Wednesday, August 01, 2018

Lantern Rouge

Have you heard of Lawson Craddock? He has become a hero in our household.  Craddock is a professional cyclist - one of the racers in this year's Tour de France. On the first state, an errant water bottle hit his front wheel and sent him crashing down hard - so hard that he broke his shoulder.  But he finished.

And each stage after that day, he raced.  He races with bandages, he doesn't win - but he races.  

“After the first week, once we hit the mountains, doing those 20K climbs where you have to climb out of the saddle took a lot out of me,” he told Bicycling after Stage 20. “It was a challenge each and every day to make it to the finish.”

As of this writing, it is expected that Craddock will finish the last stage of the race in last place overall.  This is informally called the lantern rouge place - named for the red light on the cabbose on a train. It isn't an official title, and Craddock will not get special recognition for it, but he will know that he didn't give up. 

The race started with 176 riders.  "Just by finishing, he’s outlasted 31 who crashed out, dropped out, or were time cut."  That means that some of the people who were unable to finish were only unable to finish because they couldn't qualify for the next day because their racing was too slow.  Not Craddock.  Each day he persevered.  Each day he rode quickly enough to qualify for the next day. Each day he finished.  Each day he kept peddling.

Just as a sidenote, Craddock said that he would donate $100 for each stage he finished.  He started a Go Fund Me site to raise funds for a charity he supports in Texas.  So far? $140,000 raises.

In what ways in your life are you the lantern rouge? A hero who doesn't win, but doesn't give up?