Indeed, I can assure you I was beaming the whole time--not just because of the blue skies, unseasonable warmth, and multi-hued autumnal foliage, but also because it turns out the winner of this year's Gran Fondo New York was doping, and there's just something about Gran Fondopers that fills me with glee:
Oscar Tovar from Colombia, the winner of the 2015 Campagnolo Gran Fondo New York and first annual GFNY Championship, tested positive for synthetic testosterone use during the in-competition doping controls administered by US Anti Doping Agency (USADA) at the race. Tovar has been banned from any competition under World Anti Doping Agency (WADA) rules for two years and by GFNY for lifetime at any GFNY World event.
Yes, instead of vilifying this rider we should be celebrating him, for Fondos are essentially mass expressions of the Fredly ethos, and doping to win a Gran Fondo is the very highest expression of Fredness. See, it's one thing to dope when big money is involved, but this guy put it all on the line just for a cheesy jersey and a free De Rosa!
It doesn't get any more Fredly than that.
Unfortunately the GFNY organization doesn't see it that way, and instead of being honored they're rather offended that Tovar had the audacity to rub his "doper taint" in their faces:
“We are of course upset and hurt that a doper taints the reputation of our race and had us celebrate him on the day”, says GFNY CEO Uli Fluhme. “However, it’s without a doubt more important for us to do what we can to make our race fair, of which doping controls are an integral part. Simply looking away and not testing the athletes is the worst decision that a race director can make because it forces everyone to take drugs to try to level the playing field.”
"Doper taints?" Gee, you'd think they'd have noticed the testosterone patch.
Oh, and the third place finisher in the women's field was also doping:
Another athlete who tested positive for a banned substance is Yamile Lugo of Colombia, who finished in 3rd place overall in the women’s field. Just like Tovar, the values detected in Lugo’s sample were consistent with the administration of a steroid of exogenous origin. Those values certainly could have been caused by the athlete’s use of testosterone, but it could have also been caused by her use of another anabolic agent such as DHEA.
Put that on your pudendum and absorb it.
And let's not forget about that Cat 3 who got busted at the GFNY back in 2012.
All of which goes to show not that there's anything special about the GFNY, but that Freds and Fredericas are incorrigible cheats. Yes, the sport of cycling is filthy at every level, from the Grand Tours, through the Gran Fondos, and right on down to your local Tuesday night training series. This is because bike racing is a disease, and anybody willing to spend $3,000 on a pair of wheels is a person of weak moral (crabon) fiber. Indeed, every Fred or Frederica is potentially only a hairline fracture away from slapping a testosterone patch onto the ol' perineum before the big day as casually as a barbecuer throwing a slice of cheese on a sizzling beef patty.
You're fooling yourself if you believe otherwise.
Even I am no exception, and on the very day Oscar Tovar was besmirching the Gran Fondo NY with his doper taint, I was leading the BSNYC Gran Fondon't:
On which I took a hale group of willing
Needless to say I was doped to the gills.
Yet despite all this, people continue to associate cycling with good health, which is why the image of Stock Photo Mountain Fred graces this article about exercising and aging:
(Stock Photo Mountain Fred portages his Barney sled up a hillside.)
Alas there's virtually nothing about cycling in the article itself, but it does say that people who exercise have "longer telomeres:"
However, recent science suggests that exercise may slow the fraying of telomeres. Past studies have found, for instance, that master athletes typically have longer telomeres than sedentary people of the same age, as do older women who frequently walk or engage in other fairly moderate exercise.
Interesting. At first I thought telomeres were like palmarès, but then I looked it up in the dictionary:
Hmmm, makes total sense.
As for the conclusion of the article, you'll no doubt be stunned to learn that exercise is good for you.
Though if you don't wear a helme(n)t while doing it you're sure to die.
Yes, it's all about inevitability. Throw a few thousand Freds together and invariably some of them are going to dope. Similarly, propose new bike lanes in Manhattan and inevitably some Upper East Siders are going to plotz:
the property owners of Coronado, CA, but these complaints are still pretty good:
Michele Birnbaum, an Upper East Side resident, considers the First Avenue bike lane already too intrusive, and notes that crosstown streets are far narrower, said that adding crosstown bike lanes would be “entirely inappropriate.”
“As much as biking has increased, it is still a teeny tiny percentage of the population and there's no reason to turn this city upside down to accommodate them,” Birbaum said.
Yep, that's right, they're TURNING THE CITY UPSIDE DOWN!
(Inversion effect caused blog to go over budget so we were forced to do the shot in Toronto.)
Meanwhile, someone who's a member of some kind of "alliance" thinks cyclists are "spoiled:"
Susan P. Siskind, a member of the New York Alliance for Pedestrian Safety and a First Avenue resident, said any crosstown lanes would merely increase what she characterized as bicyclists' unruly conduct.
“Adding crosstown bike lanes is like rewarding a spoiled child with a new toy when they misbehave,” she said. “I witness the lawless behavior of bicyclists every day and until all bicyclists obey all the rules of the road and the NYPD provide enforcement, a great majority of pedestrians will continue to feel unsafe.”
I'm willing to accept that metaphor just as long as you take it all the way and paint drivers as the unemployed 40 year-old Ignatius Jacques Reilly types still living rent-free at home and bellowing "MA, BRING ME A SANDWICH!!!" until they "accidentally" murder somebody.
Lastly, here's a Fred pushing a couple of cars while wearing cycling shoes:
Never, ever do this.
The proper etiquette when passing a fender-bender is to point, laugh, and keep riding.