Exclusive interview: Stuart O’Grady breaks silence on doping

February 26, 2014 § 28 Comments

With the impending release of his book, Battle Scars, former Australian cyclist Stuart O’Grady has embarked on a media tour and sat down with Cycling Fanboys for his first major interview since his retirement and dished on his experiences with drugs in the pro peloton.

Fanboys: Why the name?

SO: “Battle Scars” is a name that is very appropriate to my career because there were so many battles. Battles all the time, every day. And you know, because of those battles I had scars. So, battles and scars, and then “Battle Scars.” The scars of battles. Get it? Bities, bitzles, bingles,the whole shebang.

Fanboys: After announcing your retirement on the first Monday after the 2013 Tour de France, you admitted to using epo ahead of the 1998 Tour, just before the French Senate released its report on doping in the Tour in 1998. Why the timing?

SO: Well, I sure as hell wasn’t gonna admit it during me career, was I? Maybe I’m Ozzie, but I’m not as dumb as all that.

Fanboys: And that’s the only time you doped?

SO: Oh, yeah. Just the day before the ’98 Tour. A tiny little pinch. Itsy bitsy amount, actually. Hardly enough to even see, much less make me ride faster. It was kind of a joke, really.

Fanboys: Wow. Because 1998 was the year, you know, that teams were supplying it in gross to their riders, everyone walking around with his own personal thermos of epo.

SO: Really? What a bunch o’ cheaters, eh?

Fanboys: So you didn’t really ever hear about other riders using drugs?

SO: Lord, no. The French guys, sure, and maybe some of the lower class riders, the donkeys, the guys who were never gonna be any good, maybe they did it, but the big teams, the legit teams, I can honestly say I never heard of anyone using drugs to gain an unfair advantage. It’s just not how we thought at the time.

Fanboys: Where did you obtain the drugs?

SO: Oh, I don’t remember. You know, it was just a very small amount, not more than a couple of thermoses. I think I got it from some gal in a bar. We was talking about the Tour and she said, “Try this,” and gave me a couple of thermoses. I only used it the month leading up to the Tour, kind of on a training plan I made up meself.

Fanboys: Did you notice any difference in your riding?

SO: From the epo? Blimey, no sir. It was like drinkin’ orange juice. Made me kind of drowsy, in fact, which is why I quit taking it right after the ’99 Tour, the year Lance won his first yellow jersey.

Fanboys: When did you quit using drugs?

SO: Immediately, right away, as soon as I heard about the Festina affair in ’98. I smashed me thermoses, got rid of it and that was the last I ever touched it.

Fanboys: Except for ’99, right?

SO: Right. And 2000. We used a spot of it in 2000, me and the boys, but just before the Tour. It didn’t help us at all, though, so we quit immediately.

Fanboys: “The boys?”

SO: Oh, sure, you know, the boys on the team. It wasn’t organized by the team, it was all individualized, but we did it together. There was a big cooler on the bus, we had ten thermoses for each rider along with the other usual supplements, and just used them. I believe they made us slower, actually.

Fanboys: What were the other “usual supplements”?

SO: Test, corticos, clen, a blood bag ‘ere and there for when you was gettin’ a bit woozy after the big mountain stages. And before the big mountain stages. And the long flat days, too, and time trials, a pinch before and maybe a spot after. But that’s all we did, and after the 2001 Tour, Bjarne told us “no more drugs because drugs is bad.” You know he was tough about drugs like that and wouldn’t tolerate it. “It’s just cheatin’,” is what he told us all the time. So we just quit, and I’ll tell you that they didn’t make you any faster. They made you slower. That’s a proven fact.

Fanboys: Your admission of doping cast into doubt your subsequent results, particularly your 2007 win at Paris-Roubaix.

SO: Sure, I can see how people might think that, but Roubaix is a strongman’s race and drugs was gone completely from the peloton after the Tour wrapped up in ’02, I think it was. We just all kind of reached an agreement that cheatin’ wasn’t worth it. It was the right thing to do, so we did it. Simple as that.

Fanboys: How did you feel during all those years when you were denying drug use even though you were plugged to the bunghole with PED’s of every kind?

SO: I felt awful, actually. I just kind of buried it so far back in my mind because it was just one of those things that I hoped would never surface. It was the darkest period of my career. It was the darkest period of cycling in general until things got cleaned up for good in 2003, right after the Tour.

Fanboys: How did that come about?

SO: Well, we was using blood transfusions, and transfusions from our family, and from our pets, and of course there was always a bit of androstenediol, androstenedione, androstene, bolandiol, bolasterone, boldenone, boldione, calusterone, clostebol, danazol, dehydrochlormethyltestosterone, desoxymethyltestosterone, drostanolone, ethylestrenol, fluoxymesterone, formebolone, furazabolgestrinone, hydroxytestosteronemestanolone, mesterolone, metandienone, metenolone, methandriol, methasterone, methyldienolone, methylnortestosterone, methyltestosterone, metribolone, mibolerone, nandrolone, norandrostenedione, norboletone, norclostebol, norethandrolone, oxabolone, oxandrolone, oxymesterone, oxymetholone, prostanozol, norandrostenedione, norboletone, norclostebol, norethandrolone, oxabolone, oxandrolone, oxymesterone, oxymetholone, and maybe a spot o’ noretiocholanolone, stuff like that. None of it worked for shite, though, I can promise you.

And one day we just all said, “Hey, mates, enough’s enough. HTFU.” And that was it. I personally threw all my stuff away, broke it with a hammer, tossed it in the toilet. Remember it just like it was yesterday, felt a enormous burden off me shoulders, day after the 2004 Tour finished we was all like, hey, it’s a new day. Right?

Fanboys: Since your doping admission you’ve not been seen a lot in public. What’s Stuey O’Grady doing to occupy himself?

SO: Oh, you know, just bein’ a regular dad, playin’ with me 10-year-old, tryin’ to forget about all those battle scars, the ones from the battles. Epic battles. And scars, too. Epic battles, epic scars. Battle scars.

Fanboys: Any thoughts of returning for one last hurrah?

SO: Lordy, no. Twenty years as a pro, it’s enough. It was black times a lot of them times, black times for cycling, but we’ve turned a corner. Things is better now than they was.

Fanboys: Can you pinpoint when the change happened?

SO: Blimey, just like it was yesterday. It was right after the Tour, 2005 if memory serves, and we all decided on a new direction. Smartest thing we ever did, ’cause doping was killing us and people just couldn’t believe what they were seeing.

Fanboys: But didn’t you say that the drugs didn’t actually help?

SO: Oh, they didn’t. They made you slower, mate. But it’s the thinkin’ that they’re makin’ you faster that makes you go faster. Hard to explain, y’know? But Bjarne helped us change the game. It was right after the 2006 Tour, we dumped all of our stocks and investments in Big Pharma, just did everything pan y agua. That’s Polish for “bread and water.” And I’m glad it happened then, couldn’t have come at a better time because all that winter and then the spring of ’07 I trained pan y agua and HTFU and I won Roubaix that year, clean as a whistle. I can look back on me career and that day in particular with nothin’ but pride.

Fanboys: Thanks for your time, Stuey. We here at Cycling Fanboys really believe in you.

SO: You gonna buy a copy of me book, then?

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I got my friends back

December 31, 2013 § 35 Comments

Hey, Dave

Now, then. You got screwed bigtime. All these tards calling you a dush because their chicken and I will tell you dude, I got your back. You know whose a dush they are a dush thats who. First, okay they found some shit in you’re blood and that sucks not because you are a doper but because everyone is doping whose a masters racers and second. Thats because their a chicken. First, okay, what did they even find. EPO and amphets and test. Now, then. That is bullshit stuff pussy stuff you and I know that. If you’d a been doping they would have got you for nandy, adam, abolic, and the way you were stacking D-bol with all the slop you could get your fists on that’s why you would have been microwavable, bro. Not some skinny shit Euro pro blood doping EPO shit.

Remember when you and me watched all those cool shoot-em-up videos. I know you are to smart to have got caught by some stuppid test, for test. (Get it its a joke ha, ha, har.)

But now, then. What chaps my ass worse than sunbathing naked is that their all chickens thats right I said chickens and you know why. Because you have the giant balls to take the hard stuff. Okay maybe your balls are shrunk to tiny now because thats what all the test does to your nuts but I’m not saying literally you have big ball. You have tiny itty bitty balls but its just a saying. Plus they are all doushes so FUCK THEM.

So anyway they can’t ever take away from you the stuff you won like a boss like when you lapped the P/1/2 field even though your 62 FUCK THOSE PUNKS. They went home and cried to their mommies and bag brides saying oh poor me some old dude whipped my ass and you know what. You whipped their ass good. Now, then. That takes balls. And in Tulsa Tough last year when you bridged to the break in the 2′s solo and dropped those pussies on Crybaby Hill they were cry babying like crybabies so FUCK THOSE PUNKS. That took huge balls. And I know yours are shrunk and tiny but its a saying. Its just a saying. PLus, did you know that Tulsa is A Slut if you spell it backwards. Jk.

Now, then, why are you a big balls badass and I’m saying their chickens. Well, then its pretty easy. They are drinking milk and water and compressing their dicks in dick compression cock socks size extra small to, and their all whining about being healthy and shit but you are going full rogue commando you had your preparations dialed in like a boss and its gonna eat your fukkin liver and turn your fukkin kidneys into rocks and your balls are gonna be squirtin nothing but water and you’ll have cancer in your your dick and in your teeth and up your ass and in your hair but you will have owned those pussies in Cat 2 and they will look at you like you are a fukkin boss which you are by the way.

Some people say its cheating and what about the children butt fuck them to. Everyones cheating. Some dudes cheating on his wife and some dudes cheating on his taxes and some dudes cheating because he gets up early and trains extra hard and some dudes cheating because he’s buying full carbon and Di2 and some dudes cheating because he was born faster and thats the ultimate cheating and plus tainted supplements. How come you didn’t say tainted supplements like Meeker? That dude went down like a boss and he spent some coin. You better go down bigger then Meeker and not just fukkin take it up the ass and not say anything.

But what I was saying is everybody is cheating so then theres not any such thing as cheating. Its not cheating if everyone is cheating just like its not doping if everyone is doping what about the dude who takes aspirin or the dude who is a drunk or the dude who takes Rogaine to grow his hair back they are all doper cheaters too they JUST DIDNT GET CAUGHT. Hair doping I have heard works when are they gonna test for Rogaine its so unfair.

Now, then. When I was at natz in Bend i was crumping a hairy beet you know the pre-race kind that weighs more than you’re leg you know a good old fashion corn-studded bowl breaker. After I dumped I looked down into the hole like I always do to compare whose got the bloody stool and who ate the corn and whose all got the runnies and whose got the big solid 2-foot man log that says “eatin like a boss and shittin like a grizzly.” So then. What did I see. I saw so much needles and leftover drugs and shit in the shitter that their all dopers so fUCK THEM.

I cant wait until your suspension is over and you can lay the wood to these pups some more its only to years and by then your going to be mid-60′s you can still take those punks in there twenties.

Rock out with your cock out.

Your pal,

Richard

Pro cyclist doping confession rejected by UCI

December 22, 2013 § 19 Comments

Belgian Jonathan Breyne, victor of the 8th stage in the Tour of Haifu Lake, had his doping admissions rejected by the UCI after testing of his B sample confirmed the presence of clenbuterol. In a press release issued by his Continental team Crelan-Euphony, Breyne confessed to the use of banned substances. “I knowingly used clenbuterol as part of a doping regimen in order to improve my performance. The clenbuterol assisted with recovery after Stage 7 and, I believe, substantially contributed to my victory the following day. I take full responsibility for this and other anti-doping violations.”

UCI president Brian Cookson emphatically rejected Breyne’s claims. “Ridiculous. What, does he take us for fools? He must have eaten tainted beef like everyone else.”

The UCI plans to vigorously prosecute Breyne’s innocence. “We will take this all the way to CAS if we must,” vowed Cookson.

Breyne, however, was adamant. “I’ve always been one of those ‘promising’ lads who winds up mid-pack. My breakthrough came when I began combining effective training with steroids and ‘marginal gain’ levels of EPO. That’s how we dope nowadays.”

Doping expert Billy Nietzsche was skeptical. “Thus spake Breyne, but it’s hard to believe he’s guilty without having gone through the usual panoply of excuses. It just doesn’t sound plausible when he says he doped, especially since he made the ‘admission’ without even crying or claiming to have used tainted supplements..”

Breyne’s team manager, Pfister Pfeister, reluctantly accepted the confession. “Looky ‘ere, eez da furst dime seence I been seein’ a feller say he was onna dopin pogrom jus’ first ting outta da box, quick like a little squirt an his first hooker, eh? But maybe eez tellin’ da troof, eh? Maybe?”

Results from the WADA-accredited lab in Chateauneuf-du-Pape were defended by the lab’s director, Jean Pouilly-Fuisse von Nagasaki. “These results conclusively prove that Breyne might not have doped. There is a mathematical chance of error, say on the range of twelve hundred thousand billion to one, that the overwhelming presence of clenbuterol in his urine sample, measured as roughly equivalent to three quarts of clenbuterol per gallon of blood, that those results were the result of contaminated beef, or contaminated sushi, or accidentally licking his roommate’s tainted meat, or just, you know, it got there because, Duck Dynasty. It’s that margin of possibility of error that demands, from a scientific and ethical point of view, that the athlete dispute the results.”

Breyne’s father, Yves-Marc Fauntleroy, confirmed the details of his son’s confession. “Every since he was a child we mercilessly demanded that he succeed. We gave him every opportunity and sent him to the best doping doctors. I offered to transfuse my own blood into storage bags for him. There’s no question that he’s guilty.”

Jonathan Vaughters, team boss for Garmin-Sharp-Apologia, was skeptical. “He may have been forced to dope because of his childhood dreams. It’s doubtful that he really did dope. The UCI is doing the right thing by prosecuting his innocence.”

Levi Leipheimer agreed. “I doped, but only after the threat of prison and losing my Gran Fondo. There’s no way this kid could have doped just to win some douchebag race in China. His confession flies in the face of all the hallowed excuses that bike racers have used since, like, forever. He hasn’t even pointed out that he never tested positive until he tested positive. That’s conclusive, in my opinion. He will ultimately be exonerated once the UCI presses their appeal.”

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SoCal junior tests positive for mid-level racing bike

December 19, 2013 § 36 Comments

Smedley Cutherbertson, a 16-year-old junior racer from Santa Monica, tested positive during a December training camp for a mid-level racing bike. He has declined to go through with the B-sample, or “secondary cost evaluation.”

“What can I say?” said Cuthbertson. “My parents wouldn’t spring for the full carbon $15k rig with Campy electric shifting and disc brakes.”

According to USA Cycling official Puds McKnocker, “We’ve never seen anything like it. Here this kid shows up for a winter training camp on a $6,000 bike. And it’s not like he has any excuses, either. He’s already been racing for two years. He should have known better. Did he think no one would notice?”

Sputum Cuthbertson, Smedley’s father, agreed to discuss the positive test result and sanctions on a conference call. “We knew what we were doing,” said Sputum. “He’s always been pack fodder, and we didn’t think that at his age this whole thing was worth splurging for a $15,000 bike that he’ll have outgrown in May.”

When asked about the sanctions, Sputum was apparently unconcerned. “Look, I know he’s going to have to spend the rest of the season being labeled a kook for showing up at a bike race with six other participants and he’ll be the only one on a cheapo bike. But we had to draw the line somewhere, and at the end of the day we’re middle class people trying to pay the bills. We’ll get sanctioned for his TT bike as well. That only cost five grand, if you don’t count the extra 2k for the wheels. They’ll pop us again for his ‘cross rig; we cut corners on that, went without disc brakes and refused to spend a penny over four grand; then his pit bike is even cheaper. We bought it on eBay for two thousand. Same for his omnium track bike; $3,000 tax, title, and license, although we upped the ante just a touch for his track TT bike — that set us back about six thou, but still nowhere near the top-of-the-line stuff that the other young children are riding. And you know what? We’re good with that.”

Sputum continued: “We’ve also refused to bundle him into the back of the van when he gets dropped on the Simi Ride, then race ahead and deposit him in front of the group so he can get back on. I don’t ride myself, but it seems like the whole point is to either be able to keep up on your own or train harder so you don’t get dropped.”

Reaction from the cycling community was swift, vicious, and of course, anonymous. A sampling of blog comments and bike forum discussions reveals the sense of betrayal.

immabighammer: “This kid is a joke. He thinks he’s gonna get taken seriously on a $6k rig? Ban him for life.”

interwebKoachDude: “We see kids trying to cut corners all the time; they learn it from their parents. Sad stuff.”

RideLikeEddy: “Fukkin little fukker ruinin our sport. Had some d-bag show up on the Doney without full carbon wheels, rode his dick into the curb teach him a lesson fucktards.”

stronglive: “He’s gonna get a pro contract exactly HOW on a dork bike like that?”

officiousofficial: “Testing works.”

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Professional cycling officially moves past dark history of doping

December 18, 2013 § 23 Comments

At a press conference today, UCI President Brian Cookson revealed that “The first official act of my administration in 2014 will be the announcement that doping in professional cycling has been eliminated once and for all. We have finally moved past the sport’s dark days of doping.”

Putting this into context, Cookson explained that “All of the news focuses on drugs and cheating and doping, and innocent people are harmed by the implications. You have perfectly clean riders being tarred as dopers because of the actions of a few bad apples who did bad-applish kinds of things in the past. Part of the ‘Clean Cycling’ initiative that I’ve begun is to help fans and casual cyclists, as well as amateur racers, understand that doping is no longer happening in our sport. We cannot continue to live in the past, and people are tired of all the bad news. People want good news.”

When asked how he could justify saying that doping had been eliminated, Cookson pointed to the following:

  • The biological passport. “It’s working. We’ve canceled the visas of numerous cheats through this program.”
  • More sophisticated testing. “Athletes know they will get caught, so they no longer have any temptation to cheat.”
  • Public shaming. “People won’t accept doping anymore. If you’re caught doping, you’re publicly humiliated. Shaming works.”

When asked about today’s revelations, in which Mick Rogers was busted for doping during the Tour of Japan, which he won, and in which Jonathan Tiernan-Locke was busted for doping passport violations, Cookson said, “There’s no better person to quote on this matter than Chris Froome, so I will. ‘We need to get on and start talking about the good things in the sport and the great racing that’s getting missed now because we’re harping on about what happened 10 years ago.’

“D’ye get that?” asked an agitated Cookson. “Doping happened ten years ago. Chris said it, I believe, and that settles it. Now, where can I get another drink?”

Book Review: “Hunger” by Sean Kelly

December 3, 2013 § 12 Comments

For all the retro riding, wool jersey wearing, down-tube shifting, Velominati masturbators who think it’s just not real road riding unless you’re banging over cobbles in the rain and sleet and mud while dragging a tire behind you on your third 100-km loop on Flandrian farm roads in January, Sean Kelly’s autobiography will enlighten you: He, Sean Kelly, one of the hardest of the hard men, didn’t particularly like any of that shit.

He did it because he was a professional, and to his way of thinking, a professional did what his employer told him to do.

Coal miner’s daughter

Kelly is a terrible writer. The Kindle version of the book is filled with mistakes, and Kelly writes the same way he once laid bricks. However, the brute force and brute honesty of the book make up for it.

Kelly writes openly about his despicable decision to violate the international athletic ban and join fellow douchebag Pat McQuaid by racing in South Africa during apartheid. To his discredit, he never seems to understand how deplorable his actions were, and worse, his experience in South Africa left him completely unmoved. “Different lifestyles,” was how he summarized a despotic regime that brutalized people based on the color of their skin.

To his credit, he never complained about being banned from the Olympics due to his actions. Kelly admits to knowing the risk, and to uncomplainingly accepting the consequences. This factual, unromantic approach to life is one of the things that made him such a superb racer. He was devoid of illusions, and focused only on the task at hand, which for him was essentially hard, hard work and a shit-ton of it.

No diapers, no thank you

One can look at the Froomes and Frandys of our modern peloton and grimace when comparing their pampered lives to the career of Kelly. He went to France as an amateur, followed instructions, and won races. As a professional he rode for Jean de Gribaldy at Flandria, and was lucky to race under a manager who was years ahead of his time. Gribaldy demanded shorter quality rides as well as a long mid-week rides in a era when it was all about huge mileage. Moreover, he was fanatical about weight and diet.

Under de Gribaldy’s tutelage, Kelly became King Kelly. The book chronicles his successes, but is amazingly humble. Most telling is Kelly’s description of his attitude towards inclement weather and tough riding conditions. He never liked it, but since it was his job, he went out and did his best. The sheer number and volume of races that he did each year was likewise incredible, but he did it because his manager demanded it, not because he was some kind of glutton for punishment.

Drugs, yes, please

Kelly’s book is likewise frank about drugs. He was busted twice for doping, and he never reviled Paul Kimmage — unlike many of his contemporaries — for breaking the code of silence about drugs. “A lot of what he said was true,” says Kelly. As with his Olympic ban, Kelly doesn’t go into too much detail, but he never evades the truth. Kelly was a pro. Pros doped. Complete the syllogism yourself.

You’ll enjoy this book. It’s a complete rejection of the Velominati and their faux hardman ethos. You’ll also appreciate what a hard working professional Sean Kelly really was.

Saved by a shitty lawyer

November 27, 2013 § 168 Comments

Rich Meeker is one lucky dude, and if you want to know why, you can:

a) Read the 31-page arbitration decision imposing a 2-year ban or,

b) Read what follows, which might not be quite as dry.

To get things started off, let me just say that Rich Meeker, who has always been really nice to me, is a living, breathing example of everything that is wrong with Old Fuck Racing. This arbitration decision proves it.

Just the fucks, ma’am

Here’s what happened, in a nutshell. Beaker Meeker doped, and never contested that he doped. Never. Not once. Get that? RICHARD MEEKER IS A DOPER AND HE ADMITTED IT FROM THE OUTSET.

What also happened is that Beaker Meeker, a 9-time national champion,  had never been tested in more than 35 years of competitive racing, and the first time he had to peel back the foreskin the sorry bastard squirted ‘roid juice. Thirty-five years, nine titles, one test? Those are more than good odds, they’re evidence that USAC doesn’t give a pigfart about integrity in geezer racing as long as the race permits and officials’ fees keep rolling in.

But back to the Jersey Shore: the only thing at issue in the arbitration hearing was whether as a dopefuck dopefucker Beaker Meeker deserved a 2-year ban, a 4-year ban, less than a 2-year ban, or no ban at all. You may be tempted to think that his $100k defense (my estimate), his 14-month running battle with USADA, his testing of Hammer Nutrition products, and all the other shit was an attempt to prove that he didn’t dope.

It wasn’t.

Why? Because according to USAC, the UCI, USADA, WADA, and Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Universe, if you swallow it, snort it, rub it on your nuts, shoot it into your veins, smear it on your clitoris, or jam it up your asshole, and “it” is a banned substance, then you, sir, are a doper. Of course, if you’re a “sir” and you also rubbed it on your clitoris, you have bigger problems than a positive drug test.

So when Beaker Meeker climbed off his bike at the USAC Old Fucks Race in Bend, Oregon in 2012, found his microscopic penis and shrunken testicles with a pair of tweezers and peed into “the cup,” his cyborg urine was seething with dope. Every good run comes to an end, I suppose.

The doping positive was admitted by Beaker, and so the only question (legally posed) was this: Okay, fucktard, should we ban your sorry dopefuck ass for two years or four? Or less than two? Or none?

D-bags love “none”

Like so many dopefucks before him, Beaker Meeker lawyered up and took a sabbatical from bike racing. You know, because it’s just his hobby that he does in his spare time, a hobby he’s been doing for 35 years, a hobby in which he’s “earned” nine national titles, a hobby in which he has become part of the Old Fuck Racer sporting pantheon.

As he says in his douchefuckery of a press release, “Cycling is my hobby, not my career, and it would make no sense for me to use an illegal substance.” You should probably take that stinking lump of kerfluffle with a grain of salt the size of Dallas, since any Old Fuck racer who’s done 30 races in a season and claims to have been able to do anything more than drool on his keyboard at work is most likely a liar.

Beaker Meeker, of course, decided to fight. Not to fight the fact that he’s a dopefuck, but the fact that he deserves a 2-year ban. To properly understand the Beaker defense, you need only have an appreciation of Cheech & Chong. Like, dude, yeah, man, I had that shit in my piss and shit, but fuck, it got there on accident.

The Beaker Meeker defense

Rich and his $450/hour lawyer came up with a great defense. It was original. It was clever. It was the product of brilliant thinking that could only have been spawned by a bike racer and a lawyer. Here it was: THE EVIL TAINTED SUPPLEMENT MADE ME DO IT.

Yep, in a long line of shitfuckery that was most famously the plot in the Spanish novella, “Contador and the Mystery of the Tainted Meat,” Beaker Meeker decided that he’d beat the sanctions by showing that his Hammer Nutrition Endurolyte capsules were tainted. Never mind that cyclists like Kirk O’Bee, Neil Stephens, Scott Moninger, Amber Neben, Christophe Brandt, Aitor Gonzalez, and others had trotted out this lame excuse and been found guilty of doping — Meeker figured that he could win.

Beaker tried to pin the tail on Hammer Nutrition by sending off various of their supplements to a private testing lab in Tennessee. How he did it boggles the imagination, not because of its creativity, but because of its transparent lameness.

If at first you don’t succeed …

First, Beaker sent off a batch of Hammer Nutrition Endurolytes, Hammer Nutrition Anti-Fatigue Caps, and Standard Processing Drenamin for analysis. (Note to self: Standard Processing Drenamin? What the fuck is that?) Leaving aside for the moment that there was no chain of custody whatsoever, one of the Endurolyte bottles, which conveniently contained a variety of pills and “some loose powder” (not making this shit up, folks), miraculously had some steroids in it.

Unfortunately, the steroids in the bottle weren’t the ones that Beaker had tested positive for, so it was back to the evidence fabricating, er, drawing board. Undeterred, on December 3 he shipped off another batch of evil supplements, all of which tested negative for steroids. You can almost hear Beaker and Howie:

BM: “Fuck! When are we gonna get some positives? I ain’t paying Vinnie the Knife to spike that shit with Play-Doh!”

HJ: “Shit if I know! Let’s keep sending!”

On January 17, Beaker mailed off another shipping container of supplements. All tested negative for steroids, and more clumps of already scarce hair were ripped out in frustration. With time running short to prove he was framed, and copies of the Zapruder film not yielding any additional material for the lone nutrition supplement contaminator on the grassy knoll theory, Meeker sent off yet another batch of Hammer Nutrition supplements.

Bing-botta-bing! Incredibly, along with the supplement capsules, there was also some loose powder in the bottom of the bottle. More incredibly, the powder turned out to be (drum roll) one of the drugs that Beaker had been busted for, norandrostenediol. Before the celebrations could begin in earnest, however, it also appeared that the “loose powder” contained another banned drug, DHEA, which, unfortunately, Rich had not tested positive for.

The timing was problematic, as it seemed more than coincidental that the very last sample was the one that happened to be tainted with just the right ‘roid. Beaker Meeker explained it away thus: even though his lawyer had asked for all his supplements, he had only searched the containers in his kitchen, not his “race bag which he kept in his garage.”

I know what you’re thinking: “If my kid ever came up with an explanation that dumb I’d whip him once for saying it, and twice for not being smart enough to dream up a better lie.” You’re probably also thinking, “Yeah, when the lawyer asks for all the supplements, I never give him the stuff that was in my actual race bag that I took to the actual race containing the actual supplements I actually claim to have taken.” Right.

Even so, this presented a mess. How could Rich claim that he lapped up the tainted powder which was contaminated with the two banned drugs, but he only tested positive for one? Perhaps it was time for the “I used to have a forked tongue” theory?

Where there’s one problem, there are usually more

This wasn’t the only difficulty. None of the actual Hammer Nutrition capsules was tainted, only the loose powder, which I’m sure no one could have sprinkled into the can. Team Beaker had to explain ingestion of the tainted powder, when prior to the dope test he had testified that he only took the capsules. The solution? Claim that the powder was from broken capsules, and imply that the unbroken capsules he’d taken also had “tainted dust” on them when swallowed the pills. The chart was starting to look complicated.

But as with bad fiction everywhere, this led to more difficulties. If the capsules had broken, then where were the empty shells? The lab had only found powder in the bottom of the bottle. Compounding the problem, Rich testified that he had no memory of picking out the empty capsule shells. The arbitration panel found this big, hairy, 12-pound, blood-covered booger hard to swallow, because the quantity of powder meant that there would have been more than 30 empty shells from the broken capsules.

Facing a fictive narrative that would have given Gabriel Garcia Marquez migraines, Beaker had an explanation: he must have taken capsules that had the tainted powder in them. Yet this too ran into problems, because none of the other tested capsules was positive. Since Rich testified that he took about “37″ capsules prior to the race, some number of which were tainted Hammer pills, he would have had to have magically selected only the tainted capsules, randomly, from the bottle, and then, somehow, 36 other tainted capsules (the approximate number of capsules that would have contained all the loose powder) magically exploded inside the bottle while the capsule shells vanished up a unicorn’s ass.

Leave alone for the moment that anyone with a brain, even a bike racer, would be suspicious about a bottle filled with loose powder and no broken capsule shells immediately prior to a national race in which victory would guarantee a drug test, there were even more amazing parts to this poorly cobbled together story.

To add more tomfoolery to an already ridiculous “legal” defense, Beaker’s own lab expert said she’d never seen a bottle with an admixture of various capsules and loose powder like the one they had been given to analyze.

Follow the math

Another big problem for Beaker Meeker was the fact that the doped up bottle was from 2008, and the race was in 2012. Hammer Nutrition Endurolytes contain 120 pills per bottle, and although Meeker claimed to only take them before road races, his testimony that he took four or five pills before nationals means that he would have blown through that supply in four years, easily .

Had the arbitrators asked him to demonstrate how he took all 37 horse pills before nationals, they could have put the lie to him then and there. The idea that you can swallow 37 of anything before a race is right up there with the forked tongue/vanishing twin theory.

The arbitrators were also curious as to the physiology behind the “disappearing DHEA,” i.e., how the norandroshoweverthefuckyousayit showed up in Beaker’s pee-pee, but the DHEA didn’t. Meeker’s “expert,” whose qualifications were vigorously challenged by USADA, couldn’t explain this curiosity either. Perhaps if they’d let the astrologer or the unicorn tamer testify, it would have all made sense.

Just waiting for Moe to nose tweak and eye-poke Larry

Team Beaker next argued that since USADA couldn’t explain how Meeker’s urine got contaminated, the arbitrators were obligated to accept his theory. This is like saying that if you can’t give a satisfactory explanation for the origins of the universe, then you have to accept that all 250,000 species of beetles (each named by Adam) and all 1 billion species of bacteria (also named by Adam) along with the dinosaurs, trees, grasses, fungi, and nematodes (named by Adam, too) were aboard Noah’s Ark.

By trying to force USADA to prove how Beaker Meeker had ingested the dope, the legal team of Tweedledum and Tweedledumbfuck sought to turn the whole evidentiary burden of proof on its head, which would have been a great precedent, relieving dopers of having to explain their vanishing twins and forcing USADA to reconstruct how they cheated. The arbitrators weren’t impressed, after pointing out that Team Beaker had omitted a crucial word in its citation of a prior case, they told him in legalese what anyone else would have said: “Shut the fuck up, doper.”

Then the arbitrators raked him over the coals. They pointed out that he had contradicted himself, claiming various numbers of pills that he had taken, and finally saying he couldn’t remember at all how many he took. He further botched the claims that his lawyer had carefully drafted in the calm of the office, when, under the heat of cross examination, he confessed to not knowing when or from whom he’d actually gotten the 2008 capsules.

And of course the arbitrators masticated, swallowed, and shit out his “loose powder” theory, as well as his expert’s theory about the “disappearing DHEA.” The arbitrators described dopefuck’s testimony as not “consistent, reliable, or complete,” which is short of calling someone a two-bit, lying sonofabitch. I’ll leave you to decide how short.

To emphasize the patent flimflammery of the whole defense, Meeker had the audacity to claim that in more than 30 years of competitive cycling he had never once read the “fine print” on the back of his annual license. Then he complained that neither USAC nor the UCI had ever given him any training about drug testing. A later appeal will likely blame his mom for all that premature potty training.

Saved by the shitty lawyer, though

Where Beaker Meeker got lucky was the part where the arbitrators rejected USADA’s demand for an aggravated sanction, which would have kept the doper out of the masters ranks (think keeping a pedophile out of the playground as an analogy) for four years instead of two. USADA’s claim was essentially that any idiot could see what had happened: Beaker Meeker had doctored up a bottle of capsules with tainted drugs, fabricated evidence, and sought to dupe the hearing officers into letting him off the hook.

All USADA’s lawyers had to do was show, through testimony or other evidence, that Beaker Meeker had engaged in deceptive or obstructing conduct to avoid the detection or adjudication of an anti-doping rule violation. But they failed to elicit any testimony or put on any evidence or retain any experts who could testify to the absurdity and/or impossibility of Meeker’s claim. The standard was tough, but they didn’t even try, and now Chester will be back at the races with a trench coat full of lollipops in September 2014.

What’s it all mean?

The above analysis is, of course, the kindest and most favorable reading of the arbitration proceeding. But what if, you know, they really were going easy on him? What if he deliberately doped up a can of pills, blamed Hammer Nutrition, and made up a complete cock-and-bull story in order to preserve his reputation as the pre-eminent Old Fuck Cyborg?

What if he defamed an innocent maker of unicorn powder and supplement fluffery and tried to sabotage a legitimate business just to save his ass? What if he was not only guilty of doping in 2012, but in every year for the last two decades?

Wouldn’t that make him, like, the biggest douchebag ever? And doesn’t it strike you as diseased that he could ever enter another race again? And doesn’t it make the silence of Amgen’s Breakaway from Cancer “masters” team and every one of its riders seem like the silence of witnesses to a grotesque killing?

I think the answers are “yes, yes, and yes.”

And maybe a “hell, yes” for good measure.

How to hose off “masters” racing

November 25, 2013 § 68 Comments

  1. Quit calling it “masters.” A master is someone who has reached the pinnacle of his craft after years of study and accomplishment. If you were a “master” of cycling you’d race the Pro Tour. If you were a “master” of cycling you would need more than a license and a $35 entry fee to be recognized as such. Suggestion? Start calling it “Old Folks Racing.” Part of the problem with masters racing is the delusion that’s reinforced by calling yourself a “master.” You aren’t, so quit lying about it.
  2. Scrap the prize money. You don’t deserve one red fucking cent for winning an Old Folks bicycle race. Prize money fuels the delusion that you’re a pro. You aren’t. You are an old person racing a bicycle masquerading as a young person. Yes, you. If don’t want to be classed with the old people, race with the young ones, you know, the punks who line up in the P-1-2 race and can kick your sorry ass from here to Sunday and back. Let’s see how many of those 120-mile hilly road races you win, Ace.
  3. Test. Drug testing works. It may not catch all the cheats, but it catches some of them and scares away a bunch of others. Instead of wasting our money on officials, waste it on drug testing. Officials who don’t want to volunteer for free like every other person who helps out in a bike race should go ride their bikes. And spare me about how professional all of the paid refs are, thanks. If we have to race without officials, I bet the promoters and riders can live with it just fine.
  4. Increase the length of bans. Two years is a joke for Old Folks racers, or didn’t you get the memo that 90 is the new 20? Make it ten for a first offense. You drank some contaminated herbal tea? Sucks to be you. PS: Next time you drink a special herbal tea that you bought from a company that advertises in a weightlifting steroids online forum where everyone uses a nickname, maybe you better think twice.
  5. Permanently ban dopers from certain events. Once you test positive, you’re forever banned from national and district championships. Whaaa? Yeah. But at least you won’t have to explain to people what an “Old Folks Racer National Champion” is.
  6. Permanently note doper status on licenses. Indicate on every license, in bold black letters beneath the rider’s category, that he has been “Sanctioned for doping.” Welcome to the race.
  7. Allow promoter discretion to deny entry. Give promoters the right to unilaterally bar a sanctioned rider from the race even after the ban has expired. Sanctimonious, self-serving liars who refuse to come clean about their sordid cheating will have to drop the facade and live with permanently brown noses for as long as they want to race.
  8. Require nicknames. Assign mandatory demeaning nicknames to busted dopers, which names must be used whenever their names are announced or printed in the official results. “Douchebag Danilo,” “Lame-ass Lance,” etc.
  9. Assign a unique “scumbag” series. Dedicate a certain number series that may only be used by busted dopers, such as the 900′s. “There goes a Niner!” people will say. No matter what you do, your past as a drug cheat will not be forgotten.
  10. Limit the damage. Put a limit to the number of ex-dopers you can have on a single team, and make the number “1.”

Do all this, or even most of it, and we’ll go back to what we once had when we were called “veterans.” We’ll have old folks who enjoy life during the week, race on the weekend, and take geriatric competition for what it is, which isn’t very much.

Doped.

November 23, 2013 § 147 Comments

Lokalmotor Richard Meeker tested positive for steroids at the 2012 national masters championships and was sanctioned this week with a 2-year ban.  Rich claims that he’s never intentionally doped and that the positive result came from a tainted supplement. He does this through a press release. A press release? From a 50+ masters bicycle racer?

I don’t believe him.

Can we please stop saying “shocked”

Rich’s press release says he was “shocked” to find out that he’d tested positive. I’m not sure it shocked anyone who regularly races masters cycling in SoCal, unless, like me, they were shocked that USAC finally nailed a masters racer who’s a pretty big deal. To the contrary, the positive simply confirms rumors that have swirled around Rich for a long time: that he wins races in part due to banned drugs.

The sad thing is now watching people who like Rich personally — I’m one of them — as they try to distance themselves. Folks, you don’t have to distance yourselves. He cheated, he doped, he got caught, he hired a lawyer, he fought it for fourteen months, and now he’s issued a non-apology proclaiming his innocence using one of the oldest, silliest, least credible, most embarrassing excuses possible. It’s the excuse that comes with the pre-printed “How to Dope” drugs from China, I’m sure.

“If to find doping caught violation, please to excusify on official protocol testing about mix product bad tea contamination and to a herbal remedy vanishing twin,” or something like that.

The “tainted beef” excuse, Rich, has been used by better, more famous, and more credible racers than you. Still, it’s okay to insult our intelligence. We’re bike racers after all.

What I want to know isn’t how his friends will react. I know what they will say because they’re already saying it. “Let’s wait until all the facts are out.” [Hint: they are out. He doped, got caught, and has been sanctioned.] “Those drugs don’t even make you go faster!” [Hint: they are still illegal, so you're still a doper if you use them.] “Rich would never do that.” [Hint: he did.]

What I want to hear is something from his team, “Breakaway from Cancer,” which is sponsored by Amgen, which was founded by Thom Wiesel, who has a long and sordid history of turning the company into the major player of doping in cycling in the “Armstrong Era,” as if doping in cycling was limited to some tiny sliver of time when bad ol’ Lance ruined everything.

This may come as a nasty “shock,” but until Breakaway from Cancer and its team management make a strong statement about this, they’re going to be tarred with the amateur wanker doper brush, too — and so will their entire team. That’s a shame because it’s now reflecting on guys who truly are beyond reproach, guys who, if they tested positive, I would quite literally shake my head in disbelief.

That’s the press release I want to read, the one that says, “Amgen’s Breakaway from Cancer masters cycling team condemns doping in sport. Richard Meeker’s positive test is proof that the system is being applied fairly to catch drug cheats on all levels. He will not be riding for our team in 2014, when his ban ends.” And then, in furtherance of the clean sport that Rich talks about in his press release, I’d like to see the test results he claims he carried out, along with the name of the supplement.

Indeed, now’s the time for his team to demand the release of that data in order to protect all cyclists out there who are buying unicorn powder in the hope that it will fill in the gaping cracks left by age, inability, genetic slowness, lousy strategy, weak legs, too much beer, insufficient training, and general sloth.

Just the facts

Rich has long been one of the top masters racers in the country, and although I’ve raced with him, it’s not exactly true to say I ever raced “against” him except for a couple of times, because he was so much better that I could never follow his wheel.

Throughout 2012 he was virtually unbeatable. He won time trials, sprints, crits, road races … in one race he went off from the gun, raced in a two-up breakaway in a hard, hilly road race, got caught, then destroyed everyone in the sprint. After the race no one would have been surprised if he’d done 10,000 push-ups, dragged a 747 down a runway by his teeth, and bench pressed a small ox.

The only time I  was in contention for a finish against him was at the end of 2012 in a ten-man break at a CBR race. Sitting behind him and looking at his legs was enough to make me want to quit. He looked like a professional road racer with 0% body fat combined with a track racer combined with a weight lifter combined with the Six Million Dollar Man combined with Bo Jackson.

My stolen youth, stolen by dopers

Unlike Lance, who is responsible for everything bad that ever happened to me, Rich is in a different category. You see, Lance stole my dreams. He forced me to become a lawyer. He made me fail my algebra tests and ruined my career as a pro cyclist (I would have won the Tour and the Nobel Prize in physics if he hadn’t doped).

But Rich Meeker?

He didn’t ruin shit. To the contrary, the only times I’ve ever talked with him he’s been an exceedingly kind guy. Unlike certain steroid-crazed, punch-throwing drugheads on the SoCal masters circuit, Rich is as nice as they come. It just so happens that he doped.

So? Our ranks are quietly filling with ex-pros who’ve been sanctioned for drugs, not to mention ex-pros who raced higher than kites and never got busted.

If you race masters in SoCal and you don’t understand that drugs are rampant here, you are an imbecile. Too many riders turn in unbelievable performances not to understand that the sport is rife with drugs. However, unlike pro racing, which actually matters in some weird alternative universe, masters racing is like vanity book publishing.

No one gives a flipfuck. Even if you’re the greatest masters racer in the history of Planet Earth, YOU’RE STILL A FUCKING MASTERS BIKE RACER. In other words, you are over the hill at best, one foot in the grave at worst.

It was a pretty good year

Rich is a national masters champion whose USA Cycling results for 2012 make you want to burn your bicycle and your racing license. National crit champion, national road silver medalist, SoCal Cup 1st, Ladera Ranch 1st, Paramount Crit 1st, Manhattan Beach GP 1st, Rosena Ranch 1st, Jail Circuit Race 1st, District road champion, Barry Wolfe GP 1st, Arco Crit 1st, Dana Point GP 1st, Avenue of the Flags 1st, Redlands 1st, Ontario Series 1st … you get the picture. If you were racing 45+ in 2012, you were racing for second.

This is different from catching some 65-year-old wanker in a Florida time trial who placed fifth out of five entrants. SoCal masters racing is a national benchmark, and the guys who sit atop the leaderboards here are the best of the best when it comes to elderly, delusional wankers whose lives revolve around bicycle racing.

Rich insists that he took a tainted supplement, but he has refused to name the supplement. He’s long been one of the top masters racers in SoCal, and it’s possible he’s telling the truth, just like it’s possible that Tyler had a vanishing twin, that Alexi drank tainted herbal tea, or that every other tawdry and poorly conceived and cheap-ass lie coughed up by every drug cheat ever was true.

Whether he is or isn’t, though, it doesn’t affect me much, because I’ve been beaten by guys on drugs and I’ve been beaten by guys who are clean as a whistle. My enjoyment of the sport has a little to do with how I place and a lot to do with the friends I make and the experiences I have.

At the professional level, where careers and sponsor dollars and prestigious victories are at stake, it makes a big difference whether people dope. At the masters level, it’s more sad than it is outrageous, although if I were a sponsor of an amateur bike team, pumping money into bikes, clothes, entry fees, and clean supplements, I’d be flat fucking livid. There are a lot of businesses out there who sponsor small time masters racing because they like bicycling, not because they’re expecting a big payday.

Life, and cycling, have a lot more to offer if you take them head on and accept your race results for what they are: nothing more than how you did on a certain day in a certain race against certain people.

My guess is that when Rich’s ban is over, he’ll be the same affable guy he’s always been, and he’ll still be kicking my ass, supplements or not. I just hope he drops the facade and takes his beating like a man. Silly as we are, even bike racers don’t believe what’s written in a press release.

All pro cyclists everywhere admit doping

November 5, 2013 § 19 Comments

The latest stick-and-tell exposé about drugs and cycling by Michael Rasmussen, “Charging While Charged,” has unexpectedly caused all pro cyclists, past and present, to admit to the use of performance enhancing drugs.

“When I read that Chicken had implicated everyone on the entire Rabobank team, my first reaction, you know, was to demand  a retraction and a public apology and threaten litigation,” said three-time world road champion Oscar Freire. “But then I was like, fuck it. Who am I fuggin kidding?”

When asked if this was an admission to doping, Freire said, “Only when I cycled.”

Ryder Hesjedal, winner of the Giro d’Italia who had never stood on a grand tour podium in fifteen attempts, concurred. “Drugs, brah. Every fuggin day.”

The next domino to fall was Chris Horner, the first 75-year-old to win a grand tour, and the first winner of a grand tour to ever be booted off his team for winning one. “Yeah, man,” said Horner. “Only so long you can keep up the ‘cheeseburgers complete me’ bullshit. I fuggin doped from Monday to Sunday.”

But it wasn’t until the greatest cyclist of all time, Eddy Merckx, confessed to a life of cheating that the rest of the peloton also confessed. “Look,” said Merckx. “It’s just not my fault that everyone is stupid. I did what I had to do.”

When asked what he “had to do,” Merckx said this: “Drugs. A merde-load of drugs. Drugs up my ass. Drugs up my nose. Drugs in my coffee. Drugs down the pie-hole. Drugs in my drugs. Drugs in the baby food. Why you fuggin think Axel turned into a top Belgian pro? Wasn’t the fuggin famous Belgian food.”

When asked about his lifelong denial of drug use, Merckx said this: “I was lying.”

Cascade of confessions

With Merckx’s public confession, the rest of the pro peloton quickly fell into line. First to step up was 2013 Tour winner Chrissy Froome. “Volcano doping. Like Eddy, up the ass.”

Retired pro Greg LeMond, long a champion of the anti-doping movement, likewise threw in the towel. “I’m tired of this fuggin charade,” he said. “Yeah, I doped. Now can I have a beer and will you please go away?”

Jonathan Vaughters, owner of Team Garmin and Prancing Pricks Who are Holier Than Everyone, Especially Thou, gave up the ghost as well. “Yeah, we’re fuggin filthy,” he confessed. “Drugs. It’s what’s for fuggin dinner. Not to mention breakfast, lunch, and afternoon tea.”

David Brailsford, another proponent of clean cycling through Team Sky, hung his head in shame, frustration, and disgust. “We. Fuggin. Dope. What about that do you not understand?”

Bryan Cookson, UCI president and sponsor of the “Can’t We Just Get Along Reconciliation and Handholding Mission to Restore Faith and Trust in Something That Never Had Either,” convened a meeting in which all cyclists in the history of the sport attended and confessed their sins. In a gigantic auditorium they all chanted in unison, “We fuggin doped. We are fuggin dopers. Now leave us the fugg alone, especially Steve Tilford you whiny little bitch.”

Time for change

At a press conference following the mass confession, which was presided over by the Pope and Pat McQuaid, who was forced to additionally confess that he was “a doper AND an asshole,” Cookson explained the reason for the unified admission.

“The whole thing became undeniable. ‘Breaking the Chain,’ by Voet, ‘Rough Ride,’ by Kimmage, ‘We Were Young and Carefree,’ by Fignon, ‘Seven Deadly Sins,’ ‘Cycle of Lies,’ ‘Wheelmen,’ ‘The Secret Race,’ ‘Dog in a Hat,’ ‘From Lance to Landis,’ ‘L.A. Confidential,’ and of course everything ever written about Coppi, Bartali, Anquetil, or anyone who’s ever set foot in Belgium … we all just decided to say ‘Enough. We’re a bunch of lousy, doped up, cheatfuggs.’

In order to make the confessions as thorough as possible, numerous deceased cycling stars were exhumed and had placards hung on their remains. “Dopey Coppi,” and “Tranqui-til” were two of the most popular exhibits set up around the bones of Fausto Coppi and Jacques Anquetil.

Cookson was optimistic that a corner had been turned. “Now that we’ve admitted what everyone knows, there’s no one left to punish, except, of course the fans. We’re going to be asking fans to voluntarily confess to drug use as well, and masturbation. We will clean this sport up once and for all.”

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