Monday, May 28, 2007

Bring out your Dead

Yes, Dopers suck and their time in our sport is going to come to an end someday. The "revelations" out of Basso, Aldag, Zabel, and Riis are clear signs that the system is broken. Top that off with the politics of the sport and we see that we can change a lot. Who is "we"? The riders. Each and every one of us who pins on a number and goes out racing bicycles.
Each rider has to understand our sport in order to appreciate the beautiful culture and history of cycling. It is a "blue collar" sport from its roots and it created many famous and interesting personalities who were, and are, passionate about the sport. Ahh, the word "passion." In this sport it can take you on many miles alone on simply the momentum of its meaning. Looking down to see this awesome machine beneath me, looking at the veins blowing out of your legs to let you know you have done the work, sucking in air and feeling its natural boost, and maybe taking a win at the next race because you hit those intervals, you zoned out in zone 2 for 7-hours, you ate right, you sleep right, you planned your fury of the race into your head, or simply summed it up into "you did the work."
No one has ever said cycling is an easy sport. There is truimph and pain, there is injury followed by healthiness, there is getting sick the day before the big race, and there is being "on it" at the right time and everything clicks.
So, my ultimate question goes out to those who are doping. Yes, you plowing through EPO, Growth Hormones, Testosterone, transfusions, and whatever else "witches brew" you decide to mess around with. Why do you participate in this the sport? Why do you love cycling, if you do? See, you are spoiling our sport. You didn't win the race on your own, you didn't put your body to the grindstone and do the work, you are affecting the security of the numerous sponsorships that help promote racing, you are destroying your own body, and you are slapping the history and culture of our sport in the face. You are a disgrace to cycling. Plain and simple. If, and when, you get caught I hope they burn you at the stake. This "two year" suspension thing is getting off petty. You don't deserve our sport. If you have to cheat to do good then you were not tough enough for the sport anyhow. I would rather naturally take 50th place every race then to top ten it because I cheated and juiced myself up. Do you feel good about those results? Do you feel like it was you versus them or did you have a little help? See, when you do good while being doped up you didn't really beat anyone.
It is time for each and every rider to start calling out those who are jeapordizing this sport. I am not saying that we will clean it up for ever or be able to clean it 100% but we have to start somewhere. First, dopers who are currently racing need to either stop or get out. You get three months to get your acts cleaned up, and if you are caught after that you are done for good. Second, those of the past like Riis need to come clean. They also need to payback cycling by getting actively involved in promoting more full-proof and frequent testing. Riis has got the inside scoop and he needs to reveal it all. Ex-dopers should be obligated to help others understand the stupidness of doping. Third, teams need to become liable for their rider's actions. If you have a doper the team needs to take responsibility. On top of that, the team need needs to go after the rider in a civil court. You screw up on my team and you are going to court. Plain and simple. That is the way it should be. You know, I could go on and on with what to do with the "cheats" but I would be here all day.
So this. If you are a doper and are doing great out there in the results world please remember this: bad Karma pays back double in its act of balance. Your cheating will need to be paid back eventually, and when that day comes please don't look back and say I am sorry. You were fully aware then and now the Devil wants his dues now.
So what does hard work look like?
I am sure Andy's nutty mind got him across this one. Cheats and clean riders have both made the Ventoux climb, but only the clean riders actually made it to the top legitimately.
Remember when legs actually gave out but passion kept the rider going? Understanding the history of this incredible sport will make you only that much more stronger. I smile when I ride a bike because I know I am among the greats. The greats are clean. I did, and do, the work. Still do and always will. That is cycling.
The Mountain vs. You. How much more natural can that be? That is the real high.
And what does it look like when a passionate and clean rider finally gets that win that he has been "working" so hard for? Ask Mark. I think his face says all you need to know about what racing clean and victory have in common. Good karma also pays back in double.
Why this sudden rant? Because I am sick of it. I am sick of the cheaters. Sure, they exist in every sport but those sports are not cycling. I love this sport, I love cycling, I love it's history, it's culture, it's controversies, and it's people. To see it thrown around the press as some second-rate sport because of a bunch of imbeciles who think doping is the only way to win is making me sick. That is not our sport! Why, because dopers were never participants in it in the end. Keep it clean and keep it real.
So whats new? Not much. My knee is still healing and I have found the root source of the problem. That problem will be hearing from me tomorrow. It was something I bought to replace something I had and they sold me the wrong item. More on that later. Until then, I had to pull out of the planned 120 mile ride today about 10-miles in due to some lingering pain. Instead, I will ride passive for a couple of hours today and rebuild my pedal stroke. The State TT is looking doubtful, as is my first WORS debut of the year in Wausau, if the knee pain continues. I have to heal it before the Nature Valley Grand Prix so I will have to listen to my instincts on each and every race. At this point if I race the State TT I will be 100% in the left leg and maybe 70% in the right. Not good for a TT so we will see. Wausau is an open marathon course format which screams to me. But screaming knees need to be shut up first. Bug bite? What bug bite? Seems to have disappeared now that I am in Minnesota. Bring it on Mosquitoes! Now, get out and ride! Ciao -Ian

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