#winners

July 9, 2017 § 10 Comments

kayle_lance

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It takes work, dude

July 6, 2017 § 25 Comments

That’s what I want to tell Lance Armstrong after listening to his podcast covering Stage 3 of the Turdy France.

Several people told me I should “check it out” because “it was really insightful” and they admonished me “to listen with an open mind.”

Obviously, these were people who didn’t know me at all. The day I listen to anything with an open mind it will be due to a gunshot wound to the head.

That said, I did tune in and I was impressed. Impressed with what an impossibly lazy person Lance Armstrong is. Here is a guy with nothing to do. No job. No cancer to cure. No bike to race. Not even any poopy diapers left to change. At least he could put some effort into the podcast because, you know, if there’s one guy who knows how to race and win a Turdy France, IT’S LANCE FUGGIN’ ARMSTRONG.

Hello, ex-seven times consecutive Tour champion!! This is your turf!!

Here’s what I expected: A beginning-to-end breakdown of how the race unfolded, why it was significant (or not), in-depth looks at the protagonists and wankers alike, detailed analysis of the course, and detailed analysis of what was going on and why.

Why did I expect that? Because Lance knows this stuff. He is a bike racing computer. I don’t care about his drugscapades in that regard, he still had to know how to race and he had to understand what to do when. He was a savvy, smart guy on the bike.

But no. What Lance delivered was fluff, puff, and one particularly awful piece of near-slanderous misinformation. The fluff was about “why the yellow jersey was yellow.” Yawning, stream-of-unconsciousness observations about Tour history and stuff. Yo, Lance! We already have one babbling idiot in the commentator’s seat, and his name is Phil Liggett. You will never be as stupid or boring as Phil, so please quit trying.

The near-slander was egregious. At one point he talked about “trading favors” and insinuated that, for example, Team Sky gets on the horn and advises another team that it will “let” them win the stage, with the implication being that a favor will be returned later down the road … you know, “politics,” wink wink nudge nudge, otherwise known as collusion and sporting fraud.

Somewhat astounded, the other guy in the trailer pressed Lance for the physical mechanics of how that works. Phone call? Face to face? And Lance backpedaled like crazy. Doesn’t really know anymore, isn’t in the mix these days, can’t say, etc. etc. And then he finished off this rather explosive allegation by saying that it probably doesn’t really even happen much anymore.

Jeez, what a load of crap. Of course racers remember the outcome of one day, or who did what in a prior break, and of course they sometimes use it to trade horses during a subsequent race if and when advantageous. But the idea that Brailsford is on the phone with Madiot saying, “Okay, today you get the win, but in the mountains you owe me the GC,” is absurd. Even Lance recognized how dumb his premise sounded because he maladroitly transitioned into the history of the yellow jersey, thank you Wikipedia.

Armstrong could be a fantastic commentator. He knows a bunch. He’s done a bunch. He sees things we don’t. He has a very good commentating voice. He understands dynamics that are not immediately apparent.

But he doesn’t have a crystal ball, and in order to commentate he would have to do what first-class commentators like Craig Hummer do: Watch, re-watch, re-watch, and re-watch again. He would have to study, analyze, compare, interview, and bust his ass — all in a very short time frame because he’s doing same-day coverage. Instead of doing those things, which require hard work, dedication to a craft, and tons of practice, he picked up a mic and blabbered for forty minutes because hey, he’s Lance. Compare his shoddy, make-it-up-as-he-goes along podcast with Sean Kelly or Perico, and you’ll understand my rating for this horribly lazy fellow:

Ten thumbs down.

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#sorrynotsorry

June 10, 2017 § 42 Comments

kayle_nonapologyssc_nonapology

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He seemed like a nice doper at the time

June 9, 2017 § 97 Comments

I wish I didn’t care about all the doping in SoCal masters racing, but I do. With regard to races that I actually enter, I can put it out of my mind thanks to the advice of a fellow leaky prostate masters profamateur, who wisely said this: “If you can’t race your bike without wondering who’s on drugs, this isn’t the sport for you.”

The team of Kayle LeoGrande, the guy whose doping shenanigans arguably opened the door for the fall of the House of Lance by going after immortal badass Suzanne Sonye, Kayle LeoGrande, the freakshop who “won” a national crit title from Steve Tilford in 2012 and later zoomed to a masters crit title amid shouts of “Boo!” and “Doper!”, announced yesterday that Kayle was leaving the team due to [insert surprisey-face emoticon] a USADA doping test result.

Screenshot (5)

Kayle got busted again? Hard to say for sure because shortly after their Facebag page blew up, the team deleted all the comments and even the team page. A quick check of USADA’s sanctions page shows no positive test results for the esteemed Mr. LeoGrande. Hopefully it was all just a mistake and he’s been reinstated with his national champion’s clothing, pro bike & wheels, and his customary cheering section.

But if it’s true, well, too bad, so sad.

When Kayle joined up with Team Surf City Cyclery there was a lot of outcry, but not from me, as the team voted to “give him a second chance” and added him to the roster. I thought then and still do that after you’ve served your time you should be allowed to race. That’s what the rules provide for, and masters doping isn’t first degree murder. Whether I’d want this unrepentant cheater on my team is another story. But if those guys on Team Surf City wanted to throw in their lot with a doper thug, that was on them. Now every single rider in that outfit gets to explain how they’re clean and it was only Kayle and no one had any idea and blah, blah, blah. As my grandpa used to say, if you lie down with pigs you’re going to smell like shit.

My problem is that I really do want to support bike racing and see it thrive, but at the same time I’m repulsed by the cheats. Whether it’s Thorfinn Sassquatch or Richard Meeker or now Kayle LeoGrande, these clowns make it such an uphill battle. Ironically, they don’t make it difficult for me; I’ve known about doping in the amateur ranks since I was offered my first syringe in 1986. But they make it so hard for me to recommend the sport, to encourage others to participate in it, and to back it financially.

And can anyone really be surprised that there is doping among — gasp — SoCal masters racers? After all, Kayle wasn’t simply busted for doping back in 2008. The arbitration panel’s careful legal language suggested that they found him to be a thoroughly unconvincing, pathetic liar. Check out these choice bits from the ruling in 2008:

  • He [Leogrande] misrepresented his use of an inhaler by initially calling it a puffer. When realizing the inconsistency with the doping control forms, he then went on to claim he had no idea of the contents of the inhaler, but trusted the doctor who had prescribed it.
  • Respondent [Leogrande] had numerous communications with Joe Papp during the one year period from July 2006 to July 2007. Respondent testified that Papp stored EPO at his home, thus it is very certain that he was in a position to have knowledge of EPO and the ability to obtain it. This close relationship with Papp, combined with the UPS note card, which does appear to be a receipt for E. (EPO) and G. (Human Growth Hormone) addressed to “Joe”, and which was signed by “Kayle”, which Leogrande denies was his signature, calls his credibility into question. For Respondent to disavow any knowledge of this card is unconvincing. The signature, in addition to being that of his unusual first name, looks to this Panel, to include the same script features as Respondent’s distinctive signature on the doping control forms.
  • Respondent’s [Leogrande’s] lack of denial or outrage when he spoke to Andreu, under either Respondent’s or Andreu’s version of the telephone call, is persuasive of his having used the Prohibited Substances (EPO, albuterol and testosterone) he was being punished for/accused of taking in that conversation.
  • Respondent [Leogrande] did not recall important events and conversations when it would have been very helpful for him to do so. Thus, he had no credible explanation for the conversations recalled clearly by Sonye and Andreu.

Whatever you pretend to be, don’t pretend to be surprised that a lying doper who was busted in 2008 might have returned to the sport and continued to lie and dope, and don’t be surprised as you read through the 2008 decision that the same ill thought processes might still be alive and well in the mind of this truly disturbed dude. This is a guy who lied, cheated, admitted to using banned drugs, and then had the nerve to sue for defamation the very person to whom he’d made the confession.

This isn’t some poor slob who was choking down tainted meat, or some up-and-coming kid who chose the needle over an unemployment line, it was a deliberate, calculating, corrupt liar whose first line of defense was to wreck the lives of those who dared tell the truth. On the bright side, it’s awesome to note in the arbitration decision against Kayle in 2008, that in Paragraph 65 it says that despite the fact that Suzanne Sonye had everything to lose by going against this doping doper who dopes, nevertheless she persisted.”

Hahahahahaha! Warren & Sonye in ’20!

And of course those who doubted that it was a new, improved, Kleen Kayle needed to look no farther than the famous Visalia punch-em-up, where Kayle exhibited violent behavior that looked less like a mature man and more like someone mentally overcooked on the fumes of ‘roid rage. With an apology and a bit of contrition his team let bygones be bygones. “Let Kayle be Kayle” they said, or some other such flibberflabber which everyone else interpreted as teamspeak for “STFU, dude wins races so IDGAF.”

But anyway, here’s what I know about watching Kayle race as a “reformed” ex-doper masters racer who was “given a second chance”: He was really good and one of the fastest in a crit but he wasn’t all that great. Because so many people dope now, there aren’t enough drugs in China for a saggy old fart like Kayle such that it will put him orders of magnitude above the drug-addled grandpa peloton. He won, but so did others. The Pollyannas pointed to that as evidence of a Kleen Kayle and a level playing field, but there’s a much worse explanation, which is that doping is now the norm because it has dripped down through the I.V. to the very lowest, contemptible, and delusional level of the sport: Middling masters racers.

How do I know? Because I’ve sat in a field as recently as this year and watched Kayle singe the nuthairs off of a 60-strong peloton, only to get brought back again and again and again. In the last race we did together I wound up off the front late in the race with him and it was like sitting behind a Ducati. “Just hold on,” he said as I bent over the bars trying to get small and looking like a giraffe on a barstool while he generated some impossible wattage, but not impossible enough that the peloton didn’t peg him back.

I slunk to the back, charred to the bone by my three-minute effort of sitting on, while Kayle took a breath, attacked again with two laps to go, and soloed for the win. Just another SoCal Sunday crit, dude.

And how doped was the peloton at Dana Point Grand Prix, where Kayle won his (hopefully) last race ever? According to one friend, it was the fastest race he’d done his entire life. To me this was just more evidence of what I’ve maintained for years: Doping in masters racing isn’t necessarily predominant at the top, but it’s absolutely predominant in the middle.

Nor is this bizarre level of speed and strength limited to the “young” masters racers. I’ve personally witnessed one old hack go from backass straggler to on-the-point hammerhead in a single season with no visible change at all to his physiognomy. I guess he just woke up in January and decided he would pedal harder than he had been for the last five years.

It’s the mid-level hacker with a zero percentage risk of getting caught who turns these mass-crit fields into NASCAR, because so many guys now are good for at least one 1200-watt effort, and where even if you’re doing drugs for breakfast, lunch, and dinner, it’s still not enough to reliably seal the deal as Meeker used to do almost every single time regardless of whether it was a hilly road race, a crit, a time trail, a sprunt … a whatever. USADA and USAC, far from having frightened masters racers into clean racing, have to reckon instead with the tidal wave reality that every year the dopers increase even as the number of racers evaporates.

And who’s quitting? The clean ones. There is a handful of also-rans on the SoCal masters circuit, guys who do everything right and who have all the right physiology, who can’t seem to close the deal on the big day because no matter how hard they train, you can’t out-train chemistry. And what about the ones who have no chance of winning and, more and more, who no longer have a faint chance of even finishing? Who remains under conditions like that? I’ll tell you who: The pathetic old meatbags like Dopey McDopester who are willing to pay good money to chase a tainted result, and the pack fodder frauds who lie to themselves that their testosterone and anti-aging supplements aren’t for bike racing but for their personal health needs.

Like Richard Meeker, this reprehensible SoCal crit cheat will go away and discover hiking, open a juice bar, devote more time to his family, find some part of his glory hole that hasn’t been inked, or *MAYBE* become a USAC-licensed coach for the seven juniors left in the state of California. Maybe he’ll even man up like Levi and start a famous grand fondue, or really serve the public like Jonathan Vaughters and start his own professional race team. But what he will not have left in his wake is destruction, ruined dreams, or shattered lives.

Because at this late stage in the autopsy if you still think it’s a clean sport with only the occasional random cheat, you’re almost as deluded as the cheaters.

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Victimless cheating? Or Dick Doper redux?

May 15, 2017 § 30 Comments

Last year I rode with a guy who was, uh, fast. He was in his mid-50s and when we hooked up he had already been going crazy hard for a month, thirty days of back-to-back riding that included unbelievable mileage and intensity.

We only rode together a couple of times. He was unbelievable. A big dude who climbed like George Hincapie when he was in his “mountain climbing” doper phase. You’d be sitting on this giant dude’s wheel and thinking, “Physics.” And then he’d toss the physics book into the ditch and climb like Quintana.

At the time I didn’t think he was doping. Don’t laugh when I say this, but it never occurred to me because I’m not really that suspicious or cynical when it comes to cycling and drugs.

Instead of chalking up his performance to drugs, I chalked it up to the fact that he was getting back on the bike after a long winter, he had stayed fit in the gym and on the trainer, and after all of the big miles and intensity he’d crash and crumple like any other normal old dude who pushed too much, too far, too hard, for too long.

This year our paths crossed again, and although I didn’t ride with him, I did see him briefly. His upper body was unbelievable. According to one of the guys who did ride with him, he claimed to have put on fifteen pounds of muscle over the last year. And he looked it.

That’s when my eyes rolled so far back in my head that if they’d had numbers they would have looked like a slot machine. There are a lot of things you don’t gain when you get old and creaky, and one of them is lean muscle mass. Maybe you firm up what you’ve got, and maybe if you eat perfectly and diet perfectly and do all the other hard things that no one in their 50s can possibly do, you gain a couple of pounds of muscle. But fifteen-plus pounds of lean upper body muscle in twelve months?

That, my friends, only happens with a lot of time in the gym and a shit-ton of steroids.

I was discussing this with a friend who is very young. He seemed to think that if you were young and doing steroids to get buff, you were not very smart because the risk of side effects is so huge. But, according to him, if you’re in your 50s and juicing, the risks are much smaller. You’re already old and bald and sexless anyway, and the side effects take way longer to kick in. Plus, in Dick Doper’s case, there was no crime other than the illegal possession of the drugs.

“Look at it like this,” my friend said. “He’s not racing so it’s not like he’s cheating. He’s not ever going to get tested so he won’t ‘ruin’ his reputation. He does it to feel good about himself, maintain the delusion that he’s exempt from the grinding passage of time, and he’s not hurting anyone else. What’s wrong with that? Do you hold it against people for standing in the mirror and counting their new veins?”

“Yeah, but that asshole crushes you on the bike. Thanks to the drugs, on informal, competitive rides he always wins. He’s practically unbeatable.”

“So? Don’t ride with him.”

“I don’t. Not after last year.”

“Then what’s your complaint? He’s taking your Strava KOMs?”

“I don’t play Strava.”

“So you’re simply jealous that another old bald impotent guy is faster than you are? You want to be the fastest old bald impotent guy?”

“Pretty much.”

“Didn’t the Rolling Stones have a song about that? Something about not always getting what you want?”

I resisted the urge to smack him, which urge was made easier by the fact that he was 6’4″, a martial arts specialist, and a cop. “It seems lame for some reason.”

“Is there a law or some kind of ethical rule against being lame?”

“No, but …”

“How is it different from buying faster equipment? You can buy mechanical speed just like you can buy the chemical kind. Is it lame when you can afford electronic shifting and light wheels, and some young kid is pedaling on a heavier, slower bike?”

“That’s different.”

“Of course it is. The difference is that you buy mechanical speed so it’s okay, but Dick Doper buys chemical speed on top of the mechanical kind. And that pisses you off because it makes him faster than you.”

“There’s a huge difference. I’d think he was lame no matter how fast he rode.”

“What is the difference, then?”

“Mechanical advantages are obvious. You can’t lie about them. And except in a few circumstances, the advantage they give is small and can often be compensated for by smart riding, drafting, or even by playing head games with your opponent. It’s a lot harder to hide your disk wheel. But chemical speed is secret, and its effects are different for every rider. For some guys, it turns donkeys into racehorses. For others, its effects are much less pronounced. Any given aero wheel will reduce drag the same amount no matter who’s riding it.”

“Piffle paffle,” he laughed. “You’re butthurt. That’s all.”

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British Cycling and Team Sky reveal undoped rider to Parliament

March 3, 2017 § 2 Comments

By Patrick Smithers and Fiona Toolsly (CitSB)
Updated 03:00 AM, GMT

London–After an investigation was ordered into possible doping violations by British Cycling and Team Sky, chief sporting director David Brailsford sought to refute allegations of organized team doping by introducing what he referred to as “a positively undoped rider, pure as the driven snow” to a Select Committee of Parliament.

The rider, Mr. Samuel Muffington-Baggs, was presented to British Members of Parliament in a charm offensive designed to show that Team Sky and British Cycling remain committed to clean sport, marginal gains, and plenty of Fluimucil.

“Now this here fellow,” said Brailsford, “Muffington-Baggs, or just ‘Baggins’ as we calls him, ain’t never touched a needle in all his born days. Has you, Baggins?”

Mr. Muffington-Baggs, wearing his Team Sky kit, seemed at ease with a variety of pointed questions from the MPs, although his answers were difficult to understand. “I’m telling you boys,” said Brailsford, “ol’ Baggins here is as clean as a fresh bedsheet. Ain’t you, Baggins?”

At one point in the conversation Mr. Muffington-Baggs appeared uncomfortable, but he recovered nicely after being burped. After about half an hour of questioning, a strong smell quickly dispersed the crowd and the interview came to an end. “Heh, heh, good ol’ Baggins,” said Brailsford at the conclusion of the meeting, before adding rather curtly to a soigneur, “somebody want to get ‘im a damned clean diaper?”

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Wiggins broke no doping rules when he doped

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?

BW: Yup.

CitSB: And you went on to win?

BW: Yup.

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?

BW: Nope.

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.

CitSB: Diet?

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.

END

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