Thursday, January 14, 2010
Just read this on VeloNews: http://velonews.competitor.com/2010/01/news/fignon-continues-cancer-battle_102403
I had read last Spring that he was battling cancer and hadn't really heard much since. Sounds like he's still putting up a decent fight, but also resigning himself to the possibility that it just may not work out in his favor.
Fignon and LeMond were in their prime just as I was getting into cycling in high school. I can remember running to the bottom of our driveway to snag the paper and read the small box in the sports section that listed the Tour results every day, then on Sunday I would listen to the musical stylings of John Tesh and vocal stylings of Phil Ligget for the weekly recap. Gotta love the internet and TV coverage we have today. It was tough to wait until Sunday to see what really happened, and even tougher that it was condensed into a one hour TV show per week. Brutal. In any event, my formative years in cycling were spent watching LeMond battle Hinault and then Fignon. I owned a sweet pair of La Vie Claire shorts, and I rocked 'em 5-6 days a week and probably washed them once a week. I don't know how my washing frequency is relevant to the story, but I thought I'd throw it in there anyway.
Watching Fignon, pony tail flying in the breeze was pretty motivating for me. He had cool glasses and always looked more like a poet than a bike racer. I even tried the pony tail look on for size during college. It was a brief stint and on the bike was about as successful as Fignon's. Much like Fignon's non-areo hairdo was no match for Lemond's trick aero helmet in the TT, my non-helmeted ponytailed head was no match for a steep embankment on my MTB. After sailing through the air and narrowly avoiding a tree, I took the landing head first and ended up with some sweet skid marks on the side of my head. It is better to look good than feel good though. I wish I could say that was the last time I did something stupid without wearing a helmet, but sometimes you need to land on your head a few times to learn.
Hopefully Fignon's third round of treatment is more successful that his first two. Cancer sucks.
Coincidentally, I happened to open a nice bottle of French wine tonight . . . a votre sante.
There's three years of French in the late 80's put to good use. My high school teacher, Mademoiselle Hastings would be very proud. Of course she set the bar pretty low for me. I didn't really want to learn French, I just wanted to race in France.