Back in 1986 I watched Greg LeMond win the Tour de France. It was my first exposure to cycling and I found it fascinating. I thought it would be really neat someday to bike up the mountains, as well as visit the Tour de France. With a professional career and children coming shortly after this time, I did not do much with cycling, although I always found the race quite interesting and continued to say, “Someday I should do that.

Finally, in the past year or two as I’ve done more cycling, I realized that I had the time and may not always have the energy to do this event, and in November 2003 I signed up for a 30 person group tour to attend the Tour de France and ride the race courses of the riders for one week.

I engaged a coach (George Sexton in Chestnut Hill) to help me with this adventure. He recommended a lot of heart rate-based lactate threshold training, which I did over an eight-month period of time. This got me into the best cycling shape of my life to tackle the great cols.

The event went great and the climbs, while very difficult, were easier than I anticipated. The hills in our area are often sharper than the French ones, although not nearly as long. I also found that heart rate-based training, while it has unquestionably great results in cycling, could probably be useful in running. I may be hopelessly hooked on cycling at this time and glad I did the whole experience. Maybe I’ll be back in France someday.

David H. Hilton, Jr.