Lose weight, keep power and you fly up the mountains. Every skinny ProTour climber in a grand tour knows that simple equation. Kilos kill.
Shed a few pounds and your race results jump to the top ten, not top 50. Judging from Floyd Landis’ performance so far in the Powernet Tour of the Southland, the Mad Mennonite has lost a ton of weight.
We’re not talking pounds thought, the weight in question was more the imposing burden that dragged down his soul. When Landis cleared his conscience, he lost the albatross, the 16 ton weight, the power-draining shit karma accumulated by four years of lying.
Anyone who questions whether Landis is now telling the truth need only look at the increase in his speed on the bike. He already had a new hip, now he is riding both pain free and guilt free and even without a team or sponsors, the results are positive. Taking a guest spot on the Orca Velo Merino squad, Landis sits in 4th place overall after two stages.
That’s not an earth shattering result but given the long self- imposed death ride Landis has been on for years, it’s a positive sign that maybe things are looking up for the temporary winner of the 2006 Tour de France.
In a well-written piece in ESPN by Bonnie Ford, she paints a clear and unenviable picture of Landis’ life these days. He lives in a small, battered cabin in Idyllwild, California with few prospects and no real source of income. There’s a town name that captures it all: mostly idle, still wild.
It’s no small irony that Lance Armstrong once described himself as someone meant for the long, hard, painful road. That goes double for his old friend and worst enemy Landis. The title of the Ford article is “Hope amid the ruins.”
There is certainly more hope now that Landis has shed the huge weight he’d been carrying for so long. The truth makes you fly.