Monday, July 25, 2005

Yellow Johnny

Lance Armstrong won his 7th consecutive, and if you believe what he says, last Tour De France yesterday in Paris. I can think of no other athlete that has so thoroughly come to dominate a single event or has become as synonymous with an event as Armstrong has with the Tour De France and its yellow leader's jersey.

For many Americans, the TDF is the only bike race of the year (sorry Tours De 'Toona and Georgia), and Lance has been taken us on a 7 year journey from the shock and happiness of his initial win in 1999 when no one but him and his team believed he could win to a 2005 Tour where no one believed he could be beaten.

Gretchen and I were imagining where the strength, devotion, and tolerance of pain comes from in the world's longest and most grueling painful event. Like no other, Armstrong knows his ultimate limits. In his cancer and recovery he has gone beyond points of pain and despair that probably can't be imagined by Jan Ulrich and Ivan Basso. Through the support of his team, (particularly George Hincapie, the only rider to support Armstrong on all 7 victories) and the study of his craft, Armstrong constantly tests and expands his limits -- not just in competition but in training.

It's hard to imagine that Armstrong is truly retired, my guess (hope?) is I would love to see him return to his 1st sport the triathlon (Armstrong --- Ironman?). Whether I'm right about the triathlon or not, it is hard for me to imagine that a man that craves competition and to push the depth of his limits with his relish won't be making some sort of triumphant return to competition in the next 2-3 years.

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