“That’s the difference between a pro and an amateur: They just don’t quit.”
Phil Liggett, sports commentator
The 2016 Tour de France is in full swing: It’s considered the sports world’s most grueling test of physical endurance — and no wonder: Winning the Tour involves three weeks of incredibly demanding cycling day after day over steep mountain passes and down tricky descents, often at speeds of 50 miles an hour.
One of the things that makes the Tour so exciting is its total unpredictability. This time around, Alberto Contador, a Tour winner and one of this year’s favorites, was injured twice early in the race and had to abandon in the middle of Stage 9 for medical reasons. And in that same stage, a strong rider who’s been under the radar pulled off an amazing win.
The day started out in France in the sunshine and ended many hours later in a hailstorm in Andorra, but neither the heat nor the cold stopped cyclist Tom Dumoulin from breaking away and taking a thrilling solo ride to victory. What does all this have to do with writing?
“Power, strength, endurance — and strategy” — one expert noted that you need all of these to win a stage of the Tour. And to my mind, we need all of these to fight through our struggles on the page. Tom battled through intense heat and intense cold for hours. At one point, he was dropped by a breakaway group, but he didn’t panic or give up. Instead, he made a decision to dig deep and steadily rode his way up to the back of the group. Then in a bold strategic move, he broke away from the breakaway pack and rode alone for miles and miles to victory.
Digging deeper: It’s something we all have to do at some point on the page. Right now, I’ve reached a critical moment in my YA novel. To pull it together, I’m going to have to dig deeper and summon up power, strength, endurance, and strategy. Tom Dumoulin’s thrilling mountain win in a hailstorm reminds me of what’s possible. If he can dig deeper
and find something extra, so can I — and so can you. Write on!