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July 5, 2005

Two recent moments:



Do Butch and the Sundance Kid hold hands before they jump off the cliff ahead of the armed posse? I can't remember, but it seems like they do. At the very least there's a twinkle of love in their eyes.

This is the scene I think of at the end of Stage 2 of the Tour de France. Four riders have spent several hours attempting to escape the enormous peloton, an audacious move as likely as a sand castle escaping the rising tide.

They ride alone, each taking turns breaking the wind. Periodically a motorcycle tracks close and announces their lead. Five minutes. Four minutes. One minute.

With less than 10km to go, they are caught. This is always heartbreaking, to see brave escapees swallowed by the relentless, heartless maw of the peloton. This time it's doubly so: At the last moment, the final two escapees reach out and hold hands in a gesture that says, "We gave it everything we had and failed, mate, but I'm glad we tried." And then they are surrounded and never seen again.

Watching this alone at a bar, I am moved. It's because of these moments of love, almost as much as Lance's moments of triumph, that I race.



I ride through Waukegan on my way to the Wisconsin border. A parade is about to start but I navigate through the barricades and have Main Street to myself. Children wave to me from the sidewalk. On my way back the parade is in full swing so I walk my bike down the sidewalk. A woman hands me a small American flag and wishes me a happy birthday.