There is no competition, just my wondering mind attempting to deal with aging and enjoying juxtapositions and oddities. But, still I did have a better year than Merckx. I had logged nearly five thousand miles, climbed Alpe d?Huez, Col de la Froix,
Col d?Aspin, the Tourmalet, and the Plateau de Baille. I had not raced but I had broken my personal best time trial effort by over 5%. I had led dozens of able but aging riders through foreign lands and daunting landscapes, in all kinds of weather and not lost a single one. I had a tremendous year on the bike. It was easy to conclude; at least on the bike, I had a better year than Merckx.
Always there is next year. I think I ought to give Eddie a chance at me. So, here is my thought. I will invite Merckx to start training earlier in the year and meet me at the vaunted
Ventoux on July 14 th, Bastille Day. I know I am going to be there. I am leading a ride up the Ventoux while shadowing the 2005 Tour de France. It is all a part of the program to make sure I do not falter in my goal to improve every year until I am sixty. I will be trim, fit and mentally ready. This will be the centerpiece of my 2005 campaign to stave off aging. Lance may not know what he is going to do next year, but I do- I will be going mano a mano up the Ventoux with the best cyclist of all time. I will have a slight psychological edge on him because he will have turned sixty June 17 th. I will still be just a young fifty nine. In my mind, and we all know that is the most powerful ingredient of strong cycling- the mind- we will both give it our all and we will be pounding out the steady pace which will keep us forever young.
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