Thursday, February 16, 2012

Lance and triathlon

By virtue of being the most recognized professional cyclist of our time (but mainly by virtue of carrying a professional UCI license for the USA) Lance was granted an elite card by USA Triathlon to compete in their sanctioned races in their professional fields.  This day has been long in the making and many a forum has been abuzz over all aspects of his training, his life, his past, his future, his kids, his ball, etc.  You name it; it's been discussed with regard to Lance.

Sure, all the naysayers like to point to various things and say "That's PROOF that he doped" and all that jazz but the fact is that currently, he is not under investigation and he has not been convicted of any violation.  Under United States law, he is innocent.  I'd personally like to believe that Lance has never and will never use performance enhancing drugs but given the prevalence of drugs on the professional peloton I'm not sure I can really believe it.  It's kind of like saying I believe in Santa Claus; despite the vast amount of "evidence" against his existence I really WANT to believe he exists.  The reality of the situation might indicate otherwise, however.

Still, all that being said, Lance has (in my opinion) practically transcended sport.  Livestrong does so much for raising cancer awareness and helping in ongoing issues like survivorship that I almost feel like even if he did in some ways he has made up for it.  He's created a platform based off his success as an athlete and as a cancer survivor and I'm not sure anyone can really take that away from him.  I certainly don't want to.

Lance was a professional triathlete before he became a professional cyclist.  He was, in fact, a VERY GOOD triathlete.  Despite not swimming (that we know of) for ~20 years he jumped back in the pool and we all discovered that hey, he's a damn good swimmer as well!  His running has always been the question mark.  He's become a beefier guy than when he was a cyclist and as Chris Lieto and others (Norman Stadler, Bjorn and Sindballe come to mind first) have proven that it's tough to win even if you come off the bike first and you're not a "natural" runner.

This past weekend at Panama 70.3 the triathlon community was on the edge of their respective seats for Lance's debut at the half ironman (and re-debut at triathlon).  By now, without going too far into details, we're all well aware of his competitiveness in triathlon.  The dude is a stud.

A lot of people are probably wondering what the hell the pro triathletes are doing that this 40 year old retired cyclist can come in and put a whooping on most of them at THEIR sport.  I think that it actually shows off how RIDICULOUS of an athlete Lance is.  It also is worth mentioning that he has so many advisors, coaches, assistants, helpers, etc that the training aspect is probably "easy."  He doesn't have to worry about sponsorships, travel, wheel use, bike, etc.  That's all accounted for.  He trains.  He advocates. He travels. He races.  He does awesome.

Lance is the reason I love cycling.  Period.  Well, that and the fact that it's TOTALLY AWESOME.

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