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The Levi Effect

Old 10-19-12, 09:32 PM
  #26  
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Originally Posted by sprince View Post
I have to think that the doping is as much a psychological advantage as it is a physical advantage.
I have to think you've both never competed at a high level nor done much research about blood manipulation.
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Old 10-20-12, 06:39 AM
  #27  
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Originally Posted by Racer Ex View Post
I have to think you've both never competed at a high level nor done much research about blood manipulation.
Yes, I am speculating. I have never competed at any endurance sport, and have no personal experience with doping.

Of course there are studies that indicate a physical advantage for athletes on a doping program. Let's say we have 10 test subjects. All are told that they will be put on a doping program but 5 are administered a placebo. Does performance increase for the placebo group? Does performance decline for the non-placebo group after they are falsely told that they are being switched to a placebo? But my point is that a psychological advantage can't be dismissed based on studies that are carefully constructed to exclude psychological factors. Levi has some free time on his hands now, maybe he could volunteer for such a study.

Last edited by gsteinb; 10-20-12 at 07:03 AM. Reason: Smilie face or not, insinuating folks you don't know have doped is a personal attack and against forum rules.
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Old 10-20-12, 08:51 AM
  #28  
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Originally Posted by sprince View Post
Yes, I am speculating. I have never competed at any endurance sport, and have no personal experience with doping.

Of course there are studies that indicate a physical advantage for athletes on a doping program. Let's say we have 10 test subjects. All are told that they will be put on a doping program but 5 are administered a placebo. Does performance increase for the placebo group? Does performance decline for the non-placebo group after they are falsely told that they are being switched to a placebo? But my point is that a psychological advantage can't be dismissed based on studies that are carefully constructed to exclude psychological factors. Levi has some free time on his hands now, maybe he could volunteer for such a study.
There is probably some validity to that when you're talking about the old school stuff like stimulants and nitrogylcerine. But there is no question that the anabolics and blood manipulation markedly improve performance. Science took over from myth.
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Old 10-20-12, 09:06 AM
  #29  
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Originally Posted by sprince View Post
Yes, I am speculating. I have never competed at any endurance sport, and have no personal experience with doping.

Of course there are studies that indicate a physical advantage for athletes on a doping program. Let's say we have 10 test subjects. All are told that they will be put on a doping program but 5 are administered a placebo. Does performance increase for the placebo group? Does performance decline for the non-placebo group after they are falsely told that they are being switched to a placebo? But my point is that a psychological advantage can't be dismissed based on studies that are carefully constructed to exclude psychological factors. Levi has some free time on his hands now, maybe he could volunteer for such a study.
In Willy Voet's book "Breaking the Chain" there is an amusing story of one of his cyclists wanting to use some unknown concoction obtained from another soigneur for a big time trial. Willy had no idea what was in it, and was uncomfortable giving it to him, but the cyclist insisted. So Willy reluctantly injected it into him, and the guy rode the time trial of his life. The guy was ecstatic over the effects. But what he did not know was that Willy had substituted a small dose of glucose for the mystery potion provided by the other soigneur.
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Old 10-20-12, 07:47 PM
  #30  
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Originally Posted by sprince View Post
I have to think that the doping is as much a psychological advantage as it is a physical advantage.
I got EPO (Aranesp) while doing chemo. That stuff is magic juice. It makes a bad day into a good day, and I can imagine that it makes a good day into a great day. I fully understand why endurance athletes would use it. A few points in the hematocrit can make a world of difference.
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Old 10-20-12, 07:52 PM
  #31  
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In clinal trials of medication you would be shocked at how well placebo's do compared with "real" medications.

The belief in a drug is often times just as effective as the drug itself.

There has to be a major physicological effect from using PED's.
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Old 10-20-12, 08:04 PM
  #32  
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Originally Posted by Angio Graham View Post
In clinal trials of medication you would be shocked at how well placebo's do compared with "real" medications.

The belief in a drug is often times just as effective as the drug itself.

There has to be a major physicological effect from using PED's.
Myth for the most part in the people we're discussing. A watt is a watt. At the top level the best guys are motivated and will pretty much destroy themselves. What wins is watts. And that's what doping delivers.

Armstrong, Levi, and the other top guys didn't suddenly gain motivation from doping, they threw up after their TT's on or off dope. They went looking for dope because they got their asses handed to them.

There might be an exception for a few of the head cases out there, where they might perform up to capability thinking they are tuned up, but those guys are pretty few and far between these days.

Last edited by Racer Ex; 10-20-12 at 08:23 PM.
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Old 10-21-12, 07:17 AM
  #33  
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Originally Posted by Racer Ex View Post
Myth for the most part in the people we're discussing. A watt is a watt. At the top level the best guys are motivated and will pretty much destroy themselves. What wins is watts. And that's what doping delivers.
Doesn't that take all the fun out of sport? If it comes down to only numbers (watts, hematocrit, etc.) wouldn't that mean that it's just numbers with or without doping? Race winners could be decided with a blood test, then go on a ceremonial ride so they can wave to the fans. Maybe it's wishful thinking, but there has to be more to it than that.
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Old 10-21-12, 07:48 AM
  #34  
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Originally Posted by sprince View Post
Doesn't that take all the fun out of sport? If it comes down to only numbers (watts, hematocrit, etc.) wouldn't that mean that it's just numbers with or without doping? Race winners could be decided with a blood test, then go on a ceremonial ride so they can wave to the fans. Maybe it's wishful thinking, but there has to be more to it than that.
you seem to have misunderstood
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Old 10-22-12, 01:30 AM
  #35  
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Originally Posted by YMCA View Post
you seem to have misunderstood
Ayup, he did.

Non athletes and casual athletes have no frame of reference to understand just how willing many endurance athletes are to tear themselves into little pieces. Throwing up, passing out, cramping so badly you can't stay on the bike; when you go that deep you don't have enough brain cells firing to have a placebo effect.

Winning any race is the confluence of a huge number of players, factors, and tactics. But there are times within that spectrum where it's simple math and those moments decide the outcome. And blood manipulation makes a big difference during those moments.

I've raced against several people who were using EPO. It looked a lot like this:

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Old 10-22-12, 03:28 AM
  #36  
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the cat 4s and 5s can begin to wrap their head around it. Here's a group of guys riding at speeds faster than your crits, up a HC mountain, 100 or so miles into a race.
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Old 10-22-12, 07:16 AM
  #37  
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Originally Posted by gsteinb View Post
the cat 4s and 5s can begin to wrap their head around it. Here's a group of guys riding at speeds faster than your crits, up a HC mountain, 100 or so miles into a race.
I love me some 22km/hr criteriums.
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Old 10-22-12, 11:32 AM
  #38  
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Originally Posted by Racer Ex View Post
Ayup, he did.

Non athletes and casual athletes have no frame of reference to understand just how willing many endurance athletes are to tear themselves into little pieces. Throwing up, passing out, cramping so badly you can't stay on the bike; when you go that deep you don't have enough brain cells firing to have a placebo effect.

Winning any race is the confluence of a huge number of players, factors, and tactics. But there are times within that spectrum where it's simple math and those moments decide the outcome. And blood manipulation makes a big difference during those moments.

I've raced against several people who were using EPO. It looked a lot like this:

Awesome footage of Mr. 60% himself! Just complete silliness!
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Old 10-23-12, 08:29 PM
  #39  
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Just came home from seeing the movie. As a new fan of cycling (I've been watching since the beginning of the '11 season), I thought the film was presented well and wasn't too technical. It served to humanize him by letting us see his home life and meeting his parents/family. Doping wasn't a huge subject in the film, although it was discussed a few times. He tried to explain his actions for the camera and seemed sincere. The film was really two basic parts: a bio of Levi and then his Gran Fondo in Santa Rosa. The bio took us from his roots in Butte, Montana up through his latest season, with special concentration on the Amgen ToC. The Gran Fondo part was letting us see what the fundraising did for his community and the excitement of thousands of riders sharing the day. The Q&A session after the film was a candid look into his thoughts as well as the film makers. Tom Danielson was there and proved to be the comic relief. Overall, it was a good story and didn't bore my wife too bad (as she has no interest in bike racing).
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Old 10-23-12, 09:11 PM
  #40  
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I also just came back from the show. First, Levi is not particularly interesting. Second, the movie spends more time telling us about his somewhat ditsy wife's love of animals than it does about Levi's doping. Third, Levi tell us almost nothing about his doping, only that he decided to go down "that dark path," that he made decisions he's not happy about, but cycling has been clean for several years now. He tells us nothing about why he doped, other than peer pressure, he says nothing specific about what he did, when he did it (other than he's been clean for 6 years), who he did it with, what drugs he used, or how they affected him. If you're one of the nation's best in a sport that has just been turned completely upside down, and you're part of it, and you want us to believe you're a good guy, we need more - much more - than this.
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Old 10-24-12, 10:24 AM
  #41  
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Originally Posted by Kurt Erlenbach View Post
I also just came back from the show. First, Levi is not particularly interesting. Second, the movie spends more time telling us about his somewhat ditsy wife's love of animals than it does about Levi's doping. Third, Levi tell us almost nothing about his doping, only that he decided to go down "that dark path," that he made decisions he's not happy about, but cycling has been clean for several years now. He tells us nothing about why he doped, other than peer pressure, he says nothing specific about what he did, when he did it (other than he's been clean for 6 years), who he did it with, what drugs he used, or how they affected him. If you're one of the nation's best in a sport that has just been turned completely upside down, and you're part of it, and you want us to believe you're a good guy, we need more - much more - than this.
Look if you want American media style angst and a granular examination of every molecule of how racers doped 10 years ago then why not tune into CNN? The movie was about the human behind the demon we now believe to be Levi Leipheimer and the good he's done for his community.
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Old 10-24-12, 11:46 AM
  #42  
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Originally Posted by Gordy748 View Post
Look if you want American media style angst and a granular examination of every molecule of how racers doped 10 years ago then why not tune into CNN? The movie was about the human behind the demon we now believe to be Levi Leipheimer and the good he's done for his community.
I, for one, totally agree with Kurt's write up. Great summary. Looks like they threw in the part about doping afterwards as there really was no reconciliation between his wins (especially post-2005) and the doping he admitted. Wish there was some more meat around this subject considering that he's been riding/competing since age 13. As a cycling celebrity with many fans, I think he should step up more and if not to disclose the dirty secret, offer up solutions for combating the much larger doping issue. IMO, it was a little late in coming and he basically got slapped on the wrist to rat one guy out. What I did respect about Levi was that he accepted the responsibility for doping and didn't blame anyone on being forced to take EPO. Yes, the pressure was there but end-of-the-day, he accepted that he alone chose to dope to stay competitive. The reality of the era...

It wasn't all bad though. Without question, Levi has done very well for the community of Santa Rosa with raising money for charities and services there as well as the Gran Fondo... Hope to see that the GF remains health for the local community.
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Old 10-26-12, 08:00 AM
  #43  
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Originally Posted by Racer Ex View Post
Ayup, he did.

Non athletes and casual athletes have no frame of reference to understand just how willing many endurance athletes are to tear themselves into little pieces. Throwing up, passing out, cramping so badly you can't stay on the bike; when you go that deep you don't have enough brain cells firing to have a placebo effect.

Winning any race is the confluence of a huge number of players, factors, and tactics. But there are times within that spectrum where it's simple math and those moments decide the outcome. And blood manipulation makes a big difference during those moments.

I've raced against several people who were using EPO. It looked a lot like this:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DwHlCl2s0UM
The competitive endurance athletes' experience is not typical of athletes in general, the endurance thing is a whole world of it's own. I'm not sure which is more horrifying; injecting myself with epo at the risk of sudden heart failure, or the thought of weighing 160 lbs. So yeah, perspective changes things.

What strikes me most about that video is that the guy in the yellow jersey looks to be a fairly average looking person. Quite a contrast to the oxygen deprivation freaks you see winning on the big climbs today. Does simple math eliminate the possibility of someone like Bjarne Riis ever winning the tour in a clean race?

Last edited by sprince; 10-26-12 at 08:01 AM. Reason: removed video from quote
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Old 10-26-12, 11:02 AM
  #44  
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Originally Posted by gsteinb View Post
the cat 4s and 5s can begin to wrap their head around it. Here's a group of guys riding at speeds faster than your crits, up a HC mountain, 100 or so miles into a race.
Yeah, that pretty much covers it. One of the guys on the Under 23 team that rode a few years ago in the Tur of California....he was dropped othe first climb of the race and was psuhed back to the peloton by Paolo Bettini...
And they were commenting about how the guys went over some climbs like a speed bump in a parking lot.
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