Pride Visions

Saturday, July 01, 2006

Tour de France

      The first American to win the Tour de France - Greg LeMond changed the world of cycling forever for millions.  In 1986, Greg LeMond, despite being constantly threatened by his own teammate, Bernard Hinault, became the first American to win the largest single annual sporting event in the world, the Tour de France. Millions watched on CBS Television as Greg's historic victory catapulted him into the media spotlight. Greg's victories and his ability to triumph even after personal tragedy brought home the incredible athletic ability it takes to win this legendary race.
      April 20, 1987, in a hunting accident Greg was shot in the back and the nearest hospital was a hour away.  By the Grace of God an Angel came down from heaven in the form of a helicopter purely by chance, or not, and rushed Greg off to the hospital.  Pellets of shot were in his small intestine, liver, diaphragm, and heart lining, along a great quaintly of blood loss.  He could have died from the incident and yet he didn’t.
      LeMond Fitness and LeMond Racing Cycles continue Greg's passion for cycling and reflect his unique ability as he went on to win another two.  Blending this cutting-edge innovation with unrivaled levels of courage and tenacity, Greg went for it all in the 1989 Tour de France. He fought to stay competitive through the grueling 21-days of racing, which ranged from 100-155 miles each. Right out of a Hollywood movie, Greg overcame a seemingly insurmountable lead by Frenchman Laurent Fignon to win by a mere 8 seconds, the narrowest margin of victory ever in the Tour de France's 87-year history! The incredible resurrection of LeMond's career was capped by victory a month later in the 1989 World Championships. Many awards followed, including being named the 1989 "Sports Illustrated Sportsman of the Year".  To prove his return to the top was no fluke, Greg won another historic Tour de France for the third time in 1990, before retiring from competitive cycling.
      Lance Armstrong (born on September 18, 1971 in Plano, Texas) is a retired American professional road racing cyclist. He is most famous for winning the Tour de France a record seven consecutive times from 1999 to 2005. These amazing feats were accomplished several years after brain and testicular surgery, and extensive chemotherapy in 1996, to treat testicular cancer that had metastasized to his brain and lungs.
      Lance could have died from his illness and yet he didn’t. and by the grace of God he was cured to become the most prolific cyclist and the epitome of what a cyclist should be.  His athletic success and his dramatic recovery from cancer inspired Armstrong to commemorate his accomplishments in conjunction with Nike through the Lance Armstrong Foundation, a charity founded in 1997. The now ubiquitous "Livestrong" yellow rubber wristbands first launched in 2004 netted the Foundation tens of millions of dollars in the fight against cancer, and helped Armstrong become a major player in the nonprofit sector.
      I only mention these two gentlemen because it is from them I have the strength to improve my present condition.  On March 11th 2003 I was in a near fatal car accident.  I broke every bone in my body below my hips and I also broke my neck.  The C-3 bone in my neck is the bone I broke which was the same bone Christopher Reeves broke.  I should be dead or at best paralyzed from the accident.  There is much to the story but I am giving the short version.  Since that accident, I have rededicated my focus of my life.  By the grace of God sending the Angel of my long passed father down here to protect me, I am still here, walking and able to ride my bike.  Greg LeMond and Lance Armstrong and the stories of their challenges, suffering, and strength inspire my drive to a complete recovery and exceed my prior resilience.  
      My mother always told my sister and me that there is no such thing as can’t.  I was tied up in a separation from an extremely horrifically bad marriage.  I was separated from the things I had composed over the years and my losses were colossal and then I had this car accident.  To say the least I was feeling like Jobe waiting for the next tribulation.   I was saying “I can’t” more time than I realized.  Three years later and I was not completely healed.  Then I remember the saying; “That which does not kill me only makes me stronger.”  I began to fight and fight back.
      As Greg and Lance, I too will Livestronger from the challenges I am to still face and I will stay focused on the Tour De France as the challenge now begins. My legs are my weakest link today but I will work hard to correct this. Events like the Tour de France and football (soccer) are my favorites because of the leg power of those athletes. They continue to inspire me today.   

Watch the Tour 2006


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