Man, Was I Naive, I Guess

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I’d have to say that I really never paid that much attention to this doping thing in the sport while it was going on. Of course, I knew that it was happening, but I felt I neither had the energy or the ability to do anything about it. Maybe that was the same way a lot of people thought. I guess we are all guilty in that regard. And, don’t get me wrong, I knew it was really bad, like terrible. The drugs made it virtually impossible to compete on a National/International level.

These past few months, I find it amazing how many guys I used to race with, just casually admit that they used drugs. I had no idea. Most of these guys raced pre-EPO, but it really doesn’t matter. Well, it does matter, because the oxygen carrying drugs really changed the game. It was hard to tell if someone was just taking amphetamines, but it is/was very easy to tell if they are manipulating their blood. When I read Joe Parkin’s book, Dog in a Hat, I was surprised that amphetamine use was so prevalent. I’d raced a ton in Belgium and didn’t have a hard time staying competitive. I had no idea everyone I was racing against at the time was doping.

It seems like a lot of people I used to race with are having heart issues. A couple guys have admitted to me that they think their problems are created by taking stimulants while racing, mixing amphetamines with caffeine. I have no idea if that caused the problems or not. I wrote a post about how it is thought that maybe we shouldn’t be doing so much exercise as we age, related to our hearts. The jury is still out on that, but maybe all the pacemakers cyclists are receiving are just a bi-product of sport and the duration we compete, I don’t know.

Anyway, what got me thinking about this was I was looking for the results of Deer Valley, when Lance raced and happened upon the results of the short track from 2000. Man, are those some fucked up results. I have no idea why I would have even gone to that race. I must of been out of my mind. I feel bad for the guys on that list that are really just that great of athletes and not dopers. And, I don’t have too feel bad for that many, if you catch my drift.

And I did this for years, weekend after weekend. I sure must of not been bothered getting my assed kicked by dopers, back then, as much as it bothers me now. Maybe it was just getting paid to do something I love and I didn’t care that much about the personal results. I might do the same thing now. I guess I still do.

Looking back, I am embarrassed I didn’t take a more public stand against the whole stupidity. Privately, and sometimes when I was interviewed, I’d let my views be known, but it really didn’t seem to matter. I did an whole interview with Road Bike Action that pretty much said that everyone in the top 10, at every race, in Europe, was doping, and that was in the late 90’s. But, no one seemed to care. Maybe even me. Embarrassing.

Ned Overend once told me, a long time ago, “Steve, we were so lucky to be able to race internationally before the sport became polluted.” Ain’t that the truth.

I feel badly for the few guys on this list that did it right and honestly.

I feel badly for the few guys on this list that did it right and honestly.

Redlands Bicycle Classic – Highland Cirucit Race 2003

Or, how many of these guys need their names removed from the results?

Or, how many of these guys need their names removed from the results?

24 thoughts on “Man, Was I Naive, I Guess

  1. Nancy

    Should we believe that Ryder hesjedal can win the Giro without doping while not been able to win MTB Worlds on EPO?

  2. Robo

    As JT asks, whom on this list do you think came by it honestly? I recognize a lot of names on there, so would love to hear whom among them you think raced clean (and who did/does not).

  3. Bill V

    You don’t even have to look at events of that stature to ask the same question. Chequamegon’s past winners and top placers through the 90’s and early 2000’s are rife with bad reputations. The MN local scene in general was pretty bad for a long while.

    Superweek turned into a big joke too with “pros” who were ex-bodybuilders coming out from Cali, and I remember the AnimalKits dude jumping on board as a sponsor for a year or so even. Oh man. That guy….

    Those are just a drop in the bucket in relation to how widespread it was.

    Everyone who’s been racing for a while has had their own experiences and story with doping and what was happening at the time. These days it makes for good conversation and sharing war stories over a beer or three.

  4. H Luce

    “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.”

    And the way they did things there was doping, using hormones, and so on. Remember the National Lampoon East German Women’s Swim Team cover? Yeah, it was widely known back then that Eastern Bloc coaches used artificial means to get their results – so that when an Eastern Bloc coach like Eddie B came to the US, he’d be doing the same kinds of things to get results.

    “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.”

    But you probably knew at some level that you never got a shot because you wouldn’t get with the program – the Eddie B doping program. Without doping, he knew you’d never be competitive, and the same goes for the rest of the American riders. It wasn’t ever any sort of big secret – I recall hearing about it in Gainesville FL in the mid-1980s. Eddie B wanted results, you refused to dope, you’d be a domestique at best, and you wouldn’t be on the podium, so for you there was never any chance of being picked – it would always be ‘close, but no cigar’.


  5. PhilR

    1,2,3,7 all got busted. Kabush has been very outspoken about dopers. Others will have to fill out the rest of the list.

  6. donkybhoy

    Nope. Why believe Ryder that he rides clean now, or any of them that keep silent?

  7. Steve

    Tell me Steve, how embarrassed are you with your current and past relationship with Jim Ochowicz?

  8. The Cyclist

    Speed should be lot easier to detect than EPO. If you know what to look for. Sometimes we don’t. Always easier to understand things in retrospect than in the heat of the moment. Happens to us all all the time. Unfortunately.

  9. mike crum

    just google ” cyclists caught on drugs” … thousands come up…

    like i said in a previous post re: drugs in cycling since the 60’s .. IMO, every rider cheats.. most got caught, the ones that havent are lucky..

  10. Alex

    Ready for post on Ochowicz, the true Godfather of American doping, but you go on bitching about Vaughters, which is borderline moronic.

  11. BR

    Kabush I would say is one of the clean. He has been publically calling out the dopers for a long time.

  12. MM1

    Even without the doping, the long-term health impact of such an “extreme” sport (at least from the layman’s perspective its extreme) is interesting. Read Sean Yates’ autobiography and you will wince at the description of his heart problems; yet I saw him racing on the track against opposition that was less than half his age a few weeks after he had a pacemaker fitted.

    Beryl Burton one of the UK’s greatest ever female athletes (90 national records, 7 world championships etc.) died from a heart attack while she way delivering invites to her 59th birthday party by bike…apparently the autopsy said that her heart was damaged from years of riding while unwell with minor infections (colds etc.). We all overdo it, even those of us who are no more than not very good club riders, but the advent of HRMs and other monitoring devices should be making us better at looking after ourselves. Maybe ordinary people are right and this is a sport for weird obsessives. Anyway, I’m having a rest today.

  13. Francisco Mancebo

    Och was Heins broker, no? Doesn’t get much closer than that

    Next time you see och tell him the Emir has questions. That’s not a good place to be

  14. Francisco Mancebo

    Then there’s also the whole och acting as the mediator between Floyd and lance story

  15. James Mosley, Jr

    When are Carmichael and Cecchini getting nailed. Cecchini even worked with Indurain.

  16. benyamin

    Steve. Didnt you have some decent intl results?
    Listen, i dont think the eighties and nineghties were black and white by any stretch.
    Please explain the racing climate of that era from your perspective.
    how is it that you were on the outside looking in relative to the doping culture?
    You have a very unique perspective as you were elite on the road and mountain. Im very appreciative that you would even be willing to bring this up… but i have difficulty believing you were totally naive.

  17. Dog

    Look at the results over DECADES. Steve won the race (clearly). The most consistent American pro cyclist of all time. If you gave him a point for each placing and graphed it over time, one can see that Steve would have been the Moneyball choice for each team.


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