Friday, August 24, 2012

It’s Not About Lance, It’s About You.

$20 OBO
It looks like a good day to stay off the internet, said pro rider Adam Myerson on Facebook.  I don’t blame him.  Facebook lit up with the language of Lance this morning.  I was aghast at some comments.  However, having a communications background, I’m a good listener with a very long fuse.  So far, two co-workers kiddingly popped in my office to make sure I was doing okay.  Cute.  I genuinely laughed out loud at a friend’s post that read something on the order of, “I think I overheard someone say Lance is now stripping.”  Chapeau!  A nice twist on words.  I rolled my eyes at another post showcasing an autographed yellow jersey and the caption, “$20 OBO.”  Laughter is the best medicine.  Thank goodness it’s not a banned substance because today we need all we can get.

All kidding aside, I told my coworkers I feel a bit empty.  The emptiness comes from knowing the outcome before it’s happened.  As cycling fans, we know where this road leads.  Under a thick cover of trees it’s dark and foreboding.  However, even with the front end sliding out on gravel in a corner, you keep your hands on the bars hoping the rubber grips ground for a miraculous save.  Right now, your knee is instinctively augering outboard.  We know it’s a matter of road rash or a broken collarbone.  Lance chose road rash. 

It’s still going to hurt.  It’s hard to watch.  We’re still peeking between our fingers.

Some of My Other Cycling Heroes
In bike racing there are things you can control and those you cannot.  We learn, we strive to perfect what’s in our control and quash what we can’t.  We lube chains the night before the race and never, ever, under any circumstances do we make mechanical changes before a race without riding the bike.  We kick ourselves when hindsight shows we could have prevented a mishap.  We throw up our hands and say “that’s bike racing” when riders two rows in front of you fall and take you out with them.  For better or worse, today’s news is bike racing.

We can’t control what comes next.  So, like Lance, I’m throwing up my hands and saying I’m done with this nonsense.  I’ve had it with this BS of stripping titles, taking back medals and negating record books.  I too am disgusted with the after-the-fact reshuffling of the deck.  Lance is right.  It is absurd.  Either someone wins at that moment on that day, or they don’t.  The guy standing atop the podium after the final day of the Tour De France should be the winner, cut and dry.  Riders want to win when they cross the finish line on the bike, not 10 years later on the phone.  Lance contends he knows who won those tours.  In a perfect world, he’d be right.  

"Ce qui est fait est fait."  What's done is done.

You can curse the USADA’s and UCI’s procedures.  You can say Lance passed all the tests, gave them everything they asked, played by the rules and is clean, by definition.  That’s all that matters right?  Or, you can look for the crack in the pavement and insist that somehow he was able to beat the system, but is a doper.  One thing is certain, if we keep this up, we’ll be saying that for the rest of our lives. 

I don’t want to live that way.  I’m not going to continue to beat a dead horse.  I think its obvious UCI, USA Cycling, USADA, and WADA need to change.  So do riders and promoters.  They need to make sure the guy they hand the trophy to is the winner.  I can’t do that.  I’m not part of cycling’s governing body.  I’m a guy on my couch with a remote control in one hand and a beer in the other.

Sometimes Being A Fan Isn't Easy
I love banging the couch cushions and hiding my eyes between my fingers.  I love watching riders make miraculous cyclocross saves through the grass of a switchback.  I love seeing guys get mercilessly spit out the back on long arduous climbs.  I love to watch riders pick themselves off the pavement and close the gap.  I love the lead-out train as much as the guy who beats it.  I love bike racing.   

Lance did what he thought was best for him.  My opinion is to take is his advice.  Whether you’re a cycling fan or part of racing yourself, do what’s best for you.  Go ride your bike, enjoy the wind in your face.  Ride hard.  Ride long.  If one day you’re faced with a choice, make a decision you can live with the rest of your life. 

Right now, as a fan, my decision is to continue to cheer.  However, I chose to no longer be crushed days, months, years later that the riders involved were doping.  Hopefully that will change.  Till it does, I will watch races, ring cowbells, shout “Allez” at the leader and call it a day.  Fin.  Game over.  I'll turn my back having enjoyed another bike race and not care about it anymore.  I got what I came for.  It’s no different than turning off the TV at night.  

Goodnight Lance.


1 comment:

JMott said...

"Go ride your bike, enjoy the wind in your face. Ride hard. Ride long. If one day you’re faced with a choice, make a decision you can live with the rest of your life." Better words are rarely spoken, I'm going for a ride now. Hup Hup