Saturday, February 26, 2011

Grewal: Comeback 5.0

Most sporting comebacks feature a lot of hype and disappointing outcomes. Today’s Psyche entry is about one that’s so absurdly audacious that it’s almost devoid of hype. This morning in Nevada, 1984 Olympic Gold Medalist, Alexi Grewal, lines up for his first official professional bike race in 17 years. He’s 50.

I love comebacks even though I rarely expect much from them. It’s simple human nature to wonder how a retired sports icon would fare against the day’s young bucks. Generally, the answer is not as well as we’d like. And, even if predicted, these non-dominant outcomes often tarnish reputations. No one needed to see Ali get pummeled by Trevor Berbick, Jordan chalking up garbage time minutes, or Armstrong finish 67th in the Tour Down Under. But the idea of a comeback is hopelessly romantic. Society will never turn its back on an attempt.

I guess this is true of Grewal, too, if only in a very small way. A few companies have pitched him product, the community he lives in has been helping him financially, and there’s been a few articles written about him. But he’s hardly getting major press. I’m pretty sure there’s not a coffee table book in the works.

What makes Grewal’s comeback particularly inspiring is that it’s driven by love of sport. He’s not a bored billionaire who misses the limelight. The Texan probably makes more money in a day than Grewal’s made in the last decade. He’s just a guy who rides his bike a lot who got motivated to see how he’d stack up against today’s youth and decided to make whatever sacrifices were necessary in order to find out. How can you not love that?

Follow the action on Grewal’s blog, Back In Among The Wheels


Reed said...

Awesome footage. I remember watching that on TV 17 years ago. Very cool to see Thurlow up front. It's amazing how long he's been racing and he's still out there mixing it up at the front of the Cat 1's.

Steve Edwards said...

Yeah, Thurlow can't come back because he never quit. I think he still lives in Van Nuys.

Steve Edwards said...

My favorite part is when Grewal looks absolutely cooked. How did he come back from that?

Randolf said...

Where's Barry "The Cannibal" Muzzin?

marc said...

grewal was my favorite cyclist in the 80s! actually, cycling in general was/seemed better back then too. thanks for posting this steve.


Aaron said...

Dude, another on the can't come back because he never left list is freakin Ned Overend. That guy is still kicking everybody's ass. He lined up this year for the Nationals Single Speed Race and won--he wasn't even planning on competing. He also won Nat's Cross this year and god knows what else. I remember a few years back when he got stuck in the rope that they were using to delineate the start line. It took him a long time to get the rope out of his rear wheel/drive train, then he started riding and caught everybody and won. Nationals. Crazy.
Oh yeah, he does some wierd Jack LaLane style workouts in his swimming pool too, maybe that explains it.

Anonymous said...

Grewal, Bauer, Phinney...what a stud filled break. Had posters off all three on my wall in high school! Good for Alexi!
-John K

Barry Muzzin said...

But I'm not here Belov. I'm seven seconds ahead.

You wouldn't know a fact if it banged you all night.


Sir_Bikes_A_Lot said...

Reg Harris made a comeback a little bit older in the UK, won cycling awards. It's like Jack L. said as I read in this blog, push yourself to fail, maybe not that much but push yourself.

Pushing yourself to fail also might see one's immune system defences go down. I think maybe Jack did it too much as did MacFadden with his fasting.