Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Lance Armstrong - There is no Santa

When I first started cycling circa 2000, Lance Armstrong was my hero.  The USPS team was BADASS.  The Tour De France was becoming mainstream on television, in the news, etc.  He would shred the bad guys like Jan Ulrich.  He could come back after being pulled to the ground by a fan's handbag or after riding cross county to avoid Beloki's crash.  He couldn't lose it seemed!

He would go on to win Seven Tours IN A ROW.  I believed the hype, after a "good guy" like him beats cancer, he returns to the top of the sport. "No way he would cheat" I thought to myself, hero's never cheat, he denied it so vehemently, he was never caught, never had a failed test result.

After I read his first book, I was torn. My gut was telling me he wasn't a good person, he was a lost soul, arrogant. He had rejected religion.  There was nothing "bigger than him" that could have saved him or given him new life.

BUT my mind was in awe of his unreal athletic accomplishments. I would defend him as "maybe not the nicest guy, but he's an incredibly gifted athlete. 

Then he started to run marathons.   "Awesome, I won't let a cyclist beat me in a marathon" I thought.  "His involvement would be a great thing for the sport" I thought.  I "toed the line" with him at the 2008 Boston Marathon.  I was running with a friend and training partner, Creighton, who idolized Lance.  Creighton was a testicular cancer survivor, he had three children just like Lance.  Lance was his source of HOPE.  
Now Creighton and I are similar in appearance, and we've both been told we look like Lance.  We both had yellow shirts on that day and we were both hoping to see Lance on the course (and of course to beat him).   As we were running along people were yelling at us "go Lance", and we're looking around trying to find him until another runner say to us "they're talking to you, they think you look like Lance"!  

Anyway, long story short we finally find out that Lance is BEHIND us at mile 8 and Creighton says "we've gotta turn around" to which I replied, "you can, but I'm not stopping".  So we continued on.  By the time we hit mile 17 it was clear that it wasn't going to be my day.  I told Creighton to go ahead and I'd see what I could muster to finish.  Sure enough, Lance and his crew passed me going up Heartbreak Hill.  Defeated by a cyclist, DAMMIT.  At least now I can say it was a cheating cyclist.

Well, it turned out that Creighton got his wish, he ran shoulder to shoulder with Lance for the last 8 miles or so.  On National television, with all of our family and friends at home watching!

Creighton running shoulder to shoulder with Lance.

This is how my day ended!  The course of Lance? Perhaps.

Anyway, by now I'm sure you've heard about Lance's interview with Oprah and his confession to cheating.  I feel like someone told me for the first time that Santa wasn't real, it hurts.  

But what hurts the most is Lance's motive for his confession (at least in my opinion).  Lance was banned from competition last year.  No cycling, no running, no multisport events.  Lance doesn't like to be told he can't do something.  So, for his own sake he's decided to confess, NOT because it was the morally correct thing to do, but because it'll help him get what he wants.

My gut was right.  Real superhero's don't exist, you can only find them in cartoons and movies.

This is a great read.  HERE

2 comments:

  1. It is a huge disapointment that Lance doped, but I still appreciate all that he & Livestrong have done for those afflicted with cancer. Pretty cool story about your Boston marahon - your friend Creighton sounds like a hero to me!

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  2. yeah unfortunately that man behind "the face" wants to win at all costs. Family, Friends, Cancer survivors all come second to his goal of winning at everything he does. The fact that he sued ppl for things that were true shows he would do anything to protect his image and his mission to beat everything in his path. When I saw him ride away from much more gifted and genetically perfect cyclists (jan ulrich) in the tour I knew he was on the juice. The fact that he did not do many races in the spring leading up to the tour was the most telling he was obviously avoiding the testing and training on the juice. The most sad thing about last night was that he basically said if it was not for the fact that they got others to confess then he would not have come clean. Basically his motivations to confess are pathetic. he basically wants to race again. You think he really sleeps at night now feeling sorry for all the people he has let down? ppl like greg lemond lost their businesses (trek contract) and will never recover. people like this cant feel remorse...oh and he was clean in 2009-2010 when he got 3rd? ha!

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