Last summer Velo News published an article about an amateur cyclist who was suspended from racing by the USADA for using Erythropoietin. As luck would have it, he was from the same state, had a similar first name, raced in the same age group, and had results only slightly less mediocre than me. His response clearly, and I believe sincerely, apologized for using EPO and explained how Erythropoietin affected his Hematacrit and wattage. I don’t know him but Neal seems like a normal guy that had higher expectations than what his ability allowed. Accepting our natural abilities isn’t even close to being OK with them.
I’m reading A Dog In A Hat. This is an excellent autobiography by Joe Perkin, an American who raced in Europe during the time of Greg LeMond. One of the things I found interesting in this book wasn’t so much the prevalence of performance enhancing drugs in the pro peloton but rather the pier pressure Joe felt to take PEDs. At one point Joe claimed he took Captagon, even though he didn’t, just to appease his team director. The book left me feeling a little self-righteous and silly questioning drug use in pro cycling, like questioning synthetic testosterone use in pro bodybuilding. Hell, what do I know
A recent Sport Illustrated article on Lance Armstrong seems to show he used PEDs, or not, you have to be a lawyer to make heads or tails out of all the conflicting evidence and bitter accusations. As a matter of full disclosure, I am a fan of Lance Armstrong and remain optimistic that he raced clean. My sister was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer in 1999. Lance’s rise back to the top of the sport that year gave me hope. She died right after the 1999 Tour. Expectations and optimism are fickle things
**********1/27/11 edit **********
So yesterday I gave my incredibly naive insight into PEDs in pro cycling. Today I see Alberto Contador will likely be suspended by Spain's cycling federation because minute traces of Clenbuterol were found in his system last year. I give. There seems to be no solution. Maybe. Let me humbly just throw something out there. I propose the UCI takes a lesson from those fun loving good ol' boys that drag race in the NHRA and provide different classes for pros to compete in: Stock (no performance enhancing drugs what so ever), Modified (blood doping, synthetic testosterone, and stimulants allowed), and Unlimited (anything goes). I mean, it's just a suggestion. As long as it doesn't lead to climate change, I'm cool with it.