Monday, March 3, 2014

Badass of the Day: Andy Hampsten

   If you look up 'manly' in the dictionary, you'll see a description of Andy Hampsten's 1988 stage 4 assault on Mount Gavia. Gavia is a long, steep, partially paved road was host to both the '88 Giro d'Italia stage, and a late spring blizzard. Check this out:

Andy Hampsten atop the Gavia

   Reading this guy's bio is like reading the diary of a bullied 6th grader, "Today Andy dropped us all in the Tour of Switzerland. AGAIN. Today Andy attacked with 18 kilometers left! Andy took my lunch money and solo'd another mountain top stage win." He came to beat Europeans and ride his bike, and he was running out of Europeans. 
   Enter the 4th stage of the '88 Giro. At the bottom of the climb Andy was fighting rain that quickly turned to snow. The road turned form two lanes to one, paved to dirt, and 4% grade to 16% grade. Armed with a sweet pair of full coverage Oakleys, he attacked. 

Base of Gavia climb

   After building a size gap on the climb, Andy was faced with what many of the riders called the worst descent of their racing careers. Blinded by snow and cobbling together whatever warm outfits they could from support cars and fans, they navigated the ice packed roads to the finish at the bottom. Many resigned or came into the finish in tears. 

Andy Hampsten's 7-11 Huffy

   Fun fact: I actually saw this bike at the 2013 NAHMBS, and it was still cold from that descent.

   Back to the race - finishing closer to a human popsicle than a cyclist, he went on to win the 1988 Tour d'Italia. He also finished in the top ten three more times, only retiring in protest to the pressure to use performance enhancing drugs. Read a full Sports article on the stage here.

And that's why Andy Hampsten is your bad ass of the week. 

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