A tour de force blog on another way of keeping strong, fit and healthy as a cyclist in the Tour De France race!

At the time of blogging, the Tour de France, cycling’s most important and famous race – 22 days, 2,241 miles – has just passed its most difficult stage. Andy Schleck won Stage 17, but Alberto Contador retains the “maillot jaune” (yellow jersey) and currently remains on course to retain his crown.

If the competitors can snatch a computer break during the final stages, they might be helped by reading the following blog on the sport by my Massachusetts colleague, Ken Girard, written by him at the start of what he describes as “the most watched annual sporting event around the world.”  In his introduction, he pointed out that in addition to global viewing figures for the race, 15 million spectators line the roads of “Le Tour” for the month of July.  “And,” he added, “as an avid cyclist, I’m following it daily!”

Here is the rest of Ken’s blog!

I’ve been cycling for about 11 years now and have put around 50,000 miles in – nothing like the pros – but still a lot for someone whose career isn’t a cyclist.  I really enjoy the whole activity.  The feeling of freedom that you can have on a bike.  The quiet times zipping along on a back road.  The sense of camaraderie that you build with fellow riders.  The athleticism and the striving to achieve goals.  As I think about it, the list could go on and on.   [N.B. You can quickly click on Ken’s 2 minute You Tube videoChristian Science” Active and Healthy Lifestyles at Any Age–The Cyclist]

But then there’s also this whole set of “rules” that’s attached to the activity of cycling.  I’m not talking about safety or maintenance rules or basic common sense rules (not a good idea to be day dreaming while riding in traffic!).

What I am speaking of are health rules that are followed – sometimes religiously – by cyclists.  For example, “rules” that dictate what and when you should or shouldn’t eat or drink.  Or rules that prescribe how you’re supposed to train to avoid pain or even severe physical consequences.

But, you know, one of the things I’ve observed about these rules is that they keep changing.  Each year the experts come up with new ones that supersede or contradict the supposedly “incontrovertible” rules from the year before.

It reminds me of that Woody Allen movie “Sleeper” in which he plays a 20th century man – a health food store owner – who was awakened from cryostasis several centuries down the line by scientists of that period.  They ask him what he considered a healthy diet to be during his century.  Woody responds with something like sea kelp.  His inquisitors are both shocked and bemused by his response.  They tell him that current scientific studies have shown that hot fudge sundaes are the healthiest thing to eat!

Alright, so what do I do?  First, I’ve never allowed these rules to dictate to me what I should eat or drink or do.

Instead I pray.  Yes, that’s right, I pray.  I use the ideas that I’ve learned in Christian Science.

I’ve found that my abilities, strength, fitness, endurance – even my health – are spiritual in nature.  They come from God.

So, I might stop at a donut shop on a hundred mile ride and have a jelly donut.  Or, maybe I’ll get a ham sandwich with “the works” somewhere.  These types of foods are generally supposed to cause intestinal problems and a loss of power while riding.  But guess what?  I don’t experience any of that.

Other rules recommend taking aspirin or various chemical compounds to stave off or prevent pain from the sheer exertion of it all.  Whenever I’ve felt some pain – which is really rare – I’ve relied on my understanding of Christian Science and the problem quickly disappeared.  And, I mean quickly!

I’ve found that the only rules that are important for me in these situations are ones that are spiritually-based.  Ones that don’t change each year.  Ones that can be relied on.

Yes – those are the rules that I’ve seen work for me over and over again.

Thanks, Ken!

Here is a photo montage of this year’s Tour de France, compiled by The Christian Science Monitor.

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Author:Tony Lobl

I write and speak on spirituality from my perspective as a Christian Science practitioner. I am also an Associate Editor for the Christian Science periodicals. I studied at the University of Surrey earning a BSc Hons Degree in Modern Mathematics before the impact of spirituality on health caught my attention and re-shaped my career.

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