Lanterne Rouge

And the prestigious ‘Lanterne Rouge’ can at last be officially awarded to Patrick Tsai, who finished in Antelope Wells yesterday in 28 days and seven hours and 29 minutes. Excellent news, and well done Patrick. You’ve earned the beers and cheeseburgers you’ve been dreaming of.
By the way, for those unaware of what the lanterne rouge represents, it is the traditional award – unofficial, there is no real red-lantern – bestowed on the last-placed finisher of the Tour de France. In the world of professional cycling it has become quite a sought after accolade for those who have no other means of distinguishing themselves from other pros hoping to earn lucrative contracts on the post-Tour circuit of criterium races that traditionally made a vital contribution to a rider’s income. If the lanterne rouge is also an engaging character, race organisers will pay well to have another Tour de France ‘name’ at their event. Patrick – the world could be your oyster.
This popularity has had its problems, however, especially in Italy. The Giro d’Italia’s equivalent award – the Maglia Nera, or black jersey – was only officially awarded for a few years before it was withdrawn due to too much underhand competition. Mind you, it was the kind of skulduggery you could excuse in such a gruelling event – extra-long café stops, pretend punctures and the like. Sounds quite appealing, really.
More important than the financial benefit, though, is the tradition of the lanterne rouge rewarding all those riders who will never win an event like the Tour de France but who, by their very presence and persistence in seeing it through to the finish, enhance the glory and merit of the winners, indeed of the race itself. In the same fashion, it’s fair to say, I think, that it’s to people like Patrick that the Tour Divide owes its appeal and derives its significance as much as to those involved at the sharp end of the race.
Similarly, the merit of all those who even started the event should not be forgotten. It’s one thing to dream such dreams; it’s another to put them into action, even if the outcome isn’t necessarily what you would wish. Of course, the most tragic of such outcomes is that which befell Dave Blumenthal. Let’s hope the admirable persistence of those who wrestled with their emotions as much as the physical challenges of the route to carry his flame as far as the border is a fitting tribute.

Paul Howard

PS: Thanks again to those who’ve said they’ve enjoyed this commentary. It’s been a pleasure, though not quite as much a pleasure as the race itself, which has now cast a new spell over me. The inspiration of all those who participated this year makes me think of trying again one day – maybe I can even break the magical 27 day barrier…

Two Wheels on My Wagon


Go Mr. Tenacity

Congratulations for the deep rooted tenacity shown by you Patrick.

Order of the Lanterne Rouge

Patrick although you passed through our lovely section of the TD route near Butte, Montana as if a back country trail ninja, we salute your accomplishment and proclaim you the 2010 Tour Divide Zen Cyclist. We followed your every move on the Spot and held daily optimism that you would complete your quest for Antelope Wells. You apparently dug deep, never made excuses, and continued to show by extraordinary example that the spirit of the racers of the Great Divide Mtb Route puts them in a class all by themselves. Now rest and reflect on this great experience. If you ever do TD race again, stop in at the Outdoorsman long enough so we can greet a Champion of the Divide.

Rick Smith
Shop Mechanic and fellow Zen Cyclist
Outdoorsman Professional Sports Shop
Butte, Montana


dear rick, butte was amazing to cruise into, but those big towns scare me. They were always a temptation to stop, reassess then catch a flight home to cuddle in bed and watch a movie. If I ever attempt TD again and make it to butte I will definitely stop in.

Video Footage of 2010 TDR Start Banff,theatre, YWCA interviews.

Hey Everyone!

Something to listen with while you read what I wrote and think about TDR cyclist.

Especially a BIG HELLO to Patrick Tsai ~ Bravo and kudos to you!!!
AND for SURE Congratulations to Matthew Lee ~ our 1ST place finisher and record holder X 4 !!!
I love ALL of what you do for this race...including EVERY effort you've ever made doing it; especially your noble honourable attempts to break your 'own' record!!!

I so salute you ALL doing this race billed as the toughest in the world!
Man - O - Man!!! 2745 miles. Whew!

I thought my little jaunts from Jasper to Banff were epic; well there were for me and still are amazing to ride in that type of country around you. I'm truly lucky to be so close as are some of you where you live ride in God's country.

I wish I knew how to train for this darn race!?
Any hints you guys and girls??

You are ALL the troopers to recognize have your experiences validated in some way.

The wind at everyone's back [sometimes] in your face [some] [times] always in your face, the rain, the sleet, the hail, the lightning storms, the hot hot days although everyone after 1st place makes the 1st place victories gloriously validated by reference of position by no means takes away the experience each goes through in the TDR - in my eyes.
I believe, it is prudent to take note of ALL your 'Ninja-like backcountry skills' your 'stick-to-it-ness' your 'Never Give Up attitude' for without none of these qualities that some of you may have thought you didn't have....none of you amazing cyclist would have finished at all.

AND you did!
And boy did I enjoy watching listening to all your MTB podcast.
Sometimes I would get up in the middle of the night; I would get up listen to the latest call in JUST to believe I was there with you in spirit.
How I wish to not just tie balloons for the start in Banff but actually do this TDR in June 12, 2012; if it falls on the date. I'd LOVE to make T shirts that say the date which has a ring to it. (Ya think!?)

One day I will attempt this TDR known to a few as life their life altering experience.
I am presently planning on 2012 as my time to attempt to only finish; thinking only of doing it two more times later. Not to be like Matthew not to catch his records but to really challenge 'what I can do' and relish in it for the kids I talk to in the schools while tieing my balloon animals. I want to FIRE them UP to cycle!!!

I hope to some how get all your emails.

Please IF you will, send me a test email; assured there is NO spam or forwards coming back your way; I have NO time in my busy life to either send them or bother with receiving them. So were in the win win situation there for both of us.
So IF you can Please send me an email ~ This is so I can interview, receive some enlightening pictures from some of you's, and correspond to learn more and validate your experiences along the way.

I would love to hear about the stores where there were nice people; the bike shops that went out of there way or got excited to help out a TDR cyclist; the days when it rained - where were they?; the close calls that some of us didn't make it through; [God Bless Dave Blumenthal, he will forever be mentioned at my that goes to tribute not only Isabelle a Canadian endurance cyclist who I announced her name and cheered on for some 10 yrs but ALL cyclist who have passed away ARE MENTIONED and held Annually in a leisure RMCP escorted bike ride Canmore to Banff ride]

Maybe you would like to attend?

We learn so so much in the sport of cycling.

The qualities of commitment, discipline, nutrition, camaraderie with others, good sportsmanship and sometimes winning and sometimes loosing; all these qualities have pivotal importance to learn when growing up; even in our later years when we recognize each of their significances when reflecting back. I would think ~ Especially, the TDR.

I LOVE all cyclist for getting up and excercising their right to say ~ Hey! I have two arms, two legs, two eyes; I'm not like the rest; built for staying on the couch; for drinking consistently in the bars; for following the bad examples of others.

I hope when I do this TDR in 2012 I some way...set an example to all those I talk to in the schools; that all the interviews I do with you the TDR cyclist will be validated by your trying ways and NOT Give Up attitudes. [Excluding those who need to for technical and health reasons]

The idea, I believe, is everyone tried; everyone took a crack at that which many would just shutter to think how could they ever even think to attempt it. They might be easily swayed to think like the pack; like the old adage like a sheep following the slumber way of lazy people in society.

But …….Of all the challenges that come before us in life to undertake; taking reference to this one TDR, I believe is largest biggest personal challenge the Epic one ~ that of challenging ourselves - our self - this is what I believe is the most worthy to note.

It is of my belief: When we go through life we go through it alone; with our own sense of spirit; and along the way we choose to share it.

I want to share my and your experiences with all those kids who are still under fire with 'What will I do with the time that has been given to me?"

I believe, ALL TDR cyclist experiences are more valuable than are noted up to today. I'm hoping to change that.

I LOVE the Tour Divide since it's inception. I've kept in touch with it for that long.

This is (I believe) where all the personal growth takes place [challenging our self] when we reference our victorious accomplishments whether making it to the next turn, town, over a stream, mountain pass at night or pushing through boundaries we never encountered in our personal lives at all; when we place it all against our ourselves.
Because no one else cries those lonely tears in life; not suffers the pain of indecision nor the loss of a loved one. We do things challenging, I believe it to be because we chose to; because we love life; because we did not allow life to consume us to follow the path chosen by so many others.

And I believe while testing ourselves beyond our limits beyond the risks others might not take this is where we find that other self…sometimes the one we’ve been searching for …sometimes a lifetime

So ‘Two Wheels on my Wagon’ who wrote this comment; I concur with your comments.

I so hope that in the two years that pass I might be able to ‘just finish’ this race on behalf of my self and all the other kiddies that will be following my path in life; across the Tour Divide cycling event of a lifetime.

Chow for now.

I’ll end this with this song one of my favourites that just keeps me motivated through lots …..there’s two actually. You decide what it does for you.

The Video is CRaZzzzy good.


Please give me an email.
I have a video of ALL of you screaming out 'Cause I LOVE cycling' fitting for the undertaking of such a gruelling challening race; I think anyways. LOL :)

A Standing O for the Scribe from Hingeloutabout

Well done Paul. You were there at the beginning of the race and followed it through all the way to the finish. Though you missed the BIG STORY (Johnstown Flood, Hello?) your commentary and insight added termendously to this year's race and greatly inspires all who choose to participate from the comfort of their desks.

ATB, Steve

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