Simon vs. Lance

Posted: April 30, 2012 in In Transition
Tags: ,

Someone had to do it; someone had to put Lance Armstrong in his place.  So why not first ever Olympic Gold Medalist and all round nice guy, Simon Whitfield?  The two have recently raged a war of words through the popular social media site Twitter after the brash Texan slighted the Olympic-distance triathlon – Simon’s event – as merely “a shampoo, blow dry and a 10k foot race”.  Really Lance?  So brace yourself all you Lance-aholics’  out there as I’m about to unleash a serious ‘hate-on’ for the seven-time Tour De France winner.

Let’s get ready to RUUUUUMBLE!!!

First off, yes, I realize that before Lance pedaled off to conquer France he was a triathlete himself, and a rather good one by all accounts.  But since then, it has become increasingly difficult to separate the man from the myth.  I mean, what hasn’t  this guy got going for himself? First and foremost, he conquered the European cycling world and elevated it something just above Women’s Bocce as a spectator sport.  Pre-Lance, the professional cycling world was relatively unheard of, nor appreciated here in North America.  To us it seemed a rather boring sport. It was a sport for weirdoes in costume to spend all day by the side of the road on top of a remote French mountainside waiting for the moment when a gaggle of riders in tight shorts raced by at 80 mph only to disappear again over the horizon a few moments later. Shit, at that point I’d probably have rather watched Jessica Tandy trim her pubic hair. After all, how can you get excited over, what, 30 seconds of action just for the opportunity to cheer “Pedal, le bitches, pedal!”   Of course, my interests and opinions have changed a lot since then and largely thanks to Lance Armstrong.

Even before that, there was the whole testicular cancer thing and that ever-popular yellow LIVESTRONG silicon rubber wrist band trend that continues to plague us today.  Now, suddenly, everybody has a bracelet including anti-smoking, cystic fibrosis, AIDS, racism, tsunami relief, poverty, supporting overseas troops, Autism, even the fucking Discovery Channel has one available for its loyal legions of couch potato academics.  The whole rubber awareness bracelet trend just exploded outward with the force equitable to that of the first ‘Big Bang’ that gave birth to this crazy solar system.  Thanks Lance!  Of course, he also bikes around Central Park with that gimp Robin Williams and for a while was banging, arguably, the hottest woman in rock and roll, Sheryl Crow, who’s days, while being filled with winding roads, must have also been filled with multiple screaming orgasms thanks to Lance’s functional lightsaber he wields as a penis.  Hell, depending on who you believe, he also single-handedly built the pyramids at Giza, the temples at Chichen Itza, and the complex at Machu Picchu in six days using only an ice pick and sandpaper. In fact, those gigantic carved circles in the remote coastline mountains of Peru aren’t really ancient flying saucer landing pads, but actually the huge circular impressions of Lance Armstrong’s balls when he sat down briefly to rest on the seventh day. Lance Armstrong can walk on water, not because he is Jesus; but because the normal force as described by Newton in his modern law of physics does not apply to him – the guy is simply that fucking awesome.  Shit, I bet you could bottle his piss and make millions marketing it as a cure for herpes.  And, now, Lance has returned to the world of triathlon.

In his first comeback race at the Panama 70.3, he finished second and then snubbed the winner by refusing to shake his hand.  Nice.  Next he finished seventh at the Memorial Hermann Ironman in Texas in April, and this time he snubbed…his daughter as she tried to aware him his participant’s medal.  I guess Lance has no use for such insignificant hardware.  Next on the Armstrong agenda: Ironman. Maybe this time he’ll cross the finish line and kick Dave Scott in the junk…who knows?

In the meantime, you have to understand…it’s all about Lance.  It always has been.  Hence his recent criticism of the Olympic style of racing I guess.  The argument stems from the age-old debate regarding drafting.  In the Olympic triathlon model, hugging the rear wheel of another cyclist, thus conserving energy and presumably saving your legs for the run portion of the race, is completely legal. At the 2000 Olympics, this tactic was utilized to the fullest extent when other Team Canada member Colin Jenkins, ‘took one for the team’  so to speak, by blazing a trail through the swim and bike course and therefore sacrificing himself by allowing Simon the opportunity to ride on his tail and slingshot himself onto the run course at full gas and ultimately the medal podium.  Jenkins finished dead last.  In Ironman racing, Lance’s event of choice, there is no drafting.  There is no teamwork whatsoever.

Lance criticized this racing tactic in his tweet by saying:

Lance Armstrong: “is a draft legal tri ‘the race of truth?’ NO. I certainly never called it a joke.”  And then again later with, “Just feel as if drafting ought NEVER to be allowed.”

But hold on, is Lance claiming that he is somehow opposed to team work?  Pardon?  Isn’t the very nature of multi-day cycling team based in itself?  How likely would his seven “maillot jaune’s”   have been without a team there to assist him?  Sure Simon had Colin at the time, but didn’t Lance have Floyd Landis, George Hincapie, and Tyler Hamilton among others to help him?  And what did they get in return?  Convicted charges for EPO doping for which Lance himself was also accused but acquitted.  Hello?  At least Colin got the official recognition from Simon that he was both owed and deserved and the two are still friends and occasional riding partners to boot.  How often do you think Lance rides with poor Floyd or Georgie?  No, now he merely passes them off as “trolls”.  Nice.

So while I may recognize that Lance is colder than a polar bears asshole, and I genuinely loathe him with intensity of a thousand Christian Bales, I also realize that this type of self-centered attitude is indicative of long distance athletes.  I think it’s just a bi-product of covering hundreds of kilometers in a single week, largely on your own in periods of physical and mental duress.  Would I love to have a Colin Jenkins sometimes?  Absolutely!  But do I want one?  No.  But I do appreciate the concept of ‘team’ at that professional level…something Lance seems to have forgotten, or simply ignored because it doesn’t happen to jive with his current interest.  And as far as Lance goes, he wouldn’t be able to get close enough to read the name WHITFIELD  emblazoned across Simon’s rear end anyway, so who gives a shit what he thinks.  I hopped off the Lance bus a long time ago.

In fact, I hope the ‘Whitfield Express’ backs up over him a few times on the way to another Gold in London at this summer’s Olympic Games.  Of course, Lance being Lance, he’ll still create and maintain the ultimate media attention in his bid to do whatever.  After all, it’s all about Lance.

  1. Tammy Palumbo says:

    I knew there was a reason I could never bring myself to buy one of those yellow bracelets…

  2. Chantal says:

    Loathe with the intensity of a thousand Christian Bales…that is awesome!! I have both Lance and Simon on my twitter feed, and I have always had respect for Lance….not so sure now, it’s definitely on the decline.

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