Sometimes I work through things by writing. Today is one of those times. And I’d love to have your thoughts as well.
Maybe you’ve noticed that I don’t talk a lot about pro cycling much — if at all — anymore. As an example, check my archive for this year and see how much I wrote about the Tour de France (hint: I can’t remember writing anything at all about it).
Part of that has to do with the fact that, to me, my own riding and racing seems a lot more interesting (and dramatic) to me lately, and I write about what interests me.
Part of it has to do with the “Once bitten, twice shy” thing.
But even though I don’t write about it much in the blog, I do still follow it. And so, after reading an extremely well-conducted interview with Lance Armstrong yesterday, I tweeted:
— Fat Cyclist (@fatcyclist) December 12, 2013
To which my friend Paul Guyot replied:
— Paul Guyot (@Fizzhogg) December 13, 2013
I can understand Paul’s point of view. But you know, I can’t help it. I followed Lance for a long time, got to know him (I thought) a little bit, spent a ton of my fundraising efforts on LiveStrong. So I’m still interested when he says things like this:
And that’s been the biggest issue I think, is that this hurt the support that survivors had and their friends and family had and the organization had. I know this will sound bad, but I don’t really care what the hard-core cycling geek thinks. I don’t. No offense to them. But I care about what a supporter of Livestrong thinks, and I care about what the survivor thinks. I think back to someone who was diagnosed back in 1999, and this whole story they believed in. And more than that, they fought for me, whether it’s in an online discussion or in a hallway or a workplace or café or bar, they had my back. And now they got egg on their face. That’s the thing that hurts me the most and the thing I’ll spend the rest of my life trying to make up for. And I hope I can. I’m in timeout right now. And I may be in timeout forever. But I hope not to be.
I’m pretty sure I’m one of those guys with egg on his face. I might even be one of the more prominent ones, what with Team Fatty having raised close to two million dollars for LiveStrong. But the sole interaction I’ve had with Lance Armstrong, post-Oprah, is that he’s unfollowed me on Twitter.
Which, you know, doesn’t exactly jibe with what Lance is saying above.
But here’s the thing. This past few post-Oprah months has been useful. I’ve considered a little more deeply how I want to spend my fundraising time and effort (and — much less importantly — my charitable giving). And I’ve decided I want my efforts to go to charities that help individual people, in very specific ways.
Like, for example, the way a World Bicycle Relief bicycle helps an individual child stay in school. Or the way Camp Kesem helps children compensate for the unhappiness and stress of having a parent with cancer.
I feel like I’m now a more thoughtful — and maybe a little more careful — person. I still want to make a difference in the world, but I think I’ve got a better idea of what kind of difference. So the end result, for me, has been positive.
And I wish Lance well, too. I hope he’s able to find a path toward redemption and greater involvement with things that matter to him.
As for me, I’ve got plenty of work to do, and am grateful for those who are helping me do it.