Friday, August 03, 2018

The Champion

At about the time my old job at the lab was winding down a big photographic scanning job came in. The man on the phone said his client needed various materials digitized for an upcoming exhibit. Confidentiality was a must. We set up a meeting: the man came in and brought stacks of articles, sheets of slides, old advertising copy—all of it featured Greg LeMond, the three-time winner of the Tour de France.  After figuring out what needed to be done—formatting issues mostly—we arranged for time for the project to be picked up.

At one time (at the same lab) a coworker and I would follow cycling avidly, and I knew that he would have gotten a kick out of seeing all these materials, they were as good as it gets. The slides, in particular, were high resolution dupes from some of the top European sports photographers of the day. We both desired a LeMond bicycle—not that we were racers—but just to bask in the vicarious glow emitted by the brand.

After completing the job and knowing that the days of the lab were numbered, I gave a call to the client. He said he was going to be out of town but Greg could pick it up. Gulp!
And he did come and he wanted to talk to me about the scans. We began to talk, and I was surprised at how friendly and outgoing he was. We talked about his current projects (mostly fitness related), cycling in general, and places worth touring. I mentioned Iceland, of course; he had never been there so I gave him some tips!

Greg was in the forefront of the anti-doping effort, a lonely stance that cost him sponsorships and even the loss of the Lemond bicycle brand. At the time I spoke with him he was at a career nadir, although he would soon be vindicated when Lance Armstrong admitted cheating. Greg hadn’t let those setbacks deter him, when I spoke with him he was upbeat and still had his passion for cycling, even to point of talking with a nerdy technician about the simple joys of exploring the open road on two wheels.

He was the champion of the world.

By Professor Batty


Blogger jono said...

Very cool!

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