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Courage, Determination & No Regrets

My very favorite sporting event is happily on the TV again. Despite the drug scandal of the last few years, I still love the Tour de France. I love the travelogue you get as the race winds its way across France. I love the strategic thinking that goes into each stage. But most of all I love the individual stories. And this year my favorite, so far, belongs to American Andrew Talansky.

A contender for the overall title, Talansky never expected to find himself at the back of the race on Stage 10. After serious crashes on two consecutive days he had shooting pains in his back, injured hips, shoulders, and knees. Every turn of the pedal was pure agony. He kept slipping further and further off the back of the pack (the peleton). Finally, with about thirty miles to go in the stage, he pulled over crying and told his team director Robby Hunter “I can’t do this.”

Hunter is a former racer. He had been in Talansky’s position more than once and each time his race director had let him quit. Hunter regretted each one. He talked Talansky off the ledge and told him “Andrew I know you are in pain, but sit here quietly and think this through. I will support you either way. But if you quit will you regret it tomorrow?” As the New York Times reported it [Talansky] thought about how deflated his teammates would be if they heard he had abandoned the race, and how it would feel if his Tour ended there, in nowheresville France.”

He got back on his bike.

He and Hunter ate the thirty miles ‘one bite at a time’ in small three minute, ten minute, 2 minute etc. pieces. Even though he was far behind the fans stayed on the road and cheered him on. “It was amazing to see them” Talansky said. “I found meaning in what I was doing and I guess they saw that too.” He finished about 90 minutes after his talk with Hunter. He made the time cut by about five minutes and remained eligible to start the next day and, more importantly, to make his own decision about whether to continue or not. He decided not to start Stage 11 but it was his decision based on consideration rather than on the side of a remote road because it was getting too hard. He later said the decision to continue was one of the best ones he had ever made.

So before you quit or let someone else quit at a hard moment, consider making time to allow for a well thought-out decision and ponder how long the regret might last..



Courage, Determination & No Regrets