One Last Stand

July 26, 2010

Yesterday ended an era.  Lance Armstrong, the 7-time champion of the Tour de France stood on the podium for one last time. The image was not nearly the same as it had been in years passed, the solitary figure, alone, wearing the Maillot Jaune (the Tour’s General Classification Champion), but it was Armstrong  surrounded by the members of his Radioshack Team each wearing  a customized black Radioshack Kit with the number 28 inscribed on the back and the name of each rider in yellow font.  This moment is the perfect finale to Lance’s career.  

Team Classification Presentation

Team Classification Presentation

 

Photo from the following link: Presentation Photo from Team Radioshack website 

Here Lance is surrounded by a team of individuals all working for the good of the whole, but at the same time working for each of the individuals within the team. The symbolism is breathtaking.  Each of these men was wearing a jersey that represented the 28 million people who are currently living with cancer. Each of those individuals fighting cancer feels isolated as they remain locked in their personal battle with cancer, but at the same time they are surrounded by a team of family members, friends, neighbors, nurses, doctors, and other medical practitioners each working for the good of the whole, but at the same time fulfilling their individual roles, similar to that of a cycling team. Each individual allows the darkness and bleakness of the disease to enter their minds at some point thinking of the grim possibilities, but their remains a light of hope in bright yellow rays that illuminates new cures, treatments, and possibilities. Therefore, the design of these kits with their black coloring and yellow lettering illustrates this concept and also, the Lance Armstrong Foundation.  

The questionable jerseys?

 

The link for the above photo: 28 Jersey Photo and article 

Team Radioshack’s finish also highlights an increase in cycling’s popularity  in the United States, as many Americans, became aware of cycling by hearing of the dominating performance of “the Boss” and his US Postal compatriots later Discovery Channel Pro Cycling Team.  Now Americans are aware of names such as Levi Leipheimer, George Hincapie, David Zabriske, Chris Horner, Ivan Basso, Alberto Contador, Roberto Heras, Victor Hugo Pena, Viatcheslav Ekimov, Yaroslav Popovych, Floyd Landis and Tyler Hamilton.  As American’s involvement in cycling rose so too did their involvement in understanding cancer and battling it as a collective. 

Lance Armstrong may have appeared to be on  his trek as an individual champion, but in reality he led the rest of us into a deeper understanding of cycling and cancer,  both of which have the ability to reward the individual, but are based upon the combined efforts of the individual and the team that surrounds them. Therefore, the ending in Paris even though not what many (myself included) may have wanted was probably more perfectly suited to the analogy of the cycling and cancer movement. 

Side Note: Did you know that the organizers of the Tour de France fined Team Radioshack for wearing the black jerseys at the beginning of the final stage and threatened to disqualify them. The fine was approximately $6,000.  The organizers did say; however, this money would be donated to cancer research. 

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Real Men Wear Spandex

July 23, 2010

I’ve done it! Purchased a road bike and have completed my first solo and small group ride. The picture above is moments after my first legitimate ride of any distance (10 miles.) You can clearly see how pleased I am to have done it, there even appears to be a little cockiness in the completion of that ride. If there is? It’s completely momentary, because entering into the world of cycling has been a very interesting road. Don’t get me wrong, I’ve followed cycling. I understand the competitive side of the sport, but actually getting involved in the machinery of it… that’s a completely different story. All of the decisions that need to be made: First: Do you want a road bike, a hybrid, or a mountainbike? Do you want clipped in shoes, (road shoes, mountainbike shoes)? What type of pedals? What type of helmet? So many questions… to the point I felt like I was Jim Carrey’s portrayal of the Riddler in Batman Forever… think back to Edward Nigma repeating to himself “Too many questions… Too many questions.” It can be very overwhelming, but thanks to some great advise and research I settled on a Trek 2.1 bicycle.

This bike so far rides like a dream.  And so far in my first two days of riding I’ve really enjoyed the process. Not necessarily the falling and gaining your balance as you step out of or attempt to step of your clips. Yes, I admit it I have taken the plunge fully attached to my bike on two separate occasions. I think that is probably the most interesting component to get used to, well that and the spandex.

Spandex is a very interesting material and I understand the importance in cycling… something that is aerodynamic, breathable, and padded for all the right spots, but for me who was brought up in a very modest fashion, it’s interesting to wear clothes that, “show-off” your body. I will manage and even at some point get used to it. I’m not saying that I will be wandering around my home on casual days in spandex, but that I think that I will be able to wander around others in spandex soon enough. That comfortablity  certifies for me that men who can feel comfortable in spandex truly are in a class all of their own. It takes a confidence and lack of concern of other’s thoughts, impressions, and humor. 

I think for me I will focus primarily on the fact that cycling and owning my bike will allow me to participate in both the running portion of the Livestrong Challenge and the cycling portion of the Livestrong Challenge, to be held on August 21st and August 22nd respectively at Montgomery County Community College in Blue Bell, PA.  With that in mind, I can focus on what the importance is… which is raising awareness for cancer research and cancer prevention.

Update on the Livestrong Challenge: At this point: the team has raised 1,285.00, which will hopefully be doubled here in the future and we have a few other surprises coming up in hopes of raising some money.  We are as of this moment at 29 days away from the challenge and there is still time to get involved! Looking forward to seeing you there!