Drug Testing and Beer

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Yesterday, I drove up to Irvine to get some parts from Shimano. I was talking to Wayne Stetina about some of the “happening” recently concerning professional cycling. Wayne’s newphew is Peter Stetina, Dale’s son, and rides for the Garmin Team. He has very, very good genes.
We were just catching up and talking about various things and one thing that came up, when talking about the “USADA episode” is that they, USADA, pretty much just told everyone, all riders, that their testing sucks, and that there is hardly a chance to get caught through testing, if you’re cheating. It wasn’t exactly it, but that the essence of that part of the conversation.

Here we have at least 5 riders, 6 if you include Lance and they’ve taken 100’s of drug tests and not one positive. That is along with this biological passport. It is all a waste of time, in my opinion, and needs to be taken back to square one and start over.

So, last night, Don, Sue and I were out eating with some of Sue’s co-workers and one of them is a beer expert. The woman was really into beer, like seriously. She said she likes Belgian sours, whatever that means. I need to look that up. I told her my all time favorite drug testing experience. She liked it, so I’ll post it here.

I was racing the Belgium World Cup on MTB bikes in Hoffalize, Belgium and got called for random testing, I think, since I never came close to finishing on the podium there. Anyway, I went to testing and there was my friends Thomas Frischknecht, from Switzerland and Rune Høydahl, from Norway.

The race was a muddy mess and we were done. For liquids to drink, they had bottled water, of course, soda and these liter Belgian beers. It was the last race before I was heading back to the states and figured I wouldn’t see those guys for a while. So, we decided to have a beer to say goodbye. Pretty soon, the old doctor came out to get one of us and Thomas went in. Rune and I talked and we finished our first liter. Then Thomas came out and Rune went in. Thomas still had most of his beer and opened another for me. Rune took a while and I had time to finish my second liter of beer. I said goodbye to those guys and got up to go back with the doctor.

Immediately I realized I was jacked. I could hardly stay upright. It was a lot of beer for me, on an empty stomach, plus I’d just finished a 2 1/2 hour World Cup MTB Race. The doctor was ancient and was barely shuffling down the hallway. I had to use both hands on the wall to stay upright.

I got back to the bathroom and picked my specimen collection thing out of the box and pull my shirt up over my nipples. When I dropped my shorts, there was mud everywhere. My privates were cake completely. I was way too unsteady and was trying to balance with one hand on the wall and one holding the cup. But, that wasn’t working. Eventually, I just put my head against the wall and used my hands for the cup and accuracy. While I was concentrating on the task at hand, lots of dried dirt was falling off into the plastic container. But, I got the flow going and couldn’t really stop it. I filled it to the top and when I looked, I would have guessed it was full of pond water. No yellow color, just muddy water.

I was so wasted, I just handed it over to the doctor and they guy didn’t say a word. I’m pretty positive he didn’t speak English, but I never heard him utter a sound. I couldn’t believe that he was going to seal up those two samples. Anyway, I went through the rest of the process, signed my name and left.

I went back into the lobby and grabbed three more liters of beer and put them in my jersey pockets. We were staying 5 kms. up a hill and I swear it took me a 1/2 hour to ride back.

When I got back to the hotel and was cleaning up, I looked at the beer labels and realized that they were Trappist Beer and 10% alcohol. I had just drank something equivalent to two bottles of wines. I was surprised I was still upright, let alone moving. And actually, probably from the race, but I sobered up pretty quickly. I guess my body used up the alcohol pretty quickly.

I was sort of interested on the results of the dope test, but never heard anything. They probably just tossed it out when they saw the samples. With all these guys never having a positive test since then, it seems like they kept up with that tradition up to present day.

19 thoughts on “Drug Testing and Beer

  1. Just Thinking

    “When I got back to the hotel and was cleaning up, I looked at the beer labels and realized that they were Trappist Beer and 10% alcohol. I had just drank something equivalent to two bottles of wines. I was surprised I was still upright, let alone moving.”


  2. 1Speed

    Steve – You need to write a book about your cycling adventures. This is the best story I’ve ever read about pro cycling! I’m laughing my ass off over this.

  3. channel_zero

    10% alcohol is strong for beer-like beverages but pretty weak for wine. Today, wine in the U.S. is 12-13%. Most wine is made to compensate for the “heat” of 12-13% alcohol content so the actual “teroir” and grape flavor and all that is lost.

    Do these “beer specialists” not get out much? Most of what’s sold has been in U.S. distribution for 20 years and not particularly good because they have to comply with the vestiges of U.S. prohibition rules that place all kinds of limits on the formula, distribution, complex tax rates and so on. Consuming in Europe is the only way unfortunately.

    Can you tell I was once in the industry?

  4. Wildcat

    Steve, without going into too much detail – I am a heavy drinker. If it has alcohol in it I’m drinking it.

    Anyway, this last summer at the grand tasting of a beer festival I tried one of those Belgian Sours.

    Excuse me, but GOOD GOD. What an awful taste. I don’t even get whiskey face anymore from whiskey, but that Belgian Sour gave me whiskey face. Actually, I was kind of embarassed because my buddy was working the booth. As I stood there wondering what the hell it was I had just tasted, all kinds of people kept coming up specifically asking “Is this the Belgian Sour booth?”. I have a dead palate and iron stomach, but drinking those is not enjoyable to me.

    Again, without going into details – Unfortunately, I know what a warm Schaefer Light out of a Kansas garage in July tastes like. A Belgian Sour is kind of like that.

    And to add insult to injury I think they are way more pricy than even the more expensive craft beer these days.

    From one Kansas boy to another – If your going to give the Belgian Sours a try – Look for a single.

  5. channel_zero

    [RANT ON]
    BTW “strong” for a formula that can be labeled “beer” sold in the U.S. is because Federal rules set an arbitrary alcohol content limit as well as particulars about the “beer” ingredients. Above 6% and your beer-like beverage gets a much higher tax rate. Create something that does not fit the Federal definition of “beer” and it cannot be labeled “beer.”

    Again, people buy beer, like wine, mostly for the buzz. If it were just about the flavor, LOTS more low alcohol content beverages that are far more interesting because the formula doesn’t have to cover the heat of the alcohol would be sold.
    [RANT OFF]

  6. Brent

    Who ever gave you that gift basket of beers is a great friend! Those are all great beers!! Can’t wait to get off work!

  7. Bryan

    I used to brew my own beer. I was fully setup for both Ales and Lagers. I loved just about any beer I made, be it a Stout, India Pale Ale, Wheat, Porter, or variations of Lagers. I decided to brew a Belgian Sour. After all the time it took to brew and age it, I took one sip in eager anticipation, spit it out in disgust and dumped the rest of the keg straight down the sink. There was no way I was going to try and choke down 5 gallons of that pond swill.

  8. Bernd Faust

    Steve, that was a tough one for you. All strong Beers, Doppel-Bocks, Monkbeers etc… are meant to be poured in the right Glass, than drink it slow, eat some good food , sit near the fireplace..etc…
    Try it this way and you will feel happy! From now thru march is the time for those beers!

  9. Joe

    Combine this with stories from Les Ernest during the Coors Classic and you can see the great tradition of testing we have had through the years!

  10. AT

    After a race in Luxembourg a crazy belgian cycling fan, wanted to trade one of my racing bottles against two of those Westmalle you have there. I think both of us were equally satisfied with the deal!

  11. mark

    Frischi sure likes his beer after a hard race. Some (most) of those Grundig World Cup post-race party’s were something to behold. Obviously couldn’t hang with those guys on the bike, but I held my own stumbling drunk through the streets of Mont-Sainte-Anne with him and Henrik Djernis.

  12. DavidA

    I used to live in Lokeren Belgium in the 1980s and would drink a good Westmalle or Rodenbach after racing a Kermis if I won a prize in the top 20. They said that there was something like 220 differant breweries in about a 60 km radius from were I lived…..I believe it

  13. Skippy

    Last year at the 2011 Giro , i had the pleasure of chatting with Peter’s parents , at the start of the day’s etappe , recall it was by the sea , but not the name of the town , think i even have photos . Spent a while riding around with a bottle of wine in my bidon holder . Sylvester from Liquigas came along just as i was leaving Peter’s folks , and we rattled along to the sign on .

    This year in Denmark , i had the Op. to ride with Peter as mentioned in my blogs from that episode .

    Checkout today’s blog entry , as i have just created a ” change.org Petition ” regarding a way to resolve the Cycling Crisis in Oz ! Hopefully your readers will join in creating the environment necessary to get Road Racing back to ” Win by ability , not by supplement “!


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