Tuesday, September 23, 2008

For better or worse, Lance is returning

I've purposefully held off on posting anything about Lance Armstrong's possible return to pro cycling because, frankly, I wasn't sure how I felt about it. As much as I would love to see Lance race the TdF again, there is also a part of me who would really hate to see him go back and possibly fail.

One thing needs to be said right from the start. I have a huge, non-sexual man-crush on Lance. There, I've said it. I am secure enough in my own manhood that I can just come right out and say it. He is, without a doubt, my cycling hero. My copy of "It's Not About the Bike" is so worn and tattered, it's about to fall apart. It's highlighted and underlined the same way that many old family bibles are. Hanging in my garage is a quote from the book. It is the first paragraph of the last chapter:
Pain is temporary. It may last a moment, or a day, or a week, or a year. But it will eventually subside and something else will take it's place. If I quit however, it last forever. That surrender, even the smallest act of giving up, stays with me. So when I feel like quitting, I ask myself, which would I rather live with. Facing up to that question, and finding a way to go on is the real reward. Better than any yellow jersey or trophy.

I swear, if Trish hadn't almost divorced me after I got my first tattoo, I'd have that quote tattooed across my chest.

So why would Lance want to make a come back now. I've seen several theories regarding this. Ranging from the plausible, to the ridicules. One of the more plausible, offered by none other than The Fat Cyclist, was that Lance is not going to come back and ride for Astana, but is going to form his own LiveStrong Team, and hire away Johann Bruyneel to manage it. That especially make sense given the quotes from Alberto Cantador today, hinting that he would quit the Astana team if they rehired Armstrong. The most redicules theory would be the one speculating that Lance will buy the TdF itself. Can anyone actually envision the French selling the TdF to anyone, much less an American?

My own personal theory regarding Lance's possible return is quite simple. It would have to be simple if it was my theory. I believe that Lance is just bored stupid. He's sat around for 3 years, played a lot of golf, road in a few mountain bike races, and worked tirelessly for the LAF. He's dated every single blond in Hollywood, and hung out with Matthew McConaughey. Spending any significant time with McConaughey should be reason enough to drive anyone to escape to Europe. At least when he's on his bike, he can get away from Matthew. He's also sat around and watched the 3 TdF's that have been contested since he's been gone. He had to be thinking that he could have beaten these guys riding a recumbent, with one foot in a cast.

We already know how Alberto feels about Lance returning. How would this effect the rest of the cycling world? Levi has to be thinking that he's cursed. Next thing he knows, Eddie Merckx will want to come out of retirement and join the team. And the good folks at Versus have to be saying, "Wow, this selling your soul to the devil stuff really works!".

And that's the real point anyway. Weather Lance comes back and wins, or if he comes back and falls flat on his face, either way, it certainly won't be boring. Even the Lance haters out there will be glued to their TV's, just like the rest of us.

Later........Nearly Famous Fred

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