Friday, August 17, 2007

The Honorary Captain is a Muppet

That's what Sara Corbett thinks, at least. Not sure which one she has in mind. Maybe Sam the Eagle.

Barn-door ears? Nerdy grace? For better or for worse, this is our honorary captain.
Landis, like most successful bike racers, is not a big guy. He has narrow shoulders, shortish legs and a long, blade-like torso. The only unaerodynamic thing about him is his set of barn-door ears, which, coupled with a low-hanging brow and the flat line of his mouth, give him a vaguely Muppet-like aspect. At 5-foot-10, he does not swagger but rather carries himself with a nerdy kind of grace, his physical power masked by his unglamorous, everydude appearance.

In conversation, he exudes an affable charm that can be alternately gentle and smart-alecky. He's also a natural contrarian, happy to take the unpopular side of any argument, spouting off the moment something strikes him as illogical or misguided. “It makes no sense!” he will cry, addressing with equal levels of passion everything from the efficacy of immigration policy to why on earth people think tattoos are cool.

At age 20, he left the flyspeck town of Farmersville, in Lancaster, County, Pa., and moved alone to Southern California to pursue not only bike racing but life outside his pared-down Mennonite upbringing. He sorted through an onslaught of new experiences — alcohol, sushi, rock 'n' roll, horror movies, immodestly dressed women and so on — deciding on the spot what he would accept and what he would reject. The habit has stayed with him. Things are either good or not good, people are either friends or enemies. There is very little that Landis is not emphatic about. And whatever churchly uplift his mother, Arlene, delivers to him in her regular phone calls — “God is allowing you to go through this because you have the strength to endure it,” she tells him — it seems to get lost quickly in the deep well of his outrage over his situation.
This is from Sara Corbett's long, well-written, and refreshingly un-surgarcoated profile of the honorary captain fighting to salvage what little shreds of honor he might have left. It will appear in the NYT this Sunday, but is available here right now. Well worth the read. Every once in a while there's a journalist who can actually write.

If there's room in this outfit for an assistant honorary captain, Chris Horner should probably get some attention as a potential candidate, if only for his response to LA's self-serving account of why they are pulling the plug on Team Disco.
"I read what Lance has said about the sport, and it is just ridiculous to read something so stupid, from a guy who has made his career off the sport. Now they can't find a sponsor and say they are pulling out just because they don't want to look for one? I don't believe it. You tell me Lance is giving up money? He raced his whole career looking for it, because he was a businessman more than the love of the sport. Now he is telling us that it isn't a good place for the sport so we are pulling out. Are you really telling me that?

"All it is is he can't find a sponsor. Instead he's saying, 'I'm Lance Armstrong, I finally couldn't accomplish something so we're pulling out instead.' If I'm wrong, prove me wrong Lance -- go out and find a sponsor! Instead it was 'we're leaving, I don't like the sport anymore'. No, just leave and get out. I'm sorry if those weren't his exact words, but if what I am reading is, then it is ridiculous and irresponsible."

"It makes it a bit tougher for guys like myself, but at the same time I don't see that too many of those guys affect me. But some riders might not have jobs next year, assuming that more teams don't come in. Or they won't be with a ProTour team. That's a possibility, and that might be me too! Because Lance wants to get out of the sport he is going to unemploy half of his team. Personal opinion again, but that has to be the biggest bullshit story I have ever read!"

OTT: The Dexateens, Naked Ground


Anonymous said...

Much respect for Chris on that one, lance is definitely a capitalist pig dog.
Where did that interview come from anyway?
Dallas "looking for a new home while preparing for a hundred miler." Sigurdur

The Dark Lord said...

team jonny said...

hahaha pig dog... I'll have to remember that one.

good one, house finder.