Tahoe Pint Nuts: The second most embarrassing affair of my life
Thirty years ago, in Incline Village, two of the world’s great cyclists stood in the shade beneath the footbridge that spans Lakeshore Boulevard, awaiting the start of a 67-mile Coors Classic stage into Reno, by way of Virginia City.
Bernard Hinault, five-time winner of the Tour de France, was to be challenged by local hero Greg LeMond, destined to win the Tour de France three times himself.
Somehow I managed to get my hands on a press pass and piled into the back of a pickup with a half dozen reporters from Europe and a cooler full of Coors beer.
Off we flew, like a gaggle of geese, down the east shore toward Spooner. Having never been so close to world-class athletes before, I was in awe.
We rode so close together that we could see the expression of determination on their faces and the ripple of muscle in their calves.
It was exhilarating to see them sail down Spooner, crouched like aerodynamic rockets, exceeding speeds of 60 miles an hour. I could not believe my eyes.
As we began the ascent into Virginia City my eye caught sight of the cooler full of Coors beer, and I asked my newfound friends, “Anybody for an eye opener?”
They either didn’t speak English or they recognized me for a damn fool, I don’t know which, but nobody responded. They merely smiled a knowing smile and went about their reporting.
Well, if you know anything about the inherent effects of beer, you might sympathize with the unfortunate occurrence that unfolded.
As we entered Virginia City I began to lose interest in the race and gain interest in a growing discomfort. I bent my body around the cab and shouted to the driver, “Yoo-hoo, Yoo-hoo, I have to go number one really BAD!”
The driver must have come from the same part of Europe as the rest of the gang because it became obvious to me that he was not going to stop.
I crossed my legs and started to sing “Sussudio,” which was popular at the time, in a futile attempt to take my mind off my discomposure.
At the same time, I thought I detected some schadenfreude in the foreign comments being bandied about, which only added to my misery.
As we plummeted down Geiger Grade ahead of the peloton, I stood and started hopping on one foot and the other in a “I’ve really got to go” fox-trot, whilst my fellow reporters began to smirk with impunity.
They found it amusing that I was dancing around and falling down amongst them in distress, and I started to sing, “Oh Sheila,” which was also popular at the time.
I then took to biting my shirtsleeve, and enlightening my onlookers with English epithets that perhaps they had never heard before, including a couple of strong expletives native only to Nevada.
At everlasting last we pulled to a stop ahead of the peloton under the arch in Reno. I had to listen to the radio to find out who won that race, for as they crossed the finish line I was in a porta-potty contemplating my sins.
It was Greg LeMond. And though I would not be in the press truck to record his victory in 1986, Bernard Hinault would have his conquest in the Coors Classic.
Learn more about McAvoy Layne at http://www.ghostoftwain.com.