For the past week or so, almost every one of my non-cycling friends has asked me about the latest allegations surrounding Lance Armstrong. The conversation goes like this:
Non-Cycling Friend: “So… what do you think about Lance Armstrong??”
Me: “I don’t.”
NCF: “But do you think he doped?”
Me: “Honestly, I don’t think about it.”
Thankfully, none of my cyclist friends have even talked about it. Why? I don’t think anyone really cares one way or the other. Plus, I think deep down inside, 99.99% of people with access to most of the details firmly believe that he is guilty or innocent – I really don’t think there are any “undecideds”.
Like anyone my age, I have watched Lance’s rise to super-stardom from early on. But as an avid American cyclist, I was a passenger on the Armstrong bandwagon since the early days too. I wanted a red, white and blue hero to rise up and kick some Euro ass. Do I think his achievements are extraordinary? Absolutely. Do I think he is a dick? Absolutely. I think that the vast majority of people who dominate any particular thing – politics, sport, etc. have to have tremendous egos. People with tremendous egos are usually not too concerned with anyone else. Does any of that matter to me? Absolutely not. I don’t call my buddy Lance up and have a beer with him after work on Fridays. I’ve been in the same room with him on several occasions and ridden along side of him in a charity ride twice for about 5 seconds (along with a thousand other people). That’s it. Nothing that Lance Armstrong does, or will ever do, will affect my life one way or the other. Many people point to the fact that Lance Armstrong never failed a drug test. I can also say that Tour de France and Giro d’Italia winner Marco Pantani died alone in a hotel room after bingeing on cocaine for a week straight – something he routinely did even while racing and passing drug tests. Armstrong has already spent a lot of money to prove his innocence, and I can also assume that both Nike and LA STILL have a lot of money in the bank…
In the end, who gives a rat’s ass? What difference does it make to you and me? If LA doped, he doped. If he’s clean, he’s clean.
How will that change your next ride?