Most cyclists who blog are today composing their thoughts about the fact that Lance Armstrong has decided not to fight the doping charges leveled at him by the United States Anti-Doping Agency (USADA). This supposedly will strip him of his seven Tour de France titles and ban him from the sport for life. Armstrong has decided that it is not worth the time, effort or money to go to arbitration. Many in the cycling world and beyond point to this as an admission of guilt.
I don’t care.
I pay my taxes. Drive the speed limit. Don’t drink and drive. Tell the truth and love the Lord.
I don’t care.
The reason I don’t care is because of my wife, Lynn. You see in August 2003 she was diagnosed with breast cancer. We were in Corolla, NC on vacation and she was at a Food Lion when she got the call from her doctor. It was a year of surgery in the middle of Hurricane Isabel, chemotherapy and sleepless nights. It was scary. I’ve written about it before and it’s painful.
What does this have to do with Lance Armstrong and today? Lynn and I have been Tour de France fans for years going back to Greg Lemond and Bernard Hinault in 80’s. It’s surprising that we just took up the sport recently after being fans for so long. When Lance Armstrong beat testicular cancer AND went on to win several Tours we, like everyone else, were inspired.
However, when Lynn got her diagnosis, his achievements took on a whole new meaning. He wasn’t just some guy who the gods smiled upon and went on to do great things. He represented “hope.” He took hard work and determination to whole new level. He was the man who did the impossible. When he kept winning after 2003 it gave us even more hope.
So we bought the yellow Livestrong bands and put them in geocaches and I even handed them out to students when I was particularly proud of them.
There’s a picture in our den of Lynn running the Ukrop’s 10K the day AFTER her last chemotherapy!! She complains that it’s not the best picture of her. I think it is. I don’t think she would have even come close to considering running that race if it wasn’t for Lance. She had seen the images of him crawling onto the bike after chemo and willing himself to just barely turn the pedals. If Lance can go from barely turning the pedals then maybe….
I don’t care. It may be an overstatement to say Lance Armstrong gave me my wife back. I just know it’s eight years later and she’s still here and now ON a bike.