Eddie B.

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I’ve known Eddie B. since I was 17. Yesterday, I got a Facebook friend request from him. Of course I added him as a friend. Then, last night, this was on my Facebook page.

eddieb copy

I’m not sure what to make of it. Of course, I take it as something very nice and a huge compliment, but I’m not sure what he means by it.

Like I said above, Eddie and I go way back. For a long time we had this crazy love/hate relationship thing going. We both had our reasons, but we were always one cog off from each other. Thinking about it now, I think my grudge was that I was always the first guy left off everything. Junior Worlds Team, European trips, Olympic Teams, etc. Don’t get me wrong, I was never close to being the first guy that should have been picked for any of the forementioned events, but it would seem only fair after being the 5th or 6th guy year after year, maybe once I would get a shot at it. And I understand Eddie’s deal as coach, pick the best guys at the time, each time. Whatever the reasons, and there were a lot of them, we never got along that well when we had to deal with each other on a daily basis.

Then, as we both matured, me not being involved in any programs that Eddie was running, we got along fine. I understood that Eddie came from a Eastern block country and did things as he learned them there.

I have a million, plus, Eddie B. stories. As all of us do. Eddie came to American cycling just about the perfect time. He had a pretty unbelievable crop of juniors to pick from. The guys I grew up with racing, were the best for the next decades. At the first junior National team camp I attended, at the US Olympic Training Camp in Colorado Springs, there were lots of great bike racers. Greg LeMond, Jeff Bradley, Ron Kiefel, Greg Demgen, and many, many more. If you take the crop of juniors from the year before, which included Davis Phinney and my year and the next couple, you have nearly all of the legitimate American stage winners of the Tour de France and Giro, currently.

Anyway, each one of us dealt with Eddie in our own way. Eddie always had favorites. And his favorites were always the best riders. LeMond, Roy Knickman, etc. He was very lucky in that regard, getting these guys with unreal talent so early in their careers.

The last year I was a junior, the Junior World Trials were held in Colorado Springs. There was a road race in the Black Forest, an individual time trial, team time trial and criterium. I drove out to Colorado Springs with my high school girlfriend, Sara, and good friend, Judy Hudson. All the riders were staying at the USOTC and during the first meeting, Eddie made it clear that no girlfriends, etc. could be hanging around there.

Flash forward to the night before the final race, the criterium. It was just the normal situation where I always was with a big selection, teetering right on the edge. I’d finished 5th the day before in the road race and thought I had a good shot at making the team since I was better in criteriums at the time. Anyway, I came back to the dorm, around 10pm, I don’t remember from where, and when I walk in the door, there is a common area to the right. I look into the room and there is my girlfriend, Sara, plus Judy, along with Jeff Bradley, Greg LeMond and Eddie B. Eddie is showing Sara and Judy how to properly give Jeff and Greg massages.

I was originally all freaked out that I was going to be in trouble because they were hanging out at the USOTC. After that passed, I was pissed that Sara and Judy were giving Bradley and LeMond massages the night before the last race. I watched from the window for a couple minutes and then went back to my dorm room all mad.

I screwed up the criterium the next day, even though LeMond had made a deal with Sara that he would help me out during the race, which he did. So, I didn’t get picked for the Junior Worlds Team.

Anyway, I haven’t seen Eddie for a long time. I would love to run into him. Next time I’m out in Southern California I think I’ll look him up. It is funny how time and age changes peoples memories and thoughts. I always thought that Eddie was a pretty fair guy, really just trying to do his best to make us better bike riders. I’m definitely a better bike racer because of the tools he gave me early in my development. It’s strange to write now, after all the history, but I probably wouldn’t be racing bikes now if it wasn’t for him.

The 1978 Junior National Team.  Eddie is on the far right.

The 1978 Junior National Team. Eddie is on the far right.

22 thoughts on “Eddie B.

  1. Ryan

    When i was 16, 20 years ago i paid for an Eddie B bike fit. He slammed my seat all the way back, told me i should be ashamed to have such a nice bike that isn’t clean, and that i should sleep with it above my bed. I didn’t have the balls to tell him that my bike hung over my bed and that 6/7 days a week it was cleaner than an operating room.

  2. Inga Thompson

    Really Steve? !! Eddy B was the father of setting up the doping for our young athletes. Don’t you remember the 84 Olympic Games, the blood doping…… continuing on to the U.S. Postal Team? He sent a friend request to me, also, very recently. Sorry….don’t want to be friends with a man that I feel is the ‘Father to American Doping’.

    I do fondly remember Eddy B saying to my face, ‘The Skirt Racers or The Kitchen Racers’. It was the second and last time he ever said anything to me directly. The first thing he said to me in 1984 was, ‘You will be strong like horses and replace Cindy Olivari’. Eddy B. then proceed to motorpace me into the ground and it took about 6 months of in and out of hospitals before I recovered. I then understood what Eddy B. meant when he said ‘Team Player’. It meant DRUGS…..If you didn’t do his program, he would destroy you….I almost got destroyed, but I recovered from being over trained and vowed he’d never get his hands on me again.

    Why are people idolizing the ‘Father of Doping’? This is why our sport ended up in the awful drug turmoil! Everyone wants to be associated with Eddy B.

    I, for one, won’t be his friend. Even on FaceBook. He helped lead us down this current path of destruction of our sport.

  3. ted

    Tell it like it is, Inga!
    Isn’t Eddie B (with Ed Burke) the one who had the ’80s Olympic track team doing caffeine suppositories in nearly lethal does? Roadrunners! indeed Steve Hegg is certainly one who remembers getting the treatment – he was booted from the ’88 Olympics for having something like the equivalent of 20 cups of Joe shoved up the wrong end.
    I lived in Colorado Springs in those days and came across Eddie B. at the velodrome. I found him to be an absolute tool.

  4. tilford97 Post author

    Guys-I was hesitant to do this post because of the “issues” that Eddie B. had, especially the 1984 Olympic games. Doping in the sport of cycling was a completely different animal back in the 80’s. If you did happen happen to come back positive, you sat out 2 weeks. Look at Alexi’s history. How many days did he serve for, what, 3 doping violations?

    What happened in LA with the blood transfusions was inexcusable. Ed Burke, Falsetti, Eddie and gang got very lucky they didn’t kill someone in that fiasco. But, it wasn’t against the rules. No one lost an Olympic medal, no one had to sit out a day.

    I don’t think it is fair to label Eddie B. as the “Father of Doping”. Not even close. I have never run into one rider that has told me to my face that Eddie B. encouraged them to use drugs to race bicycles. (Inga, are you stating that here, that he offered or explicitly said to you that you needed to take drugs to race bicycles?)

    Like I stated in my post, Eddie and I didn’t get along very well for a very long time. But, there was never any issue with anything to do with doping in the sport. I know lots of guys that Eddie trained early in their careers. And none of them ever took drugs to race bicycles, ever. And they all would have told me if Eddie was trying to get them on a program.

    Eddie was definitely not into Title IX or women’s lib, being from an Eastern European country. He said many things that seemed un-American at the time. But, I think he was trying to be funny, and get a reaction, not being sexist.

    I guess I was just writing about my own interaction with Eddie B. I got out from under his tutelage as soon as I had the opportunity. It was more of a personality conflict, not a moral one.

  5. Grimpeur Rolleur

    As if Inga’s weren’t enough, here’s what I remember about Eddy B and women.

    Reporter—“Eddy, what do you think of women in cycling?”

    Eddy B—“Women have two places in cycling— the tour de kitchen and the tour de bedroom.”

  6. Inga Thompson

    When the coaches asked the 1984 Olympic team to take part in blood transfusions, it’s technically okay because it wasn’t illegal yet? Isn’t this directly asking? To some, this is a technicality. In my book, it was never okay. I politely declined, wondering what the repercussions would be for the rest of my career.

  7. tilford97 Post author

    Inga-I am so glad you made a very good decision a long time ago. I was as outraged as anyone when I heard about the stupidity surrounding the ’84 Olympic Cycling Team. But, in what some might consider a defense, I don’t think it was any well thought out, organized program. I think it was a last minute deal that was very poorly planned out.

    Don’t get me wrong, today, right now, it was cheating for sure. But like I stated above, doping was completely different in the 80’s. It is strange to think that the blood doping is back in fashion, with EPO being more of a masking agent now. Boy, what goes around……..

    I guess Eddie’s name and reputation is going to be always tied into this, as it should be.

  8. H Luce

    “”Anybody who tells me that removing athletes’ blood or giving someone else’s blood for transfusion into an athlete to try to improve performance is an O.K. thing to do—he’s just nuts.”

    So said Dr. Irving Dardik, the director of a U.S. Olympic Committee investigative panel, after it was disclosed last week that seven members of the U.S. Olympic cycling team, including four medalists, one a champion, had “blood boosted” at the Los Angeles Games, and that another, Danny Van Haute, had done so at the July 5-7 trials.

    They had received transfusions in the belief, or hope, that the increased red-blood-cell count would get more oxygen to their tiring muscles during their races. Van Haute had been reinfused with his own blood, which had been withdrawn several weeks earlier and had been held in cold storage. At the Games, the other seven had received the blood of relatives and others with similar blood types, a procedure that carries significantly greater health risks than reinfusion (see box, page 17), and theretofore had rarely been used in an attempt to win sporting events.

    Steve Hegg, who won a gold medal and a silver, received blood, as did silver medalists Rebecca Twigg, Pat McDonough and Leonard Nitz, who also won a bronze. John Beckman, Mark Whitehead and Brent Emery were identified as the others. The rest of the 24-member team had been offered transfusions and had turned them down.

    “It’s real bad for cycling, and it’s real bad for all of us who didn’t participate,” said Connie Carpenter, a “completely antisubstance” rider who edged Twigg by millimeters to win the women’s road race. “The blame falls directly on the coaching staff, and from everything I’ve heard since, I’m surprised nobody died.” Pursuiter Dave Grylls had also refused blood boosting, and he, too, was quoted as saying there had been pressure from the coaching staff.

    The staff they blame is headed by Edward Borysewicz, known to the cycling world as Eddy B. The transfusions were suggested by him. by staff members or by the physician who oversaw the boosting, Dr. Herman Falsetti, a professor of cardiology at the University of Iowa. Last weekend Col. F. Don Miller, executive director of the USOC, said that the “responsible individuals should be held accountable.”

    Source: http://sportsillustrated.cnn.com/vault/article/magazine/MAG1119061/index.htm

    Looks like a program to me. BTW, that’s the first page on a google search for “1984 us olympic cycling team doping”

  9. CMac

    So here it is the missing piece to the puzzle. The US Olympic organization can’t compete with the Eastern bloc countries during the late 70’s so all of the sudden on the US coaching staffs there turns up Eastern bloc coaches. Now they don’t bring some new training approach like higher reps lower weight to the teams they bring doping. All of the sudden we are competitive in cycling, weight lifting, track and field, etc. This was the beginning of the doping culture here in the US and it was encouraged by our own national organization. Seems hypocritical that USADA takes all this out on individual athletes and has yet to examine the root cause of all this here in the US. Who’s not to say that one of those cyclists in that ’78 nationals picture didn’t take the knowledge he gained from Eddie B and introduce the likes of a Lance Armstrong to doping?

  10. Daniel Russell

    Right on Inga. Doping and those who have pushed it on riders should infuriate us.

    I still keep waiting for the other shoe to drop. The Lance Era doping of US riders did not start with Postal but with Motorola. Hopefully the rats who masterminded and administered that program will be flushed out of the current BMC team and out of cycling.

  11. Anton

    You weren’t a favorite because you weren’t willing to take the needle. We all know this. Let’s not romanticize the past. Eddie and a lot of ‘clean guys’ were dirty.

    Time will prove that all clean athletes and coaches are better humans then the cheaters and dopers that stood on the podiums but can’t stand and look straight in the mirror.

  12. NJRoadie

    I think Ms. Thompson is right, and her posts here gave me some new insight about Eddie B and the start of his doping programs. While never an elite rider, I was active racing in the 80’s (to this day!) and always enjoyed following the elite US riders of the time. Ms. Thompson always struck me as classy and her posts here reinforce my high opinion of her.

    While doping may have been different in the 80’s, Eddie B seemed to be the first elite coach in the US to start a program. It may not have been organized and effective like the Armstrong/Bruyneel program, but he seems to have started it. Eddie B’s doping program was not sophisticated at first, just like a toddler does not start running with his/her first steps. However, he seemed to introduce oxygen based doping to US bike racing at an international level. I am sure to be corrected if I am wrong, but I can’t think of any other US coach trying to apply oxygen doping to elite cycling prior to 1984. So I believe Ms. Thompson is correct when she characterizes Eddie B as the father of US doping. B’s actions seem to have paved the way for what was to come.

  13. Bobby

    The Lance era of doping certainly extends pre-Motorola! How about US National Team and Subaru/Montgomery Securities. There is some strong circumstantial evidence of Armstrong doping back then (late 80s and early 90s). And, yes, Eddie B. was involved with those teams.

  14. chris

    I bought Eddie B.’s book Bicycle Road Racing as an amateur junior thinking it would help me understand racing but I got kind of grossed out when I read “The best way to eat meat is raw, not cooked at all”, page 60. No wonder I never won any races.

  15. lee rodgers

    I remember it was just a few years back that the general assumption in the Anglo media and amongst English-speaking fans and cycling communities was that it was THEM who doped not US.

    THEM being Italians, Spaniards, Eastern Euros, the Dutch, the Belgians etc etc.

    US being people like you and me, goshdarnit!

    The clean folk, the good folk, people just like us. There was this almost ‘protestantesque’ belief in our moral and ethical superiority, as if we were, by our very nature (by our language too), better.

    Well what a load of codswallop that turned out to be. Doping isn’t about nationality, creed or race, there’s no one section of humanity more inclined to do it than others – if that were the case, wouldn’t Americans be pretty high up, going off recent revelations?

    It’s about greed and selfishness, those age old little gems that brought our forefathers through the evolutionary wars. They helped us survive the journey here but will in all probability lead to our downfall. That’s the running thread here, the common denominator.

    Anyway I seem to be wandering. Long story short, I agree with Inga, basically!

  16. Giomondo Hamstrung

    Right on Inga.
    Seems like Tilford is stuck in the gray area…
    I’d like to know where he drew the line for himself…

  17. Brad Carvey

    Eddie B invited me to a coaches training camp, at the Olympic Training Center, Dec 1979. He also asked me to come back to coach full time. I think Mike Frassye, Ed Burke and Eddie B had a positive effect on cycling. Eddie B was from a different culture and he barely spoke english. I don’t doubt that he had some cyclists take performance enhancing drugs and that he didn’t believe women should ride bikes. But, most of the people that he trained were not exposed to drugs and benefited from his training methods. The only thing I remember him saying to me personally, was “Horse Meat Horse Power”.

    Eddie B hated “Hippies”. Mike told me that he was shocked that Eddie B invited me back to coach, because I had long hair and a long beard. I suspect that he didn’t like Steve’s hair. That may have influenced his decisions.

    I think the reason he said, “you’re the best”, is because you are still racing. Is anyone else in that elite group still racing?

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  19. Inga Thompson

    I kinda wondered if Pechakoala was a hacker…..looks like it was. Sorry. I got me email hacked a few days ago. Very frustrating.

  20. Joe

    Steve, I had just started racing in late ’78, you guys on Raleigh with your red and yellow jerseys (just like the pros wore in Europe) were gods to us newbies. As a cat 2, I got to sit onyour wheel in a few races and learned a lot, as I am also about 6’2” and kind of a similar type of rider (although nowhere even close in talent). What to think about Eddie? On the one hand he did help put US cycling on the map and coached maybe the greatest crop of US cyclists IMHO, but he did flirt with dangerous, illegal methods. My feeling is if he could have looked into the future and seen where it was all leading, he would have stopped with the blood doping, etc. At the time the question was, ” Blood doping is technically legal – is it ethical” and there was some debate on the answer? There’s a lot of water under the bridge since then, and that question has since been answered in full. I see him a flawed, but ultimately a net positive for US cycling. If he did pressure anyone, he should apologize and come clean.


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