23 August 2012

Metroparks training and a ride—Armstrong update

Thursday, 23 August 2012
My ride today was partially transportation (getting to an evening volunteers' meeting for Five Rivers Metroparks) and part recreation (a ride up the Stillwater Trail to Needmore Avenue, and the return home). Gentle stuff, and a good balance to the morning spent driving to several errands, including to the bookstore at Wright State.
One of these days, there may be a safe and sane way to Wright State by bike. Just not yet. These three routes all involve riding among fast traffic.

  • From the Creekside Trailhead at Eastwood Park, up Springfield Street to its intersection with the Wright Brothers-Huffman Prairie Trail, to the north side of the WSU campus. Springfield Street is especially busy at the Air Force rush hours of 6:30 to 8:30 a.m. and 3:00 to 5:00 p.m. 5.64 miles.
  • From the Creekside Trail intersection with Airway Avenue, up Colonel Glenn to the southwest corner of the WSU campus. Traffic flows between 45 and 55 mph, and shoulders are non-existent or very narrow. 5.19 miles.
  • From the Creekside Trail intersection with Grange Hall Road, up Grange Hall and residential streets in Beavercreek to cross U.S. 35 at Grange Hall, and then Colonel Glenn to the southwest corner of the WSU campus. Traffic flows on Grange Hall at 45 mph, on Colonel Glenn at 45 to 55 mph, and shoulders are non-existent. 12.42 miles.
The distances given have a starting point at the south gate of Eastwood Park and an ending point at the Quad on the WSU campus.

About a year from now, the best route will use the connector now in construction between Eastwood Park and Huffman Dam. 6.21 miles.

Lance Acquiesces, USADA Strips Records

The L.A. Times reports that Lance Armstrong has given up in his fight against the charges by the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency that Armstrong used banned substances since 1996, including the blood-booster EPO and steroids. Soon after, the USADA announced that it will ban Armstrong from cycling for life and strip him of his titles, including seven Tour de France victories.

Now the titles have been passed to
  • 1999—Alex Zülle of Switzerland, in the Banesto team, whose total time behind Mr. Armstrong was 7:37. In 1998, Mr. Zülle was part of the Festina team, which was banned from the 1998 Tour de France amid doping allegations Five Festina riders including Zülle admitted taking EPO.
  • 2000—Jan Ullrich of Germany, in the 2000 Telekom team, who was behind Mr. Armstrong by 6:02. Mr. Ullrich  won a gold medal and a silver medal in the 2000 Olympics.
  • 2001—Jan Ullrich, who was behind Mr. Armstrong by 6:44.  In this Tour, Mr. Armstrong crashed and Mr. Ullrich waited for his competitor to resaddle and rejoin the race.
  • 2002—Joseba Beloki of Spain, riding in the 2000 Once team, who was behind Mr. Armstrong by 7:17.  Mr. Beloki had finished third in the 2001 Tour de France, and performed well in the 2002 Vuelta à Espanña.
  • 2003—Jan Ullrich, who was behind Mr. Armstrong by 1:01.  Again in this Tour, Mr. Armstrong crashed after catching a musette, and again Mr. Ullrich waited until his rival had rejoined the race.
  • 2004—Andreas Klöden of Germany, riding in the T-Mobile team, who was 6:19 behind Mr. Armstrong. Mr. Klöden had competed with honors in 2003, was national road race champion in 2004, and did well for several following years. However, it was alleged that he had received an illegal blood transfusion during the 2006 Tour de France.
  • 2005—Ivan Basso of Italy, riding in Team CSC, who finished 4:40 behind Mr. Armstrong. Mr. Basso was banned from racing in the 2006 Tour because of alleged blood doping under Dr. Fuentes in a Spanish clinic.
So what does this mean—to the reputation of Lance Armstrong, to the records of professional cycling, and to the fans of professional cycling?

I hold that Mr. Armstrong will long be considered the notable champion who won—unofficially after all—seven consecutive yellow jerseys. Whether through doping or "clean" efforts, his endurance, power, team leadership, and tactical keenness cannot be denied. The Tour de France is much more than a merely physical feat. Any winner deserves note. (Let us relieve even Floyd Landis of his lasting irritation!)

I believe that, though the USADA and other sports agencies have won through persistence, this may mark the beginning of their demise. Perhaps there may rise parallel sporing events, one track for untested competitors who make no claims of "clean" effort, the other track for undoped competitors who attest and may be tested to compete without drug enhancements. The events could be held with intermixed starts and with award ceremonies that honor both classes of athletes separately.

The possibility reminds me of the short story "Games Without Frontiers" by P. Klein, in which the athlete protagonist, "Al was of a privileged class. His genetics determined that he would respond well, not only to intense physical training and stress, but to the many drugs and nutritional supplements which would be injected, fed (force-fed if necessary), and inhaled by the athlete in the course of his training and competition. ...He basked in chemical glows, byproducts of the masses of steroids, branched-chain amino acids, and euphorics he was given."Mach 18, June 1989 And in the stadium, the roar of the crowd was not distinguishable from a roar in his head.

I believe that fandom can well broaden to celebrate both clean and doped athletes. After all, doping has a long history, and media has celebrated powerful athletes more than once while winking about the purported lack of drugs.

Ride conditions

Temperature: 69°F at 19:45
Precipitation: none
Winds: 3 mph
Clothing: Skinsuit, ankle socks, open-finger gloves
Bike: Lotus Legend fixed 48x16
Time: 1:01:08 for 15.26 miles
Heart rate: 123 bpm HRave, 154 bpm HRmax
Playback of the ride

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