October 19, 2016 § 7 Comments
Cycling in the South Bay sat down with Bradley Wiggins to discuss his use of performance enhancing drugs prior to his 2012 Tour de France win.
CitSB: So you got a TUE for steroids to treat your asthma right before the Tour?
CitSB: And you went on to win?
CitSB: Your asthma must have been really bad.
BW: Bad? Mate, it was killing me. It was so bad I had these little coughs in bed at night. Me throat got a little raw even. It was the most terrible pain I’ve ever felt.
CitSB: And as a result you took a year-long prescription for steroids?
BW: Oh, yeah. Them things work, mate.
CitSB: And you don’t consider that cheating?
CitSB: Why not?
BW: I had to level the playing field, mate.
CitSB: Could you elaborate?
BW: The playing field was all tilted and crooked and whomperjawed. Because of me asthma and I couldn’t breathe so we had to put a jack under the edge of the playing field and level it out.
CitSB: So you think that all racers should be equal?
BW: Oh, sure, mate. Gotta be fair and square or it’s not racing, it’s rigged like the US elections. It’s letting one guy beat another guy because of unfair advantages. That’s why we have the TUE system, mate. Man gets a bit of a breathing problem and he’s suddenly got the table tilted against him, then he takes a bit of the good stuff and *bam* he’s back equal with the other blokes.
CitSB: What are some of the other unfair advantages that a rider would need to use a TUE to “level out the playing field”?
BW: Oh, all kinds of shit, mate. All kinds of shit.
CitSB: Like what?
BW: VO2 max, mate. There’s guys out there with super high VO2 max and some other bloke only has, like, you know, maybe a 45. That’s bone idle wanker unfair.
CitSB: What else?
BW: List is endless, mate. Some guy’s been training extra hard, for example, while another bloke’s been drinking beer and boinking his GF. Super un-level playing field. Or diet. Dieting really tilts the hell out of the playing field.
BW: Is there an echo in here? Yeah, mate. One guy eats really good and stays lean and comes into the Tour at race weight, and the other bloke is 25 pounds overweight, butt cheeks sagging over the saddle wings.
CitSB: You mean Cavendish?
BW: Don’t wanna name names, mate, but you get me drift. Them’s unfair advantages. That’s why we have the TUE system.
CitSB: Some have said that if you have chronic breathing problems so severe that they require regular steroid prescriptions, maybe you shouldn’t be in an elite endurance sport.
BW: Yeah, well you know what? Sick people should get a shot at the yellow jersey same as healthy ones. That’s discrimination, mate. Pure and simple discrimination.
CitSB: Can you tell us about the secret package delivery just before the Tour?
BW: Oh, sure. That was nothing, mate.
CitSB: What was in the package?
BW: Just some orange juice and a couple of aspirin.
CitSB: Why was it shipped in from Italy by private courier?
BW: Italian oranges, mate, them’s the best.
CitSB: I see. Any suggestions for how the TUE system might be reformed?
BW: Yeah. I have this genetic low red blood cell count problem. I’m hoping to get a TUE to reform that. You know, to raise it up a bit. Untilt the playing field, so to speak.
CitSB: So to speak.
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September 26, 2016 § 28 Comments
In a revealing tell-all interview surrounding Bradley “Bone-Idle” Wiggins’s use of banned steroids prior to his 2012 Turdy France victory, the cycling star sat down with Cycling in the South Bay to explain his use of triamcinalone leading up to the most important victory of his career.
CitSB: So it looks like the Fancy Bear hackers have nailed you to the floor on this one.
BIW: Not a bit of it.
CitSB: Here you are shooting up a performance enhancing, banned steroid before the only Turdy France you’ve ever won.
BIW: It wasn’t enhancing. It was dehancing.
CitSB: Can you explain?
BIW: I’d love to. Leading up the 2012 Tour I’d won everything. Tour of Romandie, Dauphine, that kiddy race in Manchester where I got the tricycle and 14 Euro gift certificate. I was crushing it.
BIW: So I sits down with Dave and the boys and we says “This is gonna be bone idling wankerdom if I hit the Tour with these legs, I’ll put an hour on the field in the first five minutes.” That’s how good I was going with marginal volcano doping gains. I was better than the rest of those bone idlers by so much. You can ask me mum.
CitSB: Your mum?
BIW: Yeah, that’s right. She’ll tell you how good I was going and all pan y agua, mate. So Brailsford and the boys were like, “Wiggo, you gotta slow down and give the other boys a chance, especially those whiny French bastards.” So we did what we had to do. I’m not ashamed of it.
CitSB: What was that?
BIW: We got on a dehancing program. Took meself a whole slew of steroids to slow meself down.
CitSB: Uh, don’t you mean “speed yourself up”?
BIW: No, mate, you don’t get it, do you? Look here. I’m reading off the label for triamcinalone, just happen to have a couple of vials here: “Not for ophthalmic use. Systemic absorption may produce reversible hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal (HPA) axis suppression, manifestations of Cushing’s syndrome, hyperglycemia, and glucosuria; when a large dose of a potent topical steroid is applied to a large surface area or under an occlusive dressing, evaluate periodically for evidence of HPA axis suppression and (Pediaderm TA/Spray) for impairment of thermal homeostasis. Application of more potent steroids, use over large surface areas, prolonged use, and the addition of occlusive dressings may augment systemic absorption. Signs and symptoms of steroid withdrawal may occur (infrequent) requiring supplemental systemic corticosteroids. Pediatric patients may be more susceptible to systemic toxicity. Chronic corticosteroid therapy may interfere w/ the growth and development of children. D/C and institute appropriate therapy if irritation develops. Use appropriate antifungal or antibacterial agent in the presence of dermatological infections; if favorable response does not occur promptly, d/c until infection is controlled. (Cre/Lot/Oint) Withdraw treatment, reduce frequency of application, or substitute to a less potent steroid if HPA axis suppression is noted. (Pediaderm TA/Spray) Withdraw treatment, reduce frequency of application, substitute to a less potent steroid, or use a sequential approach if HPA axis suppression or elevation of body temperature occurs. (Pediaderm TA) Sensitivity reaction may develop to a particular occlusive dressing material or adhesive; a substitute material may be necessary. (Spray) Flammable; avoid heat, flame, or smoking during application.”
And that’s not the half of it. Listen to this: “Causes burning, itching, irritation, dryness, folliculitis, hypertrichosis, acneiform eruptions, hypopigmentation, perioral dermatitis, allergic contact dermatitis, maceration of the skin, secondary infection, skin atrophy, striae, miliaria.”
Plus, it fucks you up if you’re nursing.
CitSB: That all may be true, but it greatly speeds recovery and enhances performance on the bike, and you took it when you would have needed it most.
CitSB: And that’s how you won the Tour?
BIW: You got me word on it, mate. Scout’s honor.
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August 25, 2016 § 16 Comments
A buddy sent me the recent sad news about Robert Baatz (rhymes with “snots”) and Kimberly Ciolli, the two unfortunate Texas bicycle racers who were caught cheating. It appears that they used anabolic steroids around the time they were racing their bikes and, what’s worse, around the time that the USADA dope testers were wandering around with empty pee cups looking for someone to fill them up.
It’s really awful that a couple of sagbottom masters hackers are taking dangerous pills for little to no performance gain because they aren’t simply cheating their competition, they’re cheating themselves.
Mediocrity isn’t as simple as getting a nice race bike, joining a fancy club, and doping. Any poseur can do that. Flash-in-the-pan half-assedness is as common as your nearest Corvette dealer.
True mediocrity takes a lifetime to achieve and there are no short cuts. Sure, you can dope up and get 15th and people will recognize you as pack fodder. But is that real mediocrity? I say “No.”
Real mediocrity isn’t just shrunken testicles and male-pattern baldness, mediocrity is a lifestyle and it takes decades to perfect. In bike racing, it means getting shouted at, year in and year out, for sucking wheel in the break the entire race only to get last in the break.
Mediocrity means not simply borrowing money from everyone and never repaying it, but never putting in more than $5 for gas when your friend is driving his Sprinter van across the state. You may feel a twinge of ordinariness when that package of syringes arrives from Thorfinn-Sassquatch or from Joe Pappsmear, but the long game, the long buzz, the steady burn of not-really-worth-a-shit only comes from spending years, years I say, of forcing yourself to eat powdered drink mixes that contain kale and beets and still only manage to eke out 37th place.
Drugs are never a short cut to worthlessness. They get you the fame of being a cheating douchebag, or a douching cheatbag, but never with the consistency of having the most expensive stuff money can buy only to get dropped on the easy part of the group ride every single time. To be truly mediocre it takes years to develop the inherent suckiness that is you. It can’t be bought or imported or injected through a needle.
So do yourself a favor the next time you’re wrestling with the “Dope? Not dope?” quandary.
Think about what people will say when you get busted. Instead of saying, “That guy sucks. He is the worst bike racer ever. Why doesn’t he quit?” they will say, “That guy sucks. He is the worst bike racer ever. Why doesn’t he quit?”
The choice is yours. Do you want to earn mediocrity through the slow plodding of a lifetime riddled with failure and decay? Or do you want to achieve instant lameness through a couple of injections and your own clothing line? Will you be able to look at yourself in the mirror when, after getting busted, you get selected for the U.S. Olympic track squad? Will you?
Be inspired by the words of our most famous First Lady, who singlehandedly won the war on drugs with the slogan “Just Say No.”
Go on, say it. We’re listening.
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August 17, 2016 § 32 Comments
Do you watch the Olamepics? You should be ashamed.
Or ignorant. You should be willfully ignorant.
Or in pharma sales. You should be in pharma sales.
A relative asked me if I thought anyone in the Olympics was clean. “Sure,” I said. “The lifeguard probably is.”
I can’t even get out of bed without a cup of coffee that’s strong enough to jump-start a Boeing. And you’re telling me that some dude won 28 Olympic medals clean?
Fairy tales are nice, but when there’s a huge disclaimer on the front of the book that says, “THIS FAIRY TALE HAS NO BASIS IN REALITY” and you keep citing it as the linchpin for your scientific evidence that climate change is a hoax or that Noah really did build an ark with two of everything, including all of the antibiotic-resistant bacteria that hadn’t even evolved yet, I’m going to politely refer you to a psychiatrist.
In this case, the disclaimer was the admission that everyone in Russia doped, including the cleaning lady. If you were a Russian Olympian, you doped. And then, instead of booting out the whole rotten bunch, the IOC punted and let the federations decide because it would take too much courage to publicly admit what had already been publicly admitted. And we wonder why governments can’t ‘fess up to the use of chlorine gas in Syria against children? That icky old yucky truth.
The decision to let the cheaters in actually makes sense because why should we pick on the Russians when Team USA’s star track cycling Olympian tested positive less than a year ago? As punishment for his positive test he’s going to have to ride in the Olympics and maybe get a gold medal.
Or just gazing at the teenage U.S. gymnasts who have the muscular development of a 25-year-old man … that was all done pan y agua, for sure. Con esteroides.
Sports have transcended politics and become a race for human performance with no ethical or health obstacles in between. Whatever gets you to jump higher, or just gets you higher, is legit because all of the people who complain about doping are glued to their TVs transfixed by performances that are as real as pro wrestling.
Each one of those viewers is a tiny tick in a giant algorithm that says the beer and Visa ads are working. So watch away, but I’ll pass. I prefer to watch my drug cheats at the local masters crit. At least that way I can be sure that the dopers aren’t getting rich.
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July 19, 2016 § 38 Comments
One of my buddies who has been cycling for all of a year has been absolutely ripping legs off on the local group rides, especially anything with a bump in it. He is a friendly guy until the ride gets hard and then suddenly he’s not, ladling out huge, steaming helpings of pain until you slide off the back with your broken ego, having opened your suitcase of courage only to find that mom packed it with wrinkled, ill-fitting, polyester excuses.
So it came as a surprise when he got this message from Thorfinn-Sassquatch, recent winner of a lifetime achievement award from USADA. It appears that my buddy’s conquests on Strava, like his conquests against real people, have popped up on Nick Brandt-Soreasson’s fragile ego radar. To wit:
Perhaps Thorfinn wants to keep tabs on someone whose antics are sending him a barrage of “Uh-oh” emails, or perhaps he thinks he’s found a potential customer for some “supplements.” I hardly have the heart to tell Dopesquatch that he’s barking up the wrong tree.
This is the kind of thing that grabs your attention here in the South Bay, or maybe it’s the masters racer who for years was nothing spectacular and is now on practically every podium in practically every race he enters.
And then on the national stage there are the true asshats like Floyd Landis, a guy whose exploits include:
- Cheating to win the Tour
- Defrauding over 1,700 people with a fake legal defense fund
- Drug use that contributed to his father-in-law’s suicide
- Suing his fellow dopers for doping crimes
- Starting a “new lease on life” … as a dope seller
It all seems a bit surreal, knowing that the Tour is a dope-addled version of pro wrestling for skinny people, and it all seems strangely funny as old fellows pump their bodies with every manner of poison in order to score virtual trinkets and podium hardware that includes free beer, recovery drink mix, candy bars, and socks.
But then you realize what cycling’s dopers have always said is true: This is the bush leagues. Sure, cyclists dope. “Duh,” as they used to say twenty years ago.
But that ain’t nothing compared to Russia, who is on the verge of having all of its teams in all of its sports banned from the Dolympics. According to Canadian law prof Richard McLaren (no relation to the car):
Russia’s “Ministry of Sport directed, controlled and oversaw the manipulation of athlete’s analytical results or sample swapping, with the active participation and assistance of the FSB, CSP, and both Moscow and Sochi Laboratories.” The FSB is Russia’s federal security service while the CSP is involved in the training of Russian athletes.
In other words, some boring Canadian dude just concluded about Russia’s national sports program what the international diplomatic and journalist world has been saying for years: Putin is a criminal and Russia is a mafia.
Suddenly, sleazebag dope-peddling Floyd and sleazebag stretchy-underwear dope peddling Soreasson and sleazebag Local Masters Racer don’t look so bad. In fact, they look smaller than the average man-package outline as seen on the average bike racer podium. We’re talking super tiny.
Which raises a big question: If the Dolympics are going to start banning entire nations for doping, then what’s the point of the event? No world stage provides a bigger or glitzier showcase for cheating, fake performance, hypocrisy, bribery, and graft. I fear for the future of an event whose moral high points include its attempt to silence free speech regarding China’s occupation of Tibet prior to the Beijing Dolympics, as well as its acceptance of $4.4 million in soft “entertainment” bribes prior to selecting Nagano as the host city in 1998.
More to the point, are we going to take Russian superiority lying down? If the challenge of Sputnik got us to put a man on the moon, maybe it’s time that Russia’s state sponsored doping and “mind boggling levels of corruption” kicked us into high gear as well. What about a steering committee composed of Lance, Floyd, Soreasson, and Rich Meeker, a true Dream Team that can help us figure out what our nation needs to do so that we can level the cheating field?
I’ve even got a slogan in mind: “Making America Great Again” (merchandise made in China, of course). It would be a fantastic motto under which we can promote thievery, chicanery, duplicitous hypocrisy, and self aggrandizement at the expense of the peasants. Can someone check to see if that slogan is already taken?
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June 4, 2016 § 6 Comments
In Italy they are describing Vincenzo Nibali’s comeback and Giro d’Italia victory as one of the greatest comebacks in professional cycling. Cycling in the South Bay sat down with Nibs to get the skinny on this most incredible, amazing, unbelievable, hard-to-swallow, astonishing, fact-defying, physiologically impossible, doubtful, suspicious, believable if you’re a complete fool, impressive and astounding victory
CitSB: How’d you do it?
Nibs: It was a miracle, a holy gift from above.
CitSB: A week to go in the race and you had crumbled, your bid was in ruins after losing 37 seconds on the big Dolomite stage to Corvara, and then you collapsed quicker than a Trump quote run through Fact-Check, losing close to two minutes in the mountain time trial to Alpe di Siusi.
Nibs: It was the depth of defeat, I had lost everything, the Holy Father was up all night praying in the sadness.
CitSB: Then you pulled a wanker move of the highest order, losing a further 1:47 on the relatively easy mountain stage to Andalo, a stage that, frankly, my grandmother could have beaten you on.
Nibs: It was zero, nothing, niente, everyone was stepping on my testicles. To bed every night, crying like the baby with dry teat.
CitSB: You seemed close to throwing in the towel and quitting the race. What was going on?
Nibs: I had the problem with my forma, everyt’ing in destitution, length of crank, motivazione, but it was over for me.
CitSB: So what happened?
Nibs: My team manager Alexander Vinokourov told me to pray to the Baby Jesus and only do the pan y agua and he go to Kazakhstan on special overnight trip and come back with special vitamin drink made from root of lubbertink.
CitSB: Root of lubbertink?
Nibs: Special Kazakhstan magic herb to replenish precious bodily fluids.
Nibs: Comes in special Kazakh plastic bag with I.V. drip.
CitSB: I see. That “magic herb.”
Nibs: I know what you t’inking. I have the two giant stages in the Alps and am out of the gasoline. How Nibali he can win? Dat’s what you t’inking. Nibali he doping shit-ass. Dat’s what you t’inking. Nibali cheat-ass doping cheat-ass bici lying volcano-doping shit-ball, dat’s what you t’inking.
CitSB: Well, yes.
Nibs: Itsa root of lubbertink and Sicilian pride and instinct, and destiny child when Kruijswijk fall off his bici onto head, putting Dutchman in trouble and bandage. I believe in my resurrection and complete masterpiece by dropping Chaves on the Colle della Lombarda like smelly sack of turd off tall cliff.
CitSB: Physiologically it doesn’t add up. One week you can’t pedal, then in the hardest week of the race you grow wings.
Nibs: Itsa look funny but I gotta trust Vino. He know how to pull the pepper outta the sausage.
CitSB: Anything else?
Nibs: Pan y agua and Sicilian pride.
CitSB: And root of lubbertink.
Nibs: And root of lubbertink.
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April 26, 2016 § 57 Comments
One time I was whining to friend about using computer technology to compose music. “So bogus!” I declaimed.
“STFU,” he advised, being a composer. “If Mozart had had it, he would have used it. Musicians always use the best thing available. The piano was a revolutionary instrument and Mozart owned it.”
“Maybe,” I said, “but if he’d used a program to compose I can guarantee you one thing.”
“His music would have sucked.”
The first time I saw an ebike up close was a few years ago. Greg S-J had a new Specialized ebike that, with a tweak and a twist of Old No. 72, had been programmed to go 30 mph. “Great,” I had said. “Next we’ll have Smedley Sagbottom on the bike path doing 30 as he learns about things like the grippyness of sand in a screaming turn.”
As old and change-resistant and bitter and grumpy people are wont to do, I predicted the following:
- People will begin racing them.
- They will become ubiquitous.
- It will be the end of civilization.
Two out of three isn’t bad.
When I was in Germany last summer dragging my son uphill along the Rhine from Cologne to Koblenz, we passed hundreds of ebikes going the other direction. We never passed a single ebike going in the same direction.
The ebikes were all pedaled by old German people who were getting exercise or running errands or casually whipping by the world’s fittest and most delusional 52-year-old profamateur SoCal bike racer from New Jersey who grew up in Galveston and Houston. And that last part made them sooooo happy. The first hundred times a creaky-kneed Opa showed me a wrinkly pair of heels it made me grind my teeth so much that I lost most of my enamel. But actually I was just following the Five Stages of Grieving for Getting Owned by an Ebike.
- Murderous rage.
- Wild, uncontrollable fury.
So then back at home the ebike thing continued to grow, and continues. Some people complain because of e-doping, where pro cyclists put tiny motors in their bike to add a few watts when the going gets tough, cf. Fabian Cheatsalotta in the Tour of Flanders. Others complain because it ruins the purity of the sport, where results depend on training, diet, natural ability, computerized watt meters, a race director with a radio who can instruct you exactly how hard to pedal and for how long, and a doctor who can advise you how to beat the drug tests.
In fact, some people care so much about ebikes that they have left cush jobs in the cycling industry, as if any job is cush, and as if cycling is an industry instead of a mafia for dumb people.
But back at the Mozart Ranch, though, where you pretty much have to admit that people will grab whatever technology gives them a leg up on everyone else (Charles Darwin wrote a book about it once), the world is shrugging. Motors let fat sprunters climb with the goats, and they let skinny goats sprunt with the big boys. Just kidding. If you are a tiny climber you will never beat a sprunter, even if he’s on a Big Wheel and you’re on a Ducati. That’s because sprunters win mainly on balls not watts. However, I’ve heard that Specialized is coming out with a pair of eBallz that will take care of that problem, too, and also make a cool ornament for your trailer hitch.
No, the world doesn’t care that we’ve moved on from human power to e-power in bicycles. The slow will get really fast, the homebound will get out and take the lane, and the nature of racing will shift from drugs-radios-computers to drugs-radios-computers-and-motors. Ah, excuse me. IT ALREADY HAS.
And don’t cry on my shoulder. There is actually a world for people who like obsolete shit that performs badly and only looks good because it’s old–it’s called Penny Farthing Racing and Classic Car Collecting. Help yourself to some nostalgia, and don’t forget to wear a helmet.
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