Thursday, August 2, 2012

Doping Positive at the Gran Fondo New York...

Ladies and gentlemen, we have now seen everything in this ridiculous sport of ours. An aging yuppie caught doping with EPO for a race whose main purpose, when it officially entered the lexicon of cycling culture, was supposed to be for fun and comradery. For those who don't know, Gran Fondos began in Europe and took in epic stages of the Tours of Italy and France. Many European countries have races for amateurs over professional course routes (like the Spring Classics), but they are amended for the purpose of non-competitive amateurs and enthusiasts. In other words, you don't necessarily need to be like Frank Vandenbrouke and train over the Col de la Redoute in the big chainring to be able to climb it with your mates.

These Gran Fondos are big business, and have taken hold here across the pond with the usual mix of obnoxious hyper-competitiveness and extremely high entrance fees. I know closing a portion of the George Washington Bridge costs money, but there are more economic ways to hold such events where doing something as bombastic as that is not a necessity. In Europe, bike companies like Pinarello sponsor these events, and there are categories for riders of all ages and abilities.

Problem is, prize money and other enticements became part of the mix. You had unrepentant serial dopers like disgraced ex-pro Raimundas Rumsas making a living doing these rides, being sponsored as individual riders by companies looking for the type of publicity success in such an event can garner. Suddenly, the comraderie and the opportunity to meet up with like-minded individuals from all over the world to ride portions of these great races was replaced with cutthroat competition.

David Anthony in repose, seemingly without a care in the world-

As an example of how wacked-out these races have become, the prizes on offer at this particular Gran Fondo were worth a total of $100,000 US dollars, with first prize being an $8,000 Pinarello carbon frame. For the sake of comparison, third place at the prestigious Fleche Wallone race in Belgium pulls in a mere $4,000 bucks. The race spent a total of $17,000 on it's anti-doping efforts just to catch two assholes who race in the Master's division. David Anthony was one of these assholes.

Much has been made of the internet confession on by this latest idiota, one David Anthony, who tested positive for EPO at the Gran Fondo New York, which took place on May 20th of this year. We have been subjected to the spectacle of his existential angst, how the more he doped and won, the less he found meaning in his victories. Pu-leaze. One thing about pricks like him is that cheating comes as naturally as breathing, so no sympathy for whatever was eating at his hollow soul. What should be illuminating is the extent of his obsession.

Anthony in action at the Harlem Criterium-

Anthony ran the gamut of your typical hyper-competitive middle-aged douchebag who takes up cycling as a hobby but quickly morphed into an unhealthy obsession-heart rate monitior, power meter, carbon frame, carbon aero wheels, and coach. In addition to all that  he purchased a hypoxic altitude tent that simulates oxygen at whatever-thousand feet it takes to increase hematocrit levels and hence decrease brain cells. He even went so far as to pay for time in a fucking wind tunnel to hone his position on the bike, and he STILL SUCKED!!!. All of this costs thousands of dollars. THOUSANDS. And that's without the drugs. He started as a Cat 5 and couldn't get enough, so he started doping when things got really tough for him as a CAT 3, which should have been the ceiling of his natural progression as a cyclist. But he wasn't satisfied with that, so he turned to doping.

He was caught because he was stupid. Forget about the fact that races like this now have doping controls, which is ridiculous enough. But the fact that this dumb-ass didn't monitor his program carefully enough to evade getting caught at a Gran Fondo speaks volumes. No one who claims to be so smart can be so stupid. Maybe he was looking to get caught. Maybe this was his way of crying out for help...

Somehow I don't think so.

He is currently recovering from  a compound fracture of his femur from an accident while out on the road, and supposedly this time off has given him pause to reassess his goals and how he was living his life. He has received a two-year ban from competition and maybe he'll use this time to get his head straight, but I doubt it. I feel bad that he suffered such an injury, but I don't feel bad about his suspension. This is the type of crap cyclists like him pull every single day. I've met them-self-righteous, vain, and always willing to regale anyone within listening distance with tales of how "hard" they work. They always leave out the part about the performance-enhancing drugs, because they have managed to convince themselves that the drugs only aid them in bringing out their natural talents to the fore, when the reality is there was never any real talent there to begin with.

Anthony stated that as a CAT 3 racer, he was getting shelled out the back despite his best efforts to improve naturally. That's because at age forty-two there is no natural progression. Amateur cycling is the only sport where nonsensical, physiological impossible feats are given serious credence by those who partake. This is because aggressive, Type-A personalities like Anthony can't fathom not being top dog at anything they do. They believe whatever success they've achieved in their work-related lives automatically translates over to athletics if they just work hard enough. That hard work includes cheating, but don't tell them that. If PED's don't register on their power meters as watts per kilogram, then they're not trying.

Good riddance, pal. Here's to hoping you'll manage to re-calibrate your priorities during your forced vacation from competitive cycling. There's more to life than winning at Battenkill. And if you have to dope to accomplish this goal, then it's not really an accomplishment, even if you're racing against other doped racers.

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