Monday, July 22, 2013

Post-Tour Blues

For the past three weeks I have been on a cycling binge, trying to soak up every moment of the Tour de France that I could fit into my schedule – and then getting out and riding as hard as I can. For me, these have become the best few weeks of the summer because wheels are spinning in my head as much as they are on the ground an ocean away.

This year was particularly awesome,
with the most iconic stages included in the Tour. Mont Ventoux and L’Alpe D’Huez did not disappoint. I was cheering TJ Van Garderen (the American hope of the future) as he climbed L’Alpe D’Huez both times in the leading group hoping that he could hang-on to win the most iconic of stages. It looked like he would do it, however, following at about 30 seconds behind for most of the last climb, Christophe Riblon found something special and overtook him in the final 2km for the win, giving France its only stage victory in this 100th edition of the Tour.

Looking back, Riblon’s kick at 2km during that stage, his celebration approaching the finish line, and his humble expression as he crossed are for me the best moments of this year’s Tour. 

That’s not to say there weren’t a lot more awesome moments. The funniest for me was when the peloton was stopped at a railroad crossing to allow a train to pass. The lights flashed and the arms swung down which prompted a bio-break for some of the riders. All of the riders seemed highly amused, and it was nice to see smiles and laughs all around the peloton as they got underway again. This is not unheard-of at smaller races, but I think it pretty rare at the Tour de France in the modern era.  

It was also cool to see the bikes circumnavigate the Arc de Triomphe for the first time. Why did it take them so long to figure out that this is better? 

Another gem from this year’s tour was the presence of Canadian Svein Tuft, the oldest “Rookie” in his first tour at age 36 (no more hope from me when I turn 37 later this year) and who finished with the unique distinction as the Lanterne Rouge.

Not to mention the presence of Richie Porte as the “Trusted Lieutenant” to Chris Froome, (I loved the image of him getting bent at the fans on L’Alpe D’Huez) and the emergence of  23-year-old Nairo Quintana as a mountain stage powerhouse, wining the Polka-Dot Jersey, the White Jersey, and taking 2nd in the General Classification.

It was a great tour, and I am enjoying reflecting on the moments in my mind. Perhaps I will add to this posting as I think of others. For now, I will try to stave off the emptiness that comes with the Post-Tour Blues with the help of “instant” re-play.

1 comment:

  1. It's funny. I realized as I read this that I've known your love for the Tour long before I knew your real passion for cycling. It's interesting to read about it on here. You talk about it in tones you usually reserve only for the MN Twins :) Very cool!