Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Bad Ass Defined

Over this past weekend, Bart Wellens started the Cyclo-cross World Championships with a dream of wearing the rainbow bands, but his hopes were quickly dashed when a camera motorcycle clipped a plastic barrier, sending it careening into his path early in the race. Wellens crashed hard, and unbeknownst to the Belgian, he fractured his wrist in the fall.

Wellens gritted out the pain to finish in fourth place, a remarkable feat for most riders with two good arms. "I could no longer lift my bicycle... but with 30,000 men shouting in the stands, you don't give up" he told Het Nieuwsblad.


Coyle offers a terrific capsule introduction of Ekimov:
The third parable ... was the Story of Eki. Thirty-seven-year-old Russian Viatcheslav Ekimov was the only rider on Postal -- indeed, perhaps the only person in Lance Armstrong's world -- whose work ethic was beyond question. This status was underlined frequently, most of all by Armstrong's assertion that Eki was “nails.” Which raised the question: what does it take to be “nails”?

This is what it took. When Eki was fourteen and living at a sports club in St. Petersburg, he rode 38,000 kilometers in one year, an average of 450 miles a week. In 1996, as a professional, he nearly doubled it ("That's not possible for a human," Floyd Landis said incredulously). But it was true -- Eki had twenty-five notebooks full of training logs to prove it. Eki had ridden thirteen tours and finished every one. Eki never missed a training day. Eki was never late or unprepared. Eki coached himself. Eki was Eki.



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