Cycling & Reform
33“This reorganisation has been the subject of intense discussion with the teams and organisers with the view to establishing a common platform to allow cycling to return to a period of stability and serenity.” UCI Plan for the future of professional cycling
This entry was originally written at a time when the road beneath our bikes shifted a little less, and this was meant as a Praise entry for cycling’s apparent reforms. Since then, pro cycling’s track record on being truly reformed seems shakier still and perhaps has pedaled a few strokes in reverse. A winner of Grand Tours remains untried for alleged activity; and yet another is under federal investigation. The sport’s governing bodies seem even more entrenched in a purpose of smoothing things over to maintain status quo, pursuing its role of Promoter in conflict with its role as Overseer.
Even the humblest of coaches can appreciate that even a great athlete cannot have two goals in conflict and expect to accomplish either with supreme excellence. Let’s say Lance Armstrong wants to pursue both a Tour win and Olympic gold in the 500m sprint. For his coach to advise that as a conflict in goals and that he’d be better served focusing on the one thing he does really well would be the loving thing to do. But if the coach were more concerned about personal ambition and expansion and could see Lance impacting both areas at least some, then the coach may advise with self-interest. Lance loses the Tour but crowds flock to watch him challenge; he gains a placing on the track but walks away medal-less, in this fantastic scenario. The coach sells more books; Lance’s media entourage penetrates the world of track; the promoters of the Tour are a bit richer. No one walks away claiming excellence. The coach has chosen something other than the high road of loving Lance.
Thus it’s not harsh to point out when goals are in conflict, even if there is a payback in the short-term within that conflict. There is also a cost in the long-term, a huge cost. Thus let me do the loving thing for cycling and its participants and not be the first to point out that the goal of promoting cycling is in direct conflict with the goal of overseeing its behavior. These kinds of organizational checks and balances are why democracies thrive – the executive branch must be accountable to the legislative process, which is bound by the judicial system. Each organization focused on its goal, pursues its purpose in an accountable, presumably better way where the opportunity, at least, for less corruption provides for a healthy society, where care for its citizens demonstrates its excellence.
We have a long way to go for accountability to be the norm in cycling, and for its citizens to be in the best care. Significant reform is necessary, and former dictatorships must die. Short-term stability is compromising specialization and excellence in the long-term. Every successful athlete accepts the short-term pain in the process of long-term excellence.
I originally wrote: “today celebrate your discovery, confession, repentance and reforms!” but now I feel instead we should pray all the harder for that discovery, confession, and repentance, as well as for the reform that is its evidence. That reform must include a separation of powers based upon the admission that in fact, cycling citizens are better served by accountable governing.
And so I end with a quote from Thomas Jefferson:
“An elective despotism was not the government we fought for, but one which should not only be founded on true free principles, but in which the powers of government should be so divided and balanced among general bodies of magistracy, as that no one could transcend their legal limits without being effectually checked and restrained by the others.” –Thomas Jefferson: Notes on Va., 1782.
Amazing grace, how sweet the sound
That sav’d a wretch like me!
I once was lost, but now am found,
Was blind, but now I see.
’Twas grace that taught my heart to fear,
And grace my fears reliev’d;
How precious did that grace appear,
The hour I first believ’d!
Thro’ many dangers, toils and snares,
I have already come;
’Tis grace has brought me safe thus far,
And grace will lead me home.
Praise for Cycling Reforms (in advance)
“Then I let it all out; I said, ‘I’ll make a clean breast of my failures to God.’ Suddenly the pressure was gone—my guilt dissolved, my sin disappeared. These things add up. Every one of us needs to pray;
when all hell breaks loose and the dam bursts we’ll be on high ground, untouched. Count yourself lucky, how happy you must be— you get a fresh start, your slate’s wiped clean. Count yourself lucky—God holds nothing against you and you’re holding nothing back from him.
Celebrate God. Sing together—everyone! All you honest hearts, raise the roof!” 35Psalm 32:5-6,1-2,11
We are glad for stellar examples of confession, repentance and restoration in professional cycling. Thank You for forgiving honest hearts and for making beauty out of ashes. Thank You for many graces that keep us on the high road.
Ponder In what area in cycling did I realize I was wrong? I know my area, do you know yours? Affirm I celebrate change and reform in my character, even if that change hurts! Watch what could be when the limits of power are subject to other powers; just as competition makes us stronger.
33“UCI’s plans for Future of Pro Cycling,” By Rebecca Charlton – Cycling TV posted Switzerland| Cycling 18-08-08 on www.sportsya.com
34Amazing Grace by John Newton, Olney HymnsLondon: W. Oliver, 1779
35The Message, Copyright © 1993, 1994, 1995, 1996, 2000, 2001, 2002 by Eugene H. Peterson