Watching the Tour de France has become an important ritual that I participate in with my husband Neil Browne every year. When we were first dating I realized how much competitive cycling was a part of his life, and I became determined to discover what it was all about. As I learned to see this world through his eyes, I fell in love with the noble quests and valiant heroes whose stories unfolded through their great physical trials.
The cycling path requires discipline of body, mind and spirit. Discipline of the body is the first step in which a regular training habit must be developed. Then the mind must be trained to suffer gladly and remain focused. To become a champion, the spirit must be able to rise above the physical condition and keep faith when all seems lost. As well, one must watch out for false idols of self and of EPO. One is great only if the team is great and victory is sweet only if you have not lost yourself along the way. The race is the opportunity to learn about oneself, strengths and weaknesses, and purity of character. The cyclists must give themselves completely, both in surrender and in ultimate effort, to forge courage and leap to the next level.
With a more open concept of what is spiritual, you can see that cycling path is a way to explore what it is to be human and to transcend it. Perhaps if Floyd Landis’ Mennonite parents could see cycling the way I do maybe they wouldn’t have had such a difficult time embracing Floyd’s path. He has clearly applied the essence of their religious commitment to his life in cycling. Watching his performance in this year’s Tour de France has been amazing. Another great story of transcendence over physical pain and darkest moments to come out triumphant! Congrats Floyd!!