On Lance Armstrong: It's Not About the Bike...or the Dope

Lately, a day doesn't pass without someone asking me about Lance Armstrong and doping. Do you think he did it? How could he do such a thing? Or...how can they do this to him? It's not fair. Why don't they just leave him alone? Everyone has an opinion and some are compelled to ask me for mine. I suppose when people find out about Team Standing Cyclist and bicycling for a cause, they automatically assume I follow Lance's every move. Am I anti-doping, pro-doping or do I even care at all? They're either looking for someone to support their hero or crush him for allegedly cheating. Sure, I admire Lance and his achievements on and off the bike. I've read his books including "It's Not About the Bike" and yes, they moved me. They still move me. Beyond that, I haven't given it much thought. When each chance meeting leads to the question of doping, Lance and the future of bicycle racing, my brain turns to the bigger picture. I think about how rare it is nowadays that Cancer enters into the discussion. Not a mention of the 500 million raised by Lance and his Livestrong Foundation. Nothing about him beating incredible odds by coming back to life after being riddled by Cancer. No kind words about inspiration and motivation. No tender stories about loss and survivorship. Not lately. So, what's my position on Lance? Not that Lance Armstrong needs yet another opinionated cyclist (or anyone else) critiquing his life. I think the following story sums it up well. Last week, after finishing up a Standing Cyclist training ride, I hit up a sub shop to refuel. As I watched the kid at the counter layer my veggies and cheese, I happened to notice that familiar yellow bracelet on his wrist. I asked him, "So, are you a cyclist?" He answered firmly, "No, why do you ask?" "Well, I spotted your Livestrong bracelet and assumed..." He interrupted me and quickly explained, with passion, why he wears it. His Grandmother is battling Cancer. He wears it for her. To show her and others that he cares. To show support in some small way. I could tell he was a little choked up. No, he didn't ride or follow the Tour. He's never heard of the USADA, EPO and couldn't care less. His grandma was fighting for her life. At that moment I had my answer. My position for whomever cares. "It's Not About the Bike or the Dope." It's not even about Lance. Not anymore. It's much bigger than that. It's about compassion on a global scale and the willingness to make a positive difference in the lives of others and that has nothing to do with competition, blood tests and yellow jerseys. Let's move on. There is much to do.