North American Mike Woods won his first grand tour stage in the 2018 Vuelta a España. Riding up steep grades past throngs of cheering fans, through the mist on a forested mountain top, Woods persevered. Rocking his bike back and forth, standing up out of the saddle, accelerating again and again, Woods pushed himself harder than anyone else could. When he crossed the finish Woods was caught by his soignuer, who held him so he wouldn’t fall down. Woods left everything out on the road. His ride was an amazing display of how sport gives an outlet, a place to put our energies, crystallizing our will into a determined moment, overcoming life’s arduous circumstances. Sport gives us the opportunity to show what the human spirit can do.
There were so many people on the side of the road today just screaming my name and my director was on the radio. In the last 500 meters he just said do this for your family. And, I did. I did. —Michael Woods on winning Stage 17, Vuelta a España 2018
Cycling it seems to me is so appropriate for the 21st century. It elevates human living in so many ways, including Woods’ showcase of the triumph of the human spirit. And it makes practical sense as a fitting, appropriate technology for daily living. It’s self-powered mobility that’s clean, renewable, accessible, affordable, and quite fun for everyone. From kids to families, all generations, young and old, including the many generations to come, cycling works wonders, and gives us a window into the beauty of the human soul and the everyday world we live in.
Resources and further reading:
Stage 17 highlights (3 minutes, including Woods interview). Watch video on youtube
Stage 17 last kilometer (4 minutes) Watch video on youtube
Professional cyclists used the Vuelta to draw attention to the necessity of increasing road safety for all, including bicyclists, pedestrians, and occupants and operators of vehicles.
Mike Woods is on Strava, the social network for athletes. You can view his day to day activities there. From Toronto, Canada, he trains in Tucson in the offseason. https://www.strava.com/pros/425147