Saturday, March 21, 2009

Simpson's Ride Into the Abyss

Okay Rev, you want suffering, we'll show you how much a man can suffer with a pocket full of uppers. Note the quote in New Testament Red - a nice touch, eh?

"The temperature on the road that afternoon in sun-blistered Provence was a roasting 54C and his body had long stopped sweating in rebellion and his heartbeat climbed to well over 200. He had gone way beyond the red zone that cyclists talk about and slipped into the twilight zone, next stop oblivion.
Just over two kilometres from the top, where the white shale of the summit reflects the sun and turns up the wick further, Simpson fell to earth. Did he actually whisper: "Put me back on the bike." Words subsequently attributed to him? Who knows, but they have gone down in legend and they sound authentic enough.
Simpson was the GB team-leader and far and away the biggest fish in a smallish British pool. He was the totem-pole around which British cycling gathered. Team managers and mechanics did exactly what he said.
Another 500 agonizing yards up the mountain he fell again and was very probably dead before he hit the ground - heart failure brought on by heat exhaustion. The Tour doctor, Pierre Dumas, could have been anywhere along the course but he was close by, and on arrival immediately began resuscitation procedures, although he feared the worse. He also called in a helicopter which eventually transferred Simpson to Avignon Hospital where he was pronounced dead at 5:40pm."

A memorial to a drug aided career. Bizarre. Baseball anyone?


reverend dick said...

Simpson never really moved me. You're right in thinking I want those boys to suffer (I really do), but it doesn't seem so epic to me to take a lot of pills or what have you until you die. That kind of suffering is missing the point. I want conditions to be so miserable (however of the myriad ways conditions can be miserable: weather, injury, incline, unbeatable opponent, mechanical...hell all of those things together!) that the rider couldn't possibly go on. Yet he does.

Looking at that written down explains a lot of the situations in which I find myself. Hmmmm.

reverend dick said...

The red really was a classy touch.