Sunday, July 26, 2009

Handling the Field

Lance rides past us in St Etienne

I would have truly loved to see Lance win this one. Listening to him, though, I wonder if this year wasn't really about discovering whether he was too old for the Tour? After securing third place, he said, "For an old fart, coming in here and getting on the podium with all these younger guys, it's not so bad." Sounds like he may gotten it sorted out.

When I began thinking about medical school I asked myself the same question. Admittedly, if someone else wanted to know, my response was usually a smile coupled with, "You're never too old until you're dead." But in the deep dark hallows of my own thinking, I needed a real answer. How are you going to handle the field of younger "riders?"

Interestingly, what I came up with might be one Lance himself would approve: know your strengths, pace yourself, and ride your own race. You see, with only one exception, every other rider is younger than him. But simply because they're younger, doesn't mean Lance shouldn't be in the race. If anything, he's redefining what it means to compete.

Everyone changes as they age. What we have to learn is, how to use those changes to our advantage. For example, I may have to train much harder now than I did when I was 25, but as a result, I have greater stamina. There's a compensatory advantage to every seeming disadvantage.

Everyone -- no matter what their age -- compensates for something. The important thing to remember is, compensation isn't an indicator of weakness, inability, or disqualification. It's part of being human and refusing to allow our humanity to get in our way.

(Image via Wikipedia)
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