Wednesday, June 15, 2011

300 words thrown together today on why I love the Tour and cycling for a comp I won't win

Late one night, July 2005, I changed channels to SBS.  In my insomniatic haze, I was instantly hypnotised by the colours of the peloton, riders moving as one; all of it like flying, all of it freedom.  I was hooked.

I got back on the bike after many years and when I sped down my first hill with a big goofy grin on my face, I felt exactly like when I rode as a kid. Liberated. You talk to people who don't ride and hear the requests they throw out car windows to 'get off the road,' and you realise: 'they just don't get it, and they probably never will.'

'We' know there's nothing like it. Yes, sex is pretty good. But then you climb your first real hill alone, up a sizeable gradient. You tell yourself, focus on your tempo, picture your feet turning perfect circles, finish the bottom of the pedal stroke with a mud scrape like flourish. There is rhythm in your pain. You reach it; the summit, and that feeling you've never experienced before and never will off the bike. Not a sense of accomplishment so much as meaning of life type 'stuff'.

The Tour kidnapped my imagination and wooed me to cycling. Even with the shadows, I love the beautiful athletes who'll leave Vendee July 2 not knowing whether they'll make the torturous three weeks. What they do know is that's all they'd rather do.

I'm technically not French, but even before 2005, Beef Bourguignon ran through my veins. I prefer the Classics for racing but there's just 'something' about the Tour. It's the diary I never kept and the places I missed while I was in France. Most of all, it's an excuse to eat calorific food like duck fat and watch Romain Duris DVDs,again.  

1 comment:

  1. Oh snap! But take that first glimpse back to 2000 for me, that's 11 years of 3sleeplessweeksinjuly :) And even though I know Mick's not in it this year, and I say I won't bother, I know I'll be at it again, hooked on that adrenaline and those views and the food and the whole darned Tour experience.