UPDATED MONDAY: Almost WKRP, Lance, Nepalese cobra, Western States, general stuff.

At 6:20 pm Eastern time on WKRQ in Cincinatti, a 10-minute or so interview, sponsored by Red Wigglers, the Cadillac of worms. The show is Amy’s Table. Amy Tobin is the host. Just FYI.

Lance

Too bad about all of that, the whole thing, the “culture” or whatever that fostered it or whatever. IF he did all that, he did it to be a contender among other enhanced contenders. It could be that it just leveled the playing field, at which point his superior training or heredity kicked him over the finish line first and they really were fairish races after all. IF he did that, he wasn’t born a cheater, and IF he was, which is ridiculous, it makes interesting debate that goes something like this: Born that way, not his fault. Not born that way but nudged into it by escalating successive approximations and the rewards of winning and the encouraging of his employers and enabling of his “trainers,” his entourage and even his fans for cheering his winning, also not his fault.

This is the hard one to swallow, the idea that at some point Lance didn’t just make a private Decision to dope—-IF he did.

"Decision" is a tricky word. There’s never an accusation of decision without an action to back it up. If I say I’ve decided to do a side-straddle hop and then I do it, you’ll say something like, "Duh…don’t bore me."  But if I say "I’ve decided to do a side-straddle hop in the next few seconds" and then don’t, you’ll assume that I decided not to between the time I decided to and then didn’t do it.

People think decisions lead to actions, when the only evidence of any decision is the action, that’s like saying Joe Blow is never quits because he’s determined, or that lady reads book after book because she’s voracious.

Back to the side-straddle hop—-You can’t just say “No-no….at the last second I decided not to do it.”  A statement like, “I decided not to do it” isn’t any more helpful than, “I didn’t do it.” If all “deciding” is, is weighing the pros and cons of doing something, culminating in either the pros or the cons winning out and then doing it or not doing it, then it’s still not a free-willish independent decision. You weigh what you predict will happen, and that keeps it from being “free.”  If I go into this bar, provacatively attired nice drunk ladies. If I go into this bar, provocatively attired mean drunk men. I don’t think I’ve ever even been in a bar, but this is a way to make a point.

That Lance’s environment shaped it and is guiltier than he is—that’s tough for a lot of people. Everybody acknowledges an influence, but then they throw in free will, which is supposed to trump it. You can’t have both. You can’t say “environment up to a point, and then free will takes over.” That’s like saying I’m vegan between meals.

As a society we have to act as though everybody has free will and is their own inner and solo agent of every action they do. Pious people say God is all-powerful and that his will is always done, but then to get God off the hook, say that God handed out the free will.

Free will is key here, because not buying free will doesn’t leave one with a lot of options when it comes to consequences. If nobody has it, how can we justify spanking children or punishing or killing criminals? If there were no free will, wouldn’t chaos take over, and so isn’t order evidence of free will?

It’s just a complicated topic, far beyond my intellectual abilities to make sense of, and not the kind of topic you want to read on a bike blog, except for the Lance connection. But it is a topic that I get to do because this is just a blog and it will go away soon.

I’ve never met Lance, never even got a chance to get a glance of Lance or look askance at Lance from a distance. <—-that is the best sentance I’ve ever written. And I’m as weak as the next guy in the way some deep part of me likes to see the cocky champs fall or secretly hopes the lunatic jumps so I can brag about having seen it. On top of that, I think the Lance-‘fluance has sent a lot of sincere middle-aged riders wannabes down a path that’s bound to fail ‘em.

If Lance gets double-stripped (if the ICU strips him, too), then I will feel really sorry for him. That doesn’t mean I think he was clean, and it doesn’t mean I think he’s a pathetic figure, either. It’s a complicated thing, isn’t it? In the end, Lance is one of us people living at the same time as we are on the only habitable place in our solar system (maybe the universe), and he is not one of the bad guys, he’s so much like his critics (and I’ve been one). I never wore a yellow band, but I kind of have an invisible one on now, in the sense that I’m feeling the compassion. Even that’s a funny thing….rooting for his downfall, then feeling sorry for him when it happens, and then feeling like a good person for feeling bad for him. It’s complicated to be human, isn’t it? I may feel differently tomorrow.

On a slightly lighter note, although still bad news for the truest of nature lovers, click here.

And now, on a low-carby note:

Projects that otherwise aren’t on the radar:

1. The resurrection of the Rivendell Reader. Dave has the next issue planned—RR44. I think it’ll be kind of a reference book for certain kinds of steel bikes, with some kinds of technical information about lugs, chainstays, design, tubing, forks and cork frowns and maybe metallurgy. Some things that didn’t make the cut in the book. All presented in a practical way. It won’t be a source for your Master’s thesis  in anything, but it’ll be a friendly overview.

2. Our paper catalogue is 90 percent written and just needs to be laid out. One of you has offered to do it, and we’ll see how that works out. In the past, this kind of reaching out has flopped, but I’m confident this time. You know who you are. The clock will start ticking in a month and the pressure will then be on.

3. Patches. We’re going to have some in three months. Assorted.

4. This morning Tuesday Aug 21 I taped an interview with Colorado Public Radio. It will air Wed Aug 22 at 10am Mountain time. I hope it comes out OK. To me I always sound exaperated, but that’s not how I’m feeling. It comes from thinking about the answers, a certain way of that. (It is part of my job to call attention to these things….so don’t anybody go getting mad at me for thumbing at myself, which I don’t mean to do.

5. I would like to recommend a short book, a quick novel that you will love even if you don’t especially have never ever at least since school read a novel. It is here. If somebody you know likes novels, even if it’s not you, and you want to surprise them by giving them a book they’re bound to like from somebody who they won’t expect it from, this is that book. Get it here. One of the bookstore owners was inspired to open the bookstore after finding a used copy of this book many years ago. This book belongs here.