Monthly Archives: July 2011

Dope Testing in Texas and North Carolina

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I got a few messages about USADA showing up yesterday at the Texas State Time Trial Championships and drug testing virtually the whole Cat 1 field. Plus some more Cat 3 riders. I haven’t spoken with anyone that was actually there, but I looked at the TXBRA forum and it has a thread about the whole thing, but it’s all rumors at this time.

So, someone racing this event must have popped up on Joe Papp’s list or some other place and USADA was just trying to avoid the circumstantial route. Kind of like when they showed up at Dewey’s house right after Joe Marin last year. It’s much easier when you have a positive test or a refusal than just an order off a computer shipped to an address.

One thing I hate about this testing/investigation methods is that it isn’t always transparent. Like the Phil Zajicek doping thing. Originally it was held behind closed doors and his name only surfaced through the grape vine. It seems to me if USADA has enough information to proceed with a doping procedure that they should be able to announce that name to the public. There might be lots more information floating around out there and it will no be heard unless the whole procedure is in a public forum.

I heard for a few people that a bunch of master guys from the East coast were caught up in the whole Papp deal, but that the FDA had gotten involved and that they had relinquished their licenses and there wasn’t going to be an USADA procedure brought against them. I know it has the same effect, that guys taking drugs aren’t racing bikes, but I think that anyone they competed against deserves to know that they were beaten by someone taking drugs. I think the rational here is that USADA doesn’t want to spend of money bringing cases against a bunch of masters and that if the FDA threatens or does the job of ridding the sport of this guys, then there is more money to use against more public riders that are winning or racing higher level events. But for some reason it seems wrong that we don’t get to know who was involved and “caught”.

It going to be interesting to see if anyone is caught in this Texas thing. I don’t even know exactly who was racing the event. I’d be surprised if it is all for naught because USADA wouldn’t have been there unless they had some pretty strong evidence.

So, I just got a text from Jared Nieters (XO Communications / Battley Harley-Davidson), who was down in Charlotte at the Presbyterian Hospital Invitational Criterium last night. He said USADA showed up in full force and tested 10 guys there too. Guess USADA wasn’t only looking for masters now. Big crack down on home turf. It’s about time.

I got this email from Dave Wenger today, current US Elite Criterium Champion and all around good guy, from Austin –

Hey Steve-
I read your blog and figured I’d reach out. USADA was at the event. They instructed me after my finish that I was to head to doping control. A bit shocked, I found ~10 other bikes outside of doping control and they tested the entire Pro-1 field. A handful of other randoms where in the building for testing, but I wasn’t paying too much attention to who was/ was not there. From what I remember, everyone from the Cat1 field was there but there might be a guy I don’t recall making it to the building.

After my test, I spoke with Bradley Guye from USADA (he gave me his biz card) who was running the operation. He said that is was very hush-hush (paraphrasing here.) No one knew. The promoter didn’t know about it, the officials didn’t know about it, and I sure as heck didn’t know about any testing for a 11 rider field. Second hand, I did hear that some riders staying at the only hotel in town the night prior to the TT did see someone at that location wearing USADA clothing, so there might have been the slightest of an inkling that doping control could be at the event.

Philip Gilbert

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Man, that guy is truly the energizer bunny. But, he has the goods to back it up obviously.

Let’s get the time table down. He races the Tour de France. That is 20 out of 22 days. Then he does the post Tour crit circuit. I think he did 4 out of the last 5 days. That is including racing just yesterday evening for 2 hours in the Cibel Na-Tourcriterium Saint-Niklaas, in Belgium, finishing 2nd to Cadel. Then he flies to San Sebastian and spanks everyone to finish alone in a Pro Tour event there.

So, he’s raced 25 out of 28 days and still has the juice to ride away solo to win a World Cup. Okay, the post Tour criteriums aren’t really races. They are fixed, but that doesn’t mean that they are easy necessarily. It’s easy on your mind, but you still have to put out a lot of physical effort to ride them. That isn’t counting the travel and hectic schedule. It is mind boggling the amount of recovery that guy possesses.

I guess we all find out pretty shortly where he is ending up next season. I’m banking on BMC, but don’t know for sure. It was leaked that Thor has already signed with BMC, so that would make a pretty unbelievable classic team with George and Greg Van Avermaet, who finished 3rd in San Sebastian.

Early next week should be exciting with the Debt Ceiling problem and riders announcing their teams.

Cadel in Colorado in 3 weeks

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When I told Trudi that Cadel was going to be racing the Pro Challenge in Colorado next month, she said, “That is going to change everything.” – In a not such excited voice. Trudi doesn’t avoid work, just the opposite, but there is just a lot more work to do when the Tour de France champion shows up.

I think it is awesome that Cadel is racing here. Of course he raced here a ton when he was a MTB rider. I remember doing a lot of laps of the Vail World Cup with him way back in the day. I didn’t remember/realize that Cadel won that very World Cup.

I’m interested in seeing how well Cadel deals with altitude. Obviously he has an off-the-charts VO2. But, not being acclimated can make a super star a mere mortal. Maybe he’ll go to St Moritz or somewhere high in Switzerland, where he lives, and spend some time there. I know Cadel doesn’t use an altitude tent. Last year at the Tour, we were talking about altitude tents and he told me a that he gave his to a friend in Australia. But not without a huge hassle. I guess in Switzerland it is super expensive to ship something that heavy to Australia, so he wanted to cross the border (he lives on the Swiss/Italian border.) and ship it from there. The problem is that it is illegal in Italy to possess an altitude tent if you’re a competing athlete. Something about sporting fraud. Anyway, I don’t quite remember how the whole story played out. I think he had a friend in Switzerland ship it to his friend in Australia from Italy. The point is that he doesn’t sleep in a tent, so won’t be acclimated unless he goes to altitude either in Switzerland or Colorado.

Anyway, if you’re looking to take an end of the summer vacation, The US PRO Cycling Challenge should be it. The Coors Classic is having a reunion get together in Vail the night of the Thursday TT there, so a bunch of the “old” superstars of the past are going to be mulling around Vail. And, it seems, the whole podium of the Tour this year are going to be there, if the rumor of the Schlecks and Contador prove true. Not such a bad way to spend a little off time, riding your bike in Colorado and watching the race in person.

Photo by Michael Wilkinson

Cadel MTB racing in 1997.

Here's a photo from the 1984 Coors Classic in Colorado. We had to ride for National Teams, so they bent the rules by having 3 National Teams, red, white and blue. This is Alexi, Ron Kiefel and myself.

It is Hot!

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Okay, yesterday I wrote about it being hot. This might be the worst I’ve been in the heat in a long while. I guess I haven’t been in temperatures over 70 for 3 weeks or so. That is probably the cause. But, I blew up so badly yesterday that I’m kind of hesitate to even attempt it again today.

It was super hot yesterday. 103 with a heat index of 116. One of my problems with heat is that it doesn’t really feel bad. I can’t really tell how hot it is until I start melting. And when I start melting, it is a very quick occurrence. We rode 40 something miles yesterday. I felt okay considering what I’ve been up to. I did run out of water 45 minutes into the ride, but that normally isn’t an problem. I should have seen the writing on the wall.

I did make it back to about 2 miles from my house before I couldn’t really function anymore. I felt horrible. Nauseated, headache, no power, ect. When I got home, I drank a couple glasses of water and ate some watermelon. But that didn’t help much, so I went to bed. I stayed in the above mentioned state half way through the night. Plus I was cramping when I was sleeping. There is nothing like getting woken up by your hamstring cramping. If you’ve never experienced it, you are missing out.

Okay, enough of that. I’m going to get out of here in a week, so I have to just shut up and put up with it. It rained last night and this morning, so it’s only going to be 100% humidity on top of 102.

I emailed all the Kansas representatives in Washington today about this political situation on the debt ceiling. The last time I contacted these guys was way back when they were trying to make it illegal to smoke on airplanes. This is a joke. They’ve raised the debt ceiling 77 times and they are waiting until the last minute because of political issues. Our political system needs a revamp.

I have to put a new water heater in my house. I’m trying to figure out if I want to use a tankless, hot water on demand, heater or the standard water heater with a tank. I’ve been reading some on the question and am leaning towards just the standard water heater. I can install either myself, so that cost isn’t an issue. I’ve been to a few houses that have the tankless water heaters and haven’t been too impressed by the results. From my experience, it takes too long to get hot water, thus using a ton more water. Anyone have any ideas, I’d appreciate it.

Trudi had a new BMC bike waiting for her when she got home from the Tour de France. I assembled it. It was easy since their team mechanics had assembled it originally. There is such a difference between a bike shop mechanic and a team mechanic. Anyway, she hasn’t had a new bike in over a decade, so it was a eye opening experience. It’s all Dura-Ace, so it is pretty sweet.

The kitten has grown a ton since I last saw him. But, he is still really small and kind of uncoordinated, which is kind of cute in kittens. It is healthy though. I kind of thought it was going to have some issues since it was so close to death, but it seems to have recovered pretty good. It is going to have the run of the house pretty soon.

I’m trying to decide on races to go to now. I’m going to go out to Colorado and ride my MTB for a week, then head over to Utah for the finish of Tour of Utah. After that I’m kind of up in the air. But, I know there isn’t going to be any racing for me this weekend anywhere around here. Baby steps again.

Trudi's new bike.

Looks Swiss even though there is an American flag next to her name.

Out on her first ride. It rides so good she doesn't even have to open her eyes.

This kitten is much smaller than the photo portrays. He is great.

Weather and Athletics

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Since I didn’t take a bike to Europe, I thought I’d go and ride most of the day today. But that isn’t going to happen. I caught up on some sleep and by the time I got motivated to ride, it looks like this below. I don’t usually mind any one of the issues below, but when you put them all together, heat, moisture and wind, then it gets stupid.

Everywhere in the US has been experiencing pretty hot temperatures the past few weeks. It’s been over 100 degrees in Kansas most of the month of July. Luckily, I’ve avoided this. To an extreme. It was rarely over 70 degrees in the mountains, then about the same in La Jolla and ever cooler in France. It is getting close to a 50 degree differential of what I’m used to and the current heat wave.

I used to thrive on racing in the heat. Not so much anymore. In Tulsa, in the last race on Sunday, I felt pretty great. And it was really hot. But, that seemed have been an anomaly. Dissipating heat is a very important part of sports. I’m not quite sure what I need to do to get good at it again, but I’m going to try to figure it out here. It seems like I’m in the right place to do it.

Tour TT Results -Give Cadel the Information

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I thought the TT was super interesting last Saturday. Being there, it was fun watching it on a split screen on French TV. Like I posted before, I can’t believe how badly that both the Schlecks rode the TT. Not that their individual results were terrible, both finishing in the top 20 of the stage. It was that neither had preridden the course and how badly they set up for the corners and how they handled their bikes over the speed humps. It was like they had never ridden a TT bicycle in their lives.

Cadel on the other had looked very aggressive. Why I’ve been thinking about this so much is that at the BMC party, Cadel made a little speech and said something about how enjoyable the last 4 km of the TT were. He said he knew the times and felt no pain. But he said that he wasn’t given the times to Tony Martin and implied that maybe he should have be told that he was so close to winning instead of being told to take it easy.

Cadel was only 2 seconds behind Martin with just 3 or so km’s to go. Watching the race, I was thinking that he would win, since he was 21 seconds (???) off at the first time check. So, he was going much faster the end.

It sort of bothered me that he wasn’t given the split to Martin at the end and was instead told to relax some. But, I’m not sure I’m correct in this thought. Winning the overall is obviously the most important result. But giving up the stage to minimize a risk that is nearly nonexistent seemed sort of chickenshit. Not by Cadel, but the other end of the radio. I think he should have been given the split and he could decide himself how to ride the last 2 miles. He rode the race in the rain during the Dauphiné last month and didn’t fall. It was dry on Saturday. When you’re only 2 seconds behind that close to the finish, I say that you should try to win the stage and the race. But that is just me. Who am I to question BMC Team Directeur Sportif John Lelangue?

I could hear it in Cadel’s voice that he would have loved to win that stage. But he really didn’t get the chance in the end. Like I said above, I’m not 100% positive about this view. I don’t want Cadel to be a ball hog and spreading the wealth is admirable, but that applies more to mountain top finishes, etc. and not to individual time trials.

Maybe I’ll get some good comments here that will help me form a less wishy-washy opinion. I’m kind of jet lagged and not thinking that well in general.

Rode nearly, I state again, nearly, the perfect time trial.