Tuesday, October 23, 2012

What else is there to talk about this week...

The weather... politics... religion... women's suffrage... I'm not sure anything I could write about has been more heatedly "discussed" in the past few weeks than...


Patriot. Hero. World class cyclist. Wait...

You don't need (or want) me to repeat what you've already read on every forum or news source on the internet. You know what has went down, and you have already formed your opinion on the situation... and nothing some no-name blogger from East Tennessee has to say is going to sway you. So I'm not going to try. That doesn't mean you get a free pass from reading me pan on about some of my thoughts though... I mean, seriously... it's my blog.

First, let me get this out of the way so that we have perspective in regards to anything else I say. I'm primarily indifferent to the situation. I think at this point (years later) everyone was already riding down the rail road tracks they layed years before, with no opportunity to de-rail or change course. Could they have made better/different choices? Maybe... but then we wouldn't be at this crossing would we? Even the UCI had no "true" choice IMO. Either uphold the USADA's recommendation, or go down with the sinking ship. (they quite possibly are anyways...)

So now we're left with this, from what I've seen.

- People are attempting to get money back from Livestrong... which IMO is not only ludicrous, but just skeezy in general. C'mon people, what were your intentions (well... tax write off excluded) in the first place. At some point doesn't the ideal overshadow the idol? The same thing goes for the raging debate of whether to wear your bracelet or not. If you were wearing that bracelet to support Lance, (and you no longer do) then take it off and throw it away. If you were wearing it for the symbolism (originally the "Wear Yellow Live Strong" program) then for the love of baby Jesus...keep it on.

Do you wear it for the meaning or the man?

- Landis is still running his mouth... which, I suppose, is a good thing. The first tour I ever watched was 2006, and man, I remember thinking how insane it was that he made up SOOO much time just by being a tough b#stard! Then came the fallout, and then of course the book (I have a signed copy... I'm going to start a book shelf with a new category... Cyclist Fiction) and the biggest scummery of all... the Floyd Fairness Fund. Hopefully he really will pay the people who donated back, but really dude... geez that's low.

Floyd after finding out he was stripped of the 06 Jersey.

- They are just leaving the 7 years Lance won the tour as blanks... no winner for the history books. Why? So we can look back in 50 years and say "wow that was a shitty time in cycling history... all those dirty dopers sucked!" as the future generations ride on breaking records with metal legs and stem cell fueled GU. Not to mention... remember when Andy Schleck won the tour? Remember all those fans cheering for him on those glorious steps? Remember the toy Lion, the podium kisses, the... oh... wait... that's right... he got his award later, after everybody went on with their life. It was Contador that stood up there and got all the cheers, kisses, and recognition... was on the news the world over, in the papers... you know, page 1. (Well, 1'ish most places) as opposed to Andy who might have got mentioned as being the "real" winner on page 8B. You can't strip all those memories and accolades, so why try? Just throw the * up there and let us move on. Especially when you can't look back in the records and find a *clean* rider in the top rankings... ANY of the years we're looking at. Maybe Cadel? MAAYYBBBBEE.

Not my idea of podium girls... but whatever floats your boat.

- The other fella's are pulling out all the stops for the "Most Loatheable" award. Hincapie really left a sour taste for me... retire and then admit to it... of course not after 2006. Even though in his own statement he says he needed to dope to be at the top level, he then quit doping and or 6 more years continued to stay competitive. (for him) Sure thing George.
Then you have Hamilton and his crusade for book sales (it actually was a good read) and media attention.
And Garmin... I don't even want to go there. The "Clean team." I'd run from that roster like the plague if I heard the term "clean" being thrown around.

Hamilton at his book release signing.
Then there are the triathletes. Where do we fit in to all of this. For some precious few, there is hope that triathlon is not riddled with the same "dirt." I would like to say I was one of those people, but I am not. I think that besides triathlons extremely lax testing protocol, the desire to win (at all costs) will cause men (and women) to cheat at, well, basically anything. Obviously Moats getting popped in the heat of the Lance debacle has opened a couple of eyes, but I suspect that we have a long time coming before we really get to taking steps towards cleaning up triathlon. I hope I'm wrong and that the few isolated incidents in triathlon are just that...but... well I'm no Optimist. I know firsthand what people will do to get what they want, regardless of how silly it is.

~~~Flashback Time~~~

Once upon a time, I was in college. I lived with a couple of fellas and we were exactly what you would expect from 20-something year old East Tennessee boys. That is to say we were immoral jackals who's greatest aspiration in life was to make it until Thursday night. (Party Thursday - Sunday! ... hey, it's a college town, cut me some slack.) This, oddly enough, is where I first ran into Steroids. Not on the football field (I was about as dexterous as a dead cat) or the swimming pool (hah, couldn't swim) nor the track (hated running... strange looking back how I ended up in triathlon...huh) but in my friends room, helping him poke a needle into his bare ass.

Yep. I am guilty of helping a friend dope.
For Glory? Nope
For Money? Nope
For a Spot on the team? Nope

Why then? For a much nobler purpose. Because he thought it would help him get girls.
That's it ladies and gentlemen... all it takes to get somebody to dope... a pretty set of legs.

And, at the very least it helped his confidence...which in turn became a self fulfilling prophecy. He got more girls. You could ask him today and he'd tell you it was a great choice. (He's married now)

What about me? I was tempted. Fortunately I had a couple of things working for me.
1.) I was already a pretty witty fellow (especially with a little liquid courage) so I had no real "need" to be the big guy to impress the ladies.
2.) I didn't have the money to buy the stuff. (I spent it all on booze)
3.) I'm basically terrified of needles. (Manly I know)

Coming from an athletic background including 12oz curls for reps,
quarters for dexterity, and a power hour for endurance!
Yes, I was a screwed up youth adult
So that was my experience with the stuff. It wasn't for me, and I'm glad I didn't do it then, but I certainly wouldn't look down on my friends who made those choices. Same thing with the guys that get busted doing it now. I don't agree with their choices, and I think they are getting what they deserve when they get caught (well... they are getting some of what they deserve at least) but I know they are doing what they think is *best* for them. We can all internet keyboard jockey about how much slime they are... but when it all comes right down to it let me ask you this... and really consider it.

You're *almost* there. Pro. They come to you and say "we'd like to have you on the team, but..." you know what's implied. It's going to end up being the difference of going home and being a good home town cyclist, or getting to fly around the world and train / race with the best... and get paid to do it. What would you say? Now imagine that it was your dream (as it is for many of those guys) from the time you were a kid riding your 7-Eleven Huffy. Would your answer be different when you were 17-24 than it is now?

There you go... that's what I've got. I know... a lot of it is opinion... hell a lot of it isn't even a all that well informed opinion... but it's what I think.

Bottom Line. Let's hope that all that has been done and will be done is for the good of cycling, triathlon, and all other sports. Let's hope that the next generation looks back and says "If not for them, it would have never gotten any better."
Let's hope.

-Christopher Morelock

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