Monday, October 22, 2012

The Day that Everything Changed for Cycling

In 2010, Conner and I went to our local start of the AMGEN Tour of California as we do every year.  This year it happened to be in our hometown of Visalia,CA. As we were walking around looking for the team buses, I was stopped by a ESPN Sports journalist and asked what I thought about Floyd Landis's allegations that morning? I stopped and laughed, "Oh Floyd has lied before, I don't believe him" and went on. Little did we know........

We went to the hotel where we waited to meet some of our favorite riders. I remember seeing George Hincapie on a phone call. I remember thinking he looked very upset and maybe a bit on edge, I just chalked it up to maybe his family needed him at home and he was taking care of that. He later came back and was still on the phone but signed for Conner. Little did I know what he was facing that day.

As we went through the day, we as new cycling fans had no clue that we were witnessing the beginning of something so big and far reaching. We just thought it was nothing that day. We just had started watching cycling two years before, we knew nothing of the history of drug use in the sport.

We went to wait at the Radio Shack bus. We wanted to meet Lance once again, we didn't know at the time and he was a big name. I didn't know the pictures I took that day were the beginning of the end of things for him and would have severe repercussions for other cyclists also.

I remember wondering why Dave Zabriskie wasn't himself that day? He is always so jovial but not that day.

This was the first clue something big was happening

I remember watching in awe the world descend on my small town. I went home and started reading up.

the shadow grew that day

After this day, our love of cycling grew even larger and we started becoming better fans. I started reading and researching these allegations. I started meeting other cycling fans online who started teaching me the ropes of being a cycling fan and schooling me on the doping crisis in the sport.

I read so many great articles, listened to many a debate and just observed the process for the last few years. I've met people who have lost their livelihood over this, who are friends with people directly involved and watched them battle. It has been a surreal journey at times and is nowhere near from over. The investigation of Dr.Michele Ferrari is going to be even more damaging for the sport.

I am just a fan of pro cycling, I really don't know much compared to others I know and I am still learning. This story is more for my friends who don't know anything about cycling. I get asked often what I think about everything going on in my favorite sport? These pictures have been flashing through my brain this past week and I wanted to look at them in a new light.

I am sad about pro cycling. I love the sport and will remain a fan. I want to be a part of the revolution changing the sport and still want to support the riders I love. There is also my love of cycling, I just like to ride my bike and there are so many people like my my friend Darryl who are loving the bike and doing great things as riders. There is a whole other world to cycling where good people are doing great things. We need to support them and let go of the negative.

Here are some resources for those who are interested in learning more:

Neil Browne is a great writer. He also has links to the USADA report on his site. I recommend reading the rider affidavits for a chilling view of this doping crisis:
INRNG is one of my favorite places to read cycling commentary: