The Impact of Lance on the Average Amateur (i.e. me)

So today Lance gave up his fight against the USADA. I can imagine him throwing his hands up in the air shouting, "Fine! Whatever! I'm done!"

He's not gaining a lot of sympathy, being called a liar and a cheat, but the impact of this controversy may actually hit your's truly. Why, you may ask? Because, empowered by the publicity of this campaign, the USADA is greatly expanding their testing of amateur athletes.

I am torn on this issue. My position on professional athletics is that they should all be tested. How they do the testing and the process for appealing and monitoring for corruption is another debate that I will not attempt to address herein. What about amateurs?

Is it OK for someone who competes on an amateur level to abuse testosterone, EPO, HGH, etc.? (Hint: quite a fewactually do) No, they should not but should they be subject to the same rules, guidelines, and procedures as the pros?

Like I said, I'm torn.

Sorry, rant time… 

Outside Magazine today published an article that got me thinking more about this...

This quote from the article represents my main problem with amateur testing:

“Millions of amateurs who compete under USADA guidelines as members of organizations like USA Triathlon and USA Track and Field have no idea which medications—even over-the-counter ones—could bring a suspension. Forcing people to follow the same rules as the pros could turn them away simply because of the hassle.”

There are a lot of hobbyists (like me) and weekend-warriors who have no clue about the USADA/WADA guidelines for banned substances (and have no interest in learning). I have frequent sinus and allergy issues and my favorite remedy (pseudoephedrine, the main ingredient in Mucinex-D, Sudaphed, Claritin-D, Zyrtec-D, and a host of other drugs) is a banned substance. What other supplements, drinks, or medications do I take that are also banned? I really don’t care. 

I have made it clear that the reason I'm racing has nothing to do with the other competitors on the course. I don’t race in an attempt to beat someone else: I race against myself. If you think that statement is ludicrous I point you to my last race result where it is clear that I had no chance at a podium finish in my age group, let alone the entire race, and probably never will. My personal schedule and commitments do not allow for the level of training necessary for me to be even an AG competitor and certainly not on the overall category. Maybe after my kids are out of the house (8-10 years in the future)?

So here’s the punch line: no one need fear me beating them at a race. If they ask me to be tested I will politely decline and then avoid sanctioned races while I wait out my inevitable suspension in protest. I’m not going to change my diet/nutrition to appease the USADA and their doping policies just so I can compete in a sanctioned race. I don’t need the hassle.

An interesting side note: Why is doping so prevalant? Because it works.


April 2011 Wrap-up

Training Summary


Number of swims: 0

Distance: 0

Improvement over previous month: None



Number of bike trips: 13

Total Distance: 128 miles, 9016 feet of climbing

Improvement over previous month: +9 miles



Number of runs: 2

Total Distance: 7.3 miles 

Improvement over previous month: -12.98 (much lower this month)


So my training fell off what I expected in April. May should be much better with the commute challenge and bike-to-work day. As usual I joined the team from work called "Up Hill Both Ways" which describes the route we take. Yes, we seriously go up a big hill both directions.

Cat-6 riders in NYC, courtesy of

Cat 6

I posted a couple months back on Cat-6 racing.

According to Gustavo, a fellow triathlete from work, "Cat-6 is ON!" What in the world is Cat-6? Well, it started out on the forum page in 2008 with a thread titled "Silly Commute Racing." 1039 pages and 3 years later the thread is still going strong. They even came up with a scoring/ranking system to see how well you are doing each day. A blog entry from the New York Times got a lot more people thinking about it.

Even more links: Commute racing from who I think is credited with coming up with the term "Cat-6", and a view of Cat-6 from Shanghai.

Cold Weather Commuting

I thought I was tough because I tried to bike commute through the Seattle winter. Nope, I'm a wuss because I don't ride when it snows/freezes outside. While looking for articles on Cat-6 I ran across this video about bike commuting in Chicago, even through the winter. The helmets and clothes make me think that the video is a few years old but it still makes me look bad. The coldest temp ever seen while I was riding was 28F. A guy in the video doesn't have a problem with 22F. Chicago does have a leg-up on the Seattle in one way: Chicago is pancake flat (compared to the hills in Seattle). If I knew my commute was going to be cold for 1/3 of the year I would probably invest in the studded tires to do it. For now I'm not willing to drop the coin.

Fun Articles

Why Bicyclists Hate Stop Signs - I know I hate them (while on a bike anyway). This article does a fine job of explaining in a somewhat-scientific manner why cyclists should be able to treat stop signs as yield signs. Yet another reason for car drivers to hate cyclists.

The Truth About Running Vs. Walking - I've always heard from various sources that walking and running 1 mile required the same amount of energy so, if you are trying to lose weight, it made no difference if you were walking or running. My father, a life-time distance runner, has always disagreed with me. Looks like he was right all along. Or was he?

How To Get Your City To Notice and Fix Potholes  - This is priceless. One of these days I'll actually try it. Click to link to see why it is so funny.