Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Lance's Return

The news came out officially yesterday in Vanity Fair: Lance Armstrong is coming back. I usually stick to running, but I'll make the exception for this. Jay (aka JPS) wrote an interesting post about the mixed feelings (to be kind) he has about this. Jay's a real cyclist -- I got tired driving up the hills he rides in California -- so his perspective was pretty interesting. His argument comes down to cycling moving on the Lance era, which brought tons of casual fans to the sport but also marked the height of the doping era. Like Jay, I have my doubts Lance was clean while everyone else was dirty. It's pretty understandable, and it doesn't take away from what Lance accomplished.

The question remains why. He seemed to be having a pretty good time raising money for his foundation, getting people to seriously think of him as a politician and struggling through marathons in respectable but not outstanding times. (A 2:50 is a nice time, but the guy's got such incredible lung capacity that I'd expect faster. At least he said ) I have a theory that all the commentators are wrong when they say athletes want to go out on top. I don't believe that. I think athletes don't want to leave while they still have something left. Lance still has something to prove. He loves doubters, and now he actually has them instead of making them up. I'm not a cycling purist, so I'll find it interesting, particularly as a 35-year old watching Lance trying to race at the highest level at 37. Lance thinks it's nothing:
Ask serious sports physiologists and they’ll tell you age is a wives’ tale. Athletes at 30, 35 mentally get tired. They’ve done their sport for 20, 25 years and they’re like, I’ve had enough. But there’s no evidence to support that when you’re 38 you’re any slower than when you were 32.
11 miles, 1:26:32


Greg On the Run said...

He just wants to get back in the game. These guys that are hypercompetitive seem to do this a lot. Retire at the top of the game and then want back in. They can't stomach not being the battle. Brett Favre is the most recent example. Michael Jordan is another. It's not that these guys don't have something else to do. They all now have the means to whatever they care to pursue. They just want to compete - it's all about the game.

nyflygirl said...

Guess Lance thought marathoning was too hard. :)