The last couple weeks– including appreciation of a four day 4th of July holiday– have been a period of joy, energy, and appreciation of upcoming changes. Watching team and individual efforts from the Tour de France– and raising my personal mileage as result– has been an inspirational fact. When you talk about goal setting, surviving climbs that are 20 degree walls at the very end of 200-plus kilometer rides has *got* to beat making 20 cold calls or two hours of phoning potential clients.
The coverage has been excellent, including how several well-known riders had ‘cracked’ on climbs in the Pyrenees or Alps. ‘Crack’ doesn’t mean out of the race, more that a rider ‘lost their form’ and wound up back in the pack (peloton) instead of on the lead. Some of the climbs have legendary dimensions akin to the baddest bull in the rodeo: You may not want to ride it, but when the day comes, your options are ride or go home.
Last Friday morning, I had the misfortune to ‘crack’ my laptop on the well-known ‘Blue Screen of Death’. While not as painful as a high-speed, 26 bike pile up at the Tour, getting a bad drive replaced had me seriously worried about all the information I might lose, and it sure hampered my ability to follow up leads by sending samples and resumes for several days. After giving the unit to a techie, I blew off the rest of the morning to ride eighteen glorious miles in 90 degree heat, and gained a small but significant positive by discovering a new pair of Nikes fit superbly in my Miyata’s ancient rat trap pedals. The knowledge of how my pedaling efficiency had increased probably won’t affect my ability to illuminate work experiences to an interviewer, but it was a useful physical fact for every future ride.
A long ago physical fact stuck in my mind though, about walking with a ‘funny’ stride for the second interview that became my first job out of college. One seldom knows what extra factor makes the difference to a recruiter, but telling that VP about my funky walk as a result of thighs rubbed raw by cotton shorts during a 15k road race *did* get me the job. What he really wanted to know was, could I walk in anywhere and talk well enough to get results for the twenty cold call situation the regional rep position was predicated on. When I finished telling him all the things I’d done wrong as training, beyond wearing those shorts that created uncomfortable ‘strawberries’, he just said, “Okay, good story. Let’s get lunch.”
My Nike’s and well-rounded thighs might not earn the You’re Our Man! response I’d appreciate hearing right now regarding new employment, but stranger things have happened…
About the Tour: There are 21 ‘stages’ that can be won before one rider– probably Chris Froome, who has worn the maillot jeune (yellow jersey) most of the Tour– sips champagne on the Champs Elysee in Paris Sunday. It’s legitimate that recognition for best Under-25 rider, best Climber-Man of Mountains, team time trials, and frequent extra points for ‘sprinters’ who get to certain points first makes it something besides an all or nothing race. It makes a difference to be thought the best at something– Salesman of the Quarter anyone?– even if being a good domestique brings a decent level of respect in the cycling world.
The featured TV picture above shows three riders who are about to be swallowed by the main group (peloton) after 217 km. of substantial effort, having broken away even before the first kilometer marker, and leading this particular stage the entire time. Many of us know the feeling: You bust it day after day, doing as many of the small and necessary steps as possible, and hopefully you have the ability to dig deeper for special or difficult moments that come up. Froome seems to have that working well, for these three, that’s not how it worked out.