Thursday, January 17, 2013

Tonight is the Big "Oprah" Night

I've largely kept quiet on the entire L.A. issue but with things blowing up in the media on the much anticipated Oprah interview with @lancearmstrong slated for tonight, it is time to ponder his direction and future in sport.

First, let me keep Lance the guy who has done so much for cancer completely separate from Lance the athlete. Argue if you will, he would clearly not have been able to do all he has done in such as short amount of time without the success in the sport of cycling. That is besides the point. Lance the athlete seems to have merely one-upped his competition in doing similar things his competition has done throughout history of the sport, he just took it to a more professional level.

Believing in the myth or storybook hero of the world's best Tour rider ever, after personal tragedy struck, inspired so many in sport--outside of the cancer patients. I, for example, cannot express how many times I visualized Lance speeding along the road in my training, trying to imitate the tempo, the smooth pedaling and motionless upper body style while trying to achieve a solid ride. Although admittedly, I am not that great of a cyclist so it is somewhat embarrassing to know it never really helped a result for a race. Regardless, Mr. Armstrong was the inspiration to get back into shape for the 2012 Ironman Hawaii, in hopes that after he announced that his goal was to race or win Hawaii. Although he would race as a professional and myself as an amateur, it would have been "cool" to be on the same course at the same time to catch a glimpse of him, despite likely finishing about an hour-plus behind him. Now we know the real story, he would NOT have finished that far ahead of me "legally" as all those years of drug abuse, have resulted in a massive advantage in building up the body to such a high level it would be hard to compete with legitimately.

It was only few months before Hawaii, I had already qualified at Ironman CDA, in Idaho, USA. Lance was within one week of getting his qualification at Ironman France before all hell broke loose. The beginning of his downfall for years of lying, abuse, manipulation. "The Boss" finally was going to get what he deserved according to many of public opinion. He has certainly lost a lot, but for some reason, some say he thinks he will be able to fully get back to where he wants to be, in the winner's circle. As his biological clock ticks down, even with a potential reduced sentence from his life-time ban from all WADA sanctioned sports, would anyone really want to race him? Personally, he still seems mystifying as he certainly commands much attention anywhere he goes. Publicly, he is done, he burned that bridge. I would not want him representing my products, nor would I any longer want to be in a race against him. Time to pay the price, "The Boss" is not a boss any longer, but one of among many magicians, one who will go down in history as a fraud by the way things look for him right now. The lawsuits line up, media continues to print he is attempting to worm his way out of things through big dollar settlements. Intelligently, the government and others don't seem to be falling for it. Lance no longer holds the cards so his plan continues to fall apart.

Today, he lost his Olympic medal. What is next?

There are others in sport doing the same thing every day. This fall, an age grouper from the south named Kevin Moats was found to have been taking steroids. He was at the top of the world winning Ironman Hawaii in his age group. It is rare that USADA (US Anti-Doping Agency) tests ANY amateur, in competition or out of competition. From experience, I could likely name a good half dozen amateurs right here in Colorado that should be regularly tested out of competition for both HGH, EPO and testosterone. When you come out of the woodwork, to the degree some of these athletes have with such improvements it is ground shaking to the age group results, it sets off a red flag. Mark Fretta, an Olympic Training Center triathlete was recently found positive for EPO. Mark, while a nice guy (I met him personally a few years ago), wasn't even what I would call "first tier" level triathlete. He struggled for results. If Lance was beaten by some guys in triathlon, if Mark was beaten by a lot of guys, if Kevin Moats only had a few peers who could beat him, it makes me wonder, WHAT are those guys who beat these cheats possibly on?

How far up the ranks would we all be if all the cheats taking things on the WADA banned list were removed, move up? Sometimes, I wonder, but I still hope that it will catch up with them in the end and our final results will be where they should be. One thing for sure, should I get to Hawaii in the next couple years, although I'm taking 2013 off of long course racing, my results will be at least ONE place closer to the front. Thanks Lance, for helping me improve by one spot without doing any work at all!