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"Doping"...In my line of work.

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"Doping"...In my line of work.

Old 10-22-12, 07:45 PM
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"Doping"...In my line of work.

As some of you know, a couple of years ago I was pretty decent at bike racing. Hit Cat1/Pro on the road and the MTB respectively.

Then, I decided to quit my job at an engineering firm and jump off the deep end. Did something very few people expected or, especially those from my very wealthy western Chicago suburb hometown understood: I joined the military.

Two years later, I'm an infantry platoon leader in the 10th Mountain Division. Ranger School graduate, airborne, blah blah blah. Recently, I've been getting back into riding. Power is coming back quickly, due to carrying 80lbs on my back for months at a time, humping it up and down hills and mountains.

The Army, and the United States military in general, has a fairly decent anti-drug policy. None of the usual fun drugs like heroin, meth, cocaine, marijuana, etc. No steroids, either. But, and here's a big but: they don't test for PEDs unless they have a reason to do so. And, I've never even heard of it being done.

So, recently, I was in a class with people at the real pointy end of things. Got to talking about working out, Afghanistan, etc. High altitude, how they cope, all of that. Well, not exactly to my surprise, I learned that some people in that community might use performance enhancing drugs. Echelons above might not encourage it, exactly, but no one cares as long as you do your job competently, it seems. And, in our line of work, there is no such thing as a fair fight. If you win, you live, if you lose, you're dead. So, I can't even say I blame them.

After some time I mentioned that I race bikes. One of the other guys in the conversation mentioned that one of his co-workers rides, and might get into bike racing when he gets out of the service in the next year or two. Knowing this sort of person, despite not ever meeting him, I have to imagine he would be quite successful at it. Borderline maniacal approach to anything they do, dedication to their task second to none. Then, I thought about it: what if he's one of the PED users? Would he continue to use them after he gets out, and into racing? Or, and this is more applicable, I think: Does his prior, not-for-sport use of PEDs and resulting, long-lasting physiological adaptations consist of cheating at some level? Despite not being on them anymore?

How would you guys feel about racing against a guy who used PEDs in a non-"sport" before coming to bike racing?
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Old 10-22-12, 08:16 PM
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I don't claim to know much about most things, but 'over there', there's no such thing as an unfair advantage if it keeps you alive.

If then afterwards, they dope to win a bike race, hmmph.
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Old 10-22-12, 08:36 PM
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Just to be perfectly clear:

It would be pointless for me to do this. Very few if any of my soldiers can keep up with me when I give it the gas, as I am now, and a lieutenant running around without the security provided by his well-armed subordinates is soon a dead man.
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Old 10-22-12, 08:55 PM
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I don't make judgements on what soldiers do because that's life and death, literally. There are definite rules of conduct but not my place to judge them, only respect that they are serving.

When it comes to bike racing, the rules are clear. So, if someone using PEDs comes into racing they have to do it clean.
If they get popped, they are sanctioned.It's plain unethical in the sporting context. No clearer than that.

You know, PEDs like EPO also have downsides like stroking out because your blood is maple syrup, testicular cancer, cervical cancer in women, heart failure, etc
not to mention the well known side effects of testosterone and other steroids
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Old 10-22-12, 08:58 PM
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I'm surprised that PEDs aren't required for ethical reasons -Captain America saves lives - ignoring an opportunity to administer an available life saving drug is almost manslaughter. I think fighter pilots have a bunch of uppers at their disposal which allow them to dogfight while exhausted.

I think super soldiers should personally refrain themselves from racing.
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Old 10-22-12, 08:59 PM
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First, thanks for your service.
I know the military in NZ has a program to provide special forces with stuff that could be out of the jersey pocket of a cyclist (caffeine chewing gun, maltodextrin gels, etc).
An EPO program wouldn't be practical for most conditions on the field (refrigerated vials, syringes, etc. to carry around, need to monitor hematocrit and so on).

Last edited by Gluteus; 10-22-12 at 09:04 PM.
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Old 10-22-12, 09:01 PM
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If the DoD is _not_ actively doping our best and brightest at the pointy end, then they are derelict in their duty. War is not a sport. We ask our fellow citizens to literally give everything for us; we owe them every possible advantage.

I doubt many soldiers would conflate war-time need to survive with a silly bike race.
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Old 10-22-12, 09:14 PM
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I have a few colleagues at likely the same pointy end that you speak of. Listening to their stories while bouncing around in a HMMWV with them, I got the same feeling you did regarding PEDs. I don't see how you could be at the top of your game demonstrating that you're one of the best gunfighters in the world and a tactical genius for a 24-hour action without some help.
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Old 10-22-12, 09:15 PM
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I understand from Wikipedia that the U.S. Special Forces do actually make use of "blood-loading" prior to a mission, which is quite simply blood doping. And yeah, in that context it makes sense. Though I think that doping for soldiers is not as cut-and-dry as it might seem, as the military still has a duty to weigh the long-term health of soldiers and veterans. And I also suspect that, if it did turn out that there is widespread, unsupervised but tacitly permitted use of PEDs in the armed forces that it would NOT play well with the public. It would be a scandal. Key word being "unsupervised." If the military is going to allow this, they should damn well have some medical guidance. Young soldiers and athletes have similar vulnerabilities to poor decisions with long-term consequences that they are likely unable to fully evaluate.

But as for the question: I think that if a former soldier wants to race bikes, I'm okay with it and will not assume they're doped. I would hope that such a person would be thoughtful enough to understand the difference between sporting competition and combat. If they aren't, I would ask that they refrain from participating. Obviously, such a person wouldn't think it through enough to come to that conclusion, but what can I do about that? Nothing. You get the same problem from people who have never served in the military thinking that the circumstances justify boosting themselves with PEDs. I'm not sure ex-soldiers are more likely to think doping in sports is okay than your average person.
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Old 10-22-12, 10:28 PM
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PED's have a long history in the military. Amphetamines were standard issue for flyers in WW2, there are more than a few things that tend not to get publicized because the military doesn't want to be seen spreading a practices outside of it's arena. The problem is less looking the other way and winking and nodding when the soldiers are in country, but rather when they return home without, for lack of a better word, "debriefing". War is not sport. Whatever it takes.

I don't care if folks use what what be classified as a PED outside of sport either. That list is long and a lot of things on it have beneficial medical uses.

And finally I think holding low level amateur athletes to the same standards as professionals and Olympians is a bit of an over-reach and taking things too seriously. There should be some standards and limits, but having some old Cat4 trying to file a PED for Viagra is kinda dumb.

But there comes a point where careers and money can be made or jerseys won. This is a different matter.

I'm a brother in arms so rather than thanking you I'm going to be thankful you're back in one piece and say "welcome home".
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Old 10-22-12, 11:45 PM
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I don't know that I'd care at any level short of racing for one's livelihood; happy to see you home, safe, and doing something healthy and productive with your time, energy, and reinstated freedom, unlike those who have trouble getting back into the groove of things.
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Old 10-23-12, 06:14 AM
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Originally Posted by Racer Ex
PED's have a long history in the military. Amphetamines were standard issue for flyers in WW2, there are more than a few things that tend not to get publicized because the military doesn't want to be seen spreading a practices outside of it's arena. The problem is less looking the other way and winking and nodding when the soldiers are in country, but rather when they return home without, for lack of a better word, "debriefing". War is not sport. Whatever it takes.

I don't care if folks use what what be classified as a PED outside of sport either. That list is long and a lot of things on it have beneficial medical uses.

And finally I think holding low level amateur athletes to the same standards as professionals and Olympians is a bit of an over-reach and taking things too seriously. There should be some standards and limits, but having some old Cat4 trying to file a PED for Viagra is kinda dumb.

But there comes a point where careers and money can be made or jerseys won. This is a different matter.

I'm a brother in arms so rather than thanking you I'm going to be thankful you're back in one piece and say "welcome home".
Is that seriously a banned substance?
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Old 10-23-12, 06:54 AM
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Originally Posted by kindablue
Is that seriously a banned substance?
Yeah. If you look into what it does, from a physiological perspective, it makes sense.
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Old 10-23-12, 06:57 AM
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"is viagra banned?"


Not currently although WADA was looking into it. It helps some people breathe better at altitude. It's in the standard kit for high altitude mountaineers.


As for the OPs question, PEDs outside the competition where they're illegal is clearly not a problem for later competition.

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Old 10-23-12, 12:29 PM
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Duke, long time no time. Thank-you for your service.

What you're speaking of wouldnt bother me at all. My only concern would be that the servicemembers that are subject to the PED use are being administered medical care that makes the PED use safe for the PED user. As an MD from another forum stated, PED use when done under medical supervision is safe, when done absent medical supervision, it's bat**** crazy. I'd want the servicemembers to fall onto the safe side of that continuum, there's enough bat**** crazy that you guys get exposed to.

Godspeed,
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Old 10-23-12, 12:35 PM
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For me the bottom line is the spirit of use. If you use it to gain an sporting advantage, its wrong. If you use it for a legitimate medical condition or to gain an advantage in war, that superceded any silly cycling organization rules.
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Old 10-23-12, 03:30 PM
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War is not sport.

Reading about doping in cycling, I wondered if something like that wasn't going on in our military. Think about it, it seemed likely, at least at the special forces level. Interesting that you confirmed that.

In other news, I race bikes for fun. I don't really spend time wondering if my fellow competitors are doping or not. I'm serious when I race, but I don't race seriously.
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Old 10-23-12, 03:42 PM
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Originally Posted by kindablue
Is that seriously a banned substance?
Around here there is a conspicuously extremely low body-fat heavily muscled amazingly performing Polish team made up of all old men. It seems to be the rumor that they are all using Viagra as one of their chosen PEDs. Word is that they bring back all sorts of "over the counter" goodies from Poland during visits back home. Local racing is serious business....now...where's my donut?
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Old 10-23-12, 08:08 PM
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Originally Posted by grolby
I understand from Wikipedia that the U.S. Special Forces do actually make use of "blood-loading" prior to a mission, which is quite simply blood doping. And yeah, in that context it makes sense. Though I think that doping for soldiers is not as cut-and-dry as it might seem, as the military still has a duty to weigh the long-term health of soldiers and veterans. And I also suspect that, if it did turn out that there is widespread, unsupervised but tacitly permitted use of PEDs in the armed forces that it would NOT play well with the public. It would be a scandal. Key word being "unsupervised." If the military is going to allow this, they should damn well have some medical guidance. Young soldiers and athletes have similar vulnerabilities to poor decisions with long-term consequences that they are likely unable to fully evaluate.

But as for the question: I think that if a former soldier wants to race bikes, I'm okay with it and will not assume they're doped. I would hope that such a person would be thoughtful enough to understand the difference between sporting competition and combat. If they aren't, I would ask that they refrain from participating. Obviously, such a person wouldn't think it through enough to come to that conclusion, but what can I do about that? Nothing. You get the same problem from people who have never served in the military thinking that the circumstances justify boosting themselves with PEDs. I'm not sure ex-soldiers are more likely to think doping in sports is okay than your average person.
To be more specific: These men that I am speaking of are not fresh-out-of-basic types. Many of them have been in for 10+ years, many have college degrees, and before joining the ranks of the elite group they belong to, were screened for their maturity and to make sure they were alright in the ol' brain box. "Young soldiers" implies impressionable youths; there are very few of those types in the that particular sector. The conventional Army, and Ranger Regiment, yes. But the triple tabbed types are generally significantly older, much more mature, and capable of making reasoned decisions. Often under extreme pressure and a rather tight time crunch. Hence their selection to those organizations.

I don't, nor have I ever done anything like that. And I don't think I could. I like racing my bike too much for that. Even if I wasn't racing at the time, or even riding, I think I'd feel like I'd cheated somehow.
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Old 10-23-12, 08:33 PM
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Originally Posted by Duke of Kent
I think I'd feel like I'd cheated somehow.
That's because it would be cheating, moral justification doesn't change the rules or remove the advantage of drugs. I think front line soldiers should be given medically monitored "supplementation", but I don't think those soldiers should enter sporting events during their spare time.
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Old 10-24-12, 05:06 AM
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I guess another point would be that it's crazy to think the men currently shooting at ours aren't frequently flying high.
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Old 10-24-12, 04:05 PM
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Originally Posted by waterrockets
I guess another point would be that it's crazy to think the men currently shooting at ours aren't frequently flying high.
In several different ways, sometimes in conjunction with each other. There's a reason people are pushing 6.5mm, 6.8mm, or 7.62mm. 5.56mm ain't stopping a dude who doesn't feel it.
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Old 10-24-12, 04:07 PM
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DoK, thanks for clarifying.
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Old 10-24-12, 04:08 PM
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Originally Posted by Enthalpic
That's because it would be cheating, moral justification doesn't change the rules or remove the advantage of drugs. I think front line soldiers should be given medically monitored "supplementation", but I don't think those soldiers should enter sporting events during their spare time.
My statement was more along the lines of a theoretical "A person is in AFG. Taking PEDs. Stop taking them. Come back. Resume training. Race bikes.".

I'm not disagreeing with you. Just want to clarify my statement.

What I did NOT mean to imply in my statement is taking them while stateside, training, and racing. Obviously that would be cheating.

Last edited by Duke of Kent; 10-24-12 at 07:14 PM.
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Old 10-24-12, 04:19 PM
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Originally Posted by Psimet2001
Around here there is a conspicuously extremely low body-fat heavily muscled amazingly performing Polish team made up of all old men. It seems to be the rumor that they are all using Viagra as one of their chosen PEDs. Word is that they bring back all sorts of "over the counter" goodies from Poland during visits back home. Local racing is serious business....now...where's my donut?
Yeah. I've thought that for a long, long time.
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