Living Out Loud

What's the Matter with Lance Armstrong?


I have written before on how cycling changed my life. In December of 2008 I weighed nearly 300lbs and had been drinking on a daily basis for years. I had my last drink three days after Christmas that year. Twelve months later I weighed less than 200 lbs., and I could ride my bike for 100 miles at a stretch pretty much any time I wanted to.  I read Lance Armstrong's bestselling autobiography, a work of fiction it turns out, called It's Not About the Bike, that detailed his difficult early life, his unlikely career as a professional cyclist, his cancer struggle and his remarkable first victory in the Tour de France, a grueling month-long bike race of over 2000 miles. 

My whole family, from my dad to my young granddaughter became cycling fans, a tradition that has thankfully outlasted the career of this despicable man. One of the few things my dad and I can talk about are the results of the big European bike races every year.

Because of the prevalence of performance enhancing drugs in cycling and because of the almost super-human feats Armstrong demonstrated on his bike, many people suspected him of doping, but not me. I was convinced he was a mutant, blessed by the gods with one in a billion genetics and a fierce competitive drive that allowed him to repeatedly beat all comers, including other cyclists proven to be doped to the gills. Armstrong claimed to be the most drug tested athlete of all time and he never failed a test. Only later, when he finally confessed did we find out the extent of the bribery and lying and medical malpractice that allowed him to get away with so much for so long.

Not only did he lie repeatedly while he was cheating his way to the top, he also threatened anyone who told the truth with unending legal actions. This included the spouses of former teammates, hotel maids and other low-level people around the sport. That's what I find unforgivable. He is and was a sociopath. I have no interest in his life and haven't had for years. I have no intention in watching the upcoming ESPN 30 for 30 specials on him. Fuck Lance Armstrong.