Saturday, January 30, 2010
Give this one a read - a news article from back in 2000 when Pantani and Lance Armstrong blew apart the peloton going up Ventoux, eventually culminating in Lance "gifting" the stage win to Pantani at the top.
Take all the names in that article. Sit them down in a room. Ask for a show of hands, "who here is not doped?'
Crickets. Except for maybe Armstrong, it's how things were.
You can watch it happen here...
Drugs beating other drugs.
That doesn't abscond Pantani of guilt, but dig a little deeper - he DID have standards.
Racing was divine, and if you look closely, at about the 1:40 mark in the video, Lance just lets him take it. He let Pantani win. For Pantani, to gift a stage win was blasphemy. Especially from Lance, a guy who had nicknamed him "elefantino" referring to his height and his ears. You can't call a guy "little elephant" and then let him win a stage on purpose. Pantani would have his revenge the following day...
Pantani let him have it out of the gates on the way to Courchevel. He rode completely outside of his ability, acknowledging that today would be his last day in the Tour De France, and just wanting to blow Lance up and show the world that Lance was still mortal, still beatable by someone, even if it would never be Pantani. Pantani rode himself into the ground, pulled the plug, and hoped Lance would fold further up the road.
Watch it happen. Lance, dydrated from chasing Pantani all day, gives up 2 minutes to Ullrich on the way up to Courchevel and nearly loses the Tour.
Pantani's erratic behavior on Ventoux that day was not something out of character. He'd rather quit a race than lose. He'd rather leave professional cycling than be Lance's pet. He'd rather die than be elefantino. And his death, like so much of his life, was marked with pain:
"For reasons that were at first unclear, he'd destroyed everything in the hotel room: the furniture, the mirrors, the plugs in the walls, not in an uncontainable anger, but in a persecutory delirium; in sheer paranoia. Apparently, to stop some alien entity from entering, he had piled the furniture against the door...
As a means of suicide, cocaine is a poor option. A heroin overdose lets you sleep to death. To kill yourself with coke, you need a lot of money, and even then, you can't be sure it will kill you. Marco probably took some time to die. It was an ugly death." -Dr Giuseppe Fortuni, Forensics Medicine, University of Bologna
Thursday, January 21, 2010
The Pantani Ride. I believe this is the 6th annual, but I've honestly lost track. Valentines Day. Sunday, February 14th, 2010. Start time - 10 AM from here on the farm.
Some moderately important notes:
1) Sure, Pantani was a road guy. Don't bring your road bike. A cross bike is questionable (although probably your fastest option if you've got the legs for it.) Mountain bikes are the norm on the network of dirt roads we'll be riding.
2) Here's the route:
same as last year. Note that we'll be both coming up and going back down Simmons Gap. It's possible that some of the leaders will be going down as others are climbing - so just be smart here and watch your speed.
3) On that note, the whole course is open to cars, deer, feral pets, bigfoot, etc. Since this isn't an officially sanctioned race, or "official" at all for that matter, there will be no officials out there keeping you safe, telling you what to do, etc. It's a dirt road ride with a little friendly bravado. Treat it as such.
4) If you happen to be one of those people going up Simmons Gap when the leaders are heading back down, and you feel like maybe 2000 more feet of climbing isn't what you want to do, feel free to cheat. Fall in with the leaders, follow the route back to the farm, and maybe get yourself a sprint victory. Pantani would be proud.
5) Getting lost: totally possible - the ride is really about pushing yourself until you can't see straight. So it's possible, even likely, that you'll get dropped and then take a wrong turn. You've got some options though. Print the map linked above and bring it with you. Ride with someone who knows the course. Stay with the lead group. Bring a GPS/ Iphone/Cell phone - most of the peaks have good reception. Enjoy the moment.
6) A note about weather: it could really suck. The picture below is from a Pantani "ride" year ago.
It could also be gorgeous out, like it was last year. If it's truly bad, we'll make a hasty back up plan and execute it with a complete lack of caution. Rest assured that danger will never be far away.
7) a little more about Pantani...
Pantani has been called the most talented and exciting climber of the last twenty years. His exploits between 1994 and 2000 were nothing less than sensational. He was all aggression, and he climbed like a man possessed, throwing races into chaos with his attacking style, recklessly attacking on the most difficult climbs. More details in the links below on this page.
"...stage racing has always meant weighing up the potential of the stages to come, and riding accordingly - riding, it might be said, in the future tense. Marco had no future tense."
-Matt Rendell, The Death of Marco Pantani
Memorial to Marco Pantani - Cesanatico, Italy
Marco Pantani Museum - Cesanatico, Italy
Thursday, January 14, 2010
It's a common misconception to think that Valentine's day is for roses, hallmark cards, and lovey-dovey affection. And in a way I guess it is. But Marco Pantani died on February 14th, 2004.
"Who is Marco Pantani? How did he die? What does that have to do with me? blah blah blah"
Silence! Marco Pantani would not ask questions. He would simply do some amphetamines, climb aboard his bianchi, and step all over his big ring up the biggest thing he could find, race back down it, and repeat.
But, if you must know...
Who is Marco Pantani...
How did he die?
What does that have to do with me? ... I do get a little narcissitically uneasy linking a blog to itself, but what the hell, it's about Pantani anyway...
Read up. Trim down. Get your race face on. 1 month from today, The Pantani ride will enter it's 4th year.
Details to follow.
Up up up.