My take on the Contador Case

First and foremost I am a huge Contador fan and I am sad for him and sad for the sport. We have this poor man taking the fall for the sport so to speak, while that Texan is smiling. A sad day for our sport in general.

So here are the facts as I saw them:

Clenbuterol is used pre-season /mid-season before peak to aid weight loss. Clenbuterol is a YES/NO drug. It is just not meant to be there at all. It's not like testosterone where the body produces it and a lab needs to determine whether the level is normal for the body. If clenbuterol is there, that is a failed test no questions asked. CAS and the spanish gov't tried to put a different spin on it. In the end, they failed miserably in doing so. This was a slam dunk case that should have been decided months ago.

The initial lab report also mentioned plasticizers in the blood. This specific type of chemical, called a plasticizer, is found in plastic IV bags. Evidence of that chemical in an athlete’s urine means one thing, the athlete has performed a blood transfusion to boost endurance. Furthermore, a test performed on at least one of Contador’s urine samples from the 2010 Tour revealed levels of this plasticizer chemical eight times higher than the minimum amount, which clearly signifies doping. Contadors tests did find evidence of blood doping, expert witnesses noticed clear differences between his blood passport in 2010 and that from 2007.

Where does the Clenbuterol come in ? clenbuterol probably occurred because Contador transfused his own blood on that day, and that the stored blood he had used already had clenbuterol in it. I believe, the minute trace of clenbuterol came from a contaminated needle during a blood transfusion, not from contaminated meat as the Spanish gov't tried to pursuade WADA (World Anti-Doping Agency) to accept. I don't believe the theory of the "tainted supplement" as with most professional cyclists, all supplements are checked out repeatedly before being approved. He got caught and that is life ? I think he needs a new needle supplier come end of the year :-)

So on a more positive note, the good news is that we'll see him return in August 2012 when the ban is over. As I mentioned, I feel bad he is the scapegoat for the sport. This is PR nightmare for cycling. I feel bad for Bjarne Riis and the entire Saxobank squad as now Riis has to let his No. 1 charge go. Contador is no longer able to race, the contract between him and the Saxo Bank team must be suspended and could be terminated depending on what Alberto decides to do come August 2012. I'm sure other teams would love to sign him as well. After the Tour de France, this year, expect the "Contador sweepstakes" to take place.

This was a slam dunk case from the start, that should have been decided months ago. Anyone who's been in the sport a long time, knows it’s impossible to win the Tour de France without doping. Riders think they can get away with doping because most of the time they do. How do you explain riders who doped and came second to the texan ? Now I'm sure the doctors overseeing the Schleck brothers are going to be even more diligent than ever.

Impressed with Team SpiderTech and Cyclesport Mgmt.

Actual pro team clothing (not replica) at a fraction of the price ?

I was in the market for another pair of bib shorts and the usual suspects were simply costing me well over my bugdet. I could not justify spending $250-$300 plus taxes on a pair of bib shorts. It got me thinking, do all pro teams where bib shorts that cost this much ? No they don't.

So I remembered this fire sale that Team Spidertech was having back in November so I decided to go onto their site. I am thoroughly impressed with Team SpiderTech and Cyclesport Management as they allow us the 'public' to purchase actual team clothing their pro riders wear.

For those of you who don't know this team, this outfit, this is Steve Bauer's professional continental team. You can also buy their Argon bikes, and accessories as well. In my 25 years of being in this sport, I have never had the opportunity to buy exact clothing worn by the pros. Yes, I mean the actual clothing team SpiderTech wear on their 6-7+ hour rides.

I emailed a gentleman by the name of Matt and he emailed me back very promptly. I was surprised to receive such high level of customer service. I ordered on Monday and my bib shorts arrived on Tuesday. How's that for service ? Now I can get actual quality pro team clothing for a fraction of the cost, with excellent customer service and next day delivery. That's hard to beat. So for $110 taxes included, included shipping I get to wear what the pros wear.

The only downside is, (yes there is a downside) that this Apple fanatic, will have Blackberry on his lower thigh. But i'm willing to put my differences aside on this as I know it supports Steve Bauer.


Michael Barry in the Cav Lead Out Train

I can't wait to see Michael Barry charging in the lead out train for Cavendish ! Go Michael ! Go Cav ! Go Sky !


Cycling and my regiment of Dieting

As a cyclist one of my hardest battles to face is dieting. Many of us are trying to improve our "Power to Weight" Ratio. In the last 2 years I'm happy to report that I finally see light at the end of the tunnel. I am hovering at 151lbs (68kg) and I have just a little more to go.

Two years ago, before I got back into cycling, I weighed 175-177lbs (80kg). My metabolism is extremely slow at 41 years of age, so a night of bad eating affects me greatly. It hasn't been easy and is a daily battle.

What I would like to pass to you, is to acknowledge that what works for one person, will not necessarily work for the other. You really have to embrace the lifestyle change if you want to maintain a healthy cyclist body.

I have tried many different paths and finally found one that is working for me.

Along with the typical healthy fruits and veggie eating that we all are supposed to do. You know the typical "diet and exercise" blah, blah, blah, that people keep repeating. I found a few little tricks in my diet that I think have made the difference and have finally given me the reduction I wanted.

1. I cut out refined sugar and only consumer organic sugar. Cutting out eating refined sugar in almost every form was the key for me. As sugar is stored fat.
2.I now drink carbonated water with all meals. I find the carbonation fills me up allowing me to reduce my portions. So I consider it my portion control agent :-)
3.I substitued celery for carrots. Carrots are bad !!! Yes they are, TOO MUCH SUGAR.
4. Every month I do a cleanse. Yes, I cleanse but a specific one that works for me. I drink a special organic tea with built in laxatives. So any residual stored fat from that little bit of junk food I consume every now and then, is out of my system.
5. Instead of going to bed hungry, I will down a few rice cakes with the carbonated water.

So as I mentioned, along with all the typical nutrionist babble, I found those 4-5 things are really helping me shed the pounds. I have finally reached the level where I can "train more and eat less" and shed some pounds and not "bonk."

I've adopted a "Living of Lance" lifestyle for 2012 and so far so good !