Time crawls when you’re not having fun

January 10, 2016 § 15 Comments

tuttle_creek

The customer has spoken when it comes to the kind of race they like:

  1. Close to home.
  2. Easy and safe to finish.
  3. Mathematical chance of victory.

Oddly, when these people put on their cycling fan hats, they idolize riders who do well in far-flung stage races that are incredibly hard, amazingly dangerous, and virtually impossible to win. This fits the psychological profile of “I want to be like that person without all work.”

While looking over the SCNCA race calendar for 2016, I’d like to make a recommendation for a race that you certainly have not done. I can say that with confidence because  last year the combined field including all categories and age groups had about fifteen people. All but five or six quit somewhere along the way.

This race is the immoral Tuttle Creek road race, slotted for February 6th in Lone Pine, at the foot of the eastern Sierras. I will tell you this: It’s harder than any other race on the calendar, and the first separation will occur within the first fifteen minutes. Worse news? You won’t be in the split. Instead, you and I will be off the back, then further off the back, and then quite simply alone.

The scenery was magnificent; incredible stone formations was set off against the gigantic Sierras themselves, and the iron gray sky lent a hardness to the atmosphere that perfectly matched the grueling nature of the day.

The climbing in this race was far harder than UCLA Punchbowl, Boulevard, or Vlees Huis. The hills were steep and punchy, long and grinding, and mostly endless. The downhill was easy and straight and safe and fast, but it ended much too quickly. Rain is always a possibility in February, and with El Nino it could easily be pouring, or, with a few degrees drop in temperature, could morph into freezing rain, sleet, or snow.

One of the loneliest moments in my life on a bike occurred during this race, with no one behind me for miles, no one visible ahead of me for miles, and the lone sign of a bike race was race promoter Steve standing on the side of the road in the middle of nowhere asking me if I wanted a gel, when what I desperately wanted was to quit and a blanket.

So why do it?

The first reason is that it supports the whacky promoter, a/k/a Motorcycle Steve, who you see zooming around on his motorcycle as a race official. Races are tough to put on, especially hard-ass road races far from LA that can be cold, or wet, or snowy, yet miserable even in the best conditions given the brutality of the course.

The second reason is that this kind of race promotes event diversity. If you have EVER complained about “too many crits,” you should nut up and do this bastard. If you finish you will count it among your best finishes ever.

The third reason is that the SCNCA calendar in 2016 has put the Decrepit Persons Bragging Event and State Championship early, early, early in the season. Getting the road fitness you will need to do well at the State Bragfest will depend on doing more than PCKRR with its baby climb, and maybe Boulevard. Tuttle Creek will whip you into shape and is a far better race than anything San Dimas has ever put on in terms of difficulty.

But the best reason of all is that finishing the event shortly before dark, wrung out, frozen to the core, and depleted of all precious bodily fluids, you get to tank up on a very ordinary cheeseburger at the cafe in Lone Pine that nonetheless tastes like the finest meal ever made. Trust me. It’s worth it.

END

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If it’s broke, fix it

January 6, 2016 § 26 Comments

Two things you can do to help fix the broke-down, dysfunctional mess that is the SCNCA:

  1. Vote to approve the amended bylaws.
  2. Nominate yourself or some other poor sap for one of the nine board of directors slots.
  3. Post this info on Facebag or your club website.

Of course nothing is that simple. YOU can’t actually vote to approve the bylaws. That can only be done by the designated representative of your club, and your club has to be a USAC and an SCNCA member. Sound complicated? That’s because it is.

So here’s what you do:

  1. Send this link to the boss man or boss woman of your club.
  2. Although your club should have already received a ballot, if they have not, contact Tom Fitzgibbon at tfitz1@me.com.

Voting on the amended bylaws is super important and has to be done by January 9. That’s Saturday. What is the amendment? It will allow SCNCA to communicate with its members (who are clubs, not individual racers) electronically, and will allow them to vote electronically. This means that going forward the SCNCA can reorganize without having to spend huge chunks of its budget on mail notifications as required by current bylaws.

If the bylaws are amended, SCNCA will have an electronic election for its new board of directors. The timeline for this, however, is super short. Fortunately, the self-nomination process is working. Many people have self-nominated, and there are now more candidates than have ever before run, but the deadline is January 10. So here’s what you do:

  1. Send your name to perfectday4j@gmail.com and announce your candidacy. You can even put “I’m a dope” in the subject line.
  2. Include a brief description of why you want the job and what your qualifications are. (Example: “I like to get screamed at by people; 28 years of marriage.”)
  3. Your club will receive an electronic voting link after the nominating period closes.
  4. Wait for election results on January 23.

In case I haven’t made it clear, please make sure this is brought to the attention of your club president. The deadlines are upon us and voting for change is desperately needed at SCNCA.

How badly is it needed?

This reform movement began when local cyclist and attorney David Huntsman sent this letter to the SCNCA. The issues raised in the letter, which basically centered around whether SCNCA’s trustees have been acting in a legal manner, and whether or not they have been fulfilling their fiduciary duties to the organization, led SCNCA to hire a lawyer.

And don’t come pissing and moaning to me about “wasting your money on a lawyer.” If SCNCA had been advised properly in the beginning we wouldn’t be where we are today. And if you don’t like lawyers and law, then there is a spot for you on the Malheur Wildlife Refuge Racing Team. And … there’s money at stake. SCNCA has spent (frittered away?) hundreds of thousands of dollars since its inception in 1998.

The attorney retained by SCNCA for peanuts, Tom Fitzgibbon of Velo Club LaGrange, has been racing for decades, served on VCLG’s board for years, and is a person for whom I have a lot of respect. Since he’s been hired by SCNCA, he represents the organization, not the individual interests of the trustees. This means that issues about how the organization is run and how its finances are managed will be examined by someone whose job it is to help make SCNCA better. And if things aren’t being done legally or properly, it’s Tom’s job to deliver the bad news so that SCNCA can start doing what it gets paid to do.

Nimble decision making and a new board of directors are crucial first steps if SCNCA is ever going to fulfill its mission of advancing racing in SoCal. David Huntsman is one of the nominees for the board of trustees, and he’s got my vote; I hope he gets yours.

See-through is best

The current SCNCA way of conducting business is opaque. There are no publicly available financials aside from a drop-down link on the web site’s “About” tab that says “Financials.” I dare you to click on it.

In addition to a steamed-glass approach to finances, which in my mind equates to shoddiness at best, chicanery at worst, SCNCA doesn’t make the records of its meetings public. Although it’s been around since 1998, there are only two meeting minutes posted under the “About” section; both of them from late last year, just around the time that Huntsman began asking pointed questions about the board’s operations.

My estimate is that with about 7,000 licensees in the district, SCNCA should be getting somewhere between $35,000 and $70,000 from USAC every year. Now although that may not seem like a lot of money, oh, wait, YES IT SURE FUCKING DOES.

How that money is spent should be transparent. With Fitzgibbon as counsel and a new board coming in, we can expect transparency. In fact, we should demand it.

Thanks where thanks are due

Although it’s easy to poke holes in the mismanagement and glaring failures of SCNCA, it’s important to also give thanks. There are many board members over the years who have given heart and soul to making bike racing here a fun and exciting sport. People like Greg Aden have done their level best and deserve our thanks.

Don’t ever call me an optimist, but as far as the upcoming changes at SCNCA go, I can say that it’s absolutely headed in the right direction. Now, please go vote. Even though, technically, you can’t.

END

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Turning back the clock

January 5, 2016 § 27 Comments

One of the recurring themes here at CitSB is the crushing inevitability of age, decay, and death, with an especial emphasis on the fact that cycling doesn’t make you young and that if you feel better at 50 than you did at 25 you must have felt like a warmed over dunghill when you were 25.

Despite this grimly realistic view of the impersonal impact that physics have on our random existence, for some strange reason I am unable to accept the truth no matter how hard I preach it. Hence my decision to submit an upgrade application to USAC last year.

Now, then. The last time I was a Cat 2 was in 1986. For most of the rest of that century I lived in Japan and Germany, and the bike racing I did didn’t require a US license. When I finally returned to the US and tried to get my old Cat 2 license back, they said, “Sure. What was your old license number?”

“I dunno.”

“When did you last have it?”

“1986.”

“Oh … ”

“Oh, what?”

“When we changed to USAC from USCF we also changed computer systems and lost all our old records. But give us your name and we’ll look.”

Turns out I never existed, but after begging and pleading  with the SCNCA district rep they agreed to let me start off as a Cat 4 and skip the certain-death Cat 5 events for the almost-certain-death Cat 4 ones.

What amazed me was how hard the racing was, and how weak I had become. Once I upgraded to Cat 3 and could do masters racing, I was amazed even more. The “ex-everything” masters category here in SoCal, which includes ex-pros, ex-elite national champions, ex-world champions and Olympian medalists, is also rife with current age-graded national champs, world champs, and pharmaceutical champs.

After several years of careful point-hoarding I finally submitted my upgrade request last year, which was promptly denied. “Your results are a fuggin’ joke. ZERO points for your 2nd place finish at Tuttle Creek RR because it only had TWO FUGGIN’ ENTRANTS you sandbaggin’ sack of Geritol.”

“Fuck it,” I said, “who cares? It’s not like I’ll ever do a Cat 2 race. Even I have too much self-respect to get smeared by grandchildren.” In fact, word on the street here has always been that Cat 2 racing has all of the disadvantages of racing with Cat 1’s (living with your girlfriend or your parents or in a shopping cart) and none of the benefits of racing with Cat 3’s (beating up on weak and defenseless people who have real jobs except for Surfer Dan).

So I went on my merry way.

Imagine my surprise today when I got an email from my club’s race coordinator. “Dude!” he wrote. “I just downloaded all of our riders’ racing info from USAC and saw you’re a Cat 2! Congrats!”

Knowing that there must be some mistake I looked it up. Sure enough, there it was: “Road: 2.”

I tried to jump up and down to celebrate but my cracked pelvis which hasn’t healed hurt too badly to manage more than a slow-motion hop. Then I forgot what I was celebrating. Finally, Ms. WM came in to tell me to stop making such a racket.

“You onna jumpin’ itsa gonna make runny bowels again,” she said.

I sat back down and looked again at the computer screen. Would I actually enter a Cat 2 race now, with, like, you know, actual young people? Or would I do what every masters profamateur does, which is cat up strictly for bragging rights while continuing to do the leaky prostate events?

Easiest decision I’ve had to make all year.

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1986 … it was a very good year.

END

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Start stalking

December 27, 2015 § 16 Comments

People are funny. If you give them a good tip they ignore the hell out of it, like the weird black mole that’s been blossoming on my shin and now looks like a rotten cauliflower that is oozing goo and has probably metastasized to my liver.

I went to the doctor a while back. “How long has that been there?” he asked.

“I dunno.”

“Long time? Short time?”

“Short time I guess. It was a gash and how it’s just some dried blood under the skin I think.”

“If it changes at all or doesn’t go away in a couple of weeks come back and we’ll take a look at it. Don’t ignore it.”

That was a looooong time ago and I ignored the shit out of it even as I noted its terrifying growth profile. So now that it is about the size of a child’s bowling ball and has learned to read and write and can even say its name, I finally made an appointment to go back to the skin doc.

I know what he’s going to say. “Well, Mr. Davidson, you’re dead now.”

And I know what I’ll say. “Who cares? My leg’s still jacked and I can’t ride for beans.”

But you? You won’t ignore some sage advice, will you? Because I’m going to give you some. Here it is: Go stalk Daniel Holloway’s ride schedule and follow him like a bad case of Neisseria gonorrhoeae.

Here’s the deal.

Daniel is the best bike racer in America. That’s not hyperbole or exaggeration. He won 345 races this year, half of them only pedaling with one leg. He races against the fastest lead-out trains on the continent and smokes them like a brat left overnight in the BBQ cooker.

But, whatever. This isn’t nearly as important as the fact that he’s in LA through the end of January, and what’s more important, shows up on most of the dork rides–NPR, Donut, etc. In other words, you have a chance to ride with the country’s winningest pro. And in other other words, five minutes spent riding with Daniel is worth 500 hours of Internet coach time and bike forum chat room palaver and Strava auto-titillation.

Unlike lots of supermen, Daniel has time for DLU, Dorks Like Us. Have a question you’ve always wanted answered? Daniel will answer it. He may be wrong, but at least you’ll be getting it from a pro.

Plus, he’s friendly. He intends to get in his workout, which often means all you’ll see is a tiny dot vanishing in the distance, but other times he’s pedaling around at DS, dork speed, trying to burn off the same cheesecake and lard-covered-butter cookies that you are.

Best of all, and most mystifying is when Daniel shows up on the NPR. Best because NOW IS YOUR CHANCE. Mystifying because when he hits the jets hardly anyone even tries to follow.

Dude! Pedal harder, please. This is your free coaching lesson. Even if you hang on for .0001 seconds, you will have gotten a better workout and will have seen what kind of acceleration it takes to escape the gravitational pull of 75 hackers pounding with a tailwind.

Better, if you’re like Smasher and manage to grab his wheel when he goes, he will absolutely beat your face in. All you have to do is hang onto his back wheel while he gins out 450 watts for four laps. You can do this, really, you can’t.

I know that you have a carefully planned workout regimen that is going to allow you to place mid-pack next year, but at least while Daniel’s in town you need to toss that plan out the window and follow this guy around, bothering the snot out of him with stupid questions. In addition to being a complete wizard with regard to tactics, he’s knowledgeable beyond belief when it comes to aero equipment and riding position, and has an ability to read a field that you won’t believe.

Of course I fully expect you to ignore this, because good, free advice is just that way.

END

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Rule of Holes: When you’re in one, stop digging (Bobby Lea, Part 2)

December 21, 2015 § 48 Comments

I swore I wouldn’t waste any more of my already limited brain cells on this drug cheat, and specifically ignored the butt-licking, fawning interview that Bicycling Magazine did with Bobby Lea after he tested positive for Percocet.

But people kept asking me if I’d seen it and eventually I caved. It made me so angry, not because Bobby changed his story in less than 24 hours (that’s what lying liars who lie do), but that so many toe-licking, jock-sniffing, earwax-collecting “fans” swallow the whole wad of smelly pus and cat hair without so much as a hiccough.

It’s okay to be willfully stupid; that is why we have Donald Trump. It’s okay to believe in fairy tales; that’s why we have Islam, Christianity, and homeopathic medicine.

But it’s not okay to ruin the party for everyone else by crapping in the punch bowl after you’ve drunk your fill.

So here are just a few of the salient absurdities from Bobby Lea’s non-tearful non-confession, and my comments after.

Interviewer: You said in your letter that you took Percocet the night before track nationals when you ran out of your normal sleep aid, and that you have a prescription. What was that prescription for originally, and had you used Percocet previously?

Cheater Lea: I got the prescription for Percocet for two reasons. It was primarily for pain management in the event of a crash. I got it right before a trip to Japan and Taiwan in 2014. I knew that if I crashed over there, I could take it and make it home to the hospital and to doctors that I trust. And the second reason was as a sleep aid. Sometimes that’s the most comfortable thing in coach and I’ve used it on occasion to sleep on those transatlantic flights.

CitSB Comment: Note that in his original “apology” letter, Lea says that the Percocet was prescribed ” … to help me manage pain and sleep while traveling for competition, especially in the event of a crash.” Now, a day later, it is primarily for pain management in the event of a crash. This is significant because, as I pointed out earlier, drowsiness is an adverse reaction to Percocet that is on the label. No physician prescribes a drug so that the patient can “benefit” from the drug’s adverse reaction. In Bobby’s case, the story is absurd because if you have difficulty sleeping, we have a class of drugs that help you sleep. They are cleverly called “sleeping pills.”

This leads to a problem with Lea’s new explanation, and the problem is this: Now that he’s admitted to using the drug, he has to answer the question of what he got the drug for, which in turn raises the question of how doctors prescribe Percocet in the first place.

Percocet is a classified by the DEA as a Schedule II Controlled Substance. This means that it may not be prescribed without a “legitimate medical purpose.” Doctors who do so are subject to criminal penalties, and the DEA has, in recent years, aggressively pursued and shut down pill mills that gin out fake prescriptions for Percocet addicts.

Getting a legal prescription for Percocet isn’t easy, in part because doctors have become wary of patients who fake complaints in order to get their drug habit filled. Simply telling the doctor that your back hurts or that you have a burning sensation when you pee, or showing up at the ER at 3:00 AM with a bit of road rash won’t crack the safe.

So what was Lea’s legitimate medical purpose for taking Percocet? He started off in his apology letter explaining the existence of the prescription to help him sleep, but that’s not a legitimate medical purpose for Percocet and the burden is on Lea to now prove that that is in fact why it was prescribed. He could produce his medical records and reveal the name of the treating M.D., but he hasn’t. Why not? Well, first off it might show that the M.D. was committing a felony by prescribing Percocet for something that wasn’t a legitimate medical purpose.

Another possible reason he doesn’t trot out the prescription is that he has no prescription; perhaps he bought the drugs illegally. Another possible reason is that his medical records might reveal that he obtained the prescription by lying to his physician about the “legitimate medical purpose” for which he got the prescription. It’s hard to imagine an ethical doctor prescribing Percocet for future injuries. Doctors don’t typically write prescriptions for things that might happen to you, and even if they did they wouldn’t prescribe Percocet.

Doctors can write multiple prescriptions for Percocet that you can fill sequentially, but they typically only do this if you have an existing injury or chronic painful condition. The notion that Lea’s M.D. is dispensing Percocet so Bobby can cope with the horrors of “transatlantic flights in coach” is silly. It also raises the question of whether he’s ever looked at a map. What transatlantic flight from Pennsylvania gets you to Japan and Taiwan?

Lea’s explanation is even shoddier the more closely you examine it. He claims that he got the prescription in case he got hurt in Japan or Taiwan, conjuring up images of witch doctors hacking off limbs with tree saws while the patient grimaces in pain–as if those two countries don’t have access to Percocet and every other synthetic narcotic in the advanced world’s pharmacopeia. Japan and Taiwan have world class medical care and world class pharma. Bobby wants us to believe they don’t know how to treat road rash and a broken collarbone?

So now Lea is in a bind. The prescription of Percocet as a sleeping pill potentially violates federal law because it’s not a legitimate medical purpose. Nor does the prophylactic prescription fly because doctors don’t give you drugs for “potential” injuries, and because the places he claimed he wouldn’t have access to treatment provide world class, first world healthcare.

These things all point to a person who doped, which means that in the Bicycling interview he does what habitual liars do: He changes his story. The Percocet was now primarily in case he crashed, but also for those transatlantic flights. But this doesn’t help the aforementioned problems–Percocet still isn’t indicated for sleeping–and it creates another: If he only uses it “on occasion to sleep on those transatlantic flights,” why is he popping it the night before a race in Carson, California?

Answer: It’s less likely that he popped it the night before a race in Carson so he could sleep, and likelier that he popped it a couple of hours before the race for its performance enhancing effects, as cyclists have been doing with narcotics for more than a hundred years.

Interviewer: You wrote that the night you took it you didn’t do what you’ve done so many times before: check to see if a medication is on the banned list. I’m sure you’ve run the scenario again a million times. Why didn’t you?

Lea: You’re right, I’ve thought about that so many times. There’s a couple of things [pause]. Although I can’t recall in my memory typing in the drug to check it, I really, really have trouble believing that I never would’ve done that. So I have to, although I can’t remember doing it, I have to believe that I had done that because I just don’t think that I would’ve been so careless taking a real-deal drug like that so recklessly. The second part is that the way I’d seen it used, from people that I trust, there were no red flags to me. There was nothing I’d seen that was showing me that using it in the manner that I did was problematic [from a doping standpoint]. It’s a commonly used painkiller in cycling, especially for crashes. I know people have used it as a sleep aid on flights. To me, the thought of using it to ride a bike faster is ludicrous, it helps to sleep, so that part never really crossed my mind.

CitSB: Now Bobby has had a few hours to reflect on the absurdity of his initial claim that an experienced pro would have never checked to see if the prescription narcotics that he had been taking on long flights since 2014 was on the WADA list of prohibited substances. Keep in mind this is a guy who’s taking Percocet in order to sleep en route to competing in bike races where he will be tested for banned drugs. And on none of those occasions it occurred to him to check the drug’s status?

It’s not remotely credible, especially when bookended by his admission that he’s checked other prescriptions hundreds of times, and especially when the prescription was from 2014, and especially since he admits that he uses it occasionally. So he does what liars do: He changes the story.

In the Bicycling interview he now claims that even though he doesn’t remember checking, he must have checked. He never would have not checked. But compare that with the certitude of his apology letter, which must have been proofed by his agent, his lawyer, and of course numerous times by Bobby himself: “Because it was late at night, and I was trying to sleep, I failed to check my prescribed medication against the prohibited list … ” There’s no gray area: He knows he didn’t check, and there’s nothing to indicate that he had checked before and learned it was banned.

Unfortunately, the new tale concocted for Bicycling’s gullible readers, that he must have checked he just doesn’t remember doing it, creates more problems. And here’s the biggie: If he did check in the past and forgot about having checked, why did he still take the Percocet? If the answer you’re expecting is, “I forgot Percocet was banned in competition,” you’ll be disappointed.

He never says this in the interview; rather, he leaves that to the reader to infer. Why?

Because once he admits that he checked, and then admits that he saw it was banned but took it anyway, he’s got an intentional cheating violation and a four-year ban. It’s sad to see the way he fumbles his way into the non-explanation. After claiming to have checked “I have to believe that I had done that,” he wanders off into a non-sequitur that wouldn’t even be believable in church: “There was nothing I’d seen that was showing me that using it in the manner that I did was problematic [from a doping standpoint]. It’s a commonly used painkiller in cycling, especially for crashes. I know people have used it as a sleep aid on flights.”

The issue of course isn’t whether he’s seen other people doping, or whether he thinks it’s problematic, or whether it’s commonly used for crashes (it’s not), or whether he knows a cousin who knows an aunt who has a friend who uses it to sleep on flights.

The issue is whether he checked–he now claims he did–and why, after checking and seeing that it’s banned, he intentionally ingested it before a big race. At some point you wonder why his agent, who was listening on the phone, didn’t jump in and tell him to shut up, because he then adds the worst thing of all: “To me, the thought of using it to ride a bike faster is ludicrous, it helps to sleep, so that part never really crossed my mind.”

Of all the lies, this is the one that can be fact checked with laser precision: Percocet does help you ride a bike faster and that is not ludicrous, it is a physiological, medical fact tied to the drug’s ability to deaden pain. What’s ludicrous is that a 2-time Olympian either didn’t know that his prescription narcotics were banned (Gambit #1), or that he knew they were banned but didn’t know they were performance enhancing (Gambit #2).

And then, to continue in this nitpicky vein, doesn’t this line jump out at you in all caps? “IT’S A COMMONLY USED PAINKILLER IN CYCLING … ” Well shit, Bobby, yes, it is, and that is exactly what you’re being busted for since even you don’t claim to have flown a transatlantic flight from your girlfriend’s place in Santa Monica to the Carson velodrome just down the 405.

So if you’re USADA, what do you believe? That Percocet, which is not a sleeping pill, is used for sleeping, or that Percocet, which reduces pain and enhances performance, is used by an elite athlete before a big race to reduce pain and enhance performance? (Oh, minor detail: He won the race. Lucky fellow.)

The rest of the interview is unremarkable as it continues in this vein of not-even-barely-credible excusifying, with one exception. In his apology letter he says he supports clean sport, then in the interview gives a long explanation about why he has chosen to fight his case all the way to CAS. It would have been interesting to hear the Bicycling fan-with-a-typewriter ask Bobby how it is that a U.S. track racer can fund the $500/hour legal fees for his appeal, but hey, journalism requires, you know, work.

It would have also been nice to see someone call this clown out simply because his appeal will cost USADA a ton of money, money that they now get to spend chasing a doper instead of funding additional tests at additional races to keep dopers like him on the back foot.

I guess with supporters of clean sport like Bobby Lea, who needs enemies?

END

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“Perky” Lea

December 18, 2015 § 37 Comments

Bobby “Perky” Lea tested positive for metabolites of oxycodone shortly after winning the national points race championship and his sanction was announced today by USADA. The best part of the sanction press release is the generic language that specifically talks about how USADA works with athletes to keep them from doing exactly what Lea claims to have done, i.e. used a drug without checking to see if it’s prohibited.

Below are his two exculpatory messages, with annotations in italics by Cycling in the South Bay to assist readers unfamiliar with the self-serving language used by drug cheats. The first message is an email that “Perky” sent out a few hours before the anti-doping violation and suspension were announced by USADA. The second is a contritely defiant letter posted on his web site.

Dear Friends and Family,

I am writing to you tonight because I have some very important and time sensitive news I have to share with you. And I need to share this with you tonight because it will be public in the next 48 hours and I want you to get this from me directly.

Uh-fucking-oh.

And I also need to apologize for hiding this from you for so long.

Otherwise known as lying.

Over the last few months I’ve had more than a few conversations with many of you and I have had to either dodge questions or just outright lie about by (sic) coming plans.

I have been lying for a long time because I’m a liar who lies.

For that I’m sorry.

But, as you’ll find out if you keep reading, I’m really only sorry because I got caught, I plan to appeal, and if you are a careful reader you’ll see that I never admit to being a cheater. More of a mistake-prone fellow, and I’m sorry for that.

At first it killed me, and then either I started to believe my own story or it just came to (sic) easily, which was also scary.

I am so pathological that I believe my own lies. I’m a habitual liar; so much so that my lies come to me “easily.” This isn’t morally reprehensible or indicative of profound pathology. It is just “scary.”

And not (sic) it’s been eating me up again.

We call this a Freudian slip, Bobby. Soooo revealing considering the number of times you must have proofread this missive.

So on one hand it’s nice to finally be able to put this out there so I can be open and honest but on the other hand I hate to have to say it at all.

It’s nice to be able to come clean 48 hours before USADA issues a press release that will be distributed worldwide. Honesty is nice for a change. Kind of like a different pair of shoes. You wear the liar shoes for a few years, they get a bit scuffed, and then you put on the truthy shoes, at least until the CAS hearing.

So without further ado, here it is.

Pull on the fuggin’ hip waders.

Thanks for reading.

Suckers.

What follows is from “Perky” Lea’s web site. Enjoy. The annotations are mine.

Cycling has been a part of my family, and who I am, for my whole life.

So this is the most amazing and profound betrayal that can be imagined as I shaft everyone at once.

I can say from the bottom of my heart that I love this sport.

So much that I cheat at it.

I would never intentionally do anything to harm the sport or intentionally jeopardize my own ability to compete.

Despite being a habitual liar, dodging, dissembling, and outright lying, I would never lie.

On the night of August 7th, in a state of post-race exhaustion and having run out of my normal sleep aid, I made the poor choice to take my prescription Percocet hoping it would help me rest.

Everyone takes Percocet when they are tired, especially when they are out of their normal sleep aid. You’re probably wondering what my normal sleep aid is. It’s green tea, that’s what. Percocet though is a narcotic, and it is as addicting as heroin. Narcotics are the most widely abused prescription drug in America and because they have gotten harder to obtain they have driven addicts to heroin. In other words, it is something that everyone takes after a race when they are tired. Some of you may have read this article that says opiates are a sleep inhibitor that disrupt sleep architecture but that is bulldonkeys. Shit will knock you OUT. I would never have taken the Percocet in order to numb the pain so that I could win the points race. That would be crazy, for sure. Instead, I took a sleep inhibitor so I could sleep before the big race.

This medication had been prescribed by a doctor to help me manage pain and sleep while traveling for competition, especially in the event of a crash.

It is a known fact that doctors give you prescriptions for Percocet, a DEA Class II drug, not for actual pain, but “just in case” you crash and to help you sleep even though it’s a sleep inhibitor. Just walk into your doctor’s office, explain that you have sleeping problems and are often tired as a bike racer, plus that you might crash, and they will prescribe Percocet for you. Sure, it’s addicting and disrupts sleep architecture, but who’s an architect? I ain’t building shit, I’m racing bikes. And even if you don’t crash, it’s okay to take it when you are tired. I would be happy to show you the prescription and give you the name of the doctor but I forgot it and the dog ate it plus I think I got it in Bangkok. Narcotics, i.e. morphine, methadone, and oxycodone have never been used in cycling to mask pain from injury or discomfort from illness and I have no idea what “pot Belge” is. Narcotics would never raise an athlete’s pain threshold so they can continue competing through the pain. Because that would be cheating and cheating would be a betrayal of everything, especially all the things that I have betrayed.

Because it was late at night, and I was trying to sleep, I failed to check my prescribed medication against the prohibited list, an action I have correctly executed hundreds of times over the years.

I had the prescription from my doctor and never checked it against the prohibited list. Even though I carried it around for sleeping and pre-crash pain and post-race exhaustion, it never occurred to me to check whether a powerful narcotic that comes with a long list of side effects and warnings might possibly be prohibited. After all, lots of other narcotics are not prohibited like heroin, opium, and stuff. I think. Are they? Anyway, I was tired and it was late at night. When it’s late I just take stuff. If you were a pro you would understand. Plus, I have checked my drugs hundreds of times over the years. Now this doesn’t mean I’ve taken hundreds of prescription drugs, it means I have checked prescription drugs hundreds of times. I’ve actually only taken some aspirin once. And Alleve. But I’ve checked those two drugs hundreds of times because rules can change. So now you’re wondering what kind of drugs was I checking for those hundreds of times. I know. Sounds weird, but it was just aspirin and Alleve. And once I smoked a joint. But I didn’t inhale.

Had I done that I would have seen that Percocet is not banned when used out of competition, but is banned in-competition.

And if Grandma had balls she’d be Grandpa.

Had I done that simple check, the same simple check I’ve done in pharmacies all over the world, I would have reached for another beer or two and I would not find myself here today.

You see, I’ve been in pharmacies all over the world. Haven’t you? When you travel you want to see the Eiffel Tower, the Arc de Triomphe, and French pharmacies. When you’re in Mexico you want to see pyramids in the Yucatan and pharmacies. And in China you’d be insane to see the Great Wall and miss out on the pharmacies. Anyway, it’s a simple check and I’ve done it in a zillion pharmacies, checking everything I ever buy there, and then I’ve checked my prescriptions hundreds of times. But I never checked whether a prescription narcotic might be banned. My bad! Sometimes I am a silly fellow!!! (Sad face!)

Nearly 24 hours later, after winning the Points Race at the USA Cycling Elite Track National Championships, I was notified that I had been selected for drug testing and reported to USADA to provide a sample.

WHO KNEW???

The sample I provided showed trace amounts of noroxycodone, the metabolite of oxycodone, which is the active ingredient in Percocet. As a result of that finding I was given a 16-month suspension from September 10th, 2015.

I didn’t cheat. I didn’t lie. I didn’t do anything wrong. I simply was suspended as the result of a finding, kind of like having to wear a cast as a result of falling off a ladder and breaking your arm. Shit happens, right? Nowhere did the suspension call me a doper or a cheater or a douchebag, by the way. So I got that going for me.

As I write those words, 16 months, even though I have spoken them out loud, it’s difficult to wrap my head around what they really mean.

Does it, like, mean sixteen calendar months? Or does it mean “hire an attorney and appeal because I wuz framed!”

It’s even more difficult to accept that meaning. As an elite athlete, I think it’s only natural to spend a lot of time thinking about how best to wind down your career.

And how to wind it “up,” heh heh.

I think its only natural to want to craft the storybook ending; the ending where you walk off the track after the biggest success of your career.

Story crafting, making stuff up, fairy tales, it’s only natural to want to make stuff up when you lie all the time. And with the right “stuff” you don’t even have to make it up. You can make it real. You picking up what I’m laying down?

Or maybe you want to return to your roots, to the place where it all began, and say goodbye one last time. I think it’s only natural to want to end it on your own terms.

Which is totally different from crafting a storybook ending, and more like returning to the womb. And ending it on your own terms means, well, how do I say this? Here’s how: “CAS.”

Now that I’ve lost the ability to write my own ending, I’m left to answer some very hard questions.

“Why did I cheat?” however, is not one of them. Neither is, “Why did I lie?” And of course I’ve never asked, “How can I possibly write any of this crap with a straight face?”

When I look back at my career, how do I feel about what I’ve done knowing that I may have raced my last race?

How do I feel about having lied and covered up and dodged questions and traveled the world’s pharmacies and taken prescription narcotics as sleeping medication? How? I’ll tell you how: CAS.

Can I walk away from the sport today and feel content with what I’ve done?

Especially when I haven’t done anything wrong? When I’m basically being victimized because unlike what I did at all the world’s pharmacies I accidentally on purpose took some narcotics? Can I be content with using oxycodone as a sleep aid?

Have I accomplished what I set out to do?

Can I get the suspension lifted? The market for forcibly retired drug cheat US trackies is not too hot these days.

Does the ending change the body of work?

Although most people associate “body of work” with literature, science, music, or other intellectual endeavors, isn’t bicycle racing like that? Aren’t races a “body of work” like Einstein, Beethoven, etc?

I like to think that I know the answer to some of these but I think the reality is somewhere between knowing and hoping.

In other words, I know I’ve been busted but I sure as fuck hope I can beat this rap in CAS.

At the end of the day, I made a mistake and that was wrong.

I didn’t cheat. I made a mistake, like when you put on mismatched socks or when you drop an egg on the kitchen floor. Now you’re probably wondering what is wrong about making a mistake, and I’d agree with you. Mistakes aren’t right or wrong, unlike cheating and lying and deceiving. Those things are wrong but I didn’t do those things except for where in that earlier message I admitted to all that outright lying. I just took some narcotics to go to sleep instead of doing what I do at all the other pharmacies I visit and what I did the hundreds of other times I had prescription drugs.

I know that as an athlete, I am accountable for everything that I ingest, regardless of the source.

This doesn’t mean I cheated or that I accept my sanction or that I will ‘fess up, sit the fuck down, and take my beating like a man. Rather, I mistaked. I accidented. And if I’d been at, say, the pharmacy in TJ that I like to hit when I’m in Cali, I would have checked. That’s what I’m guilty of: Not checking.

I live with my mistake and I accept full responsibility for it.

However, not “full responsibility” as in “I accept the sanctions.” That’s different. What I accept is the responsibility of not checking. And I think we’ve all not checked stuff before. So in a way we’re all the same. Plus, it’s hard to check stuff when you’re tired.

To my family, friends, coach, fans, sponsors, and the sport that I love: I am deeply sorry.

You may be wondering “Sorry for what?” since I haven’t spelled it out and to that I can only say I’m sorry for not doing what I do when I’m at the pharmacy in Beijing: checking. But since I didn’t cheat I’m not sorry for cheating.

I remain committed to the strict rules and ethics that govern track cycling and Olympic Sport and I support any and all anti-doping efforts that help better it.

For other people.

However, because I want to end my career on the track and not in a lawyer’s conference room, I will appeal this sanction to the Court of Arbitration for Sport.

What in the fuck do I have to lose?

Thank you for reading.

Suckers.

Bobby

END

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Benedict Smasher Arnold

December 15, 2015 § 23 Comments

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

For other people named Benedict Arnold, see Benedict Arnold (disambiguation).

Benedict Smasher Arnold
traitor2

Engraving of Arnold, by H.B. Hall, after John Trumbull
Born January 14, 1741
Traitorsville, U.K.
Died (to me) December 13, 2015
Backstabbington, CA, USA
Buried at Huntington Beach, CA, USA
Allegiance  Peninsula CC
 SPY-Giant-RIDE
 Big Orange
jolly_roger Surf City Cyclery
Service
  • Beginning Wanker
  • Perfect season, 2015
  • Star Big O recruit
  • Treacherous traitor, SCCC
Years of service
  • Peninsula CC: 1 Year
  • SPY-Giant-Ride: 3 Years
  • Big Orange: 3 weeks
  • SCCC: ?????
Rank
  • Wanker
  • Stud
  • Star Recruit
  • Perfidious traitor
Equipment
  • Cannondale CAAD
  • New POC helmet liner
Battles/wars
  • Torrance Crit, 5th
  • Nationals, 11th
  • Red Trolley, 1st
  • Donut Ride, always smashing
  • Telo, smashing even more
  • NPR, smash all fuggin’ day
Awards Perfect season, 2015
Signature Benedict Arnold Signature.svg

Benedict Smasher Arnold (January 14, 1741  – December 13, 2015) was a bike racer on the SoCal masters circuit who originally joined Big Orange as its star recruit but defected to the orcs of Surf City Cyclery after a particularly good showing on the Donut Ride. While a rider on Big Orange, he obtained command of the masters 35+ team and planned to surrender it to the SCCC orcs. After the plan was exposed on December 12, 2015, when Smasher dropped Tatty-poo on the first time up to the Domes, he was commissioned into Surf City Cyclery as yet another treacherous traitor who betrayed his friends, following the equally treacherous path of his mentor, Faithle S. Destroyer.

Born in Traitorsville, U.K., Smasher was a lost and lonely motorcycle mechanic when he was discovered by W. Meister, a local SoCal mentor and philanthropist and superb bike racer who was great. After joining the ragtag Peninsula CC army outside San Pedro, Smasher distinguished himself through acts of intelligence and bravery, but mostly bravery. Actually, exclusively bravery. His actions included the weekly smashing of the NPR wankers, smashing of the weekly Donut, and smashing at Telo, where he became a watchword for smashing followed by beer. In 2013 Smasher was offered a spot on the SPY-Giant-RIDE elite masters cycling team thanks to lobbying by his good friend W. Meister, which he repaid with treachery.

Despite Smasher’s successes, he was passed over for promotion on the squad while weaker, less handsome, and more cowardly riders claimed choice spots on the podium. Wholly inadequate riders claimed credit for some of Smasher’s accomplishments and also wanted a cut of his $20 in winnings. Adversaries on other teams brought charges of corruption or other malfeasance, but most often he was acquitted in formal inquiries. W. Meister investigated his accounts and found that Smasher had gone into debt after spending much of his own money on races rather than billing his club for events he never attended, as was the norm. Some of Smasher’s accounting irregularities were blamed on Olive and Stanley, his two associates.

Frustrated and bitter at this, as well as at the lack of camaraderie he had enjoyed while riding in the South Bay, Smasher joined Big Orange at the end of the 2015 season. Enamored of their lizard collector-like team atmosphere and vomitus-inspired kit design, he was the star recruit for the team and was showered with free socks and a spare tire, which he promptly sold on eBay.

However, secretly believing that he was better than Chucky and Dr. Whaaaat? and W. Meister, Smasher decided to change teams and opened secret negotiations with Surf City’s undercover, teammate-stealing, stealth operative, Faithle S. Destroyer. On December 12, 2015, he was offered, and secretly accepted, a slot on the Surf City team.

Smasher’s scheme to sneak away from Big O under cover of darkness with all his new socks and the proprietary Big O asphalt magnet was exposed when W. Meister, temporarily lame from a bicycle-falling-off-incident, stopped by at the end of the Wheatgrass Ride to say hello to his friends and Prez. There, Prez made suspicious comments about “Who was Smasher riding for?” when all knew that Smasher was the star lizard recruit for Big O. Once confronted by W. Meister with his perfidy, Smasher tried to pretend that he felt terrible and that he had been about to confess. W. Meister congratulated him on having joined a team loaded with legit bike racers and Prez.

Smasher received a commission as lead-out fodder in the Surf City Army, an annual salary of £360, and a set of new wheels made of carbon and a carbon frame made of 100% pure carbon that he was able to purchase at a 25% markup above retail. He led out Surf forces in numerous crits for several years, occasionally placing in the top fifty while Charon and Tatty-poo won all the money, glory, chicks, podium spots, and bibles. As a token of appreciation for his service, Tatty-poo inked a tramp stamp on his buttocks when he left the team.

In the winter of 2019, Smasher left Surf and returned to Big Orange, a broken man who no longer even liked lizards. He was well received by his former teammates and given a cardboard box, but was frowned upon by those who knew the details of his sordid betrayal. His relationship with his mentor, idol, hero, friend, bosom buddy, pal, helper, right hand man, guy who always had his back, supporter, defender, advocate, and admirer, W. Meister, was never the same.

Because of the way he changed sides, Smasher’s name quickly became a byword in cycling for treason or betrayal. His conflicting legacy is recalled in the ambiguous nature of some of the memorials that have been placed in his honor.

END

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