The Hot Juice, Juiced, Wasps, Roids, and Other Dope

This morning I spoke with my long time friend and former USA Cycling World Team Coach.  He’s been in involved with competitive cycling for over 55 years.  He’s never doped or had any of his athletes dope. He’s lived in a clean athletic world at a time with doping was unchecked.

Nestor and me, circa 2000

The phone call was among other things a friendly chat.  We hadn’t spoken in over a year although we stay in touch on social media. Social media is okay but a call or seeing someone face to face is much better.

Coach Gernay with the Jr. World’s Team 1976

He is a great coach and has won a number of National Cycling Championships as an athlete.  He knows how to ride a bike and to inspire other riders to excel.  There’s even a race series named in his honor, The Nestor Cup.

Gernay on the velodrome
Nestor Gernay and Eddy Merckx

The call was initiated by a question I sent to him.  I’d been looking at time trial results for a few riders in my age group.  I noticed a number of them held speeds matching individual time trial speeds of professional cyclists reported during the Tour de France.  Those data seemed very unlikely without some form of artificial support.

I wanted to know if those speeds were natural.  I didn’t suspect they were and the former coach immediately called a foul.  He added  he’s observed a lot of riders today picked up the sport in their 40s.  They missed those early youthful years of development. They wanted speed, had money, and were doping. He estimated as high as 60% of older cyclists may be doping.

I think the number is high but lower than 60%.  There’s a lot of attention being paid to doping.  Doping regardless there is still a problem with doping cycling. (1) Amateur athletes don’t seem too worried about getting caught. Many don’t need the sport to support them financially and have nothing to lose if they get caught. Furthermore, the current opinion on doping seems to lean heavily toward to older athletes. (2-4). In the past I’ve written at the rate is probably around 25% of older athletes are doping based on research I’ve read. (5)

Me on the Dick Lane Velodrome

According to my former coach, “These older guys have the money and they want to win, so they’re doping.” He added, “If it were less expensive to test riders, we’d catch more.”

Crash on a bike and archery will likely be out of the picture for awhile.

No matter, I’ll probably race bikes again.  I do miss it. It would only be in a time trial – less chance of a crash that might mess me up in archery.  Don’t even get me started about the doping in archery.  Well, I’m started….

If you’re on a beta-blocker, over 50, and don’t have a therapeutic use exemption and compete in archery you are cheating.  I doubt you’ll get caught.  You’re over 50 and no one seems to care whether or not you’re taking a beta-blocker for hypertension or other problem or if you get eat some of your buddy’s drugs before a tournament.  The sport organizations would rather have your annual dues and registrations fees than worry with sportsmanship. Heck, you can get your dope online. (6)

References:

Train, train, more training and a little madness

Over the next several weekends I have a State 3D Championship (Georgia Bowhunter and Archery Association), a race (5K) and finally the Georgia State Outdoor Championship (Georgia Archery Association).  Getting ready for all of them means a lot of training and practice.

Trails used for running and 3D – you can just see that foam deer

When I go to the gym to lift weight the week of an archery tournament I dial it back.  Pushing it lifting weights before a major archery event can leave my arms wobbly. Neither will I crank up the repetitions or weight on my legs with a 5K coming up.  A 5K isn’t a long race, but I know I’m going to hurt for the entire race. I prefer my legs feeling fresh.

During runs and rides I nearly always see deer – not the foam type

Each week I have a plan with a peak and taper based on the next competition.  Last week was a heavy week with some taper this week in archery. Last week there was this one day where things went a bit crazy.

That was a  day when  I trained a maximum load schedule for that week. This meant, fortunately not on a gym day, 30 minutes of stretching and balance, and hour and a half long trail run, 50 arrows in the morning and 60 in the afternoon and an hour and fifteen minutes on the bike. What did me in was the bike.

In rural Georgia you can ride for hours on roads like to one over my shoulder

Now 75 minutes on a bike isn’t hard.  It can be an easy ride depending on the course. This course on this day was not an easy one.

The ride is extremely hilly.  Still, 75 minutes means the course is ridden at a comfortable pace which was my intention when I got on the bike. I didn’t stick with the plan.

Starting out on the ride I had a rare day with a light wind.  The course usually provides a not so light wind that feels like it is always in my face.  Not that day – the course seemed to have very little wind and what it did have felt like it was pushing me along rather that trying to stop me.

Cycling in this part of the country you will ride through cow pastures. They are often scenic and frequently smelly.

I tried to hold an easy pace at 17 mile per hour.  About half way into the ride reading at my bike computer for the current mileage and time lapsed I started thinking, “I bet I can break an hour on this ride.”

I’d done the ride in less than an hour once before.  I tried to stop thinking about it remembering I already had 90 minutes of running in my legs and another 60 arrows to shoot.   Then, I lost my mind.

It is too tempting to try and go fast on these roads

If I’d intended on trying to ride the course with a sub-hour time I should have started the ride trying to hold the pace at 20 miles per hour.  I hadn’t done that.  Having 6 miles to go I started really pushing it.  Because I’d began the ride at a more leisurely pace the final 6 miles would need to be fast.

Fast is fine on a flat course, but the final six miles of this course are rolling hills, long uphill grades and 3 tough climbs over the last 2 miles.  It would be hard to complete the distance under an hour with six miles remaining on a flat course. On this course it was just a stupid idea.

An easy part of the ride.

Turning right onto Georgia State Highway 186, which leads home, the distance is 2 miles. That’s where the three tough climbs lay ahead.  (There are no pictures of those climbs.  If I tried to snap a photo while riding a bicycle I’d probably start rolling backwards or fall over)  There was also wind blowing fast and furious right into my face.

I looked at my bike computer and decided to keep pushing. Days of bygone glory drifted through my head. I was out of my saddle climbing and determined to break an hour or bust a lung.

I got home just as my wife was driving up from a yoga class.  Her first words were, “Look at your face, it’s so red.”  I bet it was red. The temperature was 92°F.  My bike computer read 58 minutes and 32 seconds.

It took me two days to recover.

Olympic Sport for Me (Or You)

On the Internet I found a sight that suggests an Olympic sport for people who enter certain requested data. (1) It wasn’t what I was looking to find on the electronic quest. Nevertheless, it got my attention the way a squirrel grabs a dog’s attention.  I had to chase it down.

I’ve often felt that everyone has an ideal sport they’d enjoy and perform better than other sports. Someone might enjoy basketball but not be successful because they are short.  On the other hand someone six feet seven inches tall might be physically suited for basketball but hate the game.  Then, there’s the six feet and seven inches individual that loves basketball and works at it for years.  There’s an increased likelihood that person has found a sport for which they are suited.

The ‘Olympize Me’ sight I visited is based in the United Kingdom.  The data it called for included metric system measurements.  If you’ll not literate in the metric system you’ll need to make some conversions to get your ideal sport recommendation if you decide to chase it down.

The data entry takes only a few minutes and doesn’t ask you questions that might reveal your identity, passwords, and locations to send you fake news.

Granted, this was a game for me.  Not like the video games people play, more like a brain game to see what the results yielded.  The suggestions that came from the sight were interesting.  Their results suggested the sports for me are: archery, cycling, kayaking, taekwondo, and fencing.

This wasn’t my first time trying an analysis similar to this one.  However, this one did ask a few more specific questions than the others. What is interesting is how it matched other similar questionnaires and exactly what it is I’ve done or still do in sports.

Growing up in Savannah from the mid-1950s until early 1970s many of the sports the sight suggested weren’t popular.  Cycling for example was not popular as a competitive sport in Georgia in the early 70s. Yet, I found a way, without the help of the Internet to become a cyclist.  In cycling I was a particularly good sprinter and the UK site recommended sprint style cycling 46 years after I’d won a major cycling sprint championship.

The British also thought I might like kayaking.  In fact, I kayak often and own six boats.  Additionally, decades ago I practiced and competed in taekwondo .  Although I’ve never done fencing a fellow that understood that sport once told me I was built for it.  On that call I believe at five foot eight inches tall my reach might be a limiting factor. Then, I know nothing about fencing.

What is somewhat reassuring is that archery continues to rank top or near the top on every survey.

When I think about an Olympic team I wonder about the missed opportunity to have gone as a cyclist. When I had a serious chance no one from the US went to the summer games because of a boycott.  Whether or not I’d have actually made it – the odds say no – I’ll never know.

What crawls in the back of my head is missing again any chance in archery because I shoot a compound bow.  Wait a minute, you’re 64, there’s no way. Perhaps.  I also took on of the surveys that suggested my real age is 36. (2)

Reference:

1.) http://www2.open.ac.uk/openlearn/olympisize_html/?state=0

2.) https://www.age-test.com/gfsy3k

Okay, you’re the expert

There are fields where I am an expert.(1)  As many of you too are experts at something.  It might be that you are an expert electrician, builder, surgeon or athlete. Don’t you find it odd when someone that has never done what it is where you are an expert and that someone decides to provide advice to you at your job?

Before I go further I am removing archery from my areas of expertise. I’m good at shooting a bow and I’m a USA Level 3 NTS Coach but compared to other endeavors archery doesn’t come close to sections of my life where I remain an expert.  By expert I mean one the top in the World.

When I worked I considered myself the best in the World at what I did.  On occasions I received unsolicited awards for my work. Not a one is on display in my home. I have a friend that won a number of Academy Awards; he keeps a few on display in his basement.  The other Oscars are stored in a box. He’s certainly an expert at his job. It would never occur to me to give him advance on his work.

The Global Awards have a division for the type of work where I was involved.  Once I thought I might earn a Global.  I was a runner up.  They gave me a nice framed award for not winning.  But, I did come close with only a $10,000 budget from which to work. (2) So, I find it amazing when people feel the need to educate me with their business acumen, especially when they’ve never worked in business. I also find it amazing when some bike shop technician tries to educate me on cycling.

There’s a local bike shop I visit for parts and repairs.  They employ a bike tech that in his mind is an expert on a variety of topics from cycling to business to science.  Yesterday he tried to sale me tires I didn’t want.  I needed new tires, which is why I was in the shop.  My choice didn’t meet his opinion of what he thought I should be riding.

Benefit run post-World Championship

I explained the tires I selected from the wall display were ideal for the bike and my riding.  He offered the tires he would rather I purchase which would make me go faster.  I suggested that my legs were in fact what might make me go faster.  Further, I pointed out I ride a bike for fun and had no intention of racing in the near future if ever again.  In addition if I did race it wouldn’t be on that bike.  He couldn’t leave it alone and claimed I was ignoring science.

First, I never ignore science.  I’m a bona fide scientist and science fueled my career along with law and business. Secondly, I doubt the bike tech has ever gone as fast or as far on a bike I have in the past.(3) I wanted to puff up at the tech and explain I’ve raced for a living, raced in Europe, and placed as high as 4thin a cycling world championship.(4) Additionally, I’ve been a member of a USA Team that included cycling and raced at the Ironman World Championship in Hawaii. (5,6)  Yet, I said nothing.

I did get the tires I wanted and the bike tech put them on the bike while I left to purchase another blueberry tree to plant. The bike was ready when I returned with the tree sitting in my truck.  While checking me out he asked if I was following the Tour, as in Tour de France for non-cycling readers.

I told him no I wasn’t explaining I didn’t know any of the guys racing any longer and wasn’t interested. I am interested enough that I’ll purchase the DVD of the race when it is complete.  But, since I don’t know of the riders I’ll watch it later.

I didn’t add that when I raced for Trek and trained sometimes in Kennett, MO I’d share my training route with Lance Armstrong so that he could ride the route while he was visiting Sheryl Crow. Sharing that with the bike tech might have meant I’d need to hear his lecture on doping.

My old UCI International Racing License

As I left the bike shop with my newly installed tires not once did I consider racing a bicycle beyond a possible time trial. The bike tech was shaking his head as he considered the old fool leaving with non-recommended tires.

Reference:

  1. Best of 2011 Respiratory Care RT: Rode Decision Makers in Respiratory Care, October 2011, 24 – 26
  2. Finalist Award, The “Global Awards” for Marketing Communication- Quantum Launch, Oct. 1997
  3. Calvin’s Challenge 12 Hour Ultra-Marathon, Bronze Medal, Columbus, Ohio 2000
  4. WUCA World 6 Hour Road Cycling Championship, 4thPlace, Eldridge, IA, September 2003
  5. ITU World Long Distance Duathlon Championship, USA Team, Richmond, VA, October 21, 2007
  6. Ironman World Championship, Kona, Hawaii 2008

 

Big Fish, Big Game

Face it we all have an ego. Heck, I have a webpage – how egotistical is that?

Athletes are often portrayed has being extremely egocentric.  Being athletic or being a recognized athlete doesn’t mean that such an individual necessarily has a big head.  But, you’ve meet them, those big headed folks (athletic or not) that never hesitate to let everyone know just how awesome they are at whatever endeavor they feel they are the best. I’ve even met people willing to inculcate their proficiency on an activity they only just encountered.

Too often an excessive ego doesn’t match the skills.  My first memorable encounter with a person that thought he was a gift to all of us (in the case it was a he) was in cycling.  The fellow was a decent recreational rider and loved the sport. He’d show up at our training rides – in the days when I raced bicycles.  The rides were open to anyone that could hang on.

The guys on our team were fast.  There was a core group of six riders. All six of those riders picked up multiple State Championships, raced multiple National Championships (one winner), raced in Europe (two riders), represented the USA at World Championships (two riders, 3 Championships), and one made the Olympic Team.  I’m not exaggerating when I point out this was a fast group.

ITU World Championship, Duathlon (Yep, a vanity photo)

During a training ride, two to six of this core group would ride together.  A training ride might start with 15 to 20 riders.  Most would be dropped before 20 miles.  The rides ranged in distance from 20 miles to 100 miles. There was this one guy, Mr. Bike Ego, who considered he was our gift to be adored.

Mr. Bike Ego would get dropped nearly 100% of the time before we’d ridden ten miles.  He’d circle back or cut he course and hook back up with the group.  This was a common practice since we trained on a loop and he was not alone in being dropped. He’d cut the course then get dropped again and repeat his shortened relaxed pace ride. As I wrote many people did this until they could ride stronger and faster and could hang in for the entire ride.  Most worked hard at staying with the faster group.  Mr. Bike Ego stood apart from those who worked.  Yet, he remained steadfast in his pronounced ability.

Occasionally, after our group of six had beaten each other half to death Mr. Bike Ego would hook back up with the remains of the day a kilometer or so before the sprint to the finish.  No one in the group paid him attention beyond keeping clear of his bike.  The groups’ goal was to outsprint the others in the group.

Mr. Bike Ego would be left alone and hopefully he’d stay out of our way.  In a full sprint no one wanted his squirrely bike handling skills anywhere around.  He’d jump, as if he was going for the win, and typically we’d let him go for safety’s sake. If we started sprinting too soon we’d have to pass him while he bounced side to side down the road.

As a result, Mr. Bike Ego, who’d casually pedaled his bike for less than 10 miles might cross the finish line ahead of us, those that had ridden 60 or more miles.  When that first happened, Mr. Bike Ego laughed and cried and bragged at how he’d beaten us.  We let if go, for a while.

Eventually we pointed out the discrepancy of his self-proclaimed victory.  Aside from that one comment we offered it was ride and let ride. Our mention of his pseudo-win never took hold with him.  To this day he believes he should have been on some Tour de France Team as a cyclist despite the fact he never won a bike race.

In archery there are some folks with pronounced egos.  For the most part these people are few and far between.  Archery has no room for fools.  You either hit the mark or not – everyone knows.  This is particularly true in 3D where an archer can’t hide on the line.

Shooting on a line with a hundred or more archers you are essentially invisible like a zebra in a herd. You are hard to pick out unless a coach or family member is closely watching.  Even diehard observers of archery events where thousands of arrows fly become glassy eyed and numb following a few ends.

In 3D you are always alone at the stake.  Someone is watching and no one cares how you perform. That is unless they are secretly praying for you to screw-up in order that the watcher gains points off of your error.  In such a way, the individual that prayed for your mistake, if their prayer is answered, might take home a $3.00 medal to display over the fireplace where it hangs from the antlers of that trophy four point buck bagged a few years ago with a rifle or Ford F-150.

You may have won more National or World Championship titles than folks can easily remember and out of the blue you can blow a shot.  It happens.  Archery can be cruel.  So, it is kind of hard to be Mr. Archery Ego with that flopped shot waiting in your quiver. The second you puff up that screwed up shot is begging to be released. Believe me though; Mr. Archery Ego is out there.

Mr. Archery Ego is likely not shooting at National Championships or World Championships. He’s probably a local fellow that’s a big fish in a small pond.  Or at least a fish that in his or her mind is just waiting to show Reo Wilde, Jeff Hopkins and Levi Morgan how they’ve been doing it wrong all these years.

You may have noticed I’d gone from a generic ‘individual’ to ‘he’ in this writing.  I’m not trying to be sexist or disregard women.  I just haven’t met “Ms. Ego” although she too may be out there. Regardless of the scientifically proven fact that women talk more than men when it comes to braggadocio women play it cool.  Oh, they’ll beat a guy to a pulp on the range but they’ve mastered the ability to have you not feel so bad about it.  Women are just more advanced with their egos than men. I expect they quietly laugh behind our backs, which could explain the occasional smile men get and misinterpret as a friendly acknowledgement.

Last week, I watched the ultimate example of an over blown ego in a self-produced video by a Mr. Archery Ego.  He, apparently, had one of those sticks that held his camera away from his body while he aimed the camera at himself.  As I watched, I became hooked in the way someone does who can’t stop staring at a County Fair Sideshow Oddity.

During the video Mr. Archery Ego is walking through a wooded area.  He’s creeping along as if he’s hunting.  He’s speaks to viewers in in hushed tones to prevent a possible animal from hearing then running away.

As he creeps along he continues to quietly yammer away about himself, his bow, his arrows and his release. I would not have been surprised to have seen a sign pop up while he mentioned his equipment that displayed a little “#” tag.

I nearly did stop watching. It was just too much of a weird thing. Just as I lifted a finger to end the video he spotted his prey.  The video continued to run.

Somewhere tracked in front of him, in this wooded area, he’d discovered his target.  He continued to whisper, his voice now barely audible.  I knew he was preparing to shoot a hash tag hungry arrow.

Before even an arrow could be nocked, he went into a yardage-judging trance.  With the camera now aimed at his face he posed looking serious, concerned, he frowned, rubbed his chin, and wagged the fingers on his free hand in the air.  He whispered advice toward the camera’s microphone to viewers perhaps locked on his every breathed word.  After minutes he’d completed mental gyrations and declared the required shot distance to all of us.

As be put down the camera in order to execute the shot, leaving it recording his boots, I had to wonder, is he going to shoot a cow?  What other animal is dumb enough to just stand there?  A dog would have run away or toward him.  Who shoots a dog, anyway? There is certainly not a deer wating for an arrow unless it is tied down.  It can’t be a rabbit, pig, or fox; they’d all have been long gone.  Like everyone who views this hunt I’d have to wait while watching shoes.

The bow pop of an arrow being released is heard as I continued to examine Mr. Archery Ego’s boots. There’s a hushed exclamation, of “Yes!” and I knew something had an arrow in it.  I’ve got to see what this fellow has shot.

The camera pans away from the foot apparel as he gathers the attached stick. Together we walk.  His seriousness is portrayed as he instructs us, facing the camera his feet free from scrutiny, while walking toward a prize all the while an excited yet controlled voice tells the viewers about the shot.  As we get closer to his kill, Mr. Archery Ego is in full bloom.  I gawk at my screen in astonished marvel.  We’ve finally seen the prey.

There is no comparison of the steely non-running nerve of the ever still foam animal.  This man has stalked a foam target.  Well no wonder it didn’t run off, it was staked to the ground. It was here I pressed ‘Stop.’

I admit I too have posted poorly self-produced videos.  I’ve even got an un-posted video of a really cool shot that I can’t figure out how to download.  One day I may be able to post that video.  But, webpage and all, I remain a mere second rate marketer of my ego’s desires by comparison.

There’s a sucker born every minute

Cheers to the fellow that captured my attention. P.T. Barnum’s point has once again been verified.

Saving Turtles

Part of my overall training for archery includes cardio fitness exercise. In that essential area are running and cycling.  I’ve done a lot of running and cycling. Often, while cycling or running along side of a rural road I see a turtle trying to make it to the other side of the road.

Turtles aren’t known for speed but they do have endurance.  In that matter I can relate.  Whenever I see one on the road I pause to help it across.

Today I crossed paths while riding my bike with a large turtle and gave it a tow handed lift to the other side of the road.  This turtle never completely ducked back into its shell.  Perhaps it knew I was hoping to help.

On the round trip I checked to be sure I’d headed it in the correct direction.  I was pleased to find it making progress.

I searched for the turtle on the ride back. It took some looking but there’s it is heading away from the road.

Athens and Cycling

Some of the places I’ve lived and trained on a bike:

The flag tells it all for a cyclist.
Seriously, there’s some $$$ around here

Savannah, Georgia, Easton, Maryland, and New Hope, North Carolina, are all coastal cities. The cycling there is primarily flat. There’s wind, but there are no hills. In Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania there’s not much wind, there isn’t a level road in the city. In Pittsburgh you are screaming in pain on a climb or screaming in terror at 48 – 52 miles per hour going downhill. Cleveland, Ohio, where I lived near Lake Erie is flat. Kennesaw, Georgia has rolling hills and not much wind.  Augusta, Georgia and Statesboro, Georgia had some hills and were easy on the wind for cycling.

Athens is unique.  Athens has nice rolling hills with some decent climbs – nothing of the Pittsburgh caliber. What is unique is the wind.  There’s always wind. The wind here is practically coastal in nature.

On some rides, you just have to stop and smell the cow sh.t. We’re surrounded by cattle. (Better cows than cars)

Wind is an environmental element that anyone who plays outside must deal.  The only times, it seems, when the wind is calm are at times like these when I’m typing, glancing out the window, and see no limbs or leaves moving.  Of course!

Grandkids – Common Denominators

Doing anything over and over becomes mind clearing if not mind numbing.  When I ride a bike my mind clears and I think of all sorts of things.  I’ve thought up inventions and written papers while riding a bicycle.  I also formed ideas or plans that were left on some road not making the trip home. The same is true with archery.  Those between ends times walking back and forth to pull arrows are intervals where ideas pop into my head.

Recently, while walking on my 3D range my grandkids popped into my thoughts.  All are under the age of 10. I began thinking about the common denominators among them.  This is what I came up with:

  • They are at full speed or eating,
  • Conflict is a reflex,
  • They’re not having fun until someone is bleeding.

If you have young grandkids, perhaps those three common denominators are applicable.

 If you’re doping to get a $2.00 medal – you are an idiot.

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.

Reference:

  1. https://www.usada.org/testing/results/sanctions/
  2. https://www.theguardian.com/lifeandstyle/2016/jun/01/dope-and-glory-the-rise-of-cheating-in-amateur-sport
  3. http://jumping-the-gun.com/?p=2641
  4. https://www.rxlist.com/high_blood_pressure_hypertension_medications/drugs-condition.htm
  5. https://healthfully.com/athletes-would-use-beta-blockers-5622585.html
  6. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3181843/
  7. https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/173068.php
  8. https://healthunlocked.com/bhf/posts/136191614/beta-blockers-confusion-loss-on-concentration-side-effects…slightly-anxious-has-anyone-felt-this
  9. https://www.narcononuk.org.uk/blog/the-problem-of-amateur-sports-doping.html

Time-Trial Flop

If you read posting on this sight you know that I am keen on health and fitness. Everyday I do some form, often multiple forms, of exercise.  For example, aside from archery practice today, I stretched, ran, and did a time-trial on a bicycle. It’s that time-trial that flopped.

Now, I did get through the course I’d planned.  The idea was to break a prior personal best on the 11.7-mile course. No, 11.7 miles isn’t a long ride. It is the course that makes it tough.

For the first 3.6 miles the ride is all uphill.  Then, it levels, dips a little, and climbs some more.  The backside has a steep short downhill, then a gradual climb for the next several miles.  The final 2 miles intersects with the start of the course.  It is hard and I’ve been trying to break 30-minutes on the ride.

The plan was to use a triathlon bike.  On an easier try the day before I’d done the course in 32 minutes using a tri-bike. There was, along with the climbing, a heavy wind.  Usually, I’m on a road bike, the tri-bike using a tucked position helped in the wind. Without much effort I’d come close to the 30-minute time.

The bike I’d planned to use

When I picked up that Cannondale Slice tri-bike today the rear tire was flat.  Perfect.  I grabbed a road bike and planned to go for it anyway.

Let me say, I’m no meteorologist, but it seems unlikely that there can be a headwind at every turn and in every direction.  Yet, today it happened.  As hard as I pushed the wind pushed harder.

At 8 miles I thought there’d be a chance.  I thought I’d get out of the headwind and have a tailwind.  I was wrong. I didn’t get that sub-thirty minutes.