makes a great endurance athlete is the ability to absorb potenial
embarrassment, and to suffer without complaint. I was discovering
that if it was a matter of gritting my teeth, not caring how it
looked, and outlasting everybody else, I won. It didn't seem to
matter what sport it was--in a straight-ahead, long-distant race,
I could beat anybody. If it was a suffer-fest, I was good at it."
- Lance Armstrong, My Journey back to Life
to say that the race is the metaphor for the life is to miss the
point. The race is everything. It obliterates whatever isn't racing.
Life is the metaphor for the race."
feel that variable gears are only for people over forty-five. Isn't
it better to triumph by the strength of your muscles than by the
artifice of a derailer? We are getting soft... As for me, give me
a fixed gear!"
before you are hungry.
Drink before you are thirsty.
Rest before you are tired.
Cover up before you are cold.
Peel off before you are hot.
Don't drink or smoke on tour.
Never ride just to prove yourself."
Paul de Vivie, aka Velocio
the single most important element in mastering the techniques and
tactics of racing is experience. But once you have the fundamentals,
acquiring the experience is a matter of time."
gets easier, you just go faster."
don't have any more bad days. I have good days and I have great
days. Cancer no longer consumes my life, my thoughts, or my behavior.
If I have a tough week, all I have to do is sit back and reflect
on what I went through, and look at my son, and things don't bother
me anymore. I'm not only alive, but I'm responsible for another
life, the life of my child. When you almost lose your life to cancer,
and then win the Tour de France, and then become a father, it grows
you up fast. I'm more thoughtful, and I resist saying the first
thing that comes out of my mouth. Before, all of my questions were
directed toward the "me," as in "Why me?" or, "What are my chances?"
But now I've started looking at other people."
career is going to be played out year by year. Will I be here in
2004? I don't know. The record won't keep me here. Happiness will."
is true that they are dangerous when they run close to the riders.
From there to throwing a punch. That is a step...."
commenting on Wladimir Belli punching a heckler (Simoni's nephew)
on the last climb of the 84th Giro d'Italia. Belli was expelled
from the race.
disqualification is unjust, I understand his reaction. You must
understand the riders at certain moments (like climbing an 18% hill)
they are stressed and they can react rashly."
Gilberto Simoni's 18 year old nephew's comments after Belli punched
him and was disqualified from the Giro d'Italia.
that the rider was provoked, but we are forced to apply the regulations.
That involves a fine and the immediate exclusion from the race.
The gesture is inexcusable."
Giro d'Italia's Race Jury President about the decision to expel
are too many factors you have to take into account that you have
no control over...The most important factor you can keep in your
own hands is yourself. I always placed the greatest emphasis on
Eddy Merckx, Belgian, who
won Tour de France five times.
you were a spectator on one of the mountain passes today, the super-light
bikes would be little different in appearance from the machines
of years ago, pedaled by earlier heroes, Coppi, Anquetil, Merckx,
Hinault, LeMond, Roche. They would look like the bikes our dads
rode when we were kids. But the Tour is a commercial race, and innovation
must be given its place on the catwalk, or in this case the vélodrome...."
James Waddington, Bad to the Bone
riders come out, knights for the tournament, neck to thigh in slippery
lycra with the sheen of deep space condoms, faired helmets on their
heads like the glans from another galaxy and neoprene pixyboots
to slide the air around their feet, mounted on gaudily caparisoned
donkeys the carbon fibre monocoque monoblade."
James Waddington, Bad to the Bone
bicycle is just as good company as most husbands and, when it gets
old and shabby, a woman can dispose of it and get a new one without
shocking the entire community."
Ann Strong, Minneapolis Tribune, 1895
was supposed to be a summer of fun on the bike turned into a year,
then two years. It certainly wasn't a calculated plan to have a
career as a cyclist."
a lot more pressure when you're a medal favorite. Now, nobody has
any expectations for me. Nobody knows what I can do, so I'm riding
with nothing to lose."
Chris Witty, speedskater-turned-cyclist of Park City, Utah, on competing
in the 2000 Summer Olympics. Her 1998 Winter Olympics performances
garnered a silver at 1,000 meters and bronze at 1,500 meters.
were something like 50 good, arduous climbs around Nice, solid inclines
of ten miles or more. The trick was not to climb every once in awhile,
but to climb repeatedly. I would do three different climbs in one
day, over the course of a six- or seven-hour ride. A 12 mile climb
took about an hour, so that tells you what my days were like."
from "It's Not About the Bike"
on, across the plains, toward Metz. I hung back, saving myself.
It is called the Race of Truth. The early stages separate the strong
riders from the weak. Now the weak would be eliminated altogether."
Lance Armstrong, from "It's Not About the Bike"
is a big fat creature riding on your back. The farther you pedal,
the heavier he feels. The harder you push, the tighter he squeezes
your chest. The steeper the climb, the deeper he digs his jagged,
sharp claws into your muscles."
be a cyclist is to be a student of pain....at cycling's core lies
pain, hard and bitter as the pit inside a juicy peach. It doesn't
matter if you're sprinting for an Olympic medal, a town sign, a
trailhead, or the rest stop with the homemade brownies. If you never
confront pain, you're missing the essence of the sport. Without
pain, there's no adversity. Without adversity, no challenge. Without
challenge, no improvement. No improvement, no sense of accomplishment
and no deep-down joy. Might as well be playing Tiddly-Winks."
Ventoux is a god of Evil, to which sacrifices must be made. It never
forgives weakness and extracts an unfair tribute of suffering."
Roland Barthes, French philosopher, pioneer of semiotics, sometimes
windbag and full-time bicycle racing fan, describes Mont Ventoux,
a 13-mile clilmb above the treeline into a desolation of strewn
rock, in the Tour de France.
the Ventoux is dreadful. Bald, it's the spirit of Dry: Its climate
(it is much more an essence of climate than a geographic place)
makes it a damned terrain, a testing place for heroes, something
like a higher hell."
French philosopher and bicycle racing fan, author of Mythologies,
describes Mont Ventoux in the Tour de France.
hundred meters up there is completely different from1,900 any place
else. There's no air, there's no oxygen. There's no vegetation,
there's no life. There's no life. Rocks. Any other climb there's
vegetation, grass and trees. Not there on the Ventoux. It's more
like the moon than a mountain."
Lance Armstrong, American cycling king, wearing Tour de France yellow
jersey on the Ventoux Stage, 2000.
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