Livin' the Dream

Livin' the Dream

About Me

I am a sophomore at James Madison University in Harrisonburg, VA, majoring in journalism. My passion is cycling. I am a category 4 bike racer and my absolute dream would be to turn pro one day. My more realistic goal is to become a journalist for the sport of cycling and eventually move on to become a broadcaster for the sport.

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Closure

I finally wrote this to give my self closure on how I feel about Lance Armstrong. Hope you guys like it.

Lance Armstrong: You Just Don't Get It

            Recently I read an article on VeloNews reporting that Lance Armstrong does not ride his bike much anymore and when he does, it is only with friends. Well, he’s also still travelling the world playing golf in exotic places like Italy and Paris, France (Velonews). While, back here in the states he has many lawsuits still pending that, if he’s found guilty, can cost him millions of dollars. It seems all Lance wants to do is apologize to everyone he has hurt just so they can put in a good word for him so he can eventually race his bike again. Well Lance, let me tell you this, how about an apology to the fans, to everyone that supported you and the people that defended you countless times, claiming you were clean. I was one of those people Lance and boy did you make me look like an idiot.
            Lance Armstrong, I WAS your biggest fan. I had countless posters scaling the walls of my room. I had all of your books, I wrote essays about you in school. In the years of 2003, 2004, and 2005 I wanted to be just like you, on top of the world and number one. I went to the Tour of Hope in 2004 and remember you buzzing by me with all of the other participating riders. That was the first time I saw you in person and I was awestruck. My mom’s colleague participated in the ride and offered to try to sneak me into the VIP area as his son. Sadly, it got rained out, leaving me robbed of a chance to meet you. I will never forget how, in April 2005 (I forget the exact date), you announced you were going to retire from cycling at the end of the Tour De France. I could not believe it! I begged my parents to go to the Tour that year for a chance to see you race and potentially get your autograph. September 10th, 2008, was the day I found out you were coming back. I was mortified when my eighth grade classmates told me you were coming back and I did not know about. I was supposed to know everything about you. I was devastated to see you not win the Tour in ’09 and ’10 and disappointed when you retired in early 2011. I thought my shot of getting your autograph was officially over, but there was hope.
With the help of a couple of cycling friends, I had the opportunity to work for Medalist Sports, the company that coordinates many of the cycling races in the U.S.. In August of 2012, I worked your LiveStrong Philly event with Medalist Sports. I will never forget when you retweeted me the night before. To say the least, I went nuts in the hotel lobby. I had asked you what mileage loop you were doing and you responded 100. I was disappointed when instead you did the 20 mile loop; I was standing at the side of the road with a poster of you at the mile sixty aid station. My goal was to get you to stop and quickly give me your autograph. Sadly, when the leaders went past you were not there.

I will never forget the day you announced you were not going to fight USADA anymore. Even after you were banned from the sport of cycling I still believed you were clean—until I read about all of the people who testified. I was devastated. The person I had idolized for years was a fraud, a cheater. I just could not believe it. In some ways, I am still in denial. All of the dates listed in this article are off of the top of my head. When I saw the recent film, The Armstrong Lie, and the references to how you doped in your comeback, I still found ways to defend you. So Lance Armstrong, all I want is an apology, not just to the people you hurt directly, but to the all the people who believed in you, who looked up to you, who wanted to be you—people like me.

Livin' the Dream,
Mike

32 comments :

  1. Michael: I can appreciate your disappointment as I was a big Lance fan - more for his comeback from cancer and his foundation - but a fan nonetheless. To put this comment in context, I am 62 years old compared to your 18 or so. I can only imagine the disappointment I would have had to find out my childhood idol, Mickey Mantle (you may have to ask your parents who he was...) was a womanizing alcoholic when I was anything less than an adult. Lance will not be the last "icon" to disappoint you but you'll discover age has a way of throwing a little compassion into the mix. Don't worry about what LA is doing or not doing...it is what it is. Keep your passion and follow your dream. And if Lance hadn't responded to you, I would not have discovered your blog...which I intend to follow.

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    1. This is by far the best response to this blog, not surprisingly it came from someone with a few more clicks than the rest of us.

      Lance is an incredible human being, I for one am glad that he is not perfect because I am most certainly not perfect but that does not mean I cannot achieve great things.

      Take the positives of your heroes and use them to better yourself, take the negatives as reminder that you will fault and what counts is how you recover.

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    3. I absolutely agree with Doug having an incredible response. Mike should put his energy into his life and passions without needing to worship an idol to feel enough, relevant, and accomplished. Mike, we all have spectacular worth and ability to accomplish what we desire. Find a good coach that has your health and future as a priority. With regards to your comment of LA -- he is a Sociopath. I caution you and everyone else that is still paying him compliments to read up on this type of psychosis. He will never change, he was born without a conscious/conscience and the genuine ability to have empathy. His apologies will be face-time and nothing more. Anything he has done and will do in the future is serving his narcissistic disorder and that is all. Please let him go. There are many cyclists and sports athletes out there that are HEALTHY, clean, and are worthy of your adoration. Take care!

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    4. Dylan: LA wasn't "an incredible athlete". He was a good athlete at best. He used doping to build a larger threshold and forced the team to create an environment to set him up to win. Read up on cycling teams. If it wasn't for the team working harder than LA in every moment shielding him from wind, other team members, weather, and providing a safe haven in their fold for him to rest while they put everything they had on the road to protect his body....LA would have never won Tour de France. Remember, he cheated in EVERY race. Nothing was genuine and nothing was his true athletic ability. He was manufactured. That is not being "an incredible human being". With regards to Livestrong...he used that as a cloak to steal your money, cancer victims money, and to pay off the people around him to keep quiet. He used that foundation as a smoke screen. In addition, that foundation has lied to the public about how they use their donations. They stopped funding cancer research in 1998 and completely stopped funding anything to do with cancer in 2006.It's all in the books and online if you want to read about it. They farm out any options or assistance to other foundations. This whole situation is incredibly sad and deplorable. The only thing I can leave you and Mike with is: YOU ARE ENOUGH. (and research before you put your money somewhere). Take care!

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    5. You are "delusional" characterizing Lance as a "good athlete at best". The rest of your post just comes across as an intense hater and nothing more. It's a poor way to try and get your point across.

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  2. Michael: Great job. Thanks for sharing. My son is a freshman in college as well. He couldn't wait to ride with LA in 2011 at Ragbrai. As Doug said, there are alot of disappointing icons along the way. While LA may have done wrong, he did inspire many people to ride, fight cancer and we can continue to ride and fight for causes that we believe in. Keep Livin Your Dream.

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  3. Lance lost his way. I am glad he is trying to make amends. I hope future generations can learn that cheating lacks humility.

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  4. Look get over it, so he doped, so did everyone else in the peloton. They all got slaps on the wrist for it and he got banned for life. They've been doping for years in cycling and will continue to do so, who really cares? Lance doesn't owe you, me or any fan an apology.

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    1. Agree. he was the biggest cyclist so far regardless doping so everyone kinda expects he will bear the burden for all the other cyclists. If these guys owe an apology to someone then it is the few clean cyclists who competed against them. But not us fans or even sponsors who in my eyes are the biggest hypocrites.

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    2. "so did everyone else in the peloton." Tired and flawed old argument. There were people that didn't dope, and got forced out of the sport.

      With LA, it's not even about the doping - it's the being a jerk when people called him out. That's his biggest failing. It's the people that he was a jerk to that deserve an apology/financial settlement. As to the fans, he probably owes a cursory apology at best. People who were surprised by all of this were either (1) buried in sand, or (2) Sally Jenkins.

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  5. I was a big fan too…along with my great friend and college roommate who had childhood cancer, went into remission for 12 years, and then eventually died of relapse at age 25. I remember my buddy and me talking during the 2004 tour and him saying, "I hope he's clean." In '09, I got the chalkbot to write a message for him on the Tourmalet. I can't imagine what his disappointment would be like given what those of us still around is like. It's truly upsetting.

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  6. Grow up dude. You owe me an apology for wasting 3 minutes of my life reading this crap.

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    1. Lame response.Great article.

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  7. Hi Michael,
    Great blog! I am a fan like you who got disappointed the same way. I recognize the way you have defended Lance, I did the same. Read his books, went to the start of the Tour in Rotterdam in 2010 and saw my hero!
    Regards form the Netherlands.

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  8. Reads more like the ramblings of a stalker. I was waiting for eminem's Stan to start playing in the background...

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  9. Mike,
    Maybe in time, you will have the insight to look at the bigger picture. Find an elite athlete in any sport who hasn't used some kind of enhancement product. That is just the way it is. So much money on the table and it's always about the money. Sorry to burst your bubble but if you want to be a sports reporter, it might be time to take the rose colored glasses off.

    I am also 62 and have been a cyclist and cycling fan for over 50 years. Long before most of the US population even knew the sport existed. I stopped being a fan of LA many, many years ago. It wasn't my complete faith that he was doping that did it. It was the character of the man. He got a little power and completely abused it to destroy others. Yes you can be sure he and the UCI were close. Recently he has fired a warning shot across the bow. Pay attention to what is going on in the background. Don't believe the "apology tour" he is now on. His real crime for those of us who have been fans of the sport longer than you have been on the earth, is his cruelty and vindictiveness towards others.

    I felt like the lone voice out there amongst my friends who couldn't tell you how the sport is run but were sure Lance "did so much for cancer". Ask yourself exactly what did he do? Where did all that foundation money go? Was he getting paid appearance fees to show up at the Livestrong events? Always, always pay attention to the money trail. Pay attention to the character of the athlete and judge their "performance" in the sport against the time and place.

    Do you really believe Induraine didn't dope to win his 5? But he is still very much loved in his country. Lance robbed his country of so much in the sport. He took Tyler and Floyd away from us. He brought himself down.

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  10. Thats just how I feel well done

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  11. Lance was a great athlete. If you fail to acknowledge that, then you take yourself out of the conversation. Anyone who was not a great athlete would have never been successful against such impressive opponents. He was just not so great of a person. In cycling, he was the biggest peanut in the turd. Cheating in _all_ sports is commonplace and it always has been, especially in cycling. Professional athletes are there for entertainment. Be entertained, but don't base your life off of the achievements of someone else.

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    1. Read Greg Lemond's recent assessment of Lance's abilities and then tell Lemond that he doesn't know what he's talking about!

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  12. When you watched Lance in all those TdFs, were you aware of the fact that most of the pack was doped like there's no tomorrow?

    Do you know that cheating in cycling started over 100 years ago with riders hoping on a train to get to the finish line ahead of the competition?

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    1. Everyone who has followed cycling is aware of the doping in the sport. We loved the super human performances. I think at the end of the day, people like Mike will come to understand Lance's problems didn't come from his intelligent use of the performance enhancing technology. Yes, he got a lifetime ban. He should not be allowed anywhere near the sport. He did not play well with others and could not share the stage. Remember the saying .. absolute power corrupts absolutely. This is a man who approached his fame and power as a 12 year old who has watched too many Chuck Norris movies. So sad. Especially for those he tried to destroy.

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  13. I appreciate the hurt that people feel from Lance's admissions. For me though, the man was lying in a hospital bed literally dying, his body riddled with cancer. He found a way to get back up, beat the disease and inspire millions of people.
    Until we walk a mile in his shoes I feel we should all reserve judgement.
    I was treated for testicular cancer in 2012 and I took Lance into the chemo ward with me every day.
    The good outweighs the bad in my opinion.

    I am glad he replied to your Twitter post. He hasn't replied to mine!

    Dan in Australia

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  14. LA was awesome to watch and I don't think it will ever be possible to erase the memories of the man riding the Tour de France.

    He was an inspiration to people, on and off the bike and he still inspires people to this very day. He has done a lot for many people, some would say that is a screen, as mentioned above, but it is also an undeniable fact. One that you can't erase with words or thoughts or a lifetime ban.

    I don't think that the sport has treated him fairly. I cannot see the fairness in him serving a life sentence and having to give up all his money also. If he has to do so, it would only make sense to apply this consistently across the sport to all implicated riders.

    Where is the consistency and the fairness in the sport? Why must one guy pay so much more than other riders for committing the same sin?

    LA was caught and is serving his sentence, as a result he doesn't need to apologise to anyone, anymore. He is serving his time.

    The mere fact that he did respond to you, shows that there is a sense of sincerity and I genuinely hope you can see that?

    I am still a fan, through the good and the bad times, many years ago when we needed inspiration and hope. He was there time and time again(7 years). He helped me, when there was no one else, gave me hope. He did more for me in a bizarre way, then anyone. LA I thank you for that and I forgive you for your mistakes.

    Infact, if it was not for you with your mistakes I don't think I would have been here to write this story.

    Therefore, as a fan it would be wrong of me, to turn my back when things are not as peachy anymore.

    The sport failed him as much as he failed them, he was part of the system. He should not fall alone, it is not fair.

    FL and TH might have brought the truth to the front, but LA was a little bigger than just a sport, he was a guy that changed peoples lives, people that had cancer, people that faced their death beds. People like me.

    I hope that they realise that they take that away from many people and in my heart I believe that no money or revenge, can ever make good for lives like mine that needed a LA to pull through.

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    1. I agree with your post - probably one of the best I've read. It amazes me how polarizing he is for many people and how many "haters" he has.

      For me, I feel he's been singled out and has been handed a very, very harsh penalty. One that doesn't fit the crime as they say.

      People also attack his character. He's far from perfect (as none of us are) but I think there are a whole bunch of other athletes that used PEDs and were horrible role models and horrible people in general (for example, Roger Clemens - former MLB pitcher - big liar and big ahole). PEDs are so rampant in every single sport there is.

      Lance can't even run a 5K, 10K or marathon. He can't swim in a masters swimming event. He can't participate in a triathlon? To me, that's ridiculous and nothing but vengeful on behalf of Travis Tygart and the USADA. I think a 2 (or 3) year ban from cycling events was more appropriate.

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  15. 12 months after the truth came out and were still sooking about Lance. Seriously Get on your bike train hard and get over it!

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  16. Grow up man... find a wife and have some kids to keep you busy.

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  17. I am a Lance Armstrong fan. I haven't turned my back because things went sour. I support him now more than ever. Nothing that has happened changes everything I felt when I watched him win seven tour de france titles, after winning a fight for his life. I love all his light and I love his dark. Lance Armstrong doesn't owe me an apology, he doesn't owe any of his fans an apology. I fail to see how anyone can realistically demand that of him. You feel betrayed? So what. Millions of people all over the world are fighting cancer. Now there's a real problem. Get a grip kid.

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    1. Maybe not but he owes some folks a whole lot of money and it would be awfully nice of him to testify and tell us the whole story about the drugs. It was not just him alone, it was his team mates, director sportiff, team owner and drug corporations who were all deeply involved. I'm sure in order for you to fully love the man's dark you too want him to man up and tell all.
      I'm betting his legal team absolutely loves his dark - ka ching!!

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  18. I live in Bend Oregon and saw Lance race his first race after beating cancer here in July 1998. When I saw in the USADA reasoned decision that he was stripped of every race result from August 1998 forward I guess you could say I was lucky to see him race just before he started doping. (Actually the truth is that our race has had l dopers who have won and nothing ever happened to any of them. Levi Leipheimer for example won it a few years ago and we now know that he too was doped to the gills when he was in Bend. I know, I know. He said he wasn’t doping then, that he had long been done with doping. Well, sure Levi, if you say so.)
    You can see Armstrong’s autographed Cascade Classic winner’s jersey which is framed and displayed at one of our local breweries which co-sponsored that year's race. My son got Lance's autograph after the final stage on a race poster and had it framed and hung it in his room for years. He told me he was going to throw it away last year because of Lance being caught at cheating and I said keep it because I think once all the lawsuits are over and the UCI’s Cycling Independent Reform Commission report comes in and we get to know the real depths of delusions that Lance is, the autographed poster will be worthy of display to remind people that cheating, fraud, and being a total asshole to others is just wrong and there are consequences for that. For those of you who come to Bend and can’t see my kid’s poster, by all means hoist a brew while seeing the EPO soaked jersey, it’s just above the upstairs bar.
    The fact that the best Lance can do to apologize to you is a tweet is amazingly tacky on his part. It was probably too much work for him to leave a comment here and apologize directly, and says much about his character on this so called apology tour of his.
    Lance will be in the news soon with the federal US Postal lawsuit and maybe the UCI enquiry, but 10 years from now people will see his name on a trivial pursuit card and will have to scratch their heads and think hard to recall whose name that is.
    But hey, Mike, there are good role models out there. In fact, I would say that you are one yourself, so take cheer and keep up the good work.

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  19. First off, congrats on getting lance to acknowledge your blog, I'm sure it's given you a lot more exposure. The problem I have with people still defending lance in the comments, saying he's "serving his time" and that's enough and that he's being "made an example of," is that they are not acknowledging the extent of his effect on the sport. If you look at his impact within the sport - not on the publicity he brought to cycling, or the many lives he improved through cancer awareness and inspiration while living his lie - which is what his punishment should be judged on, he was a poisonous, selfish, sociopathic character. He was not a mere participant in the vast doping culture, he was at the forefront of chemical exploitation, hiring the most expensive doctors, explicitly fostering an environment of drug use on his teams, which he had enormous influence on because of his image and his wealth, and publicly ridiculing and slandering anyone with the courage to come out and say what, in the end, was true. Lance ruined lives - his personal assistant, a massage therapist, Betsy Andreu to name a few (I can't remember their names off the top of my head) - while simultaneously claiming to the world that it was he who was being victimized in the face of "proof" that he was clean. You can argue whether his enormous contributions to cancer, both in terms of influencing financial donations and awareness, outweigh his sociopathic behavior and complete pathological dishonesty (even after his confession), yet no fan or cyclist deserves to have to see Lance Armstrong exert any power in the cycling world again, he's had too many chances to do that, lied too many times, crushed too many dreams, and ruined too many lives. I hope more than anyone that Lance gave countless cancer sufferers hope and benefited their lives with research that he helped fund, but I would also hope that the revelation of his dishonest life will inspire people to challenge themselves to be better, to accomplish their goals not because of the motivation of some impossible storybook hero, but out of their belief in themselves, the desire to live to help others and the knowledge that although heroes are often too good to be true, they don't determine how any individual should act.

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  20. I still defend Lance and I'm 51. Just like you were willing to pose as someone's son to get his autograph, Lance also found a way to win in a sport that seemed impossible for Americans to win. He beat them at their own game. Lance did hurt those around him who turned on him, but if you open your mouth then assume the risks. Lance even beat them in the legal arena.

    I wish him well and I still want his autograph.

    Regards,

    Nathan

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