When I was twelve years old I spent two weeks in the summer holiday cycling around some of the most beautiful countryside that I had ever seen. The endless empty winding roads formed the perfect track for my friends and I to race from one village to another. But there was one road, I remember, that was above all others.  It was narrow and steep and once you made it to the top the view was breath taking. But better than the view was the ride down. We rode our cycles as fast as they would go, it was exhilarating beyond words; the wind in our eyes making them water to the point that you could almost no longer see, the tarmac flying past underneath our feet. No fear just a deep sense of fun. This was heaven on earth.

I always thought of going back again but never found the energy or the time.  However this year, after much planning and deliberation, I planned my route, not with a bicycle but with my two cylinders, 1600 motorbike.  After many hours of searching, I found the very route and road that I had taken as a child. I mapped it onto the computer, booked the strategically placed hotels and downloaded all the data into my GPS and thought nothing more of it. England, here I come!

However last week while driving home from a meeting in Brussels, I heard people talking on the radio about the Tour de France. Now I do not follow professional cycling much but something made me pay attention.  Apparently this year, the tour de France was starting in England. How weird is that I thought? My French may not be perfect but even I can follow that the race is the tour of France and not England or any other country for that matter.  I listened more intently only to discover that the tour would actually start on the very weekend, in the same area as I had planned.

When I got home I checked out the specific route, I couldn’t believe it, the ‘tour’ was going up the exact same road that I had planned to go down!  So instead of finding solitude, I was going to find a closed road and two hundred thousand visitors causing chaos to my perfect dream.

You can plan and anticipate, you can create strategies and define tasks but if the Tour de France decides to start anywhere other than in France and then choose the same country, the same county on the same street on the same day as you, then perhaps it’s time to admit defeat; to hang up ones project management gloves and retire?

Have a good week,