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« Endings | Main | Now I Remember »

May 25, 2007

Comments

Matt

Ya know what? I'm almost to the point of 'whatever' in the doping thing. It still comes down to an indivual athlete doing what he does better than the rest (and having luck)...look at baseball...Barry Bonds is STILL the MAN, even though it's patheticly obvious he DID use drugs back when...and his records are and will stand! Guess no one cares...so why the big deal in Cycling? Maybe everybody should just LET IT GO ... isn't sleeping in an oxygent tent doping? You are artificially creating more red blood cells by 'pretending' to sleep at high altitude, but you wake up, step out of the 'tent' and do all your training at low altitude where it does the most good. Hell, drinking Cytomax versus water...helps you perform better...so basicly someone has gotten together and decided WHAT is cheating and what is not...and the down side is it's very hard to catch someone violating the rules (and expensive...look at the budget for anti-doping worldwide!)...and what good is it REALLY doing? Maybe it's time to just say 'go for it..whatever you want to do'...still comes down to a guy (or gal) on a bike. The person IS the engine...some engines are better than others naturally, but can be 'augmented' to run better...(watch drag cars running Nitro). You wanna do drugs/blood dope/etc? Whatever...cuts years off your life..but so what...football players, pro wrestlers...they all sacrifice life-span years for the 'greatness'...and society accepts that. We ALL just need to get over it and let them ride...and the best person on the bike THAT DAY wins! PERIOD! Don't CARE how they got that way! LEATHER UP and RIDE! It's an even field if EVERYBODY does it...which it appears they ARE doing now..or at least WERE doing! I am getting pretty tired of people bagging on cycling as a bunch of cheats while embracing the likes of B.Bonds, or pro football players (US type) players...talk about the pot calling the kettle black! Just my Friday rant...have a great weekend everybody! The wife and I are heading up to Monterey CA for the long weekend...gonna FORGET about all the bad stuff for a few days...(and sneak in a nice ride tonight as a bonus!) Get out there and ENJOY LIFE!

theresa

Hi guys! I'm home!!! I haven't read any cycling news today, except Sara's post just now. Ok, now we know. If Telekom was doping so was everyone else in the early to middle 90's. I know that's a sweeping declaration, but that's the way it's starting to look. Sara, don't let anyone make fun or light of this, or rub your face in it!! We are talking of a time period, 10-15yrs ago. It was the wonder drug!! There was no test to discover it. We've had cyclists here and there, saying a year or so, or one Tour de France, They did it. Does this really surprise us?? Look at sports history. I don't know much, but there have been drug problems, players fixing games for money, all kinds of crap go down. Tom Simpson, goes over a mountain in the Tour, and they find amphetamines in his system.
That's how our favorite org. WADA was formed by the IOC. The problem with that is they didn't do a very good job developing WADA, and now, it's as bad as anything the athletes ever did!!
T-Mobile cleaned house. Riis set up controls with the CSC. Remember, everything is better, when viewed in the light of day. Vietman, IRAQ(we haven't heard the end of that yet)Our governments have done stuff in the name of protecting the great USA, that pales in comparison with trying anything to increase your performance, when the money is on the line. I want to someone to tell me ONE single sport that has NEVER had a problem!!
That doesn't mean it has to stay that way. And the teams and their countries are passing laws to make it illegal. The sponsers are demanding a clean sport, so there is hope for the future. Let's just learn lessons and move on. Remember Spain didn't even have a law that made OP criminal. If it hadn't been for the lovely Germans, I think Spain and Italy would have just let it die. France learned their lesson in 98. Drugs do not make someone without talent, and hard work, a top level anything. The athlete has to have the natural talent, and has to work and train and focus hard! I'd never heard of Joe Papp. He wasn't exactly the cream of the peleton. He took everything, and he didn't win the Giro, or Tour or anything big. Drugs hurt the body, and eventually the body will fail. Besides "Fair play", it can mean the difference between living a long life, or not. And everyone at sometime in their life thinks the short-term fix, is justifiable, when it never works out.
OMG, I'm preaching!! I'm not shocked. Surprised yes, but when I think about, maybe not. But I still LOVE CYCLING! And I will not abandon the one sport I've found that I love!!

Janann

Matt, you should read MD today - he's with you on this!

I love watching the sport and I DO think that teams are trying to get a handle on this problem. Don't despair Sara! It IS difficult to defend the sport as a whole with all of these allegations coming out (and covered much more heavily than most races are covered), but its a beautiful sport with incredible athletes. I dearly hope that the teams themselves might be able to get a handle on this ala Slipstream. http://www.slipstreamsports.com/
Which, by the way Theresa, has a photo of your Brad on the home page :)

Anyhow.....I'm off for the weekend as well. My husband's high school reunion. Wish me LUCK to get through it!! I hope that the rest of the peloton hasn't confessed to doping by the time I get back on Monday!

Have a great weekend everyone!!!

CMehl

Cycling is a beautiful sport because you can't make a race horse out of a donkey, so while many "winners" were (are) doping, the incredible strengths and reserves necessary to climb up an HC mountain are still there. In general the dope doesn't push the pedals, it just allows for better recovery since the riders have to do it again, and again, and again in a stage race or Grand Tour. I don't care what kind of dope you could give most of us, we could not do what these cyclist do. And it's a beautiful sport because the participants are human beings, and they make mistakes that they sometimes cover up but they sometimes also confess. And their human stories are part of the reasons we love this sport--we can identify with the choices they have in front of them, even if we end up disagreeing with what they decide. I've met and shared wine with Bjarne, he is a decent, passionate man about cycling and his riders. AND today he has a clean conscience. So tell your friends there is cheating in MANY sports (give them examples if you have to: football, soccer, running, hockey)and cycling is being right up front about cleaning up the sport--what are other sports doing? And the other answer I give: I smile and say, "Well, at least cycling is never boring!"

Don't let others take away your love and enjoyment of the sport. There is nothing that quite compares to watching the peloton whoooosh by you on a stage, or being able to see your favorites suffering big time on a mountaintop finish!

pommi

Cycling is not just the pro-sport you're watching and following.

Cycling is for me foremost going out on rides and enjoy myself.

Last Sunday I completed my first century, and I didn't need anything else than that to feel that cycling is special.

In other words:

"Training for my first Century and following the pros for inspiration." ... Follow the former part and forget about the latter part.

susie b

So, Riis 'caught the train' after all.... Still, I'm not happy with HIS apology at all - NO crying?! No CRYIN?!! Are you kiddin! Hmmmph! Because I am SUCH a giver, a helper extraordinaire, I offered up over on MDs a CLASSIC apology, all ready for any cyclist ready to come clean. (They don't need to thank me, just seeing the tears will be enough...) Since 1988, I have measured every confession/apology against this gem & it reverberates in my memory still. "I have SINNED...."

The good news for Floyd is that if they DO strip Riis' TDF title, Floyd won't be the "first" anymore... HOW many times did you read/hear THAT in every damn article/TV mention about Floyd in the last 10 months?! Drove me batty.

As for sports doping. I've been OBSESSED with the subject since 7/27/06 & as a sports fan, I've thought about it off & on for years. I swing WILDLY on what I think should be done. From opening everything up to clamping down even more. Neither option is good. I feel like a Wailing Wanda, that this could end sport as we know it. I don't think the sports that are "games" or involve a skill that must be practiced will be impacted that much. No, it is the sports that are strictly tests of speed, strength, or endurance that will be hugely affected. In other words, the "racing" or "lifting/throwing" events.

Since 1998 when I 1st became aware of doping in pro-cycling, I've wondered but never let myself speculate too much, partly because I probably knew it would be like lifitng a rock; all the yucky bugs scattering in the light & who wants to see that? I didn't. As the years went by & the rumors & accusations were flung on Lance, I STILL didn't want to know. I truly convinced myself that only the "bad" guys or those that were just not that good & thus couldn't keep up with Lance were the dopers. But with OP breaking & the way Jan & Ivan both slunk away from the TDF last year, I knew. I couldn't turn my head any longer because no matter where I looked, there it was, yes, doping & not love "was all around"....(Sometimes, I just can't help myself...)

I AM furious that cycling gets singled out for special media Hell & the thought of DICK Pound crowing "I TOLD you so" today makes me physically ill. If more current cyclists start confessing in the next few weeks, it COULD lead to a suspension of the TDF. I know the ASO will do everything in its' power to prevent that, but the race sponsors will certainly not be happy!

I also worry how this will impact Floyd's case. Hearing all these cyclists confess ALL AT THE SAME TIME that yes, of course they were doping would have to have an ADVERSE (get it? groan....) impact - the arbs are'nt sequestered you know. Because I have absolutely believed Floyd did NOT dope for these 10 long months, (& not even counting the money I contributed to the FFF), I would be devastated if he now confesses. Same with Lance. I'm not sure at this point if it would be enough to turn me completely off the Tour de France, the only race that I ABSOLUTELY have adored since the moment I 1st set confused eyes upon it. I just hope I never have to find out.


Sorry for the length, just couldn't stop. What can I say...
I have SINNED.... :) :)

CMehl

Susie, According to article on Velo News statute of limitations was 8 years so Riis will not be stripped of his title, although UCI is requesting that he return his maillot jaune. We'll see how that plays out....And the TdF is a huge economic boost for France, I bet it will happen come hell or high water (or are we in that phase already?!). And same VNews article does say Bjarne was teary-eyed, so maybe his confession can move up a notch! Personally I think Zabel's was way better because he brought his son into the equation, saying he didn't want his son to go through what he has....that was good right there. Plus Zabel is just a good guy anyway--love him.

Matt

JD, I "CAN'T" go over to MD's site...still awaiting my gold-leaf apology letter inviting me back (GRIN!!) I just say get out there and ride! (wait a sec...I need to adjust the altitude setting on my altitude tent, and then make sure my testosterone cream, gel, patches and injections are all properly stored in the refrig first)...OK..all better! LEATHER UP!

theresa

Susie, do you have that apology memorized or just written down and with you in case you, or someone you know, needs help confessing?:)

Cathy, I wondered about the statute of limitations on these cases. Riis said that if they want back the jersey, he has it in a cardboard box for them! Interesting, I thought most winners frame them and hang them on the wall!!
And Eric Zabel and Rolf are class acts, as well as Riis. Except, I agree that I can't stand the idea of LeMond or Pound crowing over these confessions!! What I've found is that, the cyclist I like/or love, can screw up and I'll forgive them. Take Jan for instance. I'm still crazy about him. Even tho he's so weak in character and self-control, I still love him. I've never liked LeMond. I knew who he was. But when I started following cycling; I quickly developed a dislike for his attitude and bearing. Versus showed a Biography on him, with Greg and his wife, and that didn't even help my attitude. Although, I do think he would have won more Tours, without the gunshot wounds!!!

Oh, I've got something special for you guys, I'll be back in a minute!!

theresa

This will make you feel better about the future of cycling. My main man on the podium in 1st place, getting his gold medal!!

http://www.bradhuffcycling.com/blog/index.php

And congrats, pommi!!! Your first century, awesome! As long as I'm on platform pedals, my goals stay below that!!!

theresa

Janann, thanks for directing me to the team page! I hadn't looked! Brad at least wore his Team Slipstream socks! Instead of those horrible black socks he wore in another race!!

guez

I understand the exhaustion that has apparently driven Matt to throw in the towel, but I can't accept his arguments. Here is why we need an effective and fair anti-doping policy:

1) There is enormous pressure on athletes to perform. If we tolerate doping, athletes will inevitably take health risks to get better results, which in turn puts the pressure on their peers to do the same. Yes, I know, training involves some health risks as it is, but it is reasonable to try to keep these risk to a minimum. I simply can't see myself being a fan of a sport that endorses the notion that young men and women should risk their lives by poisoning their bodies.

2) A second point seems even more compelling to me: what professionals do inevitably trickles down to aspiring young athletes, for whom the health effects are much more serious. Do we really want a sports culture that encourages kids to mess up their bodies?

If legalizing doping is the alternative, I would rather have NO professional cycling and vibrant community of amateur competitors, bike commuters, young enthusiasts, and other recreational cyclists.

theresa

OMG, you guys, I JUST finished watching the AI finale!!!!! It was AweSome!! I just loved it!! And, no one mentioned Bette Midler was on it!!! I got the biggest kick out of Sanjaya's song!!!LOL And even the AI "awards" where down in a fun way, and not cheesy at all! But, my dvr stopped recording before the last minute win Jordin won. I liked the Ford video, and Blake and Jordin were truly thrilled!! I personally would like a hybrid, but I bet you could get an Escape hybrid for that Mustang! Anyway, my first season for AI has been a BIG success!!! So now, I'm a fan.
I still have DWTS to watch,but I'll get to it over the weekend!

Amy

I can't keep it a secret anymore. I owe it to all of you to be honest. Today, I doped. Knowingly, I accepted a shot of steroids, as well as a steroid cream and some Atarax from the doctor for THE RAGING CASE OF POISON IVY THAT I HAVE DEVELOPED!!!!! I'm excited to see how my long run goes tomorrow.

catherine

Amy, stay ON the trails!!!

theresa

AMY! Watch out for anyone with a container, that reminds you of a specimen bottle! You know what they look like!

Julie

Now that my need for intense group therapy has passed ;-) I've gone back to my blog to record my thoughts on the week that was. Took two separate posts, but I feel much better now. :-) Hope they give you some hope, Sara!

Matt

Sorry Amy, a mass of festering weeping Poison Ivy eruptions is NO EXCUSE for taking banned substances! (just kidding! I had a BAD case of Poison Oak 2 years ago...tried to cure it myself for almost a MONTH but boy is that stubborn stuff. The most soothing was the HOT HOT HOT water...pretty much scalded my entire leg..but it causes the total release of histamines from the area, and it wouldn't itch for HOURS! But I finally gave in as it was spreading...and also got the steroid shot and pills AND cream..which amazingly knocked it out in a few days! I'm not sure why the military never researched this as a weapon...drop essence of poison Ivy/Oak on the bad guys...2 or 3 days later, they are DONE fighting! It's EVIL STUFF!

And Guez, it's not that I've completly thrown in the towel, but I have to ask: to you think that it (what you mentioned in both items 1 and 2) aren't happening NOW? Look at college football for instance...do you think for a moment that High School kids AREN'T using steroids to get bigger/faster so they can 'make the cut'? Hell...look at how big and fast the college athletes ARE these days..is that natural? (how many 300lb FAST and rock SOLID athletes are there occuring naturally?? Up in the NFL almost ALL of the linemen are now over 300lbs!) I think the world has turned a blind eye to this now as we (tv in particular) are more interested in RESULTS than how you got them! Win at all cost...as only the winners are remembered! (Look at the Olympics! EVERY NIGHT on the news: "the Medal count"...like thats ALL THAT MATTERS! Our own MEDIA fosters this attitude! So now in cycling..as more and more athletes 'come clean'...what to do about it? Does Riis get to keep his 'win' due to the statute of limitations, while anybody UNDER 8 years who confesses gets stripped? Where does it end? I mean, if an athlete is under a Dr's care (such as Fuentes from OP)..hey..he IS a Dr. Losing weight, curing medical conditions, becoming STRONGER/FASTER..whats the diff? Which foods you eat...what you drink...it's all chemicals to the body. So we have a group of people who have decided for EVRYBODY what is ok and what is not. And that list changes over time. EPO might be legal in a few years...is it truly unsafe if used responsibly? How about HGH? At the pro level in ANY sport, yes...they will do ANYTHING to be there/stay there/win...thats what it's all about! How about equipment? One team has better equipment than another..is that cheating? It should be...otherwise it's not a level playing field! The team w/ the best sponsorship dollars has a decided advantage. At the pro level, it's "Open" class. WIDE OPEN. Anything goes. You wanna see a DANGEROUS sport for young kids, look no further than the X-games sports...skateboarding/snowboarding/motorcyling and such. Learning to do a full flip on a motorcylcle or bicycle, launching 100' gap jumps while doing crazy stuff OFF OF THE BIKE as you fly! Kids all over the world ARE killing themselves to learn NEW insane stunts...no drugs or cheating need be involved. Look at the medical history of ANY of the current crop of 'winners' and 'wannabes' in those sports...hell, that makes doping look like kindegarte stuff! The stunts these kids are doing make Evil Knievel look like a lame guy in a cape! (for us older folk out there who remember his heyday) Or go to the Northshore up in Vancouver BC and look at what the Mountain bikers are doing for FUN! I'm a Mt biker, and the stunts they do on a routine basis is sheer lunacy! And the price for failure on any one of them can be HUGE..up to death! Such is the way of sports and fun! It's inevitable!

OK...thats just my Saturday morning 'not enough coffee yet' rant. Pommi..congrats on your first century! Any way you look at it, thats a LONG way on a bike! COOL!

Dang...just did a preview..this is surely 'Susie'esque' in length! :)

Happy Mem Day weekend everybody!

Camille

Gang, read what Julie wrote on her blog (click on her name above)... SO GOOD. Thank you, Julie!

susie b

TRAV-IS! TRAV-IS! TRAV-IS! Pastrana that is. He's the guy that in last summer's X Games did that AWESOME perfect Double Backflip on the motorbike! I saw it live & then about 100 times more in clips! And where is he from you ask? Why, MARYLAND! :) :) :) I still get goosebumps when I think of that flip. And it's funny, but I thought right then that I didn't care if I found out his ass was covered in T patches or he'd taken any other PED. Just to see that was amazing! And it made me realize why sports that are comprised of "skills" such as this or sports that are "games" will not be affected long-term by the doping scourge. People just want to be AMAZED.

And Theresa - I don't have 'The Jimmy' speech memorized in its entirety, just parts. I sat dumbfounded & highly amused at his Apology back in 1988. I saw it REPEATEDLY. Plus, clips continued for months on late-night TV. I actually jotted down part of his wailing in my journal at the time because I thought it was SO over the top & SO true to the person he was. Plus, he sketched out the blueprint for all future Media Mea Culpas (well,except that he didn't 'enter Rehab' - that was added later by a future sinner... :) which has been adhered to ever since. But as with most things, none are better than the Original. When I read that Merkel woman's comment about the "doping sinners" & then read Riis' actual statement, I flashbacked immediatedly to it. And in this day of the internet, I was able to find the whole thing written out. LOVE the internet! What you don't get from reading the words was his particular "presentation" which I will forevermore hear & see in my oh-so-sinful mind... :)

The fact that a man who set himself above the rest of we lowly sinners was shown to be the ultimate hypocrite was something I would never forget. Yes, TV evangelists are not my fave people & I am enough of a sinner to say I didn't mind watching his fall. That he then made his public apology better than a Saturday Night Live skit was truly 'a gift from God'..... :) :) :)


And guez - Everything you write in points 1 & 2, I've said myself, on my wild swinging & wailing about "what to doooo, what to doooo" about doping in sports. I, unfortunately don't see doping going away & in fact, believe it will only get more ingenious. I believe that there will come a day that doctors could tell parents that they can do this, that, or whatever to their 8 yr old kid & the kid will grow up an athletic superstah. He can BECOME a 'freak' just like the few genetic freaks that dominate so many sports. If you think there aren't parents that would put their child at risk to 'ensure' a future life of riches & fame, you are are sadly mistaken. But to throw away the pro-sport is almost as sad to contemplate. The real problem is not this sport or any sport in fact. It's that our society has mutilated the 'will to win' into 'WHATEVER it takes'. And we APPLAUD this - look at Survivor, Big Brother, business takeovers, etc. Good sportsmanship, fair play, & just doing what's 'right' has gone the way of the horse & buggy.

Where's Jimmy when you need him? :)

Camille

Susie, have you seen Robert Duvall in the movie The Apostle? FANTASTIC. If you love a good sweaty preacher-rant, (and by love I mean with your vomitorium handy, if it's a televangelist in real life), there's a wonderful tent-jubilee type scene in The Apostle that isn't to be missed. I waited years to see this movie, thinking it sounded boring, but I was sorry I waited.

My favorite weeping evangelists hands down are Jimmy and Tammy Faye Baker. You can't beat the mascara all down the cheeks. My sister was Tammy Faye for Halloween one time, she had her NAILED down to the big hair, tacky jewelry and shoulder pads and black lines of mascara all down her cheeks. If I can ever find a picture I'll email it to you... PRICELESS!!!!

Theresa

Didn't I tell you guys about the news report, 60minutes I think THAT was the program it was on!!! A doctor in CA, has a clinic that older people go to to help them gain muscle, endurance, and feel better. He uses HGH and Testosterone!!!! I don't remember if EPO was involved. But these people go in and get dosed, and were raving about how good they feel. How they can work out at the gym and develop more muscle mass, etc, etc....Blew my mind! But this may be the anti-aging of the future!!!! This doctor uses fairly small doses. One guy said he told his son about the therapy, and his son said that he was "juicing"!
What Matt is saying isn't so farfetched!!

Amy

Cool thing about Lance, the LAF and doping at Fatty's blog. If we didn't love LA before, we sure would now. Matt, you would also enjoy his tale of his unsupported mountain bike ride on the Kokopelli Trail. I mean...EVERYONE would enjoy it, but our resident mountain biker would especially appreciate it.

Theresa

Required reading for all cycling fans!!! Julie's last two posts!! READ THEM!!(ON her blog)

Julie

Bryant Gumble's HBO Sports show did a piece on huge teen-aged football players recently, scary stuff. Equally scary was the piece they did on head trauma in football, with the league guy spouting total crap to cover his ass, unbelievable.

Susie - by some freak of nature, I also saw that flip by Pastrana live, it was indeed awesome. His poor mother!

Apostle - agree, great movie, and great cut by Lyle Lovett on the soundtrack, I'm A Soldier In The Army Of The Lord. I'm an atheist, but Lyle can take me to "Church" anytime. ;-)

3 1/2 hour ride in (Maine) scorching weather today, bed time for me!

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