Please shut up k thx

November 19, 2018 § 16 Comments

When you are busted for doping you need to shut up. This is because the more you talk, the worse you sound. The best dopers are Eastern European because they say nothing when they get busted. And when they get through shutting up, you know what they do?

They shut up some more.

Sorry not sorry

I had hoped that posting about Steve Strickler and his sorry, cheating, doping behavior would help him do what he needs to do: Shut up. This is because when you are a lying, doping cheater, nothing you say is going to help your cause except exactly the thing you cannot say, which is this:

I am sorry for lying to and cheating my friends, family, fellow competitors, race promoters, and race sponsors. I am a liar and a cheat and I have tarnished all the people who believed that I was an honest athlete and who raced on my team. I am going to go away now and ride my bike and try to make sense of how I could be such a narcissistic, lying cheat.

Instead, Strickler chose to post this non-apology on Facebook, and yes, I will help break it down. It is pretty fucked up.

What it all means, line by line

  1. “It has been brought to my attention, that it is important for those connected to bicycle racing to understand the current situation about my recent ban.” Wanky interp: People are calling me out as a liar and a cheat, especially that asshole blogger Seth. I wouldn’t have said anything about this unless publicly pressured. I feel no guilt about this at all but I am going to re-direct you in case you have been paying attention to facts.
  2. “In November of 2017, I received a full knee replacement. On the direction of my doctor, and with standard testosterone therapy prescription I started to replace my low testosterone in March of 2018 to aid in my recover and for overall well-being.” Wanky interp: My cheating was medically necessary. Because my doctor prescribed me banned drugs for overall well-being, cheating is okay. Don’t you feel sorry for me now?
  3. “I had absolutely no intentions of racing in 2018.” Wanky interp: I didn’t plan to cheat, it just happened. Like rain.
  4. “Impulsively at a last moment I decided to go to the Dana Point Grand Pre.” Wanky interp: Doping is okay if it is done at the last moment and misspelled.
  5. “I knew I would not be competitive, I just wanted to be there to support the event and the cycling community.” Wanky interp: I was doping for YOU.
  6. “The results of that choice are now public and will forever be such. I can’t alter this bad choice.” Wanky interp: I got caught. FML.
  7. “This was the one and only race I attended this year.” Wanky interp: Cheating once is okay, and I never ever cheated before this. Really!
  8. “I was randomly selected in the field and yes, I tested positive for a banned substance.” Wanky interp: It was pretty unfair that I got caught.
  9. “I accept full responsibility for this choice and the ban that comes with my choice.” Wanky interp: I’m not going to apologize because I did nothing wrong besides getting caught.
  10. “However, I do not want this choice and set up circumstances to define me or my 30 years of cycling.” Wanky interp: I never cheated before, I promise.
  11. “I will seek to make something good from this, for me personally and for the sport that I love so much.” Wanky interp: No apologies, no refunds, just a vague promise to be a good boy while I sit in the corner.
  12. “I am asking nothing in return from anyone. I just feel this needs to be in context, to this situation, and was asked by someone I respect to provide that context.” Wanky interp: I didn’t cheat and my situation is really unique.
  13. “I am not excusing myself, just explaining.” Wanky interp: I did nothing wrong.

Mental mishmash

There are really only a couple of issues here that need to be addressed, as the whole thing is so absurdly self-serving as to barely warrant reading with a straight face.

First is Steve’s suggestion that this was a one-off, medically necessary step that he blundered into. He insinuates that the testosterone was medically necessary by juxtaposing it with a knee operation as if testosterone replacement therapy has something to do with knee surgery. Of course it doesn’t, and Steve admits that it’s simply a “well-being” thing.

This is a key part of his plea, the idea that at age 58 he suddenly needed the testosterone. He’s hoping you are stupid enough to think that putting “knee replacement surgery” and “standard testosterone therapy” in the same paragraph makes the two related.

If Steve were telling the truth, all he would have to do is find a neutral third party and authorize that party to get copies of his medical records for the past ten years, redacting them except as they show that he received the doping therapy only in March, 2018. Of course the problem with this approach is that Steve’s story may well be one big fat lie, and his medical records may well show that he has been doping for years. If he’s telling the truth, why not release the records? It would at least prove that he came to doping recently, and not, say, during the years when he dominated and, you know, won that national title. And all those races in 2017. And 2016. And 2015. And etcetera.

Second is Steve’s insinuation that he has never cheated before. As a fellow leaky prostate masters racer, why would anyone believe him? What is more believable, that he has been doping for years, or that this is the only time he doped? If someone gets busted for DUI, by the way, they have typically driven drunk 80 times before they get caught. With cycling, I’d argue that dopers use drugs even more because testing is so rare. People who wind up in the snare are much more likely to be in the Kayle LeoGrande mold than the accidental old fellow who mistakenly took the green pill instead of the white one.

It’s my opinion that Steve perfectly fits the profile of a career doper. 1) Great results. 2) Old dude. 3) Has the money to pay for the doctor and the drugs. 4) Best buddies with doping hacks like Rich Meeker. 5) Refuses to apologize. 6) Never admits to cheating even though he was caught cheating. 7) Claims it was a one-off deal. 8) Ignores the fact that he tried to cheat every other competitor in the race, and got caught doing it. 9) Claims to love the sport even as he destroys it by cheating. 10) Covers his tracks with a do-gooder foundation of questionable value.

Strickler’s education campaign on Facegag is less an exculpation of him than a Rorschach Test: How narcissistic are YOU, how much of a sucker are YOU, how deeply do YOU want to ignore facts in order to fit a phony narrative from some dude who you personally like and respect? Most importantly, how willing are YOU to admit you were completely wrong about a guy you liked? The #fakerace leaky prostate scene is irredeemable and either you see it or you don’t.

Third and most appalling is the suggestion that Steve is somehow taking responsibility by acknowledging a fact. Lance Armstrong never denied testing positive for testosterone, he simply said it was medically authorized. No athlete denies the positive test unless there was an actual problem with the testing, so saying that “I admit I tested positive” is NOT AN ADMISSION OF ANYTHING. The point is not for Steve to admit that he was busted and banned, it’s for him to apologize for being a drug cheat and all that goes with it. Lance at least finally came to grips with the fact that he cheated others, as did David Millar, Floyd Landis, and a few other notables. The rest, like Strickler, Meeker, LeoGrande, and Brandt-Sorenson, simply dissembled and slunk away.

By throwing in the bit about supporting the cycling community (through doped racing, no less), by emphasizing the random nature of the control (as if doping controls could work otherwise), and by saying that he’s not asking anything from anyone, Strickler has come up with what he thinks is the perfect formula to bring down the cognitive dissonance from its roaring boil.

Unfortunately, he does the exact opposite for anyone with even a shred of critical reasoning, namely: Cheating isn’t supporting the community, random controls work because they root out cheaters, and what kind of sociopath would be asking for something from the very people he had cheated? Isn’t it Steve who should be offering something up, like, say, an apology, a release of his medical records, and an admission of intentional cheating? What about refunding his prize money?

We all know that people who don’t apologize don’t think they’ve done anything wrong. If he was a 3-year-old, he’d have to cough up the words “I’m sorry for cheating” whether he wanted to or not. But that ain’t gonna happen.

So instead of blathering on with all the humbuggery, my personal advice to Steve is to STFU. Silence, baby, is golden.

END

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End of an error

September 14, 2017 § 40 Comments

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

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

How the mighty have risen.

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

kaylefb

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

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

END

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7 reasons I love Kayle LeoGrande

August 30, 2017 § 30 Comments

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

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

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

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

“Yeah,” I admitted quietly. “I do.”

“It’s gonna cost you.”

“I’ll pay anything.”

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

“Anything.”

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

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

“You got the stuff?” I asked.

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

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

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

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

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

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

“A donkey, no. But a Wanky? Maybe!”

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

END

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He seemed like a nice doper at the time

June 9, 2017 § 97 Comments

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

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

Screenshot (5)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Hahahahahaha! Warren & Sonye in ’20!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

END

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