My cousin, Chris Butler, professional cyclist and clean athlete
No one can deny it has been a heavy week for the cycling community. Without going into too much detail 7-time winner of the Tour de France Lance Armstrong came out and admitted to doping. This basically negates his wins throughout his career because he cheated to achieve his results.
As a passionate cyclist I can’t say this doesn’t hurt a little bit. I myself own Lance’s books about beating cancer and going on to win the greatest race in the world. Hell they have even inspired me when I first came into the sport. It was a picture perfect story about an underdog, and who doesn’t love a tale like that. The whole situation now is getting more media attention than say the wars in the middle east, starvation, child labor, and oh about a million other more noteworthy issues.
A few of my non cyclist family members and friends have asked my opinion on the whole debacle, and to tell you the truth I have never been more proud to be a cyclist. Instead of focusing on Lance I think about all the wonderful people and events in the cycling community that inspire me on a daily basis.
I look at the parents teaching their child to ride a bike, I think about the Northend Greeenway project in Harrisonburg that would make bike commuting safer and more accessible, I think about Ernest Gagnon who is using cycling as a means to become healthier and who is a true hero to us all, I think about the Long Brothers who just won the Sports Illustrated Kids SportsKids of the Year, just to name a few. Side note be sure to watch the video at the bottom of this post about the Long Brothers, they can teach us all quite a few important things, just be sure to have the tissues handy.
When people say everyone dopes in professional cycling I fiercely defend the clean athletes I call friends and family. I am friends with Ben King, professional cyclist, and I have full belief he is clean. My cousin Chris Butler has raced with BMC and is now with Champion Systems, and I know he is clean. My friend Curtis Winsor just finished his first season as a pro cyclist and I know his own two legs have taken him this far. I could keep naming them off like Cheryl Sornson, Jeremiah Bishop, Nick Waite, Sue Haywood, Sam Koerber, and many more.
Instead of focusing on the negative this week in cycling, think about all the good in cycling. I am asking everyone to keep the faith. Cycling has improved my life, made me a better person, and given me the best friends in the world. So when you throw a leg over your favorite two wheeled machine this weekend, be sure to smile because there is far more good in the cycling world then bad, and that’s something to be proud to be a part of.