Lance Armstrong tweetered today that he will be returning to Crested Butte this coming Saturday to race in the Alpine Odyssey. The opportunity of a lifetime presents itself!
When I was 15 I placed first in a cross country race the only time in my life. I was the fastest JV runner and sometimes the slowest varsity runner. It was a JV race against a much stronger team. I ran my heart out for my team, trailing the faster team by only a few yards. None of my teammates could keep up.
Late in the race, deep in the hurt, my opportunity presented itself. The opposing team, all four leading runners, took a wrong turn. I knew the course and knew they'd made a big mistake. I took the right fork, and as I glanced down the left trail I saw the four runners had realized their mistake and were turning back.
I pounded dirt harder than I ever had in my life. I knew my good luck didn't guarantee victory. I'd been given a lead. I had to maintain it.
I came in first place showered in the ecstatic screams of my varsity teammates and other onlookers. I won by a huge margin. That first place slot won me my first chance to run varsity as a freshman. I know, it was a fluke, but I still won.
At this year's Leadville 100 someone sabotaged the course and the leaders took an impromptu detour. The delay, rectified quickly, allowed Rebecca Rusch to slash the gap between the male winner and the female winner (Rusch) to almost nothing. Knowing the course makes a difference.
I'm not advocating sabotaging the course to win, but I believe in serendipitous events that can bestow glory on the unknown, to the jaw-dropping awe of unsuspecting bystanders.
If Lance were to be momentarily confused...