I had spinal surgery in July (again). Sadly this one did not go so well and the after effects and nerve damage in my legs is lingering. I can still ride a bit, for a while, but it's difficult. Healing is slow, I will improve, repeat mantra... I hope this explains my lack of travel and bike related prose. It is not an excuse as I have been 'in' more and lots of the writing is based on past experience, my new daughter had waylaid me somewhat but I promise to keep working from the menu soon and adding new stuff as and when I can steal a moment.
This week is a departure from the travel, still dips into the bike genre though. I'm branching out now, I'll be musing about any old shit that comes to mind. Expanding my repertoire if you like? Life is too short to focus on such singular topics.
I've been reading a lot about a lot just recently, five weeks off work does that. Due to a recent cancer scare (to go with the spinal surgery) I have learned an awful lot about blood, how it works, what it does other than stain my collar and how it can be manipulated. I know about crit levels, blood transfusions, platelets blah blah. I already knew about HGH and testosterone, the endocrine system and it's love of endurance sports (or not), cortisone (I know a lot more about it since a surgeon filed my spine with it a few weeks ago) and cortisol, I'm definitely more versed with that one recently.
I've avidly followed the sport for years and read Walsh's books, painfully translated from French on slow dial up sites in the early 00's. I think Lance Armstrong is a bully, an asshole to coin the Texan Term. But so was Pantani, just in a different way. Pantani was the product of an Italian system pioneering blood doping long before the Postmen ever added and 'E' to the 'P.O' of the post office. Basso is a nice guy, but he cheated just like Armstrong, did he ever apologise? Perhaps he will now he has retired? Merckx, the great one was, well, great. No doubt the guy was gifted like no other and I do have my doubts about the 69 Giro. But 1973, Lombardia. 1977, Pemoline, again... Eddy starts races for ASO, Lance starts fights on Sunday club runs. Fignon, pissed petrol in 89. Kelly in 91 - even though he gave the testers his mechanics sample - sadly the spanner had been having a dab of speed to keep up with the fact that Kelly's Vitus was shit and needed more TLC than a Fiat Uno. Kelly in 1993, EPOh no! Denied all round then written off under statute limits for prosecutions. Zabel and Aldag killed the sport in Germany for years, Ulrich was just taking the piss (or not). Riis is a bit of a dick but has not been Lanced, Virenque is a commentator for Le Tour and actually challenged Sky's performance. I bit like the FBI using hackers to test security.Vandenbroucke really went for the full on James Belushi effect by adding morphine to his predilections. Di Luca, Hamilton, Millar x 2 (R&D), Heras, the excellently and most aptly named Cunto, Barrie, Visconti, Frank Schleck etc etc... What have these guys got in common? Even when doping they were only a bit better, slightly less average. What has gained them notoriety, well it's not being a bit shit compared to Lance (acceptance of Heras as the odd one out), it's getting popped. Are any of them being hunted by their Governments? Well no. Millar (D) comentates for ITV4, Schleck wins the odd stage, may of them work in the sport. I know the arguments about the tactics used by Lance, the wealth obtained by 'fraud'. It's a shame the CPS did not review his case, the let David Mellor off with fraud as it was 'not in the public interest' to prosecute. Is it really such a big thing that L.A was the 'best' of the dopers? That he had a genetic blood cell volume that benefited massively from EPO whereas others more gifted than he in the gene pool had less of a boost is simply 'life'. I would add I think he deserves a lifetime ban, but so does Contador, Merckx, Shcleck, McQuaid (from all sports associated activity).
When my daughter is old enough to understand and we visit my family in Italy she may as why 'VIVA PANTANI PANTANI PANTANI' is written on the roads in the mountains above my Dad's place? I'll tell her he cheated a lot, won off the back of cheating, regretted what he did and died a sad death. She may ask why 'LANCE IS A WANKER' is written on a road I have ridden in North Yorkshire. I'll tell her he cheated a lot, won of the back of it but his personality meant he did not regret it and is now paying the price for that, but not a toll as heavy as Pantani. She may ask why they are different? I'll tel her Lance is strong in the head and the legs, Marco just the legs, but they are both cheats and idiots.
ENTIRELY SPECULATION! DON'T SUE ME LANCE!!