Dude... there is no crying in the Tour de France!

Okay, that's completely not true, that's how you know it is CRAZY tough out there because grown men, TOUGH grown men are regularly reduced to tears.

And I'm totally okay with that... it think its actually pretty awesome and heartwarming. it's such a testament to how much these guys put into this beautiful race.

but for some reason the fact that Cadel Evens ALWAYS sounds like he's about to cry really grates on my nerves. I'm sure he's a great guy (I have no reason not to think this so I'm just going with it) and this is most likely just the timbre of his voice, but it always sounds like he's whining...

Let's take for instance a little quote from the beginning of the tour this year... I'm paraphrasing, but it went something like this
You can't be confident because it comes across as egotistical, but...
and it got me thinking... why is it that confidence in some folks comes across as egotism and in others it just makes you love 'em more?? And the bigger question, what's so bad about a little egotism?

For example, in stage 13 Thor Hushovd executed perfect tactics to win himself a 9th individual Tour de France stage victory. After the race he said:
The plan with the attack was actually to get through a small advantage so I could do my own rhythm up there ... I knew riders like Moncoutie wanted to attack and when he attack I could not follow—I think I did a good move there, and my tactic worked out perfectly.
-Thor Hushovd
This is supreme confidence, and yet coming from Thor did not seem egotistical.

I find myself fascinated with this, because the closer I get to Ironman Louisville the clearer it becomes to me that if I am going to succeed there, I need to be confident, for sure (and I'm still working on that), but do I maybe need to be, dare I say, egotistical?

Unfortunately, it's my nature to be a little more, well let's just say, self-effacing. That might make me more comfortable when I'm talking to people. (It means less pressure, because you never said you could do it, you said non committal things like "I'll do my best" or "we'll see what the day has for me"). It takes the pressure off, but to succeed, you probably need the pressure on. Maybe not in the over the top olympic hopeful "your parents have sacrificed everything and taken a second mortgage out on your home to get you here" kind of pressure, but just enough to make you believe you can do it?

I don't know, I'm still trying to figure it out...

I would guess though that Thor didn't start out the day on Stage 13 thinking, "I'm never going to make it over the top of the Col d’Aubisque with the others, I guess I just wont even try". And when he found himself in a position to attempt a win, he took stock of his strengths (time trial, finish line speed) and his weaknesses (climbing, he's a big guy for those mountains) but he didn't let his weaknesses beat him, he figured out his tactics (attack when he could, give himself some time, hope he could descend like a mad man without incident and then kick some major ass to the finish line) and he went for it. I'm not saying in all those kilometers he never doubted that he'd win, but I have to believe he felt fairly confident that if he kept pushing he'd make it.

So just what is the difference between EGOTISTICAL and CONFIDENT. What makes one "tiresome" and the other "awesome"?? Do they go hand in hand, and it's just the delivery of the quote?

The dictionary definition of Egotistical is:
e·go·tis·tic [ee-guh-tis-tik, eg-uh-]
1. pertaining to or characterized by egotism.
2. given to talking about oneself; vain; boastful; opinionated.
3. indifferent to the well-being of others; selfish.
- via Dictionary.com

The dictionary definition of Egotistical is:
con·fi·dent [kon-fi-duhnt]
1. having strong belief or full assurance; sure: confident of fulfillment.
2. sure of oneself; having no uncertainty about one's own abilities, correctness, successfulness, etc.; self-confident; bold: a confident speaker.
3. excessively bold; presumptuous.

hmmm... not TOO different there... what jumps out at me is the "indifferent to the well-being of others, selfish" in the definition of egotistical. Yeah, that sounds pretty bad... but can you really be thinking about others while you are out there? I mean was Thor thinking of breakaway leader Jeremy Roy (in his first tour de france, going for his first tdF win)? No. Jeremy's would have been a great story too and for sure he deserved to win just as much as Thor; but that's not how it turned out.

So, yeah, Thor of was "selfish" and you know what, in this instance, that's totally okay!

It makes me ask the question... Is ego necessary to succeed? confidence? both?

I have to say, for sure confidence, because if you don't have confidence you are most likely going to give up (even if just a little) when things get tough, because you don't believe that you can push through it and survive. And you can gain confidence every time you push yourself in a tough workout and find yourself kicking butt at the end of it. That builds confidence.

but is EGO that extra bit of FUEL that you need to really really go for it? An unwavering belief in yourself and that you WILL succeed?

Every time we toe the line we have to have a little egotism in there or we wouldn't push for PRs. A PR is accomplishing something you've never done before. "I've never done this, but I think I can today"; Isn't that egotism? or just confidence?

I guess in the end it doesn't matter WHAT label you put to it. And since we aren't pro athletes with sponsors to make happy or reporters to give acceptable quotes to it doesn't matter WHAT other people think about us (egotistical or confident).

For me, I'll keep thanking the volunteers and giving a "good job" to anyone I see out there that seems willing to accept it, because that's what I LIKE to do... but I'm going to work on this confidence thing... maybe even get a little ego... it might just do a mind some good...

What do you guys think? ego, is it necessary? is it necessarily bad or good? should it matter?

and most importantly what do you think is the most important thing YOU DO to succeed?

apologies if this is rambling, it was total brain sneeze :D

In other news... how awesome is this photo by amazing Eric Wynn of the Rev3 Race in Portland!! Makes me want to make sure I'm out there for the race next year!! View the entire series on Slowtwitch!


  1. Ego... You have to be a cocky SoB out there if you're going to kick the kind of ass you do and be a Poonstar. In an important A race like this, it's all about you. Even though WTC isn't ANYWHERE near as racer friendly as Rev3, they still have peeps to look after any athletes that are having more than a tough time. Focus your head; you know you'll fly up and down the hills all the way to the finish line

  2. Just got caught up on all things Tribirdie and loved this post. Great stuff and keep up the great work on your road to LOU!!

    -Brent Pease

  3. Thanks for the comments guys and the encouragement!! :D


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