This week has been full of doping news. It's bad... really bad...
Oh... and here...
It sucks. Sucks big time.
I don't want to spend any more time talking about this issue. I know I will, but I don't want to. Hell, you can even hear me talk about it in nearly every one of the Spokesmen podcasts I've been part of. It's such a dominant topic in cycling these days. Between the confessions and the three ring circus that has become the Floyd Landis hearings... it's simply everywhere.
So I just want to say my piece and move on... and yes, you can quote me on this;
I hate doping. I hate what it is doing to my beloved sport. I hate what it is doing to my industry, the industry that feeds my children. Doping pisses me off. A lot. I've known dopers. I know dopers. I have raced with and against dopers. Doping is everywhere.
Thing is, doping always has been. Merckx was embroiled in doping allegations. Riders before him were too. It's been around for ages and not just in cycling. For as much as cycling is losing the PR battle with the public, it is no worse than any other sport- not at all. Baseball? Yep. Football? Yep. Basketball, track and field, hockey, soccer, volleyball, judo, boxing? Yep... and then some. A baseball player could get caught with a bottle of dope, syringe sticking out of his arm and the offending doctor standing by his side and the MLB is going to either turn around and walk the other way, or slap the offender with a fine (maybe) and make him sit out a couple games. How is it that cycling gets portrayed worse? THAT is what really pisses me off. Pick on cycling, if you wish, but point that same stupid finger of accusation at all the other sports too. The US sports press pisses me off the most. They celebrate each doped baseball player as a freakin' hero for knocking a ball over a fence, but cycling is somehow controlled by Satan and all the riders are evil virgin-raping demons. Hey, Sports Illustrated- "F" you! Let one of your writers tell me, yet again, how cyclists are not "real" athletes and how dope has ruled the peloton for far too long, and I think I just might have to send a letter bomb of flaming dog shit to your offices. Better yet, let me get him/ them on a bike and take them for a ride. A long ride off a short pier... or into a dark alley. Seriously, it infuriates me to read the endless filth spewed out by these stick and ball writers with no idea what a bicycle is, since they haven't been on one since they were a child. The exercycle at the cardiologist's office, during your yearly physical, when he tells you to lay off the Krispy Kremes, does not count as a bike ride. Sorry, tubby.
I've said this before and I'll say it again (I know)- there have always been cheaters in sport and there always will be. There is no risk too great and no reward too small. Humans want to win. Win at any cost. So don't point at me on my bike and yell, "cyclists are dopers" when I ride past you. Don't ask me why I love the beautiful, graceful, elegant, gritty, powerful sport of cycling. Don't proclaim that my industry is ruining the lives of children. Don't expect athletes to be perfect human beings, free of flaws and somehow better than the rest of us. They are human and humans make really stupid damned choices.
Cycling is one of the greatest sports around. Every time I see a kid on a BMX track, my heart skips a beat. Each time I go to the velodrome and see the juniors learning how to race, my heart skips a beat. Each time I see a 50+ year old fat guy on a titanium bike that costs more than my car, my heart skips a beat.
I love my sport and I love what I do for a living. Dopers really do suck, but just remember that all of them do- not just the skinny ones in lycra.