Old Results

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Someone told me about a post that Shaun Wallace put on Facebook that had a copy of some old results from the Nature State Stage Race in Arkansas, back in the early 90’s.   I hadn’t thought about that race in a long time.  It was a super good race, as most of the races in Arkansas are.  That state is one of the most under the radar states in the country.

I finally went to Facebook and looked for the results.  What surprised me was that I thought that I was 2nd in the time trial, not third, sort of tied with Shaun.  I knew Michael Engleman had won the stage, but I thought I was a little closer to his time and didn’t remember Shaun there at all. Michael, Shaun and I had all ridden together on the Wheaties/Schwinn team a couple years earlier, so we were all buddies.

I looked down the results and was surprised about how many guys I knew.  It is strange doing a race like Joe Martin and such and not knowing the majority of guys racing.  Back then I knew pretty much everyone in the race.  There are a few names on the first page of the results that I don’t recognized, but I know nearly everyone.

The race was pretty much a hillclimb.  It was just a few hundred meters flat, then you did a left turn, crossed some railroad tracks and rode up a pretty steep hill.  I pre-rode the course and realized it was better going fast at the top when everyone else was going to be going slow.  So I started super easy and then kept it in my big ring for the climb.  Nathan Sheafor, a friend from Topeka, who was also on the 1992 Olympic team with Lance came up to me after the race and said he thought I won.  He said I was going way faster than anyone he saw finish at the top.

What he didn’t realize is how slow I was going on the flat.  I talked to Michael and looked at his computer.  He had a 33 mph max speed and mine was 25.  Pretty huge speed differential there.Plus, I was still riding downtube shifters.  Nearly everyone else in the top 10 had STI levers, which would have probably been a few seconds at the end.  I did call Shimano up after the race and got a pair of shifters, which was super exciting at the time.

I wasn’t even racing on the road full time that year.  I was doing the full MTB season and was using this race as training for that. Thus, the free agent designation beside my name.  I was racing for Schwinn off-road.

Anyway, look at the names on the results. A couple of Olympic champions, Tour stage winners, tons of National Champions, etc.  And also a bunch of the guys that would go on to be the best riders we had in the 90’s.  This was kind of the tipping point of before, then after doping got super ingrained on the US rider side.

I remember talking to Lance and he told me that in 1993, when he won the Triple Crown and Pro Road Worlds, that was all him.  He was on “bread and water”.  I told him that he could never convince me that was true.  Two years earlier I could beat him in a hillclimb TT and then in Philadelphia, riding up the wall, he could go 5 mph faster uphill.  I witnessed it with my own eyes and knew that it was an impossible jump in ability.

Sally Jenkins, Lance’s autobiographer did an interview and said she thought all the guys that got caught up in doping in cycling would be looked back as victims.  I don’t see any victims on these pages of results.  Just a bunch of guys that loved to travel around and race their bikes.  It sure got way more complicated.   Life was much simpler back then.

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Tucker was way interested in this rat at the pet store yesterday.

Tucker was way interested in this rat at the pet store yesterday.

31 thoughts on “Old Results

  1. Rod Lake

    What a great list of riders. I rode on teams with guys on that list from 4 different states who I hadn’t thought of in a long time. Arkansas always had great races.

     
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  2. Alex Chilton

    So you’re assuming in 1991 it was simple, pre-doping in the US peloton? I saw the vials being distributed from the returning US pros more than 10 years earlier, the USCF shooting-up young riders in CO and other young riders foaming at the mouth in simple 50 mile races…how did you miss all of that???

     
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    1. channel_zero

      Steve seems to have very selective memory. It’s kind of a complicated political/social situation to manage, so, it’s easy to criticize from a distance as well.

      Given what is known about Thom Wiesel, there’s no way Subaru Montgomery didn’t include a visit to a doctor for a little extra help. It’s reasonable to believe Lance did. He came from Carmichael’s mandatory doping program after all. I’m not saying all Subaru Montgomery riders doped.

      At the time favored riders either never tested positive or got the most lenient sanctions as well. Not much has changed.

       
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    2. Krakatoa East of Java

      So in 1981, you saw “returning US pros” distributing vials?

      1) Which pros? The list was less than ten riders long at the time.
      2) What stuff are you purporting that they imported (and distributed)? What was in these vials?

      Me thinks you’re full of shit.

       
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    3. Ted L

      I think Steve is referring to the oxygen vectoring drugs like EPO becoming prevalent after 1991 in the US peloton. Prior to that some guys were always looking for an edge, but the products they were using wouldn’t turn an average rider into a star. EPO has the potential to do that. A good rider would still be better than an average rider (not on EPO) back then, even though the average rider might have had some other form of enhancement. I remember talking to a couple guys from Colorado at a stage race about that time and they were telling me they used this product they got from a veterinarian for recovery that was like Icy Hot for horses. They would rub it on their legs with latex gloves because it was so strong that it was unbearable to have on your hands and they could taste it in their mouth after a while. They said it worked, but I’ll tell you it didn’t have the same effect as EPO. So ‘vitamins’, steroids and amphetamines still don’t hold a candle to products like EPO for performance enhancement.

       
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      1. Mr. Ed

        That would be DMSO. It was used for race horses. I can still tell if someone is using it by the garlic taste I get in my mouth just from being around it. Best analgesic ever!

         
      2. Craig

        On a hill climb like that steroids,HGH and blood bags would easily be the equal of EPO. The oxygen vector drugs do the trick in longer climbs and stage racing. The US Olympic team perfect the blood bags for the 84 Olympics after learning the basics from the Eastern European docs.

        But yes, I think what Steve was saying is that this was the crossroads between times … coincides with what Lemond, Bungo, Hampsten, et al say.

         
      3. Kurt Bauer

        DMSO (dimethyl sulfoxide) is a hydrophilic solvent. It seeks and chemically combines with accumulated fluid in muscle and joint tissue (which is mostly water and salt), breaking down the water molecules, resulting in rapid (almost instantaneous) reduction in inflammation, swelling, and pain. The rotten egg breath side effect results from the freed sulphur combining with the oxygen atoms from the broken-down water molecules, creating sulphur dioxide. In spite of the controversy, use of DMSO as a topical pain-reliever and anti-inflammatory has proven to be essentially harmless, although the FDA has been reluctant to approve its use.

         
      4. Krakatoa East of Java

        “Craig”… The US didn’t “perfect” anything related to blood bags in 1984. It was very hack, and very “back alley”. Almost everyone who tried it got sick during the process. And they didn’t learn it from Eastern European docs. The only ones who did it prior were the Finnish XC ski team, and the only ones doing it concurrently were the Italians. Very few people dared to even try it then, and NO ONE had achieved mastery of it. Even a current-day doping doc would look back upon 1984 with a gaze of horror (and that’s saying something).

        People (then) barely knew how to integrate Testosterone into a program, as people were still fixated on “race-day” benefit, not recovery within training programs.

        This is very likely NOT a doped-up results sheet. This is evidence that we once had some REALLY fucking strong cyclists in the USA. We were doing JUST FINE without O2 vectors.

         
  3. Ken

    I can see names that involved blood boosting (Hegg, 1984 Olympics) and steroids (Bobby Livingston, who as I recall had his 1987 Kilo title stripped in 1987). So PEDs and less-than-honest stuff was going on here. Julich admitted doping; who is to say when it was? I agree with Ted L that EPO changed the game, and that maybe what made it different was lack of availability.

     
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    1. Krakatoa East of Java

      I remember Bobby L’s situation. There was definitely some wonky shit going on with the track riders and steroids right about then. I remember once when an “unusually tall” trackie was training with the national team at the San Diego Velodrome around that year. One day in early spring, the drug testers came looking for him (surprise!) and he high-tailed it and disappeared off the face of the earth for some length of time until they’d gone away. I can’t remember if the rules at the time required him to be banned for two years, but I remember the back and forth of his being ineligible vs. his excuses. I remember he rode at worlds not long after. I hesitate to mention his name because I can’t find any stuff on Google that backs up my memory of the situation.

      I’m sure some of the Euro-boys were already well aware of it, but this was really around the time that people began actually realizing that testosterone was most helpful in recovery (as opposed to a straight performance enhancer).

       
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      1. Krakatoa East of Java

        On that note, have a look at THIS article:
        http://articles.latimes.com/1988-06-06/sports/sp-2944_1_cycling-federation

        Gorski most certainly had some interesting things to say. Ironic, as they both took cushy high-paying jobs with Thom Wesiel.

        This article gives us a glimpse into the reality that NGBs were complicit in the covering-up of doping LONG before Lance was being protected. The same NGB that came after you for the test was the same NGB that quickly forgave you.

         
  4. Sam Montag

    I have had better results. My name is way down there. Never did like going up hill.
    Always liked that race though.

     
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    1. brndll

      Hey Sam, I remember you. Also spotted Murphy and Gordon from Texas. I remember racing all you guys but I was usually pack filler but had a better year in ’93. As much as I traveled racing in 92 and 93, I was surprised I didn’t hit this race. I spent most of those two years with Schwab Cycles on the road between Texas and the East Coast catching any race we could.

      Nice to see Texas represented by someone other than the Lance show. Chan I liked, but Lance was pretty mouthy even when he was new to Subaru Montgomery. I am old so I remember way back when.

       
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  5. Jim

    I look at that list and see a LOT of guys were were caught doing “stuff” later on.
    There is about zero reason to believe they were clean at this race either.
    Sad.

     
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    1. Krakatoa East of Java

      Another way to look at this list… is that this slice of time was perhaps the peak of the “Golden Age” of domestic cycling talent in the USA. To be able to stand atop podiums with THIS level of competition, I could see some people here (knowing their personalities) “eventually” jumping at the opportunity to stand up and above.

      Of course, that would mean access to the stuff (which I don’t believe had arrived in any significant quantities at the time). I think you’re seeing a great snapshot of just how frigging awesome the talent development level was WITHOUT oxygen vector drugs.

      It also is saying something about Tilly here. He kicked-ass over most of one of the most talented start lists I’ve ever seen posted anywhere. If I were 3rd on this start list, I’d print it out, get it enlarged and frame it.

       
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  6. Bernie Flanders

    I’m still wondering how a small regional team like Turin could go just about anywhere and typically be at top of the list…

     
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    1. Christian Davenport

      Turin definitely recruited the strongest guys in the Illinois-Wisconsin-Iowa part of the country. Hit it big time in 93 when Scott Mercer won the US TT on a road bike with trispokes and clip-ons against the Shaklee dudes on their Hookers. I think Mercer went on to win the NRC overall that year.

       
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  7. Bernie Flanders

    Always strong team tactics, I’ll give them that. Always 4-6 guys who could win race in any way… every move in the race would include 1 or 2… Racing in Chicago, I never understood why no one including my teammates could/would do the same.
    But enough, this is about Mr. Tilfords glory days…

     
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  8. Mike Rodose

    Chann McRae torched the Pro field for a couple seasons as I recall. Was he that good? Where are other old race results? Great stuff to review!

    I always assume all riders in 1991 weren’t on anything more than b-12 shots and caffeine. Maybe a cortisone shot if you had crashed.

     
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    1. Redzinger

      I think that’s about how it was. Nobody had the time or infrastructure to blood dope so that shit wasn’t even involved. It was at least 2 years before the oxygen vector synthetics came into play stateside. This race was probably as clean as it got in that brief period in the early 90s before the sport completely went to hell.

       
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  9. Mike Rodose

    Steve

    Forgive me if you’ve answered this previously. Have you taken injections such as B-12 or other vitamins? How about saline or IV rehydration?

    These were seemingly common and acceptable Pro practices and may still be. I don’t regard it as doping (testo, hgh, epo), but it starts conversations about needles vs. no needles. If needles are healthier for vitamins and legal recovery, then let’s have needles.

     
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  10. Logical Thinker

    Feeding the ole ego Steve? So you’re telling me that a clean Steve Tilford was faster than a doped Lance Armstrong that went on to win 7 Tours in a row? Seriously?One of those two variables can not possibly be accurate.

     
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    1. Ted L

      I saw in a documentary somewhere (don’t remember which one at this time) that Lance et al didn’t really start hitting the serious doping drugs until after they were in Europe and getting their asses smeared in races there. It was pretty much a dope and compete or don’t and go home type of situation (maybe around 1993 or 1994). This race was several years before that watershed moment. So to address your statement, this was before Lance started a ‘real’ doping program. In this race in 1991, Lance was probably in his first year outside of juniors racing against the big boys.

       
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    2. Krakatoa East of Java

      Very simplistic to paint with such a wide brush. I won a prime at the SD Velodrome one night. A case of “Uptime”. Shorthand for caffeine pills. Being that I won this at a bike race, and the label said it boosted energy, I probably took one before a race once or twice (heck, I had a whole case of the shit). I also took a bunch to try and stay awake for grad-night at Disneyland, and they made me sick (so I tossed them away).

      So, did I become a doper? Testing + for caffeine (in quantities higher than normally found in coffee or soft drinks) was a suspensionable offense.

      Once a dope, always a doper? Just what the hell do you think Lance was “on” prior to 1991?

       
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      1. Logical Thinker

        Are you guys serious? Lance was doping doing tris as a teen. That’s common knowledge in Texas. The point of my post is that Steve loves putting Lance up on a cross especially when it makes himself look good. It was subtle in this post but very obvious to those in the know.

         
  11. Alex Chilton

    Krakatoa East of Java – yeah the list of returning pros, American & Canadian was pretty short but some of the amateurs that ventured over found a few tricks as well so the math is pretty simple. I was there, I saw it, I saw it pedaled to some of the better US riders who passed on the program and saw their careers drift off to obscurity. (I think there was one year at the Tour of Texas where the average speed of the races jump 4-5 mph year-over-year and let me tell you they weren’t slow to begin with) Also, let me just say the guys who I saw a) do not speak out about doping today and b) they and their many of their past teammates have strange health issues today. Many of the guys know who it was and who wasn’t and I beleive they feel there is no need to bring it up now. Let’s just say too riding Euro stage races for most guys (minus Lemond, Hampsten, Mount) it was highly unlikely they or their entire teams were clean.

     
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