Thursday, September 6, 2012

It takes a smack to the head....

I've gotten a little banged up on my bike this summer....but despite my injuries and mishaps, I think I still faired better than the chap driving this boat on the Lake of the Ozarks this past weekend (you might have to watch a crummy commerical before it plays).

That guy goes down quicker than a Vegas hooker. 

And speaking of having the world come up and smack you suddenly in the face just when you think you are cruising along fine, comes the story in Cyclingnews that Jonathan Vaughters let fly the admission that Tom Danielson had previously doped prior to coming to Garmin while commenting in one of the discussion forums. He also mentioned Christian VandeVelde and David Zabriskie - but rumor had already circulated about them in regards to the USADA case against Lance Armstrong - so the real revelation was the news about Danielson.  Actually - this wasn't a revelation to everyone.  Kansas racer Steve Tilford responded today in a post saying that he knew Tommy D was juicing all along.

"I’m not going to rip Jonathan [Vaughters] again for this. He is full of shit. Completely full of shit. I’m going to rip Tom Danielson. Here’s my personal observations and history of Tom Danielson, with a few jabs at Jonathan during the rant, probably.  Ever since I heard the guy’s name, Tom Danielson, it has been associated with doping. From square one."
 
If you would like to read the rest of Tilford's self-titled rant, you can do so over on his blog, where he is entirely entitled to voice his opinion and make comments like..."the guy was a tool," and, "he stuck around the US long enough for just about everyone with any knowledge of the sport to realize he needed to leave our continent," and my personal favorite, "I'm hoping most of the people in Durango that support cycling think much of the same way I do.  Maybe the Durango Herald reporter will feel as strongly as I do and rip Tom a new asshole.....and [he will] decide to move to his little place in Maui instead."
 
I wish I could get condemned to Maui.
 
Anyway, many have questioned why Vaughters would "out" VandeVelde, Zabriskie and Danielson with such apparent carelessness, when he himself, got to wait until well after he had retired to pen an op-ed piece and publicly come clean about his own doping past.  Obviously, a lot of the who's who of dopers are about to be revealed to the world as part of the USADA's evidence and in Tyler Hamilton's book. And maybe the mention of current Garmin riders was not accidental, but rather all part of a cleverly schemed plan of executing a slow release of admissions of doping in a more casual way, to avoid any single bomb-dropping media event. But if Vaughters was 'drunk dialing'  the cyclingnews forum and slipped up by releasing this info, then I think he was out of bounds and really didn't have the right to rob Danielson of his opportunity to come clean if he chose to do so.   But, therein lies the problem.  To speak of "rights" and "bounds" in the same breath as "admissions of doping" seems a little silly.  After all, there is no honor amongst thieves, correct?  Well of course there is: hence the omerta....the code of silence.  It's pretty clear that if you got busted doping, you kept quiet and served your suspension, and in time, you would be let back into the peloton (see Millar, Basso, Vino, Valverde on and on).  But regardless of whether or not you doped - if you sang, you would never work again (see Landis, Jakshe, Bassons, Simeoni). 
 
Lovely sport, this.  The more you learn, the uglier it gets.
 
Tyler Hamilton was interviewed by Bill Gifford for Outside Magazine yesterday and was asked the question:
 
BG: Do you miss bike racing?
TH: "Once in a great while I miss the racing, the feeling of winning. That rush. That adrenaline. The rest of the bullshit—no, I don’t miss it. My nephew told me he wanted to be a pro bike racer a couple of years ago, and I felt sick to my stomach, knowing what I do......"
 
I keep reading analyses from cycling "experts" about how professional cycling will survive the massive purge of dirty info we seem to be on the brink of learning.  Quite honestly, it survives because of dumb-asses like me who continue to read and write about it - looking for some deeper meaning, or greater purpose, or posturing about the "beauty" of the sport. 
 
It's kind of like watching the boat video above.  A lot of people have commented how dumb those people were to being going that speed, and to be sure, their desire to go fast certainly seemed to trump good judgement.  But I'm the one who kept hitting replay to watch it happen over and over again......so who's the biggest dumb-ass?

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