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Riding Fixed, Up Mountains, with Pros – Episode III: Red Rock Canyon

 

DISCLAIMER: FOR THE SENSITIVE READER PLEASE ENJOY THE EPISODE AND READ NO FURTHER. THE FOLLOWING IS INTENDED TO BE GOOD OLD FUN. WE HAVE A SENSE OF HUMOR AND SO DO YOU. WE ARE NOT ENDORSING DRUG USE, CHEATING, BIB CHILLING, OR STAYING UP TOO LATE BEFORE YOUR BIG DAY.

It is our great pleasure to bring you our third episode featuring TWO pro cycling legends and Tour de France winners, Floyd Landis and Dave Zabriskie. Their career reputations alone precede them, and we had no idea what we were in for with these retired champions.

Floyd Landis rode alongside Lance Armstrong on the U.S. Postal Service team, supporting Armstrong's TdF championships from 2002-2004 before taking his own Yellow Jersey in 2006. In the 2015 smash-hit Hollywood blockbuster The Program, an excellent film villainizing Lance in his role as team captain and administer of their blood doping regimen, Floyd is portrayed by Emmy nominated actor, Jesse Plemons, who after completing a successful train heist for a $300 million tank of methylene in a show called Breaking Bad, he shoots a kid in the chest for waving at him, but he did wave back. Landis has never killed a child, but amateur cyclist, genie in Aladdin and protaganist of Mrs. Doubtfire, Robin Williams, dubbed this badass, "Motherfucker of the Mountains."

Dave Zabriskie claimed his Tour de France win in 2005, before Floyd, but after Lance. He is a dad and also the founder of the world's finest and most effective chamois cream, DZNuts. The chamois, pronounced "shammy," is an integral, diaper-like, butt/gooch pillow sewn inside of bike shorts that substantially improves cycling comfort while seated for prolonged workouts. These shorts can be worn inside-out for an alternative experience. Dave even invented a word that perfectly expresses the function and philosophy of the product: "maintaintanance." I have tested the product extensively and can verify its triumphant performance-enhancing qualities, most importantly being its plant-derived, natural fragrance reminiscent of crisp alpine woods that almost encourages post-ride bib chilling.

Together, the two run a thriving business called Floyd's of Leadville, supplying hemp-derived and legal CBD (without THC) tinctures, topical creams, and softgels to those seeking athletic or daily lifestyle pain-management without the harmful side effects common in most pain-relief.

Without further adieu, welcome to Vegas.

We knew that Bryan "B-Hard" Harding would pull through for us on this episode, but I couldn't possibly predict the caliber of his dedication.

We arrived early in the evening and shared a fine meal at El Dorado, advertised on many billboards as the best mexican food in Las Vegas. Upscale and supposedly organic food it confused as much as pleased, as it shares the same building with the established Sapphire Gentleman's Club. It looked like a nice enough place, also well-articulated in its advertising as the "world's largest strip club in Vegas." I'll bet that works more than 60% of the time, every time.

Bryan kept his wits, but I could tell he was nervous. I insisted that Floyd doesn't kill kids and Dave's taint cream's icy/hot sensation doesn't hurt, that we should go out, hit the dispensary, get cute boba drinks and then Krispy Kreme, but he was stone firm on not being out late. The Krispy Kreme menu in Vegas has the Cinnamon Bun, and only in Vegas.

"Who doesn't love a cinnamon bun? Tempt your taste buds with our version of this classic – cinnamon flavor on the inside and our distinctive Original Glaze on the outside."

The next morning, awoken to open blinds and Bryan standing at the window, fully naked at first, and then clothed for a photo, gazing upon the city of sins with a stoic look of pride and eagerness, he was on best behavior and prepared as a boy scout to fuck up a mountain.

We had a hearty breakfast and took our time. In respect to Bryan's wishes we ate in silence. The drive to the mountain is only about 30 minutes from the strip and was spent singing collectively to the best of Gloria Estefan's discography.

Las Vegas is situated in a valley surrounded by truly breathtaking mountain ranges, but nobody gives a shit to look around because the Luxor pyramid and castles of Excalibur are what really take your breath away. Upon arrival to Red Rock Canyon, we're all a little jealous that B-Hard gets to be on the bike. The 13-mile scenic drive off Hwy 159 looks like a dream ride.

I'll admit I was a little intimidated to meet the champions myself, but butterflies mellowed as soon as we learned how down-to-earth these guys really are. Floyd is ever-engaging and charismatic. Dave is a mild-mannered and quick-witted type. Both are absolutely hilarious. Think a high-functioning Lloyd and Harry (no pun). Floyd was handing out shirts as soon as we met him, and Dave couldn't wait to show us and demonstrate a complete installation of his new SeaSucker bike rack.

Addressing the pun, Landis is infamous for being stripped of his Tour de France championship having tested positive for blood-doping while competing. Years of Zabriskie's results including his TdF win were also revoked due to USADA investigation.

We're a bit dumbfounded to find out that Floyd hasn't been on a bicycle since 2006. While familiarizing himself with the relatively unfamiliar object, we also find out he's pumped to ride soft-soled shoes and no helmet. You do you, Floyd.

It's a good thing I lied and we DID go out the night before for all the treats, because this is going to be an absolute shit show.

"I thought the bikes were just a prop. For the hipsters. They actually ride them?"

As if we can't slow down any more, a police-escorted motorcycle ride suspends traffic from crossing into the road while they pass.

While the 200, maybe 300 motorcyclists drive on, we discover Dave's impressive social media presence.

Floyd: "You never wanna do something new on race day."

Dave: "For this particular race you should probably take a handful."

Bryan washes a few down with bourbon and they're off.

Not more than a couple miles in, Floyd makes a valid and thought-provoking point:

"They gave me all this grief in the news for cheating and winning. What about the guys who cheated and lost? They didn't get any grief at all! The fuck is up with that?"

Let's all agree and get it off our chests that blood-doping creates an unfair advantage, and that's cheating. The documentary Icarus that exposes the ugly truths of doping, virtually confirming rumors from athletes and authorities alike that everyone is cheating (at least the athletes that are winning), sort of invalidating the fairness in advantage if they all have it. Food for thought at least...

Tramadol is an opioid not unlike Morphine used to treat severe pain. It's apparently a regulated, unbanned substance commonly taken by athletes. Can you imagine how damn fast you could ride on a Morphine high? For those willing to risk side-effects such as addiction, withdrawal, euphoria, and overdose, is the advantage unfair?

EPO (Erythropoietin) is naturally secreted by the kidneys in response to tissues of the body experiencing oxygen deprivation, stimulating red blood cell production. Synthesized and also commonly used by athletes for performance enhancement, EPO is a banned substance as of the early 1990s.

Here's to more CBD.

"You don't have to take my word for it."

- LeVar Burton

On Floyds of Leadville Yellow Jerseys, not just for TdF champions:

"No, no, we're gonna sell 'em. And if you buy one you can just say that you won the Tour de France – it doesn't even matter 'cause currently no one has ever won it."

"Anybody can claim it."

Floyd: "Fuck these bikes."

"What would be [the] highlights of your professional cycling careers?"

"You know, just hangin' up the wheels."

"At this point I'm starting to think that might have been the highlight of mine as well."

You want to know what it really takes to win a Tour de France GC? Posture, the figurative kind. Look at that hand position. Dave calls this "the Monster Glove."

"Floyd, show 'em the Raptor."

Truly what championships are made of. Dave takes a barf break without skipping a beat and Floyd demonstrates stability and grace with "the Raptor Grip." Looks good, works good.

Here is an absolutely inspiring display of DGAF.

Floyd: "This is probably something that's never been seen."

Dave: "I did this all the time."

The champs remount in anticipation of what's up the road...

I just thought they were excited to start descending...

Caption this.

"What would be the craziest thing you've seen in the pro peloton?"

Dave: "I've seen beer gun bazookas."

Floyd: "I saw a guy get road rash without crashing once."

As they complete the loop Floyd and Dave can't get off the bike soon enough, but Saxon and I need a little more content. They're however most certainly finished.

Thousands of words here, but I'll give you a few. Bryan could go all day. Saxon stressin' about asking for another loop from the GCs.

As we roll back to our parking spot, Bryan delicately approaches the subject and tries a little sweet talking, but bonk boys are toast.

More desperate measures are called for and they no longer have a choice.

Floyd mans up and puts his money where his mouth is, most literally.

Floyd: "I did do an entire stage race drunk once. It was in Mexico – I mean, what do you expect?"

Dave: "I think I'm opening up."

Floyd: "Go Juju."

Dave: "See you guys."

Floyd: "You gotta slow down!! DAVE!! Hey asshole, you fucked it up. Now we gotta go do another climb."

Bryan: "I guess we're going to the strip now."

Over lunch, when challenged to name as many strains of marijuana as possible in 30 seconds, they came up with the following:

  1. Purple Rain
  2. Gorilla Glue
  3. Tiny Turtle
  4. Prince's Revenge
  5. Chili Fries
  6. Lazy Octopus
  7. Ganja Goddess
  8. Astroturf
  9. Ugly Dude
  10. Brown Recluse
  11. Homer
  12. Gas Station Toilet
  13. Stinky Pinkie
  14. Wood Door
  15. Upside-down Monkey
  16. Mandingo's Revenge
  17. Jalapeño Popper

Don't do drugs, only weed, wear a helmet, and come on back for our most brutal ride and chillest duo in Episode 4!