Thursday, August 14, 2014

Drawing a line in the sand

Can someone please tell me why blood doping or EPO is somehow different than using an altitude chamber. To blood dope you extract your blood and this triggers your body to produce more red blood cells. EPO is a pill filled with a substance that triggers your body to produce red blood cells. An altitude chamber artificially alters the air you breath which triggers your body to make more red blood cells.

Yeah, one is legal. The others are not. However, in practice, what is the difference? All three are bought fitness. It's not hard work or physical talent. It's a technology you paid for to make you faster than your competition. This is otherwise known as "cheating".

I see this all over the place in cycling. "Take this supplement and it will make you faster!". "Pop this pill and you will crush your competition!" C'mon people. OK, these supplements may be full of legal substances (maybe not) but just stand back and take a look at what you are doing. It's really no wonder that there is so much cheating in cycling. It's a clear path to crossing that line and the line, legally speaking, is far beyond the real cheating line. To me, if someone is popping supplements and using chambers and the like, they are already cheating. If you want to argue that it's legal so it isn't cheating then we have to bring up the point that these legal options ARE the gateway to illegal doping. If somebody is doing these things to try to get an edge, it ain't gonna take a whole lot to see that taking some EPO is a whole lot easier. The mentality is EXACTLY the same and the incentive is right there.

 I honestly have more of a problem with these practices than I do with the high profile world-tour doping cases. I mean I have a problem with it all. I can't imagine doing any of it under any circumstances and somehow feeling good about myself. However, these guys are trying to hold on to big contracts against a bunch of other people who are being all "doctored up" to go fast. The local, regional, domestic cheating is a matter of trying to get an fake edge over others for pride, and/or very little income. It is appalling to me that we all fail to recognize and we often even embrace cheating methods just because a governing body calls it legal. While at the same time we disgrace others who did/do the same thing, only on a higher level.


  1. What if I just came back from training in Colorado for a month? Where does that rank in the hierarchy of cheating?

    I get where you're coming from, and part of me agrees with it. But how do you draw the line at resting in a low-oxygen environment, when that environment occurs naturally all over the country?

    I feel like, if you're racing nationally, against people who may or may not be able to live and train at altitude, spending some time in an altitude tent can't be seen as cheating.

    If you're racing locally, then getting in an altitude tent probably just means you're a tool.

  2. Well, yeah, I hear your point that it isn't so cut and dry. I mean, In my head, artificial is artificial and real is real. Living at altitude is real. Using a chamber is fake....but then again, hopping on a plane and training at altitude and flying back to your event isn't so "real" either. Guess that's why I called the post "a line in the sand". Where is the line? Someone who is really into using the chamber and hitting all the supps, well, I think, legal or not, they have crossed a line. If someone who lives in Boston is going out to race Leadville and they decide to use a chamber.....well that is the grey area. I don't know. I wouldn't personally do it, but don't know if I can call it cheating.