Blogging on The Brightside

"I think I can. I think I can. I think I can." -The Little Engine That Could

“It’s never crowded along the extra mile!”

on July 2, 2012

Wayne Dyer

The 2001 Tour De France was won, perhaps if only mentally, on the great L’Alpe D’huez.  Armstrong appeared to be struggling, sitting on the back of the peleton, and his great rival, Jan Ullrich, seized the opportunity to set a backbreaking pace at the front with his T-Mobile thugs.  Perhaps Armstrong was feigning, or perhaps Ullrich poked the tiger, but at the base of the mountain Armstrong took the reigns.  Defiantly staring back into Ullrich’s eyes (this image is one of the most famous of the rivalry), Armstrong blew the field away on the slopes of the legendary climb.  In years to come, Armstrong would again and again have his way on L’Alpe D’huez, until the Tour organizers seemed to decide that the stage gave him an almost unfair advantage.

If the image of Armstrong looking back at Ullrich is so iconic, why, then, did I choose this less glamourous shot in which you can hardly tell it is the legendary Armstrong riding?  I chose it, because for all but three weeks a year being the world’s greatest cyclist is a lonely pursuit.  This is a training shot of Armstrong, when his coach, Chris Carmichael, rode up along side of him to tell him that the upper pass of his favorite Alp was blocked by several feet of snow.  Armstrong rode the mountain four times before racing it, more than any of his foes.  On one occasion, he sent his computer data to Carmichael, who thought the file had corrupted and duplicated; Armstrong had ridden the training ride twice. Champions go the extra mile.

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