Hi there, Mrs. 1500 today. Allow me to take a diversion from the world of finances, and rant for a moment about professional sports. Actually, one professional sport, cycling.
The news out of the cycling world this week is all about the Tour de France. It is their 100th year, and it is the pinnacle race of professional cycling. Even if you are not a cycling fan, you have surely heard of this race. Especially if you live in America, where until this year, we were home to the only 7-time champion of the race, Lance Armstrong. (I have always thought his name a bit funny, since professional cyclists have rather weak arms and extremely strong legs.)
I say until this year, because Lance finally admitted what anyone with a brain knew already, that he was taking massive amounts of performance-enhancing drugs to make this amazing feat possible.
I knew he was doping a few years into his reign, because many of his fellow TdF riders were being tossed from the tour for doping. How is it that Lance can beat these people if he is not doping? Some of these other riders were putting up fairly impressive times, and he was doing better, all by himself? I don’t think so.
Lance Armstrong news has been pretty consistent since January, when he confessed to Oprah that he was a doper. He is now being sued by every single person or entity who ever accused him of doping in the past, and were subsequently sued by him and had to pay him, in some cases, millions of dollars in libel settlements. Now those people want their money back, to the tune of $135 Million!
But this week, there is different news. Lance Armstrong Announces First Race Since Doping Confession reads the headline on Yahoo. I clicked, because I am a fan of cycling, and wanted to know if he would be participating in the upcoming Colorado race. No, he is riding on RAGBRAI, an annual bike ride across Iowa that Mr. 1500 and I happen to ride every year.
He has participated in this event before, in 2006. He created such a circus, with so many people wanting to ride next to him that it was actually a little dangerous to have them pass you. (Of course they passed me, I was 3 months pregnant with the first little 1500 at the time and taking my sweet time on the bike.)
He says now that “To be honest it’s not a statement, it’s not an experiment. It’s just me wanting to go ride my bike with what in the past has been a friendly group of people that share the same interests.”
I don’t believe this at all. I don’t believe it is just him wanting to ride his bike. I am not sure what he is intending, but if he really “just wanted to ride his bike,” he could do it quietly. He could be the guy who “looks an awful lot like Lance Armstrong.” Instead, he is drawing attention to himself being there by announcing that he will be there. RAGBRAI is 10,000 riders, plus various support crew, bringing up the total of this traveling circus to at least 20,000 people. Very easy to get lost in 20,000 people if you try. Easy to become invisible in 20,000 even if you don’t try.
The oldest little 1500 will be riding with us for a half day this year for the first time. We have a Weehoo tag-along bike and she enjoys riding with us. Plus I have promised her a piece of pie (which is very big on RAGBRAI – those Iowa church ladies can bake!) I hope he is no longer participating on the ride the day she rides. That enormous group of people desperately trying to keep up with Lance or even ride close to him is dangerous. Or better yet, Stay home, Lance. You are done with this sport, you have (almost) single handedly brought it into the mainstream in the US (Greg LeMond came before you) and then (again, almost) single-handedly destroyed it. You have been banned for life. Go find something else to do. I don’t care for NASCAR, so maybe you could go do that. Leave cycling alone! Or at the very least, leave RAGBRAI alone.
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