July 15, 2013 § 19 Comments
It doesn’t matter whether you think any individual rider in the Turdy Farce is doping. Nor does it matter whether the riders are doping. Nothing will ever resuscitate this so-called sporting event.
A friend invited me to a Turdy-watching party today. Ostensibly we gathered to see who would prevail on Mt. Ventoux. Ostensibly we gathered to watch a bike race. Ostensibly we gathered to enjoy a performance of extraordinary physical strength and endurance under incomprehensible stress and strain.
All I can say is this: Thank Dog my friend is a wizard on the grill, his fiancee is a magician in the kitchen, the beer tub was well stocked, and the company was comprised of friends and riding mates, because the bike race never materialized.
How the Turdy was watched
What amazed me was the cynicism. I thought that it was only me who considered the whole thing an elaborate staging of athletic porn, but it wasn’t. The moment the Froomster began his wild 120 rpm acceleration the catcalls started. Nothing about his ride was exempt from criticism. His dorky pedaling style, reminiscent of a novice who’s still learning how to ride smoothly, his Cat 5 tendency to keep dropping his head, his constant reference to the radio commands in his earpiece, and his obliteration of the field were all equally derided.
The Tour was simply a backdrop for a get-together of friends who happen to cycle. Nothing about the race was respected, admired, or given any credibility at all. The bankrupt team of Phil and Paul, the sad sack attempts of Bob Roll to fire us up, and the racing itself were dismissed by virtually everyone there.
Good luck with that
How does an event that cannot capture the belief of the sport’s most ardent practitioners hope to survive? The answer, of course, is France. Despite the conviction that the best rider is a drug cheat, most of our crowd said they’d choose to go visit France and watch the Tour over any other bike race.
It makes sense. The riders can do whatever they want because it won’t diminish the fun of riding the cols, celebrating on the roadsides, and touring in France. In the same way, the Froomster’s fraud had zero effect on our ability to enjoy the food, drink, and camaraderie, and zero effect on the rides we’d done this weekend or the rides we’ll do the next.
This is the post-Armstrong age of sports spectating. We understand it’s all fake but gladly seize the chance to enjoy ourselves anyway. The giants of the road have been reduced to dwarves of the microphone and the lab.
You may find it all a bit sad and disappointing, but while you’re reflecting pass the sausage and open another beer for me, please.
July 12, 2013 § 44 Comments
Newsflash! Chris Froome is on drugs!
Newsflash! So am I! (Beer’s a drug, right?)
Several different methodologies have pointed out the obvious: When the Froomster’s time on Ax3 beats Lance and others in their doping heyday … it’s pretty plain he’s doping! This story in Outside confirms what everyone knows and no one cares about. The Tour de France is athletic bike porn.
It’s not real. The performances are not real. Everything is staged. It is as comparable to the sex you have with your wife as the stuff they show on http://www.superpornstaraction.com.
The problem with the Outside.com analysis is that it involves numbers. I hate numbers. I still don’t know who got to the town faster, the man driving x miles per hour at y velocity, or the train that left the station at time z going speed f divided by the number of apples in a bushel.
What I do know is that the dude who took the most drugs clandestinely is winning the Tour. How do I know? I know because of Wiggins.
The Wiggo factor
Was I the only one who noticed that the defending Tour champ abdicated shortly after winning? And that’s like, the only time that’s ever happened? And, it’s, like, incomprehensible? And what’s more bizarre, he didn’t even retire, he just said that next year it would be the Froomster?
What the fucking fuck?
Then I thought about it, and now I can explain it, especially since Wiggo has vanished from the scene. Here’s what happened.
Wiggins was put on Brailsford’s plan of “marginal gains.” This means microdosing and evading detection by training in Mallorca, where the testers can’t surprise you. Wiggins, who is an alcoholic nutcase, was driven to the brink of insanity because he had to go from a track rider/stage race flailer to Tour contender. The insanity was caused by his fear of getting busted; Wiggins has shown in his autobiography and elsewhere that he is a very fragile mental case.
Froome, who was an absolute nobody before Brailsford got him on the drug program, could have won the Tour in 2012. This would have been uncool, because Wiggins was winning sprint finishes, destroying all preparatory stage races, and on track to win the Tour in Britain’s Olympic year.
Brailsford therefore cut a deal with Froome. Wiggins would win in 2012 and the Froomster would win in 2013. The parties essentially agreed to this in public when Wiggins said that he wouldn’t defend his Tour title but would focus on the Giro. This is like someone saying they weren’t going to defend their NCAA baskeball title but would instead focus on the NIT.
Man of his word
Wiggins went from being unbeatable in 2012 to Mr. Nobody in 2013. He flailed and bailed in the Giro, and distinguished himself in the build-up races by being completely indistinct. He faded from the scene, and, trust me, you will never hear from him again. He is a fragile crazypants who cannot cope with the cheating and lying required by the Brailsford doping program. His pro career is over, and we should thank him for contributing “bone idle wankers” to our lexicon.
Froome, on the other hand, has all the qualities of a top-tier level doper. He boldly proclaims his cleanness. He destroys his rivals by massive margins. He throws out wattage — 6.3 w/kg and more — that are impossible in an undoped state. Best of all, he is backed by the drug enabling quotes of Brailsford, who tosses off bizzaricisms like “At some point in time, clean performances will surpass the doped performances in the past.”
That’s like saying, “At some point, Formula 1 cars with no aerodynamic fairings and design will go as fast as those that are wholly aerodynamic.”
It makes no fucking sense at all, based as it is on neither data nor science, but merely on the assertions of someone trying to defend an obviously doped stable of athletes.
Thankfully, VeloNews and other lickspittle cycling magazines have accepted this at face value because their advertising depends on the deluded and jaded readers who either don’t know or don’t care that everything produced by Team Sky flies in the face of reality and fairness. The pedestrian, non-superhuman times turned in by those who are racing against the Froomster show that although the peloton is cleaner, top honors still go to the cheater who goes biggest and who dares anyone to bust him.
At least with Lance, the winner had a cool name, attractive wristbands, and a series of good looking women permanently attached to his arm.
May 26, 2013 § 57 Comments
Newsflash: Lance Armstrong has been stripped of…pretty much everything.
Tour titles? Gone.
Income stream from his cancer foundation? Gone.
Ability to compete in sanctioned athletic events and the attendant income? Gone.
Mansion in Austin? Gone.
Self-respect after not getting hugged by Oprah? Totally gone.
Bonus newsflash: It’s not over yet. The Justice Department has joined Floyd’s whistleblower suit…former sponsors are suing to get their money back…he will be paying for his transgressions for a long, long time.
I don’t know about you…
But I believe in redemption. Not the Shawshank kind — I believe in the kind of redemption that says once you’ve been punished for your transgressions according to rule and/or law, you’re redeemed.
This type of redemption may not mean that you’re a sterling moral character, or even that you admit guilt or feel sorry for what you’ve done. It just means that you broke the rule, got punished, and are now free to move on just like new. Something worthless has been exchanged for something useful and new. Just like a coupon.
When you murder someone, rape someone, abuse a child, defraud the elderly, skim from the company till, or run a red light, your redemption begins when you’ve served your time or paid your fine. Redemption means trading in the old for the new. It means a fresh start.
And in case you were wondering, along with the punishment fitting the crime, redemption is the premise upon which our entire legal system is built.
Redemption gives convicted felons the right to vote, the right to work, the right to have a passport, and the right to fully participate as citizens once they’ve served their time. Redemption doesn’t mean you have to like the sinner or the ex-con. It just means you can’t legally continue punishing and persecuting him.
Lance is no convicted felon. If you don’t think he’s been punished, see above. If you’re still harboring resentment and anger, that’s understandable. But he’s not going anywhere, and I’d suggest that there’s a better way to deal with him than continually bludgeoning him for his transgressions.
It’s an old concept, actually. It’s called forgiveness.
Cranking up the PR machine
Lance has recently begun doing what he does best: Going on the offensive. Whether it’s calling Patrick Brady and chatting with him for an hour or unblocking Lesli Cohen and a bunch of other diehard Lance opponents, it’s clear that he has a plan in place and has begun to execute it.
What’s the plan?
The plan is to get back in front of the sports media and build Lance 3.0. This newest iteration is simple. Lance 3.0 is a…
- Family man.
- World class athlete.
What will Lance 3.0 do? He will sell something. What will he sell? I don’t know. But I do know this: He won’t be setting up a pyramid scheme to defraud Medicare, or a criminal syndicate to assassinate journalists. Most likely, he’s got a plan that will let him earn a living as a speaker/athlete/patient advocate.
Is that so bad? How many other people get out of prison and see their mission in life as one dedicated to helping others? Mind you, I don’t know that that’s his plan, but what does he have left? And why is it contemptible for him to try and rebuild a career that’s been destroyed through his own mistakes?
Ultimately, though, does it really matter what his end game is? No.
What matters is you
A group of local riders were climbing Latigo Canyon Road yesterday, and guess who they met at the top? Barry Bonds.
He’s the guy who was held up as one of the most evil and crooked baseball players of all time, a guy who stole Hank Aaron’s record on the strength of drugs and lies. Today he’s a slim and fit bicycle rider.
When the gang ran into him on Latigo, no one cringed, or cursed him, or called him a scumbag doper. Instead, they mugged for the camera and posted photos on Facebook.
First, of course, is star power…and we are here in LA. Second, though, is the fact that Barry has paid for what he did, and he didn’t even go on Oprah and confess. We know that he was caught, that he’s been punished, and that now he’s just a dude on a bike who used to hit a lot of home runs. Our lives are too short to keep hating on a guy who’s been punished to the full extent that the system demanded, particularly since all he seems to do now is pedal around, show up at the occasional crit, and generally act like a normal dude.
We’re done with his crime, and so is he. Now we just want to say hello and ride our bikes.
What about Lance?
Lance is different from Barry because the latter earned hundreds of millions of dollars and wisely invested them over the course of a long career. Barry doesn’t have to work.
Lance has five kids, huge ongoing legal bills, and a lot of years left to live. It’s impossible that he’s got anywhere near the pile that Barry is sitting on, or even anything close to it. Unlike Barry, Lance has gotta work. Rather than pulling up the drawbridge and living inside the fort, Lance has got to get out and mingle in order to rebuild.
For people getting out of prison and living in halfway houses, it’s called “You have to get a job.”
Lance showed us that pro cycling is a corrupt freak show. Danilo di Luca confirmed yesterday that it still is. Nibali, Wiggins, Dave Brailsford, Chris Froome, Pat McQuaid, Hein Verbruggen, and USA Cycling reaffirm that anyone who thinks the sport is clean isn’t thinking very hard.
If you hate Lance because he “ruined the sport,” maybe it’s time YOU moved on. The pro sport is rotten. If you follow it and still bury your head in the jocks of its stars, there’s a problem all right, and the problem is with you. If you can watch Nibali repeatedly hit the gas in the snow at the end of the most grueling stage of the most grueling stage race while his competition is rolling over and dying on the slopes, you’re the one who needs to analyze my modification of this old saw: “Fool me once, shame on you, fool me twice, shame on me. Fool me over and over and over, and I’m a fucking moron who enjoys being fooled.”
As Billy Stone might put it, “And the dopers ruined your life as a Cat 4 masters athlete exactly how?”
Where’s it all going?
Now that Lance 1.0 and 2.0 have been airbrushed out of the history books, what’s wrong with giving 3.0 the same degree of redemption that should be afforded to axe murderers, tax cheats, misdemeanor DUI’s, and kids on grade probation in college? How is our agenda advanced by refusing to lay down arms, and instead insisting that he still be treated like the unrepentant, unpunished cheat that he was a year ago, when he’s repented and been punished?
Does it ennoble us to keep shrieking “Off with his head!” after his head has been offed, stuck on a pike, and paraded around his kids’ schoolyards? I think it does the opposite. It shows us up to be petty, vengeful dorks who actually think that pro cycling is so important it transcends common notions of justice and fair play.
Five years hence, ten years hence, Lance 3.0 will have been fully rebuilt. He’s that smart and a whole lot smarter, he’s that hard working, and he’s that motivated. He’s also got close to four million people on Twitter who want to know what he says and thinks, as well as five kids to feed, clothe, and put through college.
Most importantly, he’s not going anywhere. Do you want to be the wild-eyed crazy standing in the corner screaming, “But he doped! He cheated! He lied! He ruined my Cat 4 masters racing career!” long after he’s been punished and the rest of the world has moved on?
If the UCI and USA Cycling and WADA are done with his case, then I am, too. Keep clubbing at him if you want, but don’t expect me to join in. I’d rather go club some of the baby seals on next Tuesday’s NPR.
October 19, 2012 § 17 Comments
7-time Tour strippee Lance Armstrong stormed across the finish line in Austin, Texas tonight, showing flashes of the combativeness that made him the most feared competitor of his era, but doing little to dent the commanding lead taken in the previous mountain stage by USADA.
“The team was there for me when it mattered,” said an obviously knackered Armstrong. “And now…let’s have a helluva good time tonight!”
Surrounded by his teammates, most of whom have been at his side for each of his previously stripped Tour non-victories, the mood was defiant, even though the win in Austin took back only fifteen seconds from USADA’s overall advantage of more than ten minutes.
Teammate Gerry Goldstein, a criminal defense lawyer who has had his hands full of late, gave a blunt response to reporters after the stage who questioned how Goldstein could support someone whose charity was built on the back of history’s greatest sporting fraud. “I’m a big fan of what he has done. Overcoming cancer and doing what he did, who gives a fuck about anything else? That’s so much more important as a role model and a human being. Quit whining about it. This is the 21st Century. The ends justify the means.”
Kansas City Royals pitcher Jeremy Guthrie, who donated a pair of cleats to the silent auction, said he wants to continue supporting Livestrong. “Obviously, some things have a left a little scar, but people think it’s still important to come out and support Livestrong,” Guthrie said. “Charles Manson left scars too, but you know what? He’s helped a lot of people through his Minister for Life Prison Ministry.”
Experts question whether there are enough stages left for an Armstrong comeback
“They’ve only got two big mountain stages left,” said veteran race strategist Betsy Andreu. “The UCI stage into Aigle, and the Livestrong stage. He’s got strong teammates for the Aigle stage in McQuaid and Vergruggen, but USADA’s beefed up its mountain team this year with that 1,000-page dossier, eyewitness testimony, and the three new riders from Lausanne, Padua, and Montreal.” [Ed. note: Andreu was referring to the three new team USADA signings of Jean-Paul Cas, Benedetto Roberti, and Emilio Wada.]
USADA refused to say the race was over, pointing to Armstrong’s history as a 7-time strippee. “He’s the favorite. We’ve done our best. The hay’s in the barn, as G$ would say. All we can do from here is race smart and hope our team does what it’s been hired to do.”
Armstrong saw it differently. “It’s been an interesting couple of weeks. It’s been a difficult couple of weeks for me and my family, my friends and this foundation.”
When asked if this is the toughest race he’s ever ridden, Armstrong smiled wryly. “I’ve been better, but I’ve also been worse. ‘Unaffected’ was probably not the best choice of words,” he added, referring to a tweet immediately after USADA attacked on the lower slopes of the Col d’Lifetimeban, which put the cycling star into difficulty without obvious recourse to his stalwart suitcase, which former teammates now claim contained something stronger than courage.
Livestrong stage could be pivotal
If Armstrong manages to regain time in Monday’s stage into Aigle, commentators believe that the race will boil down to the final mountaintop finish on Plateau d’ViveForte. “Even if he takes back five, six minutes, it will still be extremely difficult on the final stage,” says crisis management expert Bud Packington.
Adds Packington: “His key climbing allies have either crashed out or have gone home in the broom wagon for finishing outside the time limit. Nike, Trek, SRAM, Anheuser-Busch, all gone, and Oakley getting shelled with every acceleration. Who’s he got left? Robin Williams?”
Smedley Turkins, brand manager for Michael Vick, Tiger Woods, and Charlie Hustle, concurred. “Read his statement when he stepped down as chairman of Livestrong: ‘To spare the foundation any negative effects as a result of controversy surrounding my cycling career, I will conclude my chairmanship.’
“What the fuck does that mean? It’s an admission that the controversy has affected Livestrong. Fine. What negative effects, and spare the foundation from what? The impact hasn’t been financial; donations have actually increased since he walked away from arbitration. It hasn’t been legal; no one’s suing Livestrong for fraud. Yet. What’s left? It’s the negative effect on the board from all the people who support and fund the organization who are saying, ‘Hey, wait a minute. We will not have the organization we cherish headed by a cheat.’ For now it’s a shrill voice, it’s a minority, and it’s only within the organization. But if he gets creamed at the stage going into Aigle, if McQuaid and Verbruggen crumple and fold, then that internal dissension will increase. He’ll risk going from chairman to board member to out the door. This was a prophylactic feint, and it’s a hint of things to come.”
It ain’t over ’til it’s over
“Don’t you believe it,” laughed George Hincapie when asked about Armstrong’s prospects for the remainder of the Tour. “He’s toughest when cornered. He’s got options galore.”
When pressed, Hincapie said this: “He’s going to confess. It won’t be a full confession, and it will be carefully worded by the leadout train. Herman will string it out in the last 3k, Fabiani will get him to the last kilometer, and Garvey or Ullman will deliver him to the final 200 meters. It will be a polished, nuanced admission that doesn’t even admit to much. You’ll see.”
Others were less sanguine. Joe Papp, CEO of Felons for Clean Sport, was tersely dismissive. “Never happen.”
Tardstick Ludington, loathesome Internet troll, was even more direct. “Wankmeister is a sociopath bully who lives in his parents’ basement,” he said in between electroshock treatments.
Before getting on the team bus, which was being pelted by angry Canadians who’d paid $35,000 apiece to be dropped and insulted by Armstrong on his annual “Jocksniffer Special” to Lake Louise, he evaluated his prospects thus: “The race is not to the swift, nor the battle to the strong, neither yet bread to the wise, nor yet riches to men of understanding, nor yet favor to men of skill; but time and chance happeneth to them all.”
Then he climbed aboard the bus, with not so much as a smidgeon of egg on his face.
July 10, 2012 § 18 Comments
It’s hard to come back from a pleasant vacation in Palm Springs after enjoying the 116-degree daytime temperatures only to find that I’ve been out-vulgared, and by a tweezly Brit bicycle rider, at that. As a kindergartner at Galveston’s Booker T. Washington Elementary School (since razed), I learned early the proper pronunciation and application of profanity. If you could have seen how proud I was when I finally mastered the high-speed phrase “cocksuckinmotherfuckinblueballedbitch,” you would have thought I was the cutest little six year-old you’d ever seen.
Don’t get me wrong. I haven’t rested on my laurels. I’ve worked hard and diligently these past decades to never slack off on nastyisms, crudification, and profanizing in every possible way. Need someone to say something foul and detestable in the presence of ladies? I’m your guy! Looking for an uncouth spewer of obscenity in a formal setting? Call me! Casting about for a dude who can overtrash the gutteriest filthmouth? That’s me. It’s always been me.
Until I happened to go off to Palm Springs for a vacation I didn’t even need only to find that the leader of the Turdy had given an interview laced with uglyisms and profanity of the worst sort.
The word “wanker”? I thought I fucking OWNED it.
The whole idea behind Brad Wiggins in this year’s Turdy France was that he would re-establish order in the peloton and earn back the loyal flock that had wandered a bit since Drugstrong’s heyday. He’d do drugs, but not enough to detect. He’d beat the snot out of everyone, but wouldn’t Simeoni-ize them. He’d get a stacked train of doped up stars to control the peloton, but wouldn’t let the 300-lb. sprunter dude win an Alpine stage.
We’d ignore that he’d never, ever shown himself to be a Turdy contender. We’d ignore that he trained in secret, in a place where the testers couldn’t arrive unannounced. We’d ignore that he was chalking it all up to hard work (“I’m on my bike. What are YOU on?”, etc.) Most of all, we’d let the bigtime fanboys like Bill Strickland, Joe Lindsey, and the other pitchers of softpoop get their pabulum machines cranked up so the “industry” could get back to what it does best: selling shit to fat people that they’ll mostly never use.
The whole idea, however, was NOT that Wiggo, or Wig Out, or Earwig, or Wiggster, would appropriate MY favorite pejorative and then make it even more awesome.
In case you hadn’t noticed, the word “wanker” was mine. It wasn’t yours. It wasn’t hers. It wasn’t theirs. And it sure as hell wasn’t Bradley Wiggins’s. Do a Google search for “wankmeister” and your hard drive will go limp with hits, so to speak.
Doesn’t matter now, though. No matter how hard I blog, and tweet, and holler in the future, Wiggy will forever own “fucking wanker” because he paired it with “cunt.” Put ‘em together and you get “fucking wanker cunt,” which is just about the most awesome vulgarism ever, bigger than spermface, even, or clithead. It’s that big.
Going big, then going home
The power in a true obscenity is only released when it boggles the mind. As a child, I still remember the first time I heard “cocksuckingmotherfuckingblueballedbitch.” I was six. It was my first day in kindergarten at Booker T. Some kids were talking trash. My brain ground to a halt. “Cocksucking,” I thought. “Is that what I think it is?” Then I listened in amazement as they repeated it. “Motherfucking? Is that what it sounds like?”
A stunning concatenation of images that weren’t even images filled my head as everything went blank. Then, dimly, “Blueballed” rambled in through the haze. “Blue balls? What are those? Mine are white.” I realized that it might mean someone had whacked you so hard in the nuts that they turned blue, like getting a charley-horse. “Wow, that’s gotta hurt.” And then, finally, like a gentle ending at the coda of a great violin concerto, “bitch.” Such an ordinary word…except that everyone knows bitches are girls, and girls don’t have balls, so this is a bitch with blue balls!
That moment when your mind smashes against a powerful obscenity, something truly fitted to make your brain twist and writhe and grapple, that’s the moment you know you’ve hit pay dirt, and that’s what happened the second Wiggsy unleashed “fucking wanker cunt.”
Imagine! “Wanker,” an ordinary enough piece of slang that makes you think of some chubby dude with a hairy navel locking himself into a public restroom stall, combined with “cunt,” a somewhat rough word that, however, can be made slightly less so by adding a “-y” on the end, as in, “Can I have a scoop of chocolate, a scoop of cunty, and some sprinkles mixed in?” tied together with the ordinary enough “fucking” so that it all seems to hang together until…wait!!! Wanker is a man! Cunt is a woman! A woman wanking! A man cunting! Tied together with fucking!
“BRAIN LOSING POWER! GIVE ME MORE POWER MR. SCOTT!”
“I CAN’T CAP’N, SHE’S GIVING ALL SHE’S GOT, IF I ASK FOR MORE SHE’LL BLOW!”
“MORE POWER, MR. SCOTT! THAT’S AN ORDER!”
“SHE CAN’T TAKE ANY MORE, CAP’N! SHE CAN’T!”
And there I’d still be, stalled in permanent brainlock with Mr. Sulu, Lieutenant Uhura, Mr. Spock, and Captain Kirk on the profanity bridge, if my phone hadn’t rung and knocked me out of the infinite obscenity loop.
What this means for the Tour
In addition to p*wning the snot out of Cuddle Evans in the time trail, Wiggsy took the time to explain that he “can’t be doing with” us fucking wanker cunts because it “justifies their own bone idleness.” Now hold on just one danged minute! Did he really say that he can’t “do” us fucking wanker cunts because of our bone idleness?
If I thought Wiggly taking ownership of “fucking wanker cunt” was astounding, the minute he accused us Twitterers of bone idleness, well, that just ended the discussion. Me? Having an idle bone? If he’d send me his mobile number I’d show him “idle.” Idle like a warren of rabbits, pal.
This dude just went from bottom of the poopstack to the top of the heap in my book. He wants to be big dog of nasty language? Take it away, Bradley. This is a chapter in Turdy France history that you will truly get to write on your own. The rest of us will be trailing, helplessly but awed, in your wake. The Tour de Curse is yours by a mile.
And it couldn’t happen to a bigger wanker.
July 6, 2012 § 12 Comments
The international organization representing the world’s professional cyclists, or CPA, announced today that it would boycott the remainder of the Turdy France unless the organizers, WADA, and the UCI immediately cease the unannounced “Higgs testing” that began July 4 of this year.
With CERN’s confirmation of the existence of the Higgs boson, or “God particle,” the World Antidoping Agency simultaneously announced that it had developed a “Higgs test” to determine the presence of the boson in human stool samples. Since the development of an effective test for EPO, physicists have observed that it was only a matter of time before lab testing caught up to what is known in the pro peloton as “Higgs doping.”
According to Peter Higgs, who first theorized about the existence of the boson in 1964, “It’s quite simple, really. The boson allows multiple identical particles to exist in the same place in the same quantum state. Think about it. A Higgs doper could, by injecting bosons into the bloodstream, allow multiple red blood cells to exist in the same place at the same time. A 49% hematocrit could be packed with three times the official reading’s worth of red blood cells, but never register as elevated.”
When asked if he thought that boson doping was in fact occurring, Dr. Higgs chuckled. “Of course it is. Brad Wiggins has been visiting the Hadron Supercollider in the off season for the last two years. The boy’s dumb as a box of biscuits; d’you think he’s hanging out to brush up on his calculus? That’s the world’s largest and highest-energy particle accelerator, and I think it’s clear he’s been climbing into the chamber and having them shoot bosons up his ass for months.”
Rider outrage at midnight testing
Mark Cavendish, reigning world champion, strongly disagreed with Dr. Higgs. “Fuckin’ dumbass,” said the typically blunt-spoken Cavendish through two feet of gauze from his latest finish-line crash. “We ain’t takin’ no fuckin’ bosons up the ass. We’re fuckin’ bike racers, not particle physicists.”
Jonathan Vaughters, admitted doper and anti-doping advocate, has sided with the cyclists. “The problem we have isn’t with the anti-boson doping programme. Gosh, I’m even willing to let them use the British spelling for ‘program.’ The problem is that these Higgs tests are highly invasive, are carried out late at night, and negatively affect the riders’ performance the following day.”
Adds admitted doper and anti-doping advocate David Millar: “Yeah, mate, that’s pretty much it, ey? Y’crack out 200km in the Tour and just as yer fallin’ asleep, some lab tester in a radiation suit comes in and wants to ram a supercollider tube up yer arse to check yer bunghole fer bosons? C’mon, ‘at’s bloody bullshit. Time they get the Higgs prod outter yer arse, yer wide awake, y’know? Then yer fuggin’ arse is so sore the next day y’can hardly sit on the saddle.”
Last-minute compromise in the works
UCI president Pat McQuaid dismissed the likelihood of a rider walkout. “Bunch of pussies, they’re always complaining about something. Radio bans, traffic furniture, preferential treatment of stars, riders getting killed or catastrophically injured, whatever. Back in my day we made five quid a month, slept on rock beds, sodomized each other between races, and was damn glad to have even that. Bottom line is that if they’re Higgs doping, we have to get to the bottom of it. And there’s no truth to the rumor that the UCI received money for a new supercollider from Team SKY.”
Jean-Patrick-de-Tuileries St. Pou-pou, director of merchandising for the Tour, was more circumspect. “We believe that we will be able to reach a compromise that satisfies the needs of all parties to not suffer another shameful doping scandal. There may in fact be a ‘two-speeds’ peloton, which would explain why the French riders are no longer in the top one hundred. But one cannot be certain.”
July 5, 2012 § 11 Comments
I rarely envy the brilliance of others. I figure they worked hard to achieve it, and they were lucky enough to pick the right set of parents, and so they deserve all the glory it reaps.
Sometimes, though, someone says something that’s so profound and amazing that it changes forever the way I see the matter at hand. Take a minute and read this post by Captaintbag.
It’s elegant. It’s eloquent. And like Einstein’s theory of relativity, it reconciles a whole world of disturbing contradictions into a single, comprehensible, unified whole. Upon reading Captaintbag’s simple formula, my first reaction was that “all is now revealed.” My second was envy. My third, disciple-like, is devotion.
Stating the problem
Cycling at the amateur and professional levels has always been riven by two irreconcilable principles. The first is that cycling is sport that should therefore be played according to rules and penalties that apply to all. Sticky water bottle? $75 fine. Blood bags from Dr. Fuentes? Two-year excommunication to the golf course.
The second principle is that winners are deities.
When principles collide
These two principles lead to contradictory phenomena. Fairly applied rules means that cheating will not be rewarded. Deification of winners means that they will be deified, even if they cheat.
In the Newtonian scheme of things, sporting ethics were a constant. The quality of an athlete as a disreputable winner who cheated, or as an honorable loser who played fairly, or as a deified winner who played by the rules, could be determined by the application of immutable sporting ethics as codified by the rules, which themselves were tweaked over time to ensure that new types of play (freakish tt positions, EPO use) comported with the unchanging ethic.
Yet none of it worked. Heroes like Anquetil plainly said that doping was a necessity. Though punished for his refusal to take a dope test after smashing the hour record by having the record stripped, he remained a hero to many, even an honorable one for his refusal to lie about the demands of the sport.
The golden era of cycling, from about 1995 to 2005, was one of superhuman accomplishment driven at the point of a needle. Those most worthy of honor in that pantheon, giants like Hincapie for his record participations in Roubaix and the Tour, stand tarnished. Honorable heroes, yet tarnished cheats.
The Captaintbag theory of relativity solves all
Simply put, the Taintbag Theory of Turdy Tawdriness states that the Tour is a spectacle. Indeed, this is merely a modern restatement of Henri Desgrange’s founding principle, that the Tour is nothing if not an excess.
Sporting ethic has no role in the Tour other than as a pliable handmaiden to the brutish demands of spectacle. The Tour, as Taintbag’s formula expresses, is bloody athletes tangled in barbed wire, drug scandal, horrific crashes, noble sacrifices on cruel Alpine slopes, tragic deaths of children run over by the publicity caravan, voluptuous divas smothering sweat-drenched riders on a blow-up podium, car crashes, motorcycle crashes, snow, ice, rain, unbearable sun, cheating, lies, chicanery, backdoor deals, stage wins bartered and sold like used cars at a swap meet, and everything done on a global stage before thousands of reporters while broadcast to hundreds of millions and commentated by clowns named Sherwen, Liggett, and Roll, characters as outlandish as their outsized, drunken egos.
This, according to the Taintbag Theory of Turdy Tawdriness, is the Tour. It is not right or wrong, good or bad, hero or villain, fair play or foul. It is the violent and bloody and greedy and dollar-soaked and testosterone drenched hand-to-hand combat of crazy puppets, laughed at and cried over, loved and reviled, held tightly and discarded in disgust like just another condom whose duty is done.
Enjoy the taint. Decry the taint. Long live the taint!