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In a normal career this is a much more subjective decision, leaving just as the bell curve is in descent allows one to maintain the memory of being very good at what they do while knowing that they've reached their full potential (if we measure the height of the curve, not the area underneath it).
When it comes to consecutive wins, is it better to have left before losing or to have lost to someone who may end up just getting lucky? Lance may very well be able to make 10 or more straight wins if he really wants to, raising the possibility of him keeping the record significantly longer. But by leaving now can he be viewed as gnobly stepping aside to allow the next generation to compete? By staying could he be viewed as simply rubbing it in? It is a tough question worthy of discussion.
My views are that sporting events are a rather futile effort anyway so it's really his personal preference. But if we extend this to something more meaningful like the search for viable fusion power or a cure for a random disease or the like things become different. From that perspective the area under the curve is more important and productivity until the height of your curve is equal to that of a typical colleague may be in order. But for the truly great that is damning them to servitude well into senility. Of course, the truly great generally end up dead shortly after retirement once their drive is missing.
My current choice, work until I sense a decline in the curve and then quit - but that's as much because I'm lazy as because mankind doesn't benefit too greatly from my particular vocation.
<hr><small>2002 ML55 (debadged), <A HREF="http://www.benzworld.org/forums/forums/thread-view.asp?tid=46299&posts=20" target="_blank">Metallic Black Rear Star</A>, 2003 DVD Navigation, fire extinguisher, OEM trailer hitch, OEM Smoke Hood Deflector, OEM Smoke Sunroof Deflector, OEM basic carrier, v60, VES, CD Changer, <A HREF="http://www.formymercedes.com/contsp/product.asp?intProdID=D-ML163-LED-Painted&model=W163&category=LED+Brake+Lights+" target="_blank">LED rear wing</A>, <A HREF="http://www.formymercedes.com/mb_results_m.asp?model=W163&class=m-class&category=LED+Replacement+Bulbs" target="_blank">LED brakes and rear turn signals</A>, <A HREF="https://www.designtech-intl.com/merchant.ihtml?pid=47&lastcatid=12&step=4" target="_blank">DesignTech halogen backup bulbs</A>, <A HREF="http://www.radioshack.com/product.asp?catalog%5Fname=CTLG&category%5Fname=CT LG%5F010%5F012%5F011%5F000&product%5Fid=276%2D272" target="_blank">amber ambiant passenger footwell lighting</A>, <A HREF="http://www.valentineone.com/home.asp" target="_blank">Valentine V1</A>, <A HREF="http://www.ssiamerica.com/products/neo35/index.shtml" target="_blank">Neo Car MP3 player</A>, <A HREF="http://www.tirerack.com/accessories/smartire/smartire2.jsp" target="_blank">SmarTire wireless tire pressure monitoring</A>, ML430 winter rims with Dunlop WS M2 tires (255/60R17), <A HREF="http://www.benzworld.org/forums/forums/thread-view.asp?tid=45318&posts=20" target="_blank">crossdrilled/slotted/frozen/nickel plated rotors</A>, <A HREF="http://www.benzworld.org/forums/forums/thread-view.asp?tid=61783&posts=20">Autobahn mirror, rear fresnel lens</A>, <A HREF="http://www.benzworld.org/forums/forums/thread-view.asp?tid=69466&posts=20">SnowBear Utility Trailer</A>, <A HREF="http://www.escortradar.com/gtimer.htm">Escort GTimer GT2</A>, silver/polished <a href="http://www.hrewheels.com">HRE</a> <a href="http://images2.hrewheels.com/wheels/images/enlarge/enlarge-645r.jpg">645R</A> 20x9.5 <A href="http://www.wheelboutique.com">rims</A> with matching 295/40ZR20 <A HREF="http://www.tirerack.com/tires/tires.jsp?tireMake=Dunlop&tireModel=SP+Sport+9000& partnum=94ZR09000">Dunlop SP9000s</A>, <A HREF="http://www.kleemann.dk/tuning/index.htm">Kleemann Supercharger and ECU upgrade (550HP and 502 ft-lbs!)</A>. </small><center><HR>BMW is "Wanted, Mercedes Benz" backwards.<br><a href="http://www.benzworld.org/forums/view-profile.asp?action=view&uid=1044">tcp_ML500</a> says: Jeff's ML55K blows but BenzWorld doesn't!</center>
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