Life Lessons from the TDF: Praying to Get Caught

Dan Martin of Ireland & Team Garmin Sharp
100th TDF – Stage 9

What a great stage win for Dan Martin today. Such a nice guy who had a big win in Liege-Bastogne-Liege this year as well. He attacked the peloton on the last of 4 big mountains today.  He was then joined by Jakob Fuglsang and, by working together, they stayed off the front on a harrowing 30 km descent down the mountain.  

At the end of the day, it’s just a bike race and I don’t want to make too much of it. But for me there were more than a few powerful life lessons from Dan Martin’s post-race interview.

Life Lesson #1: “I don’t think one guy would have survived alone.

  • cycling is no more an individual sport than is the race of life.  We won’t survive if we try to race alone

Life Lesson #2: “We were both giving it everything we could.

  • anything less than a 100% effort will be insufficient to succeed in the race of life.
  • “Therefore, O ye that embark in the service of God, see that ye serve him with all your heart, might, mind and strength (D&C; 4:2)

Life Lesson #3: “I was actually praying to get caught with 20 km to go. My legs were hurting so much.”  

  • Neal A. Maxwell’s provides amazing insights on this subject (here*): “We may at times, if we are not careful, try to pray away pain or what seems like an impending tragedy, but which is, in reality, an opportunity … If we were allowed to bypass certain trials, everything that had gone on up to that moment in our lives would be wiped out. 
  • Though he longed to be caught and fail so his suffering would end, he would not quit. “I just had to finish it off for the guys in the end.
  • His perseverance paid off.

Dan’s brilliant strategy in the last 1 km allowed him to sneak by Fuglsang for the win. He refused to go to the front, and instead stayed in the slipstream of the other rider. Then with 200 meters to go, he launched his sprint, just as they headed into a difficult left-hand turn.  It was obvious that Dan knew the course, having studied it beforehand. He was prepared. He knew when to make his move.

Life Lesson #4: “I knew what I was doing. I was very confident. That comes from the victory I’ve achieved this year … It’s a self-belief and a calmness that I enjoy now.”  

  • Those that persevere in the faith have similar confidence and calmness with comes as as we study and prepare ourselves. It is doubly rewarded by the small victories we have along the way in overcoming sin, hardship and adversity.
  • “And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds, through Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 4:7)
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* I think these are some of the best teachings on adversity I have ever read.  This is a long talk, but so masterful and worth reading.
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