Group Rides

Join us for evening indoor training rides on Tuesdays and Thursdays at 5:30pm at the Recycle Bicycle Shop in downtown Ellensburg.

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Lance, again ...

As news broke last Friday that Lance Armstrong was contemplating "coming clean" about his use of performance enhancing drugs (PED's) over the years I was forced again to do some self evaluation of my position on the world of professional cycling.  Read about the Armstrong story here

I have always been a Lance Armstrong fan. However, the constant, and apparent, lying he did about his use of the substances really gets on my nerves.  His books are so adamant against it.  When you look at his results on the bike, though, it's not surprising that he used the drugs.  Heck, deep down I always suspected it but gave him the benefit because he never tested positive in a drug test.  I understand you're not going to come out and say, "yep, I'm using the drugs so I can win more" but I don't really know how a person can live with themself when a constant lie is being perpetrated.  It's just not ethical.  

One primary cause is the win at all costs attitude in professional sports which includes big team contracts and large corporate sponsorship contracts mentality.  To stay viable in the cycling and not lose those contracts the athlete and teams feel like they have to do whatever it takes to make the team sponsor happy.

It's pretty clear the Festina doping scandal of 1998 didn't do anything to curtail the use of PED's in the cycling world.  Heck, Armstrong won his first Tour de France in 1999, one year after Festina.  If most of the peloton is doping how do you not do it - the pressure would be enormous on the athlete.  I don't understand the ethical side of it but, then, I'm just an average guy.

I see the real problem lying with those in charge of the international cycling union (UCI).  The past two "leaders" of the UCI have been in charge since before 1998.  As Armstrong became bigger and bigger money flowed into the sport like never before they turned a blind eye to the doping.  They are just as guilty of as any of the riders, team doctors and team directors to what was happening because they became drunk on cash.  It's clear they gave lip service to drug testing and were not serious about weeding it out.  Until the leadership at the top changes, and the fans insist on cleaning things up,  pro cycling will continue to have these problems.

Naneum State Forest in winter

I found out over the Christmas holiday that the main road heading up into the Naneum State Forest (from the end of the pavement on Naneum Rd northeast of Ellensburg) is being plowed all winter due to logging operations after last summer's Table Mountain fires.

I road up there on Friday, January 4th and the road had indeed been cleared by road graders and was in great shape.  I had tires that were less than a year old (no studs) and they provided plenty of protection. 

I also road back up there on Monday, January 7th and found that the weekend snow had not yet been cleared/plowed which created some different challenges.  The logging trucks all have chains on  which can create a bumpy ride on the compact snow and ice.  Since the road hadn't been plowed the road was essentially two tracks in the middle which is where all the trucks had been.  They were clear but some care is needed going around the blind corners to listen for trucks.

The road is being plowed for at least 8 miles to the Boulder Creek/Swift Creek junction which makes for one good option for winter mountain bike riding.

From Friday, January 4th, 2013