Monday, November 16, 2009

Fear the 'Stache: Floyd Landis Comes to Columbia

It's mid-November.  But what many of you may not be aware of is that a movement is afoot to change the name of this, the eleventh month of the year to 'MOvember'.  The reason?  Because this is the month that millions of men around the globe are choosing to get in touch with their inner porn star, or favorite 70's televion actor, and bust out some hair on their upper lip (aka - the moustache or 'MO' for short) in the name of raising money for prostate cancer.  You can check out all the hairy details at  Or just watch this:

As you can see, the organization has parterned with, among other groups, Lance Armstrong's Livestrong Foundation.  Not to be left out of the fun, LA himself has decided to try to jump into the moustachioed foray.

Unlike winning the Tour de France, it does not appear as though LA is having an easy time growing the 'stache and this one is looking a little weary.  But let's give him the benefit of the doubt and assume he didn't start growing this on November 1st.  But if this is the final product, I personally fear that throngs of Trek-riding, weekend warrior cyclists with canary-yellow bracelets will also now start sporting these flimsy monkey-paw staches to emulate their hero, no matter how follicularly challenged their upper lips may be.  And all will hail LA as being the inspiration for them to toss away their razors this month.

But alas, long before LA decided to try to sprout a pubescent wisp of hair up there, the moustache has had its presence in the pro-peleton.  Do not forget the truly spectacular porn-stache Garmin rider Steven Cozza wore as he won the Best Young rider jersey in the 2007 Tour of Missouri...

And a year later, upper lips were screaming for fear of being naked on team Garmin as Dave Zabriskie joined in the fray.

Surrounded by all of the cyclists of Garmin getting a piece of the MO-action, team physiologist Allen Lim's upper lip must have been feeling a little underdressed.  Being of Asian descent, however, can wreak some havoc on facial hair production, so one has to wonder if he might have been involved in the recent facial hair doping scandal, Operation Puerto Rico as he suddenly appeared with this little number that looks alarmingly stout.

But let's remember who probably has the oldest moustache in the peleton:  Mr. Floyd Landis.

And this is no plain moustache, but rather the moustache with the unconnected chin goatee - also called the Maynard G. Krebs if it stands alone.  Floyd has been rocking this one continuously since back in the days of US Postal:

As many of you know, Floyd was here in Columbia this past weekend to speak at a fundraiser for arthritis over at the Orr St. Gallery.  When I arrived at the benefit and approached him, I was completely struck by how small and lean he was.  We made small talk for a bit, and I was utterly impressed by how genuinely humble the guy is. At one point, I was asking him about his performance on Stage 17 of the 2004 Tour de France, and he commented about how amazing he felt that day.  Then he quickly added, "You know, it seems when I felt my absolute best and everything seemed to be going so well for me - that's when all the shit hit the fan."  My response was that that exact thing happens to everyone one of us - except when the shit hits the fan in everyone else's life, it doesn't get dragged through the media.

Various items were auctioned and dinner was served, during which you could watch Stage 17 of the 2006 Tour de France when he went on the now infamous solo breakaway to earn back the time he had lost when bonking the day before. Afterwards, Floyd went on to give his lecture, titled 25,000 miles.  This talk documented the number of miles he has ridden on his new hip resurfacing implant called a Birmingham Hip Replacement.  He further described just how much he endured prior to undergoing the replacement, riding on the osteonecrotic and osteoarthritic old hip in three Tours de France, and countless other races.  After the talk, he stuck around to speak with everyone who wanted to meet with him, and to sign various pieces of Team OUCH memoribilia that were raffled off during the benefit.

The evening was an absolute thrill for me.  If I was partially biased before I went, in thinking I really liked the guy, I certainly came away from the benefit completely biased in thinking the world of his honest, genuine demeanor.  One of the final questions asked of him was regarding what his plans were for next year.  To this he replied "I don't know.  I'm leaving my options open." 

Here's hoping we see a lot more racing from Floyd, wherever he ends up.  He is, in my mind anyway, a genuine American cycling legend.

Pedal on!

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