Friday, May 8, 2009

Racing Old Pros, EPO Users, Reality Show "Celebs" and Those Who Have Time

Last night at intervals there was a debate. On one side, some guys I ride with were complaining about racing old pros (like Steve Larsen and Troy Jacobson) and talking about the "people who have time to train". On the other hand, I was arguing that at any race you take on "all comers". This started an interesting debate.

Old Pros:
I believe that you never lose those skills that you hone as a pro. Steve Larsen will never forget how to ride like an animal. Troy Jacobson (a low 4:30 biker in Kona - on the OLD, tougher course) will never forget how to prepare. The only difference is their amount of preparation for whatever race they are doing. Now, they are doomed to roam the Earth as a "normal" triathlete with a job and family responsibilities. If you notice, Larsen and Jacobson have raced age group and still have gotten beat by others. The gap between what is a pro and an amateur in triathlon (due to the lack of money in the sport) is narrow. Mainly, our sport is a wealthy one. The fastest cyclist in IL right now is 50! Why? He has a successful business on auto-pilot, kids in college and has plenty of money to purchase good coaching, an SRM and time to train properly. Note as well, Karen Smyers, Fernanda Keller are still racing pro in their 40s.

EPO Users & Steroid Users:
Bring your barrel chested (guys) to any race. I'll look forward to racing you when the side effects of your drug use catch up to you. Admitted drug users like Nina Kraft are allowed to race after serving a suspension, but for me that isn't enough. I'd like a lifetime ban for drug cheats and tougher testing. Testing should happen in the age groups as well. Podium at any sanctioned race USAT, ITU, WTC and you should have to supply a blood, hair and urine sample. It will be interesting to see what health effects there are on triathletes who dope in the future. How many age group athletes die in their late 40s, 50s, 60s versus "normal" population samples.

Until my utopian state of testing every podium placer is implemented, bring it dopers! You suck and I'll beat you racing clean.

Reality Show "Celebrities" & Those Who Have Time to Train:
These are two separate divisions if you ask me. Guys like the season one winner of "The Biggest Loser" getting an Ironman Hawaii slot doesn't bother me. If he can inspire people to get off their ass, stop making excuses and workout then I am all for it. As far at "those who have time to train", they also have time to over train. There is nothing like beating someone with all the advantages of wealth and fame. To you, I also say, bring it!

Bottom line, race all comers. I'll get as fit as I can and if you "beat" me in time bully for you. But you'll do it knowing that you were a pro and I wasn't, or you used drugs and I didn't, or you were given a place to stay in San Diego and free training from former pro athletes and I figured it out on my own or paid a coach.

Who really won now?


  1. Thank you for this post. I'm with you... wishing the age group athletes got tested more often. It can be pretty darn tough to beat people who cheat though. And that sucks.
    Hopefully karma comes around at some point...

  2. Hey Mama Simmons!

    There is one female racer who is a WTC and USAT "darling" who is a notorious cheater. All it takes is a look at her splits and you know that she is drafting. At one half IM, she swam 38 minutes, biked a 2:12 (top male pro 25 years her junior rode a 2:01) and then ran a 1:54 1/2 marathon. Seem fishy to you? Since I watched her pass me in a peleton of male racers, I know the real story of how she "won" that day. This is what will chase a lot of people from our sport.

    Kinda like going to a casino you know is cheating you. How long are you just gonna sit around and take it?

    I repeatedly say, if an age group athlete can afford to fly around to races, go to training camps, afford power meters, high end bikes and expert coaching at $300/month; how dumb do the cheaters think we are? All it takes is a trip to the "anti-aging" clinic or your doctor and you can get EPO and a regimen of 'roids to "lean out" or bulk up. Did you see the article covering that? Very troubling.

    Test us all I say. All the podiums and randomly in the MOP and BOP.