Finishing last in the Tour-de-France isn’t easy.
Mr. Vansevenant, who after Stage 18 sits in 150th place, some 3 hours and 45 minutes behind Mr. Sastre, is indeed the worst-placed rider in the Tour de France. But, in turn, he has outlasted those who abandoned the Tour through illness, injury or simple exhaustion; those who were eliminated for failing to finish within each day’s time limit and are forced to withdraw; and those who were banned or withdrew for doping-related causes. From year to year, about 20% of the riders drop out. In other words, you can’t simply coast to last place; you have to work for it.
I’d say that’s a good analogy – and one my students might not always appreciate. They don’t seem to understand that a C does not necessarily indicate they slacked off.
you can’t simply coast to last place; you have to work for it: string theory, SUSY, Higgs.
It’s the same with hiking/backpacking. If you finish last, at least you have still finished. And there is something to be said for that.