The Unsinkable brian cork™

Brian Patrick Cork is living the Authentic Life

I was wrong about Armstrong

January16

okay…

I admit it. I was wrong about Lance Armstrong.

I made a big deal over standing by Armstrong and him being a hero. sometimes that involved not listening to reason posed by others.

perhaps it was all wishful thinking. I’ve seen the man up-close-and-personal in racing. and, I was always inspired. he either blew-up or won. that is neither an excuse, or a reason.

But, I still hope he can dig deep and some how finish well in life, if not on the road.

I have no idea how, mind you. I just want that for everyone and anybody. but, admitting when you are wrong, or mistaken, is part of that path towards redemption.

rare addendum dated 01-20-2013:

“I know him in a very complex way. he’s a real person; he’s not a cardboard cutout. I know that he has troubles, and when you genuinely are about somebody you don’t just walk away from them when they are struggling.”

I think we also must come to terms with the harsh fact that Armstrong is likely possessed of a severe personality disorder. it’s certainly not an excuse. but, he can’t relate to almost anyone. he will view and exhibit remorse in a way most others can’t, in return, relate to.

peace be to my Brothers and Sisters.

brian patrick cork

I hope God knows Lance Armstrong is a hero

August27

so…

I took more than the usual heat this weekend for prior posts such as, french are practical and damn silly Basterds. but, I stand by it, all of it

just like I’ll stand by Lance Armstrong.

I knew a couple of days before the papers (internet, actually) unleashed the news on a stunned world. Matthew McConaughey called with the words, “Lance is gonna walk away, man”.

headlines outlined the reality… Lance Armstrong Ends Fight Against Doping Charges; Will Be Stripped of Tour de France Titles

so… after more than two decades of out-pacing opponents and a decade of outrunning accusations that he had “doped” during his celebrated cycling career, Lance Armstrong, one of the most well-known and accomplished athletes in history, finally surrendered, so-to-speak on Thursday afternoon, etching a dark mark on his legacy by ending his fight against charges that he used performance-enhancing drugs.

that reads rather officious. but, I mean it appear stern and bleak. those words ring true in my own life, albeit on a different scale.

Lance and I both gave-up the face-of-our-fathers (name) with the expectations that we could move-on with our lives.

I won’t pretend, and not for a moment, that I am somehow on-par with Armstrong. what he accomplished as a professional athlete, and as a transformative champion against cancer are unequalled. my own athletic achievements, and what I attempt daily as a Dad, businessman, and youth coach will always be overshadowed by what happened to me in Colorado.

but, God knows that my heart was pure. and, I work every day to earn my own sense of redemption. and Lance has that opportunity before him.

Armstrong, who won the Tour de France an unprecedented seven straight times, said on Thursday night that he would not continue to contest the charges levied against him by the United States Anti-Doping Agency, which contended that he doped and was one of the ringleaders of systematic doping on his Tour-winning teams.

Armstrong’s decision, according to the World Anti-Doping Code, means he will be stripped of his seven Tour titles, the bronze medal he won at the 2000 Olympics and all other titles, awards and money he won from August 1998 forward. it also means he will be barred for life from competing, coaching or having any official role with any Olympic sport or other sport that follows the World Anti-Doping Code. the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency erased fourteen years of Lance Armstrong’s career Friday, including his record seven Tour de France titles – and, banned him for life from the sport that made him a household name and hero to millions of cancer survivors after concluding he used banned substances.

but, it does not mean he actually doped, mind you. it means he has more important things to focus on.

Armstrong clearly knew his legacy would be blemished by his decision. but, he said he has grown tired of defending himself in a seemingly never-ending fight against charges that he doped while piling up more Tour victories than anyone ever. Lance has consistently pointed to the hundreds of drug tests that he passed as proof of his innocence during his extraordinary run of Tour titles.

“There comes a point in every man’s life when he has to say, ‘Enough is enough.’ For me, that time is now,” Armstrong said Thursday night, hours before the deadline to enter arbitration.

“Today I turn the page. I will no longer address this issue, regardless of the circumstances,” he said. “I will commit myself to the work I began before ever winning a single Tour de France title: serving people and families affected by cancer, especially those in underserved communities.”

that said…

Livestrong donations skyrocket in wake of Lance Armstrong’s decision to stop fighting charges

go to hell Jim Lewis.

that won’t make sense to anyone else, but me, and Joanne, probably. however, it makes me feel a bit better.

in any event, many wondered if Livestrong – the foundation for cancer survivors founded by the seven-time Tour de France winner and testicular cancer survivor – would suffer as a result.

It doesn’t look like it.

on Friday, McConaughey said that Armstrong had told him that donations to Livestrong were up twenty-five times over the prior Thursday and Wednesday averages.

“Thank you thank you thank you!” Armstrong wrote on Twitter.

Doug Ulman, Livestrong’s chief executive, confirmed on ESPN that the foundation had received seventy eight thousand dollars in unsolicited donations in the twenty-four hours following the announcement of Armstrong’s decision. Compare that to Thursday, when Livestrong received just $3,200 (just so we are clear, I did not do that, you did).

and, Ulman told our own foundation director that Livestrong has seen a thirteen percent increase in contributions in the last twelve months, in the light of all the allegations.

moving-on, past obstacles just as he does with opponents, in a manner that will always define Lance Armstrong, he is still competing in bike races. on Saturday, Armstrong finished second in a thirty-six mile mountain bike race in Aspen, Co., where he made his first public comments since being hit with the lifetime ban.

“Nobody needs to cry for me,” Armstrong told reporters. “I’m going to be great.

“It’s not so much about racing anymore,” he continued. “For me, it’s more about staying fit and coming out here and enjoying one of the most beautiful parts of the world, on a beautiful day, on a very hard course.”

maybe the bottom-line is this… since Armstrong launched Livestrong in 1997, the foundation has raised close to $500 million.

“Drugs or no drugs,” pro-cyclist Matthew Serge wrote on Twitter, “anyone that raises $500 million to fight cancer is cool by me.”

“I’m focused on the future,” Armstrong said after the Colorado race. “I’ve got five great kids, a great lady in my life, a wonderful foundation that’s completely unaffected by any noise out there, and we’re going to continue to do our job. The people like the people who are standing around here or on the course, they voiced their opinion in the last 48 hours and are going to support us.”

Jeremy Swanson, a photographer who shot Armstong in Aspen, tweeted: “#StillMyHero.”

McConaughey says that the winner of Saturday’s race, 16-year-old Keegan Swirbul, added: “I’m so psyched right now – to beat the seven-time Tour champ.”

titles, pride, prejudice… none of it matters in the face of integrity, force-of-will, a raison d’être, or that little voice in the back of your head that pushes you over huge hills and life obstacles grimly telling some of us that we can do it, we still have a battle to win, we have value and can contribute.

and, we shall.

redemption is always at-hand. so, how do we define redemption? I tried it recently with another post, how do You define Redemption. read it. do it now!

I suppose the masses will judge Armstrong with a shallow view. but, Lance and God know that his legacy is bigger than racing titles. Lance is bigger than life. God gave that ability to him, and may want Armstrong to leverage it in ways most others can’t comprehend. so, with the world still his stage, perhaps his best achievements lie before him. that can be his legacy.

that’s what I want for myself.

that is it’s own form of redemption, right. how well do we finish? what is the final score, tally, result.

peace be to my Brothers and Sisters.

brian patrick cork

my lance armstrong perspective: character and integrity are the same but different depending on strategy if not American ingenuity

July18

Many of you will likely find this post as intersting or exciting as my recent, and rediculously self-indulgent, thoughts around the Blackberry, other handsets, and people that use them. But, I am passionate about cycling, and, of course, most extreme sports. And, I know you will stick with me.

As I write this post Lance Armstrong had dropped to fourth place in the Tour de France.

As dire as that may read, it’s really not that big a deal. There are dramatic mountain stages ahead, as well as time trials, and the potential, at any moment, for tour standings to suddenly change with falls, and the potential for scandal to rear it’s nefarious head.

Armstrong is currently eight seconds behind Rinaldo Nocentini of Italy who has managed to hold onto the coveted yellow jersey for eight consecutive stages – but, is not expected to end up winning the overall race.

In a post from last week, lance is a Yellow basterd, I predicted that Armstrong would end up working tactically with Astana teammate Alberto Contador going into the final stages of the race, and and then slug it out one-on-one with the 2007 tour winner, probably in the second to last stage.

I believe this remains the ultimate plan. However, the strategy is likely changing daily.

Early in the tour, team Astana demonstrated both power and unity as they blew away everyone else in a team time trial. The result was three Astana team members positioned to attack for the lead. Contador was second overall six seconds behind, Armstrong was third at eight seconds, and Levi Leipheimer was fourth, and fifty eight seconds off the leader.

It should be noted that Leipheimer and Armstrong are great friends, comrades, and countrymen. I am convinced Armstrong was counting on Leipheimer to pull him (and Contador, if it made sense) through some break away stages for the yellow jersey. This adds the element of potential for an unprecedented one-two American rider finish in the Tour de France – something that many pundits, French journalists, and team Astana itself, has down-played. And, let’s not forget American George Hincapie as he finds himself in second place overall after todays stage. So, an American sweep? Armstrong, Leipheimer and Hincapie were all Discovery team members during the majority of Armstrong’s seven tour victories.

Epic.

In any event, there is tension amongst the Astana riders polarized by loyalties to Armstrong and Contador.

Contador, a Spaniard, probably has a chip on his shoulder because it can be argued the only reason he won the 2007 Tour de France is because Armstrong wasn’t there. Like many Mediterreanean men, Contador comes across with a sense of entitlement, and often acts like this is his time, while Armstrong has had his day. However, Armstrong is chomping at the bit to prove his seven prior tour victories should not be tainted by any suggestion of drug use. The French media is relentless in their spite and greatly evident domination Armstrong has over their tour and, of course, numerous French riders that often languish in Armstrong’s shadow.

So, both Armstrong and Contador are contending with unstated asterisks by their mighty accomplishments – and, are faced with a dramatic need, one for the other, in this current tour.

The dynamic changed, however, when Leipheimer fell off of his bike and broke his wrist. He withdrew from the tour Friday. This leaves many questions about both the Astana team victory and the special interests of both Armstrong and Contador. And, as I alluded to above, there was also a question in my mind wether Armstrong and Leipheimer might try for a break on their own (this will be discussed and evaluated in an entirely different post after I speak with Levi).

In theory, it’s generally a teams best interest to support the eventual winner of the Tour de France. The yellow jersy brings glory to the entire team. It might be surprising for readers to learn that, in many respects, cycling is oft considered a team sport. Teams are built around one star supported by climbers and break away-capable speedsters recruited to get them though specific stages of major races. Leipheimer, for example, was recruited for his “chemistry” and prior experience with Armstrong. Along the way these specialists can earn distinctions and individual honors that include “King of the Hills” (polka dot jersey) and top Sprinter (green jersey) – all by accumulated points and stage wins.

Certainly, there are other riders that can win the tour. But, I feel Astana is loaded and capable of managing their own destiny both this year, and likely the 2010 event as well (when Armstrong buys out the current sponsors and replaces them with companies from the United States – I hope to be part of that).

So… Armstrong or Contador?

Leipheimer was the “wild card”. And, another individual time trial in the next few days after several grueling stages in the Alps will be more than telling. My thinking has been that Armstrong and Contador (and Leigheimer) – all of team Astana, for that matter, have only been biding their collective time monitoring the strengths of individual riders and their own collaborative efforts with lesser teams. I expected the Astana riders to make a break in the Alps, working together in a team time trial fashion to put minutes between Armstrong, Contador and the peloton – where Nocentini wold be helpless to keep up with the Astana attack. Obviously the peloton would recognize the tactic and give immediate chase. But, team Astana proved they can drop everyone in that earlier team time trial. So, I really think losing Leipheimer at this point is crucial. He was a utility rider with great time trial speed and and pull-through strength. It’s surprising what a difference only one man can make in a five to seven man break away. And, the team’s polarized loyalties could prove definitive in the final two thousand meters in the mad dash to the finish line.

I can see Armstrong and Contador baring down wheel-on-wheel with Armstrong swerving to the side in the final meters, and with a grand flourish, giving the tour to Contador. This would make Armstrong an even greater legend – espcially amongst the purists of the sport where valor and good sportsmanship might be valued above everything else. But, it would also humiliate Contador, and tarnish his victory. The asterisk would remain, but forever benefitting Armstrong as he tests his character vs. integrity. And, ever the canny  businessman, willing to brandish American bravado with Texas swagger, the book deals and speaking opportunities generated by such an, ironically, selfless act, would be wildly lucrative.

Then he turns around and wins the 2010 tour in fine form – pushing any asterisk up the French media’s collective butt.

So… It’s going to happen in the Alps or a long flat course. The Astana riders will break and pull Armstrong and Contador through a sustained effort to distance themselves from all other riders in contention for the yellow jersey. Armstrong and Contador are, without question, legendary climbers and can break the will of everyone else in the Alps. But, with a team of determined speedsters around them it probably makes sense to watch for this development in one of the three stages leading up to the final time trial where the standing will likely find themselves carved in proverbial stone, with only a freak accident having the potential to change the outcome of the final approach to the Arc de Triumph come September 27th.

Peace be to my Brothers and Sisters.

Brian Patrick Cork

lance is a Yellow basterd

July11

The last time I spoke with Lance Armstrong he was fit and ready for the Tour de France.

His only concern was the fall he had taken back in March while racing in Spain. And, this mostly because falls haunt riders for a long time, and create tension in the body.

In any event, today finds Lance and his Astana team comfortably in contention for the overall lead in France.

Armstrong is second overall, just a fraction of a second behind leader Fabian Cancellara of Switzerland, and nearly all his rivals are lagging far behind except for teammate Alberto Contador of Spain, who is just 19 seconds back and is regarded as the best climber in the world.

FRANCE TOUR DE FRANCE CYCLINGToday through Monday they are in those treacherous mountains that will break many a riders spirit – if not their bodies. For me, this is where the sport of cycling realizes it’s greatest champions.

I have this feeling; call it 85%, that Lance is going to show the world what an incredible champion he is by helping Contador win the Tour. The other 15% says that Lance and Contador help one another going into the next to last stage where they fight it out man-to-man for the yellow jersey.

The brilliance of this is Lance Armstrong wins either way.

Peace be to my Brothers and Sisters.

Brian Patrick Cork

What’s All This About?

"What am I looking at?", you might wonder.

Lots of stuff.

Meanwhile, here, I discuss events, people and things in our world - and, my (hardly simplistic, albeit inarticulate) views around them.

You'll also learn things about, well, things, like people you need to know about, and information about companies you can't find anywhere else.

So, while I harangue the public in my not so gentle way, you will discover that I am fascinated by all things arcane, curious about those whom appear religious, love music, dabble in politics, loathe the media, value education, still think I am an athlete, and might offer a recipe.

All the while, striving mightily, and daily, to remain a prudent and optimistic gentleman - and, authentic.

brian cork by John Campbell





photos by John Campbell

 

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