Thursday, May 20, 2010

Floyd and other sorrows

Just to put this Floyd Landis confession/whistle-blowing into perspective, I believe this is the worst day I've seen for cycling.

The day Greg LeMond was shot was bad. The day Floyd was stripped of his Tour win was bad. The day Trek quit making/selling LeMond bicycles was bad. The day we heard false reports that Eddy had cancer was a bad day. So was the day long ago when we lost Jacques Anquetil. The Festina affair was bad too.

But this is awful on the grand scale. We should be flying cycling's flag at half-mast.

I have to believe that Floyd has been beaten down by losing so much that he is holding himself up on the ropes. I suspect that if we want to think the best of him, and I DO want to think the best of him, we must conclude that he's not emotionally together and knows not what he does.

Floyd's not dumb. Can he expect people to believe his accusations?

When we raced for water bottles and cotton musettes, most of us dreamed of watching the Tour de France. We never imagined that one or a few of us would RIDE the Tour or for chrissakes WIN the damn thing. Who'd have imagined guys making themselves rich by riding their bikes?

Now there's big money and big prestige. There's stardom at stake. And lots of men (and probably a few women) desperate for that money and fame. I wonder if some of us doped when we raced for water bottles or (if we were lucky) some dealer's oldest tubular tire. Maybe.

Maybe also my relationship with money is not so simple and transparent, but when the first guy suggested that we "follow the money," he probably spoke Sumerian. Maybe money does ruin everything.

With so much to be gained by pedaling faster than the other guy, can we look with scorn on athletes who can't resist buying themselves an edge? Can we be sure we wouldn't do the same?


James Thurber said...

It's amazing how money has spoiled so many athletic events. It's turned many things into a damn circus.

Watching the Tour of California I see nothing but miles and miles of "support vehicles" carrying tons and tons of equipment . . . making sure the riders get whatever they need . . . instantly.

And plastered over everything is advertising. Money rules the roost. The riders go past in a whoosh and then . . . gone.

Perhaps it's time to start shorting professional sports. It's like concert tickets -- to see a concert today now costs well over $100 a person. Cheap seats at a baseball game easily cost $30, or more.

And yet they fill ball parks, football stadiums, and concert halls . . . time after time after time . . . and sell gallons of $12 a pint beer and $8 hot dogs. Parking is $20 and that's a bargain.

And the worst industry in the country is currently: Banking. You know what? It fits.

Anonymous said...

Floyd's hit rock bottom with nothing left to lose. So why not FINALLY clear his conscience and admit the truth he's been denying for years? Why NOT point out the hypocrisy of the folks who helped him cheat and those who continue to profit from fame they gained while cheating and continue to lie about it? Can you imagine what it must feel like to see folks who did the same stuff as you ride off into fame and wealth while you're broke and hated? Jesus Manzano knows what it feels like, so did the other Spaniard, Jimenez before he killed himself with coke. So did Marco Pantani who met the same sad end. Let's hope Floyd and Tyler Hamilton don't end up that way and perhaps, finally, the "omerta" that infests pro cycling can be broken by more riders coming forward with the truth about doping. I say to Floyd, "better late than never" and thanks for finally 'fessing up.

bikelovejones said...

My remedy for Floyd And Other Pests:

1. Take singlespeed mountain bike out to favorite muddy/dirty area.
2. Shred for 30 minutes.
3. Drink plenty of fluids and repeat.
4. Go home. Clean up. Relax with sandwich and cold beer.

I have found that this exercise never fails to lift my spirits and help me forget that there are people getting paid far too much money to ride their bikes nowhere fast.

Jim Thurber said...

Agree with the third comment - 100 percent. We spend a ton of time, effort and money going rapidly . . . nowhere. Whatever happened to a "real live" Tour of California - beginning in the Northwest Corner and slowly precipitating down towards the Southwest Corner, visiting the beautiful sights and sounds of our state the entire way.

Taking one's time and enjoying a great deal of hydrating liquid refreshment enroute (beer).

Big Mikey said...

Look at it from Floyd's perspective: he did what everyone else was doing and he got caught (for doing testosterone, which he says he wasn't even taking at the time), publicly humiliated and ostracized. He's a pariah after being one of the best in the world. However unbalanced he might be by nature, that burden has to be tough on a guy who was once at the top.

I think we saw something similar with Tyler as well.

While he's a mess, I can't help but feel for the guy.

Maynard said...

I agree with Big Mikey and would like to have explained myself as well as he did. Floyd is not the devil - and all he had was stripped from him. Who of us would deal with all that disaster any better?