Yes, The Tour de France starts tomorrow and I am very excited. Very excited. Productivity dips during a grand tour when i’m trans fixed to GCN. A cycling friend’s monumental birthday party clashes with the final mountain stage and if there is not a TV on in the background it will be a difficult social atmosphere with 10 bike riders pretending not to care about a decisive finish. Challenging their loyalty to their friend, that muppet over there in the new shirt.
But it isn’t real. None of it. Riding for 4 hours a day and getting your legs rubbed like an emperor and lifted into bed for 20 hours. It is un-relatable to the normal rider. Even the worst of them can ride at 450 watts for 20mins. We just look on in removed wonder.
What IS real- is the local stage race happening tonight. The Newry 3 day: A real, honest, local race where plumbers, fit ones; will race and battle against a tyre fitters. A midwife racing for points against a postoffice worker who got out of bed this morning at 3am. Where a builder who planned the route, organised the entry and the police cover, met the sponsors and organised the marshals, will arrange cover for his 2 kids, finish his days work and take to the start line to ride 60 minutes later. That is real.
There is a wonder girl in the ladies race who has 4 kids. Imagine the mental spreadsheet to get them fed and minded before heading out into the rain and hills for a weekend kicking. Real.
When Wout gets handed his kid to kiss after winning the first TT in Le Tour- how many nappies do you think he changed in the last 6 months?
The Tour is heaven but The Newry 3 day is Earth and for those teachers and wheel builders and accountants who put in a good block of Winter training- it is a little bit of heaven on earth .