60“…the Team…to reach Paris as a whole (with all nine riders)…is something no one can guarantee – not during the Tour.” Hans-Michael Holczer, General Manager, Tour Team
Finishing stages races like the Tour de France is such an accomplishment in itself that even the very last rider classified upon race completion claims distinction through the title of Lanterne Rouge. A red light signals to a train conductor that the caboose is still there with train intact just as losing even one rider can affect the trek of the team during a tour.
Leader or worker, sprinter or climber, each rider is important for the execution of team strategy and tactics. Likewise morale is influenced by the movements and moods of all team participants. Riders are selected carefully based on many factors with this in mind. Each rider lightens the load and signals a complete unit for achievement.
A race like the Tour de France demands every one’s best game. Completing the task by withstanding all challengers and overcoming all its uncertainties is sometimes a better team accomplishment than an individual win in a lesser event.
Sometimes life’s storms make quitting a smarter choice than continuing, such as in the case of broken bones forcing race abandonment. But more often, we in the storm must resolve to finish through the darkness of defeat and the rains of risked reputation. After all, what’s more brilliant than a superb sunset characterized by resplendent colors and patterns bursting through clouds on a stormy day? It seems to proclaim another day’s hard won accomplishments.
Even as the sun is now following a lower path along the earth as it accomplishes another season, already contract negotiations are underway to harness the bright lights of summer for next season. As we complete this season’s tasks and start to think about next year, let’s finish strong – completing well down to the detail what remains of these days.
Prayer for Completion
“I glorified you on earth by completing down to the last detail what you assigned me to do.” 61John 17:4
We are glad that life’s events are so challenging that sometimes, just finishing, signals victory. Give us strength to complete what’s before us; give us enlightening and encouraging glimpses of what’s ahead to keep us going to the end.
Ponder What must I finish? Affirm I fulfill what’s been started even if the pace seems slow. Watch for bright endings that offer fresh starts.
60“Tour de France 2008 – Team Gerolsteiner: A ‘highly motivated’ Team Gerolsteiner heads into the 95th Tour,” July 4, 2008 posted on www.dailypeloton.com
61The Message, Copyright © 1993, 1994, 1995, 1996, 2000, 2001, 2002 by Eugene H. Peterson