Tuesday, November 26, 2013

One More MABRA Drug Testing Question

This Fall I raised the issue of local drug testing (to the three people who read my blog).

We'd been told a program (MABRA's money, USAC's RaceClean matching funding, USADA testing) was in place that would test us several times throughout 2013, and it didn't seem to me that we'd been tested.  I'd felt several folks, including me, should have been tested since we fit the profile: old dudes who got some uncharacteristic results.

It turned out, after a communique from the MABRA board, and from an email exchange I had from a very responsive rep from USAC, that no one in MABRA had been tested as part of the RaceClean program.

We were assured, however, that we were going to be tested.

That was a bit of a bummer to me, since my season was over.

Never mind, I was told.  The testing will happen during cyclocross season.

Cyclocross.  That's where doping happens?

Well, I guess better than nothing.  That's where our perspicacious drug testers were going to squeeze in the testing we were owed for 2013.

My question...has this happened?  Is anyone aware of testing--particularly testing that took place as part of the RideClean initiative?

Homeland Security
The testing of cyclocross was a mistake in the first place.  We should be testing masters road and track racers; that's where the stuff seems to happen.

The recent bust of Masters racer and multi-everything-champ Richard Meeker should do more than piss us off--it should reaffirm what the demographics of doping in amateur racing already tells us: doping is a Masters problem.  Old dudes are more likely to dope than younger dudes and women.

Here's a brief and by no means complete list of the culprits in just the last couple of years:

I have to go back to Tom Zirbel or Jonathan Chodroff, both professionals, to find examples of non-Masters men busted for PED use.

If we want to target the problem we should target Masters.

We in MABRA don't seem to recognize this.  In a survey I ran last year, when asked, "Who would you test?" only 63% of respondents said they would test Masters racers, compared with over 80% for cat 1 and 2 racers.  Even Masters racers themselves were not especially suspicious of masters racers.

So why are we targeting cyclocross?  Rather, why did we allow USAC and USADA to target 'cross rather than testing the races where doping is likely to occur:  Masters road races.

Allowing USAC to test us during 'cross season was sort of like letting taking your car to a mechanic for an oil change and getting a new timing belt.  It's not what we asked for and it's not what we need.

If we're going to have testing, we should test old dudes.  Period.


Fatmarc Vanderbacon said...

I agree with your comments on masters, but also would add cyclocross is a fine place to test. ideally there would be testing across the entire season..

not sold on race clean yet other than a PR program.

Anonymous said...

I agree with your points, however, I wonder if USAC was just thinking of a way to excuse not testing. An "oops, we forgot let's cover our bases" response.

I've been in masters road races in other states where a guy broke away from the gun and held off 70 other racers for 60mi and won by over 3 minutes. Rumors everywhere, but no test. Something has to change nationally with at least some obvious minimal testing. Does it really cost that much to run a test?

Rollin' Polish said...

Phil Zaijcek (sp?) was master's age when he got busted as well. Not sure if you had the GFNY guy in there as well.

A friend of mine was recently told by teammates "Don't even think of racing masters here clean" when he moved to CA. Sucks that in at least one state its known that to be competitive you basically have to be a Performance Enhancing Dads.