Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Dopers s*ck

It seems that every day, another story breaks about another pro cyclist who gets caught doping. In just the last week it has been announced that Stephan Schumacher and Leonardo Piepoli both tested positive at this years Tour de France. That's in addition to Ricardo Ricco, who was booted during the tour. Given all of the testing that goes on in cycling, in particular at the Tour de France, and the likelihood that they'll get caught, one has to wonder why they do it. I've developed a couple of theories.

Just so you are aware of what kind of testing goes on, a professional cyclist is subject to a random drug test, anytime and anywhere. I mean that literally. During competition or out of competition, they have to let the drug testing people know where they are going to be 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year. In his first book, Lance Armstrong tells how his wife was in labor, and as they were headed out the door for the hospital, who do they run into but the doping control people, wanting a urine sample. They didn't make Lance give a sample before they left, but they did follow them to the hospital and collected a sample once they got checked in.

So, given that kind of scrutiny, the first theory that I have developed seems somewhat obvious. Cyclist just can't be that smart. Now as a cyclist myself, this is somewhat troubling. While there's always been some doubt that I'd ever split the atom, I always considered myself to be a somewhat intelligent person. On the other hand, if I were a moron, I probably wouldn't be smart enough to know it.

Anyway, a significant lack of intelligence would certainly explain some of the behavior that we have seen in pro cycling the last few years. At this years Tour, before he tested positive and got kicked out, when Ricardo Ricco saw the drug control people waiting for him, he actually just ran away and hid. Yea, that ought to do it. I'm sure they just wouldn't come back later and test him then. Not surprisingly, they eventually found him, tested him, and kicked him out of the tour. Not the actions of a mental giant.

Frank Schleck is currently under investigation for sending $10,000.00 to the bank account of a doctor who has been barred from having any association with pro cyclist, because of his past history of providing them with performance enhancing drugs. Under questioning about this, Mr Schleck's well thought out and plausible explanation was that he didn't know who he was sending the money too. Now we've all done that haven't we? Just sent $10,000.00 to a bank account, without knowing who it was for. Again, doesn't sound like a smart man.

Since theory #1 is so depressing, I've come up with a second theory. Instead of being incredibly stupid, cyclist are actually incredibly sensitive to what other people think about them. They just want people to think that they're great cyclist. When Ricardo Ricco was winning those stages of the Tour de France last year, he knew he was a cheater, and that the performance enhancing drugs were the primary reason that he was able to ride like he did. He knew he wasn't as good a rider as he was riding. But it was important to him that everyone thought he was that good.

In a weird, twisted kind of way, that's actually kind of sweet. In a strange way, I'm actually kind of flattered that Ricardo was that concerned about what I thought about him. My opinion matter so much to him, that he was willing to risk his whole career, just so I would think that he was a great cyclist.

So, to the Ricardo's, and the Stephan's, and Frank's, and anyone else out there who's thinking of taking performance enhancing drugs just to impress me, let me state for the record that I won't think any less of you if you don't win. You're allowed to be human. It may come as a surprise to you, but most of my cycling friends couldn't climb Alpe d'Huez in 37 minutes either. But I like them anyway. Most of the cyclist I know, couldn't maintain a 33 mph average for a 45k time trial, but I still like to ride with them. If those big bad meanies in the pro peloton won't like you because you're not as fast as they are, you're welcome to ride with us. We'll love you anyway.

Here's a wild thought. If it's not stupidity or sensitivity to the opinions of others, then it's probably just the money.

Peace out.......Nearly Famous Fred

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