I have to share a horrible skill I possess. It was something I discovered at a young age, and it goes by the scientific name of “I hate it when I am right.” Allow me to expound.
When I began to get serious about road cycling it was plain to this mild-mannered, concerned on-looker that not only was cycling fun, but it was full of a bunch of friggin’ loons. And not just the garden variety loons like those you find at an Area 51 convention, but the real nasty kind which think nothing about hurting someone if it makes them feel better about themselves.
I knew for sometime there were those who hated Lance Armstrong so bad they would stop at nothing to bring about his downfall. And, I was right. However, hatred runs deep in cycling, and it consumes everything in the path of those suffering from clinical rage.
See, this is not an article about whether he cheated or not, as that point is moot. No, I mean to highlight the sick, rabid way people who sought to go about the whole exposure thing do not intend to stop there (as I wrote in a previous article – The Circular Shooting Gallery - This quest for “Justice” is being fought with nuclear bombs, and the issue of Mutually Assured Destruction is not even on the conscience of those waging the war). Talk about a feeding frenzy!
It reminds me of something Rodney Dangerfield said in the movie “Back to School.” In a scene explaining how tough his high school football team was, he exclaimed “At my high school they were tough. After they sacked the quarterback, they went after his family.” Well, that is what is happening to cycling right now. They sacked the all-time Tour winner, and now they are after anyone (or thing) that can be associated with him.
And, the thin veil of flat-out hatred was there all along. And not just for doping, cheaters, or somebody who dared to leave their dork disk on the bike, but the hatred of Lance himself and also his ride of choice – Trek. I mean seriously, there are calls now for boycotting the type of bike he rode. Are you kidding me! Has it finally gone down to that level? And, this is not my view simply because I own a Trek, either. If this is to be the standard of commercial jihad, then the list of sponsors getting ready to jettison from cycling is going to be as large as it will be distinguished.
But wait! There’s more! Now there are cries for the wheels of “Justice” to be leveled upon George Hincapie Sportswear, Chris Carmichael Training systems, and Alan Lim’s Skratch Labs. Shall we also find out the maker of Armstrong’s underwear, or boycott his favorite TV shows, and kick his dog while we are at it? I mean, justice is as justice does, right?
If mere innuendo is enough get a rider into the realm of being a doper – You know, just because somebody said so – Then how far of a stretch would it be to suppose rival bicycle manufacturerS themselves had a hand in the whole Armstrong witch-hunt? I mean using the same method of reasoning(?) used by the hordes of haters, I wonder how big the underwriting to USADA was from rival manufacturerS? And, don’t forget rival competitors, component makers, tire makers and nutrition companies. Remember, there is a whole lot of money in play, and with so much more to be made, it really is not that big of a stretch, now is it?
In total, how low are those suffering from Lanceophobia going to go before a cure to their satisfaction is found? First his career, then his bike maker, then his sponsors, then his foundation, and what’s next? Do Nike, Radio Shack, Nissan, Giro, Oakley, Power Bar, FRS, Honey Stinger, et al need look over their respective shoulders before Armstrong’s head is paraded through Paris on a stick?
Cycling, in all actuality, has brought about its own demise, however, it was helped along by a lot of sick, sanctimonious weirdo’s out for blood – Anyone’s blood. And, with casualties piling up everyday, the death-toll is sure to rise and the collateral damage will be felt for years to come.
Where cycling goes from here is anyone’s neurosis, and I, for one, do not see a smooth road for whatever manages to pry itself from the proverbial ashes.
I cannot help but think of the line Major Clipton spoke at the end of the movie “The Bridge on the River Kwai” in regards to this whole cycling fiasco, because it certainly does indeed sum up the entire situation:
I hate it when I am right.