Dear Lance Armstrong,
I guess this letter finds you in the middle of quite a busy couple of weeks media-wise—not that any week in your life in the past decade hasn't been followed by the media.
I know you're busy fighting all this drug stuff and figuring out what the heck your next move should be, so I'm glad that you took the time to read this letter.
Please don't see this letter as me pleading with you to admit your guilt, and please don't take this as me stating that you should do whatever it takes to clear your name, until all the dust has settled and we know, one way or another, whether you did or didn't take performance-enhancing drugs.
I'm not trying to convince you one way or another as to what you should do—that's only for you to decide and only for you to truly know.
I have no idea whether you are guilty or not.
Only you know that and therefore only you can answer to the critics, the haters, the sympathetic supporters and the indifferent people of this world.
I guess I just wanted to take some time to say thanks.
It might seem weird—especially given all that's going on—but I really wanted to thank you for the inspiration and passion that you've instilled in my life for sport, my family and the life that God has given me on this earth.
I'm not a cyclist any more than the next person, and whilst I will never understand why you drag yourself up those mountains year in and year out, I wanted to thank you for impacting the way that I approach those less fortunate than I am.
I so desperately want to believe that you are innocent and that the reports about your doping and cover-up are simply wrong.
I so desperately want to believe that the words you said in your biographies of years gone by that I pored over late at night, unable to put down, were true and were not simply a fabricated reality that you had created for yourself as "the truth".
I so desperately want to believe that you will clear your name, but I am fearful of attaching myself to that fear—that I too might be let down and disappointed.
I want to believe Lance, but I just can't.
However, what I do want to believe in is belief itself.
I want to believe that we are so much stronger than we could ever imagine, and that belief is one of the most valiant and resilient human characteristics.
You said that, you know.
You said that what you had achieved on the world stage of cycling and all the accolades and praise you had received was secondary to the triumph over cancer, as well as the life that it so nearly stole from you.
You said that it was not about the bike.
I believe you.
Life isn't about the bike, and I hope that amongst these afflictions and adversities that I can only begin to imagine, I hope that you believe it, too.
I hope that you continue believing in yourself—believing in whatever you choose to believe in—and that you will see that to be the most important thing.
You have done great and irreplaceable work for cycling; you have done great and irreplaceable work in the field of cancer awareness and involvement.
You have done great and irreplaceable work in the scope of human history and for me, you have done great and irreplaceable work in shaping my life as a writer and a human.
So regardless of whatever happens in the next few days, thanks.
Thanks for the words you never knew you said to me, and for the life that you have shown me it was possible to live—whatever is thrown in your way.
I hope that the life you showed was true and not fake.
I hope that the life you lived was true and not fake.
I can only hope.
For what is greater, fear or hope?
I think you said that as well.
Dan Talintyre — Follow @dantalintyre