!?! She’s insane but oh so inspirational! Check her out at http://www.zoegoesrunning.wordpress.com
4. It takes getting to know to fully understand. Not only is there a race for the maillot jaune (yellow jersey for the overall winner) in the Tour, but there is a winner for the best sprinter, the king of the mountains, and the youngest rider of the Tour. These are often four different men. Also during the 21 stages, there are individual winners. And the overall winner of the yellow jersey does not necessarily have to or need to win any stages. It is only by watching and learning about the Tour did I come to begin to understand it. And it became very interesting.
5. Keep an open mind. I learned this from watching something that in the past I had absolutely no interest or desire to see. Frankly, I thought the Tour would be boring and mundane. However, it has turned into a truly enlightening, especially culturally, and motivating experience that I have begun to look forward to every year. Check it out next June and online at: http://www.letour.com
5. “Cote” means hill and “Col” means mountain pass in French. I think.
Vive le Tour!