Where has all the fun gone?

After the fuss and feathers of Dick Doper died down, I felt depressed.

In one sense, Dick Doper really did win because he makes me realize what one commenter pointed out, which is that this Keystone Krook is a completely minor player in what has to be a worldwide, multi-billion dollar enterprise of cheating and crime.

And Dick’s doings have affected a lot of people. When I get my ass stomped in masters bike races, some other rider always mutters to me about “the dopers.” As much as I like to attribute my shitty bike racing results to a lifetime of bad judgment and little ability, it takes the fun out of it when you cogitate overmuch on the possibility of who’s doing what.

It’s like that for a lot of people. They want to compete but they don’t want to pay the money and spend the day away to get annihilated by cheaters. I dare you to call that kind of experience or the doubt and skepticism and cynicism it induces “fun.” In the past I’ve always subscribed to the sound theory that “If you want to race bikes you better put doping out of your head or it will ruin it for you.” Dick is another crack in the dike for me, and a completely collapsed dam for a lot of others.

But it’s even less fun than that, because his great results on Strava in conjunction with his drug dealing make it hard to escape the conclusion that people are literally Strava doping. And not this kind, either. So even though I don’t play Strava, the people who are in that particular sandbox as an alternative to human racing have their fun taken away by the same kind of cheating and by many of the self-same cheats.

Of course people have always cheated at games, but there were either fewer of them doing it in local races or we were a lot less informed about it, or both. In the old days if you were a cheater there weren’t many bike options in town once people found you out. But now you can cheat, get booted out of one group, and seamlessly cruise into another. Hell, people will even admire you as a renegade and buy your doper-branded clothing.

It makes you wonder where you can ride a bicycle to enjoy healthy competition and a fair fight. Dick proves that as long as there is anything at stake, be it glory or Internet bragging or a few bucks, a lot of people will cheat to win. There used to be shame associated with cheating, but how could there be now? George Hincapie and Levi Leipheimer have shown the little fellows like Dick Doper that as long as you can turn it to your advantage, lying and cheating are just extra rules of the game you have to know about in order to win, kind of like the off-off-menu at In ‘N Out.

But it’s also a good feeling to see that so many people find his lousy behavior as lame as I do. It’s also gratifying when you wind up on the same side of a fight as Steve Tilford. It’s like being on Muhammed Ali’s team. You’re not only fighting for what’s right, you’re teamed up with the guy who’s going to knock the shit out of everyone else.

Best of all, Dick Doper’s behavior seems to show that he has zero remorse for what he’s done. To the contrary, shortly after his plea deal he and his wife began sending out groundless cease-and-desist letters to people who were simply reporting facts, or, as in my case, simply making a joke about a dumb name. That seems like a  violation of the conditions of his plea deal, not to mention a pretty obvious lack of remorse. Maybe someone will bring it to the attention of the U.S. Attorney’s Office here in Los Angeles and also point them to the unbelievable amount of traffic and discussion this has generated in the cycling community.

Wouldn’t it be great if at sentencing time on July 20, the judge took into account Dick Doper’s lack of remorse and hit him with the full $100k, 1-year jail sentence?

That would almost qualify as a happy ending. But it still wouldn’t make it fun.



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35 thoughts on “Where has all the fun gone?”

  1. Just do the right thing. It doesn’t matter if “everyone else is doing it”, it’s what you do when no one is watching that determines your moral character. And if someone else is doing wrong, call them out. It’s the right thing to do.

  2. Masters’ racing, as summarized, obliquely, in Lawrence of Arabia:

    “There’s nothing further here for a warrior [i.e., Senior racers]. We [i.e., Masters’ racers] drive bargains. Old men’s work. Young men [and women] fight wars, and the virtues of war are the virtues of young men; courage and hope for the future. Then, old men make the peace, and the vices of peace are the vices of old men; mistrust and caution.”

    And doping, apparently.

  3. Speaking purely as an individual, I believe that we are at the point where peer pressure must be engaged. I get some will call my solution draconian and unfair. Some will say we are private citizens and already grant usada too much power over our silly hobby. Fair points and many good folks would agree. I argue 1) you get popped for doping you are out. Permanently. Forever. You knew the rules and broke them. 2) all members of your club are disqualified for 12 months. I get it. I’m a complete fool to think this would work. But I can dream! What we are doing now isn’t working.

      1. Where were these masters riders that rank so well against pro riders when said riders were elites and not old enough to ride with the palliative windbags? Why didn’t we read or hear more about them as elite riders getting a ticket with a Pro team abroad or here in the US?

        What benefit do riders get from cheating, in the end they are hated and ostracised, then will have to deal with the medical after effects of burning the candle at both ends. Pretty silly choice for soothing the ego as the win is empty in the end.

        1. The reason you didn’t hear from them in their prime is because they weren’t very good. The reason you hear about them now is because masters riders aren’t very good, but these clowns, with drugs and 400-mile weeks, are slightly better. And Strava. Always, always, always Strava.

  4. Oh Seth… who cares? Go race, have fun hanging out with the guys and beating on who you can beat on (me for example). The idea of ever winning a road race is non-existent for most of us.

    Crits are different, a bit more strategy and luck is involved… though a little sketchy for most adults… but, at least theres that random lucky day.

    Strava… again, who cares? Track and celebrate your own PRs, and wink to yourself on those days the Santa Anas are blowing hard, pushing you to speeds beyond belief.

    MTB racing is significantly more chill, more friendly and more of a community… a different kind of playing dirt(y).

    It will never be fun if we compare our efforts to others, someone is ALWAYS faster. Poop loads of fun can be had, comparing ourselves to ourselves… and, dropping our friends when they are having a bad day.

    The night before the race, is always more fun than the race… cleaning the rig, laying out the gear, planning the food… at least for me.

    Keep riding and writing!

  5. Seth,

    Thank you for writing so eloquently, with much humor what I cannot. I mostly concentrate on XC & CX racing these days for the chill atmosphere. However, there is a lot of crossover these days and competition at the CAT1 level is tough. If you dope in one discipline, why on earth wouldn’t you do it in other? I doubt much is sacred in our sport anymore. Extremely sad. Thanks for fighting the good fight.

  6. Event coming up: Get the Dopers Strava KOMs. On the appointed day of the race, Strava wipes his record clean and a free-for-all ensues to claim the dope-free records. He will get a ton of emails telling him that too!!!!!

    1. Wish I could take credit for that sleek and simple little work of art. Dog knows I take credit for everything else.

  7. Doping for Strava results? Sheesh.

    To cheat at Strava one needs only to take the Garmin in a car and press the gas to do whatever time you want bragging rights for.

  8. $425 for luxury bib shorts, holy fucking shit, do they come with free EPO, apparently so.

    I think the only happy ending is you continue to do what you do to support cycling.

    So how about everyone who reads you’re blog donates some money and we adds some extra cash to the next CBR or we set up an extra feed station at BWR. As a show of defiance that the people who care about cycling that we won’t put up with this shit any more.

  9. I was in the ill-fated masters nats race in Bend. When I heard the winner tested positive, I was pretty pissed… for about an hour… 5 years ago. Then I remembered why I was racing, that we all have our demons and faults, hugged my kid and moved on.

    There’s a lot of seriously wrong shit going down in the world right now, and lots of places to do good work. Nerd-rage, righteousness, name-calling and harassment over a first-world problem is unbecoming and not going to make anyone’s life better.

    1. You’re not wrong, at least not completely. But threatening people because of the things they write isn’t a first world problem. It’s the foundation for the loss of all freedom. A couple of people voiced their opinions about a crime and were immediately slapped with a cease-and-desist.

      Intimidation? Harassment? Silencing dissent?

      Still just first world problems?

    2. What makes us a “first world”? There is a lot going wrong in the world, and one of the greatest mediators and connectors of our world is sport. Right to Play, and many grassroots sporting groups throughout the world prove that. Ask yourself why that is- sport can be great in many ways but doping perverts it into something ugly and there is nothing noble or to be proud of in that.
      Doping is not sport. Doping is a perversion of sport that turns it into a farce. When honest sportsmen ignore it and walk away, all you’re left with are the Meekers, Leograndes, Butt-Soreasssons and Pappsmears of the world and that’s a very sad thing.
      Calling out and shaming the cheats will make things better because the cheats only thrive in silence. Pull back the curtain, because that’s all that holds their egos up.

      1. Well, I agree. And I wouldn’t have laid into this cheatfuck if he hadn’t tried to silence what was a harmless joke on my end, and Tilford’s reporting of a fact on the other. The fact that his brother/relative CDB has trolled the site (appears to have gone away now that his identity is uncovered … those darn IP addresses) only confirms that people will support bad people to suppress others who are just going about their business talking about or laughing about facts.

        Repression of journalism, satire, and humor is real, and without the freedom to write what you want as long as it’s within the bounds of the First Amendment, you live in a dictatorship. We may be headed there with Trump, but we aren’t there yet.

  10. A couple of observations and comments–

    I have witnessed doping in cycling for forty years. True. When it got ‘significantly’ dangerous to my health if I were to partake (coincidentally when I was getting kicked in the teeth despite being as good as I was ever going to get), I just stopped racing.

    After I stopped racing the track and the road, I only raced TT’s, then quit altogether a few years back. It used to be that the shame of just riding time trials, and not crits, the track, or the road, placed one in this ‘weirdo’ class of serious cyclist. Now, Strava soloists have upped the ante of that same ‘weirdo’ class.

    As you know, I have attended a bunch of Master’s races as a “fly on the wall” spectator over the last few years. As an experienced observer (read: unlicensed doctor), I have noted the evidence for the use of , er, ah, “programs” by your peers in the SoCal Masters scene. It is THAT obvious to me, but then, I remember when Tillie was a new kid on the block.

    It is NOT a coincidence that the most successful U.S. teams, riders, DS’s, honchos, and bag-men of the last 40 years almost all (certain folks excepted, certainly) have a checkered past. The few that have risen up to shout about the dirty ones have usually been silenced (read: Les Earnest).

    I still can’t figure out the good v. evil thang…is it cycling or modern society that attracts/creates the dark bitter conscience that accepts cheating and essentially takes the fun out of what should be a game? Or, is it just the nature of where we are going vis-a-vis technology and science, and our inability to check our own egos?

    NBS doesn’t bother me much….just the latest cockroach to get uncovered.

  11. East Coast baby seal

    I’m sure what you wrote was important, and insightful, and all, but my eyes glazed over at the mention of “In ‘N Out”
    Mmmmm… Double Double animal style. I left SoCal in ’98, and that’s pretty much the only thing I miss. Oh, and Sushi Sei in Hermosa, when they were still on Pier Ave.

    1. It’s embarrassing until you remember that it’s grown people riding bicycles in their undies.

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