Saturday, July 11, 2009

Smooth Riding with Le Tour

First a photo from this morning's unseasonably chilly ride (49 degrees at 6:00 am)...

Since I've been watching the Tour de France every day on the Versus channel, you might think it's inspired me to take longer, more epic rides. But actually it's done the opposite. For the past week I've found myself enjoying short, fast, steady loops around familiar roads ... all while having those wonderful images from the TdF in my mind.

That's because the length of the Tour de France is only one aspect of the race. If you watch the TdF for any extended amount of time, you begin to realize just how relaxed those riders are. Sure, they'll turn on the power when they attack out of the peloton or sprint to the finish line. But for much of each day, TdF racers simply ride with a smooth cadence ... fast, but even-tempered.

Look at Lance Armstrong in the opening Time Trial in Monaco, for instance. There's so much power in his ride, but he looks almost serene on the bike. He's totally concentrated on the task at hand, his knees rising and falling over the pedals like little machines. It's a perfect picture of steadiness.

That course through Monaco reminds me of my own morning ride; steadily rising up to hills in the middle, then flat at the end, rising and falling away from the sea. Okay, I know ... Boston's South Shore isn't quite the same as Monaco's Mediterranean coast. But a road is a road, and a bike is a bike -- it's still a shared experience in my book! By taking shorter rides over roads I know well, I too can relax and simply enjoy the quick turn of my pedals, the wind in my ears, and the road speeding away beneath my tires.

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