Saturday, September 19, 2015

Lance Armstrong, Cancer and Riding Bikes

Have you seen this trailer yet?

All about Lance Armstrong and his system of cheating in the pro peloton, this movie will probably be a huge hit in Europe, but most likely be, at best, an art-house movie here in the US.

Like most cyclists, I was an Armstrong fan when he was starting to win (although I liked Jan Ullrich better, how he started each season fat and out of shape, looking like he just drank a 6 pack and snorted a line of coke off a hooker's ass).  I had my doubts as he closed in on five TdF wins, but when LeMond was bellyaching about Armstrong's doping, I thought it was just sour grapes.  Then as he neared 7 wins, I was pretty sure he was doping, as many of his major (and not so major) competitors were dropping like flies to doping scandal after doping scandal.  No way this guy could have stayed clean and beat all those other guys, right?  (Kinda funny though how each sport has its own doping figure that the media locks onto, like Barry Bonds in baseball, and crucifies them, even though TONS of others are doping.  Maybe if they weren't such assholes to the media...)

I reveled in the fact that Armstrong doped, even going to a party with a bunch of other cycling friends the night Lance "came clean" with Oprah.  I even wrote a blog or two about what a hypocrite he was and how his apologists were idiots, blah, bablah, bablah.  I even got to the point where I kinda felt sorry for him.  I mean, he's been raked over the coals and he's having everything, and I mean everything, taken away, from wins, to the ability to ride in events, to all of his money.  But, he made his bed, now he gets to lie in it.

And then this last week, everything changed again.  Don't get me wrong, I think he's still a cheat and he was an asshole to a lot of people, and that will never change.  I don't like Lance Armstrong the cyclist.  But as I was lying on that hospital couch/futon/bed/medieval torture device, watching the Boy, who was hooked up to about 10 different tubes and/or monitors, have one crazy-assed drug after another pumped into him to rid his body of cancer, I thought about Lance Armstrong and the fact he overcame the odds that were stacked against him from such a shitty disease, not to just survive, but to live, much less ride his bike at a competitive level (yeah, yeah, I know, he was cheating, but still), my opinion of him changed once again.
Lance between his stints as an asshole.

I realize there are many, many other success stories out there, but because I ride (kinda) I can relate to Lance, and not to the doper Lance, but to the survivor Lance, to the LiveStrong Lance.  Suddenly, I could empathize with the Lance apologists.  I understood why the locked onto him and why they gave him a pass when the rest of the world was crushing him.  My thoughts about him went from a white area in the beginning, to a grey area in the middle, to the deepest, darkest black area by the end of his 7 "wins" and were now back in a grey area once again.  They'll never be a "white" area again, but the fact that it's back to a grey area says something.

Which brings me back to riding.  I took a bike with me to Denver with the thoughts of riding some short rides as time allowed, with my mom stopping by to hang with the Boy for an hour or two.  HA.  That was serious wishful thinking.  Besides the fact we were in the hospital for 2 1/2 days last week, when we were out of the hospital, I had 7 alarms set on my phone to tell me the various times I had to get him medications or flush lines throughout the day.  It seems like every time I turned around, I was giving him something.

Now I'm home and my Lovely is in Denver with the Boy and I'm thinking about catching some rides.  But part of me feels guilt about wanting to do something as superfluous as riding a bike for pleasure, knowing that the infusion the Boy has to take every night makes him feel like shit.  Knowing he can't go out and do many of the things he loves to do.  Everyone keeps telling me to make sure I take care of myself during this ordeal, but that is easier said than done.  If I knew for sure he was going to be OK, then riding a bike would be a fun idea. I'll probably still go for some rides while I'm home, and it will most likely do me some good.  I'll ride in hopes that by this time next year, I'll be doing it with the Boy.
One of my all time favorite pics of the Boy.  Tandem riding
at HLMP (M-Hill).


  1. Replies
    1. Thanks Joe. The support we've received has been truly amazing and humbling.