The Long Giro and Drug Test Drama

It was still chilly Saturday morning when I rolled out to meet the Giro, but I went a little light on the clothing anyway.  The forecast was calling for clear skies and rising temperatures, and Jaden was calling for a Long Giro.  While the standard Giro Ride, plus the ride out and back to Starbucks, gets me around 60 miles from home, the Long Giro extends the ride out to Slidell and I get home with 93. Since I was planning on going  up to Jackson MS to help officiate cyclocross on Sunday, I figuIt was still chilly Saturday morning when I rolled out to meet the Giro, but I went a little light on the clothing anyway.  The forecast was calling for clear skies and rising temperatures, and Jaden was calling for a Long Giro.  While the standard Giro Ride, plus the ride out and back to Starbucks, gets me around 60 miles from home, the Long Giro extends the ride out to Slidell and I get home with 93. Since I was planning on going  up to Jackson MS to help officiate cyclocross on Sunday, I figured I’d better make hay while the sun was shining on Saturday. The evening before, news had broken about a positive drug test at LAMBRA’s age-graded road championship back in early September.  More on that later… When we came down onto Hayne Blvd. the Giro Ride pace barely changed. Although there was a pretty decent east wind, I knew immediately what that really meant. It meant that most of the stronger riders were planning on doing the Long Giro. Once past the usual turnaround I looked around and took a headcount. We had over a dozen on hand, and soon things formed up into a nice paceline at a surprisingly moderate speed. When we arrived at the store stop in Slidell I was feeling pretty good, but I knew the speed would be higher with the tailwind on the way back.  It was, but fortunately things never got really out of hand, as it was clear that a few of the riders in the group were committed to a zone-2 kind of day. That had the unfortunate effect of disrupting the paceline a bit, but since the effort level wasn’t too high it was not much of an issue. We were at around 70 miles when I started to feel some soreness creeping into my legs, which was pretty normal. I got back home feeling pretty good for a 90+ mile day, which is to say I sat around with my legs up eating stuff for the next couple of hours. On Sunday I drove up to Jackson/Ridgeland for the second day of the back-to-back cyclocross weekend up there, mainly to help officiate and get more familiar with CrossMgr, a cyclocross race results program I’ve been experimenting with. That went pretty well, actually.  I’m impressed with the software. Using it in manual mode for any reasonably sized field makes things a little chaotic for the first lap when there are usually a few groups coming across together, but you can make corrections when there’s a lull, so it’s not too bad. The really neat thing, which is really more interesting from the riders’ perspective than that of the officials, is the post-race analysis that it allows for.  Although the actual times are certainly not exactly accurate, they’re pretty close, so you can get some interesting insight into how a race progressed.  I put links to some of the output on the DSGP-Ridgeland Results page. Click on a rider’s number on one of the race results pages and you get a neat graphical comparison of that rider with the next one. It was particularly helpful for keeping track of lapped riders.  This particular course is at a facility with a mountain bike trail. It is a little bit of a mountain-bikey type of cyclocross course, and was very fast this year, but on the other hand it features some significant terrain. Scott Kuppersmith So, about that positive drug test.  Friday evening I started seeing Facebook posts pointing to a VeloNews article about a positive drug test at the LAMBRA Age-Graded Road Championship. I was a little surprised that USADA or USAC hadn’t given me, as LAMBRA President, a little heads-up on that, but anyway it turned out that the rider who won the 40+ race tested positive for an anabolic steroid and, basically Ritalin. For the past few years, ever since the program was started at USAC, LAMBRA has been participating by paying something like $1,200, which USAC matches, for drug testing at one of our races. We send USADA a list of the major races on our calendar and they pick one at which to test three riders. Kenny, Todd, Alex This year it was the age-graded road race, probably because I sent in the paperwork and payment a little late and so I guess there wasn’t enough time for them to schedule any of the earlier, and larger, races. So they showed up and tested the podium of the 40+ race.  That race had seen a breakaway that included Kenny Bellau and a rider that most of us don’t know very well, Todd Hickman, who races mainly in Tennessee and belongs to a TN team since he lives way up in the northernmost end of Mississippi, which is basically a suburb of Memphis.  He shows up now and then at LAMBRA races, and had won the masters criterium championship in 2014.  After the race I was talking to Kenny and he was pretty surprised that he had been beaten in the final sprint finish.  Todd had apparently been doing the bulk of the work and Kenny was sure he must have been pretty tired from the effort.  Kenny just knew he’d be able to easily out-sprint the guy at the end, so he was shocked when they guy just came blazing past him in the last 200 meters of the race.  A year earlier I had been rather surprised that the guy had out-sprinted Mark McMurry and Kevin Landry in the LAMBRA master’s criterium championship, since they are both formidable sprinters.  Anyway, the whole situation is both good and bad.  While I feel a little bit sorry for Todd, who by all accounts is a nice guy who got caught doing a bad thing, it is kind of a good thing that LAMBRA gets a little pat on the back for doing the drug testing in the first place.  Of course, I’d rather know that everybody tested negative, but then again, that kind of thing never makes the news, does it?  

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