Archive for the 'Cycling' category

It ain't about "deserve"

Dec 13 2010 Published by under Conduct of Science, Cycling, Mentoring

GMP has a, well, spirited post up lamenting the seeming fact that awards in science breed their own success. Creating an "Accolade Magnet". Meaning that once some investigator is blessed with "Promising Young Investigator Eleventy!!!11!!!!" of Society for the Hopping of Bunnies, she then goes on to win accolades from her University, another three or four societies, segue into the Mid-Career Investigator (Eleventy!!11!!) awards, etc.

What aggravates me is that I know this person well and I have never been dazzled by their techical brilliance or originality. However, AM is the nicest and most pleasant person you are ever likely to meet (on the outside of course). Always upbeat, with a megawatt smile as though you just made their day just by showing up, perpetually supportive of students even when they act as procrastinating asshats, just being an annoyingly calm, collected, friendly person. I, personally, want nothing more than to punch that fake smile off AM's face.

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10 responses so far


Jul 13 2010 Published by under Cycling, Doping

Are we going to get to the bottom of the doping scene in US professional cycling? The FDA is on the case...

George Hincapie (BMC) and Tyler Hamilton are among the riders who have been asked to cooperate with the federal investigation into doping practices in American cycling at large and the US Postal Service team in particular, according to the Wall Street Journal.

The criminal investigation, led by Food and Drug Administration (FDA) special agent Jeff Novitzky, is focused principally around Floyd Landis’ recent allegations of systematic doping practices at the US Postal Service team.

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An interesting twist in the Landis confession

May 20 2010 Published by under Cycling, Doping

BikeMonkey Guest Post
ESPN is reporting that Floyd Landis, previously a world-level professional cyclist, is now admitting to using performance-enhancing drugs for "most of his career".
You will perhaps recall that the Landis case has appeared on the DM blog a time or two before.

In a brief fan's overview for those too lazy to Google, steadily improving journeyman* / domestique Floyd Landis started to show some real prospects as a Big Tour winner with some big performances as a super-domestique in 2004, and an initial foray as team captain in 2005. Landis was showing excellent signs of class in the early 2006 Tour but the usual Tour deal-breaker of a few great performances from competitors and one bad day had Floyd on the ropes. Stage 17 saw Floyd come out and just slay the competition with an all day break to put himself back in the race he would eventually win. It was a great stage to watch. A desperate attack in the early going which was surely doomed to failure. (This is a common rhythm for the bigger bike race stages- one man is usually unable to hold off the peloton until the finish if the teams are determined to catch him.) Yet Landis did. Despite the fact that the main General Classification teams knew he was riding back into and possibly away with the entire race. They couldn't catch him. Floyd just kept hammering away the kilometers, obviously suffering like a dog and continuing to pour on the power. It was amazing.

He tested positive for testosterone doping in samples collected after that fateful race day. Given that this is a substance to be found in humans anyway, the conviction hinged on analysis of the ratio of carbon isotopes in the detectable testosterone. This ratio analysis indicated the presence of exogenous testosterone- i.e., that not manufactured naturally by Landis' body.
Allegedly, anyway. Landis fought tooth and nail to overturn the conviction. The reporting from ESPN gives us a little clue as to why a now-admitted long-term doper would have fought so hard in that particular conviction.
He didn't do it.

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9 responses so far

Cheaters are morally depraved, problem solved. Dusts hands.

May 03 2010 Published by under Cycling, Doping, Scientific Misconduct

"I am not a victim. It was my decision to dope. I can assure you, I have never told by a boss to dope, but I have also never experienced a rider being asked why he suddenly became so fast,"

BikeMonkey Guest Post
The latest pro-cycling cheater is one Thomas Frei, recently of the BMC team. He was caught using EPO, unceremoniously dropped from his team and spoke to the press. His comments are refreshingly honest.

"Of course I would have gone on doping. The money tempts you, it is the same for everyone," said Frei in an interview with Swiss website

Ahh, the fight for glory, right?

As for himself, he said that he started his pro career clean. "Then came the hard stage races, and I learned that infusions were used for recovery. Everything was legal, but I still didn't want any of it. But at some point it started [for me], because everybody does it. The doctor gives you the first shot, and then it isn't long until you give yourself the first illegal shot."

There's the rub. It ain't physiologically possible to do that job, even just the job of domestique, on pasta. They all know that. We all know that. The circumstances are ripe for doping just to survive. Just to have a paycheck. Just to have a team slot for the next season.
There couldn't possibly be a lesson for science careers in here anywhere.

8 responses so far

"The Redneck"

Jan 05 2010 Published by under Cycling

BikeMonkey Guest Post
PalMD came up with a reflection on just what bothered him about the recent debacle in which a beloved and bucolic icon who practically defines "Minnesotan" (not to mention upper-Midwesterner) appeared to be an antiSemitic idiot. PalMD was previously a fan of Garrison Keillor and felt included in the folksy community of Prairie Home Companion and Lake Wobegon. Keillor's blatherings were, from appearances, received as a chest push and door slam accompanied by "Wait, not you Jewboy!".
This let me crystallize my discomfort with another cultural icon, albeit one considerably less famous than Garrison Keillor.

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133 responses so far

Skin Tone as a Tool of Intimidation

Sep 18 2009 Published by under Cycling

"Uh, dude? The sunscreen goes on the part that sticks out, not under your clothes."

BikeMonkey Guest Post
Let me tell you about a recent observation from a member of a very large and productive GlamourPub research group. "Gee, BigPIDude sure is looking pale these days, isn't he?". And he was. Translucent. Let's be honest here. When you have a big group headed by one domineering PI with lots of people who are there essentially for their careers (as techs or doctoral level resident scientists) they get a little nervous about the PI's health. As well they should. This business doesn't always come with a succession plan for taking over an established research group.
But this guy is hale and hearty, comparatively speaking. Gets out and exercises fairly frequently. Still likes to compete in the physical games at the company picnic. And dude's parents lived to a ripe old age. So what gives? Someone else pointed out that he's obsessed with sunscreen- lathers up copiously before venturing out into the sun. They thought it was because he has some sort of anti-skin-cancer obsession.
I think otherwise.

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23 responses so far

Might as well use it for a paperweight...

Aug 13 2009 Published by under Cycling

Ass Shakin' Jam, just for Isis.

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The "Myth" About Exercise? Gimme a break

Aug 10 2009 Published by under Cycling

BikeMonkey Guest Post
PalMD, Isis the Scientist and Dr. Charles have been talking a little bit about restarting fitness and dieting regimens, a topic in which I have a small interest. The cover of the August 17, 2009 issue of TIME magazine insists that "Of course it's good for you, but it won't make you lose weight. Why it's what you eat that really counts." Turning to the feature article on Health penned by John Cloud, all I can note is that the stupid not only burns, but it incinerates all logic and sense for a five block radius. I had trouble getting past the second paragraph:

As I write this, tomorrow is Tuesday, which is a cardio day. I'll spend five minutes warming up on the VersaClimber, a towering machine that requires you to move your arms and legs simultaneously. Then I'll do 30 minutes on a stair mill. On Wednesday a personal trainer will work me like a farm animal for an hour, sometimes to the point that I am dizzy -- an abuse for which I pay as much as I spend on groceries in a week. Thursday is "body wedge" class, which involves another exercise contraption, this one a large foam wedge from which I will push myself up in various hateful ways for an hour. Friday will bring a 5.5-mile run, the extra half-mile my grueling expiation of any gastronomical indulgences during the week.

30 minutes? Maybe "an hour"? Four workouts per week for which the only one potentially useful for acute weight regulation purposes is the single 5.5 mile run? And from this the article claims that "exercise" is not useful for weight management?

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37 responses so far

Repost: How to find the time...

Aug 08 2009 Published by under Cycling

PalMD's recent posts about starting a caloric reduction plus exercise regime and Isis' chime in, combined with a recent burst of exercise I've been having, reminded me of the eternal problem. How do busy adults find the time? How do YOU find the time to exercise? Anyway, this post originally appeared on Aug 26, 2007.

BikeMonkey Re-Post
In a comment to Dr. Shellie on going running for "Balance", Lab Lemming sez:

I used to do this, but it is harder now that I'm a parent...

A comment from Kevin Z on a post over at Cognitive Daily center punches a related issue:

I've been running every other day for the last 3.5 months. Its been great, I feel my energy level increased, my body getting into shape and my productivity increase as well. I will continue as much as I can. In the winter I cross-country ski every chance I can get.
Running is hard my knees and I know I probably don't do it. I played soccer growing up and did short-distance (i.e. dashes & sprints) running, but I got sidetracked for oh, about 10 years and put on some weight. But I'm off the ciggies, off the junk food (though not entirely...), eating less more often and regularly running. Motivation mostly stems from wanting to be healthy to have fun with kids, and be around in good health for them as long as possible.

Who in this house holla back, aight? RealLife gets in the way of fitness and next thing you know it is TimeToMakeAChange.

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10 responses so far

Repost: How is that fat guy riding my legs off?

Aug 04 2009 Published by under Cycling

This post originally appeared on Aug 20, 2007.

BikeMonkey Re-Post
The NYT had an article a month ago on the fact that in bike-speak "Fit" is not always equal to "Thin", a fact which apparently confounds Wake-Forest "exercise physiologist" Michael Berry

But, Dr. Berry added, "I quickly learned that when I was riding with someone with a 36-inch waist, I could be looking at the back of their waist when they rode away from me."

I gotta say runners crack me up. They have a pretty hard time getting cycling, mostly because it seems like a series of "cheats" compared to what they are used to. So when they blow out their knees, grind out their hips, get heel spurs, bang their big toes or whatever, they are forced to the OneTruePath of cycling for health reasons. This leads to much hilarity.

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28 responses so far

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