The wisdom of Bob Roll
From Bobke II, a collection Bob Roll's writings.
March 1-3, 1983:
Our coach called the promoter and told him we were coming. Then he gave us this grocery bag full of weed as our houseing and entry fee. We stuffed it at the bottom of the trunk and split. We drove out of Reno past the Mustang Ranch and had no thoughts of stopping. Then we turned right on Highway 95, and headed south. We drove across the desert for hours into the night.
From The Day the Big Men Cried, a tale from the 1988 Giro d'Italia, where there's a blizzard during stage 14:
I grabbed a plastic hat, long-finger gloves, and Oakley Pilots and took off down the pass for Bormio, a mere 15 kilometers away. I thought I could ride 15 kilometers in any condition, at any time, anywhere on Earth. I have never been more wrong in my life.
After a brilliant climb, Van de Velde, forsaking extra clothes in order to gain time on the descent, was the leader on the road and had the pink jersey waiting for him in Bormio. Only 2 kilometers of descending later, Van de Velde was on his knees in tears. Savagely hypothermic, he crawled into a car to warm up. One hour later, he got out of the car and rode to the finish way outside the time limit....
Meanwhile, I kept my head down and hammered, following the tire grooves through the snow. After only 1 kilometer, I was bloody cold. After 2 kilometers, I was frozen to the core. After only 3 kilometers, I was laughing like a lunatic and passed Rolf Sorensen, screaming at the top of my lungs in an attempt to generate some warmth. After 5 kilometers, I was crying and about to slip into a frozen coma. About halfway down, I was not thinking straight and was making poor choices. At one point, I got off my bike and began to run back up the hill in a lame attempt to warm up.
One Racer's View, Tour de France:
If riding your bicycle through the countryside on a fine summer's day were equivalent to a child's pretty drawing of a wildflower, then the Tour is a Sistine Chapel fresco painted by Michelangelo. Even though some great twentieth-century writers, such as Hemingway, have mentioned the Tour in their work, why haven't they been able to capture the essence of the Tour de France? Perhaps because they weren't racing in it. But I think, because it's so dynamic and the atmosphere so rarefied, it is impossible to grasp the greatness and grandeur of the Tour with words alone. Maybe someday, a combination of song, pictures, and words will do fair justice to the greatest of all sporting contests.
From One Heli TOur, a tale from stage 17 of the 1986 Tour de France. Greg Lemond kicked Hinault's ass on the Col de Granon and the only to get the riders down was by helicopter:
...I got to the steps to board and nearly froze. From outside in the bright sun, I couldn't see into the helicopter...
As my eyes adjusted to the darkness inside the 'copter, I saw that none other than Andrew Hampsten was seated directly across from me. "Whoa, Drew baby!" I practically jumped up at seeing a fellow American. "Andy, you slayed today," I exclaimed in glee. "Did you see LeMond crush these frog dweebs?" I asked.
Andy just kind of nodded, all subdued. As my adjusted further, right next to Andy sat Greg LeMond, gloriously clad in yellow. "Whoa!!" I jumped up for real and grabbed Le Mond by the shoulders, shaking him and screaming, "Greg, you beast! You got the yellow jersey man! You're going to massacre these Philistines." I sat down and said, "I was climbin' with Hinault, and all the Frenchies were pissed that you dropped his sorry ass."
Just then, my eyes fully adjusted to the darkness and there sat Bernard Hinault himself. Oops. I could've crawled udner my seat. "Hey Bernie, what's up?" was about all I could mumble. To make matters worse, the owner of the La Vie Claire team and one of France's biggest industrialists, Bernard Tapie, was sitting right next to Hinault. Tapie's script for Hinault to win his sixth Tour de France was about to be rewritten by LeMond.
The door was closed and copter blades started to howl. I looked straight at the drab olive wall and saw stenciled there in big white military letters, "Made in the USA." "All right, Tapie," I screamed, "you see this (pointing to the sign)? Made in the USA. Baby, everything is gonna be fine."
Tapie was not amused, but Greg, Andy, and me all started cracking up. Even Hinault cracked a little smile. We took off in a cloud of dust and the rest, as they say, was cycling history.
Training Tips with the Bobke:
Tip 1: Crashing is better than eating right. Eating right makes you feel good about yourself. This is the last dang thing you want. You want to feel absolutely shitbag about yourself. Your self-esteem should be lower than a snake's belly at the bottom of a Deep South penitentiary septic tank.
When you have the appropriate base level of self-esteem, you'll want to inflict the grinding horror of your mind upon all around you. Appeasing the torments of your mind by ripping people's legs off in a bike race so you can be seen kissing the posium dolls is the best path. Eating right is bettor suited to actresses who've guzled so many lies getting movie roles that their digestive enzymes have been vaporized.
Now, crashing, on the other hand, gives you scar tissue, and scar tissue tells a story no idiotic tribal barbwire tattoos ever will. And as the stories of your scars are retold, you'll get hungry for sour mash and pork rinds. It is almost impossible to eat a macrobiotic salad while picking at your scabs and describing your ass-over-tits, auger-into-the-gravel-pile-moving-into-sprint-postion in the last corner. Self-hate propels the bicycle faster than all the 30/30/40 ratio flim-flam, phin-phen scam artists combined. Let retired generals, Enron satanists, Juan Exxon Valdez, and Guantanamo bay-detained Islamic Jihadists eat right. It is way better to crash hard and eat wrong.