One of the things I’ve been working on lately is keeping an eye on site stats – trying to understand how they work and all that.  Part of it is just trying to understand SEO, part of it is just my own idle curiosity.  It’s interesting to see just what takes the interest of people who stop by my humble musings.

A past post of mine recently moved across one of the “search terms” and has been displaying on my dashboard.  I wrote it back in August 2010, almost three years ago.  At the time, I was commenting on the latest set of allegations regarding Lance Armstrong’s doping.

By now, everyone has heard of the findings over the last year.  In exchange for reduced sentences, former members of USPS testified that there was indeed, a culture of doping present during Comeback 1.0 (99-05), and likely in Comeback 2.0 (09-10).  Lance has even admitted as much, without much of a sense of remorse.  The ASO has vacated his 7 victories, choosing not to re-assign a winner.  Johan Bruyneel is no longer involved in professional cycling.  Lance has also been banned from competing in any event which USADA has some oversight in.

There’s been numerous commentaries over the actions of the governing bodies – some say it was too much, others not enough.  I don’t really have any opinion on it.  ASO had a tough time, because let’s face it, in hindsight, it seems that half of the pro peleton was doping.  It certainly doesn’t help that Jan Ullrich (runner up several times) as well as Ivan Basso has been implicated in past doping practices (Basso even served a suspension for his association with Operacion Puerto).

I offered up a couple of thoughts as to what might happen should Armstrong’s “guilt” be proved.  To some extent, I feel prophetic.  😉Continue reading

So, now Alberto Contador, arguably the top Grand Tour rider in the world right now, gets wrapped up in a positive B-sample.  Funny enough, the outrage from the peloton seems to be a bit muted right now.  Many of the reactions I’ve read are “meh, we expected this” and “see, you can’t win a tour without doping.”  It’s funny that they’re either giving the benefit of the doubt to Alberto, or just so apathetic it’s sickening. 

For those who don’t know, his sample after the 2nd rest day showed *traces* of clenbuterol, apparently a very nominal performance booster at all.  (Not on the level of say, EPO or testosterone.)  What’s even more amusing is that the labs have found traces of plastic in his sample as well – suggesting blood doping.  He claims it came from eating tainted meat.  If that’s the case, wouldn’t his teammates have had it as well?  Don’t they all eat the same meals together?  I’m fairly certain that the UCI and French authorities would have kept a pretty stringent eye on Vinokourov after his return from a blood doping ban. 

Surprisingly silent in this is Armstrong, the man they claim doped his way to 7 victories. 

What’s even more interesting is that the latest batch of files to the UCI for teams to acquire ProTour status was missing one team – Astana, Contador’s soon to be former team. 

I’ve put off posting this awhile to let some of the facts percolate a little bit.  I guess it’s time to summarize my views on things. 

I make no bones that watching Lance Armstrong (and the rest of US Postal) is what lead me to pick up cycling in the first place.  I watched that 2004 TdF while I was in transition between jobs.  The stage where Landis and Azcevedo set such a brutal pace and the time trial up Alpe d’Huez were the memorable points of that tour.  It made me sad to think just a few years later that Landis was caught doping. 

For awhile, I liked to believe that he was right.  But when his B-sample came back positive, that sealed the deal for me.  I scoffed with other riders at the amount of time, effort, and most importantly, money, that he pumped into his defense. 

Fast forward to the start of the Tour of California this year, when Landis made his claims of systematic and routine doping practices within US Postal.  Lance’s camp fired back with a series of emails between himself and Floyd that paints Floyd in an even more negative light. 

Continue reading

So, with Friday off, my friend Jill & I went out for a ride.  She’s training for a triathalon in May, and needed to get in 35-40 miles.  I didn’t think I was up for more than 30.

HRM Data from 4/2 Ride.  The drop mid-way was a drink stop.

HRM Data from 4/2 Ride. The drop mid-way was a drink stop.

When I got home last night and crashed on the couch, there was an interesting show on HD Theatre (Discovery Channel HD).  Chronicled the story of two guys who won a contest in 2007 to ride a stage of the Tour (actually, about half of it).  (Offered as the L’Etape package from Trek Travel).  The got outfitted with brand new Madone bokes, full Discovery team kit, and “behind the ropes” access at the Tour.  They got to ride the route for what was stage 16 of that year’s Tour – over the Col ‘dPierre-St-Martin (Cat 1), Col d’Marie-Blanc (Cat 1), and finishing on the Col d’Aubisque (HC).  (Click here for the route – click on “Profile of the Stage”)  One of them dropped after the Marie-Blanc, but the other finished on the Aubisque.  His time – 7 hours and change. 

But watching it made me want to do something like that for a vacation in the upcoming years.  Despite the pain, it looks like fun.