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Saturday, April 19, 2014

Doping Indifference is Contagious

First there is outrage expressed by a furious public declaiming the perfidious practices of cheating scoundrels who have forever contaminated our sacred sport of cycling.  The media blitz pontificates a need for reforms, the public expresses their displeasure, the fanatics wander around dazed and confused wondering how such a thing could have happened.  Then there are the regulatory agencies, asleep at the wheel, who were  invested with the sacred duty of monitoring the sport, burdened with the responsibility of deterring and punishing people who were under temptation to use illicit drugs to gain an unfair advantage.  The International Cycling Union (UCI) pontificated their position with hypocritical passion, while allegedly accepting bribes under the table to protect favored riders.  The World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) maintained a policy of "fair play," while at the same time they administered tests to athletes that had no reliability or validity, effectively destroying professional careers.  Scientific evidence generated by WADA is considered sacrosanct, so challenges to the laboratory papacy are considered warrant less heretical attacks by guilty people who had generated so much income from cheating, that questioning the scientific evidence amounts to nothing more than a divergent tactic from a wealthy man suffering from the extremity of ennui.  Of course, there is ample evidence of accused people who had no wealth at all, people who were poorly represented, and people who could not even read or understand the language of the accusing document.  Clearly these issues were ignored, the accused in these cases were minor players, their professional careers had no impact on the sport, so even if they had been treated inhumanely nobody noticed.  After all, the mantra was, if WADA has the evidence, you are guilty, so there is no need to defend yourself.  Accept the dictated reward, serve your time, then if you are deemed worthy, return to the peloton.

There is a huge difference between being a second rate journey man rouleur and a winner of the Tour de France, however.  The fate of a rouleur may be regarded with indifference, while the fate of a Tour de France winner encourages hot debate!  This debate peels layers off the sacrosanct philosophy of WADA scientific evidence, like peeling a rotten onion.  The heresy is not generated by wealthy athletes suffering from ennui, but rather from people who have been awarded doctoral degrees, and who are considered experts in their respective fields of study.  Public opinion is better directed by a professor who has conducted scientific experiments in the area being investigated than a professional lawyer who has an invested interest in clearing his client.  A scientific expert may be regarded as impartial as to motivation, therefore, credible as a witness.  WADA has an invested interest in winning cases to ensure more of a market in providing laboratory testing to professional sports leagues who govern professional athletes; therefore the credibility of WADA is suspect.  It is also important to note that there exists in many sports an unnatural incestuous relationship between WADA and the agency governing the sport, that invites possible illegal collusion between the two.  In a time of crises, when questionable scientific practice is revealed by professional investigation into the arrogant laissez-faire scientific practice being conducted, accredited laboratories outside international norms, the lack of quality control, there is a propensity to conclude from this evidence that this practice is directly responsible for producing spurious results!  Contesting the origin of these spurious results in a legal format and referring to the testimony of expert scientific witnesses who present convincing arguments, does not make the evidence presented against the athlete any less spurious.  But the public process does expose the laissez-faire arrogance of the alphabet soup groups who maintain the fallacy of infallibility, and public exposure generates an awareness that the process has been so abusive and so devoid of public accountability that there is a certainty that athletes in the past have been unfairly accused and punished.

This vendetta against athletes, this unfairness in the process, this arrogance, generates hysteria among the concerned public who are appalled that such behavior among the regulatory agencies can be tolerated.  But the hysteria soon evolves into apathy due to overexposure; there have been so many people who have claimed innocence who are guilty.  People become jaded, the agencies, in spite of their callous disregard of the rights of due process prove to be right in their assessments, not because they are infallible, but because the accused have no honesty.  Constant exposure to dishonesty in all of it's virulent forms generates extinction; people are constantly bombarded by the stimulus, but it does not penetrate into perception above threshold.  Floyd Landis, Lance Armstrong, Ryan Braun, are perfect examples of bad stimulus.  Liars all, these men have raised the threshold to an unacceptable level.  As a consequence, public concern has declined to an unacceptable level of acceptance of the status quo and worse an acceptance of the concept of cheating in sport without acceptable consequences.

Ryan Braun lied about using performance enhancing drugs.  He accused the courier of tampering with his samples.  Ryan Braun was exonerated not because he was guiltless, but because the people who wrote the chain-of-custody rules; were outside of the law, therefore Shyman Das had no choice but to invalidate the suspension.  The press called this invalidation of the suspension, a technicality, not an abuse of process, or simply incompetence, or indifference, to the right of the athlete.  Nevertheless, Ryan Braun did the effort to maintain "fairness" in the anti-doping process irreparable harm by initiation of an unnecessary appeal that was based upon lies.  Athletes who base appeals upon lies, opaque the situation, making it more difficult for falsely accused athletes to present a credible case.

Sickening.  Worse.  The Milwaukee fans cheered Ryan Braun at his first at bat with a standing ovation.  Sickening.  Doping in Sport?  Who cares anymore.  What was once considered an outrage is now regarded with accolades and cheers.  The public wants winners, like vulture's want corpses.   

Saturday, March 15, 2014

Bryan Byrge and John Coons: A Sad Saga

Bryan Byrge, 39 and John Coons, 35 were on their weekly cycling jaunt to work when they were killed instantly in a head on collision with a pickup truck while turning left at the corner of Redwood Road and Twenty- First North in Lehi, Utah.  The accident happened at six o' clock in the morning before sunrise.  The dark may have been a contributing factor, but contrary to the statement made by the Lehi police: there were no contributing weather related issues that could have "impeded visibility."  Bryan Byrge and John Coons both were family men who left behind wives and children; men who were very respected by the community.  The stupid senseless deaths of these men prompted the cycling community to organize a group memorial twenty mile ride; and over a hundred cyclists participated.

The driver of the pickup truck, whose identity is unknown, was also hospitalized in the accident.  The investigation as reported in the press, could not identify who was at fault, the pickup truck driver, the cyclists, or the fact that there was no fault by either party; but from the tone of the reporting the most likely conclusion will be the patented "I did not see them" excuse; and the most likely outcome of the investigation will be no formal charges or criminal prosecution of the pickup truck driver.

Remember, cyclists, when you are laying dead on the road that you are in no condition to testify about your behavior, or whether you were following the rules of the road.  You are presumed to be at fault simply because you are on the road.  This idiotic notion has emerged because there is a minority of cyclists who ride with a blatant disregard of the rules, a fact that is editorialized in newspapers by disgruntled people with an anti-cyclist bias.  The truth is far different than the perception portrayed in the press; professional cyclists are strict adherents to the rules, they have to cycle carefully to survive the onslaught of automobile drivers who are either incompetent or aggressively belligerent.  The fools who act out on bicycles are not professional cyclists; but they sure do seem to garner all of the attention!  And there is an additional problem associated with foolish cyclists; when automobile drivers encounter a person who follows the rules they seem to be confused as to what to do; like deer staring into the headlights.  This adds to the safety concerns cyclists experience every day; the confused automobile driver.  For example, at intersections, I tend to let automobiles go fist, because it has been my experience that when you put foot to the pedal, automobile drivers put foot to the accelerator.  Then there is that awkward breaking moment, followed, of course, by a noxious adrenaline rush, and a propensity to want to explode into a verbal tirade of frustration.  But experience in these matters is the best teacher and may end up saving your life.  Patience saves lives.  Wave the fools through!  Bryan Byrge and John Coons were responsible people who from there very nature were road rule followers to an excessive degree of caution; but this caution did not save them from a horrible end.

What about the pickup driver?  What personality traits did this person possess?  Was this person in a hurry or distracted?  After the funeral of Bryan Byrge and John Coons, will this person simply disappear completely without penalty after killing two people?

Remember Josie Johnson, the young woman who was killed in Big Cottonwood Canyon by a woman who wasn't paying attention?  Josie Johnson was riding on the shoulder out of the traffic lane when she as rear ended by a woman driving a sports utility vehicle.  The last time I rode up Big Cottonwood Canyon there was a bouquet of flowers resting at her accident site; placed probably by some sensitive soul who is tired of all this senseless slaughter of cyclists! Every year there is the Josie Johnson Memorial Ride, ridden to lament this senseless decimation of young cyclists who are murdered on the roads every year!

I have a challenge for all of you who editorialize in the media about the horrid cyclists and their disrespect for the rules of the road.  Come ride with me for a month, if you have the courage!  You will see the road from a perspective of a cyclist!  But I am warning you that you will have to learn defensive cycling skills very quickly or you will die!  You will be another statistic lying dead in the road!  You will not have an opportunity to defend yourself!  You may develop an attitude adjustment when you realize that that cell phone welding zombie who is bearing down on you at thirty miles an hour is about to end your paltry existence!  You either get out of the way or die, it is as simple as that!  These enjoyable experiences happen several times every day!  And just wait until you are hit by a car!  Only a suicidal maniac would continue to ride after being hit by an automobile; but we pros do so every day with pleasure!  Then, after a month of this fun, you can go back to your editorializing in the newspaper, scolding people who don't know how to drive!

I didn't even mention the people who drive automobiles who intentionally try to kill you or cause you harm.  But these paragons of social virtue exist in the world too.  People who make obscene gestures, people who shout, "get off the road!"  People who throw objects at you.  People who drive up behind you and honk their horns.  People who spit on you.  People who deliberately try to run you off the road.  How about mentioning these facts in you editorials, eh?

Sure people need to be educated about automobile- cycling safety.  But the education is a two way street. Cyclists can't control the behavior of automobile drives and visa versa.  Nevertheless: it is a given axiom that people should not be allowed to kill cyclists with impunity, and that they need to be punished for their crimes.


Saturday, February 8, 2014

Cycling Doping History: What's Your Version?

Whenever I ride at night on darkened street,
And storms are heard at dusk all day-
O friend defenseless, ill and homeless,
Before me suddenly your shadow gleams.
Nikolay Nekrasov

Actually the poem title is Whenever I Drive at Night, 1847, not ride; but according to a book I read, the poem was an adaption of Alexander Pushkin's Wherever I may Wander: 1833, which is probably misleading! Being a poor liberal arts student with a smattering of biology, whom am I to not suffer from confusion, especially when I was not there to inquire of the poet himself as to his supposed plagiarism, and had to use interpolation instead.  Or incapable, through lack of specialized knowledge; I must rely upon and accept expert opinions of other people, who are supposed to be all knowing, and subjected to vetting and fact checks before publishing a load of rot.  You think I trust Greg LeMond for one instant after the load of crap he has disseminated on the cycling community!?  Well I don't.  You think that my case against Greg LeMond is insufficient proof, that there was no opportunity for him and the peloton of his era to dope with both blood and drugs? The fact that the 1984 U.S. Olympic team used blood transfusions to medal in the Olympic games, where America as a country had not won an Olympic medal since 1912 when Carl Schutte won a bronze medal in the individual time trial, and the American team, Carl Shutte, Alvin Loftes, Albert Krushel, and Walter Martin won a bronze medals in the team time trial; is pointless to discuss, because there was no official Olympic games prohibition against using blood transfusions in 1984 or 1912!  Nevertheless, according to the La Vie Claire apologists, blood doping was a top secret venture unknown to the professional peloton, (except for the East Germans): La Vie Claire, Greg LeMond, and Bernard Hinault were completely ignorant of these methods, and even if they were aware, they would never stoop so low.  But, perhaps you are joking about the impeccable honesty and integrity of Tour de France champions of the past, which is sheer nonsense, regardless of your psychological bias or selective references.  The Lance Armstrong haters spit vitriol for years with no scientific proof; yet they were convinced of their correctness, and woe to anyone who would have the audacity to disagree with them!  Of course, you can't disagree with the Greg LeMond groupies or their rock solid scientific grounds, the man never failed a dope test, even if methods of doping that existed at the time that had no known tests, or the fact that there was no prohibition as to the use of some of these methods; even if they had known performance enhancing qualities.  But, we are devolving into illogical semantics: if it is not prohibited, then can it be cheating? Can a person rationalize use of substances known to improve performance because they are not yet illegal, as an acceptable practice to win prizes and accolades?  Then there are bleating sheep, who, when suspecting others of using the same methods that are now prohibited by statute, encourage them to confess their crimes, to come clean, to display what? a guilty consciousness?  Or do these tears of remorse, as to the damage done to cycling by miscreant present day dopers merely display your own repressed guilty cognitive subconsciousness, and are you, Mr. LeMond, trying to assuage your old crimes by casting stones at others, when you yourself did not suffer any penalty?  Do your pleas for clean riding and your accusations express the fact that you cheated your fellow cyclists like a worthless scoundrel; or the fact that your sordid conduct was rewarded with laurels?

So who developed the rEPO test; was it Jacques de Ceaurriz of LNDD fame?  Or was it LNDD without Jacques de Ceaurriz?  What was the true role that Francesco Conconi played in the development of a test to detect recombinant erythropoietin, and what role did the International Olympic Committee play in the development of this test?  Perhaps claims made in certain cycling reference books should be subjected to better editing before publishing, because, certain information contained therein may be interpreted as grossly misleading.  If you suspect books or articles of spouting disinformation, then why not invest some of your time and your effort to write a book review pointing out all of the errors yourself. Or better yet, why don't you offer your services as an editor, since your knowledge is all encompassing. Don't forget to provide references to support your assertions. And if you have something to say, say it publicly, you don't need to hide behind a veil of secrecy.  Because, as it stands, your corrections are selective, incomplete, and based on an agenda. Not quite an objective way of doing things, is it?

I would rather be reading Alexi Pisemsky's, One Thousand Souls, than worrying about who was doping with what, or when, in the 1980's; or concern myself with who is doping now.  Because, even contemporary truth is subjected to fraud, fiction, coverup, ignored, or distorted by evil people who have mercenary motives to mislead the public. This misleading agenda leads directly to disagreements and factual errors.  Thus your version may not exactly coincide with my version; but that doesn't mean that I will not continue to express my version, using the resources available to me.  Of course, I expect you to do the same, never claiming a monopoly as to what constitutes historical truth or to what constitutes historical fallacy.  That way we can agree to co-exist.

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