Monday, July 17, 2006

Watching a Tour stage go by

I wanted to share the observations of a fellow triathlete (whom I quoted earlier) who was watching a Tour de France mountain stage from a French roadside last week, about 10 km from the finish. The main part of the peleton had already gone by at this point:

"A few spectators start to gather their stuff to head down the mountain. But the people I'd really wanted to see weren't there yet. I knew they'd be back there. After maybe 15-20 minutes more, here they come. Some are sharing a joke. Most are more likely to cry. The Lanterne Rouge. Hugely cheered by the crowds. The sprinter favourites are in here. That's not why I cheered. I cheered, as these were my people. The DFL of the tour. They're the best in the world, but there's no way they're going up that mountain like the skinny boys. Some have blown themselves out at the front of the pack on earlier climbs, given their all for their team and used up, destroyed, had drifted mindlessly the 40 minutes back to their friends. Some were having a bad day, just hoping to make the cut. It was clear watching them arrive that the old guys were in the front. These are the ones trusted by the kids to figure out the least painful way to get to the finish line at pretty much the last possible moment. These are us."

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