Doping at NY cycling event

A report on seattlepi.com outlines how doping controls take place at the Gran Fondo New York 105-mile cycling race. http://blog.seattlepi.com/velocity/2013/05/03/doping-control-ny-gran-fondo/

This has been happening for the last few years at GFNY, with two cyclists testing positive in 2012. http://www.cyclosport.org/24-Jul-2012/news/two-test-positive-for-epo-at-gran-fondo-new-york.html

But I’m not sure about the motivations for doing the testing. As the writer in the seattlepi blog post says, “The primary goal of age group testing is not catching the cheaters. It is about deterring dopers from competing.”

To me, this sounds like confirmation that for those amateurs who are doping and on PEDs, the best solution is to keep them out of races rather than to stop them from taking drugs. Is that the right way forward?

On the amateur doping topic, the latest issue of 220 Triathlon Magazine (UK) has a special report about doping in age-group triathlon. It’s an interesting article, following up on the Mainz Uni survey, but it only scratches at the surface, and it doesn’t give much insight into why age-groupers dope. I think the why is the biggest question: why put your health so much at risk in exchange for a few seconds/minutes? For a chance to compete at Hawaii? To beat Buddy from the neighbouring tri club? To conquer your own insecurities?

This is the big story: why do it when there’s nothing substantial to gain?

 

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Spring chill

Just about four weeks out from my first race of the season. The weather is bad, the water cold. After last year’s ice-breaking swim in London and the 10° air temp, I’ve kind of become allergic to the cold. The thought of diving into water that’s 13° gives me, ahem, chills.

The bad weather also means it’s not possible yet to do any open water swim training. I’m stuck in the pool, in the slow lane with the flowery swim-caps, old band-aids and hair. I can recall springs of years past when I was in the lakes in early May. The lack of open water practice is bad, because it’s a completely different experience to swim laps in a pool and then get out in choppy and churned (and at the moment cold!) water for a long, uninterrupted swim amid flying elbows and sharpened toe nails.

The hard-core locals are already gearing up for the first race of the Hamburg calendar, which is the bike+run in Quickborn. I’ve never done it, and the photos on the website don’t make it look very appealling. A lot of grimacing, very serious athletes at that start line. It’s supposed to rain biblically this weekend as well. I think I’ll wait for the proper races in June. A heat wave is required. A dry spell. Or a new, much thicker wet suit and a neoprene cap.

I’m already telling myself to have a different attitude this year: to not get annoyed and angry when I get passed and beaten by dubious athletes. They’re out there (19% of the field according to the Mainz study, and that number’s probably rising) and I just need to accept it. I only wish the anti-doping authorities would take some kind of action. I also wish that other athletes (clean athletes like me) would stand up and make some noise. Come to think of it, I wonder if I could protest against a result; if some guy in his late 40s blitzes the field and wins in a pro-like time, could I go to the race organises and launch a protest? Interesting. Might be worth a try.

2014, my protest year. We shall see.