Fear of Missing Out, that’s the social media malady of our time. The angst and suspicion, driven by Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and Snapchat, that other people are having more fun and doing cooler things than you.
Not being under 30 and addicted to social media, I don’t generally suffer from FOMO — except in one, unique and particularly excruciating case — the Tour de France. And now, on the day before the Le Grand Départ, I am in a hurt locker of pain at not being in Normandy for stage one. It is killing me and I may need serious grief counseling.
I have done three Tours as an accredited journalist for Cycle Sport magazine. I count those experiences as some of the most amazing, intense, beautiful, stressful and exhilarating that I’ve ever had in my life. I have hundreds of deep, indelible memories from chasing the race all over France. It’s a veritable feast of images and magic moments that I play and replay in my head like my favorite movie in the world.
The circus is about to start without me and damn, it hurts bad. There are roughly 2000 journalists in France covering the Tour and I envy each and every one of them. In my mind, it’s the most astonishing sporting event in the world and I can only imagine that the Olympics could even come close.
Why am I not there? Blame that one on a full time job and lack of vacation time. When I was a freelance writer I had the time for two or three weeks to run off to the circus. Now, I have more money and less time and I’ve missed the last three Tour de Frances.
The loss eats away at me and with every passing year, I have an even deeper understanding of what a rare and distinct honor it is to cover the race, to join the Big Show and experience every epic stage in person. It is magical.
So as I get ready to watch the Tour de France on TV, I’ve made a promise to myself: I will be at the 2017 Tour, no matter what. The campaign starts right now — blocking the time on the calendar, pulling together the money, developing story ideas to pitch magazines, convincing the wife. I will be on the Velowire website as they begin to piece together the best early guesses on the 2017 route.
This years’ edition of Le Tour looks like it will be the most open, exciting and unpredictable battle in years — Froome, Quintana and Contador all in top form and a large group of serious rivals hot on their wheels. It should be spectacular.
I won’t be there in person to witness cycling history in the grandest tour of all. But my journey to the 2017 Tour de France begins now. There will be no FOMO in my future.