Saturday, January 10, 2015

The Death of Marco Pantani:

A Biography by Matt Rendell

This book should should be filed under the heading

" Don't meet your heroes".

The way Marco Pantani, danced up the hills is the way I taught my daughter to ride, that spirit, that certain grace, the way he appeared to transcend the limits of what a bike/rider was capable of, the way he didn't even appear to need the bike, he just danced, & whenever old Ma Gravity starting slapping riders down, he grabbed her by the hand and made this old lady the belle of the ball - dancing with her to the summit of every climb.
It now turns out his dancing was more like a 1990s rave scene with Marco as the chief protagonist gurning and gyrating influenced by a cocktail of chemicals prescribed and otherwise .

I know the word on this generation of riders was out there, I know that my view is misty-eyed and foolishly romantic, but Pantani seemed somehow to transcend the machinations of the sport - he was there to dance, sometimes with a fellow cyclist but predominantly just him, the mountain and that old lady.
Again, I know the evidence was out there - but there's knowing & knowing and this book brooks no quarrel, as it dissects every aspect of Marco's worlds, leaving you with no doubts, nowhere to bury your head ("preserve us from the ostriches"). Despite this I still love how he made me feel watching him ride, just ....... it's now slightly sullied, made muddy by what I know.
This book broke my heart & did so with a knowledge & love that made me think it broke the authors as well. "


Violet said...

It's hard when our heroes fall from grace. Cycling certainly did have a big doping problem, but he still must have had phenomenal talent to be able to ride the way he did.

Brian Joseph said...

It really does hurt when someone who you think is better turns out to have been terribly fallible.

I do not know much about this sport but I do know that so many have been disappointed by what has gone on.

@parridhlantern said...

I Know, I used his technique to inspire my daughter to cope with climbs

Bellezza said...

Oh Gary, how the mighty fall. It practically breaks my heart hearing how yours broke; it's so crushing when a "hero" is revealed for who he really is, with feet made of clay.

Appreciated your comments on my blog today. And, you never rant.