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Old 11-12-07, 07:14 PM   #1
Bob Dopolina 
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Motivation for non-pros doping

For pro riders the reasons to juice are pretty obvious. Money, pressure and fame (to name a few).

For non-pros it also seems there are a lot of reasons for riders to juice (based on the rate of positives) but what I'd like to explore is the fundamental difference between Europe and the rest of the world as it relates to motivations for doping for these riders.

In most of the world, cycling is an elitist, white collar sport (as a generalization) that appeals to those who can afford it. Even after you are fully equipped, there are still considerable expenses that keep the sport focused on those who have enough disposable income to participate.

In Europe, it is a blue collar sport. For those who can't afford it there are clubs and institutions in place that help offset the cost of the equipment. Also, older riders are more likely to mentor younger riders and this means handing down perfectly good equipment. In Europe, traveling to races isn't nearly as difficult as you can usually find something close thereby greatly reducing financial burden number 2: traveling expenses.

These are fundamental economic differences that create very different motivational factors.

My point is this:

If you were an aspiring racer in Europe, and someone told you you could quit your job at the tire factory and make enough money to support yourself and your family by using this potion, I can understand the temptation. You don't need to be good enough to ride on a Pro Tour team, just good enough to get a Continental Pro contract.

The problem is, even if these riders are aware of the dangers, poverty is a great motivator. What you end up with is a string of kids who have nothing to loose but everything to gain, being fed into the machine until a champion is spit out the other side. How many other riders were simply chewed up by the doping machine and discarded?

To put in in context for those in NA, cross the pond. Now you are in an impoverished urban center in NA. Go down to a local BB court, open up your little black bag, and tell some kids that if they juice, they could make it big. It may kill them, but it may not. How many would jump at the chance? This may be the only time opportunity ever visits their door.

I'm not advocating doping so please skip that bit in your replies. I'm trying to understand what gets people, who are not already pros, to this place.

Another point I'd like to make is that dopers come and go but the machine keeps running. Catching guys and handing them suspensions does nothing to dismantle the mechanisms that support doping in the first place. For ever rider caught, how many more are being stuffed into the machine at the other end? Some will win, some will lose and some will die. And who is it that really benefits from this machine? What is the motivation for those who keep the machine churning?

Intelligent comments?
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Old 11-12-07, 07:27 PM   #2
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Intelligent comments?
I'm still waiting for one.

Your synopsis of US vs European cycling is way off.

People dope to cheat, to win.
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Old 11-12-07, 07:31 PM   #3
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For pro riders the reasons to juice are pretty obvious. Money, pressure and fame (to name a few).

For non-pros it also seems there are a lot of reasons for riders to juice (based on the rate of positives) but what I'd like to explore is the fundamental difference between Europe and the rest of the world as it relates to motivations for doping for these riders.

In most of the world, cycling is an elitist, white collar sport (as a generalization) that appeals to those who can afford it. Even after you are fully equipped, there are still considerable expenses that keep the sport focused on those who have enough disposable income to participate.

In Europe, it is a blue collar sport. For those who can't afford it there are clubs and institutions in place that help offset the cost of the equipment. Also, older riders are more likely to mentor younger riders and this means handing down perfectly good equipment. In Europe, traveling to races isn't nearly as difficult as you can usually find something close thereby greatly reducing financial burden number 2: traveling expenses.

These are fundamental economic differences that create very different motivational factors.

My point is this:

If you were an aspiring racer in Europe, and someone told you you could quit your job at the tire factory and make enough money to support yourself and your family by using this potion, I can understand the temptation. You don't need to be good enough to ride on a Pro Tour team, just good enough to get a Continental Pro contract.

The problem is, even if these riders are aware of the dangers, poverty is a great motivator. What you end up with is a string of kids who have nothing to loose but everything to gain, being fed into the machine until a champion is spit out the other side. How many other riders were simply chewed up by the doping machine and discarded?

To put in in context for those in NA, cross the pond. Now you are in an impoverished urban center in NA. Go down to a local BB court, open up your little black bag, and tell some kids that if they juice, they could make it big. It may kill them, but it may not. How many would jump at the chance? This may be the only time opportunity ever visits their door.

I'm not advocating doping so please skip that bit in your replies. I'm trying to understand what gets people, who are not already pros, to this place.

Another point I'd like to make is that dopers come and go but the machine keeps running. Catching guys and handing them suspensions does nothing to dismantle the mechanisms that support doping in the first place. For ever rider caught, how many more are being stuffed into the machine at the other end? Some will win, some will lose and some will die. And who is it that really benefits from this machine? What is the motivation for those who keep the machine churning?

Intelligent comments?
Why not?

You Wussy.
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Old 11-12-07, 07:49 PM   #4
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It takes about 1 race to recognize that even at the lowest levels of the sport, some people will do anything to win. It's a little frightening how much people are willing to risk for that T-shirt and a $50 LBS gift certificate. Wouldn't surprise me one bit if there are cat 4's and 5's hittin' the juice.
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Old 11-12-07, 07:59 PM   #5
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A non-pro would dope in an effort to become pro...
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Old 11-12-07, 08:12 PM   #6
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I just tell myself that I'm the reason my competitors would want to dope.

How's a little of that for arrogance?
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Old 11-12-07, 08:15 PM   #7
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Your synopsis of US vs European cycling is way off.
You certainly managed to take a complicated issue and dumb it down. Congrats. No fries for me, please.

As to my synopsis: In what way and what do you base it on?
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Old 11-12-07, 08:22 PM   #8
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Motivation is easy, winning. Some people are just competitive; the fact that it has any reward at all is unimportant. Heck, these people need to win at board games... and if it did come down to reward, the reward is more than people might think, money and attention. For some attention is priceless, and even winning a small amount of money is fun for everyone (think of slot machines).

Scientifically I think there is more pressure to dope at the beginning of your career as this mathematically provides more results. If a pro dopes he may get his 1% advantage to give him a winning edge - on top of optimal, intensive training. If a junior dopes he gets his 1% compounded over year’s -without drug controls.

From financial matters most have seen the dramatic effect of compound interest. If athlete 1 “supplements” and athlete 2 just trains, at the end of year the doper comes out only slightly ahead. However, the next year’s intervals are based on last year’s results so they will be done at a higher level. Personally, I know I have gone through breakthrough points where I know my previous training wasn’t training at all; I was training to train at this new level. <Insert F.L. quote about overtraining on drugs>. Young dopers could go through these stages faster. The young doper would then spend more of his optimal years training at extreme levels, allowing him to eek out a couple prestigious wins.

My interest in this subject was started by a discussion I had about caffeine usage recently. “Should you use caffeine during training, or just during competition”? I suggested both during training and competition, with a withdrawal/resensitizing period during race taper for major events.
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Old 11-12-07, 08:27 PM   #9
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I just tell myself that I'm the reason my competitors would want to dope.

How's a little of that for arrogance?
I wish I could say the same about myself......


But that doesn't drive me to dope.
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Old 11-12-07, 08:29 PM   #10
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I just tell myself that I'm the reason my competitors would want to dope.

How's a little of that for arrogance?
Arrogance will make you win more races than FTP.

Note: I am only talking about Nomad... you need more FTP to beat him.

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Old 11-12-07, 09:21 PM   #11
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I just tell myself that I'm the reason my competitors would want to dope.

How's a little of that for arrogance?
It won't get me to dope but it will drag my A** out of bed to get a good workout in.
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Old 11-12-07, 09:35 PM   #12
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I just tell myself that I'm the reason my competitors would want to dope.

How's a little of that for arrogance?
Semper Foo my little Road Nazi.
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Old 11-12-07, 09:36 PM   #13
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Fame?

We are talking about road bicycle racing..... right?
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Old 11-12-07, 09:49 PM   #14
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It takes about 1 race to recognize that even at the lowest levels of the sport, some people will do anything to win. It's a little frightening how much people are willing to risk for that T-shirt and a $50 LBS gift certificate. Wouldn't surprise me one bit if there are cat 4's and 5's hittin' the juice.
Winning has little to do with it, actually. People take shortcuts to get what they want in ALL FACETS of life.
People justify what constitutes an acceptable risk FOR THEMSELVES in ALL FACETS of life. Some people fudge on taxes and figure nobody will notice. Some people lie on resumes to get a better job. Some people lie to get a girl in bed. Some people exceed the speed limit and violate other traffic laws on a regular basis. Some people drive inebriated. Some people smoke. Some people take recreational drugs. Some people ride bikes on busy roads. Why are people shocked when these same people take drugs to win a hunk of tin or a set of tires?
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Old 11-12-07, 09:59 PM   #15
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For amateurs, doping isn't about winning, it's about avoidance.

All [EDIT: meant to say "Most"] endurance athletes are running from something. Rather than deal with their demons, they fill their life with cycling, or running, or going to the gym. They channel their frustration into hurting themselves on the bike.

But the strategy only works so long as you're continually getting faster. The moment you plateau, you have to take stock of why you're really cycling, which means you have to look back and acknowledge the demons.

Dopers have bigger demons and/or weaker coping skills, so they dope to push that plateau a little further off into the future.

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Old 11-12-07, 10:10 PM   #16
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wait, really?
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Old 11-12-07, 10:14 PM   #17
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All endurance athletes are running from something. Rather than deal with their demons, they fill their life with cycling, or running, or going to the gym. They channel their frustration into hurting themselves on the bike.
Uh huh.

Keep the day job while you're taking that Acme Psychology Degree Correspondence Course there Wiley.

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Old 11-12-07, 10:17 PM   #18
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All endurance athletes are running from something.
Everyone is running from something. Some people fill their lives with shopping, drinking, overeating, sex, work...pick your poison. I'm not sure that it's correct to say that endurance athletes have "special" demons, that the rest of the population doesn't.

In fact, I'd say that adults involved in endurance sports are probably more well adjusted than the populace as a whole. Exercise promotes good health, physical and mental.
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Old 11-12-07, 10:19 PM   #19
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In fact, I'd say that adults involved in endurance sports are probably more well adjusted than the populace as a whole. Exercise promotes good health, physical and mental.
I think you're selling the drunks and drug addicts who fill our highways and roads a little short. Show a little respect for less healthy addictions.
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Old 11-12-07, 10:39 PM   #20
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Keep the day job while you're taking that Acme Psychology Degree Correspondence Course there Wiley.
Denial rocks. So does avoidance. Most of us are pretty screwed up, but we cobble ourselves into halfway functional people.

And yes, there are far worse coping strategies than cycling.
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Old 11-12-07, 10:45 PM   #21
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Fame?

We are talking about road bicycle racing..... right?
Do you have any idea of the status even Continental riders have in Europe? You are a GOD. If you are a rider, even an unknown rider, kids will pester you for your card or autograph because someday you might be famous. It would be like having a Barry Bonds rookie card 10 years from now.

Think of a pro player in any major NA sport and you start to get the idea.

People, please read my original post and lets stop talking about weekend warriors. I'm trying to foster a discussion about the systematic doping that happens in the amateur ranks with riders who have an eye on turning pro. This' "some people will do anything/are just competitive/phsyco babble" is not even on topic. Think beyond your own small part of the world and look at the big picture.
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Old 11-12-07, 10:48 PM   #22
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Everyone is running from something. Some people fill their lives with shopping, drinking, overeating, sex, work...pick your poison. I'm not sure that it's correct to say that endurance athletes have "special" demons, that the rest of the population doesn't.
Agreed.

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In fact, I'd say that adults involved in endurance sports are probably more well adjusted than the populace as a whole.
Mmm, not so sure about that one. I think many endurance athletes believe that, and that that's part of the strategy. "My life still sucks, but hey, I'm in great shape!" -- quite a non-sequitur, no? But at least that non-sequitur has better side-effects than ones like "My life still sucks, so let's drink until I do things I can't remember in the morning." But "healthy" and "a better coping strategy" are not the same thing.
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Old 11-12-07, 10:50 PM   #23
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People, please read my original post and lets stop talking about weekend warriors. I'm trying to foster a discussion about the systematic doping that happens in the amateur ranks with riders who have an eye on turning pro. This' "some people will do anything/are just competitive/phsyco babble" is not even on topic. Think beyond your own small part of the world and look at the big picture.
It's the 12,000 dollar dream here in the US. Hell, the free bike, hotel and race fees dream for a lot of guys. Being a pro doesn't pay s**t for most. They're doing it because they like to do it - and because someday, they might, might get a ProTour contract.

So why dope? To win, and to get ahead. Why do people cheat in school?
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Old 11-12-07, 10:50 PM   #24
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All endurance athletes are running from something.
D'oh! Meant to type "Most ..." I agree that there are some mentally healthy cyclists.
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Old 11-12-07, 10:51 PM   #25
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People, please read my original post ...
Welcome to the internet.
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