The Tour de France started today (in Rotterdam, of course) with a measly 8km time trial. Let the record show that on the same day I rode 33.4 miles – at least SIX TIMES further than the Tour traveled!
From here on out, it’s all downhill for me.
I’m always amazed at the abilities of world-class athletes in almost any sport. Every so often, it is possible to compare their “level of play” with what a mere mortal (such as myself) is capable of. For example, I’ve been thinking that 658 miles is a pretty good distance to ride so far this summer, but the Tour riders will equal this distance by Tuesday.
That’s right – Tuesday.
And everyone will be in agreement that these were the “easy” stages of the race. After Tuesday, the riders will climb back on their bikes 16 of the next 18 days and ride over 100 miles every day except for July 19, when they’ll ride a 52km time trial.
In total, the riders will cover 2,140 miles, much of it in mountains. That’s just sick. And it’s just one race. Many of them have participated in several “tune up” events throughout the world, and they’ll continue on to another race when the Tour is through. Amazing.
For me, I like to keep my average speed over 15 mph. On rides over 40 miles, I’ll take a break which will bring my average down a bit. These guys will be averaging 25 mph. Did I mention that they’ll be riding well over 100 miles every day? Much of it in the mountains? Many of the mountains have grades of 11%. There is a street where I live with an 11% grade. That’s a tough half mile. These guys climb mountains with that grade.
So on this day, I will celebrate the fact that I outdid the largely ceremonial Prologue to the Tour de France. From here on out, the pros can have their proper accolades!