Saturday, July 5, 2008

Pedal Power

It's Tour de France time again.

I first became interested in cycling back when Greg LeMond was making us proud, becoming the first american to win the Tour. Greg may have been as dominating as Lance Armstrong had it not been for a hunting accident. After seeing Greg, I spent several summer days on my old 12 speed leading the tour against an imaginary peleton that could never catch this young american rider!

Then, youth and passion faded and life, work and family took over.

It was several years before Lance reinvigorated interest in cycling in the US. The amazing story of this cancer survivor (given almost no chance to live, much less ride professionally again) beating cancer and returning to win the tour an astounding 7 times in a row, captured the hearts and imaginations of the country.

It was Lance's story that hooked me into watching the Tour. Without Lance, I doubt there would have been american TV coverage without the drama that Lance brought to the sport.

It was also right about this time that I was invited to pull the old 12 speed out and join the Focus on the Family "Bike Ride for the Family". We rode from New Braunfels, TX to Houston. Three days, about 240 miles.

It was my first long ride and I was hooked. Soon I was searching ebay for a "new" bike. I found a nice used Cannondale, made the move to clipless pedals (where the shoes actually clip right into the pedal) and started riding regularly.

I was able to ride Houston to Dallas the next year with Focus on the Family again and this year, helped organize the inagural "Ride for the Homeless" with The JOY FM. We rode from Brooksville to Bradenton in 2 days and had a great time. The ride was a mix of experienced riders and first timers, much like the Focus on the Family rides were. We had a few minor mishaps (Carmen going pedals over helmet - and breaking the helmet!) but no real injuries.

It was also the first ride for my youngest son, Daniel (genius #3). He had a tough first day (brake pad rubbing the wheel, gear shifter not working, strained back) and had to leave the ride after that first leg, but I think the bug has bit. He's still riding and wants to upgrade his bike and start clipping in. He's 16, athletic, slim - who knows, maybe he'll really catch the fire and I'll be watching the tour from a team car as my son leads the breakaway ...

Until then, I think I'll take a ride this afternoon. For a time it'll be me leading the tour again.

33 comments:

S Himes said...

I use to be hooked on the Tour De France with the likes of LeMond and recently with Armstrong but never got into biking myself.

UNTIL....recently I've found a new passion not just for saving gas money but to become physically fit. It started slow and time to run in the morning or in the evening was very short so the light finally went on and God has provided a new vigor within that has given me the passion and the strength to pedal to work during the summer months and who knows where it will go leading into the school year...


Although I doubt you'll be hearing about me in the Tour De France - you might see me in the Ride for the Homeless next year!

WendySue said...

Hey Dave ...

Yep, I remember watching Lance Armstrongs story in 1999 when Ken (my hubby) was batteling cancer too. Celine Dion's husband and Tommy Lasorta (Yankees coach) were also battleing cancer at that time (1999)... it's sometimes hard to accept that Ken didn't make it... but it's great those 3 are still here.
Lance is definately an inspiration.
Wendy

1mansopinion said...

My Brother the doting father. I always enjoy hearing that. I hope Daniel fares better keeeping up with you in cycling than I did keeping up with our Dad on the golf course.

Live Strong,
Len

Bill Martin's Personal Ramblings said...

Hey, I just found this! Your second post, who knew? When you post a third, tell me and we'll talk about it on the radio!!!

RT said...

I picked up a Cannondale in 1994. I had not ridden a bike since high school (12 years or so). I loved the freedom it afforded me. It was exhilirating! I had dreams of riding coast to coast. Life got busy, and it gathered dust. A friend from church has been pestering me for a year to ride, so we did 27 miles lasy weekend. Looks like I may join you on the second annual ride for the homeless!

Jeff said...

The most fun I have had, since moving from Miami to Dunnellon about 6 years ago, and then from Dunnellon to Ocala about 4 1/2 years ago, was the 2 or 3 times I have gone mountain (trail) biking at the Santos Trailhead. I had never done that before, and it was a blast. Unfortunately, my brother, who was my partner, got hurt one time, and hasn't gone back since, so I gave away my Walmart-bought mountain bike for a church yard sale. I would love to go again, but good mountain bikes are very expensive.

Jeff said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Jeff said...

(original comment deleted after finding spelling error)

A few years ago, I was invited by my cousin to join him in the seven-day Bike Across Iowa annual event (RAGBRAI). But I don't own a street bike, and I would have to be in crazy shape, and be biking long distances on a regular basis, to even attempt something like that.

About a year after graduating High School, I ran 10 miles non-stop. But that was 30 years ago, when I was into wrestling, martial arts, running, boxing, jump-roping, and weight-training. Now I'm into sitting at the computer all day.

Back then, I used to do handstand pushups and pushups on my thumbs. I weighed 155 lbs. and was very muscular and defined. I used to run around the block backwards (while people laughed at me), and one time, I pushed my car around the park just for exercise, while my brother sat in the driver's seat to steer it (one person thought I was stealing the car, and another came to help me push, because he thought I was having a problem starting the car; when I told them what I was doing, at first they didn't believe me, then they just thought I was crazy).

Nowadays, at 245 lbs., if I walk up a flight of stairs, I'm winded.

Today, in total contrast, I spend about half my day on the computer at work as a Graphic Artist, and the other half on the computer at home, blogging and emailing.

Stacy said...

Riding is a good way to clear you head and just think. I am strating to walk and just clear my head and just get back to the basics. Keep up the good work.

Marsha said...

Dude! I know you get teased about this by Bill and Carmen, but you really should update your blog. I'd be interested to hear your comments about cyclists in the Olympics, not to mention some of the local bike events this summer.

Anna said...

This does not have anything to do with your blog, but I just wanted to let you know that I woke up this morning with "What will people think if they find out I'm a star trek geek . . . " running through my head. I caught myself singing it OUT LOUD this morning and couldn't get it out of my head!Of all the wonderful songs I hear on your station, that one was stuck in my head!!! Thanks ALOT! =)

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