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Originally published: 2013-07-25 12:31:23
Last modified: 2013-07-25 12:32:06

Our view: Ascending mountains a lesson for all

It isn't often that a story datelined Paris, France, has High Country roots, but the grand tour of France just completed by two former Lees-McRae College standouts was both a worthy one, and one that further cements our region's bicycling heritage with an international audience.

Andrew Talansky (2006 graduate) and Brent Bookwalter (induction into college's hall of fame 2010) both capped amazing rides July 21 during the centennial edition of the Tour de France. Talansky captured 10th overall, second place for the white jersey as Best Young Rider and was our nation's top finisher. Veteran tour-rider Bookwalter scored a personal best despite a roadside challenge early in the race to enter Paris with the Top 100 finishers.

We'd like to think that both cyclists learned more than a thing or two during their time in the High Country, and it seems they did. Bookwalter won 13 individual and team national championships while at Lees-McRae, and it was undoubtedly the determination that drove Talansky to best our mountainous training ground which helped push him to the top of Mount Ventoux and through the double ascent of L'Alpe d'Huez -- despite losing significant time in those trials.

Yet, we also know that we in the High County can claim more than a thing or two from these two amazing performances. The dedication, determination and perseverance of these two riders stand in tribute to an outstanding local cycling program. 

But more, their personal victories are an inspiration to each of us as we strive to conquer our own mountains.