There is a price, though: In the process, Robic goes wholly (if, mercifully, temporarily) insane.
Robic's wife saw him race for the first time and nearly instigated a divorce. His support team has found Robic boxing mailboxes he imagined to be attackers. They have found him in the fetal position on the street. They have heard him complain of being chased by mujaheddin. They have found him so mad that he get off the bike and storms the van. (They lock the doors, they say, when that happens.)
But they have also found him crossing the finish line ahead of the competition, thanks in large part to his unwillingness to listen to those who say there are limits.
People have assumed that muscles could only perform so much, for so long. If you bike for five days straight, surely your muscles would be so overwhelmed with lactic acid that they would stop functioning. But some newer research suggests that's not so. Some researchers argue that the body may be able to perform far more than we ever imagined -- if you can trick your brain into letting the muscles do the work. The limits that were once thought to reside in the muscles are now, some researchers say, really in the mind.
The way past fatigue, then, is to return the favor: to fool the brain by lying to it, distracting it or even provoking it. ...
Some people ''have the ability to reprocess the pain signal,'' says Daniel Galper, a senior researcher in the psychiatry department at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center at Dallas. ''It's not that they don't feel the pain; they just shift their brain dynamics and alter their perception of reality so the pain matters less. It's basically a purposeful hallucination.''
Coyle also points out that just a decade or two ago it was considered nearly miraculous that anybody could finish an Ironman triathlon. These days thousands of Americans complete races that are more than twice as long.
A 61-year-old farmer won one of the world's toughest ultramarathons by similarly ignoring sleep. Everyone else was faster in the early going, but they made the mistake of stopping to sleep from time to time. Cliff Young said he imagined a storm was coming and he had to round up his sheep, and walked for nearly six days straight, shattering the course record.
A "purposeful hallucination," just as the researcher suggested.
Вообщем, надо немного сойти с ума.