Posted by: bikenfool | July 25, 2008

Tour de France

Amazing Race…

I have been enthralled with The Tour de France. This is my first time really watching this race. It is absolutely amazing, the level these guys ride at. I think unless you are at The Tour, you can not full appreciate how hard these segments are. Especially the climbs and the mileage! 

My elevation gains here are a measly 3k over over 20 miles. Compared to the elevations and miles on the chart below, these are like a baby crawling! The training for this type of racing must be crazy. I found some interesting stats. These guys burn an average of 5,900 calories per day, with 9,000 calories max being recorded. In 1999 Lance Armstrong averaged 24.97 miles per hour for the three weeks of the tour. In 1989 Greg LeMond averaged 33.82 mph over 24.5 miles compared to my turtle pace of barley 18mph for 25 miles . The longest stage of a Tour de France was 141.67. Amazing!


Given the miles, elevation and the number of days that this event goes, it is not that surprising to me that there have been issues with performance enhancing drugs. I am glad to see that the officials have gone to a zero tolerance policy. I am still amazed that these athletes would take the risk of being arrested in international TV, removed from The Tour and banned from the sport. Especially after the hard work and time it takes to become a pro.  After Italian rider Ricardo Ricco of Saunier Duval tested positive for blood booster erythropoietin (EPO), I really felt let down. I had just watched him win stage 9 by performing a jaw dropping sprint up a hill that most of us would not walk! That really made me believe in our ability to do the impossible and inspired me to feel that I might be capable of performing like that myself. I felt cheat and let down. For me, this was a first.

 Crash and burn…

 When you watch how fast these guys ride and the terrains, it is enough to put you on the edge of your seat. It is down right scary at times. Some of the crashes on The Tour are painful to even think about not alone watch. One commentator put it like this, imagine stripping to your underwear, and stepping out of a car moving at 35mph. Ug!

My hat is off to these atheletes as many get up and keep going. Makes me shudder thinking about what a squirrel can do to me.




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