Sunday, January 20, 2013
Lance Armstrong-Final Thoughts
I'm going to make this a short and sweet article of the conclusions I have made of this whole business with Lance Armstrong. First of all, my previous articles may have had a hint of support for the humbled and dethroned athlete. For the record, I would like to change my view about Lance Armstrong. It has taken me a long time to finally withdraw all sympathy and pity I once felt for him. His most recent appearances make it clear that he is guilty without doubt of using drugs and rigging the system to come out on top. When it was revealed that he used cortisone steroids as well as EPO and blood transfusions, that was the final deal breaker in my support for Lance. Lance Armstrong is a grown man that will have to face the consequences of his own actions, even if those consequences may haunt him forever. As far as his victims go, the real victims are the ones who bought into the lies of competitive cycling, throwing away their resources and relationships just so they could compete with the top of the line equipment and use drugs to game the system as well. I am not talking about the professional peloton which includes some of Lance's former teammates and opponents. They were part of the game and to me are as guilty as Lance himself. I am talking about those who aspired to be like them.
Let this be a lesson to all of us that cycling is something we should do primarily for our health and our quality of life. If someone happens to be faster than most on a bike and they want to compete, there is nothing wrong with that either. But we should not look up to the example that these guys have given us. There needs to be a drastic change in the sport of cycling if it is to survive from here on out. A change in training, a change in expectations and a change in the way cyclists see and treat each other. Bike snobbery has to end, period. Category 1 riders need to not compete in category 5 races. There needs to be a path to success in the sport that is attainable to anyone. Prize pots and entrance fees probably need to disappear altogether for amateur cycling. Scouting for semi pro or paid teams need to start at the beginner level. There needs to be more developmental programs for people wanting to get into the sport but who are not rich. And finally, bike jerks need to be put in their place. Roadies need to quit running stop signs and running over pedestrians just because they do not want to be slowed down. I was riding at White Rock Lake today, when a group of roadies nearly ran over a little girl on a skateboard. That was not cool. This really ruins any good efforts that the cycling community makes to have provisions granted to them, like bike lanes and trails.
What would be drug free racing field look like? It's going to be slower, at least by three miles an hour. There will be more breakaway artists and all rounders in cycling once training changes to consolidate sprinters with climbers and time trialists. The notion that someone can't climb because they don't weigh 90 pounds is absurd. Steel bikes might start popping up in amateur races again once races stop giving prize money. It will be a sport about having fun, unlike the way other professional sports have also failed in this regard.
On another note, I did probably make this group of roadies, which was led by a time trial bike, chase me on my 1970's Peugeot road bike when I blasted by them like they were standing still. That is still no reason to have nearly run over a little girl trying to catch up to me. Their mothers would be ashamed.