Just got word that Greg Lemond, at left above, kicked off the Frederick Clustered Spires High Wheel Race. Held in Frederick, Ohio, Greg started the 25 Penny Farthing racers from all over the world off by riding the first lap in fun fashion, per the below photo:
A three-time Tour de France winner, and the first American to do so, it was Greg Lemond, who after his amazing comeback from shotgun wounds and come from behind, Time Trial win on the last day of the Tour in 1989 (actual footage!), who kicked off a huge surge in cycling popularity in the United States. It is the joy he brought to cycling that I discuss when my book, "How America Can Bike and Grow Rich" passes trough Reno, NV, the training turf that launched his racing career. A little over a decade after his name became synonymous with High Performance cycling, Lemond's easy going way lost its appeal when a brash Texan named Lance Armstrong went on the offensive to take the shine off Lemond's star.
In 2001 after Armstrong had won his third straight Tour, Lemond joked, "If Lance is clean, it is the greatest comeback in the history of sport. If he isn't, it would be the greatest fraud." Among many other attacks that followed, Armstrong convinced officials at Trek Bicycles, who sponsored his racing team, to muzzle Lemond for saying he raced with drugs.
Lemond only stopped having fun with Lance after he was forced to sign a waiver asking him to do so by Trek less they stop producing/promoting the Lemond line of bicycles. By 2004, the once prosperous relationship the two had enjoyed was in shambles. By 2010 it had officially ended thanks in large part to Mr. Armstrong (more of that story here).
Committed to winning at all costs, Armstrong seemed to have successfully made a mockery of the good time Lemond was showing could be had on a bicycle as he slashed and burned one cyclist after another. Now, however, it appears that our Nation's real champion has finally re-emerged, as Toto, in the form of the USADA, pulled the curtain on, Armstrong, the Great Oz of bicycle racing, who once said,
“Pain is temporary. It may last a minute, or an hour, or a day, or a year, but eventually it will subside and something else will take its place. If I quit, however, it lasts forever.”
In my own experience of a two month coma and the resulting paralysis, spasticity and nerve chilling therapy, I know pain all the way to the other side. Having had to go through unimaginable torture to get my own life back, I know the purpose of pain is to teach us we can transcend It when we realize we are not these bodies or what they accomplish. It will only be then that we can laugh at ourselves as we let our Higher Selves power through that which life has to offer. Lemond seemed to understand this. And if Lance ever knew it, he seemed to have forgotten. At great expense to himself and anyone who dared to challenge his ability to do what he did without drugs, lawyers, intimidation and vast sums of money.
As the wheels continue to fall off Lance's cart, I am so happy to see Greg Lemond's star begin to shine once again!!
'79 TransCon upright '86 TransCon 'bent
Coma, Paralysis, Clinical Death Survivor