Thoughts and Adventures From Greenlite Heavy Industries

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

The Lance Thing

This Lance Armstrong thing is, for me, like finding out that you’ve been living next door to a serial killer: the partial-confession is bad enough, but to make matters worse they keep digging bodies out of the crawlspace, and worst of all, I can’t help but peek over the fence.

Yes I did shell out thirty bucks for the hardcover version of Wheelmen – Lance Armstrong, The Tour De France And The Greatest Sports Conspiracy Ever, and yes I will go see The Armstrong Lie, as soon as it hits theaters here in Seattle on Nov 27th.  I just can’t help myself.

If you could go back in time to the nineties and walk into a bike shop what you’d see would be a whole bunch of mountain bikes a couple of cruiser bikes and maybe, somewhere in the back, a racing bike.  Despite Greg Lemond, bicycle racing, and bicycling in general, here in the U.S. was obscure at best pre-Lance (all you have to do is say “Lance” and everyone knows who you are talking about – kind of like “Arnold” now that is fame); what that guy did for the cycling industry here in the States is unparalleled and undeniable.   The damage that to the sport doesn’t nearly equal the benefits.

Wait a minute, it sounds like I’m defending this asshole.  No I’m definitely not on Team Lance.

I guess I was a bit naive when it came to Lance, I figured that sure in his early days, maybe even the first two years he was doping, but after a few victories my thoughts were that cost of getting caught (i.e. losing his titles) would vastly outweigh the benefit (i.e. another win).  In 1999, 2000, even 2001 there is no way that Lance, or anyone on Team Lance, could have thought that he would win seven Tours, no way no how.  To risk losing all the success that he already had in pursuit of something unimaginable, that just didn’t make any sense.

And how could anyone lie like that.  It’s one thing to lie, it’s quite another to bankrupt and destroy the livelihoods of anyone who even remotely didn’t dance to your tune.  I mean that’s crazy – it just didn’t make any sense.

So when he came blubbering to Oprah (there’s another one name famer) I was honestly a bit surprised.  I’m sure a lot of folks would say that you had to be stupid or intentionally na├»ve not to see it coming, and I guess that’s fair.  I suppose I wanted to believe that it was impossible to be that big of a jerk.  Now with every page I turn in Wheelmen, I discover new depths of jerkhood.

Friday, November 8, 2013

One More Dig

I was watching Behind the Barriers the other day and at the end of the episode Jeremy Powers (AKA J-Pow) was being worked on by a physical therapist/chiropractor.  The two guys got to talking about what it takes to win at cyclocross and the PT mentioned something that really hit home with me.  He referred to “one more dig,’ that the guy/gal who won was the typically the person who had “one more dig” than the competition.

Cyclocross is different than your typical American ball sports in that in order to have any success at all you have to operate at beyond what you might have previously thought was possible.  Cyclocross races typically last from between thirty to sixty minutes and during that entire time you have to be operating at maximum possible output, and at several times during the race you’ll have go past what you thought was possible – you have to dig.  It’s the guy/gal who can dig just that one more time, the person who can accelerate out of that last turn just a few seconds faster, generate just a few more watts than the competition, who wins.

I think it’s safe to say that the vast majority of Americans have never experienced what cyclocross racers consider routine.  Perhaps that’s why I love this sport so much: it makes the seemingly impossible possible, and when that happens you come out the other side a stronger (read better) person.