Thursday, July 20, 2006

Two Floyd Landis stories

Wherein I thought I'd waited too long to use these


Daniel Coyle, who has Landis profiles in the LA Times and the NY Times, also has a profile in the July Outside, The New American in Paris:
Getting the lead is one thing; managing it is another. Landis spent the next four days employing the sort of race tactics he'd learned at Postal, using the ample horsepower of his Phonak teammates—including Koos Moerenhout of the Netherlands, Alexandre Moos of Switzerland, and Nicolas Jalabert of France—to chase down threats. He also negotiated with other teams that shared interests in winning stages, an act of political control for which Landis required a different sort of afterburner.

The crux moment arrived in Stage 6, on the way to Cannes. Halfway into the race, a group of 19 broke away, and none of the other teams were willing to help Phonak chase them down. With the gap widening and the race becoming dangerously unstable, Landis decided to send a message.

At the base of a climb, he ordered his team to the front and told them to go full throttle. They blasted for three, five, ten minutes, and when everyone behind was gasping and hurting, Landis turned to address the peloton.

"You want more of that, motherfuckers?" he asked loudly. "Because if you do, we've got plenty."

The race went smoothly the rest of the way.

Coyle also authored the 2005 book, Lance Armstrong's War. It details the world of cycling around Armstrong during the 2004 season. As one of the stronger Americans and a former Postal teammate, Floyd Landis gets a chapter to himself. Landis started out as a mountain cyclist before moving to road racing:
to generalize: roadies thought mountain bikers were Neanderthals and hippies; mountain bikers thought roadies were effete Euro-poseurs. Landis did not enjoy being perceived as a hippie, much less an unskilled one....So Landis set out to correct things.

He showed up for his first road race wearing a garish jersey, a visored helmet, and a pair of brilliantly colored Argyle socks, pulled high. He made his way slowly to the front row...wheeling a bike with a monstrously big 56-tooth front chain ring, so large that it resembled a pie plate. A slow crater of disgusted amazement widened around Landis....Then in a loud voice that rang with Mennonite clarity, Landis said what he'd planned to say, a reading from the First Book of Floyd:

"If there's anyone here who can stay with me, I will buy you dinner."

Laughter. Landis remained quiet, then replied.

"You shouldn't laugh, because that gets me angry. And if you make me angry, then I'm going to blow you all up."

More Laughter.

The race began, and Floyd rode up to the leaders. Then past them. He pressed the pace, slowly at first and then faster and faster, pushing his pie plate until it hummed, until the others felt like they were trying to follow a motorcycle.

"You like my socks?" he asked. "How do you like them now?"

They gasped for air.

"I'll take that for a yes," Landis continued. "How about if I go a little farther up the road, and you can tell me how they look from there?"

Landis won his first race by fifteen minutes, including a stop to repair his punctured tire. He won his second race by 45 minutes.

"Get Floyd emotionally involved and there's no way he'll back down," Geoghegan said. "He qill go until his heart literally explodes."

2 Comments:

Blogger Icepick said...

BTW, and off-topic, how did your friend's vacation go? I didn't see anything obviously related over at the BB.

7/21/2006 09:01:00 PM  
Blogger bill said...

no idea. I don't even know that particular person.

Thanks for the information. I've filed it away for the next time we go down. We've visited WDW the last two winters but are skipping this year to Thanksgiving in St. Augustine.

7/21/2006 09:19:00 PM  

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