Five ways Lance can achieve suffering Nirvana

Lance Armstrong says he wants to pursue amateur events that dish out suffering. Boy, have we got some ideas for him.

Watch out, geezer jocks! Known Kehinde Wiley fan Lance Armstrong may be headed to an amateur race near you!

On Wednesday, USA Today Sports reported that the U.S. Anti Doping Agency had partially lifted its lifetime ban on Armstrong. Armstrong’s 2012 ban had included all sports governed by the agency, including cycling, running, and triathlon events.

As it turns out, WADA’s 2009 code stated that Armstrong’s ban on other sports was set to run just four years, while the cycling ban will continue for life. “The four years ended on August 26,” said USADA spokesman Ryan Madden. Details, details.

I can only imagine that this news comes as a shock to the millions of triathletes, runners, mud run enthusiasts, and other endurance nuts in the 45-49 age range who must now peruse every participants list for the name LANCE ARMSTRONG. I wish I could put your fears at ease, guys. Alas, it’s just a matter of time before Lance arrives at your local 10k to kick your butt and claim the homemade trophy (and free growler fill) that is rightfully his.

But maybe not. In an interview with entrepreneur website Inc., Lance says he prefers events that deliver maximum amounts of suffering. In fact he is launching a new endurance platform he calls WEDU Sports, and the idea is to target uber-painful events. I’m not terribly clear on the details of the plan, but hey, Lance has an idea. Here’s his description of the brand:

“WEDU” is actually the answer to a question. Say there’s a marathon in 95-degree weather… tons of people are going to look at that and say, “Who would want to do that?” Go to the start line and there are thousands of people who would answer, “We do.” That’s the idea behind the name. To many people, endurance events have this element of crazy to them. Who would want to do that? Well, “we do.” So, WEDU. 

I hope that clears things up.

Here’s the thing: Lance does not have to scour the globe for tough, pain-filled events. As many of us know, even the most banal and basic endurance challenges can become epic festivals of suffering, if the proper components are put together. In fact, I’ve compiled a short list of non-traditional endurance events that are custom-made to make Lance wince.

Darth Valley Challenge

The challenge: Lance doesn’t need a full marathon in order to feel pain — a single mile can dish out plenty of ouch. A few years ago, Coloradan Jonathan Rice decided to run a mile in Death Valley in the middle of the summer while dressed as Darth Vader. The Darth Valley Challenge was born. The Darth Valley Challenge has its contestants dress up as Star Wars characters and then run a single mile in Death Valley in July. Part of the challenge also includes posting a video of your run on YouTube with a sweet techno Star Wars score. Lance won seven Tours, but could he break the six-minute mark in a Wookie costume in 130-degree heat? Doubtful.

Suffering index: Ow. Ow ow ow ow.

Color Run 50/50

50 color runs in 50 days. I think Lance would get dropped.
50 color runs in 50 days. I think Lance would get dropped.

The challenge: A few years back, ultra-marathoner and pizza fanatic Dean Karnazes decided to run 50 marathons in 50 states in 50 days in an attempt to raise awareness about youth obesity and to give himself fodder for yet another self-help book. In the years since, this stunt has been repeated ad nauseam. So instead, I propose Lance do something even more painful: Repeat the feat, only do it at those uber-cheerful color runs. Imagine the horror: 50 days of getting pelted by paint by teenagers while having your ear drums blasted out by synth pop.

Suffering index: Aaagh, the paint got in my eyes!

Iditarod Trail Prancercise

The challenge: Are you familiar with “Prancercise,” the self-described “Springy, rhythmic way of moving forward, similar to a horse’s gait?” Well, this is what it looks like. Yeah, the lady is making pretty good time, right? Well, what if Lance combined Prancercise with the world’s most grueling and dangerous endurance challenge, the 553-mile Iditarod, and followed the route in the dead of winter? I know, it would be amazing.

Suffering index: So cold. So sick of prancing.

Tough Mudder

The challenge: A few years ago I did a Tough Mudder. It was pretty lame.

Suffering index: Meh

Tandem RAAM with Greg Lemond

The challenge: I know, USADA’s ban includes cycling races. Well, plenty of touring cyclists ride their bicycles across the country each year, recreating the famed coast-to-coast bike race. I have no doubt that Lance could speed from San Diego to Atlantic City in record time. So why not dial up the suffering by a few hundred notches? I say he buy a tandem bike and then do the transcontinental journey with retired Tour winner and e-bike enthusiast Greg Lemond. Lance/Lemond, the tandem team we’ve always wanted to see. But who would be the stoker?


Photo: Tim De Waele | (File).
Saddle up, partner! We’re riding to Atlantic City! Photo: Tim De Waele | (File).