Exploitation

A ride in hot sun with Jim, in a loop from Caversham heading north into South Oxfordshire. (The hot sun constituted a novelty factor.) Inevitably for two cyclists, talk turned to British success in the Tour de France.

I think, for me, one of the most interesting things to try and grasp is the mental side of being a bike rider good enough to win the Tour. Physically, I could be Bradley Wiggin’s identical twin with exactly the same bodily ability and potential, but unless I had his brain too I still wouldn’t be able to ride like he can, to that extreme level. I simply don’t have the mental ability to be that dedicated to a single activity, to have that amount of focus over such an extended period of time.

It’s a commonplace but it’s nevertheless true that having natural talent in any given field is one thing; having the ability to exploit that talent to its full potential is quite another thing entirely. Talent, in one form or another, is relatively commonplace. It’s the dedication to exploiting it that’s rare.

And talking of exploitation, it should be a salutary lesson for us all to witness so many politicians, local or national, being so stupid as to imagine we – Joe and Josephine Public – can’t see through their transparent, dismal, pathetic attempts to exploit the successes of people like Wiggins.

Maybe, just maybe, a Prime Minister having something to say about it is appropriate. To see local councillors popping up on Twitter to praise Tour winners is just laughable. Mirthless laughter aside, seeing these people trying to somehow ride on the coat-tails of outstanding individuals, trying to get some reflected glory, is also wholly unedifying. Expect lots more of it over the course of the Olympics. Whenever you come across it, judge the politician accordingly.