At 10:42pm on Friday, August 30th, I received the following from Frederike Blattspieler, USAC's local association director:
The Race Clean program has not yet concluded for 2013. The signed contracts for the LAs [local associations, e.g., MABRA] were sent out in July, so the start time was delayed. MABRA signed up for 2 days of testing, and will receive that. Once we have all the data in, I can get back to you with more information. The 2014 program will begin much earlier, and USADA will have the span of the entire year to complete the tests.
I plan on following up with Frederike later this week, but this provides several useful bits of information:
(1) I wasn't tested because the program was not yet launched. Last week's Chris Thater was the first instance of RaceClean testing.
(2) If testing did occur this year (i.e., at Black Hills) it was not part of the RaceClean program. In other words, USAC still plans to provide us with at least two tests.
(3) Testing for 2014 (presuming it costs another $6,000 and MABRA decides to pay it) will start much earlier.
A few other notes:
(4) In the follow-up conversations, I received some eyewitness accounts that testing did occur at Black Hills. The subject of testing did not fit any known profile for dopers, at least judging by his or her results.
(5) One of MABRA's most respected riders, Rick Norton, had this to say about testing:
As usual, I'm late to the debate--I'm late to everything. saw the reference to your season feeling "suspicious"--then going to inquire about some transparency in the testing protocol. I suspect I hold a minority opinion here--bus as I'm in Bend [for Masters Nationals] and have some time before I race and return to super full time teaching as soon as I land back in Baltimore here goes:
A. Nice season. Best I can tell maybe you've underperformed a bit in the past given what seems like pretty solid short effort ability and an always improving long effort ability.
B. I kind of don't really care about who is doping. I feel like breaking a rule which is tough to enforce yet highly frowned upon by the affected community is on the person breaking the rule. I can't seem to get too worked up about something over which I have zero control.
C. Exceptions to B--U23 races and very high caliber national races. Those guys are in a sink or swim situation and anything that increases the chances for some fairness seems well placed. Personally, I really want to win a national championship (why I'm shelling out tons of money for a one time shot at a road race at elevation). I'd like this event to be fair because it feels like there are higher stakes, but honestly all I really want while racing is to give everything I have when I'm in for a shot at a win. If the dude(s) in front of me cheated--that's on him (them).
D. Lastly, I think testing should be simplified (maybe not at the Pro Tour level). We all have access to a bazillion supplements (friends smarter than I have said that Optygen HP and beet juice are helpful) and in my opinion only a few things are real game changers (steroids/EPO/probably blood doping?) so maybe at the amateur level just test for the game changers (maybe that would be cheaper and easier to increase regularity of testing). OK, back to wondering why I'm wasting my perfectly good working years trying to do well in one silly race many miles from home.
As usual, Rick has some sensible thoughts here: notably, a simplified testing protocol for amateurs and a sense of how testing should differ at different levels.
And, for a guy who has probably faced more dopers in competition than all the rest of us, he has a surprisingly calm attitude about it.
Like I said, I'll try to have a conversation with USAC this week and tell you what I find out, but for now, let's wish Rick success out in Oregon.
|Rick at Stelvio earlier this year|