So, first arrives via email a gentle reminder that the deadline to submit whereabouts info is approaching, and I’ve yet to submit mine… Despite Todd Wells’s complaining to the contrary (he gets paid enough that he should be able to handle this not-so-herculean task), at least in the USA it’s all pretty easy, friendly and professional; after awhile I’d even become Facebook friends with the Doping Control Officer (DCO) who collected my samples, so often did we interact professionally. Of course, it’s possible that if the DCO is jerk, the sample collection process could be tense and unpleasant (just as it would be if the athlete was a scheissekopf). But if you have a DCO who is “cool” at best, or professional at worst, and you’re not a stronzo, it actually is about as pleasant an exchange as could be expected. I remember one time while trying to hydrate enough to pee (using BEER of course, which the DCO refused when I politely offered him a bottle – I think it was a Chimay or some other Belgian trappist), we were listening to new music on Itunes and he was giving me music suggestions while my kidneys and bladder did their stuff.
[Note to USADA: DCO’s like the guy you send to collect my samples are the kind of people to continue to employ! Not, by comparison, someone like the Euro-tester who broke Kevin van Impe’s balls. The Quick Step rider was at a crematorium in Lochristi, Belgium when a drug tester showed up demanding the rider provide a sample, and warned that he would face a two-year suspension if he refused…] So then you gotta hustle over to the USADA website and log-in.
Then you’re into the inner sanctum. At least they tell you what you need to know in order to make the process go smoothly. SWEET! The system will pre-populate for me!
Now there is still a lot left to do, but I’m tired. But I’m trying to show all the fans out there that I personally am playing fair (even though I’m just training right now with no competitions scheduled), I’m not an hijo de puta, I’m trying to walk the straight and narrow, USADA is not the nefarious organization that Floyd Landis and co. have made it out to be, etc. I really wanna go to bed so I’m going to hold off on filing my Q3 info until later. If you want to see more of that process, let me know…I’m happy to share. The only hard part for me is remembering to update my whereabouts when my schedule changes…
I envision being out one night in say, Miami, and connecting with some beautiful Latina named Sandra and going back to her place, only to realize at some point later during the night, “Hijo de puta! I have to update my USADA whereabouts because if I don’t it’s guaranteed that tomorrow will be the day they show up at my house at 6AM to control me and I’ll be curled up in a bed here and not at the address that is listed on my form! Now how the frakk do I use the SMS-feature to update USADA? [The ‘mood’ is killed and several minutes pass as I plod through my BlackBerry trying to find the note I took for myself on the topic of remote updates via text, for just this occasion.] Finally, I figure it out, and then ask, in a manner that will always be awkward no matter when or how it is phrased, “Oye, mi amor, que es tu dirección? Necesito avisar a mis reguladores en USADA que si mañana vengan a las 6 de la mañana para pedir que hago peepee, ellos deben pasar por aca en vez de mi casa. No te preocupes! Soy ex-deportista infame y la gente tiene ganas de saber con quién ando! Ellos son como mi propia Papparazzi!”
Thanks for reading, folks. But before I go, please let me give a tip of the hat to Tanya L. for her love of Chimay, my cousin Robert for manning-up, defending his PD’s honor and finally trying a Chimay, D.S., for significant consulting services rendered on an upcoming cycling-related project, and Phil I., for keeping me entertained with stories from OZ.
But alas, before I go, there is a wag of the finger to a certain Charlie…it is easy to speak ill of someone when they are not present, but to do so repeatedly, in the presence of friends and acquaintances of he who you seek to malign, is disappointing and embarrassing – for you. Even the walls have ears (and sometimes , like Davide Rebellin learned much to his horror in 2001.). What do you get out of incessantly bad mouthing someone? I knew a guy who once was so desperate to win a race in Gotham that he offered this other guy a lot of money to sell him the win. The other guy, who had already been corrupted by the sport to some degree, incongruously still thought it unethical to buy and sell races, so he politely declined, yet never mocked the rider who ultimately finished a dejected third in front of his big money sponsor. And he certainly didn’t expose him publicly for being a fraud who would criminally seek to cause a race to finish in a way other than on its merits. While the guy who won was no saint, neither was the guy in third, and what was worse was that he didn’t seem to realize that he stood only to ruin his reputation for having violated this rule:
“1Q2.General Misconduct. The following offenses may be punished by suspension or lesser penalties: (a) Acts of theft, fraud or grossly unsportsmanlike conduct in conjunction with a sporting event; (b) Entering competition under an assumed name; (c) Offering, conspiring, or attempting to cause any race to result otherwise than on its merits.”
I am required by USADA to submit the information discussed in the pages above because I violated significant rules, codes of ethics, tenets of socially accepted behavior and the codes of honor and morality under which I was raised and educated. I pay the price for my serious errors in judgment every day, but I do my best to hang-on and fight towards arriving at a time and a place in the future where the events of 2006-2007 will no longer exert such a negative influence on my waking hours. I saw a lot of stuff on the bike – not the kind of horror experienced by soldiers on the battlefield – but cycling’s own unique forms of corruption and destruction and betrayal and hate and violence and criminality and duplicity and pettiness and scorn. And yet it took place across the backdrop of some of the most beautiful places in the world, through fields of flowers in ” Pescia, Italy (click through on that link if you can), along the Caribbean, through the Alps, across the pampas of Argentina, here in Pittsburgh, apparently in New York City and even in Wyoming of all places. And I still love to ride my bike.
I’m sorry to those who I disappointed, I lament that I deprived your of diaries that some of you found to be entertaining for what I conveyed outside of the race; I’m sorry to those clean riders – wherever you were – who didn’t finish in the money…I’m contrite. I’m paying my dues more than you know. I’m happy to fill out USADA’s forms and share with them what I knew about former teammates and squads and riders from Chile to Cesenatico to China. I can’t control what people say behind my back, and I have little time these days to waste swatting away the juvenile insults that seem so popular with the the bike groupies.