Monthly Archives: April 2015

6 month Ban for “Motorized Doping” – UCI

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Me and the UCI don’t see eye to eye much when it comes to penalties levied for cheating in bike races.  Like really cheating, not just crossing the yellow line type cheating.

I guess they decided that there must be some factual evidence that some professionals have been using electric motors during competition.  I say that because there would be no reason to address a issue, unless there was an issue.

So, the UCI made some rules if, or when, they catch some guy riding around, or attempting to ride around, on a bike with a motor in it.  Here is a link to an article at Cyclingnews.

What that article says is that the UCI thinks it is being very strict that mandating that a rider caught would face a minimum suspension of, yes, 6 months, for using a motor in a professional race.  Plus, fines, of course.  But the team would also face that same time-out, plus fines of 100000 to a million Swiss Francs.

UCI’s president Brian Cookson said, “The UCI takes the issue of technological doping, such as the ability to use hidden motors, very seriously.”

Come on, seriously?  If you catch a rider trying to race a race with a motor in his bike, then he has to serve a 6 month time-out?  Fuck that.  The guy is obviously really, really cheating, the same as a guy that injects EPO and HGH.  But the difference here is that you have an electric motor as absolute positive proof that he was doing it.  Not all this, I ate my grandma’s dairy cow, sat on Tenerife for month, explanations for why there are problems in their blood.

And personally, I don’t ever want to see a guy that would attempt to use a motor on his bike to ever be seen again.  Use an electric motor, then you should be suspended for life.

The article says that in Italy, there have been 1200 electric motors, I assume small enough to be contained within the tubing of a bike, sold recently. It says that the motor can be synced with a heart-rate monitor and it kicks in when the heart-rate hits a pre-set threshold.  Also, some can be bluetooth and be operated remotely.

Who comes up with this stuff?  Lets make a small electric motor that can be operated remotely?  If this technology is in existence, then it has to be for the competition side of our sport.  Or maybe they made it for  a kind of twisted practical joke to play on someone?  Seems a little expensive for that.

Anyway, back to the UCI.  This new sanction rule for electric motors just goes to show what page the UCI is on when it comes to tolerating real cheating.  They call it electronic doping.  It probably isn’t as advantageous as the real doping, but no doubt it helps.  If someone goes to this extent to cheat, then they are gone.  BIke racing is not a right, it is a privilege.

Come on, UCI.  Let’s just make the rules so that riders “are forced” into just using their own power to make their bikes go forward.  None of this, if you do this, then you’ll be slapped this hard shit.  Bike racing is a very complicated sport, but the real basis of it is that a rider has to power the bike.

My stance, if I were czar of the sport, would be that the team that was caught electronically doping their riders, would instantly be disbanded, never to be seen again.  The team directors and all support of the teams would never be allowed to work in the sport again.  And the rider or riders using the motors, would never be issued a license again, suspended forever, plus would all have to go to Levi’s Grand Fondo, each and every year, until they die.  On their own dime.

But that is just me.

 

gruber-assist-motor

 

 

The first half of the video is showing how to insert the electric motor and for 3:30 on, it shows the Cancellara deal at Pari-Roubaix and Flanders from a while ago.

Riding Hard

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Yesterday, on the evening ride, I was feeling just so/so.  My mind has been on other things and cycling has sort of been put on the back burner, which is abnormal for me.  I’m trying to keep some sort of resemblance of form, even though it seems to be changing, and elusive, depending on the moon cycles or something.

They are still burning around here, which means the air isn’t good.  Plus, the pollen count if off the charts.  I was standing in my front yard, talking to a good friend who lives in Italy and was in town visiting her mom.  When I went back inside, the top of my head was covered with oak pollen.  That was in just 5 minutes or so.

Anyway, I was riding with a group of 7 that were going for about 50 miles.  It was pretty windy from the Northeast and we were riding directly east into it.  We started out riding out by the river, which is pretty dead flat, and I was riding next to Bill, doing about 18 mph at 300 watts.  I’m not too big on just sitting and pedaling that hard for a long time.  That is what is nice about Eastern Kansas, it is rolling hills just about everywhere, so you never have to stay seated for extended periods of time.

I was telling Bill that I was breathing bad.  I can tell when I’m breathing badly because my arms get just as tired as my legs, especially when climbing out of the saddle.  Plus, I was having trouble taking a full breath.  And this was early in the ride.

About 20 miles from home, my brother, Kris, “attacked” the group.  I’m not really sure what he was doing, I guess he wanted to ride harder than we were going.  So, the speed picked up.  Bill and I kept riding side by side, but it was pretty hard.  We stayed at the front for maybe 3 miles, until we had almost caught him.

But, the speed never slowed down.  I couldn’t tell how I was going.  I felt pretty okay riding steady state hard, but didn’t much like any change of speed.  Pretty soon we caught Kris and we were just rotating.  Scott Williamson, who had raced Joe Martin last weekend, kept it going pretty hard initially.  Then Kris went hard again and pretty soon I ended up at the front.

Sometimes when I get to the front, if Bill is feeling bad and doesn’t relieve me, I end up pulling for quite a while.  I didn’t feel like doing that yesterday, but that is what seemed to be happening.  There was a big hill, we call Indian Hill for some reason, up the road less than a mile, and I was pretty sure no one was going to come by before it since I’d been left out in front too long already.

So, we start up Indian Hill.  I was a little hurt, but was going to ride up it steady fast.  That was until Scott came blowing by me.  My jump is completely non-existent now and he was instantly 5 bike lengths ahead.  The hill isn’t long, maybe 200 meters, but it is hard enough.  I slowly crawl back up towards Scott at the top and the other 5 guys are a little ways back.

So, Scott and I kept going hard.  I haven’t went that hard in a long time.  I wasn’t going good, mainly from lack of air, but I was trying to pull good.  We kept a good pace for the next 10 miles.  We lost the tailwind, heading back west.  It always seems to die towards sunset.  It seemed like we should have been going over 30, but were hovering closer to 28 most of the time.

So, we rode to where we sprint at the end.  Scott led it out from in front and I could barely hold his wheel.  After we finished, I couldn’t stop coughing.  That is unusual for me.  If I’m getting some exercise induced asthma or something, it is usually from going way too hard early.  Like riding a short time trial way too hard.  It isn’t after 2 + hours of doing a ride and then 30 minutes hard.

The whole way home I was coughing and spitting up phlegm.  Plus, my nose was dripping down the back of my throat.  It has to be allergies.

Whatever the reason, it is more than a little disconcerting.  I am already behind where I want to be form-wise.  I had to go back and look at Strava to figure out what I’ve been doing the last few weeks, that is how out of it I am mentally.  I sort of forgot I was sick just over a week ago and missed 4 or 5 days.  That might explain it some.

I’m sort of scared going to a real race.  Everyone is a month or two fitter and I’m still at square one.  Look at Scott for example.  He has probably around 15-20 race days already.  And it shows.  He has no trouble riding at speed.  I, on the other hand, have done two races this year, one in February and then a 100 mile gravel road race a few weeks ago.  Neither one of those races are going to give me any sort of form for riding fast.  They gave me power, but not top end.

I’m not really going anywhere here.  Just a little venting about how painful next month or two is going to be.  Coming up pretty soon are a lot of criteriums that I historically do.  Memorial Day and Tulsa Tough, etc.  I’m not sure how I’m going to get up to speed for those races.  It’s a little worrisome.

 Exercise induced asthma.

 

 

asthma

 

Strong, Credible Evidence

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I’ve been having a little email chat/banter, back and forth, with an old friend of mine.  It is about a certain rider that I think shows all the signs of a rider that is doping.  This rider has never tested positive and, as far as I know, never had anything mentioned publicly about implications of doping.

I’ve been having these discussions, with this certain person, over the past two decades.  He’s been involved in the sport for as long as me and has historically been either evasive or just downright opposite, of my views of the prevalence of doping in the sport, both here and in Europe.  It’s as opposite as his defense of Lance back around 2000, when I wasn’t.

We got into it again recently and he said the rider was a shoe-in, looking at the start list.  This race wasn’t the Tour de France, which might be somewhat predictable before the start, but it was a one day race.  When you can pick the rider that is going to win any given race, on a professional level, before the start, then there is something screwy going on.  One of the coolest things about the sport is that it is very unpredictable.  It is a little more predictable for one day races in Europe, with whole teams controlling the race for a single rider, but still only one guy wins and the rest of the teams look a little silly after the fact.

Anyway, my friend has a selective memory and got a little feisty and said,

Steve, don’t think for a second that I didn’t believe extensive doping was going on in the 90’s and 2000’s. I knew it like everyone else knew it. No one spoke out in public back then including you.

I had to remind him of an interview I did back in 1998 with MTB Action about the prevalence of doping in MTB racing and the road.  I think that was pretty vocal.  That was 17 years ago.  That is very depressing.

Anyway, he was implying that we were all guilty because of the silence.  He said that he needed “Strong, credible evidence” of doping by this rider.

I asked him what that would be?  The same evidence I had knowing that Ivan Stevic, Tom Danielson, Kayle Leo Grande, Ryder Hesjedal, Lance, or dozens of other guys that were riding juiced.  I told him that I had the same evidence, personal observation.  I guess that isn’t enough for him.

But, it isn’t good enough for anyone.  I’ve been asked a ton of times, if I am so sure that a certain rider is doping, why not just go public?  Also, that USAC has a program for reporting a suspect rider.

Look at Greg Henderson’s situaton  after he went public and tweeted about Fabian Aru doping.  Greg tweeted –

Sad to see @FABARO1 “sick”. Mate make sure next time u come back to our sport “healthy”. Aka. Clean! #biopassport! Or don’t come back!

— Greg Henderson (@Greghenderson1)

I am so sick of it. It becomes common knowledge within days. Why try cheat

— Greg Henderson (@Greghenderson1)

Now Aru is threatening, or actually, suing Henderson over the tweet.  Even though Henderson tried to apologize, via twitter.   It must of been such common knowledge, in the pro peloton, that Aru was having some issues, but without evidence, Henderson is most likely screwed.

And, for the USAC program, I have no confidence in the tests.  Obviously they don’t work close to anywhere close to as well as we all hope they might.

That said, I don’t think that there is ever any strong, credible evidence.  Not until a rider actually confesses do fans believe that their hero doped.

I insinuated that Ryder Hesjeal used drugs, in a post about Tom Danielson.   Jonathan Vaughters, Garmin’s Team Owner, came back at me asking how I could imply that Ryder, who had won the Giro, used drugs, just because he rode a year for the Postal Service.  Then, just a little while later, Jonathan had to confirm that Ryder did dope, but only when he was MTB racing, after Michael Rasmussen named Ryder in his book.

That irked me to know end.  At a twistedspoke, I had a whole post dedicated to my Hatchet Job of Jonathan Vaughters.  I wonder if he feels a little silly citing Ryder as an example of how clean the sport is since he won a Grand Tour.

I didn’t know Ryder doped because he rode for the Postal Service.  I knew he doped because I raced against him dozens of times and it was very apparent that he doped.  It isn’t that hard to recognize.

Anyway, my friend is sticking with his stance.  At the end of his last email, he said,

“I am an optimist for the future generation and I believe ____________ is part of that new generation of clean riders.”

He is wrong, but I have to admire his optimism.  Won’t it be great if it even finally works out that way.

bullshit1 copy

Belgian Waffle Ride and Trans Iowa

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This weekend had a couple epic races going on.  One was the Trans Iowa and the other is the Belgian Waffle Ride.  Completely different races, a long way apart, but the same vibe and awesomeness.

Yesterday, at the Trans Iowa, it was carnage.  There were torrential rains and only one rider, Greg Gleason, made it to the first check point within the time limit.  And by only 4 minutes.  He kept going, but didn’t make it to the finish line.  It was that bad.  But, I know there are some great life stories from yesterday.  That is what it is all about.

Today is the Belgian Waffle Ride north of San Diego.  Here’s a link to a Sport Illustrated article from a couple days ago.  The race is sponsored by Spy and has been growing by leaps and bounds.  I think there are something like 1100 riders doing it, but that number isn’t written in stone.   A number I do know is that it is 142 miles long and over 10000 feet of climbing.  Some of it on dirt.  Or mud this year.

It was raining pretty good yesterday and I think they might of already changed the course some because of sections unrideable.  It is lucky that the rain didn’t come in today, like it did in Iowa.

My team mate Brian Jensen, Dirty Kanza 200 winner last year, flew out to San DIego to do the race.  I think he is in pretty good shape.  He should do well, win, I’m not sure.  Kind of depends.  He is going to be racing with a bunch of riders that have done every section of dirt multiple times.

I’m sure he is going to have a bunch of life memories of the day.  That is what it is all about.

transiowa

This photo was taken by Jason Boucher yesterday.  He shot in black and white.  To see a bunch of his photos from the event, click here to check them out.  Pretty epic day, for sure.

The start of the Belgian Waffle Ride this morning.

The start of the Belgian Waffle Ride this morning.

Brian and Michelle at the start.

Brian and Michelle at the start.

Brian heading out for an all day affair.

Brian heading out for an all day affair.

Feed zone 3 hours in.

Feed zone 3 hours in.

Athen Twlight Criterium Live

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If you’re into watching sports tonight, and you’re not watching the Blackhawks game, the Athen’s Twlight Criterium is going on live right now.  60 something laps left.  Tina Pic won the women’s race earlier.  Here is the link to the live feed.  Scroll to the end to watch the race live.  The feed is on and off now.

http://www.cyclingnews.com/news/watch-athens-twilight-criterium-live-on-cyclingnews

 

Headaches

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I’ve woke up the last two morning with a pretty serious headache.  I don’t get headaches much and feel really sorry for anyone that gets them often.

I’m pretty sure I know the reason.  It’s probably from drinking too much red wine before going to bed.  I don’t drink much and if I drink right before going to bed I shouldn’t be surprised when I wake up with a headache.

I’m not sure why I do it when I know the consequences.  I guess I don’t take the next morning into consideration the night before.

The last couple days haven’t been all that great.

First, Bromont isn’t doing very well.  Actually, he’s doing pretty badly. I was hoping that he would feel better after getting some new red blood cells, but it didn’t seem to help him at all.

Nothing seems to go right when I’m dwelling on Bromont.  I decided I should do some manual labor to take my mind off of him, so I went to a rental center to get a big trailer to haul a bunch of vegetation.  It took forever for a new girl at the rental place to check me out.  I went around to get the trailer and the wire for the 4 hole light hookup wouldn’t reach to my tow hitch eletrical.  I have a 7 prong outlet and had bought a adaptor to allow a 4 hole plug to work.  The guys that were hooking it up said they would look for an extention to connect the 3 feet.

They came back and said I had to buy one from them for $10.  I told they I wouldn’t.  Seems like that should be part of the rental.  They sent me inside.  Inside, I talked to the owner.  He told me that “they” used to loan them, but that no one returned them, so “they” just started selling them.  I told him I’d return it and that if I didn’t they could just take it from the deposit.  He said no, that isn’t how they do it anymore.  I asked him why he was using the word they?  I knew he owned the business.  He didn’t answer.  I figured I’d go to an auto parts store and buy one.  I didn’t want to give they guys my money.  So I left.

The owner followed me out and said that he didn’t think the trailer was going to work and proceeded to disconnect it.  I didn’t say a word to him, just let him proceed.  What a prick.   I am never rented any tools there again, and I rent a fair amount of tools.

So, I used a small trailer I have.  I had to mince the stuff, with a chainsaw, to fit it all into the smaller trailer, but did, which was the highlight of the day.  I guess I saved $75, but it was a lot more work.

I decided to go for a ride after that.  I got 4 miles from my house and flatted on some glass.  Then I proceeded to try to fix it with, what it seems now, two flat tubes.  I had to ride home on the flat.  I just left my bike in the garage, not messing with it.  I hope I didn’t hurt the rim much.

So then, I decided to go mow.  This was at about 7 pm and it gets dark here a little after 8.  Plus, it was supposed to start raining anytime.  I got done mowing two places and then went down to the building.  No one, me or Kris, hadn’t mowed there yet.  There were a fair amount of leaves, plus Sycamore balls, or pollen, or whatever you call it, all over.

It was like mowing in a dust bowl.  Dry leaves, pollen, etc. everywhere.  It was a mess and I could barely breathe.  About 1/2 way through, the mower quit working.  It was dark by then.  I took it over under the light and it looked like the gas tank, which is metal, had broken off the mower.  Something that I couldn’t fix quickly.  So, a half complete job.  I hate leaving a lawn half mowed.  It is like shoveling  half a driveway.  It must be something in my mind, but it drives me nuts.

I’m over it this morning.  It rained all night, pretty hard, so I’m not finishing it today anyway.

There are lots of places I’d rather be right now.  There are at least three different races, Joe Martin, which is just down the street, The Whiskey 50 MTB race and the Belgian Waffle Ride, North of San Diego, that I’d like to be doing this weekend.  But, I’m home.

It is pretty stressful taking care of a dying animal.  Especially a dog that has been with you for a long time.  I can’t think of many things worse to do.  But, I can’t imagine doing anything else.  It is exactly where I’m supposed to be, no matter how much tension it causes.  We are best friends and it is my place to help him through this.

I do hope today goes a little smoother though.

I know this doesn't have anything to do with this post, but I was stunned by how shitty the bikes were, at every bike rack, on the K-State campus.  I had no idea this was the case.

I know this doesn’t have anything to do with this post, but I was stunned by how shitty the bikes were, at every bike rack, on the K-State campus. I had no idea this was the case.

Bought EPO and now Regret It

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That’s right.  I would have bet almost anything that I would never have a reason to actually purchase Epogen (EPO).  But I would have lost that bet.

I know the title is a little misleading. I am getting it for my dog, Bromont.

Bromont has been really slow recently.   That is to be expected with terminal HSA cancer.  But his gums are whitish and obviously he is low on red cells.  So we took him in for a blood test today and his hematocrit was 15.2%  It was 27 two week ago, and 38, 2 weeks before that.  The normal range is 37-62.  So, his is less than half of normal.  His red count is less than half of low also.

There are a couple reasons that could cause this.   His red cell production could be suppressed in the marrow due to cytokines stimulated by the tumor, microangiopathic destruction of red blood cells as they pass through the tumors.  Or, he has chronic bleeding.   Or, I guess, both.

So, I got on this kick that he isn’t comfortable and that he needs more oxygen, thus red cells.  After doing some a little research, perhaps not enough, I thought that maybe EPO would be of benefit to him.

So, I researched that a little more, along with my vet from K-State.  It is kind of crazy.  a 3000 U/ml vial of 10ml that cost $30 in the mid 90’s now costs $1500 at Walgreens.  But a 2000 U/ml vial, same size is $359.  So 1 1/2 times the dosage, which makes it 1/3 of the cost.  (FYI, a 20000 U/ml vial is $8700.  I’m not sure how much a human needs, but the stuff is pretty expensive.  At least at Walgreens.)

Anyway, when Bromont went to get the blood test, we got 1 ml to start.  I gave that to him yesterday.

It was pretty weird holding that little vial of water-like liquid in my hands.  It contained the substance of what could be the difference between a mediocre athlete and a Tour de France winner.  Just a little clear liquid, that isn’t all that hard to obtain.   It all seems so silly.  It seems so wrong.  It was creepy.

After doing all this, I spent more time and did a lot more research and I’m of the opinion that it won’t help.  I don’t think that any amount of EPO is going to enable him to make the appropriate amount of red cells to stay somewhat healthy.  I’ve already special ordered the EPO from the pharmacy, so I hope they don’t make me take it. Thus, the regret.

So, I decided on a blood transfusion route now.  This morning, we’re taking him to K-State to get a 5 hour blood transfusion.  In theory, it will double his hematocrit.  I don’t think there is any way to know how long that will last.  In kind of depends on why he doesn’t have any now.  His levels dropped from 27 to 15 in two weeks.  I guess the best we could hope for is the same again.

I didn’t have any idea if they happen to have a bunch of dog blood sitting around.  His type even.  Sounds like they do.  I wonder where they get that?

I’m not trying to play God or anything with my dog.  I’m just trying to make him as comfortable as possible through all of this.  If this makes him feel better, then I’m all for it.  I’m a little torn about having him at the vet school for 5 hours, but hopefully I can sit with him the whole time while he gets the blood.

This whole process is a learning experience.  What I’ve learned so far is that you don’t have any idea where you are in the process.  If you would have asked me two weeks ago, on any given day, whether he would still be alive two weeks later, I might have answered, 100% no, or 100% yes, just depending on what hour of the day the question was asked.

My vet, who is an avid cyclist, told me he would keep it quiet that I got EPO for my dog.  He said next thing you know, I’d be getting it for my grandmother, etc.  It is so weird that the only reason I know of this drug is because of the abuse of it in our sport.  I really thought that Hemopure would be the perfect drug for Bromont.  Wow, now that I looked that link up, I see that it was approved for canine use in 1998.  I wonder about the availability of that?  It might be better than a transfusion.

Anyway, Bromont seems happy enough.  He likes to go for car rides.  He loves sleeping with us.  Every once in a while he plays a little still.  He likes to take walks, but not very far.  He is a pretty picky about food, but he always was.   I love the dog to death and feel obligated to do everything in my power to help him feel as good as possible as long as possible.  It’s as simple as that.

Here is a vial of the drug of choice for endurance athletes the last two decades or so.  It seemed so weird even holding it.

Here is a vial of the drug of choice for endurance athletes the last two decades or so. It seemed so weird even holding it.

This blood test was very depressing.  His blood is total shit.  I hope I can do something to make him feel a little better for a short time.

This blood test was very depressing. His blood is total shit. I hope I can do something to make him feel a little better for a short time.

 

 

  

Bromont on his way for some new blood.