I love riding my bike. Really, I do.
So as I pushed my pedals through an unusually humid day, something occured to me – the Tour de France is coming up.
There was a time when each summer, I would wake up in the morning and turn on the Outdoor Life Network to watch the coverage of the race that wound through the French countryside and mountains. My ideal trip to Europe included a stop in Paris for the final state of the race, to cheer on the winner along the Champs-Elysees.
But this year, the TdF doesn’t bring the same excitement as it did in the past. It’s more of a sadness. Because the scepter of dishonesty hangs over competitive cycling.
Cycling has become this decade’s answer to boxing – a sport that was once heralded because of its grueling days, the international attention it received and, of course, the challenges that a man (simply referred to as “Lance”) overcame to win the Tour year after year – surviving cancer, his tumultuous personal life, the constant hounding of and constant battles with the media … and doping allegations which later were true. That became a watershed moment for the downfall of the sport. To an American cycling fan, nothing became more maddening than watching Lance confess and attempt to save face (for a price and a cost) to Oprah Winfrey.
Now, the word “cycling” can’t be mentioned without “corruption.”
I’m not going to watch the Tour de France. Instead, I’ll go out for a 20-mile spin around town. At least I know I won’t cheat at it.