Monday, May 23, 2011

Twilight: A New (Old) Eclipse

So, yes, I've had a bit of a break. I would like to make a ton of excuses, or say that I always take a break from writing, like a cyclist does from riding outside, during the rainy season. (Okay, yes, this is Seattle. I mean the cold-rainy season, not the warm-rainy season. I was being facetious.) Suffice it to say, that I'm currently reading the Twilight series (yes, that Twilight series). Is it fair to say that I've been on a mental break?

So, somewhere between the brain vomit and the emotional diarrhea that comprise the chapters of Twilight, I decided it's time to start 'writing' again. Oh sure, I've been 'writing' for some time, but it's been a little bit, since I've been writing here.

Anyway, I should probably get something down in print before I choose to comment on someone else's 'writing'. Stephanie Meyer: I apologize. For now. Soon, I hope you will apologize to the rest of us.

So, cycling--I mean, Pro Cycling--is in turmoil again. Not really. But that's what 60 Minutes would have us believe. If you haven't heard by now, they (drum roll please), finally, proved that Lance Armstrong MAY have used performance-enhancing substances during his tenure as Tour de France champion. wow. Really? Do I need 60 minutes to tell me that I hit the snooze button too many times, too?

I am of the opinion these days that most professions actually benefit from the use of Performance Enhancing Drugs. That's why they're called, "performance enhancing". This class of drugs is not the 'depressants' nor 'performance reducing' drugs. Let's be clear. These chemicals are performance enhancing.

Every major US and International sport nearly requires their use, in order to reach the upper most levels. Major League Baseball has been in the news for the majority of the past decade(s?) for it's copious use of steroids. Yet, fans continue to yearn for the ever-climbing batting averages, and homerun statistics. Sadly, the use of Performance Enhancing drugs alone, does not a champion make. A mediocre pitcher for the Seattle Mariners, Ryan Franklin, was busted for drug use. Like most people, you probably don't remember who he is. Which begs the question, "what part of his performance got better?"

The big 'gotcha' interview by 60 Minutes, was Tyler Hamilton, a man as famous for his 'chimera-defense' as he is for winning the gold medal. His credibility was shot several years ago, so why is he suddenly a star witness? Whatever. So Lance doped. What does that give us? By all accounts, he did what everyone else was doing. Why am I still a fan? Because he did it better. If everyone in the peloton was doping, why didn't everyone else win? Did Lance know how to dope better? Maybe. I tend to think he didn't have any 'edge' on any other doper in the bunch. I know I'm just reiterating what was said about Barry Bonds a few years ago. Yes, he doped, but you can't escape the fact that he had perfect form, good equipment, and an excellent team.

That said, it's not just US and International sport that is 'dirty'. I would argue that 'performance enhancement' is part of being a modern professional. Would you buy coffee from someone who wasn't overly caffeinated and bounding with energy? Caffeine? Yup, performance enhancing. Would you watch a soccer match without copious amounts of alcohol? Yup, performance enhancing. Would you buy pharmaceuticals from pharmacists who didn't fully understand the 'side effects' of heavy narcotics, or Valtrex? Okay, maybe. Would you go to a website or video game produced by someone who didn't participate daily wake and bake rituals? Of course not! Again, performance enhancing.

Say what you will. Tyler Hamilton may have been one more voice, though so far, the voices speaking out against Lance Armstrong have not exactly been without problems. The bottom line is, as far as I'm concerned, I don't care. I don't go around telling children that Santa Claus doesn't exist. Why would I espouse the idea that Lance Armstrong was anything but an exceptional cyclist?

Douchebag? Sure. But let he who is without vinegar and water, cast the first...uhh... well, ...whatever.

Ride safe. I love you all.