Saturday, October 20, 2007
Running into that bike riding SOB Lance Armstrong
Start of a new & final run week with the NYC Marathon 2 weeks away - clocked 16 strong miles this morning - to hell with traditional mileage & tapering "lore", I might go 110+ this week. And why? To close the gap on that guy on the right, Lance Armstrong. First of all- a shout out to the cyclist I ran into this morning after my run in the bodega on Lenox Ave. I ran into a serious cyclist (this guy had the gear, the $5K bike, all that) who told me he reads Harlem 26.2 - cool. I'm cool with all cyclist - except that son-of-a-bitch on the right who below is wearing my damn race bib! Don't get me wrong, I respect him and all, admire a few things about him, but Lance Armstrong is one of the meanest son-of-a-bitches on the planet. Some people have a public persona, and then there is the real person. For example, Bill Cosby? The great "father" image, Jello Pudding and all that bullshit? Bill Cosby in real life is a first class asshole and another mean son-of-a-bitch, anyone who's ever had the slightest real world interaction with him will co-sign on that - that's for real. Same with Lance Armstrong. This is common knowledge in hardcore cyclist circles - then last year I read that book on the right by Daniel Coyle, "Lance Armstrong's War". As the reviews say you learn a huge numbers of professional cyclists, it turns out, came from broken homes and/or abject poverty, and have had to battle to get anywhere. In the book Armstrong himself emerges as a quite terrifying figure: driven, intense, single-minded, ruthless and wholly self-centred. Maybe that's the way you have to be to become possibly the greatest cyclist of all time, but it doesn't exactly make him likeable. In the book he's the toughest of a tough bunch, with little or no fellow feeling for the rest of the human race. That's how his friends describe him y'all. They say what defines Armstrong is what he does on the bike, and the author depicts Armstrong as a guy who simply cannot bear to lose. Lance Armstrong is a complex guy who sees the world in a simple way. In the world of Team Armstrong, people are quickly divided into friends and foes -- the latter being "fucking trolls" in Lance-speak. Every experience counts as a win or a loss. And the only time that matters is right now. There's a harsh side to the man that his handlers and sponsors don't draw attention to, for good reason. This hyperdriven son of a single mom can be ruthless, demanding, and arrogant (according to his friends). In short, he's an extremely complicated guy, with many of the human foibles that we like to overlook in our heroes. Just ask the teammates who've left, or the former employees of Postal/Discovery Cycling Team who find themselves in Armstrong's cross hairs , Armstrong seems to take each departure as a personal affront, as abandonment, as fuel for his insatiable combative engine. Or, as Armstrong's former teammate Floyd Landis said: ''Lance doesn't want a hug. He just wants to kick everyone's" ass". Lance Armstrong is relentless winner who lets nothing -- not even friendship -- get in his way, that's what they say about him. They say anyone who's worked with Lance Armstrong knows well the edge that can enter his voice, the arctic look that comes into his eyes, when the subject turns to, say, one of the trolls. To see that look, or, God forbid, be its target, is to know why Lance Armstrong enjoys more than just the respect of his teammates. As one of them tells Coyle, "I think everybody's afraid of Lance. If you're not, you haven't been paying attention." Now get this, about this book, "Lance Armstrong's War"? Word at Armstrong's camp is that he's O.K. with the book. As one member of his inner circle put it: If he comes across as a tough guy who can be tough to work for, well, that's all right. Because it's true. Those who know Armstrong know that the single-mindedness that got him through chemotherapy and made him one of the greatest athletes of his generation doesn't always serve him well in his interpersonal relations. "People get close to Armstrong," says Jonathan Vaughters, a former teammate, "and then something inevitably goes haywire." You can read a dozen or so accounts of Lance Armstrong & "Lance's War" here. Okay - Lance beat me last year by 12:47. He's 7 years younger than me, much lower BMI, crazy VO2Max, a world class athlete, I was not impressed. I wasn't y'all. Lance got his ass kicked in the NYC Marathon and he even said as much. "...that was without a doubt the hardest physical thing I have ever done," said Lance Armstrong, who finished 856th. In 2 weeks I am out to close the gap on this son-of-a-bitch, and if I am anywhere near him at the finish I'm going to tell him to give me my damn bib! (and go ride a bike MF'er, lol). Have a great day.
at 8:31 AM Posted by Smith