Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Photo of the Week - Tour de France and Bastille Day (France)

As I post this, France will be awash in celebrations and fireworks for their treasured national day commemorating the storming of a Parisian prison in 1789 and the launch of the French republic. Remarkably, over 100 professional cyclists will continue on their 3,500 kilometre journey around France in the world's most famous bicycle race, the Tour de France. Surely, it is the most physically and physiologically demanding event in world sport.

The photo is of a lone amateur cyclist on the Col de Tourmalet which at 2115 metres is the highest road in the Pyrenées. The ride up this awesome mountain runs for over 17 kilometres on a slope of over 7 degrees. Personally, I drove and enjoyed a fantastic view over this famed snow-capped mountain range and a steaming cup of coffee. There was a surprising number of cyclists at the summit proud of their achievement in riding this towering peak.

Over 12 million spectators line the route over a three week period with supporters painting mountain roads with the names of their favourite cyclists. It is estimated that the winner this year will take 400,000 pedal strokes and expend around 125,000 calories. No wonder the cyclists are so lean!

A toast to the world's cyclists and a toast to France on Bastille Day.


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