Why do I watch? I can sort of relate.
This is a shot of the grand depart, which is the slow, utterly casual beginning of most day’s racing. You can see their helmets there, amid the cameras, almost 200 men, all of them knowing each other, their skills, their resources. All of them in competition for their niches of specialty of aggression, endurance, climbing, and sprinting, and the youngest rider who shows the most promise. There are teams, but it’s individual performance that counts. Everyone knows who the favorites are to win, but the rest are there, pouring an entire year of their life on the road, because life interferes, and chance sometimes smiles on the newbie, or innovative, or just plain lucky, and it’s beautiful to see someone rise from obscurity and show their skill and dedication to craft.
It’s sort of like writing, where you prep for an entire year, but in reality, it’s a lifetime. You know everyone in your field, who the favorites are, and who’s likely to be on that New York Times, who the rising stars are, and the workhorses who are a sure bet. But we all work as hard as the writer next to us, getting stitched back together even as we hang at the back of the pack and try to keep up, traversing the same road, same ugly conditions, same breathtaking heights and lows, because life interferes, and chance sometimes smiles on the newbie, or innovative, or just plain lucky, and it’s beautiful to see someone rise from obscurity and show their skill and dedication to craft.
The Tour de France is a long, grueling mess where endurance as much as skill gets the participants to the end, and not all of them do. It’s sort of where I feel today as I start a new book in the Peri Reed Chronicles.
Pick up the pencil, and go.
See the original piece posted on Medium here.