Cycling is pain, but this is ridiculous

Floyd Landis, 2nd place in the Tour, current overall favorite, can't even walk up stairs. He has to get on his bike from the left-hand side. He has a dying hip bone due to a crash in 2003. Read the NYTimes article. It's amazing. Also amazing is the fact the he's hid this for over a year, riding on TV, adopting an odd time trial position that puts him way forward on his seat, and even publishing his power output numbers for everyone to analyze.

In analyzing Lance Armstrong, some people went so far as to say the cancer made him stronger, lacking an explanation for how someone could have their body destroyed by chemo and then win seven straight Tours. I won't be ridiculous and say that the dead hip made Landis stronger, but he has gotten stronger while his hip bone has gotten worse. I had heard the numbers before: he was able to improve his max power output (5 seconds) from 900 watts to 1250 watts this year. What was missing was the context: Landis basically spent the 2005 cycling season wearing a groove into his hip bone and also receiving every manner of therapy to keep his hip working.

Cycling is about pain and the ability to suffer it for as long as necessary to win. Maybe being in constant pain off the bike helps him push it that much further on the bike. Or maybe, if Floyd had a good hip and didn't have to essentially pedal with one leg, he would be so far up the mountain that we wouldn't have to call this a "wide-open Tour."

related articles: Tour de France 2006
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