Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Steve Lemans

With every day that passes, I get more sucked into the cycling subculture.

Take the Giro d'Italia. Last year, a Giro was just another Greek food; now it's a Greek food (like a balaclava) that also has a cycling connotation. Fantastic! And this year, I've learned the names of a few more riders. I watched as David Millar took an agonizing groin shot to the top tube when his chain snapped 1K from the finish. I've also have been cheering on that little Italian climbing phenomenon and veteran Leonardo Piepoli.

I've come to realize that cycling has more retina staying power than non-mainstream sports. Must be because of the cycling gear: the brightly colored uniforms and cycles. Let's face it, outside of Ringling Brothers, you don't see this much vivid spandex. If only the Italians would follow their circus cousins and grow mustaches to look like their mothers.

Running, in contrast, has no such appeal. You've got boring singlets and running shorts. Oh, and some flashy shoes. With this drab outlook, there's little sense of team competition. Even in cross country, the colors are often so muted like burnt umber or a dull cyan that it just too depressing to view. And while the 1980s had a fair amount of almost-mainstream runners: Rodgers, Prefontaine, Salazar, Beardsley and Samuelson, I challenge you to name a prominent runner today. Can you?

But cycling has its share of recognizable names. Of course, there's Armstrong. Some may recall Floyd Landis. And then there is Greg Lemond.

With a flame out with Trek bicycling company, Lemond is still vying for attention in the public eye. Regarding his image, it does seem as though he has a hard time of letting go of things. Like Pizza. Yet I got to give him credit, because the public still remembers his greatness in Paris.

Take yesterday, for instance. I was riding home from work on Old Yeller in my Midwest Cycling Community kit. As I approached 15th and Farnam a jaywalker yells, "GO STEVE LEMANS!" Um. Lemans? ... Steve? I could be wrong about this, but I think he meant Greg Lemond. But perhaps he meant Lemaze. Lemond does look like he's about to birth something, so I could see that. But I'm pretty certain he said Lemans. Of course, due diligence followed as I later Googled "Steve Lemans." The Google was also a bit confused and fired back "Did you mean: steve le mans". I clicked the link to discover references to Steve McQueen and the 1971 movie "Le Mans". This really got interesting because of the Steve McQueen - Sheryl Crowe connection, which brought me back to Lance. It's a stretch, but I really doubt that's what he meant.

Regardless of what was actually said, it still made a difference on my ride. A toothy grin erupted on my face while the heart rate and cadence picked up. Indeed, I felt a special new connection to the cycling community in being compared with the greatness of the one and only Greg Steve McQueen Le Mans Lemond.

Like Steve McQueen
All I need's a fast machine ....


  1. I like Pizza Steve. A great quote from Multiplicity.

    Ok fine. I'll see you at the Trek Store at 6pm. I was getting all pumped to rip some single track and now that's not gonna happen till the weekend. Well, I guess no riding's going to happen till the weekend with how much rain is in the forecast. Ok fine. You win.

  2. Today's prominent US runners, without the benefit of Google:

    Ryan Hall
    Dathan Ritzenhein
    Alan Culpepper
    Alan Webb
    Brian Sell
    Shalane Flanagan
    Paula Radcliffe (but she's British, sorry)
    Deena Kastor
    Meb Keflezigi (pretty sure I didn't spell that one right)

  3. Anyone see the 2 movies based on Pre's life?

  4. Munson: haven't seen Multiplicity but I knew I was stealing a quote from somewhere

    Bryan: Okay, you're a former runner and avid sports fan. Still, the list is impressive.

    Matt N: Good to see a posted comment from you. Sounds like the move has been OK for the most part and you're getting lots of riding ops. As for Pre: haven't seen either but heard at least one's good.

  5. I have "Without Limits," the one endorsed by Bill Bowerman and written by former teammate Kenny Moore. The other one is crap.

  6. I have no idea who any of those runners are, save for Pre. And that's only because I saw Without Limits, and I only remember that movie because of the...um...trampoline scene. Oh, and his weird name made it easier to remember. I think I might have heard about Ryan Hall. But I believe his name came up during the conversations on one of our winter group runs. You know, where my contribution to the discourse was "yeah" or just heavy breathing?

  7. The only other that I've head of is Alan Webb. Since he was supposed to be the next great american runner.

  8. Hall, Ritzenhein and Sell are the US Olympic marathon team. Webb is American's best miler. Culpepper is a 5,000 meters guy who's getting ready to go up to the marathon (maybe). Flanagan is the best 5,000-meter runner in the country, Radcliffe is the women's marathon record-holder, while Kastor is the US's best female marathoner. Keflizigi earned the country's first Olympic marathon medal since 1970-something in 2004.

  9. For cyclists, you guys know a lot about runners. I'm impressed.

  10. You guys are missing the point:
    Movies about runners? Watch
    Muriel Hemmingway
    in Personal Best. Actually come to think about that, running is sort of the side plot.

    Nice trio of Steve McQueen, Sheryl Crow and Lance. But again, young ones, the missing link is Ali McGraw. (raorrr!) Too bad she wasn't in Personal Best....

  11. I was compared to Eric Heiden once while wearing my 7-11 kit. It was pretty cool.