The sad news hit the cycling world that Christopher Froome, British rider for professional bicycle racing Team Ineos (formerly Team Sky), has broken his hip, femur, elbow and ribs and is out of 2019 Tour de France. “It’s just a bike race” he said after the terrorist truck attack killed 86 people and injured over 400 in Nice, France on Bastille Day during the 2017 Tour. What can we mere mortals learn from his epic fail? I’m so glad you asked. I’ll tell you if you click on “Continue reading.”
News reports like the one cited above say he was on a reconnaissance ride in France in between stages of the Criterium du Dauphine. While biking downhill at 54 km (33.5 mph), he took one hand off the bike handlebars to clear his nose. A gust of wind hit him and he lost control, crashing into a wall. It remains to be seen how he heals from this. The good news is that it’s not life-threatening, although he is in intensive care. The thing about Froome is he’s tough. According to Sir David Brailsford, team director:
“One of the things which sets Chris apart is his mental strength and resilience -– and we will support him totally in his recovery, help him to recalibrate and assist him in pursuing his future goals and ambitions.”Source: Agence-France Press
While there are more important things in the world, within cycling, this is a big deal. Whether you like him or not, he is a superb athlete, fierce competitor, and a gentleman. His crash opens the door for last year’s winner, long-time Froomey captain Geraint Thomas, to try for win number two. But the race is deprived of a champion. A Dude has enjoyed watching the Tour for many years, taking a couple off after a certain former hometown guy crashed and burned in the media due to PEDs. If I can, I’ll watch it again, and if I do, I’ll miss Chris, as will millions of fans.
He’s Fallen, But He Will Get Back Up
Before today, he had a disappointing season, as well. So Thomas and another teammate, Egan Bernal of Colombia, who is only 22, were going to give him a run for his money. They will have to carry the team banner and continue the fight to win yet another Tour for the Brits. They have six of the last seven Tours (Sir Bradley Wiggins and Thomas claiming the other two).
Some riders have broken their legs and ridden again within a few months. Others have taken longer to heal, and at least one cited in stories had too much pain to continue. At age 34, Froome is aging out of the sport of competitive cycling. Although he has been the winningest British cyclist in history (although born in Kenya), and he would really like to join the “club of five,” he has a wife and son. No one would blame him for retiring.
What About We Mere Mortals, Dude?
Here’s the thing: crashes hurt. I’ve had two, one versus a bad curb that was major but nothing broken (that I know of), and one touching shoulders with another cyclist (not as bad). I was beat up pretty badly, but I was able to ride home.
That’s nothing in comparison to Froome slamming into a wall as fast as he did. But with all those broken bones, undergoing surgery and hardly being conscious enough to speak — that is far more serious. The recovery and rehab will take months, and who knows about his form. Or if he’ll ever race again. It’s too soon to tell.
Here’s what I take away from Froomey’s fail:
- The human body is resilient, and if you are in decent shape and crash, you’ll recover faster than if you weren’t.
- Failure is part of life, and you must learn from it.
- Even the top athletes in the world are human and make mistakes.
- Shit happens, like wind, that you can’t control, but try to prepare for it.
- Maybe pull over to blow your nose.
- Respect Mother Nature.
- Know your limits.
- NEVER LOSE FOCUS, EVER, OR YOU MAY PAY VERY DEARLY!
I wish Chris a full and speedy recovery so that he can go for win number five in 2020, if he is able and he so chooses. If not, he is still a champion in my and everyone else’s book (quite literally — twice at the Olympics, too)! And champions know to never say quit, until it’s time to retire. Let’s hope it’s not his time to leave the sport, and that he pulls through this in one piece.
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