Wednesday, September 5, 2012

I GOT DEM HOUSE BUILDING BLUES!

I’ve been a little crazy lately characterized by bad eating, bad sleeping, and no riding. I can pretty much talk with you coherently about 24” base cabinets, 3 1/2” crown molding, and the proper length of a tail line for a septic system. I’m no longer as up-to-date in the world of cycling as I was and want to be. In fact, I had a dream…

and in this dream I had a hat… No, wait it was a cat. Oh! Drat now I’m channeling Dr. Seuss… It happens from time to time. No, in the aforementioned dream, some quasi-governmental organization was spending some $9 million taxpayer dollars trying to prove something that a 2.5 year federally funded investigation couldn’t prove. What? You say WHAT? It wasn’t a dream! Is this thing ever going to die?

Which just makes the following so much, much worse. Here’s a sneak preview of my next cycling column for our local paper. I hate to break the news but…

DOPING COMES TO THE BREAKAWAY!

Amidst the rave reviews and laudable comments received following the 3rd Annual Blue Ridge Breakaway, comes the disheartening news that cyclist doping has “trickled down” to even amateur sponsored rides. I’m not talking about a race with winners. I’m talking about a nice ride through the countryside. Published reports indicate at least one cyclist pumped himself up in order to enhance his performance on the Rabbit route.

Anyone who has picked up a newspaper, a magazine, or read an on-line blog knows of the trials and tribulations of professional cyclists and doping. Most recently, USADA using $9 million dollars of taxpayer money has gone after Lance Armstrong again after a 2 year federal investigation paid by – yep, tax dollars – failed to find evidence to bring charges.

Where will it end? Will Haywood now be the intense focus of federal authorities as they try to root out the doping scandal of the 2012 Breakaway? Will our local motels and restaurants see an economic boost from the hordes of national and international reporters surely set to descend upon our rural community in search of the elusive doper.

In his official post on August 24th and following his impressive finish with only 31 of 40 riders beating his time across the Rabbit, The Velo Hobo (www.velohobo.com) admitted to his dastardly act of doping in advance of the Breakaway. Yes, he was still rehabbing a recently repaired knee. Yes, this was his first minor ride since said surgery. Yes, he wanted to have his body performing at its highest level for the climb over Coleman Mountain, a stretch so nasty on the Iron Duff side that it repeatedly pulls inattentive riders into the very jowls of its curves, mauling them, before spitting out their remains in heaps of metal, carbon fiber, and synthetic apparel.

The Hobo, or should I call him Velo?, goes on in the post to confess the following: “This may lead people to doubt my claim that performance enhancing substances played a role in my success. But it’s true. I used caffeine in large quantities before the ride. To be specific, Smoky Mountain Coffee Roaster’s Deep Creek blend brewed extra strong and thick with extra cream.”

I fully anticipate a rule for next year’s Breakaway that requires participants to have juiced on nothing stronger than Guatemalan Organic coffee with no more than 1 cup of cream. I guess we’ll be doing biological passports looking for signs of caffeine abuse prior to the ride…

On a much more serious note: On Sunday September 2nd, a Bethel area cyclist was harassed by a late 1980’s Chevy truck (light blue with an off-white camper cover) on NC 110 between Canton and Bethel. The truck’s occupants either fired a weapon or threw a large M-80 type explosive behind the head of the cyclist. The incident has been reported to the Haywood County Sheriff’s Department. Anyone with information about the owner of this vehicle or the incident is asked to contact local authorities or you may send me anonymous email with the details.

 

Congrats are in order to Aaron West of SteepClimbs.com for his invitation to Haute Route 2013! A prolific climber and writer, Aaron certainly deserves this opportunity. I, along with his other readers, will look forward to joining him digitally next year as he rides in France!

Russ Roca and Laura Crawford of The Path Less Pedaled are on a road trip in beautiful Oregon doing some video and interviews for their work with Cycle Oregon. I’ll be looking forward to their finished work. They did a great job on their first video for the organization. You can also see part one of their recap of their recent southern sojourn!

Some riding on the horizon…

The Navigator and I are taking a break from window installations, color matching the floor to the countertop, and wondering when the water will be running again. We’re headed to the Low Country of South Carolina for our annual trek to Hilton Head Island along with the Wood-Man and Sherry Shazam. I’m looking forward to sun, cycling, and eating for a week! Now, if that hurricane will just take a little jog, well, o.k., a big JOG north!

Until later,

-Zeke

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