Saturday, February 14, 2009
“Pretty Good Looking Boy” Floyd
Bike racing is about 2 things, pain and revenge. For Floyd Landis there is only one reason to put yourself through all the pain and suffering of a comeback - that has got to be revenge! To win the Tour de France then have your title taken away must plunge a person into the depths of misery. And when a person believes they have been dealt a grievous injustice, as Floyd must certainly believe, the unmitigated seething rage that is the flip side of the justice coin provides a ripe landscape to exact righteous retribution manifest by an appropriate
Agent...in this case Floyd Landis at this year's Tour of California.
Floyd Landis would probably love to put the 06 Tour de France debacle far behind him. But perhaps Floyd would probably like to remember fondly his overall wins in the 2006 Paris-Nice and Tour of California stage races. Floyd was having a dream season and everything he touched seemed to turn to gold. To follow up his stellar spring with a win in the Tour was a spectacular show of grit and talent and for 3 days after the tour it seemed as if Floyd and American cycling along with him had a very bright future indeed. Of course it all came crashing down when Floyd was announced to be positive for doping. And now we shall see if Floyd can pick up the pieces of his career in 2009.
Talent has a lot to do with success in bike racing. But what separates the very good from the best and the best from the top step of the podium is an unshakeable thirst for vengeance. To win bike races it is critical to feel as if the world has wronged you so grievously that a merciless stomping of your rivals is your only recourse. It is this mindset that that allows the best riders to revel in adverse conditions and become champions. Physically speaking, when you put in a long hard training ride or finish a grueling Tour stage the flood of endorphins into your brain produces a feeling of profound euphoria. And when you win that feeling is ten fold. This usually tends to take the teeth out of the beast. You need something extra to keep winning; you need the blood lust for revenge that gives your wheels wings when the hardest races bite into the flesh of your resolve. Lance Armstrong is probably the best example of this yet reproduced by bike racing. But all the greats possess this attribute in spades. Is Floyd Landis this type of beast? Time and the Tour of California will tell.