Occassional thoughts about orienteering

Saturday, January 11, 2003

L is for Lance


Orienteering is one of the suffering sports, like cycling, skiing and distance running. It can be inspiring to watch the great athletes in the suffering sports. Lance Armstrong is one of the greats.

Jorgen Rostrup even lists Lance as one of his heroes. Rostrup is apparently a bit of a cycling fan. Here is what he wrote when he described some training in the Norwegian mountains:

These mountains, which mostly are between 500-600 meters in altitude, are the best thing in Vestlandet. It is always either steep up or steep down, and as I'm running I'm often thinking of the climbing-king Pantani (except for the doping). My goal has been to spend as much time in the mountains as they do on bikes in France (yes, I'm following the Tour De France).

For Christmas, my sister-in-law gave me a DVD about Lance called "Road to Paris". The DVD follows the US Postal Team for about a month in the late spring of 2001. It also includes some footage of Armstrong at a TDF training camp where he checks out TDF stages on his own. Whoever made the DVD had a lot of access to the team and must have shot a lot of film.

Some parts of the DVD are inspiring. It opens with Armstrong on a cool, foggy day, climbing a TDF mountain as part of his training. He's been out for something like 4 hours and stops when he reaches a road closed because of an avalanche. This is what the suffering sports are all about -- long, hard training in tough conditions. It is also cool to see a training camp -- so much of sports on TV is about the race when the training is where the race is really won.

The DVD includes some interesting interviews with the US Postal director, a guy named Johan Bruyneel. In one interview, as he drives a car following Armstrong on a training session, Bruyneel describes the goal of the team -- to do everything the can, in terms of planning and preparation, to win the Tour De France. I guess it is obvious that a coach/manager would focus on planning and preparation, but sometimes I think we (orienteers, runners, cyclists, etc.) forget that the goal can be to come to the event prepared to win. Making preparation the goal instead of the race itself the goal works well (at least in my experience).

posted by Michael | 4:44 PM


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