Friday, February 10, 2006
drugs are bad, umkay?
the newest velonews has an article about the jenson woman getting a lifetime ban from cycling for drug use. what a shame. she was unbeatable when she was in form...but, was that the giggle juice doing the talking the whole time??
jock-itch, a co-worker of mine, was reading that article yesterday when i was making my first trip around the shop berating everyone for some reason or another. he stopped me from some rant, i'm sure it was important, to ask if drugs were an issue back when i was bmx racing.
"jock-itch," i said, "there were no drugs that anyone could really see in 1984. but one day in 1985, there it was, plain as day."
you see, different from endurance-based cycling, bmx racing really rewarded the raw power rider in the '80's. the tracks were easy, sometimes you could get around an entire course without ever leaving the ground. freeways. a strong rider with a good gate start and reasonable cornering skills and half a brain would win. (it is not like that now!!) i guess that caught on with the strong riders, because 1985 opened with some already-fast guys absolutely dominating the pro races. and they were BIG...25+ pounds bigger than the year before. these were not the epo's or the red-blood-cell-enhancing drugs...they were the classic muscle-building steriods everyone used to know and love.
"WTF? that guy was fast last year, but this year he looks like the guy on the mister clean bottle and NOONE CAN TOUCH HIM!" that scenario played itself out over and over for the next 2-3 years, and became almost ridiculous when also-ran riders began blasting down the first straights at nationals everywhere like they were shot out of cannons. now i was still amature in '85, and didn't turn pro until the middle of '86, but even in the top amature age classes, it was evident that some previously good riders were suddenly large and in charge. i had a good friend go from hard-luck to AMAZING in a year....we practiced gate starts together before and after the juice and i have to say i was no match for the post-juice friend, and i was a top 5 national rider at the time. he went from a 150lb. guy to 185lb. block of muscle, a 180lb. squat to a 400lb. squat in a year....and i watched it.
there was no testing then, so if you were one of the guys wanting to win, your choices were to train EVEN HARDER than you already were, or join the steroid crowd....