For many bike race fans, July is one of the favorite months because the Tour de France happens. Many people get up at 4:30am to watch it on TV, then get on their bikes and ride to work. It’s a great summer obsession and when you begin to understand how the race works, you can truly get hooked ;-)
In every race, there is someone, or a group of riders, who get into what is called a “break away” and race ahead of the large group to try to “steal the day” and win the stage (a days’ race is called a stage). The winner of a stage doesn’t win the whole Tour de France, that race is won in cumulative scoring based on the person who rides the fastest time over the twenty one days. But a stage winner gets a trophy and stands on the podium at the end of the day. It is a very big deal in a racer’s career.
Often, the winner of a stage is a lone rider who breaks away from the breakaway or the larger group called the pelaton. The commentators give him a lot of air time and talk of his history, and refer to it as a “cheeky move.” They also speak about his bravery at doing this, to go for the stage win all on his own.
What’s fascinating to me is that to do this, you must battle yourself, your pain, your internal chatter and “ride your own race” to win the day. Can you imagine riding 95 miles on a bike battling this chatter and then, towards the end, the screaming pain in your legs as you try to hold off the pack? What a fantastic metaphor for the rest of us!
How do you cope when you come up against a challenge? It takes courage and strength to stand up for yourself, to stay calm when people give you feedback, to go for that job interview or pitch your idea to the shark tank in your life.
So remember, you can trick your brain. That cyclist is doing it. He’s practiced it over and over again and you can too.
Take a deep breath to calm yourself against the “Am I good enough?” or “Am I worthy of this….” Internal conversation, and keep going. It’s your life, your own personal Tour de France. Today is just another stage and an opportunity for you to ride your own race and win the day – for yourself.