Louisville Bicycle Club



Louisville Bicycle Club Newsletter -- November-December 1996

Comfort

by Dave Stewart

The announcement of Lance Armstrongís cancer is bad news that I feel hard. Armstrongís youthful arrogance has annoyed me in the past but Iíve seen a maturing in both his attitude and his athletic prowess that gives me hope. And no one, world class athlete or local tourist, deserves his news.

I cringe when the article in the paper talks about his surgery. When it describes his chemotherapy, I know what will be required of him to master the odds of survival. On the other hand, if he isn't in the survival group, his ordeal will be even more grim. His will be a difficult battle.

Armstrong is upbeat in his remarks to the reporter. But I can sense the incredulity in his words. Heís so young and has felt so good. Routine medical tests are a part of his life. Why didnít one of them catch his malignancy before now, he wonders. The reality of his situation is something he still hasnít come to terms with. But he senses whatís in store for him. I know. I know because he tells the reporter, ďI just want to be on my bike, outside, with my friends.Ē That's where he goes for support. When he needs something that is familiar in a time of indistinct threat and unease. When he needs a time of comfort, he goes for a ride with his friends.

Is it this way in all sports? Or just in cycling? Is comfort available in any sporting arena? I have times of my own that I find hard to face. Times when I grow weary of dealing with whatever threatens my own life. Times when my own deep hurt draws me away from the World. At these times, I get to the point where I just want to be on my bike. Outside. With my friends. I don't sense that kind of link between life and competition or recreation in other sports. Is it just the bike... the mechanical aspect of cycling? Can a wounded golfer without his clubs be just as happy sitting with his friends? Does a ball player have to be on the court to feel comfort and peace in his soul? I don't know.

I do know that Iíve watched a number of people come back to cycling for something they needed in their lives even when it seemed to the medical community to be ill advised. This summer, Barbara Berman rode after her accident with more cloth wrapped around her leg than I wear on a ride. It hurt to watch. Bernice Martin, with pain obvious to those who rode with her, was back on her bike in very short order after breaking her collar bone. Joe Kipp broke his shoulder and rode through his own nagging pain. Something about cycling spoke to these people. Something beyond prudence or physical pain. I think, based on how I feel about cycling, that this particular sport has a unique quality pursued by all of us who ride. Cycling is a comfort to us. A comfort beyond pure sport or simple recreation. A comfort that comes from being on our bikes, outside, with our friends. A comfort that reduces our pain with a sense of peace. Armstrong is quoted again in the article. He says, "This thing ain't going to stop me. I might have a bald head but I'll be out there on my bike." There's a lot of us who know how he feels. We'll be out there, too. We may have souls that ache or physical injuries. But weíll be out there on our bikes. Thatís where the healing starts.


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last updated: 08 November 1996
by Duc M. Do