Racing at the highest levels of the sport––riding in the Tour
de France and throughout Europe in particular––led to me
facing my share of adversity in the competitive realm. As a
rider, you are faced with challenges from the weather, the
competition, the terrain, the distance of the race, or all of
these. On flat ground, I would be going at 25 miles per hour,
and downhill I might reach speeds of 60 miles per hour.
Fatigue and self-doubt constantly have to be overcome.
Some races can become quite an ordeal. For example, two
and half weeks into a race like the Tour de France, a typical
day starts with you being dead tired and facing a ride of over
two hundred kilometers with four major climbs. In addition,
you have got to get to the finish line in a time that is in close
proximity to the winner or you are eliminated, which is
called ‘making the time limit’. But it is in persevering and
making it through those hard days in the Tour that you
define your capabilities. My cycling experience gave me the
confidence that I could handle any challenge I would face in
the future. Little did I know what was waiting for me.
Professional cyclist and winner of 328 races from late 1970s through 1993.