Friday, July 21, 2006

Forget Gatorade

By now everyone in the cycling world (and all you futbol bandwagon wannabees had better pay attention: the Tour de France is the world's largest spectator sport, not the World Cup) knows how Floyd Landis roared back into contention on stage 17. According to Patrick O'Grady of VeloNews he "chased down an 11-man breakaway, killed and ate them, built a new bicycle out of their bones, and roared away in a pillar of fire to win the stage to Morzine and jump back to within 30 seconds of the yellow jersey."

Apparently the secret to Floyd Landis' success on stage 17 of the Tour de France was due to . . . beer. I can hear the cyclists of the world applauding. Maybe this is why Belgium churns out both amazing ales and grizzled cyclists. After actually pedaling so slowly that he rode backwards on the final climb of stage 16 (well, almost: he lost a minute per kilometer), Landis was asked, "How do you deal with this from a mental standpoint?"

"I don't know. Drink some beer? That's what I'm thinking about now."

Landis drank tons of water on his epic ride. Aside from the temps in the 90s, was there any other reason? "Maybe it was the beer I had last night," he admitted. I can see the made-for-TV movies now: "The making of a true American hero: Raised in an oppressive Mennonite family and forbidden to wear shorts, Landis broke free of his restraints, moved to California, became a pro mountain bike racer, and even shaved his legs. Now, like a bubbly head of foam, he has risen to the top of the cycling world, owing it all to beer."

On one last note (sorry), maybe the Germans have had it right all along (no surprise there). The inspiration for many of today's citrus-tweaked wheat ales, the German Radlermass, or"cyclist mug", is a carbohydrate-rich mix of beer and lemonade, ready to replenish the weary rider.

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