Monday, June 2, 2014

Lance Effect

Thanks Doc M for the use of this photo.

Social media blew up on Saturday with photos of Lance Armstrong riding the Little Rock Gran Fondo. I assume that Lance was paid an appearance fee to participate in the event. If that is the case then he continues to make money riding a bicycle based on status/celebrity achieved by cheating his way to the top of the sport. I found myself spending way too much time on Sunday trying to figure out how this all sits with me. We cycling fans are still left to figure out how to navigate the aftermath of one of the most turbulent times in cycling history. Honestly I am slightly disappointed by some who so easily brush off the decisions he made and the impact of those decisions on his family, friends, teammates and the sport. I asked myself would I easily brush off a co-worker who cheated to get a promotion that I was working for? I would have a much easier go, if it were just about cheating in sports. But it's the hero factor that I struggle with the most. So many folks looked up to him for his work in the fight against cancer. He gave a lot of hope and inspiration to those fighting for their lives. Would he have been able to do this without status/celebrity achieved from winning the worlds biggest and most difficult bike race? Yes, I recognize that he was the best cheater of the cheater generation and I have no idea what being a professional cyclist is like. But I do have a good idea of what being a professional in the workforce is like. I also have no idea what having cancer is like. But I did lose my father to cancer. I think it's this close connection to our own lives that makes his story so divisive. As an American cycling fan I so want the non-cheating version of his story to be true. Unfortunately it is not. One thing is certain, wherever he shows up he still has the 'Lance effect'. At the end of the day Lance seems to still enjoy the simplicity of riding a bicycle. That..I do get.

My assumption was in correct. I did find out after posting that Lance was not paid an appearance fee, on the contrary paid to ride in the LRGF just like everyone else. Thanks for the info., Keegen (see comments below)! 


35 comments:

Keegen said...

Your entitled to your opinion and judgement call, but at the end of the day Lance wasn't paid in any way for his appearance at the Little Rock Gran Fondo. In fact he paid to ride just like everyone else. The quick question I have for so many that judge or hate Lance is this. Do you hate every pro that has ever cheated? If so the list is long. I personally found myself judging Lance for the way he handled his personal relationships, and recently decided that I don't have that right. You know.... because they are personal. He's just a dude who has made mistakes, but he is also a 7 time winner of the Tour De France. When he told me Saturday that he was on my wheel it was bad a**! I only write this comment because I respect the voice you have created on your blog.

Robin Grunnagle said...

Thanks Keegen! That is good to know about him paying his way to ride and I really appreciate your comment. My intention with the post is not to have a debate (which seems to always happen)but more so identify with folks out there who are still trying to make sense of it all.

Heath B said...

I have a lot of mixed feelings about the whole LA era, his whole career and both the good and bad he did for cycling and humanity in general. He sacrificed his whole life for cycling success and ultimately achieved it but it quickly crumbled with his doping allegations. I remember watching LA in his early days of cycling and it motivated me to get out on my road bike and pretend I was LA racing up Beech mt. in the Tour DuPont as I climbed up the Talimena scenic hwy hoping someday I would race bikes professionally and race on TV like LA. Then to later race with him in some mountain bike races was exciting and in '99 watching him win the Tour de France and helping to put American cycling on the map was amazing, to see this guy who was on his "death bed" survive cancer a few years prior and come back and win the hardest sporting event in the world had me pumped and a fan! Each year seeing him race and win the tour had me in utmost awe and admiration as well. Then when I found out he doped through all this success had me angry as I always despised dopers as I always thought it was unfair to have to race against other pros who were taking enhancements and the non-doper not having a chance to win without being on the same playing field.

But we are human an we all do make mistakes, I have made so many of them as I know I am not a saint. Do I hope to be forgiven and have I been given a second chance? Did I learn from my mistakes and keep moving on? Did I hurt some along the way?

As I rode with LA on Saturday I realized we are all human when it comes down to it. We make both good and bad decisions and sometimes in life we are at the top then something happens and our success is taken from us and we are back to the bottom rung of the ladder to start climbing all over again. I do respect him for finally admitting he was wrong and dealing with all the consequences he has incurred. But the biggest thing I realized as I pedaled along Saturday is we all cyclists have one thing in common....we like to ride our bicycles at whatever level of speed or fitness we have and we all must remember to never take the sport too serious as its just a bike ride at the end of the day.

Adam M said...

When LA realized who I was, he asked if it was okay to take a selfie with me. It was a pretty special moment.

Gustavo Gomez said...

I just want to correct that He didn't win seven Tour de France and none of the guys that cheated did either. Armstrong wasn't just buying the EPO in the local store. He had a well finance network of Doctors, officials, logistics to transport the EPO wherever it was needed.It was all done by using the cancer as a shield to anybody that dare to accuse him. It is not a judgment, these are facts. This is a guy that disgraced and hurt his own close friends and teammates when they came forward with the truth.
The past year,I used to believe that our society was too harsh on the man until I decided to read and get informed of the facts.
I don't hate Armstrong but I hope justice is served.

Wes B said...

At the JMSR some business looking guy asked me what was going on. I said a pro bike race He then asked how long does it last? I said this one goes for 85 minutes. His reaction was 85 minutes?!!!! Shook his head and said well that's what steroids will do for you then went back to walking down Dickson St.

While waiting on traffic one night last summer I got into a near altercation with a drunk guy and his bros. Out of nowhere the guy came up on me right there at the trail crossing saying something over and over in regards to go take another pill you freak, why don't you go take another pill he kept saying while making a pill popping motion with his hands.

Things like this are examples of the real damage Lance has forever done to cycling.

Adam M said...

it's not like lance invented doping. he just happen to win A LOT while doing it.

Wes B said...

Well he exposed cycling on the large scale to America, the wonderkind with an enlarged heart that beat the Europeans and cured cancer. Then 10 years later he was blasted all over the news for doping, they all saw that too. Not once has some smart mouth ever yelled 'Go Schleck; from their car window. It's always something like 'what up Lance'.. . He was the face of the sport then made us all look like users to the average Joe.

Keegen K said...

we were always losers. now they just know its a sport

Wes B said...

I am blaming Heath B and his cool socks for that!

J. Hayes said...

Nobody really won the tours during the LA era. Almost everyone during that era has been busted for doping. It was as normal as shaving your legs. It was entirely wrong but some of you harbor so much anger about it from your self righteous perch. Every sport is tainted with drugs, you combine fame, money and the ability to be at the pinnacle of your most passionate sport and the only way to achieve it at the time with drugs, well, this is what happens. This is human nature and those of you who think you are so above the fray tend to be the least able to recognize your own flaws.

Grunnagle, I ask you in all honesty, if you could only have your job and make money by being deceitful would you? If you would lose your job because all others were not playing by the same rules would you make that choice? We will never know as we are not faced with that decision. I wonder if Gustavo or Wes have ever lied in the past, who did it potentially hurt and are they sure it hurt no one? If they say they never have then I will call them liars. Like I said before, it is easy to cast stones and sit in judgement when its not your life or situation.

Gustavo Gomez said...

J Hayes. If it is my life, I would be in prison. Do you know the case against Armstrong is a Civil Fraud and only then he started telling the truth. There is a False Claims Act that is punishable according to US Law. If that doesn't mean anything to you then we really can't argue about this.

Using morality to justify Armstrong, well that's on you.

Robin Grunnagle said...

J.Hayes, there is no stone in my hand & I am by no means someone without faults (just ask my wife). I am all too familiar with human nature particularly the dark bits. I think it's okay to have an opinion on public figures. At the very least to use for our own personal growth and decision making processes. As to the hypothetical question I can only hope that I would chose not to be deceitful. Speaking from experience I know the damage it causes even on a smaller scale. Again, that is a hope. It's kinda like fight or flight.

J. Hayes said...

Gustavo, I like all your assumptions and presumptions. While I understand that you are rather upset and passionate about this subject Your self righteous attitude gets a bit old. I wonder if you are as passionate about other laws that have been broken by others that you may not agree with. (yes, this is a political reference!)

J. Hayes said...

Rob,

I agree and I hope I would as well but alas, we will never know until faced with that situation. My point is opinions are wonderful, he didn't commit murder, he lied and used power and influence which is something politicians do daily yet they get no where near the press. If he murdered someone I may stand and scream, I guess given human nature and the nature of his crimes I find it interesting the attention in garners while we have high ranking politicians lying to peoples faces yet no outrage from those that scream the loudest about LA.

Robin Grunnagle said...

J.Hayes, my wife and I had a similar conversation regarding politicians. Don't get me started. That's a pretty depressing topic! My intention with the post was not to judge but to identify with those out there trying to make sense of it all. For whatever reason the LA story gets folks in a tizzy with a quickness.

Gustavo Gomez said...

J Hayes. Self Righteous? I am making an argument based on facts, doping, and Armstrong but if you want to start with personal attacks. This conversation is over.

J.Hayes said...

Yes Gustavo, self righteous. You obviously don't understand why which is exactly why I made that statement. I understand they are facts, but so is the fact that you are not a flawless human being and I am sure you have lied in your life.

J.Hayes said...

Yes Gustavo, self righteous. You obviously don't understand why which is exactly why I made that statement. I understand they are facts, but so is the fact that you are not a flawless human being and I am sure you have lied in your life.

Robin Grunnagle said...

J.Hayes & Gustavo, this can all be settled on the saddle. Let's plan to meet in the Baum Stadium parking lot for a sprint off.

Keith Stewart said...

Rob G

THE INSTIGATOR!

Lets hope Tues night worlds is equally hostile.

Stew

J.Hayes said...

I don't ride bikes much anymore!

Robin Grunnagle said...

Stew, no hostility or instigating intended. Merely a fan of this sport and a passionate cyclist wanting to make sense of it.

Robin Grunnagle said...

J.Hayes, how to we remedy this, "I don't ride bikes much anymore?"

J.Hayes said...

I have 2 oz bag gloves, several pair.

J.Hayes said...

Twas a joke btw! Arm wrestle?

Robin Grunnagle said...

J.Hayes, I totally got it! 1st rule of Fight Club...you do not talk about Fight Club.

Greg B. said...

Hey Robin, haven’t seen you in a while! Hope you’re doing well.

Good post. I know I struggle with the same mixed feelings you do. I got into cycling because of LA. Years ago I started waking up early so I could watch the 4 hour live telecast of the TDF (still do every year now, ha), and I started riding to get in better shape and it’s taken off from there. It’s hard to see a hero fall, especially fall the way he did, damaging many relationships and hurting many others along the way, and yet he helped raise millions for cancer research and he inspired and encouraged many to overcome cancer and maintain healthy lives. It’s not easy to know where to land. It’s good to know that others struggle with it to.

Just a side note to J. Hayes, do you realize that you are doing to Robin and Gustavo the very thing you are accusing them of doing to LA? When you call them “self-righteous,” you “cast stones and sit in judgment when it’s not your life or situation.” I encourage you to find a better, more effective, and more persuasive approach in getting your opinion across.

Thanks for the post, Robin. Hopefully we can go for a ride soon.

J Hayes said...

I am judging by saying we are all flawed and its good to forgive? I think you're a bit off but you are entitled to your opinion as we all are!

Robin Grunnagle said...

Greg B, good to hear from ya. Even on my dinky little blog this subject evokes passionate responses. I respect everyone's comments and thanks again to everyone for chiming in. I think I still have a lot to understand from this era in cycling and want to continue to approach it with an open mind. Let's all move forward and go ride some bikes!

Josh Estes said...

I think Josh Hayes is a doper. He's got a serious case of roid rage going on.

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