The truth behind Chris Froome’s doping

December 16, 2017 § 2 Comments

Chris Froome tested positive for elevated levels of the drug Salbutamol, more than twice the amount allowed by the UCI. There has been a flurry of articles about it, so I won’t rehash them.

Most cycling fans have only the vaguest idea of what this is really all about, other than perhaps an understanding that it involves an asthma drug. After that, understanding drops off sharply. This confusion is not accidental. The use of Salbutamol by pro cyclists and Froome’s abuse of it have been carefully groomed to confuse the public and to allow athletes to gain incredible performance advantages by exploiting a simple doping loophole.

On a personal level, Froome’s doping is meaningless to me. All successful cyclists in the World Tour dope, in my opinion. The wattages recorded during the heyday of Armstrong’s EPO use have remained the same or increased, indicating that cyclists are as juiced as they ever were. Clean riders like Phil Gaimon have short, unexceptional World Tour careers. That’s how it is.

But on an intellectual level it’s disappointing that there is so much misdirection, and that it has successfully misled so many otherwise smart and informed people. This is my attempt to clear it up.

Let’s start with the basics. Pro road cycling is an endurance sport. This means that improved delivery of oxygen to the muscles makes you go faster. And although drugs like EPO and techniques like autologous blood transfusions are proven methods for getting more oxygen to your muscles, by far and away the cheapest, easiest, tried-and-true, bread-and-butter method is to lose weight without losing muscle.

In other words, most doping for endurance cyclists boils down to weight loss and retention of muscle or, ideally, weight loss and increasing musculature–but not too much. The “not too much” part is important. Cycling strength is measured in watts generated per kilogram of body weight, and there is a point of diminishing return with added muscle mass, where it increases your weight more than its concomitant ability to do the work you want it to, e.g. push you uphill. This is why stage racers are small, and one-day road racers at the pro level are, for the most part, not a whole lot larger.

To repeat, performance, and therefore doping, hinge mainly on weight loss without losing muscle. Leaving out doping methods like EPO, stimulants like speed, drugs that numb you to pain, and the huge variety of other cocktails that can alter your performance, two of the greatest workhorses of doping revolve around weight loss that doesn’t also strip away muscle, and repair of damaged tissue.

Let’s start with maintaining muscle mass. Cyclists tear down muscle when they ride, and they use anabolic steroids to quickly repair those damaged muscles after hard races or workouts. This maintains, and can even increase muscle mass because it allows the cyclist to do another hard effort thanks to the quick repair, when a non-doped competitor has to do an easy day or several easy days. Better yet, it lets the doper keep the gas on during a stage race when the clean rider is on the ropes trying to recover from the day before.

But cyclists also maintain muscle mass by using a class of drugs known as β-agonist receptors. These drugs allow you to lose weight without losing muscle mass. Salbutamol is one such drug, and it is the drug that Chris Froome tested positive for at twice the allowed limit.

This is where the misdirection kicks in, because Froome reminds us that he is an asthmatic (more about that later, I believe he most certainly isn’t), and Salbutamol is a treatment for asthma. As a treatment for asthma, Salbutamol doesn’t have any demonstrable performance enhancing effects. This is why the UCI allows anyone to use it without a TUE.

But if it’s so harmless, why is there a limit to how much you can ingest? Glad you asked. There’s a limit because Salbutamol, when injected or taken in a tablet form in sufficiently high doses, allows you to lose weight and not also lose muscle mass. This is crucial throughout a stage racer’s year of competition, including during competition. You might think that a stage racer is eating everything in sight trying to keep up with the caloric demands of the event, but you’d be wrong. Their diets are tightly calibrated to ensure that they have enough to replace what’s been used, and enough to get them through the next day’s stage. In fact, many stage racers will enter a grand tour one or two pounds overweight, and will count on the racing plus controlled use of β-agonist receptors to shred out the excess fat while keeping the muscle. Clenbuterol, just one such drug, is what brought down Alberto Contador in the 2010 Tour de France.

If you have any doubt at all that this is what Chris Froome has been doing, take a look first at this photo of his legs from 2013. Then compare it with 2017. In four short years he has put on a visible amount of muscle and lost weight. Not a lot of muscle, and not a lot of weight. Just a marginal gain … and not coincidentally one that has gone hand-in-glove with his very public announcement of a lifelong asthma condition that requires constant use of Salbutamol.

Again, to sum up:

  1. Road racers go faster when they lose weight and maintain muscle.
  2. Salbutamol in large doses lets you lose weight and maintain muscle, and is legal in small doses.
  3. Chris Froome has suddenly tested positive for a large dose of Salbutamol.
  4. Chris Froome claims he uses Salbutamol because he’s an asthmatic.

Did you catch that? No. 4 is entirely compatible with No. 2, it just sounds somehow like a denial that he was doping.

The misdirection is quite effective because it takes our eyes off the performance enhancing effects of Salbutamol when taken intravenously or orally, and focuses instead on its legitimate and non-performance-enhancing effect as an inhalant for asthmatics. And by the way, we’re reminded, Chris Froome has always been an asthmatic; suffered terribly all his life from it, in fact.

Before we pick up on the hard-to-swallow story about Froome’s asthma, though, let’s remember that large doses of Salbutamol help you lose weight and keep muscle and therefore go faster. And Chris was very lean and very muscly and very fast on the day he tested positive. In old Perry Mason shows that would have been called a “smoking gun.”

However, we’re asked to ignore the smoking gun and look in a different place, the world of asthma, where Salbutamol has no performance enhancing effects because it is inhaled. We are asked to forget that Chris Froome is an endurance athlete, that endurance athletes go faster with weight loss and retained muscle, and that Salbutamol is very effective at doing just that. It’s as if we found the smoking gun in the defendant’s hand and were asked to consider not that he had murdered someone with it, but that he was a lifelong collector of guns, and we’re not allowed to point out that the truth of the latter statement doesn’t in any way negate the truth of the former.

In other words, the fact that Salbutamol as an inhalant can alleviate asthma does not controvert the fact that it also enhances weight loss and muscle retention in large doses when injected or taken orally. In fact, it does both, and the fact that Chris Froome’s Salbutamol level was double the allowed amount should prove to any reasonable person that he was injecting it or taking it orally in order to benefit from its performance-enhancing qualities of weight loss and muscle retention.

Yet we’re asked not to be reasonable, but to be stupid, so let’s play along and assume that the issue really is whether or not Chris Froome is an asthmatic. Is he?

In his public statement regarding the positive test for excessive Salbutamol, Froome said, “It is well known that I have asthma and I know exactly what the rules are. I use an inhaler to manage my symptoms (always within the permissible limits) and I know for sure that I will be tested every day I wear the race leader’s jersey.”

What is well known is that he has claimed to have asthma only recently, and has only recently claimed to have been an acute sufferer since childhood. The principal reason to disbelieve Froome’s self-serving medical diagnosis is that his lifelong condition was a closely kept secret until 2014, when Froome very publicly took a puff from an inhaler in front of the podium at the Dauphine. Froome used the ensuing media scrutiny to explain that he was a lifelong sufferer of asthma and that Salbutamol was legal, after which Team Sky dutifully confirmed that he had been using an inhaler since he was a teenager. One wonders how David Brailsford knew about Chris’s childhood in Kenya.

Yet there’s not a single mention of this terrible affliction, one which would have had incredible implications for an aspiring cyclist, in his autobiography, whereas he has made a lot of media hay over his infection with the parasitic disease bilharzia, which he claims hampered his progress for years. Prior to that Froome was never seen using the inhaler he now takes with him everywhere he goes. Is it plausible that he would be a severe, lifelong asthmatic fighting for a career in the pro ranks and that it would be a secret?

Three years ago, writer Felix Lowe completely skewered Froome’s late discovery of asthma, pointing out that Froome never mentioned asthma in his book, though he “talks ad nauseam about his propensity to pick up a cold; but not once did he think of mentioning that these colds could come down to asthma – something that would arguably make it even more of ‘a journey unlike any other in the history of cycling’ that the back-page spiel [of Froome’s book] claims his to be.”

Lowe also points out that after a full year of being embedded with Team Sky, muckraking cycling journalist David Walsh never mentioned, discovered, or noticed Froome’s asthma. Keep in mind that Walsh is one of the protagonists who brought down Armstrong for doping.

So what does this all mean? In short, it means that in 2014 Froome and Team Sky hit upon a very clever way to take the Salbutamol doping issue off the table: Do it publicly, then defend it to the hilt as a legal, non-banned, crucial inhalant for a very sick athlete. This forced the skeptics to train their guns on Salbutamol’s performance enhancing effects as an inhalant (there are none), and dragged everyone into the “Is Chris an asthmatic?” debate, while artfully sidestepping the only issue that matters: Salbutamol is easily obtained, legal, easily abused, has a very short half life so is hard to detect, is defensible when you’re busted for it, and helps you lose weight and retain muscle mass and win grand tours.

Case closed.

END

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TUE for Tuesday

December 15, 2017 Comments Off on TUE for Tuesday

I read the sad news about Chrissy Frump’s adverse analytical finding which wasn’t a positive or a failed drug test and didn’t involve him breaking any rules but was more of a misunderstanding that requires further clarification to determine the complex, myriad factors that led to a non-doping violation positive potentially resulting in the loss of a grand tour title because of its non-dopingness.

Chrissy and Team Mystery Package will get to the bottom of it and have retained O.J. to help them find the killers, with Bone-Idle Wiggins on retainer in case there is a witch hunt.

In the meantime I did a lot of research about asthma and pro cyclists, which is another way of saying I typed in “cyclists asthma” and read the first three propaganda pieces churned out by Cycling News, which quickly interviewed a pro cyclist team doc (we’ll get the straight dope from him!) who explained that every pro cyclist is or should be an asthmatic and that the banned drugs wouldn’t help anyone perform anyway, certainly not by improving their breathing in an aerobic sport like … stage racing.

Anyway, after reading about how horrible cycling is for the lungs and that it is a gateway to asthma, I reflected on the past weekend’s upgrade race at our local parking lot crit, CBR. And now that I think about it, there were asthmatics everywhere. I don’t think you would see more pulmonary disease on an emphysema ward or in a West Virginia coal mine.

My own race, a Cat 2/3 upgrade event where people with nowhere to go in the sport of cycling beyond Suck Land pay money to get beaten again as they seek points rarer than the hammer that made the Ark of the Covenant, I realized that my inability to upgrade was a result of my lifelong asthma.

Unlike a lot of asthmas-come-lately, I had asthma from as early as junior high school. I remember wheezing and gasping horribly every time Mrs. Morcom handed out the Friday algebra test, and no amount of second-hand marijuana smoke inhaled in the bathrooms seemed to cure it. My asthma was crippling and led to an “F” which I had to make up in summer school in order graduate, which in turn led to even more asthmatic suffering that even more second-hand pot smoke (force inhaled) failed to cure.

It wasn’t until I began Serious Cycling at age eighteen that my asthma went away, but it was subcutaneous asthma, where it worked its invidious clogging of my lungs invisibly. To outsiders I appeared fit and quick and successful in a few shabby races and able to ride hundreds of miles a week, but inside I was a ruined asthmatic mess. Sometimes my asthma was so bad that when we hit a steep hill the only way I could get away from the pulmonary pain was by pedaling faster for an hour or two.

Anyway, as an older competitor it is clear that my asthma has prevented me from winning more races. Just the other day when Dave Holland was beating me in a time trial, I was on the verge of beating him but for the seven or eight asthmatic breaths that took almost a minute out of my finishing time. And in the hill climb, when everyone rode away from me, I would have beaten them had it not been for my asthma.

This played out again on Sunday at the upgrade race, where I was on the verge of winning except for my subcutaneous asthma. My only consolation is that everyone else in the race had asthma too, or if they didn’t, they would one day. In the meantime I’ll just send off my TUE for salbutamol with a sprinkle of EPO, HGH, and some Kayle Sauce, and keep my fingers crossed.

END

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Droopy McDongle

December 12, 2017 Comments Off on Droopy McDongle

I think I am on record stating that bike racing is dumb and its practitioners somewhat dumber. I think I am on record that “world championship” masters bike racing on the track is especially dumb. You are 70. You beat one other person. You are not a world anything. You are a dude with a big belly who spends $700/month on an ex-Olympian coach and thousands more on the highest tech equipment available so you can ride faster (for a 70-year-old) for two kilometers than one other ancient fellow.

However, Sir Beater of One Other Person on Earth non-World Champion, you are only marginally more pathetic than the rest of us who race bikes. Why is this? Because there is no ridiculousness of which you’re guilty that the rest of us aren’t, too. You just can’t split hairs in a sport where people shave their legs.

And although it will be a long-away day before I recognize anything about the global significance of your accomplishments, I am more than willing — today — to respect your effort. And I respect every person who takes the time and effort to compete fairly. Competition is draining and requires preparation and intelligence, and much more of all those things if you are to be any good at it.

Sure, I think your faux world championship old fellow I-beat-one-other-dude-on-earth championship jersey is silly, but I have high regard for your effort. And that’s what bugs me about doping at the amateur level. And it’s what really bugs me about newly minted asshole Clayton Shepard, who won a couple of medals at masters worlds in LA a few months ago and then won a sanction from the UCI for being a provisional doper. It seems that Dr. Shepard (he’s a dentist) got a bit carried away and tested positive for GW501516, also known as GW-501, GW516, GW1516, GSK-516 and on the black market as Endurobol. It was invented in the 1990s and was abandoned because it caused cancer to develop rapidly in virtually all organs.

Not that rapidly developing cancer is important when you compare it to a fake world championship race for hobby bicyclist senior citizen dentists.

Anyway, here is how the race unfolded when Dr. Shepard came to race on the track at L.A. and went back to Minnesota crowned Champion of the Entire World of Men of a Certain Age Riding Bicyles, Namely 60-64 Except for Those Who are 59 but Turn 60 in 2017.

https://youtu.be/8KjDvOjghds?t=4h58m56s

That is the link to the 60-64 worlds scratch race. The race is 30 laps, 7.5km. It starts at 4:58:56. One lap to get up to speed and then it’s game on. The perp, Clayton Shepard, is number 389. Mike Hines, a friend of mine and multiple champion, is 371.

Here is Shepard going from the gun and dragging a guy with him. Shepard pulls through too hard and gaps the guy out, who is aero AF to try to get back onto the wheel of this quickly moving cement wall. Shepard is casually looking across the track while pulling solo and checks to see how far he has to go to get around. Because when you are riding that fast on a velodrome you always want to gaze around. Maybe you might know one of the three people in the stands!

shepard

Here is Shepard after getting his lap and then riding straight through the field, at 30 mph, and going solo again, because why not? 30 mph is not that fast for a car.

shepard2

And here is a nice view of him and his pot belly in his ultra-non-aero Sherman Tank position, riding solo as he boringly clocks out 31 mph laps. Trackies will tell you, as will all racers, that when you are riding solo and being chased by an entire field, an aerodynamic position doesn’t matter at all, and in fact, the bigger around you are the better the wind flow. Totally natural and normal. Move along, there’s nothing to see here.

shepard3

Eventually Hines jumps across and catches Shepard as he is taking his second lap on the field. Unfortunately there is a crash at about ten laps to go, 5:04:00. Then they do a re-start for the last ten laps, and we have a break of four dudes, including Hines, who is the 2017 US national champion in the 2K IP, and who raced with distinction as a senior amateur (2nd at U.S. Crit Nationals), and has done hundreds of races in his successful career. Oh, he’s also a genetically gifted aerobic and anaerobic beast. Notably, Doc began racing in 2012 and has done less than 40 road races his entire life. Totally normal that he would go from pack finisher in Minnesota to ass-kicker in SoCal against tried and true racers.

They restart at 5:24:00 and give the four dudes in the break their gap, and so of course(!) Shepard goes straight to the front and drags the group around like some pro dog walker hauling around a bunch of scared puppies to take his second lap on the field and their first.Of course it still looks like he’s out on a coffee ride, a mere 31 mph, while all the rest are bleeding out of their ears and crouched down like beetles in a hurricane trying to hang onto the juggernaut from Minnetonka.

shepard4

Doc Shep hasn’t quite mastered the art of faking a little bit of pain and effort to make it look less ridiculous (Cat 5 Provisionally Suspended Doper), though, because his breakmates are getting gapped with his beastly pulls, sitting up straight. Think that’s normal or natural or easy? Try it sometime! Hines is on the back, trying to stuff his organs back into his mouth.

shephard5

Now they lap the field and Doc of course rides through the group again because there’s no one else in this race but him. Hines throws down hard and comes around Shepard with three to go, which is kind of a not an ideal move as his break companions get a free ride to the sprint. Hines leads out the last three laps; maybe he’s seen the writing on the syringe?

shepard7

In the last lap Shepard puts away the coffee cup and powers past Hines, ho-hum, with a rider from Guyana passing Hines for second.

shepard8

So who is this douchebag? Well, from his FB site, here he is fishing. I think I remember that training manual in Chris Carmichael’s early days, before he was sued for doping young athletes, “Bike Racing Conditioning through Pro Bass Shops.” Was this photo before he got on a program? Because now his legs are a block of muscle and mass, and as everyone knows, we gain muscle mass as we age due to greater levels of testosterone in our system and a more active endocrine system.

shepard9

See? All you have to do is go fishing, yank a few teeth, and get a little older. You will get those legs, too!

shepard10

And the obligatory FB page grab, https://www.facebook.com/clayton.shepard.7, doubtlessly edited by now as he demands a B sample and tries to explain how he’s a victim and blah blah blah low T tainted meat etc.

shepard11

So far, there’s really nothing to this story. Doc Shepard appears to be a cheater. He appears to have cheated with drugs. And he appears to have been punished, at least provisionally. And of course I still appear not to care …

But I do. And what I care about are not the silly jerseys and the cheap medals (I tape my winning numbers to my front door, yo, both of them), but the disrespect. I’ve seen Mike Hines train and I’ve raced against him. He is very good. He works very hard. He takes no shortcuts. He has overcome horrendous injuries. He has won races in virtually every discipline in virtually every age category.

And some of this could be said about virtually anyone who’s pinned on a number for more than a couple of seasons. Maybe racing doesn’t make you a pro, but it makes you a whole lot more skilled on the bike than the rest of the people out there riding. And in my opinion, it’s the effort and commitment that deserves respect, regardless of what you think about the particular event and regardless of how you finish. No win is easy. No win is a gift. No win comes without going deep, either mentally or physically, and usually both. For a lot of people, just getting to the line is an odyssey.

Respect is important. It’s through riding and racing with people that you come to appreciate them. It’s through shared endeavors that you can put aside your differences long enough to agree on the rules and follow them; this is what breeds respect, and it’s why people who respect each other work so damned hard not to offend. It’s why respectful societies are less violent ones, more equitable ones. It’s why we agree to abide by the results.

Doc Douchebag takes the admitted absurdity of racing in your underwear, and through it he tarnishes the good character and earnest efforts of truly decent people. He takes the position of Vince Lombardi–that winning is the only thing, as big a lie as was ever told.

My hat’s off to every racer who competed, my hat’s off to every racer who won a heat or an event or a jersey, my hat’s off to people who cared enough about our silly sport to do it right, fairly, and with respect.

And my hat is especially off to the drug testers. Another one bites the dust.

END

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Low Fidelity Podcast No. 5: Lance’s date with destiny

October 7, 2017 § 8 Comments

My fifth podcast …

Bleak House. Jarndyce v. Jarndyce. The lawsuit that never ends …

https://southbaycycling.podbean.com/e/low-fidelity-podcast-5-lance-armstrongs-date-with-destiny/

That’s what Landis v. Tailwind Sports is like, an epic mountain of paper, hearings, and court filings that is now a veritable Mt. Everest. Filed in 2010, the case has finally reached maturity. Scheduled for trial in November, Armstrong made a last-ditch plea to the court to kick the can down the road until spring of 2018, which will possibly give cycling’s perennial bad boy a chance to settle.

Make no mistake, delay is the friend of the defense, and Lance has spent an estimated $15 million defending this assault on his personal fortune, which remains considerable.

How will it all shake out?

Tune in!

END

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PS: Don’t forget the Wanky’s. As if you could. And I may have forgotten to mention that there is free food and beer for the first 350 guests, so get there early.

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French Cat 3 dude wins asterisk

October 2, 2017 § 15 Comments

When I put on my headphones yesterday to listen to the news while I was frying up a pan of green coffee beans, I got a surprise: “Blah blah blah,” the announcer said in French, “cycliste blah blah blah” he continued, my ears perking up at hearing one of the only six works I know in that language. Then I got really excited when he said the other five, “velo équipé d’un moteur.”

I tried to pay attention to the rest of the blah blah blah but it didn’t work. The beans were starting to smoke, my grandson had landed and was scuttling the ship, and it was hard to concentrate and stir and block him from pulling out the carving knife from the drawer and jabbing it into my thigh.

Fortunately, a friend sent me a link to the TV interview, which allowed me to listen to it slowly and carefully, and after seven hours of review and Google translate I was able to pick up a couple more key words: “Cat 3.” Basically, a Cat 3 wanker (redundant) got popped for using a moteur electrique in a local bike race. And it made the national news. And the news guy asked, all in earnest, “If some wanker is moteur doping to win a local Fred fest, one must ask the question whether or not moteur doping is also occurring at higher levels du sport?”

To which I can confidently reply, “Non, non.”

The person accused of moteur doping, Henri Percival-Escargot d’Chatenay, was immediately available for a telephone interview with CitSB. I reached him at his chateau in Dordogne, a hellish little dump on the outskirts of Bordeaux known for some of the finest wine and cuisine on earth.

CitSB: So, did you really moteur dopage?

HP-EdC: Non, non, mais bien sur, non.

CitSB: So what was the deal with the moteur electronique in votre Cervelo?

HP-EdC: Eet was mistaken consumption.

CitSB: Beg pardon?

HP-EdC: Eet was mistaken consumption. I drink by mistake, pas d’idee que zere was moteur electrique in my water bottle.

CitSB: No, no, you didn’t drink the moteur electrique. They found it underneath your boteille d’eau.

HP-EdC: Ah, oui, oui, le bidon, En francais on dit “bidon.” Masculin avec “le.” But someone puts le moteur electrique zere and I don’t know it, comme avec le tainted beef de Alberto Contador, vous savez?

CitSB: So you’re saying someone stuck it there on le Cervelo beneath le bidon and you had no idea you were doing the ol’ dopage mechanique?

HP-EdC: Oui, oui, comme ca. Et aussi I was, comme dit-on, un vanishing twin, exactement comme Tyler Hamilton.

CitSB: What?

HP-EdC: C’est tres rare, mais j’avais un vanishing twin and zeez ees pourquoi they have found le moteur. C’est definitivement le moteur de mon vanishing twin. N’est-ce pas mine. Imposible et sacre bleu et etcetera.

CitSB: Okay, so it was your vanishing twin’s motor, not yours. That seems un peu incroyable, as they say in France.

HP-EdC: And I must tell you, I have passe les testing dopage 500 fois. Neffer positive, vous comprenez? 500 foix ils ont pris mon pee-pee, et neffer, neffer un positive. Je deteste telle tricherie. Je suis un sporstman très, très honnête.

CitSB: I’m not sure what the passed testing dopage has to do with anything. This a moteur electrique we’re talking about, Henri.

HP-EdC: Et je vous dirai anozzer sing. I would neffer do ze dopage electronique par ce’que on ne sais pas que serais les effets a mon santé. In fife ou six years, peut-etre le cancer, n’est-ce pas? Ou, how you say en englais? Le acne.

CitSB: I haven’t ever heard of motorized doping causing cancer or acne. That’s a stretch.

HP-EdC: Anyways, je n’ai aucune motif pour cette tricherie. Je suis tres fort. Je fait le training tous les jours. Vous voulez savoir what I am on? Je suis on my velo, zat is what I am on.

CitSB: We know that you were on the velo, the problem is that there was also a moteur electrique on the velo. So you + velo + moteur electrique equals cheating masters d-bag.

[Noise in background.]

CitSB: You okay?

HP-EdC: Oui, oui, deux visitors ont arrivée. I must go now. Merci pour le entrevue.

CitSB: Hey, what’s that clicking sound? Is someone cuffing you, Henri? Henri?

HP-EdC: Adieu.

END

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PS: Don’t forget the Wanky’s. As if you could. And I may have forgotten to mention that there is free food and beer for the first 300 guests, so get there early.

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End of an error

September 14, 2017 § 40 Comments

The era of organized bike racing is gone and it isn’t coming back. It has been replaced wholesale by Strava, grand fondues, club racing, and fun rides.

In unrelated news, the Kayle LeoGrande doping story got picked up by a news web site that focuses exclusively on Olympic sports. Kayle’s story is now running next to an article on the 2018 and 2024 Olympic host cities and a story about corruption at the very highest level of sport.

How the mighty have risen.

A friend sent me this incredibly sad post, which appears to come from Kayle’s Facebag page.

kaylefb

I think it’s sad because, if you read the story and the interview, you can see that Kayle is denying that he doped to improve his performance, something that the test results and his past behavior conclusively prove. A friend of mine who is a mental health expert and former bike racer identifies Kayle not as someone who should be pilloried, but someone who needs help and should be pitied. Perhaps he’s right. It’s very hard to read this without wincing.

In other, completely, totally, absolutely unrelated news, the last USAC crit of the year in Southern California, America’s hottest hotbed of crit racing, wrapped up last weekend. The men’s Pro 1/2/3 field had seven riders.

END

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7 reasons I love Kayle LeoGrande

August 30, 2017 § 30 Comments

When USADA issued the official death certificate for the profamateur racing career of Kayle LeoGrande, it listed the seven banned substances found in his pee-pee. They were: Raloxifene, ostarine, ibutamoren, GW1516 sulfone, RAD140, LGD4033, and andarine.

The news came down about the same time I was lying in bed wondering how I would ever win my first Telo World Fake Profamateur Training Crit Championship. I had a host of fourths, a couple of thirds, but victory proved elusive, even with Frexit out of the picture.

It was 3:00 AM. The phone rang. “Hello?”

“Hello,” said a heavily accented voice, which I instantly recognized as Stanley O’Grande, the infamous doping Chihuahua. “You wanna win the Telo?” he said.

“Yeah,” I admitted quietly. “I do.”

“It’s gonna cost you.”

“I’ll pay anything.”

“You test positive I don’t know you, okay?”

“Anything.”

“All right,” he growled. “Get ready for the dark side.”

An hour later I was in a dark alley behind the PVE faux estate of palm frond manager Robert Lewis McButtchaps, Jr. It was silent except for the babysitting service which had come over to McButtchaps’s home to burp him and change his didy. I spied Stanley O’Grande next to a bush.

“You got the stuff?” I asked.

“Here,” he said gruffly, thrusting out his paw. I took the large plastic sack, tucked it under my arm and dashed away.

The next day was Telo. Before rolling up to the start I opened the plastic bag. Inside was the miracle tunic! One of Kayle LeoGrande’s old jerseys! I quickly shucked off my Team Lizard Collectors kit and squirmed into Kayle’s jersey, which was strangely damp.

At the bottom of the sack was a note, written by Stan: “This is the only miracle tunic left from the batch we custom fitted Kayle with. Straight from Shanghai. Zip that baby up and let the ointments in the fabric do their thing. Chapeau. Or sombrero, as we Chihuahuans say.”

As the form fitting garment clung to my skin I could feel the magical elixirs begin to soak in. In seconds I went from meek, compliant, fearful Wanky McWankster to Kayle Jr., a/k/a Cabbage. As the chemicals from the soaked jersey coursed through my veins, I knew it was indeed my day to win Telo.

Destroyer sidled up to me. “We’re on the same team now,” he said. “Me and Smasher will get you the win today. With that tunic, everything is possible.”

“Even for me? I thought you can’t turn a donkey into a racehorse, even with drugs.”

“A donkey, no. But a Wanky? Maybe!”

The race was off. Destroyer, Buckwheat, and G3 rolled and opened a massive gap. I sat easily on Smasher’s wheel, knowing that my new teammate would do anything to help me win. Eventually the break disappeared, but I never worried. Why?

Because the 1st reason to love Kayle was taking effect, i.e. Mr. Raloxifene. It immediately began selectively blocking estrogen uptake receptors, resulting in immediate flows of extra testosterone that would have otherwise been converted to estrogen. My legs were pistons of steel.

Once the break was reeled in, a series of counter-attacks took place. In kicked Reason to Love Kayle #2, Mr. Ostarine. I easily went with the counter as my ostarine, which research has shown to have fewer androgenic properties, exerted less influence on the development and balance of my male hormones, including testosterone. While  not yet approved for human use, ostarine did away with the negative side effects of steroids and effectively helped me avoid muscle wasting diseases such as osteoporosis, cancer, and hypogonadism. The peloton had greatly thinned. Thanks, Mr. Ostarine!

Now we were halfway through the race and there were a flurry of unsuccessful attacks. It was my time to launch, and thankfully I had Mr. Ibutamorin at my disposal. Reason #3!!! This non-peptidic, potent, long-acting, orally-active, and selective agonist of the ghrelin receptor and a growth hormone secretagogue, mimicked the growth hormone (GH)-stimulating action of the endogenous hormone ghrelin. By sustaining activation of GH-IGF-1 Axis and increase in lean body mass but no change in total fat mass or visceral fat, it allowed me to attack so hard that none could follow.

Soon I was brought back and would have been decimated were it not for Reason to Love Kayle #4, GW1516 sulfone, or Endurabol. This PPARδ receptor agonist, although abandoned in 2007 because animal testing showed that the drug caused cancer in several organs, brought my dead legs back to life much as the 2007 research showing that high doses of GW501516 given to mice dramatically improved their physical performance. Endurabol might cause cancer in lab rats, but Kayle and I were no lab rats, we were sewer rats, and I hung tough.

Catching my breath I attacked and bridged up to Hector Morales thanks to Reasons to Love Kayle Nos. 4-6, i.e., RAD140, LGD4033, and andarine. These three SARMs kept my testosterone hugely massive, better than Obama’s, and the break stuck for twenty minutes. Unfortunately, the race had twenty-one minutes left.

Buckwheat, Smasher, Destroyer, Rudy, and others hunted us down despite my best doped efforts, but proving that drugs are stronger than pan y agua, I miraculously outsprinted everyone but Buckwheat for second place with the help of a massive leadout by Destroyer.

Was it worth it? How did I feel about cheating my friends? What about my incipient ovarian cancer? Would I feel like an idiot when USADA put me on its Most Wanted list?And most importantly, could I keep the miracle tunic?

I don’t know the answers to those things. But I know I’ve learned to love Kayle.

END

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PS: Don’t forget the Wanky’s. As if you could.

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