What Can We Learn from the Tour de France
The 97th running of the Tour de France is made up of 1 prologue and 20 stages and will cover a distance of 3,642 kilometers. The official start was in Rotterdam on July 3rd and will finish in Paris on July 25th.
The varying distances of the daily rides are from an 8.9 km prologue, a 52 km time trial and various stages through flat country as well as the Alps and Pyrenees mountain stages ranging from 153 km to 227 km – per day!
Imagine spending 5-6 hours climbing through the Alps and Pyrenees mountains with probably a sprint finish, rest up the rest of the day and night and get back on your bike to repeat the same thing again and continue this for 3 straight weeks!
You can only imagine the condition of these athletes. They are known to consume in excess of 10,000 calories a day and will still probably lose weight over the course of the 3 weeks. But nothing is left to chance with these athletes. The technical aspects of the race – namely the bicycles and all their components are a whole other topic in itself. To say the technology has advanced over the 96 running of this race would be an understatement. Special metals that make the frames not only incredibly strong, but feather light is just on advancement in bike technology. Wind tunnel testing is also a common test to help make the bike and riders as aerodynamic as possible.
But, aside from the technology of the bikes, there is also the rider himself to consider. You can bet that nothing is left to chance with the riders as well. Each team will travel with their own physio therapists, massage therapists and associated personnel to ensure that every aspect of the rider’s rest and recovery is taken care of. One of the most difficult challenges of this type of event is the recovery of the athlete.
In most sporting event, once the event has taken place the athlete is free to rest, recover and train for the next event which may be days, weeks or months away. But, with this 3 week race, the rider has less than 24 hours to recover and repeat again for 21 days. Along with ensuring that their bodies get the treatments they need to recover, their nutrition is also an integral part of their recovery process. Not only must they fuel throughout the ride, they must ensure that adequate nutrition meaning the right foods in the right amounts at the right time are ingested to promote the recovery process.
So what can we take away from the Tour de France? We can start by thinking of ourselves as athletes as well. No, we are not competing for the honor of wearing the yellow jersey, but all of us have daily obligations whether it be work or home related that require us to be alert and ready to tackle whatever tasks comes our way.
We can all take a little lesson from the the pro riders and start to treat our own bodies like those of the athletes. Ensure you get the proper nutrition daily, starting with breakfast and continuing throughout the day with small meals. We also need to ensure that we are getting adequate rest to tackle the needs of the day. Without adequate rest you won’t be able to operate at your peak and your workouts at the gym will most certainly suffer.
Proper nutrition, adequate rest and training are just as important to each of us as it is to the professional bicycle racer battling it out in the mountains of France.
Till next time,