Thursday, May 20, 2010


Ok - so what so we do NOW?

I don't know how I feel about the steaming pile that was laid upon the world of cycling news this morning.  I almost entitled yesterday's post, "A Great Day for American Cycling" with the recent exciting victories of Farrar and Zabriskie....but with the implications Landis has made regarding many American cyclists still racing today (literally) like Armstrong, Hincapie, Leipheimer, Zabriskie and Barry, American cycling may only be as great as what....European cycling?  I mean - no one was that shocked when Vino or Basso were implicated.  Why did we (meaning I) think we (meaning Americans) were above this?  Maybe we (meaning I) didn't really think we were, but rather just really hoped it.  Too much. 

I can't help it.  I've always routed for sports figures.  Athletics has always been too important a part of my life not to get emotionally charged by someone competing.  Back in the day, it was this guy.
He was my hero when I was a kid.  He may have also been the last "clean" athlete I ever rooted for, whatever "clean" really means.  And even as "clean" as Dr. J was, he still tried to choke the shit out of Larry Bird once.
Another famous basketball player named Charles Barkley probably put it best when he was reprimanded for spitting on a fan who was shouting obscenities at him and responded by proclaiming, "I am not a role model."  But it's fans like me who elevate athletes to this watching them, cheering for them, and ultimately very nearly deifying them because of what?  Because they can run faster, or shoot a ball better, or turn the pedals over harder than somebody else?  It seems kind of silly when I think of it like that, but consider me guilty as charged.  Floyd Landis hasn't necessarily let me down today; I think I let myself down by not having better discretion as to whom I choose to look up to.

And whenever I look up to somebody too highly because they appear to be so superior, I find myself at risk for getting let down when I realize that they fail and screw up just like anybody else.  I'm reminded of Dave Stoller in the movie Breaking Away.
For those few who haven't seen it, Dave emulates the Italian Cinzano Cycling team with such fervor, that he actually wishes to be Italian.  When he finds himself in a race alongside his heroes, and then subsequently in a breakaway group with the very cyclists whose images adorn his bedroom walls in poster format, one of the Italians jams his pump into Dave's spokes, causing him to crash out the race and trash his bike.  When Dave makes it home, tail tucked hard between his legs, his father asks him what is wrong.  He tells his dad, "Everybody cheats......I just didn't know."  And his dad replies, "Now you know."

The fallout from the Landis implications has only just begun and I'm guessing the press conference following today's stage at the Tour of California will be an interesting one.  I think I'll skip it and just go for a ride. 

If you've already had enough of this story, then let me direct you to another far more inspirational one appearing today in VOX about a local cyclist who IS in fact someone you can look up to.  Read it.

And then, if you've never visited Lieutenant Dan's blog, do so immediately.  It's right here.  But be warned, you might find yourself three new heroes: Dan, Maggie and Cassidy.


  1. I'm moderately surprised. Floyd seems to be on a downward spiral and now he's trying to take some people with him. It's sad and a bit hard to watch.