If you are one of those instructors who loves to bring the experience of riding outdoors to your indoor riders, now is the time to get them excited.  Give them a taste of the Tour de France and introduce them to some of the fun we enjoy during this special time of year.  Maybe we want to learn more about all of that tour lingo so we can share more with our classes.  Here are some recommendations I have to wrap your mind and riders around one of the greatest sporting events of all time.

This year is the 98th edition of the Tour de France (twitter: #TDF). With it”™s 21 Stages (days) of racing over the next 3 weeks.  The riders will cover an astounding 3,430.5 kilometers (2132 miles) which is even more amazing considering the speed at which they are traveling (stages can average over 25 mph for 6+ hours of riding — Yikes!).  Now there are all kinds of tidbits we can share, but I like to give my riders homework to help them better understand how to ride during class.  Here are a few of my homework assignments:

(1) Watch just 1 complete Stage of the TDF (YouTube is OK for partial credit)

(2) Notice how riders stand (out of the saddle) and move their bikes back and forth when climbing — Let”™s imitate that!

(3) Look at how balanced riders are between the handlebars and seat when they are standing.  They are not leaning back over the seat or hanging forward over the bars.

(4) Try to catch a glimpse of a rider”™s stomach from the side.  Notice how it balloons out?  One minute they look pregnant and the next not.  This is how our stomachs should look during class — relaxed and moving in and out as we breathe.

(5) Notice how relaxed they appear on the bike (shoulders, arms and hands).

(6) Watch how smooth their pedal stroke is.  A gentle waving (ankling) movement where the heel of the foot is not forced down.  Let”™s imitate that!

Just listening to the voices of the Tour de France, the announcers, Phil Liggett and Paul Sherwen will give you enough knowledge of the race to fill a set of encyclopedias, but if you are craving more, I recommend the following:

(1) Boy Racer : My Journey to Tour de France Record-Breaker (Book)
This is a great book that will not only get you to fall in love with Mark Cavendish, the Max-Missile from the “Isle of Man”, but will teach you a great deal about the TDF.  Mark not only mentions 100s of aspects of the race, but takes the time to explain each one in laymen's terms.
Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Boy-Racer-Journey-France-Record-Breaker/dp/1934030643/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1309973467&sr=8-1

(2) Chasing Legends (DVD)
This is 2 DVD set that follows the team HTC Highroads through the TDF.  You will get a unique perspective of what happens amongst the riders, in the team cars and when the riders are off the bike.
Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Chasing-Legends-DVD-Mark-Cavendish/dp/B004DR4VHE/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1309973282&sr=8-1

There is no greater time than the present to enjoy/learn about the Tour de France and share it with those in your classes.  They will feed off your energy, so if you are excited — they will be excited!

Originally posted 2011-07-06 05:30:00.

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