Wednesday, July 26, 2006 

Determination in real life!


PARIS - The craziest Tour de France in memory ended Sunday the same way the last seven had: with an American wearing the yellow jersey, this time with a Landis instead of a Lance.

After stunning feats of willpower and woeful cracks of concentration, Floyd Landis' arthritic hip held up and he held on for the ceremonial ride over the cobblestones of the Champs-Elysees.

"I kept fighting, never stopped believing," Landis said after leaving the winner's podium with his daughter, Ryan.

But plenty of race fans surely had their doubts, especially after his wild ride in the Alps last week.

So astounding was the turnaround that race director Jean-Marie Leblanc, who has overseen this event 18 years, called it "the best performance in the modern history of the Tour."

The comeback was read by many as a master stroke, instantly enshrining Landis in cycling's pantheon alongside greats like five-time Tour champion Eddy Merckx of Belgium for his show of both human frailty and superhuman courage in the span of 24 hours.

As things stand now, he hopes to ride again. It all depends on how he fares after hip replacement surgery this fall to ease pain in the arthritic joint still aching from a 2003 crash during a training ride.

"I'm proud and happy for Floyd," said Armstrong, who watched the finish on TV from a hotel room near the Champs-Elysees. "He proved he was the strongest, everybody wrote him off."

President Bush telephoned Landis with his congratulations.

"You embody great courage. Everybody's proud of you. You showed amazing strength and character," said Bush, who also invited the winner and his family to the White House.

Landis becomes the third American to win the world's most prestigious bike race, behind Armstrong and three-time winner Greg LeMond.

Landis learned discipline at an early age.

His devout Mennonite parents, Paul and Arlene, shunned organized sports and were all about hard work. That, in turn, was passed onto their six children. Landis didn't have much idle time, helping his dad at the car wash, fixing washing machines and mowing the lawn.

Though the family had a car and electricity in the house, they adhered to a simple life with no television or radio.

As he grew up, Landis wanted something more - and biking provided the escape.

"Riding my bike wasn't the problem, it was just that I got obsessed with it," Landis recalled during an interview with The Associated Press last week. "I don't blame them for thinking that it was absurd that you want to ride your bike that much."

Landis now lives in Murrieta, Calif., with his wife, Amber, and daughter.

Quote of the Day: "Knowing is not enough; We must Apply. Willing is not enough; We must Do." - Johann Wolfgang von Goethe (German poet, novelist, and playwright.)

Daisy Dilemma: I'm having trouble staying the course with my eating. This guy won the Tour de France with an arthritic hip and in constant pain! What an inspiration! Gives me hope that the impossible starts with baby steps.

Mood: irritable and cranky and lonesome!

LD...go read Kimmy's post today and you will feel just fine. You need to go...leave her some words of encouragement. It made me cry!! She needs someone to go and leave her some good things to think about and I think you would be great at that..Sandy

Awwww... don't be irritable and cranky and lonely! Come visit me! I will cheer you up!!! We'll have some unsweetend tea - with lemon if you like... and maybe some grapes and cherries! We can sit on the swing and you tell me all about it.
(((MORE Hugs!)))

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  • I'm Lazy Daisy
  • From Elizabethton, TN, United States
  • I am a married, empty Nester, missionary, living in the hillside of Tennessee, with lots of homespun humor and hopefully some insights!
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