2015 Le Tour de France cover

2015 Le Tour de France

By


Ah, Summer! Bicycling magic is renewed for millions when the voices of Phil Liggett, Paul Sherwen, and Bob Roll, grace the television airwaves broadcasting Le Tour de France (Le Tour). When you dare to believe you’re an accomplished bicyclist, just tune into the NBCSN Sports broadcast of Le Tour in July (July 4 - July 26, 2015). Very quickly humility sets in.


Rating: 5 out of 5 stars on 2 reviews

"This is the toughest professional competition in sports! Get out and ride your bike to honor the atheletes in the sport." 5 stars by




NoteStream NoteStream

NoteStreams are readable online but they’re even better in the free App!

The NoteStream™ app is for learning about things that interest you: from music to history, to classic literature or cocktails. NoteStreams are truly easy to read on your smartphone—so you can learn more about the world around you and start a fresh conversation.

For a list of all authors on NoteStream, click here.




Read the NoteStream below, or download the app and read it on the go!

Save to App


2015 Le Tour de France

102nd Anniversary

Team BMC wins the team time trial by one second in stage nine!

Ah, Summer! Bicycling magic is renewed for millions when the voices of Phil Liggett, Paul Sherwen, and Bob Roll, grace the television airwaves broadcasting Le Tour de France (Le Tour). When you dare to believe you’re an accomplished bicyclist, just tune into the NBCSN Sports broadcast of Le Tour in July (July 4 - July 26, 2015). Very quickly humility sets in.

To date, the riders in that race have ridden nine grueling stages, with an average distance of 186 kilometers, that’s 115 miles per day. This year is the 102nd Anniversary - 21 stages, a total distance of 3,360 kilometers, and only two, yes two, rest days - of this classic race that tours the French countryside with the finale in Paris on the Champs-Elysées.

Team BMC 2015

Team BMC 2015

Inspiration

Dare I say it – Le Tour can inspire even casual riders, take your bicycles from the back shed, dust them off, inflate their tires, and hit the streets.

It’s amusing to see people pretend, they are in Le Tour, competing for the coveted yellow jersey. It’s summer in southern California, and yes, when you ride you will encounter bicyclists of all types, size, and experience levels. Why, just yesterday, after watching the exciting conclusion of Le Tour’s stage eight - 181.5 kilometers - we were inspired to hit the roads early and log a few kilometers, a mere 57.9 (36 miles).

Blend of Man & Machine

What a perfect blend of man and machine.

Feel the wind lightly brush your face, the rhythm of your pumping legs, the thrill of seemingly effortless speed, the fluidity of the road as it rolls beneath you and passes in a grey blur. You approach an ominous hill, instinctively you downshift to maintain your momentum and smooth cadence, a slight grip on the handlebars, push with the right leg - pull with the left.

Biomechanics at it’s best. Suddenly - a jolt, a pebble is launched from your tire and the rhythm of your cadence is temporarily altered. Ah, the thrill and freedom of the bicycle.

Hit The Road

Hit The Road

Challenge

Indeed, during your moment of bliss you will encounter the following; the wanna-be-racers, enthusiasts who belong to a local cycle club and pretend they are the Peloton, (the throng of riders).

They whiz past you in single file at breakneck speeds. In complete contrast, don't forget the families; children and adults floundering along, they generally travel in packs and obstruct the entire bike path. Finally, you have the beach cruisers that squeak by, (a little chain lube will take care of that) out for a casual morning ride. It’s a challenge.

Fun Facts

Bicycling magazine lists a few fun facts about Le Tour; racers will consume 160,000 calories during the three-week tour.

200 bottles of water or drink mix (depends on the temperature) per race. Alpe D‘ Huez (one of Le Tours most famous mountain stages, 13.2 km climb - this year stage 20) has 42 switchbacks. Most teams bring five bikes per rider, three for road stages and two for time trials.

Sprinter Mark Cavendish has won 26 stage races in his professional career. Two more will tie him with Bernard Hinault for second place. Eddy Merckx holds the record with 34. Did I mention this is physical torture!

Tour De France 2015

Tour De France 2015

Peloton - Tour de France 2015 - Haastrecht - Zuid-Holland - Pays-Bas

Frans Berkelaar

(CC BY-SA 2.0)

Brush With Le Tour

My own brush with Le Tour came in 1983 when we visited France just after Laurent Patrick Fignon (two-time winner of Le Tour) crossed the finish line, in Paris, with a total time of 105 hr. 7 min. 52 seconds.

All of France savored the victory of their fellow countryman. That summer, racing was my passion, a Frenchman, my namesake, had won Le Tour.

LeMond & Fignon

LeMond & Fignon

Training

I logged 200 miles per week training for a local bike race to be held in Macomb, Ill.

Representing the local Raleigh bicycle shop as sales manager, and repairman, let’s just say, I sported zero body fat, a rather large lung capacity, strong, clean-shaven climbing legs, and the optimism of youth. My boss gave me the month of August for vacation to visit my family in France.

Souvenir

We arrived (Mom, my sister, and me) in La Rochelle, just one-week after Le Tour ended. Stage Eight, had begun in La Rochelle.

My uncle, Jean Paul, caught a discarded water bottle from one of the riders. Later he would present it as a treasured birthday gift to me; it remains my Le Tour memento. Even though I spoke little French, the five-hour drive from Paris to La Rochelle, we talked bicycle racing.

My suitcase contained my cycling shorts and shoes but no jersey. I dreamed of that coveted yellow jersey, while visiting I would buy a replica yellow jersey. To my dismay I soon discovered the yellow jersey is earned, (it cannot be purchased) only with a stage win.

Patrick Lagord, France 1983

Patrick Lagord, France 1983

Hard Work

Jean Paul insisted I ride his Motobecane bicycle during my stay to train.

And train I did, every morning it was out the door before breakfast. Riding the French countryside, I averaged between 20-25 kilometers. The locals were very friendly and always waived as I passed, the roads were narrow, some cobblestone, there were fields and fields of golden sunflowers blowing in the warm breeze.

All my uncles’ friends and neighbors’ bragged on me, and with a wink, they would say, (en français bien sûr) “No doubt, next year, your nephew will be riding Le Tour de France.” Hardly, I quipped, but the excitement of the recent Le Tour, and the thrill of riding in France for that month of August fueled my patriotism, and enthusiasm for the sport of cycling.

Sentimental

So, every year, in July, while Le Tour de France runs, riding my LeMond bicycle, we pretend, that we’ve just crested the summit of Alpe D‘ Huez on the final leg of our ride home. Yes, I know it’s but a fantasy, pardon me for a moment, for sentimental reasons, I’m headed to the garage to dig out that water bottle my uncle gave me 30 years ago and pay tribute to Laurent Fignon.

Video

First Prize

Oh, by the way, that Macomb race – with my pearlescent white, Raleigh Competition, I took first place that fall.

There was no yellow jersey, no big jackpot, no podium with two lovely young French girls to present a trophy, or a new car. First prize was a ribbon, and the pride of representing our Raleigh bike shop.