Just caught this story from USA Today about an organized ride that former pro- (and Central PA) cyclist, Floyd Landis, is putting together for June 1st and 2nd of this year. While the media likes to hype the fact that Floyd calls pro cycling “organized crime,” I ask you to focus on the fact that he is making this event for the amateur and recreational riders of the world.
That’s great news for those of us who want to do a larger organized ride (and hang with one/some of the “names” of cycling). Love him or hate him, admitted-doper Floyd Landis is making an attempt to do something with his cycling skills that I think can only help restore some of the faith lost in the profession.
I’m the first to admit that I had a terrible taste in my mouth when Floyd vehemently denied doping (selling books, etc. in the whirlwind of the controversy). Then, when he finally admitted doping – and implicated Lance Armstrong – I thought it was just sour grapes, and he was trying to deflect the attention onto a much bigger target (see my Open Letter to Lance Armstrong). I was still very naive with the amount of doping in professional cycling at the time, and I scoffed at the idea that the unflappable Lance would have done such a thing. Oh how the times have changed!
But this isn’t what this story is about. It’s about the Gran Fondo that Floyd is organizing in the Catskills of New York (hmmmm….wonder if there will be any roads that I’ve done virtually in Lake Placid, NY). The Gran Fondo will run for two days – June 1-2. The first day includes a timed steep 3-mile climb. The second day has a 100-mile route. There are no official cycling affiliations – but you still get prizes for top finishers in a bunch of different age groups. Registration for the event opens Friday, February 15th on BikeReg.
The Catskills of New York really aren’t too terribly far away from those of us in Central PA. It just might be worth checking out. Interest and participation this year will help decide if this will continue in future years. I have requests in with the organizers to provide more info – and will pass on anything I think you should know!