While cycling over the past few days I was daydreaming about racing. Recently, I’ve been looking at times (results) of cyclists and duathletes in my age group. Even though I’ve not raced a bike in a few years I think about racing. Man, the times for some of the results I’ve found are incredible.
If I did a bicycle race it would be a time-trial, an individual event, to reduce chances of crashing. Crashing hurts and could impact archery as well as my body.
The last purely cycling race I did was in North Carolina. It was a time-trial. I knew my expected time before going into the race and knew those practice times would be practically unbeatable. In the race, I held my time and still got beaten. It wasn’t even close. The fellow that won was a complete animal.
At a recent 5K, I did win that race; the second fastest time of the day came from a fellow nearly 10 years older than me (I’m 64 in a few weeks.) That was simply amazing. This old fellow smoked many high school track runners.
Thinking about racing I measured results of people in my age group at major events against my times. I did fine against those posted results until around the 4thplace. Then, the top finishers had faster times. Not at all events but at some I found results online of men in their 60s who were as fast as pros racing the Tour de France. Dang!
Well, not dang but dope.
Over the past couple of years the USADA has busted 56 cyclists for doping.(1) Fifty of them are in the Masters division with an average age of 50 years old. (1) By the way, 2 archers were also busted over that time frame. – they weren’t Masters. (1) Fifty Masters cyclists busted for doping! Why? It’s not as if Nike is looking for Masters athletes to give out huge sums of money.
The fellow that beat me cycling in North Carolina was doping. It was a regional race and no one was getting drug tested. I’ve done a lot of racing and seen a lot of cheaters; this guy was just about out of his skin he was so amped. I didn’t say anything – it wasn’t worth it.
It was discouraging to take a second place at that bike race. I’d worked hard to win, losing sucked. At that 5K with the old fellow running like a cheetah I was lucky in that he wasn’t in my age group. He, also, wasn’t around after the race. I think he was doping, training, and plans to stop doping before any major event, make sure he tests clean then compete. He wasn’t around for the podium glory post-race because he probably wasn’t interested in answering any questions. Heck, if that worked for the Russian and Germans it will work for him.
Knowing how often Masters athletes are doping is sort of a bummer when it comes to motivation. (2,3) I have decided to look for time-trials and other individual cycling events for fun. At nearly 64 years old fitness is a more important reason to train. Racing is simply a fun activity.
Archery, unlike cycling, is a more serious endeavor when it comes to competition for me. Archery is a test for me of talent transfer and finding a sport where an older person can be competitive longer. Like I said above when I looked over the list of athletes suspended for doping 2 archers were on the list.(1)
Many of the older archers I shoot against are taking beta-blockers.(4,5) Y’all keep taking your beta-blocker. Archery isn’t worth a stroke or worse. And like cycling Nike isn’t looking for older archers to hand out big checks.
I can recognize the individual likely to have high blood pressure and be taking a beta-blocker. For the most part these individuals are easy to spot and they’ll sooner or later fatigue during a competition, have a momentary loss of concentration, and despite the added advantage of the beta-blocker will give up a few points. (6-8) Not often, but often enough.
Doping in amateur sports, like cycling and archery, is a fact of life. Doping among athletes over 50 is common. (9) If you compete clean great. If you are over 50 and are competing clean great. If you’re doping because you have a medical need get a therapeutic use exemption. If you’re doping to get a $2.00 medal – you are an idiot.