The David Witt Memorial Cycling Classic
After jumping back into my Scion, Tim and I blasted down the freeway to rendezvous with Floyd Landis again. As mentioned in my previous blog, we had been at the ADT Velodrome that morning to watch Dr Kay attempt the Master’s Hour Record as well as see David Zabriskie go for either the American Hour Record or the Eddy Merckx Hour Record, there was a little confusion about which he was supposed to be going for. Dave had just returned from CSC training/boot camp in South Africa which included deep sea diving and having to catch all their own food as none had been provided. Then to top it off it was 30 hours of traveling to get back to the States. Not ideal Hour Record preparation.
The David Witt Memorial Cycling Classic at the San Diego Velodrome was a chance to raise money for the California Fire Foundation and the honored riders were, of course, Floyd and Dave. Against my better judgment, Dave has grown the beard back. Shaving is probably not a major concern when you have to catch your own food. Hell, I barely shave and all I do is throw my food in a microwave, let alone try and catch something to eat, so I guess I shouldn’t talk. Floyd and Dave raced each other twice in a three lap match sprint. Landis was on his road bike and Zabriskie with his time trial machine. In the first race, Dave hit the brakes forcing both of them into a track stand. I don’t think Floyd saw that coming. The first race Floyd won by jumping onto the track apron and the second sprint Dave, looking for revenge, took with a blistering sprint from the front position. This was a low-key event with spectators coming into the infield and talking to both riders and grabbing precious autographs. The day ended with jerseys being auctioned.
Dave leading out the sprint for the win
While this was going on Tim, John Seguesta our photographer, and myself were strategizing. I had a conceptual idea of what I wanted the photo shoot to look like, but pulling it off is another thing. The planets must have been aligned yesterday because other than lawyers, all of the key people in Floyd’s life were on hand. The plan was John would shoot some action shots and then he and Tim would go back to John’s photo studio, which was a mile away, and prepare for the shoot. John asked me if he should get anything. “A 12-pack of beer!” I’ve done a few photo shoots and they always go a little easier if you have some alcohol, food and music playing. You almost have to turn the shoot into a mini party. Now the tough part, gather all of Floyd’s friends, coaches, and doctors and convince them to come to the studio for the shoot. Sure they all wanted to do it, but now it was getting late in the day and I knew people were getting hungry for dinner. I kept telling them it wouldn’t take long and before you know it you’d all be at dinner. We rolled out of the velodrome with I think five cars in tow for a total of 16 or so people. When we arrived, John, was a little taken back. He didn’t, as did I, think that we had so many people with us. Not only did we have Floyd’s friends (Allen Lim, Robbie Ventura, Dr. Kay, Dr. Baker, David Z, Bob Roll, Landis’ good friends with their significant others) but Sarah Hammer and her coach who we needed to shoot as well. I quickly passed out beers and tried to organize our mini party. We decided to shoot Floyd’s group first, then individual photos and final individual photos of Sarah Hammer to accompany an upcoming interview. But like a party, people were talking, drinking or just sitting and relaxing. At one point, sitting down with a beer in his hand, Floyd said he was having a good time. We did get them organized for the shoot. I’ve seen some of the rough pre-production shots and they look good!
Tim and I finally wrapped up the night at Hawthorn, a restaurant owned by Floyd’s mother-in-law. What a classy place! The restaurant is in a theatre, with the lobby the dining area. Tim and I had gotten there after we looked at some of the photos, so Floyd’s group was already seated. We pulled up a couple of chairs at the end of the table and decompressed. The expression, you are known by the company you keep, seemed very appropriate as I looked at the folks at the table. It could have been very easy for anyone there to say, “No I don’t want to go to the photo shoot” or just be a pain in the ass about it. But instead, when I asked each person if they’d like to do the shoot, no one hesitated and all said they would do it. They all crammed into cars and followed us over to the studio and made it happen. I like to think, when it is all said and done and we shuffle off this mortal coil, that is how we will be remembered. Not by the amount of bike races won, dollars earned, or how many expensive cars we have in our garage, but instead by how we treated our friends and family. In that regard Floyd Landis has nothing to worry about. No sanctioning body can take away the genuine love and respect that people showed to Floyd that day.
The Uni-Bomber beard is back