Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Why Wait?

Great picture (PDXCross). Wish it was in color. Don't really understand b/w cycling pictures. But great great picture. Racing for all the marbles, winner take all, no pro's killing it solo off the front, 200m to go. What more could you want?

One question though....

Molly? You waited? Your opponent crashed on the last lap of the biggest cx race of the year and you waited? Seriously?

Amateur cycling seems to subscribe to the quaint idea that it is somehow respectable to wait for your opponent if he has somehow encountered misfortune. Nice idea.....but really?

Bike racing. RACING. R-A-C-I-N-G. Draw a line in the dirt, first one there wins.

Of course, recreational cyclists constantly point to Ulrich waiting for Lance at Luz-Ardiden, which was preceded by Lance waiting Ulrich on Peyresourde.

What is mentioned less, is that these are exceptions. If Lance had buried Ullrich after he overcooked a turn, fair play. Riding down the mountain is just as much a part of the game as riding up. Does anyone expect Boonen to wait for Flecha at this year's Paris-Roubaix? Nope. Hell, Chiapucci attacked Lemond after he punctured on Stage 17 of the 1990 Tour. Not really admired for it, but it got him the most aggressive rider award.

And to put it in a cx context, did Niels Albert wait for Sven Nys when totally shutting down his line and forcing him off his bike at Niel Jaarmarktcross? Nope, just rode like he stole something.

Sure, it's a sporting gesture, for certain riders, in certain situations to wait for a fallen competitor. Never. Ever. In a single day event, nave I ever heard of anyone waiting for anything.

So, again. Cross Crusade on the line and you wait? Really? Unless Molly totally caused Sean to crash, I just don't get it.

Bike racing is a race. It involves not only riding fast but steering, cornering and maintaining a working machine from start to finish. Positioning, judgment and skill also factor into success.

Molly and Sean are both talented hardworking racers who got landed on a nice stage and gave a hell of a show. Molly's decision probably cost her the race and the Crusade overall. It apparently endears her to the Portland Cx community even more, and she will sell more bikes because of it.

But Sean won the race.

Friday, November 13, 2009

The Money Will Roll Right In

It is no longer a rumor, Kenny 'the Cash Register' Williams failed a USA Cycling drug control after setting a World Record at this year's Masters Track Nats. He tested positive for DHEA, an over the counter supplement, the same stuff Tyler Hamilton got busted for this past spring.

Kenny followed his instinct and announced the violation with an apology.

A fixture in the Northwest cycling scene. His nose for cash prizes earned his illustrious nickname. He would often race the Masters' race, scooping up as much cash as possible, and then repeat the process in the 1/2 race. He never had a professional career of note, apparently content to use amateur races to supplement his income, rather than seek out a paid ride. His age defying speed impressed Master's and Elite competitors alike.

He is also a popular coach of northwest based riders. Many successful Seattle and Portland based riders turn to Kenny for training plans and mentoring.

Given his place in cycling, it is extremely naive for Kenny to expect that anyone believe the positive was the result in a one-off dalliance with a single over-the-counter supplement. DHEA is widely used in a variety of supplements. Double blind studies have repeatedly shown that it has zero performance enhancing effects. The most common use of DHEA in competitive athletes? As part of a supplement cocktail intended to maintain hormone levels while cycling off stronger anabolic agents. (Sorry there aren't more authoritative sources on this one, but this is some back room of Gold's Gym, Venice beach bull shit.)

If Kenny recommends DHEA for performance enhancing reasons, it exposes him as an inept, ignorant coach. His services put his clients at the risk of USAC, UCI and WADA drug testing, with no possibility of experiencing any performance benefit.

If Kenny was using DHEA as it is commonly used in athletics, as part of a systematic PED regimen, then he should come clean. Lay it all on the table.

Like most riders, Kenny doesn't seem to be sorry for the results he's stolen from other riders. He's not sorry for the relationships damaged, the respect lost and the damage to the reputation of his clients and friends.

He's sorry he got caught.