Dummy talk

January 26, 2018 Comments Off on Dummy talk

Chris Froome delivered an early Christmas gift during the off season when he tested positive for way-too-much salbutamol, giving bloggers, cyclists stuck on Zwift in the basement for the winter, and fanboy journalists tons of fodder to get through the lull in the pro road racing season. Unfortunately, many foolish things were said, and more unfortunately, all of this dummy talk recorded in print.

David Lapparient, president of the UCI: “This is bad for the image of cycling.” Is it? How? Cycling’s image is and has been and will always be doping, with Lance as the always-relevant cheater, hopscotching from race to race, delivering air-light pronouncements and analysis on the fake sport he fakishly ruined.

Javier Guillén, director of the Vuelta: “It’s concerning. We can’t take any part in it, either in favour or against, obviously.” Uh … this guy is about to get banned and have his Vuelta title stripped, doing immense damage to your race, and you can’t take sides?

Alberto Contador, former banned doper: “You can’t have cases drag on and on, it has to be dealt with quickly.” What does this even mean? You have due process or you don’t. What’s the mechanism for “quickly” having Froomester do a lab-replication to show he wasn’t doping, and/or for “quickly” getting a CAS appeal heard? In what language is “appeal” a synonym for “quickly”?

Owain Doull, Team Sky rider: “I was at the team camp in December and it was pretty much business as usual.” Probably not the best quote when asked how your team is dealing with accusations of doping, cover-ups, secret packet drug deliveries, missing laptops with medical records, and you know, very bad stuff.

Movement for Credibility in Cycling: “This is the reason why MPCC and its Board of Directors, without making any assumption towards the final decision, asks Team Sky to suspend [Chris Froome] on a voluntary basis.” First, the name of your group, guys. There is no credibility in cycling and never has been. Second, asking Team Sky to forego its due process protections for shitsngiggles? Third, asking Team Dope to voluntarily kill its cash cow? Goodness. Stuuuuuu-pid.

Tom Dumoulin, rival and 2017 Giro winner: “What can I say now about the Froome case? I cannot say anything because I don’t know the details. I only know that he’s positive … ” What can you say? You can say you think he’s most likely a dopey doper who dopes. For starters.

Dave Brailsford, director for Team Dope: “I have the utmost confidence that Chris followed the medical guidance in managing his asthma symptoms, staying within the permissible dose for Salbutamol.” Did he not notice that the positive test was for double the permissible dose? Total dummy talk.

Geraint Thomas, Team Dope rider: “It’s another thing against the team but I do trust that he wouldn’t have gone out of his way to cheat.” So he would cheat if it were really easy, but wouldn’t go out of his way to do it? Nice.

Patrick Lefevere, QuickStep team manager: “I’m sad. First of all, I’m sad.” Yes, it’s so sad when a doper dopes and gets caught. I’d argue that it’s not sad. It’s predictable and it’s part of the freak show. Sad? Sad is when some tenement burns down. Sad is Sandy Hook. This isn’t sad, it’s the entertainment business.

Gianni Bugno, ex-pro and convicted drug trafficker: “Froome is innocent until proven guilty and so it’s right he can race.” Yet another example of knuckleheads conflating criminal guilt with civil proceedings, in this case a private arbitration process.

Dick Pound, former WADA president: “If you’re over the threshold by 100 per cent, that needs some explanation.” No, it doesn’t. It needs a ban.

Chris Froome, confused bicycle racer: “I know what those limits are, and I’ve never gone over those limits.” Earth to Chris: Yes, you have. That’s what this is all about. You have gone over limits by 100 percent. Dummy talk …

Wout Poels, Team Dope rider: “Every once in a while we get a small update and behind the scenes, Chris and his lawyers are working hard to solve the problem.” I like the way it’s posed as a problem to be solved, like a quadratic equation. No suggestion that they are feverishly working to find way to get a cheater off the hook.

Mathieu van der Poel, ‘Cross rider: “A suspension, that’s what I think. For me it’s a positive test. If the limit is 1,000 and he’s up to 2,000, then there’s not much discussion needed. That’s a positive test.” Okay, someone finally said something that made sense.

Katie Compton, ‘Cross rider: “It doesn’t make sense that you could have that much in your system and still be able to pedal that hard. I don’t know. I feel like something else is going on.” I wonder what that could possibly be? Maybe time to get O.J. on the case?

Brent Copeland, Bahrain-Merida team manager: “You’re riding through different climatic conditions all the time and unfortunately they do suffer from asthma and a lot of riders do use this substance to help them out.” Yes, they do use it to help them out, and Chris helped himself too much. Ergo, busted.

Lance Armstrong, Face of Pro Cycling: “Cycling is the sporting world’s doormat. I have to say that I take a lot of blame for that.” Still one of the dumbest people to open his mouth in front of a microphone, and still everyone’s go-to quote machine for all things cycling. Name another sport whose banned villains are the most relevant voices in the game.

Greg Lemond, Tour winner: “If this is what he claims, then it’s simple, he broke the rules and should be punished accordingly.” Oops! Something intelligent sneaked into this post!

Christian Prudhomme, director of the Tour: “We want the situation to be cleared up, to get out of the darkness and ambiguity.” Darkness? Are we in a cave? Ambiguity? He tested double the limit. Sheesh. What Prudhomme means is the ambiguity of whether he’s going to have a winner in 2018 or a winner in 2018 who gets stripped in 2019.

Chris Froome, unhappy asthmatic: “This is quite a horrible situation if I’m honest. We’re working as hard as we can to get to the bottom of this.” Kind of like Prudhomme’s dark cave, this is very simple. You took too much and got caught. And “get to the bottom” implies some nefarious scheme that Inspector Lestrade and Holmes are working hard to solve. Nope.

Tom van Damme, UCI Road Commission President: “It is unfortunate that a problem in the gray zone is now being enlarged, unfortunately we have to follow the rules of WADA.” Unfortunate that you have due process? It would so much easier if you could just do what? Shoot him?

Romain Bardet, AG2R La Mondiale rider: “I don’t see how Froome can race as if nothing is going on.” He has four million reasons to keep racing, actually. Every year.

Brian Cookson, ousted UCI president: “I mistakenly thought that the matter must have been resolved.” In this case, “resolved” means that it was swept under the table. Cookson said this knowing that Froome had tested positive, he just didn’t know it was about to be found out. Wannnnnker.

Julie Harringon, British Cycling CEO: “The issue in this case is that the process was leaked.” No, Julie, the issue is that Froome was doping.

Mauro Vegni, director of the Giro: “Everything is in the hands of the UCI.” No, it isn’t. It’s in the hands of Froome’s legal team, the UCI, and ultimately the Court of Arbitration for Sport.

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About SouthBayCycling.com: This the all-things-cycling blog about cycling in the South Bay and cycling in Los Angeles, maintained and authored by me, Seth Davidson, Torrance-based bicycle lawyer, bike racer, and personal injury attorney.

 

The existential crisis of bicycle clubs

August 2, 2016 § 33 Comments

I always thought bike clubs were dumb. Why does anyone need an organization to ride a stupid bicycle, drink beer, and pedal around outdoors in your underwear? These things can all be done unaffiliated.

That’s why even though I’ve belonged to many clubs over the years, they’ve been racing clubs that got me a $5 discount on a pair of socks, a couple of free bottles, and the Always Promised But Never Delivered Race Reimbursements At The End Of The Year.

Your club is probably a lot better than the ones I’ve always belonged to, but it’s still dumb. I mean, think how goofy you would look if you went to dinner with your family and everyone was wearing identical clothes. Now multiply it times a hundred, and make it matching underwear worn outside. Really.

Also, you don’t need matching undies to make friends, although I certainly understand that there are situations in which it helps.

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My outlook has changed, though. Over the years I’ve noticed that bike clubs really can have a purpose other than underwear coordination. One of those should be education. As I’ve noted before, the Old Ways Have Changed. Cycling is no longer a lunatic fringe activity where a few newbies join each year and are carefully disciplined by grizzled old-timers like Jack and Phil and Jeff who teach you the rules with sharp words.

The newbies are everywhere. They’re in your club. They are swirling around in traffic, mostly oblivious to how badly they can be hurt. Some of them may have even joined a club–your club–under the illusion that they’ll get some friendly instruction. (Note: Screaming “Hold your line!” followed by a wheel chop isn’t instruction.) Often, they assume that the skills they had at age 9, plus SRAM Rred and a bunch of carbon, are all they need to stay alive.

This is of course not true. The full carbon actually makes you go faster, and we all know what happens when you put lots of speed and money and carbon at the fingertips of not much skill and even fewer brains.

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Since we can’t scream riding lessons anymore (I’m too old and tired, and the newbies mostly look like they know how to throw a right hook), what’s left is education.

It’s time for your club to assume the position and start teaching, and to do so formally. Why can riders join a club without mandatory training? Why can they join a club without classroom education? Why are we enticing people to be members of a fun activity that really isn’t any fun when you’re experiencing it through a breathing tube?

Our club held its first ever Cycling Savvy class for our members. It was my third time to take the class and I was absolutely electrified by it.

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Over forty people showed up on a Saturday afternoon to, yes, learn how to ride a bike. Much pride was swallowed and surprise, much was learned. Following the lead of clubs like BCCC and the Long Beach Freddies, Big Orange has not simply made education available to its members, but it’s started down a path where education will be a requirement for membership. “Life over underwear coordination!” or something like that.

In addition, the club has taken the radical step of offering group ride training on its Sunday rides. This means rides with actual leaders who provide actual instruction based on many of the techniques taught in Cycling Savvy. My personal favorite technique is called “Control from the rear.” Pretty awesome, huh?

Whether you’re a race club, a riding club, or a baby seal club, if you’re pedaling a bike you need skills to survive. Implementing club-wide education doesn’t make you any more of a bike dork (or any less, I should add), but it makes cycling just a tiny bit safer. As Fireman pointed out, “Even if 90% of those dorks don’t get it, all you have to save is one life and suddenly it was all worthwhile.”

Cycling Savvy is offering a free course courtesy of the Orange County Wheelmen on August 4th. In typical cycling planning fashion, I got notice yesterday, but if you can make time for it, and if you belong to a club, and if you think making it home from the ride alive is a good thing, take a couple of hours out of your Thursday and invest it in the future. You can even wear your favorite garish underwear to the meeting if you need chamois time.

It’s something every underwear club in America could benefit from.

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