Sunday, January 23, 2011

Riding unaided

John Galloway, of the Sofaboy Chronicles asked via twitter if people would like to comment on Lance as a round-up of opinions for his next podcast.  As I have the face and not the voice for radio, I write it here. 
Guilty?  Innocent?  Ultimately, it doesn’t matter.  The cloying, unwavering credulity or the obsessive odium of many will not change this: people still have cancer, are depressed, struggling, addicted, poor, hurting, and/or tired. We are all on a journey to the finish line; there is no cure, and how can it -and ultimately, real hope- be found in a guy who was just lucky to survive cancer, who like us, is just lucky to ride a bike.

He's not there -nor any of my favourite riders or Directeurs Sportif - when I struggle to find time and energy to get out of bed to go for a ride let alone get up a hill. And he was definitely not there in that room while I watched a loved one vomit again and again, not just from the chemo, but because her body was on its way out.
To all the doping talk, including the forum troll doomsayers, I say this - I am not made disconsolate by yet another doping story or rumour, nor if alleged or admitted dopers rode right past me could I scrounge up enough hate to boo. 

I have many reasons for my lack of despondency, most of them based on a sound and realistic view of sport's place - and its stars - in society.

But the main reason I was reminded of while out riding with my stepdaughter yesterday, who constantly bugs me to take her for a ride somewhere. 

She has absolutely no idea who Lance Armstrong is or any other rider. She deals in generic terms like 'I want to be a bmx rider' or,pointing to someone in my cycling mags,'is that your favourite bike rider Rachie?'.

But I will never forget her face when she rode her first metres unaided. Nor will she.

Friday, January 21, 2011

That's So Couch - how leopard got its O back

Caption of at least the week - from Cycling News (thanks @brassyn for pointing this out)

"Is this Leopard Trek rider checking his radio or looking for his scarf?" Photo: © Sirotti

How the word leopard got its O Back
We all got schooled by a team who can speak English but can't tweet it real good - and the beacons of education, America (Trek - c'mon we've all seen series 4 of The Wire) about how us English speakers have been saying the word leopard incorrectly - for decades, if not centuries. Apparently we need to put the O back - oh yeah, and the a. Here's the background, in case you missed it. 

But was it an internal memo that leaked or an email to all media? I understand it was an internal memo that leaked.Pretentious yes, but Cycling Weekly/Cyclosport made it sound like leopard trek were demanding the media use this language, not that it was just internal branding guidelines. If an internal memo, Cycling Weekly/Cyclosport, that paragon of cycling journalism, Assange like just HAD TO leak it because we needed to know how pretentious leopard trek are  - not that the 36 hour launch/team presentation was a big hint. 

This from a mag that tweeted in July 2010 we could no longer use the word bidon or any other French cycling word. Lots of English speaking cyclists have been using those terms for probably just as long as they've been saying "leppard."  Pretentious?

Conspiracy theory or likely scenario for what's next re lance:
-Robbie McEwen stays in QLD after flying in Lance's jet for Twitter ride, Lance tells Anna he needs to fly quickly somewhere in Australia (or not far from Oz) but she should stay there, Lance's jet goes "missing", millions of people without cancer lose the will to live and to do charity work for cancer (well,without lance they can't,surely) still,donations and Lance love go thru the roof, investigation is called off, Lance and Wilson - the volleyball, not Owen - miraculously rescued. 

Well, obviously a conspiracy theory

-The investigation ends, there is a trial, he is jailed - for three months - but for years we hear from his followers etc, the words he uttered when the bracelets were slapped on him -A Few Good Men style "All you did was weaken the universe's fight against cancer today, you put people's lives in danger"  

- neither conspiracy theory or likely scenario, but that is pretty much many people's sentiments

-nothing happens at all and we all still have to suffer the hypocritical tweets of Lance boys who continue to say nasty things about other riders "rumoured" to be dopers but with far less evidence or suspicion.

likely scenario

Disappointment of the month -

Coming from a team containing riders who have worn matching kitschy suits/outfits with their wives and rivals, who define the word Euro - and with the name Leopard - the absence of Eurovision trash tastica at the Leopard Trek launch and spots on the kit depressed me for at least a week.

Ridiculousness of the week - everyone going on about how fat Cav is.  I'd like to be this fat - which even for a PRO is good for January:

 (from HTC-Highroad Facebook page)

Tweet(s) of the week - Mark Renshaw -
Cav just wants to go home to be with @ but he is stuck here looking at my ass

Cyclists/dopers/sports fans could all learn something from Keanu and Coca Cola:

Monday, January 17, 2011

The one where I defend Lance

You know that I’m not a big Lance fan.  Well, I actually now call it like or respect/dislike – sometimes the ratio for this is 30%/70% sometimes 10%/90% but I’ve read some things this week that prompted me to actually defend him.  Yes, you read that correctly.  These are just points to consider. 

  1.  He actually never said his appearance fee for TDU was going to Livestrong, Rann’s office did.  Why can’t he keep it – dude’s gotta eat, feed five kids, jet to upkeep and has won 7 tours.* 
  2. Regarding his appearance fee and the amount each year, why is this such a problem other than you just don’t like him? The economic impact in SA of the 2009 TDU alone has more than returned on the investment. However, I do think Cadel’s rainbows in 2010 and great sprinters/probably Robbie and Stuey’s final year this year deserves more kudos for 2010 and 2011 numbers.  I have worked in a government agency where football teams were paid similar annual amounts with similar purposes in mind (not tourism of course, but you get my drift) and with similar economic benefits.  Perhaps SA Govt could’ve negotiated better in regards to allegedly having to pay to use Livestrong for its hospital/research centre in addition to Lance’s fee or perhaps a “visit Adelaide” on the Radioshack kit for a year – surely what SA has paid is up there with Twitter – however, as it was an appearance fee just to Lance, then maybe that wasn’t on the table.   Sure, I don’t like how the TDU and associated media coverage appears to be all about Lance at the expense of other and homegrown riders (e.g. noone’s making a big thing about it probably being the last one for Stuey and Robbie),but still. 
  3. As to his donation to the QLD flood appeal this is what some people had an issue with a) he should donate his entire appearance fee b) he should’ve kept quiet about the donation, perhaps consider this – a) did you donate YOUR entire wage this week, did Harvey Norman donate all his profits this week? b) Lance sure does tweet about a lot of things especially pertaining to brand Lance/cancer charity/image/PR or insults for latest investigation or court case, but he might not tweet that he helped out someone he knows who isn’t doing so great or that he donates to such and such a charity (and I don't just mean the UCI) – maybe he does think that is unseemly.  However, when he does tweet about a donation (e.g. Haiti) perhaps he’s tweeting it to his 2 something million followers to create awareness so they too will donate.  Sure, saying an amount might not seem cool, but he also has powerful and cashed up mates he could be challenging to make a similar or larger sized donation.
 Anyway, I'm sure I'll go back to not defending him shortly.