“The tougher the squeeze, the sweeter the juice.”
Bob Roll, Tour de France commentator
It’s Tour de France time again around my house — and tonight did not disappoint! It was a tough stage — over 130 miles and huge sections of cobblestones. The riders bounced and fought and jockeyed for position, just as they always do. All the big contenders played it safe, content to get through the stage in one piece and without losing too much time in their overall standing. But one rider, Tony Martin, went for the gold — the stage win and the yellow jersey. After just losing out in the opening stages, he overcame his share of bad luck to seize the day and the stage win.
How sweet it is! And all the more so, since he battled into the lead from behind the pack after a mechanical failure almost sidelined him. When his tire flatted and he had to fall back, his team mates rallied around him and one of them quickly switched bikes with him. Then they pulled him back up to the front, pedal stroke by pedal stroke.
After a flat tire and a bike change, one commentator observed, most bike riders would say, “my chances are over. But Tony had the mental fortitude to keep going.” Another added, “Staying cool, calm, and collected, he fought his way back and then launched an attack that no one could answer.”
What persistence, what drive, what focus! There’s so much we can learn from elite athletes about mental toughness and staying power. After flatting, many racers would have said “game over” and given up, but instead, Tony turned on the gas and launched a bold attack. What a great rebound strategy — something we can all learn from. Write on!