- 31 July, 2019
Tour de France - A truly magnificent event for some?
If you are a regular reader you may already be aware, I am a middle-aged man who enjoys wearing lycra – MAMIL (Middle-Aged Man in Lycra). I will very quickly point out that this is only when I am riding my road bike. I certainly do not look good or feel comfortable enough to wear lycra on a full-time basis. In fact, even when I do stop for the mandatory coffee at the end of a ride, I prefer to sit in the back of coffee shops where people are not able to see me.
Over the last three weeks I have watched 176 grown men in lycra race their push bikes 3,480 kilometres across the French countryside. For some people watching a cycle race would no doubt be like watching paint dry. I am not going to attempt in this week’s blog to try and change anyone’s mind. However, for me and a growing number of people (both men and women) the last 3 weeks has been a mix of late nights, early mornings and endless discussions about the high and low points of every race.
If you have never watched the event, I would recommend next year watching the daily highlights, 4 to 5 hours of racing packed into a one-hour package.
From this one-hour package you will begin to understand a little of the madness that grips the cycling community during the Tour de France.
The race through the French countryside is magnificent from a view perspective even if you are not interested in the bikes. From the vineyards, the old medieval towns with castles dating back to the 14th and 15th century, the cobblestone roads, the mountains with their 20 plus kilometre ascents to the craziness of a bike and rider travelling at over 80 kilometres per hour on the descent – truly impressive if not a little dangerous.
In the final stage - the race down the Champs-Elysees in the shadow of the Arc de Triomphe is indeed impressive. On television this circuit of the Champs-Elysees always looks flat and smooth, but I can assure you (after having visited this part of Paris) it is uphill and cobblestoned – very rough and bone-jarring.
The other very noticeable aspect of the race (which I am sure you will observe when you watch the highlights) the crowds on the mountains and the motorhomes. Every year I watch with a degree of envy as some motorhomes are present every night. This year the one decked in Australian flags stood out and was present at every stage.
So, you may, by now be asking what all this has to do with a person retiring?
The passion, dedication, endurance and enthusiasm that I find people have for this race is no doubt the same passion, dedication, endurance and enthusiasm that other people have for their sporting event of choice – Rugby League, Aussie Rules, Union, Netball, Bowls etc.
This passion, dedication, endurance and enthusiasm is what we need to take into our retirement.
Dedication and endurance are what a person requires before he retires. Set a goal and objective, then ensuring that you are not sidetracked by unnecessary distractions and expenses.
If we think about how quickly our attention gets diverted from the larger picture and the unwillingness to forego some of the small sacrifices to achieve our goals, watching 176 riders sacrifice everything for three weeks should provide some inspiration to bypass the latest sale at your nearby shopping mall to purchase the latest unnecessary electronic gadget or the latest fashion accessory.
I am not saying we need to become obsessed with the larger goal and objective of retirement, but we need to sometimes stop, think and remember what is more important at the end of the day before we dive into our wallets.
The passion and enthusiasm are reserved for your actual retirement. As PK and I have often mentioned retirement is now your time, do not sit and let it pass you by; grab it with the same passion and enthusiasm that you have for your favourite sporting event.
What do you have passion, enthusiasm, dedication and endurance for?