Thursday, July 22, 2010

A Kind of Farewell (to the Boss)

A few minutes ago, Lance Armstrong tweeted the following:
Tough day today. Last epic mtn stage of my life. Thanks to all who came out and braved the weather on the Tourmalet.
I know he's retired before and I know I've flip-flopped between skeptic and fan a few times, but I surprised myself today by actually being a little bit saddened by this statement. Like him or not, Lance is a legend - not just in cycling, but in all sport and what he's done for the sport of cycling, at least in the United States, cannot be ignored.

Lance is one of two people in this world who I can thank for my interest (obsession?) with cycling. The other's my dad. If it hadn't been for those sweltering summers in Bethlehem, PA, before the age of streaming video, following tour text updates on Velonews, I'm not sure I ever would've developed the passion I have now.

I didn't actually watch the team time trial in 2005 when Zabriskie crashed out of the yellow jersey ("ZABRISKIE CRASHES!!!"), but I remember it vividly. The same goes for that epic, rain-soaked time-trial at the end of the race's 2004 edition - Jan vs. Lance. "The Look," the musette bag, the Beloki crash... all of those epic moments stand out so vividly in my mind as text updates wrapped in snippets of college life.

To put a long story short, Lance is hanging up his cleats (again) and the world of cycling is watching one of its' greatest, most inspiring champions ride off into the sunset. Thanks for everything, Lance.