Warning: If you are reading this on Wednesday (7/22) and you are planning to watch the prime-time Tour de France coverage tonight…
STOP READING NOW!
And with that said…I’ll say that today was a sad day for America’s best hope for a Tour victory. Tejay van Garderen abandoned the race. I caught a little bit of the end of the live coverage and heard the announcers talking about it, but didn’t catch what happened, so I watched the replay and found out that he pulled himself out of the race with an intense headache.
I can only imagine what he was going through when he made that decision. Watching the video, it was clear that he was truly shaken up by the decision to quite the race | several members of the team crew were consoling him as he climbed in the back of the team car.
Like I said | I can only image what he was going through. Thankfully I only have one DNF and one DNS on my race record…and certainly neither one came as a professional cyclist, racing in the Tour de France, and currently in third place overall.
Mine were much easier decisions. My DNF (Did Not Finish) happened at the Green Bay Marathon in 2012, when race officials stopped the race. The temperature had climbed well into the 80s, and for an early season race in Wisconsin | THAT’S HOT! My wife saw at least one runner collapse right in front of her, and I heard that there was such a rush of runners being admitted into the Green Bay Hospitals that they just didn’t have room for any more. As you might expect, when the black flag went up, many runners continued on. I was at mile 20 and probably could have finished, but I took a look around at those that were stopping and realized that the seasoned runners were calling it a day. Better to live to fight another battle.
My DNS (Did Not Start) came a couple years earlier, in 2010. I was registered, along with a bunch of my friends, for the Centurion Cycling Race. On the morning of the race it was storming and officials moved all the riders inside an airplane hanger at the Middleton Airport to ride out the storm (que the REO Speedwagon music here). My friends and I spent about an hour in the hanger, before heading to the Hubbard Avenue Diner for breakfast. After a wonderfully filling breakfast, it was still raining, so rather than head back to the start line, we all headed home. I fell asleep in front of the TV, only to wake up about an hour later to a beautifully sunny day. Oh well | I came back the next year and led my team to 2nd in the team time-trial, and took 5th in my age-group in the 100 mile race.
Hopefully Tejay has an even better return to the Tour de France next year.