I believed Floyd. I wanted to believe Floyd. I watched Stage 17 in 2006 -- or at least all of it that Versus (or OLN back then) showed. I was bummed out for Floyd after bonking so bad the day before, and then watched as he rode off the front. I remember seeing him dump bottle after bottle of water over his head, which kept making me worry about his chamois getting soaked, and whether he knew about the wonders of Lantiseptic on the nether regions during a wet ride like that. The ultra-cycling mind just goes there. Sorry.
I remember watching the descent to the finish line on that stage, while everyone else was just coming over the top, thinking about the downhill skills of mountain bikers. I remember the fist pump, and thinking that I would never buy a Phonak kit because the colors were just butt-ugly.
And then, right after the Tour ended, I remember thinking that the French lab had to be making this up. The evidence would vindicate Floyd. When it didn't, I was willing to give Floyd money to fight to prove his innocence. When that failed, I sighed and thought that it was a shame that this good man had been so thoroughly framed.
And now Floyd says he doped ... although he says that he didn't on Stage 17.
"Wish I didn't know now what I didn't know then."While we're at it, I might as well confess that I also believed Tyler Hamilton. Again, I wanted to believe, particularly after Stage 16 in 2003 -- the broken-collarbone-attack-climb-Bagarguy-hold-off-pack-for-70-miles stage win. He came in fourth that year. Not even on the podium. But he ground the enamel off of his freaking molars as he continued racing though the pain.
- Bob Seger, Against the Wind
"My heroes have always been cowboys ..."I grew up reading comic books. My mom says that I learned to read from SpiderMan.
- Willie Nelson
It's one thing when SpiderMan catches a bad guy, but it's when SpiderMan has been beaten to a pulp by the Green Goblin and is laying there next to dead that he can only be heroic. The Goblin says he's going to kill Mary Jane, and SpiderMan gets up and kicks Goblin butt.
Heroism is really only attainable when you're on the brink of defeat and up against impossible odds. That's why those stage wins from Floyd and Tyler were heroic to me.
But what am I supposed to think of them now?
"Dazed and confused, going out of my head ..."Yeah, like most of you I always thought that this was a Led Zeppelin song. Jimmy Page and Robert Plant somehow beat the plagiarism lawsuit, but later gave Holmes partial credit.
- Jake Holmes
When I hear that song today, I still get a sense of what it felt like to be a freshman in high school in the early 70's. Should Led Zeppelin's plagiarism ruin the song for me? Should I now feel a little dirty when I remember slow dancing with Stacy Chapman -- or at least for reasons other than the immoral thoughts that I was having then about Stacy?
Sadly, I do. Knowing that Jake Holmes never got rich off of that song ruins it for me a little bit. In the same way, finding out that Floyd doped soils the memory of that glorious stage to Morzine, and Tyler's problems make me sad now when I think of the 2003 Tour.
"I want to be a happy idiot ..."Maybe innocence is an inevitable victim of maturity. That's probably why Peter Pan could fly.
- Jackson Browne, The Pretender