Archive for the ‘My Bicycling Log’ category

The 2007 Tour de France, or Tattered Elegance

July 26, 2007

The world has heard of the decline of the Tour, and the many riders who have been sent home because they were caught taking drugs. What you won’t hear is what we truly know, and what we don’t know. The media feeding frenzy is in full swing, and truth and fairness are taking a beating. I wrote a small essay about it on Trust But Verify, and I reproduce it here.

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Floyd Landis’ arbitration hearing for testosterone-doping charges is May 14. Cue the kangaroos.

May 9, 2007

As a bicyclist and a bicycling fan, I’ve been following the progress of 2006 Tour de France Champion Floyd Landis’ long, sordid, and long story as his case is considered–no, that’s the wrong word–prosecuted by one or another of the various anti-doping agencies and putative judiciary bodies. It has been a maddening spectacle to witness, an openly one-sided, arrogantly unfair railroading of a decent and honorable man and athlete. In civilized societies, suspects caught red-handed at the scene of the crime, with a separate piece of incriminating evidence in each hand and pocket, and with video tape of the actual crime… these suspects enjoy more fair treatment, benefit of the doubt, and due process than Floyd has received. I am ashamed, and I may never watch or enjoy the sport again.

I had originally intended to write frequently about this debacle on these pages, but so many others have done a better job than I could have, that instead I’ve enjoyed their articles. “Enjoy” is also the wrong word, since the news is most often about the inconceivably misguided, possibly corrupt actions of the so-called guardians of sport. I suggest you tune in, at least for the next few weeks, to these excellent sites for their coverage and opinions:

There are many jumping-off points from these three sites, including links to the various anti-doping agencies, to other blogs, to Floyd’s innovative WikiDefense strategy, and to discussion forums. These are, in my opinion, the best places to start.

Finally, if you believe as I do that the current state of anti-doping organizations is hopelessly flawed, or inept, or even corrupt, please consider that many of the groups involved in this miscarriage of justice are federally funded. The International Olympic Committee, the World Anti-Doping Association and the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency are all paid, at least in part, out of our pockets. Please consider contacting your representatives with your concerns.

The opinions expressed in Steve’s Peeves are intended to entertain and, in some cases, uplift. They may not be appropriate for young readers or the satirically challenged. Parental supervision is advised.

Link- “Fast Freddy’s” Recumbent Tips & Tricks, riding positions

October 29, 2006

“Fast Freddy” Markham is an accomplished ‘bent racer and holds bicycling records. He’s the real deal. So, when I stumbled across his own forum section on Tips and Tricks I figured it was worth a read. It’s a little lean just yet, as it seems he’s just getting started this year. Also, Fast Freddy rides Easy Racers long-wheelbase recumbents, so not everything will apply to riders like me on short-wheelbase ‘bents.

Even so, there’s an excellent thread on his four main recumbent riding positions. He uses a position (#4 in the pictures) which he calls “the recumbent version of getting out of the saddle,” which is useful for short bursts of maximum power. I’d never considered this one, but I’m definitely going to try it. I sure could use a boost on short hills, or quick sprints and accelerations. Thanks, Freddy!

Floyd is supporting the families touched by Monday’s Amish schoolhouse tragedy in Lancaster County, PA

October 4, 2006

Floyd grew up in the same county, in nearby Farmersville. As his blog reports, his connections to the people of the area run deep, and he will be donating funds to those families touched by the senseless killings.

From his website:

Floyd encourages that all those who would like to help the bereaved visit the Coatesville Savings Bank website at www.coatesvillesavings.com for more information on the both the Nickel Mines Children’s Fund and the Roberts Family Fund.

Floyd Landis- the temporary calm settles

October 2, 2006

We probably won’t see any hard news on Floyd’s situation until January, when the USADA will likely announce its decision to sanction or not, and then of course the inevitable open arbitration. Thankfully, the “blowhards” in the international anti-doping community have also calmed down for now (for the most part), so there will hopefully be little to report for a while.

In the meantime, things are happening at Trust But Verify, where they seem to have been leaked paperwork from doping tests that cast more doubt on the process. There’s also discussion of how each side of this debacle might be financing their respective fights.

Endless Cycle is reporting on the wreckage in the wake of Operacion Puerto, the scandalous, 11th-hour, too-perfectly-timed round of guilt-by-association that kept 58+ cyclists out of the tour, including several favorites. I say 58+ because, in the case of Alexander Vinokourov, he was not implicated but he could not race because his team lost too many riders to the witchhunt to field a team. The issue was entirely circumstantial, based on allegations that the riders may have had some dealings with an individual under suspicion of providing doping products. It now looks like all but one of the banned cyclists was and is not guilty. Quelle surprise!

PelotonJim is writing what I’m thinking: which anti-doping heads are going to step up and “come clean” (as they’re so fond of saying), taking responsibility for lost time, lost youth, lost income, and even lost enthusiasm for the sport which their actions have imposed on innocent riders?

Link- Floyd Landis’ “state of the art” hip surgery “performed sucessfully and without complications.”

September 28, 2006

Floyd’s site is reporting that surgeon Dr. David Chao found “greater damage to Landis’ hip than initially shown in MRI screenings.” Since the accident that reduced the blood flow to Floyd’s hip occurred in January 2003, that isn’t too surprising. Floyd was home in less than 24 hours, and will immediately commence six weeks of physical therapy. He can begin light training on his bicycle in one to two weeks.

Good luck, Floyd!

Floyd’s request for dismissal is denied by the Anti-Doping Review Board

September 22, 2006

Floyd’s site is reporting that his request for dismissal has been declined by the ADRB. The case now goes to the ADRB’s parent body, the USADA (United States Anti-Doping Association). Today’s ruling by the ADRB allows the USADA to proceed with disciplinary action if they decide it is warranted. If they do impose sanctions, Landis and his legal and scientific team say they will request arbitration, and in a public forum, which will be a first.

In the meantime, Floyd must step out of the line of fire for a while, to have his hip replaced, and begin his physical rehabilitation. He plans to start training as soon as possible to defend his Tour de France title in next year’s tour. Ya gotta love the guy’s determination.

I’ve written a number of opinion pieces on this issue, and I’ve just learned of an excellent blog with very current news, as well as commentary. Check out trustbut.blogspot.com. Good stuff.

Another must-read site is Tom Fine’s Floyd Landis’ Testosterone, WADA, and Abused Science, which examines the numbers behind the accuracy of the CIR test, which supposedly can distinguish synthetic from naturally-occurring testosterone, but which appears to have a high false-positive rate.

I am a little surprised by this outcome, based on the discrepancies found in the Chatenay-Malabry lab’s documentation. On the other hand, the outspoken officials in the anti-doping agencies would look extremely foolish if the case were dropped so easily, and I believe politics is as much in play here as justice, perhaps moreso.

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