Friday, August 24, 2012
As they gleefully open their presents the next day we whisper 'Did you hear the reindeer bells in the night?'
The joy in their faces is priceless.
Sadly as children get older we know that a time will come when they will find out the truth.
A dilemma evolves.
Do you tell them yourself knowing that you can explain everything? or do you let them work it out themselves to prolong the magical moments that come with this falsehood?
Either way, when they do find out they will realise that you have lied to them.
The age of innocence is over
From thereon in, Christmas changes and is never the same again
For Years Lance Armstrong was my Santa Claus.
He provided me with regular gifts of inspiration - not only in December but throughout the year.
The inspiration never came from his winning the Tour de France seven times, but from his courage in fighting and beating Cancer.
From the inspiration and strength he has provided to cancer sufferers for over a generation.
And yeah drugs or no drugs he was a fantastic cyclist and a consummate athlete.
I had already worked out sometime ago that maybe he didn't drive a sleigh, but it made his gifts no less valuable.
The USADA has now formally told the world that Lance Armstrong is a cheat.
That he is no longer my Santa Claus.
I am not happy
Maybe they are right, but what have they actually achieved?
Where does that leave them now?
Where does that leave the principals of Justice?
Where does that leave cycling ?
Some cyclists were caught, and we know with total certainty that some were not.
We knew all these things way before the USADA Investigation.
During that time Lance was suspected of doping he was singled out for testing time and time again.
Each time he passed.
He often quotes that he had never failed a drugs test and I am certain that what he said was factually correct.
Does not mean he didn't take drugs? No
It means what he says 'He never failed a drugs test.
It could also mean had he was able to employ the best chemist, and doctors to mask the tests.
I don't really want to get into the debate about whether he did or didn't, in an environment where there was no even playing field.
I question the relevance today and the proportionality of the actions taken by the USADA.
Since that time cycling has totally cleaned up its act.
If the USADA wanted to be fair whilst conducting historical investigations they should investigate all US cyclists or none at all.
They state they have some key witnesses who were willing to testify against Lance but wished to keep them anonymous for fear of intimidation by Armstrong. Do they think we are that stupid!!!!!
It does not take a genius to work out who the witnesses are and I am sure Lance sees, or speaks to them regularly.
What are the USADA doing about their possible involvement?
Lets think this one through...............(hypothetically of course)
Maybe you had been involved in taking performance enhancing drugs in the past and had ridden for a prominent team.
Maybe you had not yet retired.
Your reputation is still intact and you are earning a good living.
In the past you had seen other cyclists, often friends whose lives had been reduced to tatters through doping exposure, they had become humiliated and some turned into national figures of hate.
Along come the USADA who just might have some evidence that could cause you a few problems.
It may not convict you but could certainly be that sticky sort of mud.
Instead of going after you they induce you.
They say if you testify against your friend they wont go after you.
You are then scared, cornered and trapped.
You could end up feeling that you have no choice.
Times that scenario by 12 and the pressure is really on Lance.
The USADA favours some, but not others, targets some not others.
Offers inducements - Aren't they a body that are meant to deter cheats?
What about the cycling and UCI?
If Lance is stripped of the Tour de France Titles who do they go to?
With most of the prominent riders of that era already exposed who can be sure that the title does not go from one suspected doper to another.
If awarded the title, should any new recipient undergo the same scrutiny as Lance?
If not, why not?
The USADA may have thought themselves as being responsible by telling the world that Santa Claus no longer exists.....but maybe some of us didn't want to know
Monday, August 20, 2012
Saturday, August 11, 2012
Behind each Olympian there is a story, usually of total commitment and sacrifice, with great highs and lows that come with four years of training. For this trio there is no difference.
Each of the trio, in different ways, has overcome adversity in their journey to the top of the podium.
Jo Rowsell who shares the same birthday as me has shown such courage in her battle with alopecia.
Brought up in Surrey she used to wear her long auburn hair in plaits.
"I remember crying to my parents and asking why it was happening," Rowsell once said when remembering the day her alopecia was diagnosed at the age of 10. "They said they would get someone to fix it."
Alopecia, however, can only be treated rather than cured. Rowsell became inhibited, concentrating on her schoolwork as a way of avoiding thinking too much about her appearance. She did not dare imagine a life where she might feel confident enough to have a boyfriend. It was then, when she was 15, that a small sporting miracle intervened. Rowsell's undoubted physical potential was spotted by a British cycling scout who visited her school in Sutton in 2004.
Cycling transformed Rowsell. In return, she has provided Dave Brailsford's programme at British cycling with a rider who, at 23, is the steady heartbeat who leads out this young team.
Her humanity resounds and, again with some bravery, she admitted her vulnerability on the last occasion all her hair fell out.
She had just met her boyfriend. "I was so worried he wasn't going to like me," she said.
LauraTrott, the new star of British cycling and the strongest rider of the three is a double Olympian having secured the Omnium on Tuesday the track equivalent of the Heptathlon.
Trott claims to "love that weird feeling you get in your mouth when the pain is so bad it tastes like blood". Trott pushes herself so hard that she regularly vomits after races.
To have her on the track in itself is a miracle as she was born with a collapsed lung, and her life was in jeopardy for six weeks. This contributed to a constant struggle with asthma which she has had to overcome.
The 21-year-old Dani King, meanwhile faced her own serious test three years ago. King's hopes of being offered a place on British cycling's elite programme looked like they would be ended by a serious bout of glandular fever. The illness had such a ravaging impact on King that there were doubts she would ever make it as an elite cyclist.
Travelling without my Mule
Last week my training was interrupted by a work trip to New York and I decided to take my Mule shirt with me on the off chance that I might be able to ride.
The last time that I had visited New York was when they had black and White Televisions and any cycle I owned probably still had three wheels.