In 2000 I climbed Mount Ventoux with four children to see Lance Armstrong win the Tour de France. I never doubted a race he won, nor a word he said.
Yes I thought he was rough, tough and could be rude. But he was a champion, he survived cancer... and his victory he gave to those of us who survived it too.
I never had a hero before, couldn't understand why people even had heroes... but Lance Armstrong became mine that day.
The day I climbed Mount Ventoux, I was lucky enough to stand side by side to Lance Armstrong during an interview. Later he rode his bicycle to a trailer to be tested for drug use. When he went inside the trailer, I bent down and collected a rock that his tire rolled over.
It was one of my prized possessions, it reminded me that one day cancer would be conquered for good. If Lance could do it, and the symbol of it was his riding and winning the Tour de France... it made me believe cancer would not win in the end.
This morning I listened to the interview between Lance and Oprah.
He admitted to his drug use, and cheating during his entire cycling career.
Lance's ruthless desire to win overshadowed his judgement, which blinded his ability to see the truth.
I cried, it felt odd to do so. I barely watch sports.
The only thing I am competitive in is playing cards with my family. I cheat at it most the time, they know it.
None of us are perfect...
I have made mistakes.
I have lied.
I survived cancer.
I am lucky.
I was sad that his desire to win was like a starving beast with an insatiable appetite, willing to destroy everything that most of us hold true... friends, family, personal integrity, love... for a tarnished victory of glory.
Understanding madness is one thing, accepting it is another.
Forgiveness starts with sorrow.
I hope I never become blinded to what it good and true.
Lance, I am glad you spoke the truth.
A road less traveled, I hope you will walk, and find a way to wield that incredible power that you have, that insatiable desire, to feed your inner beast into beauty.
You have taken the first step.