This story is fictional. Any similarities to actual events or individuals is purely coincidental.
Three major TV news organizations and FOX have been tracking the whereabouts of retired velodrome superstar Joe Fix. Copy editors for the nation’s leading newspapers have inked their front pages with articles titled, “GET JOE FIX!!!” for years, praising his ability to outrun the competition race after race, year after year, one Olympics after another. Now, after his very first defeat in his storied cycling career, Joe has not only disappeared from the lime light, he has not been in touch with family or friends since his embarrassing showing at the Tour de Ale, a cycling event limited to beer drinking, bearded cyclists riding 30-pound bikes equipped with tires no less than two inches wide.
Television crews and other media photographed Joe Fix as he arrived at the starting line clean-shaven, wearing spandex, sporting hairless legs and riding the latest high-tech, carbon fiber bike money can buy. If this was the velodrome in Frisco, Texas he would have been right at home. Not only was he disqualified from the race, he was laughed at and mocked by those who he thought were his fans and friends.
We recently received an anonymous tip that Joe might be hiding out in a loft above a framebuilder’s shop on the east coast in an attempt to get back to his cycling roots. Positioned safely across the street in a rented apartment, we were able to set up surveillance. The following was captured on tape after our intern posed as a pizza delivery person delivering to the wrong address. Joe Fix was talking to himself as if rehearsing for an upcoming interview. The recording device met an unfortunate fate, finding its way to the elbow of a drainage pipe sometime between midnight and 5:00 a.m. the next morning. We are still trying to think of way to thank our intern for retrieving it.
This is the transcript from what has become known as, The Intraview.
JOE: Well this is a fine mess you’ve gotten yourself into. What are your plans for righting the ship?
FIX: Plans? Plans are for architects. I rely on instincts and feelings.
JOE: So how do you explain the Tour de Ale? How do you “feel” about your instincts now?
FIX: That’s why I’m here. To rediscover my passion for cycling and just be a normal person for once.
JOE: Normal? Care to expand on that?
FIX: Look. The world required me to be a hero; someone who could overcome the obstacles that they could not. When I achieve, a little piece of them feels like they achieve alongside me.
JOE: Is that how you explain the doping?
FIX: It’s not easy to explain but yes. The only way to bring attention to my foundation was to be number one. The world required me to be number one and I met that requirement.
JOE: Are you clean now?
FIX: Yes. They keep feeding me pot roast, dumplings and amber ale. I haven’t felt this good in years. So relaxed. So soft. So…normal.
JOE: But the doping. The world doesn’t see it your way.
FIX: Why is this so hard for you to understand!? If the second place rider, third, fourth and multiple other riders were doping, and I still beat all of them, would you label that as cheating? Doping did not give me an advantage over the other dopers…once the playing field was leveled I still had to rely on my skill and conditioning. Doping will not elevate a last place rider to first. It’s only good for one or two positions. If I was a second-rate rider nobody would have noticed.
JOE: Forgive my normalness but how do you justify the years of lying and cover ups?
FIX: Imagine if you could single-handedly bring attention to a cause and create a movement that grew exponentially year after year.
JOE: But you had teammates. It wasn’t all you.
FIX: It WAS all me. It was ALWAYS about me. The whole point was for ME to win.
JOE: At all costs?
FIX: Of course.
JOE: I don’t know you personally but from what I’ve heard you hurt a lot of people along the way.
FIX: Raising money required bringing attention to the foundation. Bringing attention to the foundation required me to win. I didn’t want it to get out of hand the way it did but it did. I can’t change that now.
JOE: So you admit to hurting people?
FIX: To grow the foundation the world REQUIRED me to win. Even with the doping, I had to overcome crashes and attacks from teams of riders whose sole job was to make sure that I…DID…NOT…WIN. To get in my way, on or off the track was at best, ill-advised.
JOE: So you were countering a multiplied effort?
FIX: Exactly. My team could only help me so much. At some point the decision had to be made to guarantee wins, regardless of the attacks, regardless of the crashes. I just needed that little extra and it worked.
JOE: But you never lost. Don’t you think somebody was eventually going to question that?
FIX: Of course, but until that moment presented itself, my focus remained on winning and growing the foundation.
JOE: You know it does make sense in a round about way.
FIX: It makes perfect sense. How many lives were saved and will be saved because of those wins?
JOE: Probably thousands? Maybe even millions I guess.
FIX: You’re damn right. Millions of lives. Would you sacrifice your medals, your reputation, your legacy, if it meant saving millions of lives? Would you apologize for that? To anyone?
JOE: No. I guess not if you put it that way.
FIX: No is the only answer. I can apologize for doping and hurting people’s feelings or I can apologize for losing, knowing that with every loss, my foundation would take one step closer to losing the fight.
JOE: I’m sorry but I honestly never even considered any of that.
FIX: Of course you never. I risked everything, suffering the greatest defeat so others less fortunate than me could go on winning…living a life that may not have been possible without help from my foundation.
JOE: Do you think time will ever heal this wound?
FIX: Time heals most wounds. Others just get smaller, becoming faint scars and conversation pieces. As time dilutes the negative impact of my actions, people will slowly realize that I did much more good than harm. Now if you don’t mind, this pizza is getting cold.
Well there it is. Maybe we’ve all misjudged Joe Fix this entire time? It really doesn’t make sense that a rider would go through all of this trouble for his own benefit. There was clearly something larger than himself, something the rest of us refused to see.
I feel ashamed as a journalist, telling the world how desperate we are for a hero, only so we could gain attention from the hero's decline. Like a vulture, waiting for an eagle to fall, then picking it apart piece by piece. Unfortunately we failed to realize how great the eagle really was until after our first swallow.