Friday, July 21, 2006



ARLENE LANDIS WATCHES HER SON. This photo by Carolyn Kaster (AP) is, to me, the most incredible image related to this year's Tour de France.

SIMPLICITY AND TECHNOLOGY. The Landis family of Lancaster County, Pennsylvania is conservative Mennonite. Living in simplicity and community, they choose not to possess or routinely use an automobile or TV. Arlene Landis, mother of Tour de France contender Floyd Landis, walks to a neighbor's house to watch her son ride the greatest cycling race in the world (below).

ENDEARING BONDS. In this photo (above) she not only watches OLN's coverage of the Tour de France, but holds up a phone to the TV, perhaps for a friend or relative to hear of her son's internationally-respected effort. I just love this contrast of cultures and endearing bonds of family!

FREE TO LEAVE. News sources report that Floyd Landis left his cloistered community after graduation from high school. Leaving such communities is always a free and considered choice for Mennonite and Amish youth, not an act of rebellion (as some in the news media are trying to cast Landis' departure). Landis loved riding throughout his youth. After leaving his community, Landis has made San Diego his home. From that base he become a nationally-prominant mountain bike competitor before switching to road racing and becoming part of Lance Armstrong's Tour de France-winning team.

I can attest that Floyd and his family have at least a reasonable relationship. Indeed, at the Tour of Goergia, his immediate family waited at the top of Brasstown Bald to watch him clinch victory, and they were ushered by race officials to the finish line to immediately congratulate him. And yes, Floyd's family really are Mennonite!
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