Tuesday, January 22, 2013

It affects us all

I remember it well, it was the mid 90s and I was living in Florida when I heard the first rumor of Lance doping. I met a Tour DuPont team mechanic that was telling me about Lance using steroids. "How do you know?", I asked. "I hear things", he said. "And just look at the size of his forehead, he looks like a caveman."

 Well back then I didn't care too much about the doping scene, figuring it wouldn't affect me at all anyways. That is until rumors started floating around about a guy racing mtbs in my class also hitting the juice. Then  I was livid. I had also hired a guy at the bike shop from New York city,. 'Frank the Puerto Rican Jew' he called himself. He was about my height, but looked liked Pop-Eye. Bulging forearms and huge legs, and I must say another neanderthal looking forehead. Frank was a cat 3 road racer and we did a few training rides together. I could drop him on the small hills we had in Florida but that dude could sprint faster than anyone I ever rode with.

We did the Windermere Sunday morning ride near Orlando one winter day. The field was massive, these training rides included world class triatheletes and there was also a Belgian pro team there enjoying the mild weather too. The pace was ridiculous, you didn't go to the front unless you were pulling at 30-32 mph. Frank got his butt dropped on Sugarloaf Mountain road, but he caught on at the designated re-group gas station.
Let me tell you, I have rarely been in races this fast as we came up to the finishing sprint. When things wound up he came around the pack and just exploded away. He devastated that 100 plus field.

I couldnt believe his finishing speed, but later learned where he got it from. One day while we were working at the bike shop Frank was trying to buy steroids from one of my good customers! Frank told him, "I want to be fucking flying before the first race this year." Apparently Frank's supply was out and he was looking for a new source. And this was for Cat 3 racing remember!

So now that USADA has caught the big fish, its time they worked on the small ones. I don't think its any secret that the masters class has a lot of problems. You got guys who are seeing their speeds drop, and I do to. It sucks to have memory of what you used to be able to do, but then when you try to give that kind of effort your body revolts.
Not to mention the pharmecuetical industry practically shoves testosterone at us. All you would have to do is talk with your family doctor and say, "Hey Doc, things aren't going so smooth in the bedroom for my anymore, and  I don't feel like I did 20 years ago."
What the doctor should say is, "Well no shit dumbass, that's because you're not 20 anymore!" But all too often I suspect the conversation ends with a scrip for androgel.
I have made peace with my declining speed and strength. It's not so bad, I can still have a great time pushing myself and working hard to slow the aging process down some. And I can still beat up on Zac, who will be 18 this season.

Wednesday, January 09, 2013

The work begins

 Another winter and another year that I ponder what the hell I was thinking when I left Florida's bounty of sunshine and awesome trail network. I need a road trip badly but don't have the time or the money  so I guess I have to live with my bad decision for a few more months.
 There are some exciting things brewing for me though. Like the 650B market exploding this year. I've got tire options like mad now. I still love the Nevagal, but the Vee Rubber Mission is next on my list to try. Also I have been quite motivated so far this winter. I rode more in December than any other month all last year. Not sure why but I have been enjoying the lonely time on the road. The biggest training decision I made was not to buy the new Call of Duty game this time, that wrecked last winters base mileage.
 The Groovy team has expanded this year too, so it will be fun having team mates in various classes as well. I mainly want to see Zac suffer dearly so his step up to Expert class should make that happen.

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