About Me

My photo

A man of many words. Profane, profound, loyal to a fault and a right rat bastard. I love the finer things in life: expensive cigars, cheap women and all the salted, cured meats I can eat. A friend to dogs, lover of humanity and despiser of people. If I were King the world would be a better place, because, well...I would be King! Oh, and I like ice cream.

Wednesday, September 07, 2005

Should Lance Armstrong Compete in the Tour De France again?

Apparently Lance Armstrong, angered by reports in French newspapers that he tested positive for EPO in "B" urine samples from his 1999 Tour, has publicly stated he might race in next year's Tour. Just to irk the French media. Brother, I say do it!

But, not to get back at the ink-stained wretches. Screw them. Lance should do it for himself. I say this from personal experience. It's a little hard to explain. But, that never stopped me from trying. So here goes: When you compete at your highest level it's hard. Very hard. You work and train and plan and put a lot of sweat equity into being the best you can be. Those long, seemingly endless training sessions are a burden on you and your family. The emotional and physical tolls on you are immense. When you're young and strong it comes so easily. And the rewards are great. Great to the point where they virtually define you.

At a certain point, a certain age, the body ceases to respond to all that work. It simply can't produce at the level the athlete has come to expect. No matter what training regimen or diet or developments in technology come around, when it's gone, it's gone. Simple as that. It takes a long time (sometimes years) for the mind to comprehend what the body knows. Your peak athletic time has passed. For the athlete, that is a hard thing to accept.

A merchant or professor or hair dresser can continue on in their craft for decades with no apparent loss of skill. For the competitive athlete there is no such cushion. And you miss it. You miss the ability to respond to the challenge. You miss the searing, agonizing, lactic acid filled moments (eternities?) when you throw everything you have left into the fire and watch the other guy break. I could go on and on. Every athlete fantasizes about how good it would feel to NOT have to kill themselves in training. To have more time away from the sport. To sleep in on Saturday morning instead of doing the 23 mile training run at 6 AM, so as not to interfere with everyone else's schedule. To be a normal person.

Time and tide will take care of that soon enough. But, until it does for Lance I wish to add my one small voice. Ride. Train like a demon, marry Sheryl Crow, front for the Discovery Channel. Do what you do. But ride and race until you have nothing left. Win 12 Tours. Do it until someone else comes along and knocks you off that top pedestal.

You WILL regret stopping when there is still something left in the tank. You won't if the tank is empty.

Do it because you can.

No comments: