More thoughts on Doping and Jan

So, Neca got me thinking with this comment:

I don’t think the Tour will ever be quite the same for me. Not just because of his retirement (which saddens me), but all these rumors and accusations have gone a long way to ruining the sport for me.

Yep – the first week of August 2006 kind of soured me, too.

In a way, it would have been much easier to take if Landis were definitively positive, and if Puerto had conclusively taken down Basso, Ullrich, etc. The sport would have shown effective policing, and we could have moved on from the “Era of Doping”.

Instead, there’s serious questions about Landis’ test (which, coincidentally is the same lab that hung Hamilton out to dry, leading folks to wonder if maybe the Man from Marblehead was screwed, too), nothing substantial from the Spaniards, and a sense that the UCI and WADA are out of control, trying to get the peleton to look like they want it to. Woe be unto Levi Leipheimer if things continue as they are.

The amount of good will towards pro cycling that’s been burned with the fiascos of the last two years is incalculable. If the regulators had been able to control leaks, provide airtight cases against dopers (or at least plausible), and acted swiftly rather than dragging procedures on and on and on, there wouldn’t be much sympathy for the accused.

Instead, it’s March, and Landis won’t have a hearing in front of the USADA until mid-May, more than 9 months after his alleged positive test. For a career that might last all of 10 years, that’s an eternity.

Is doping an offense against sport? Most assuredly.

But a larger offense is when the folks who are supposed to be leveling the playing field use the rules to arbitrarily knock out competitors they don’t like.

Wow – talk about lacking a sense of humor

So, yesterday I linked to a VeloNews bit on Jan Ullrich’s retirement.

I thought it was brilliant – As an opinion piece of the cyclist who’s drawn the karmic short straw for most of the last ten years, I thought that O’Grady was brilliant.

He gave credit for the distinguished Palmares that Ullrich earned during his career, acknowledged that Ullrich’s retirement would be credited as one of the finest cyclists to come along in a long time, but would have been even more amazing absent one single-nutted Texan, and gave grief to the boneheads behind Operacion Puerto for robbing Jan of last year without a shred of evidence coming to light.

Apparently, I’m in a strong minority among VeloNews readers. The majority reacted in typical lycra-wearing, weenie fashion, saying that O’Grady was kicking a man while he was down, blah, blah, blah.

A couple of my favorite excerpts:

  • From Scott in Florida: Way cold. I hope you’re tutoring blind orphans in your spare time because otherwise your karma bank is gonna be way upside down afterthat number.
  • From Scott in California: So, you are going to nail him for being second five times in a race where just making the team makes a pro career, finishing is a mark of true grit, winning a stage makes you a hero, and being on the podium makes you a God. * Uh, Scott – the plaque for second place is in the Ladies’ Room
  • From Sam in Austin: O’Grady claims Ulrich underachieved and squandered his talents, but how many
    professional riders would trade their careers for Ulrich’s? A Tour title and five second-place finishes is nothing to scoff at, yet he condemns the man.
    *Sam commits the sin that too many of these letters do, failing to acknowledge exactly *HOW* physically gifted Ullrich was. On paper, in a lab – there’s no way on earth that Armstrong should have been able to dominate Ullrich as thoroughly as he did. If Ullrich had fully kept his head in the game, the little faults that kept him on the plaque in the Ladies’ Room would not have mattered.

Finally, I’ve got to give Sven in St. Louis props for hitting the nail on the head:

Ullrich’s big crime is that he was born in the wrong era. Had he been born between Bernard Hinault and Miguel Indurain or Indurain and Armstrong he may have won a few more tours but the fact that he showed up every July and finished second is no small feat. … What’s sad is that this ridiculous Operación Puerto inquiry has ruined what should have been an incredible career from anyone’s standards. One to be very, very proud of. But nowadays it seems accusations are all that’s required to end someone’s livelihood. That is the true crime.

Again, I thought that O’Grady was spot-on: Ullrich was truly a great rider, but failed to live up to his potential. A string of seconds and two Grand Tour wins is impressive, indeed; however, the ease with which he was able to dispatch every other rider in the peleton makes his second places all the more poignant.

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Exit the Diesel

Ullrich retires

Jan Ullrich has finally hung up his bibs, saying he never cheated despite pernicious rumors to the contrary, most of them coming from the Operación Puerto inquiry, apparently headed by a Spanish graduate of the Inspector Clouseau Close Cover Before Striking School of Earning Big Pay Through Crime Detection at Home in Your Spare Time.

So. I’m sad to see him go. Granted, he’s been paid to ride his bike pretty much his entire life, so it’s tough to feel too bad for him, but look at the record:

  • Groomed from pretty much birth to be the greatest cyclist in the world, he’s stymied by an American – no, a Texan – with one nut in his quest to win the Tour more than once.
  • He’s stuck with semi-disfunctional teams most of his career
  • Coming of age as the Iron Curtian is finally lifted, he’s stuck in a newly repressive free world – the life of booze and babes he’s been promised as a semi-celebrity is doubly ganked from him. First, changing mores make that sort of thing only OK for hot heiresses. Second, Mario C had the market cornered on that stuff for most of the 90’s and 2Ks.
  • Last year of his career, he’s suspended on crappy, unsubstantiated charges.

So, here’s to Jan – gonna miss him.

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So my question here

Saturday’s Dilbert looked like this:

My punchline would have been “From the French Butcher”. Scott Adams has done French jokes in the past, and I’m dying to know if he wanted to do one here.

In other news, I got on the bike yesterday afternoon, and it was good. Rode over to Pequot woods and did the mile or so singletrack loop in the slush, then rode home. Probably less than 10 miles total, but it was outside, and it was on the bike.

The legs are feeling pretty good – Friday, I couldn’t hold myself back from jogging between buildings at work – running feels SOOOOO good, but I’m still a bit worried about pushing myself back into injury. Here’s hoping someone keeps reminding me to stretch.

My lovely wife (who gets lovelier every day) finally shared her calesthenics routine with me this weekend. She does:

– 40 regular crunches (hands behind the head, arms parallel to the floor, work the muscle directly below your rib cage)
– 20 obliques on each side (Like regular crunches, except lift only one side off of the floor – the other elbow should stay down)
– 40 scissors crunches (alternate elbows and knees)
– 40 pelvis tilts (on the back, legs straight up, work the ab directly above the pelvis)
– Dumbell lifts straight out to the side (like you’re a bird with flapping wings)
– Dumbell lifts straight out front
– Dumbell arm extensions (Lean over the bench with your torso parallel to the floor.One knee and one hand on the bench. On the other side, extend your arm behind you from the elbow until it’s parallel to the floor, then bring the weight back to a 90 degree elbow bend)
– Dumbell lawn-mower pulls (Same position as above, except you’re taking your arm from straight down to a 90 degree bend
– Dumbell curls

I’m going to start doing it on Monday, along with trying for 10 miles next week, mostly outdoors.

One More Week/Lent

So, the legs are feeling much, much better after a week with a total of 2 miles run.

My natural inclination, of course, is to strap on the sneakers and resume 20 miles/week, ’cause I’m dumb that way.

The weather is conspiring against me, too, with today through Thursday expected to be in the mid-40’s F (high-single digits Metric) after a long, long time of cold weather. Man, it’s nice out.

Instead – I’m holding firm and I’ve decided to give myself another  week of rest. This morning, woke up, forgot to stretch while getting out of bed, and was doing the morning business before I realized that I’d gotten up without discomfort. Again, this would be an indication that I should go do something dumb, like 10 miles on Jamestown on the ride home, but I’m fighting them urges.

Another week of rest…

Which translates to time on the stationary bike in the Gym, resuming Pilates (I hope), and hopefully getting in the pool for the first time in 2007.

Went to the church’s weekly men’s prayer breakfast this morning – good times spiritually, and also cycling-ly. Lots of bikers at St Andrew. So, keeping the running in check may not be as detrimental to overall fitness as I fear. Hopefully I can turn it into a weekly ride…

Lent: Jon’s  got me thinking again, and reviewing my past entries show that giving up fast-food for Lent is extremely effective from a weight loss perspective, and pretty effective from a deprivation perspective (I love me some Taco Bell). It’ll also make good with my lovely wife, who is continually urging me to “Take my darn lunch” on a budgetary basis.

So, fast food it is.

I’m going to make a couple of other ground-rules:

1) Fast food is defined as “crappy fast food”. Exceptions will be given, on a rare basis for:

  • Subway, provided it’s 6″, whole wheat, no cheese, no random pressed meats (salami, bologna, pepperoni)
  • Wendy’s salads, provided I get non-breaded chicken and don’t eat the tasty sprinkles

2) Included in fast food are things like:

  • Grinders, especially those from Jim’s Deli, which are the culinary equivalent of high-grade heroin – a thrill to eat, but so, so bad…
  • Any form of greasy burger from a chain resturant or “pub”.
  • Hot Wings
  • And the killer – the weekly dose of Domino’s. I will make a tasty spinach salad to accompany our weekly date with Tom Bergeron and AFV.

I think I’m pretty serious about this: I’ve been stalled, weight and fitness, since the last time I really dug down and reformed my eating habits. Plus, it’s all in support of a culture I’m viewing as increasingly toxic, not necessarily nutritionally, but socially, and I want to work on setting a better example for the boys.


So, it’s been more or less a week since I’ve worked out, and the legs are getting worse rather than better. Is it possible that the treadmill is my problem? Man, I hope so…

Anyway, I’m still pretty dedicated to the idea that I’ll start back with 10 miles/week, building to 20 miles/week in about 12 weeks, and supplemented with cross training. I’ve been stretching, and the worst of the PF pain seems to have switched legs.

Hope everyone has a great long weekend! We’ve got our first Blue and Gold dinner with the Cub Scouts this weekend.

Crow Sandwich, Crow Pie, Crow Gumbo, Crow Po-Boys…

So, way back when, I bragged:

I completely blew the 10%/week thing, but haven’t really suffered any physical ill-effects. So, I’m standing by my theory that the mileage increase guidelines are not at all meant for folks who aren’t currently running more than 15-20 miles/week.

I’ve been resting since the first weekend in February, and the Plantar Fascitis seems to be getting somewhat better. Stretching helps, as does riding the exercise bike instead of running. So, I think what I need to do is to re-evaluate goals – not try to get up to 35 miles/week for a long while, and possibly pass on a fall marathon in favor of continuing to get stronger. We’ll see.

I think for next week (starting the 19th) that I’m going to have to pull back to 10 miles/week running, and stick by the 10% rule until I’m back up to 25 – as in actually stick to the plan I had in Nov/December. I will, however, supplement the crap out of it with cycling and swimming.

So yes, consider me chasened. A humble Billy, with his bounce taken away for a while.

At least until I’ve got heated seats

So, why aren’t you reading Fat Cyclist’s Blog?

There’s no crazier mix of emotions than when you feel you just evaded death. You’re sitting there on the ground, alive. You should be dead, but you’re alive. So you’re elated and relieved. And then you realize that you should be dead or maimed, and you get freaked out and scared. If someone else was to blame, the rage and indignation kick in. If it was your own fault, the shame and humiliation have their say. And this whole emotional cocktail is amped up by more adrenaline than you usually have running through your veins in a month. No wonder you get the shakes and nausea.

Fat Cyclist » Blog Archive » How to Behave When You Know You’re Going to Die

Makes me want to jump on the bike and do something dumb.

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