I finally transcribed my entire interview with Floyd Landis, which was much longer than I thought. In fact, the entire transcription is four-typed pages and 1,613 words long. Needless to say, some of it will not appear in the story I’m writing for tomorrow. However, when the story is finished (I’m still waiting for another comment from USADA… they won’t return calls or e-mails), I will post the full transcription here. In the meantime, here’s a snippet I’ll pass along to tide everyone over:
Are you still going to race at Leadville?
Yeah, it seemed like a good idea back when I was training more… that’s going to be painful. I’ve been riding a little more since the hearing ending – I’ve been trying to get some more miles in. If I can just get a few decent weeks of training in I’ll be alright. I don’t particularly like to race at altitude and this one is at 10,000-feet, but I’ll be fine.
I don’t like altitude at all. I hate it. I did that thing a few weeks ago in Vail (Colorado) at the Teva Mountain Games for a fund raiser and that was a problem. The problem there was that I sat in that hearing for 10 days and I didn’t do [anything]. I didn’t even move. It wasn’t like I even exercised, I just sat there. Then I got on my bike a week later and tried to race and it was painful. Hopefully I can get some time up at altitude somewhere.
When you train, do you usually go to altitude?
When I really care and I want to be in shape and I’m training for the Tour or something, I go to altitude. It helps. It helps if you’re going to race at sea level, but if race at altitude you have to train there. You can’t just show up.
Is training in the Northestern U.S. humidity as difficult as training at altitude?
It’s not the same. It’s equally as hard, but (humidity) doesn’t help you adapt to altitude. It’s very difficult if you aren’t used to altitude. Riding around here is hard if you aren’t used to humidity. Those little hills that go up and down – you get tired fast riding around here [in Lancaster County]. You don’t ride 100 miles around here. In California, for example, you can ride along the coast and do 100 miles and not climb a whole lot and be alright. There’s nothing like that here.
How good are the riding conditions in this part of the country?
This is one of the best. If you want to win the Tour or are at the level I was at, you need big mountains. You need to be able to climb for an hour or an hour-and-a-half at a time. But as far as just riding goes and training and you want nice roads, it doesn’t get any better than this.
What can you tell people about Lance Armstrong that no one else knows?
I don’t think I know anything that anyone else knows. People have perceptions of him that might not be very accurate, but I don’t know any details that they wouldn’t know. The guy is obsessed. With whatever he does he is obsessed, and whatever he does he wants to be the best at it. Ultimately, he doesn’t have a lot of close friends because of it and he winds up not being the nicest guy. But that doesn’t make him a doper. That doesn’t make him a cheater. It might make him someone you don’t want to be around, but that doesn’t mean he took advantage of anyone else or that he deserves the harassment some people are giving him, like in the Walsh book.
Next year at this time will you be in France?
I hope so. I really hope so and I think so. The longer this thing goes on the more I think things are going to work out because we put on a case that was never refuted even in the hearing.