The temperature crept up near 50 degrees today, so I decided it was finally time to take The Specialized (thank you Nashville Bicycle Co.) and it’s sweet new wheels (thank you Mrs. Figurehead) off of the trainer today. Spin classes and boring trainer rides, even equipped with a constant supply of new music, have gotten old.
One of the reasons I love triathlon and training in each discipline is that it provides me time to think – usually about my life, my daughter, my wife, and even rarely about competition itself. Today my thoughts were incredibly negative. I thought I’d come home from my ride and post a list of my pet peeves. As I rolled into the driveway another thought crossed my mind instead: Floyd Landis.
Floyd won’t be competiting in the Tour De France this year. There’s no way to know how he really feels about that. It may feel a sense of relief…or a horrible emptiness. I watch the Tour daily every July. In my book its the most dramatic event of each year – that includes all sports. It’s 3 weeks of cat and mouse, battles of attrition, suffering, and pain. I watched Lance win his championships and cried a few days at his brilliance. I stood and cheered for Tyler Hamilton when he won a stage a few years ago with a broken collarbone.
My opinion of Floyd Lanis is still up in the air. Was he really stupid enough to take a banned substance knowing he’d be tested as the race leader? Doubtful. Does the French establishment bare a grudge against American riders? Absolutely. One thing is for sure, Floyd’s triumphant attack on the race’s 17th stage last year ranks right up there in my mind with Lance crashing twice and still charging ahead, Lance cutting through a field mountain bike still and hopping a ditch, and Tyler Hamilton gutting out the pain to win a stage. They’re beautiful memories for me bringing the strength that man possess into sharper focus.
So today, despite my negative thoughts while riding about yuppies, fat guys with goatees who hate cyclists, and restroom co-pilots (aren’t you glad I posted about Floyd instead?), I want to remember the good times. Was Floyd’s stage 17 win a little too amazing considering his stage 16 performance? Maybe, but man did it feel good at the time. Viva la tour!
Lance crashes – wins anyway
This says it all – same moment for Lance, but this video is from a spectators and Lances perspectives. Hang with it until just past the 1:00 mark. When Lance blasts by, through the crowd of Spanish fans, I started crying here in front of the computer. No matter what you think about this guy, he was a warrior like no other we have ever seen. I want him in my foxhole.