Lance Armstrong: How he does it 20 Jun 2005

21 comments Latest by willy

This New York Times piece tackles Lance Armstrong’s physical advantage:

Armstrong can ride up the mountains in France generating about 500 watts of power for 20 minutes, something a typical 25-year-old could do for only 30 seconds. A professional hockey player might last three minutes - and then throw up.

It appears to come down to a huge heart, low lactic acid levels, and a favorable ratio of slow-twitch muscles. And hard work and dedication to change his body to be a better cycler.

21 comments so far (Jump to latest)

Allan White 20 Jun 05

Lance and his coach, Chris Carmichel, also revolutionized training techniques with some technologies that hadn’t been used in training before. One development was to use a special hub that reported power generated in watts (or ergs). This was much more accurate than pairing road speed with a cyclometer, even when paired with heart rate (wind speed can affect MPH, and temperature and fatigue level can affect heart rate).

They also essentially “rebuilt” this physiology after his cancer recovery (“we have the technology…”). Lance originally made his mark as a powerful one-day rider (emphasis on power), winning the Worlds before his cancer. After his cancer and treatments had decimated his body, Carmichel was the architect of his fast-spin, long-running body.

Oh, and it’s “cyclist”, not “cycler”. =) “Bikie” and “road weenie” are also acceptable.

kmilden 20 Jun 05

I really think Lance’s will is what kept him from dyeing of cancer and what allows him to further than any human being. The mind is a very powerful thing.

Geoff 20 Jun 05

I also seem to remember reading somewhere that he had a part of one of his ribs removed when he was treated for cancer, which allows him to sit up straighter than other riders. This allows him to get more oxygen into his body while he’s hunched over on the bike.

the mongerer 20 Jun 05

I heard that at his concert’s he would pass a chalice around for everyone to spit into… and then he would drink it.

ML 20 Jun 05

I heard that at his concert’s he would pass a chalice around for everyone to spit into and then he would drink it.

Now that was f*#$&! funny.

huphtur 20 Jun 05

He’s a freak!

Justin P 20 Jun 05

Last month’s Outside magazine ran a great feature section on Lance, how he does it and about the upcoming Tour with the newly re-sponsored Discovery Team. Very interesting read.

Personally, I’m very excited for this Tour to start :)

Martin 20 Jun 05

Obviously there are a a multitude of factors which contribute to Mr Armstrong’s success, but I think KMilden has it nailed: It’s his mind which gives him the edge.

As a climber, I can (with a little bit of training) ascend at full power for almost 10 minutes - but Lance can do this day after day, climb after climb, race after race. His purpose is singular, and that’s the trick. That’s what he does, and only that. Getting up in the morning is all about getting on the bike, about clipping in, about accelerating. It’s absolute devotion, the best kind.

brad 20 Jun 05

Getting up in the morning is all about getting on the bike, about clipping in, about accelerating. Itís absolute devotion, the best kind.

I think that could be said for most of the Tour cyclists, though.

As the NY Times article points out, Armstrong really does have some special physical capabilities that the rest of us (including those other Tour racers) don’t have. That doesn’t make his achievements any less impressive.

whippo 20 Jun 05

> It appears to come down to a huge heart, low lactic acid levels, and a favorable ratio of slow-twitch muscles.

And a bucketload of EPO, like the rest of the peleton…

jan 20 Jun 05

Armstrong simply has more technically advanced performance enhancing drugs then his competition.

n8 20 Jun 05

i think it’s the weight reduction through nut removal. they should make lance get a neuticle implanted to avoid this advantage.

http://www.neuticles.com/index1.html

Ben Saunders 20 Jun 05

‘I think that could be said for most of the Tour cyclists, though.’

I’m not so sure - for the last seven years, Lance has based his entire season around the tour, and the entire Discovery team is based around supporting Lance - this is pretty unique.

He’s undoubtedly an incredible athlete, but he’s not superhuman (or a freak) - there are better climbers, sprinters and time-triallists out there, but none with the same focus, or the same team. As for drugs, LA often sleeps in an altitude tent, which effectivly delivers the same benefits as EPO, and he and his team can afford the best coaches/doctors/nutritionists on the planet. Whether that’s as much of an ‘unfair advantage’ is an interesting argument…

Chris 20 Jun 05

Anybody see him in Dodgeball? That was an odd insert.

vaughn 20 Jun 05

Yes, Lance is awesome.

And yes, Lance in Dodgeball was kinda funny.

Any mountain bikers here? Yeah, road racers are elite, but mtber’s are sooo much cooler.

brad 20 Jun 05

Any mountain bikers here? Yeah, road racers are elite, but mtberís are sooo much cooler.

They were cooler in the 1990s, but now everyone’s realizing that road bikes are so much more fun to ride. I remember when I first got back on my road bike after 10 years of riding mountain bikes on dirt roads and trails in Vermont…god it was like walking on air. So light, so responsive, so fast…

The Lorax is Dead 21 Jun 05

They were cooler in the 1990s, but now everyoneís realizing that road bikes are so much more fun to ride.

Welcome to Sweeping Generalization Theater.

Kevin 21 Jun 05

Where have all the good topics gone? Good grief SVN is getting lame.

Anonymous Coward 21 Jun 05

I hope we’ve taken a sample of Lance’s DNA for future use in creating superhumans.

Anonymous Coward 24 Jun 05

There are some interesting books about chemicals (drugs) and stuff. Professional cyclism sucks, if you still have any of the olympic spirit.

willy 24 Oct 05

armstrong is a legend

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