We have grown up while Marco Pantani has rested in peace. We have learned a lot. Ten years ago, it was easy to mourn the passing of the once great cyclist, but then the truth emerged over the past decade, and the innocence that tears fell from, become resolve for villains and victors. Remembering Marco Pantani now isn’t so ideal for these purposes, yet for some of us, he is an innocent competitor and he holds a quiet place in our hearts. He took the heads of lions, and demolished them during the supercharged era of cycling. And he was the perfect candidate for those time. He was a mess. And being a mess as a person is one of the best gateways to PED use there ever could be. And he was able to hide that mess through cycling. The singular focus removes all need to refellct on soulful pain, but then it became too much.
It’s been 10 years now, and no matter how villainous Marco has become for some of us, back then, when news spread of his suicide, somber, sober, sad thoughts rang through most of us as we gallivanted around on our fancy machines. But, we take part in such an elite and sophisticated First World™ past time. Does sadness reach all worlds? Does it belong here? It does. It hit the cycling scene like a fascist occupation when the tiny nation of Pantain went dark.
Say what you want: that Marco was a cheater, that he should have changed, or that fate was his to bend. The Superissimo would just like to ask that you save Marco Pantani from the scrutiny and say it to the monsters that lived in him.
This post is not too funny. The pressures of greatness aren’t either; they trigger anxiety in champions and fracture securities that most humans take for granted. It is lonely at the top. (Side note: this LonelyAtTheTop® condition is of course why Superissimo is never lonely.)
Pantani provided countless images of conquest for the benefit of our escape, but he could not escape. When I think of the battles of others, the dark times become challenges and learning moments which turn in to gifts – usually no later than the point at which I’m recovering and hating that I didn’t go darker just to see if I could. Marco went dark. VDB went dark. Simpson knew the darkness. We hate, we love, we participate, but maybe we don’t really know.
Superissimo does not forget Marco. You should not, either.
The graphic that represents for us the ‘nache that was Marco Pantani has been in existence for nearly half of the time Marco has been gone, but it wasn’t until this tenth anniversary of his suicide that we decided to pull it form the archives and set it to a product. This is a strange thing, to celebrate a suicide, but there is simply something about his life, and how he left the world that deserves remembering. And so we remember in a simple shirt. Black or Pink for the obvious death of an amazing Italian. They are available in the shop. Everyone is a pallbearer to this now.