Thirty years goes by in a blink of an eye. That sounds like a great song lyric by Jackson Brown.
In 1986, Greg LeMond and Bernard Hinault continued their rivalry on American soil, after LeMond beat Hinault in the 1986 Tour de France by 3 minutes and 10 seconds.
In the 1986 Coors Classic, there was a lot of testosterone flowing as Hinault wanted to end his career on American soil with a victory. He accomplished this feat and LeMond finished second. Hinault retired at the end of that year, thereby ending a great career for the Badger. Other magnificent riders were there too: Hampsten, Bauer, Phinney, Alcala, Pierece, Shapiro, Anderson, and Lauritzen. Even the timeless Jeannie Longo was there on the women’s side.
I was in Colorado to witness 4 stages of the race. For complete coverage of what happened, you can click this link. For some pictures I took during that time, look a little further into this article.
How Did I Happen To Be There?
In late July and early August, 1986, I decided to take a little bike ride. I was in between years 1 and 2 of my Master’s grad schooling and felt the need to hit the road. So I packed up my bike (Figure 1) and rode from Illinois to Texas (Figure 2). Other than getting hit by a truck in Arkansas, it was a pretty good time.
Figure 2 – Entering Texas. I thought the earth was going to catch on fire.
I’ll save the rest of story for later, but before I leave the topic, let me just tell you a quick story. On the day that the picture in Figure 2 was taken, it was hot.
It was very hot, indeed. It was so hot, in fact, that the asphalt was melting beneath my tires as I rode down the road. The air temperature on that day was 105 with a heat index of 125. The next day it got hotter to 106/126. I can tell you that dead armadillos smell pretty bad when it is above 100 degrees and they are getting cooked on the road.
If you don’t believe me, you can see in Figure 3 that the relative humidity must have been about 45-50% on those days. They were record hot days for that part of Texas, and as Figure 3 shows, I was in extreme danger doing that type of cycling. When I write the official story, I’ll have to tell you about how a broken-down truck driver saved my life along Interstate 30 as I approached Dallas.
As I rode into New Boston, TX, a girl in a convenience store looked at me in my white tee-shirt, all sweaty and red-faced and she asked me this:
The Girl: What are you doing? Don’t you know that it is hot outside?
Me: Yes, I’ve been riding my bike for nearly 800 miles in this heat. I’m pretty sure I know it’s hot outside.
The Girl: Now why would you want to do that?
The 1986 Coors Classic
When you are in college, life is great. I did whatever I wanted to do.
I have got some great stories to write for this blog from that time period, including the time I nearly died by falling through a hot-tar roof. I was saved when my manhood met a steel beam that kept me from crashing into machinery about 40 feet below.
As my feet dangled in the air and my arms were spinning in circles trying to get back up on the roof, my friend Dominic and his Dad Pasquale laughed their asses off at me. What happened next is the best story, which I’ll have to write later.
Now after finishing the ride to Texas, my friend Loren and I hopped in his little Honda Civic and drove to Colorado to follow the Coors Classic. The following assemblage of pictures were taken during that trip.
It was a great treat it was for me to see Greg LeMond in his prime going up against Bernard Hinault. The astute readers will realize that this is from the time period of when Men were Men and Boys were Boys. Notice that these guys didn’t wear helmets. This was from the time of the tough-guys. I hope you enjoy the pictures!
Mr. Greg LeMond is starting a new company to produce some phenomenal carbon fiber bikes down the road from where I live. I want to get these pictures to him so that he can enjoy himself in his prime. I hope to meet him one day to thank him for giving me a thrill of a lifetime.
Maybe I can even help Greg build his company with some ass-kicking analytics. Who knows – anything is possible! If anyone happens to know Greg, send him a link to this article.