A website by Jeffrey Veen more →
28 Jul 2002
Watching Lance Armstrong tear up Alp D’Huez or Mont Ventoux, I’d often catch myself thinking that he’s just not human. After all, how can a person possibly maintain that level of performance for that long? Well, it turns out Lance is, in fact, human. The difference is that he’s maxed out on all the physiological variables that enable high performance cycling. He was born a cyclist. Not only are his heart and lungs enormous, but his VO2Max is off-the-chart high (that’s how efficiently his muscles burn fuel and eliminate lactic acid). Add to that a personality that enables enough mental discipline to train on the bike for six to eight hours a day. Some of us score well in one or two variables – I’m in the 98th percentile for height among American men, for example. But few actually score perfectly in ALL the requisite categories. That’s why Lance (and Miguel Indurain and Eddie Merckx, et al) are champions year after year. I follow Lance’s career pretty closely, and was quite impressed with the feature in last week’s New Yorker about Lance’s training and his trainer, Chris Carmicheal. Smart, accurate, and revealing. Like all good media should be. Plus, there was a bonus interview only available on the Web site.