Tuesday, August 01, 2006

Viva la Floyd!

Well, it looks like Saturday is the "do or die" day for Floyd...

I readily admit that I knew nothing about cycling (professional or otherwise) before I met Brandon. Sure, there were the occasional hightlights on "Wide World of Sports." But words like peloton, domestique and maillot jaune, were as foreign to me as...ummmm..well...a foreign langauge. That changed shortly after Brandon and I were married many years ago (I love you honey!). With our first apartment in Boone, we got cable TV and began our decade long ritual of watching sports together. I explained the finer details of baseball and basketball, we cheered every Super Bowl together, and he exposed me to every obscure sport he was in love with that month. No matter how his tastes changed though, the one constant has always been bicycles. It doesn't really matter what kind or how they're ridden, they are his passion and I support it (as long as I don't have to trip over bike parts in my house.) As a result, I have lived vicariously through his adventures, even having a few of my own.
Back to the pros...Unfortunately, the only place you can watch any cycling on TV in the States is on OLN. I only say unfortunate because you have to navigate bullriding, fishing and Survivor reruns just to catch a few minutes of coverage. Needless to say, we live for July each year. Three solid weeks of as much Tour de France coverage as you can stand. Phil Liggett, Paul Sherwin and Bob Roll become our best friends for a time and 4:30am (Pacific time) doesn't seem like an weird time to get up to watch the long mountain stages. For a year we've been looking forward to the 2006 edition. A Tour without Lance would be fun and exciting to watch because anything would be possible. We couldn't wait to see George Hincapie, Levi Leipheimer and Floyd Landis carry on the American charge. Of course, less than 24 hours before the start everything changed with Operaciƃ³n Puerto. I won't bore you with the details, you can read the links if you don't know the story.
We watched every day. The sprinters never failed to amaze with their explosive speed. Once unknowns shot out of the peloton to take charge of their dwindling teams. This was the way it was supposed to be, everyone had to work for every kilometer and nothing was guaranteed. On Stage 17, Floyd defied all odds and rode for his life, creating a beautiful moment in time that was destined to live on in legend even if the yellow jersey eluded him. But he did grab it and wore it proudly to the podium in Paris. It was a proud day for athletes and fans alike to see hard work and determination win out. The small guy can come out on top sometimes.
Now all of that is in jeopardy. Before all the evidence has been processed, the media, the officials and even fellow cyclists have tried and convicted Floyd of cheating. Is it so hard to believe that a test could be inaccurate or not tell the whole story? Is is impossible to believe in this age of "win at all costs" that not everyone is cheating? Well, I refuse to. I cannot live my life thinking the worst... always suspecting that someone is lying, denying the dream that miracles can still happen. I know the odds are against him, but I'm hoping with all my heart that Floyd is vindicated. I want my daughter to grow up in a world where dreams and heros of all kinds still exist. Please don't let me down....

1 comment:

Brandon said...

Thanks, hun! I too wish for a vindication of a true home town hero. My two cents:
As a man all I can say is I have been in the state that Floyd was in on stage 17 it's called pure unadulterated RAGE to a point that it CHEMICALLY takes over your body. They say that some zen masters and buddist monks can control their body and its functions. I say that when you are as focused and as ultra-PISSED OFF as Floyd was for his bonking performance the previous day one can make themselves do anything. The chemical that controls that rage and allows the body to perform extrodinaraly is Testostrone pure and simple. And as a man I can say emphatically that there is a point where it takes over and you just can't control it. All Folyd did was direct that rage into his riding and rode into the history books. Proof is Floyd's angry raging ride across the finish line, not a happy smiling triumphent "I won", and his post stage interview where he clearly still looks and acts PISSED OFF! And for all of those of you that have already tried, convicted, and sentenced Floyd, BE DAMNED!