LP - In what will be forever known as "Black Tuesday" in the cycling world, Lance Armstrong announced that he will not be riding this year's Leadville 100 on Saturday, August 14th. Lance pulling out of the Leadville 100, or "bailing" on it if you speak mountain biker, came as quite a surprise and its effects have been widespread. Nowhere has the effect been felt as strongly as at Trek retailers though, where many would be Leadville 100 riders are attempting to bring back the mountain bikes they just purchased this year to try and attempt the race with Lance.
Luckily for Trek and the bike shops who carry them, Trek is not in the business of mending broken dreams and bike shops are under no obligation to take a bike back simply because someone's hero bailed on a race that they never would have done otherwise. That hasn't stopped people from trying though. One Trek carrying bike shop employee who asked to remain anonymous said, "It's just terrible what we are seeing here. One bike reeked of Simple Green, while another had slicks, but the worst thing I think I saw was a handlebar mirror and aero bars on a Top Fuel. The things we are seeing just ain't right and really, I've been having nightmares about it."
But there are two sides to every story. When interviewed outside of a Trek retailer while trying to return his bike, Leadville 100 entrant Richard Cranium stated, "I can't believe they wouldn't take this bike back. I mean, it's never seen dirt besides at the CTS camp where my entry was guaranteed after not getting in to the fair and unbiased lottery. Besides at the camp, this bike has only seen the pavement and my Computrainer, it's in immaculate shape." Richard, a Phoenix resident, went on to say, "I've always heard there are some great mountain bike trails over on South Mountain, but I've never ridden them because my CTS coach told me I should do the majority of my training on the road as it helps me learn how to spin and build power. I guess if I have to keep this stupid thing I should go and try a few of them out, I guess."
Not everyone believes Lance won't be at this year's Leadville 100 however. Race co-founder Ken Chlouber is holding out hope saying, "I think he'll be here. If you just want my upfront bet, I'd bet you that he's going to be here." It couldn't be confirmed, but under his breath people thought Ken might have said, "He said he loved me, err, Leadville. Why would he not show up? He could bring his kids up to Leadville and support the race he said he loves even if his hip is hurting him too much and he isn't going to ride the Leadville 100. It doesn't make sense, I mean, Aspen to Leadville is only a 60 mile drive. I'm starting to think all of this was just a ploy to promote the Quiznos Pro Challenge."
Industry experts speculate that Lance Armstrong not showing up for this year's Leadville 100 could have long-term consequences, possibly even leading to the eventual economic decline of the city much like the silver mining collapse in the 1950s. Analyst Seymour Buts weighed in, "What Leadville had was a charming race with a lot of diehard regulars. With all of the hype around Lance you see a lot of people who would have never considered the race trying to do it just to be extreme, sort of like buying a Nissan Xterra when they first came out. Unfortunately this comes at a price and a lot of prior multiple Leadville 100 finishers had to be turned away, many of these prior finishers have turned their back on this race. It was a gamble and one can only hope that the new talent will become diehards, however with the attempted bike returns it is not looking good."
But not everyone is attempting to return their bikes. Lawrence Orbach, three-time self-proclaimed winner of the New York City Five Boro Bike Tour, says extreme challenges are what gets his juices flowing. "Just like Lance in the Leadville 100 last year, I set a record time in the Five Boro Bike Tour this year, no one is going to touch that record for awhile." The record time could not be confirmed by Lemming Press as the Five Boro Bike Tour is not a race, but a ride. Lawrence went on to say, "I don't care if Dave Wiens was almost a decade older than Lance Armstrong and basically time trialed all of his Leadville 100 victories alone. I also don't care if Lance brought in some of Trek's best mountain bikers to set a blistering pace while he sat behind them conserving energy so he could set that record time. So what, in the Five Boro Bike Tour I've used drafting for every one of my victories, I probably wouldn't have set a record time had I had to go it alone." Well said Lawrence.
No word on if the Leadville shrine to Lance Armstrong will be completed given the developments of Tuesday, as of press time on Thursday construction was still underway.
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