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Letters to Cyclingnews - December 10, 2004
Why are cyclists so trendy?
Mr. Kilmer and those responding to his letter (why are cyclists so trendy?) have all overlooked a critical factor in the equation: Without the millions of simple minds that can be convinced that they need carbon this and carbon that, there would be no arms races between bike manufacturers, no team sponsorships, no need for advertisements and consequently no cool free websites like this one.
Every pro sport is basically a pyramid scheme supported by a lot of suckers; whether they're buying bikes, Nikes, or seats in a stadium. I try to have the best of both worlds-- all the free entertainment, and equipment that's at least a decade or two old and dirt cheap. My "time-trial rig" is a Raleigh Grand Prix from the early 70's, but in the last few years sympathetic competitors have given me everything from '89 Scott aero bars like Greg used, to what must be the first disc wheel Steve Hed ever made. I've put about 15,000 miles on this frame since pulling it out of a dumpster four years ago; any decade now it's apt to die-- at which point I'll probably start looking for something aluminum.
The lawsuit against Snow Summit, USA Cycling and Team Big Bear is a fine example of us sue-happy Americans, and just how easy it is to destroy a business or other operation in the name of ones own greedy self-serving interest. Not only can all you downhillers of all levels thank whoever this person is and their lawyer for single-handedly eliminating all DH races and riding at Snow Summit, but so can ALL cyclists who hold a USA Cycling license for raising our annual license fees. What do you all say to all of US filing a class-action suit against this S.O.B. for the increase on our combined license fees for 2005?
Really, if you're going to put yourself on 2 wheels and go racing a bunch of other egomaniacal maniacs, how can you expect NOT to ever get injured? And if you got hurt on a DH course, well, why didn't you just SLOW DOWN! You obviously weren't capable of riding the course, and who the hell but yourself is capable of evaluating your own capabilities? You're probably the same type of person who'd sue Starbucks when you spill your morning coffee in your lap!
Here is some unsolicited advice for Floyd Landis. Since Michele Bartoli has retired and may now become a DS with CSC, I doubt he deserves whatever salary Bjarne Riis originally agreed to pay him. SO, maybe Riis has some financial flexibility to pay Floyd a decent salary!
Spencer J. Dech
The great Eddy Merckx looked wonderful riding in Israel this past week. He refused to comment on the rumors surrounding his recent return to form. Many fans are convinced that Eddy Merckx has grown weary of all the comparisons between his accomplishments and that of the younger Lance Armstrong. "Are you really planning to challenge Lance Armstrong in the 2005 Tour de France?" No answer. Is it possible that Merckx will only ride if Armstrong skips this year's Tour and pursues the Spring Classics? Is Merckx the reason for Armstrong's doubts on riding this year's Tour? Or could they be planning to race together on the same team, like Hinault and LeMond, with Armstrong helping Merckx to win his sixth Tour victory?
Waiting for the Grand Tour,
Someone in a sport other than cycling accused of doping? Gasp! Who would have thought!
After reading a recent article, it seems that Mr. Pound is at it again. Summary:
- Victor Conte states that he gave Sydney Olympic Gold medalist Marion Jones doping products and watched her inject hGH
- Investigation begins and Mr. Pound states that she should be stripped of her medals if the allegations are true (you mean he's actually going to wait for the outcome of the investigation?)
- IOC Charter states:
"Olympic decisions can be challenged within three years of the games' closing ceremony."
- The Sydney Olympics ended more than four years ago, on Oct. 1, 2000.
- According to Mr. Pound, "...that rule may not apply, because there was no actual decision in this case. "We will find a way to deal with that," Pound said. "It's arguable there was no decision taken, just a list of results. So you're not challenging a decision."
Now, don't get me wrong. Although I will wait for the outcome of this, and any other similar investigations, to pass final judgment on those involved in this case, it would not surprise me in the least that Ms. Jones did use performance enhancing drugs during the Olympics. I also would hope that she would be punished to the fullest extent that the IOC rules, and the law, allow. As a 20 year old fat tire convert with dreams of someday going pro on the road here in the good ol' USA, and knowing that not every cheater can be caught, I fully support any policy that attempts to ensure that I get a fair shake on the way.
However, it seems that Mr. Pound has been taking hints from my little brother. You see, my 8 year old brother loves to play chess, and seems to challenge me to a game at least every other day. He knows all the basic rules, however, with no strategy the games usually come down to me with most of my pieces left and him with only one of his, his queen. Amazingly, that is when my brother always manages to come back and win in one turn using one of the rules that he says "not many people know about," but he apparently does, which allows him to take my queen with his no matter where they are on the board. The second coming of Bobby Fisher? I think not.
Of course I don't mind, it's just a game of chess with an 8 year old. However, the point is that for the most part, there are rules in life, including cycling. These rules need to be followed. One breaking of the rules does not justify the breaking of another. If the rules say "three years," I may need to check on this, but I believe they mean three years. Ahh, but then there is that tricky little "just a list of results." Clearly that list is not what makes a decision on who wins or loses. It is a little known fact that the officials simply hide the medals throughout the athlete village and whoever finds them is what decides who wins! I find it quite amazing that for the past 100 years those athletes who happen to have placed in the top three on those "lists of results" have also been the ones to find the medals, don't you?
Stop hanging out with Clinton, I think we all know what the definition of "is" is. If you do not like a rule, then work to get it changed. I am sure that the vast majority of people would support the extension of this time period, I know that I would. If you want to start a petition to get it changed, I will gladly be the first person to sign it. However, when Mr. Pound breaks the rules to suit his agenda he is hurting the integrity and credibility of our sport just as much as those riders who choose to break the rules. Unfortunately Mr. Pound, life is not a child's chess game and you cannot make up the rules as you go along. Grow up or get out.
My wife and I are going to France/Belgium the first two weeks of April to see Tour of Flanders and Paris Roubaix along with intermediate classics. We are complete novices in viewing the cycling in Europe and would hope to receive any advice on either places to stay during these events or what are the best vantage points to view. I am a long time racing cyclist and am well schooled on the key points in the races, but is there any "insider" tips as to achieve the locations. I have raced against George while he was a junior/senior back in New York and we are hopeful to be able see him finally achieve the long desired victory(s). Any tips or advice is most graciously appreciated.
Louis A. Vergne
The situation with Tyler, Perez, Phonak and this test is doing more damage to cycling itself, alongside damage to the individuals and their team. I tend to give people the benefit of the doubt and feel I cannot charge someone as guilty in my own mind until I agree with the (incontrovertible) evidence. In this case the test, its methods and the fog that surrounds its outcomes don't allow the fans to make clear-cut decisions. The result is more and more of us lose faith in the sport we hold dear. The end result is a situation whereby we end up deciding that all riders dope because we don't know which side to believe - the riders whom we see as brothers in arms or the men in suits "running" cycling behind the scenes.
What all sides need to get through their thick skulls is that the more they half-heartedly mess around with doping the more people like me (and you) will turn off the sport. Without us ordinary Joes and Janes there will be nothing left worth doping or training for and no races for the men in suits to make any money out of.
Rolf Rae Hansen
Tyler Hamilton, Phonak and the UCI #2
"Very accurate when administered properly"? Jeff, that's what they say about the blood test! MRIs? They may not even be as good as the lie detector!
If Tyler is innocent, he's probably a little gun-shy of "very accurate" tests.
This leads me to what I find the most disturbing of this situation. It would appear Tyler is held in very high esteem by many people. But where is his support from inside the peloton? I've heard nothing from Lance, (weren't they friends?) Jan (didn't he tell him to wait?) or any others in support of Tyler. Is this the code of silence? Not one comment of shock or dismay?
Neither do we hear any statement about booting him out of the sport? (Like they did with Rumsas). The only feedback we get is from Bjarne, who apparently wouldn't let Ty wear CSC kit for re-takes for the imax tour film.
Is cycling a "don't ask, don't tell" sport?
Tyler Hamilton, Phonak and the UCI #3
There is just too much there to not suspect he is guilty. It really is the only logical thing to do. Believing he is absolutely innocent is just, well, naive. Yet, we want to believe. Probably so guilty, possibly not guilty... that's the way most of us are leaning.
Vandenbroucke caught red handed with multiple doping products = 200 hours community service and 6 months suspension.
Hamilton accused by a test that has technology details cloaked in secrecy, not statistically sound science in many opinions because of the rush to implement = End of an entire team and will probably keep Tyler out of the sport for two years while he battles WADA egos (so that he can eventually examine the "scientific evidence" against him) in court.
Yes that's fair.
Bad Hip Cyclist wants to know what his best options are for getting his hip repaired. My friend, the answer depends on how badly you want to race!
If you must race, you should investigate resurfacing. This procedure involves smoothing the jacked-up end of your femur, and milling out the acetabular socket. You'll get a polished alloy cup inserted in your pelvis, and your femur will be fitted with a rounded metal cap with a small pin that inserts into the top of the femur. You wind up with metal-on-metal contact, and a lot more of your femur left than with a total replacement.
In a total hip, they saw off the top of your femur, mill it out, and drive in a titanium spike to hold the round "ball". The acetabulum is prepared pretty much the same way as in a resurface. The parts of the new joint that touch your bone are titanium in all cases, but the bearing surfaces vary. I have ceramic/ceramic bearings in mine. The most common hips are made with a titanium ball and polyethylene cup...bad choice for a dedicated cyclist! The poly won't last very long at 300+ miles a week. Or, you can get all metal bearing surfaces, too.
The main problem with a total hip is the inherent reduction in the strength of your femur at the hip. The surgeon will mill out your bone to accept the "spike", resulting in a loss of bone density and thickness. Plus, natural bone "gives" a little when you fall, and titanium doesn't. There can be a lot of leverage and torque applied through that Ti spike, making it far more likely that you'll break your leg in a good crash. And crashes are hard to predict! Since I was a lame-o Cat 4 who was just racing for fun, the smart thing to do was to give up racing. I can ride all I want, my hip doesn't hurt, I'm back in good shape, and the world hasn't missed my middle-of-the-pack industrial-park crit performances. Next year I'll become a TT specialist, maybe try a road race or two.
But you're a Cat 2 who might be willing to take more risks. For you, I'd recommend resurfacing, if you can find a surgeon to do it. For regular folks, I think ceramic is the best. It's working out very well for me! It's bio-inert, it's supposed to wear very well, and there are no weird metal ions to build up in your body. No complications at all, but it took about five months before I could ride well enough to train with my friends. I'm at nine months now, and I feel I'm about 90-95% after putting 4,000 miles on it.
No matter what you choose, it's a gory, blood-spurting mess, with bone chips flying, saws and drills humming, hammers thunking, and your leg gets disconnected from your body! (I was awake during part of mine, trying to watch the procedure through a video camera.) It's going to hurt, trust me. But after six days, I was cruising around in my slippers with no cane and no crutches, just pain pills and Sierra Nevada Pale Ale. After 12 days, I rode five miles! So you can bounce back from this.
Prosthetic hip #2
As a physical therapist, I am not an expert on the materials involved in today's prosthetic hips, but I can try to address your question from a rehab. specialist's perspective. I am also a cat. 3 cyclist and former triathlete. There have been recent advancements in materials such as titanium and ceramics, and while those materials may offer lighter weight, less friction etc, probably the most important factors may revolve around the facility/surgeon/approach that will be taken to swap out your hip. No hip replacement will last forever, especially if you plan to continue to be active, and especially if you will continue racing. I have heard that those materials may wear more quickly than the tried and true coated stainless steel that has been around for years. Ceramics are also more brittle and may not stand up to high impact loads as well as metals.
If it was me, I would make sure you ask for at least a few opinions, and find out which hip prosthesis/surgery will allow the easiest chance of a successful revision or re-replacement in the future should it wear out prematurely, or if god forbid, you take a spill and break it. Those cases are where things get complicated. You can have the best-feeling outcome in the world now, but if what they put in is not readily fixable later, you could be in for early disablement depending on your age.
Hope that helps.
Prosthetic hip #3
Don't be confused by all of the different materials. Most hip jobs are a combination of those materials. Mine was replaced in 1994. I have a titanium piece that goes into the femur bone for strength. The ball portion is ceramic and rides atop the titanium piece. Lots of cycling miles since then with no real problems. At first, my femur would get a little sore where the implant ended if I rode to hard for too long. This was because of the different flexibilities of bone vs. titanium. However as time went on and bone growth occurred, it has become a non-issue. After all this time, I forget that I ever had a hip replacement.
My advice is to find a good orthopedic surgeon who specializes in sports medicine and communicate with him/her your specific needs. Cycling is one of the best activities for hip replacements. Running is probably not advisable. Ask. I also went to a good sports re-hab trainer to regain strength and balance. You will favor your weaker hip replaced side for a while. Good luck! Everything should be OK.
Prosthetic hip #4
I have had a hip resurfacing/replacement with the Birmingham hip prosthesis. It is a chromium steel ball and socket type joint polished to 0.6 of a micron and lubricates with your own synovial fluid.
I have been racing and riding up to 400kms a week. I am an average B grade cyclist in Australia, I guess the same as a cat 2 in the states.
Had it done 3 years ago, be aware it is major surgery and the recovery is long, painful and you need to forget about competitive cycling for a while and allow the bone to strengthen around the prosthesis. You also need someone good like a tolerant wife to help you after the surgery because you cant do much (bathing/toilet/basic personal necessities, for about 6 to 8 weeks).
Now at 41 years of age, I have my life and my health back, can enjoy riding and running around with my son.
The website for my surgeon is www.jointreconstruction.com and the company that makes the prosthesis is Birmingham Medical Technologies.
Prosthetic hip #5
I'd suggest Badhipcyclist needs to do more web research. My conclusions from doing so some 4 years ago as i faced hip replacement surgery was that different brands/models of artificial hip were best depending on the amount of damage to the hip joint and the type of proposed operation. For example back then the popular Cambridge hip replacement wasn't suitable for me as i had avascular necrosis of the femoral head but it might have been the best option for certain other conditions.
For the record - i had a titanium shaft with ceramic head put in, Good luck - there is life after THJR
Having just read through the letters on this subject I am astonished at the failure of contributors to understand that LA was using his sport to justify attacking Simeoni over a legal matter which he claims through the media does not involve him.
Simeoni was under the protection of the Italian courts at the time of the incident, since he was a already summoned as a witness in the up-coming case against Dr. Ferrari (which has now taken place, with Ferrari being convicted!)
The Italian judge considered that LA was intimidating Simeoni in typical "mafia" fashion, specially when as seen by millions of TV viewers across the World, LA drew his fingers across his mouth intimating that he (Simeoni) should keep his mouth shut!
To many it only raises further questions as to why anyone so innocent should get tangled up and take the risk of being imprisoned themselves over the legal dealings of someone who is simply "a friend"?
I completely agree with Erik Sperling's letter on David Fuentes' ban. Before Bergman and Fuentes got caught I always gave people the benefit of the doubt. Conversations would come up after races, oh I don't know let's say after a stage of the Tour of Ohio where David was an animator every day. I would hear people speculate on weather or not he or someone was on something. I would alway put in my 2 cents saying no one in our fields is doing anything, no way, we just have to train harder, smarter and more miles.
Man was I wrong. You have to either be a dumb ass, or have bad luck to get caught in America for doping as a Cat 1 or even a D3 pro. I hope this is a wake up call to the powers that be in the USCF. As an average cat 1 racer I most likely won't race full time next season. I'm glad people are starting to get caught, and I'm glad I was naive for a long time or I may have not enjoyed racing as much as I did. I must say web sites like Stolen Underground, and Matt Decanio's are a welcome site and are most likely going to do a lot more to combat the problem than the USCF will do in the future. Just like Erik Sperling stated in his letter it is up to the promoters to set the rules, you reserve the right to deny riders entry to your races.
Dave Fuentes #2
In response to the letter from Casey Kerrigan, it is clear that it does require time to confirm a true positive test. However, once the test is confirmed, shouldn't the ban start from the date of the banned rider's last competition?
In the case of Dave Fuentes, the positive test was taken on March 26th, and the ban started on September 26th. For the bulk of the 2004 season (late March to late September) Dave was destroying local and regional races in California.
So, the "two year ban" is effectively a one year ban given that there is little racing during the winter months. Dave can sit out next season under the ban and then prepare almost as normal for the 2006 season.
How does that make any sense?
Thomas, you don't tell us the name of the product you use but I am prepared to bet money that if it works it ain't genuine homeopathic medicine. There is copious documentation around products which are called homeopathic so that they can avoid the FDA tests but in fact contain genuinely medicinal chemicals.
But, whatever, I'm glad it works for you.
I wanna give a reaction about the race Jeremy Yates won! Jeremy is a friend, my kiwi brother.
So everybody who says he is a doped rider, guys you don't know what you all talk about, you don't even know half of the story.
What is wrong bout winning a race when u still have your license?
He did the right thing, if you see how much money is involved.
Guess you must be a fool if you don't ride for that money!
I think it is absolutely fantastic that SBS has decided to show full live coverage of the whole 2005 Tour. For the past few years we have been getting 2 or 3 live stages, 2 of which were usually flat, uneventful stages, one of them being the finish on the Champs Elysees. It was just not as exciting waiting for 6pm the next evening to see the highlights from that critical mountain stage or time-trial (especially when you've stayed up the night before to watch the cyclingnews.com live commentary!)
I am only 16 years old but already it is my dream to go to France to watch the Tour in person. This decision by SBS has at least gone one step closer to bringing the true excitement of the Tour to us in Australia, and I'm sure it will only even further whet my appetite to one day hit the roads around France!
John Stevenson needs to update his information regarding hub gears. The number and close spacing of gears may be an advantage for derailleur gears but efficiency is not.
Recent research by Frank Berto and Chet Kyle indicates that run-in and well oiled Sturmey-Archer hubs are 91.8%-95.6% efficient compared to a Shimano derailleur's 86.9%-95.9% efficiency (Berto & Kyle, 2001).
John Stevenson responds:
I am not sure that Stan Thomas' reaction to Mark Webber's comments (Nov 26 letters) is justified.
Mark says that mountain bikers are more friendly than roadies, some of whom may have an inflated sense of self worth. I am a roadie and unfortunately I must agree - on the road many roadies won't even wave back let alone have a chat. Of course many are great but many treat each outing as if it were a stage of the Tour. If I ever go mountain biking I find that they are the friendliest bunch you could ever find. They don't take themselves as anything near as seriously as roadies. That's all.
I am not at all a fan of motor racing but safety dictates that you, the drivers and the cars must be kept separate. The same considerations are not really present in cycling but how often do you get to have a chat with Lance, that is if you can get past his minders?
I love our sport but I don't think Mark is too far off.
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