Justice for Johnny

June 14, 2017 § 169 Comments

I will make this brief. USA Cycling is now “grappling” with whether or not James Doyle intended to knock down John Walsh in this video. Several commenters, here and on Facegag, have argued that you can’t really know what was in Doyle’s mind when he hit Walsh’s bars and therefore it wasn’t intentional.

Newsflash: You don’t understand intent or how it is shown.

  1. Intent can simply mean knowing the likely outcome of your actions. If you shoot a pistol in a crowded movie theater you can’t claim you didn’t intend to kill someone because in your mind you weren’t trying to kill the specific person who was hit by the bullet. You are presumed to know that firing the gun is dangerous. Therefore you had the requisite intent to be convicted of the crime.
  2. Proving intent doesn’t require the defendant to sign a confession saying “I intended to knock down John Walsh and send him to the ICU with life-threatening injuries.” You can prove it by physical evidence, by statements, by circumstance, and by past behavior.
  3. One eyewitness said that during the neutral lap after the crash, Doyle said that he had told Walsh to “give him more room and too bad for Walsh when he didn’t.” There was also allegedly a now-deleted Facegag post on Doyle’s page that intimated that the taketown was intentional. Countless riders have notified USAC that Doyle repeatedly exhibited the kind of aggressive behavior that crashed out Walsh. Admission, allegedly written statement, video, repeated past behavior–and USAC can’t immediately reach a decision?

USAC is already prepping the surgical field for a punishment that is less than a lifetime ban from sanctioned events. Chris Black, an SCNCA board member who has admitted that he has no role in the process but who nonetheless is close to the USAC official in charge of discipline, sent this gem yesterday to an outraged racer:


Wow. Not enough to take substantial action? What would it take? And why would he possibly say “the video by itself” when USAC has received numerous statements about Doyle’s behavior? To top it off, USAC is advising that it is more helpful to have eyewitnesses–sure, just like it’s more helpful to have a signed confession. But absent that there is plenty of evidence to carry the burden of proof here. Why are all these non-lawyers, non-judges, non-bike racers trying to pretend they are the U.S. Supreme Court?

My guess is that Chris Black has no idea what an intentional takedown is. [Note: several readers wrote to correct my misstatement regarding Chris’s racing background. Chris is an active racer with a long history.] What’s even more extraordinary is that Black is a former CHP officer and USAC official, proving once again that a lifetime of law enforcement and officiating has zero correlation with proper understanding or application of the rules.

Instead of making an outraged statement to the effect of “SCNCA will not tolerate reckless or dangerous riding in its events, much less intentional takedowns,” Black makes his unasked for and unprofessional judgment of what the evidence actually means and, more incredibly, how he thinks USAC will behave as a result.

Compare that with Manhattan Beach Grand Prix, whose organizing club, South Bay Wheelmen, is considering whether to ban Doyle from their upcoming race after viewing the video. Unlike Chris Black, non-bike racer, SBW members actually race and they don’t want a jackass like Doyle anywhere near them. SCNCA has lost over one-third of its members in the past year and a half, and with people like Black making absurd and reckless statements like the one above, it’s easy to understand why.

It’s also interesting to note that the promoter of the race where this occurred, Jeff Prinz, has been studiously silent, no doubt hoping that this won’t negatively affect participation in his upcoming July 2 race. Note to Jeff: Now would be a great time to reassure racers that Doyle won’t be allowed to race CBR, in July or ever. If you need someone to cover Doyle’s $35 entry fee so that you don’t suffer personal hardship by losing a race entry, hit me up and I’ll see what I can do.

Also, a criminal complaint has been filed regarding Doyle’s despicable actions. The Orange County Sheriff’s Department has assigned DR number 17-022995 to the complaint. Please call (714) 647-7000 if you were an eyewitness or have video evidence that can assist with the investigation. Give them the DR number above so they can route you to the proper person.



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§ 169 Responses to Justice for Johnny

  • tom gates says:

    Seth, I won’t speak for Chris, but trust me, he does know what an intentional take down is, he’s been a bike racer for at least 25 years. He’s raced some of the biggest races in the country – Pro 1-2 at Tulsa Tough, Superweek etc. My take is, that he was indicating witness statements and corroboration of past behavior would be needed to prove malicious intent. BTW – that video is probably the worst incident I’ve seen in 45 years of racing – and believe me I’ve seen some shit, and it makes me sick.

    • fsethd says:

      That’s all probably true. But it’s one thing to have “used to race” and race. People forget, their memories get foggy, they remember themselves as lots better than they actually were, and most crucially, they lose the day-to-day knowledge of racing. This doesn’t simply mean the skills that rust, which they do, but the knowledge of the people they race against.

      It’s too bad that this video didn’t elicit and immediate and total condemnation, but instead a hemming and hawing about the video “by itself.” Absurd.

      Of course it’s never too late to reverse course, but people have a hard time doing that.

      • Greg Kogut says:

        He has 8 races this year, including 35+ as a 60 y.o.

      • krakatoaeastofjava (Patrick Mannion) says:

        I know for damn sure that Tom Gates knows what’s up, as he was one of our local “Kings” of the sport down in San Diego in the 80’s. I always looked up to Tom as a guy who knew the sport as well as it could be known.

      • Chris says:

        Im not quite sure why you seem to be taking this out on this Chris Black fellow. He’s not speaking for USAC but how, in his opinion, they will view it.

        • fsethd says:

          If Chris thinks this is being taken out on him, he’s never had me take anything out on him.

    • Winemaker says:

      Tom has a good point…this is sickening and disgusting. Isn’t bike racing dangerous enough without some jaboaf taking it too far with a bullshit move like this. Who does this kind of shit anyway? And a Masters race? Seth, stay on them. Be the voice of outraged reason.

      • fsethd says:

        Thanks, Dean. It amazes me that people will read into this a harmless move, discounting the virtually unanimous voice of those who have ridden and raced with this asshole. Where are the people who have ridden with him and who can defend him as a stand-up, fair, safe, good, clean rider? Patrick Mannion certainly can’t.

  • Joe C says:

    I’ve never raced a crit in my life, and it looked intentional to me.

  • Greg Kogut says:

    Unless I got my Chris Blacks wrong (which is certainly possible), there’s a 60 year-old Chris Black from SLO with a huge history in masters racing, including the big-name races (TOAD, Joe Martin, Dana Point, etc). Just making that narrow point, dismissing the rest of the argument.

    • fsethd says:

      Yep. Same guy. And props to him for his accomplishments. But they are nowhere on display in this matter. To the contrary, it’s as if he’s never sat on a bicycle. Where is the outrage? Where is the condemnation?

      • Mike Hancock says:

        What I got from that message is resignation, based on long experience with prosecutors and the USAC bureaucracy. If enough people step forward with first-hand accounts of the incident and previous incidents, there may be enough to create action. USAC needs to realize they will lose more than one racer’s license fees if they don’t take action.

        I agree, at the very least it looked extremely dangerous, and to my untrained eye, intentional. My impressions and those of the sanctioning body may differ, but USAC has a huge potential mess on their hands.

    • fsethd says:

      Thanks, Greg. This has been updated and my error has been noted in the text.

  • leo_d says:

    I shared the video in a World bike race chat room watching tour de Suisse today.

    From just from the video, all opinions were accident, not appearing intentional. So perhaps the video is not enough for many.

    I then shared your blog as well, the backstory is important.

    • fsethd says:

      Verdict by chat room. Oh, well.

    • Ben Arians says:

      Hmm, I watched it too, and my first impression was that it was an intentional barge by lowering his shoulder and making deliberate contact. Doyle may not have “intended” to send the other cyclist to the hospital with multiple injuries, but the same defense could be used for someone who was driving their car recklessly and hit somebody, and it would still be a bullshit defense. What the video showed was not accidental contact, but a premeditated act.
      Seth, just a thought, and I totally understand your anger, but your criticisms of Black are coming across as getting a bit hysterical. You for sure know the machinations of the USAC more than myself, but keeping a cool head will help your (and Johnny’s) cause to greater effect. Again, good luck.

      • fsethd says:

        You are right. On all counts. But it’s damned hard to restrain my outrage when some guy is in the ICU thanks to what looks to me like an intentional takedown.

      • fsethd says:

        Also, I am a bit hysterical. When I think about John in the ICU it makes me physically ill. The video actually nauseated me, not in the metaphorical sense.

  • Sibex Czar says:

    I hope this goes somewhere. The video is evidence enough. Doyle is already prepping to hit him before he gets along side Walsh. Wet road, complete surprise. Pretty sure Walsh’s last thoughts before going down were “What the F#@&!?!?”

  • Dr. Sherri Foxworthy says:

    I can prep a surgical field…like a BOSS!
    Will do my part in helping attain the only solution…a permanent ban for James Doyle.

  • PM says:

    Dropping your head and shoulder during the pass indicates you intended or were at least expecting to make contact. The passing rider could have moved through on the right (as it was wide open and is the racing line – the upcoming right hand corner was a gentle sweeper not a sharp turn that needed to be taken curb to curb) but deliberately went left with intent to make contact. Accelerating after the contact is further indication of a ‘payback move’ vs. ‘an accident’. There is no room in any level of racing for such despicable and deliberate actions.

  • channel_zero says:

    “SCNCA will not tolerate reckless or dangerous riding in its events, much less intentional takedowns,”

    That would be the right thing for USAC to do, not SCNCA. SCNCA can only use the rules/powers provided by USAC.

    Mr. Black knows his place in the process and privileges accorded a USAC regional org. (USAC has a name for them I can’t recall)

    Sue USAC for something related to endangering participants. It’s a bike race, not a death match. That might wake them up.

    • fsethd says:

      SCNCA has every bit as much duty to make that statement as USAC, every promoter, and every rider. It is the social contract that lets us get on our bikes and race.

      • channel_zero says:

        It is the social contract that lets us get on our bikes and race.

        It’s a whole lot of things, but a social contract is not one of them. Which is one small reason why the guy from SCNCA won’t touch it.

        If it were a well run sport, there would be action on this particularly egregious example and other kinds of behavior enforcement.

        • fsethd says:

          It is a social contract, though. We race assuming that no one is going to intentionally take us out. If that tacit agreement didn’t exist, none of us would race.

  • Jim A says:

    Btw: Doyle’s LinkedIn page touts him as running a coaching business– and emphasizes his work with bodybuilders. Could this guy’s history of aggressive overreaction be linked to steroid use? Hard to believe there might be someone on that stuff in the pro-fan Peloton, but who knows?

  • Michelle landes says:

    Wow can’t believe it thought this was a no brainer!! Good on SBWto step up!!just donated and shared johns GoFundMe 💙

  • Liz Kurtz says:

    It reminds me of the time a black man ran from a cop who then shot the black man numerous times in the back. He then took his taser and dropped it next to the dead man to make it appear his actions were self defense.q It was all caught on video and that didn’t make a damn bit of difference. You’d think the officials would get it, and when they don’t, it’s unbelievably aggravating.

    • fsethd says:

      People who don’t want to see intent aren’t going to see it. In this case it’s a minority.

  • Chris says:

    Riders have gotten life bans for less than this, no? I’ve seen the list and grave bodily harm isn’t the major reason. It seems really petty that SCNCA and USAC will not at least take the position that you state and say, we will not allow dangerous actions in our events, Full Stop without commenting on the “limited” evidence. As we all know, that other evidence is not always “admissible” but it did have an effect in the ER doc case. Their trying to stay “light footed” in a case like this is NOT going to be good for them long term.

    • channel_zero says:

      Riders have gotten life bans for less than this, no?

      No. If you are an old person who rode track in SoCal you know who Meathead was. Same idea.

      • worthy10 says:


      • fsethd says:

        Mark got a different kind of life ban.

      • Chris says:

        Actually yes I know of his whole situation from several track riders. I was thinking about a certain “JW” he’s on the banned list isn’t he? With that, it seems that certain kinds of infractions are more likely to be handled fully.

    • fsethd says:

      Yep. Everyone even remotely connected with this needs to condemn it–whether as intentional, negligent, reckless, stupid, aggravated … it has no place in bike racing.

  • Slowbumm says:

    Thanks Seth. I am in contact with the USAC investogator assigned and will be providing a written statement to them. I will also contact OC Sheriffs to do the same.

    • fsethd says:

      Thank you! The OC Sheriff’s Department needs to have the video interpreted because they are not bike racers. Any offers to provide insight would be great.

  • krakatoaeastofjava (Patrick Mannion) says:

    What about the intent to impede the forward progress of another rider? I could make the same argument that Mr. Walsh made a deliberate attempt to chop whomever was coming up on his left (twice). While I’m very VERY sad for the injuries sustained by Mr. Walsh, if I were a defense attorney, I’d take up the case of Mr. Doyle with no reservations whatsoever.

    At the end of the day, I’d chalk this up to an unfortunate bike racing incident. I think that Mr. Walsh was playing the blocking game (and paid dearly).

    • You make a valid point…however, look at the race…these guys are getting dropped…it’s raining, it’s a technical course, and John looks like he just ran out of gas. His movements left and right are very slow. I’m not sure John even knew Doyle was there. As a guy who has riden with John for 20+ years, If John didn’t want Doyle to come by him, Doyle would STILL be riding around that course, behind John. That’s something i’d put money on.

      • krakatoaeastofjava (Patrick Mannion) says:

        I do not doubt Mr. Walsh’s abilities or reputation. I don;t know what really happened as far as his intentions go. But his bike most certainly moved. I think Doyle was still amped to go get those guys, and Walsh was no longer in synch with that goal (either by choice or by being outta gas). But Walsh went wobbly, and his bike moved a lot in those final moments.

        I remember winning a race on the San Diego Velodrome (my first on the track-yay!). I jumped way early–and won it, but was seriously under-geared and wobbled all over the place as I crossed the line (scaring the crap out of the others). I was almost DQ’d for this. If another rider had subsequently hit me and brought me down, I can’t say (now) that I’d blame him. Seth was incorrect yesterday in admonishing me that it is never the lead rider’s responsibility to maintain a safe line of direction. I disagree.

    • fsethd says:

      There is no rule that says you can’t slow down. Calling John’s move a deliberate chop is false. Blocking is not illegal and is not a game. Squeeze passing and intentionally hitting someone with your shoulder is.

      • krakatoaeastofjava (Patrick Mannion) says:

        I’ll retract calling it deliberate. I can’t prove that. I’m sorry I wrote it. Blocking is not an official “thing” in the rules, so it is neither legal or illegal. However, impeding the forward progress of another rider through abrupt motion is indeed against the rules, even if unintentional.

        Of course, I’m just showing you the reasonable doubt here. I don’t think you can see it, or perhaps you can and just happen to know that Doyle will have to pay a pretty penny to defend himself against such charges. Perhaps the ends justify the means?

        Why ruin two lives? I understand that you and Doyle have a history, being on the same team, same rides, etc. I just hope that you’re not using your unique access to prosecutor friends of yours as a method of punishment.

        Do you honestly think that this will result in a jury conviction? I don’t

        • fsethd says:

          I think it’s really sad that you’re devoting this much energy to exonerate such a bad person who has caused so much harm and who appears — to most of us, including those who were there — to have deliberately put another person in the ICU.

          You’re free to hang onto this, but each successive post, at least in this forum, marks you as someone desperate to see a tree and deny the forest it’s smack in the middle of. Continue on , sir.

    • Greg Kogut says:

      The blocking theory doesn’t make much sense to me tactically, given who was up the road at the time. (I was spectating, but not at the crash site). John ain’t gonna block for HSR or S2C.

  • first…my opinion of Chris Black… he’s a fair judge, and i consider him a friend. I’m HAPPY when he is on the motor bike and officiating the race i’m in. Heck, he could be as outraged as anyone, but his snippet of a message is simply his professional opinion, I was even thinking the exact same thing yesterday…i don’t think that means he’s not personally outraged.
    Second, I don’t know what was on Jame’s mind when he bumped John, but i DO KNOW that i don’t want to ride with him. Road cycling is dangerous…heck, i’ve crashed in my driveway, all by myself…now, add additional riders, and there can be chaos. Our group rides are mostly smooth and fast…which is really fun…and that comes with trust. Ever notice when a new rider shows up to a ride, and nobody wants to ride anywhere near them??…Well, the group doesn’t yet trust that rider. We don’t trust the new people, because the cost of crashing is so high. Our own “survival” (could be literal) depends on knowing which wheels are safe to follow, and which are not. James Doyle is a hot headed rider who is nice one minute, and then the meanest person you’ve ever seen the next. We were okay with him riding and racing with us, because the worst he did was yell at people…NOW, he has this crash on his resume. I won’t ride with him again…the trust is gone forever. This bump is what he is COMFORTABLE doing…if he can take down Johnny Walsh, the MOST trusted wheel in the peloton, and sturdiest bike handler…WHAT FUCKING MATCH would I be against James Doyle???????? No more Doyle, intentional or not.

  • Bob Smith says:

    Pretty certain that the Chris Black noted above is the same Chris Black who was renown for wearing elbow and knee pads while crit racing; let’s just say that it was somewhat intimidating to see someone come to the start line sporting protective gear…yes, Chris knows a thing or two about criteriums! In fairness, his opinion above might be indicative of how he feels Colorado Springs will react, as opposed to his personal view of whether Doyle’s move was an egregious. intentional offense.

  • Michael Barraclough says:

    Those unfamiliar with the So Cal scene ask: Why the sudden outcry on this specific incident?

    1) The Victim: John Walsh is virtually universally respected as both a super talented rider and one who gives back to the community
    2) The Perpetrator: James Doyle is virtually universally disliked for a bad attitude on the bike and one of the few riders that people go out of their way to avoid
    3) The Background: He has a history of picking fights and yelling inappropriately at fellow cyclists at venues including Telo, Donut, Major Motion, Hughes Park, Food Park and Rose Bowl. I personally know several cyclists who were long time participants at these rides but no longer attend because of Doyle. Ironically, many headed to the track and were embraced by Mr. Walsh.

    Combine these three factors = an exploding powder keg

    As an active member of Big Orange Cycling (but not speaking on behalf of the organization), I fielded many complaints about Mr. Doyle on the bike. He was asked to leave long ago yet still wears his old kit from time to time and it drives us nuts (seriously, who does this?). The Club implemented a new onboarding procedure in a good faith attempt to avoid bad folks joining our ranks. Lesson learned.

    Every promoter in the area should place him on the “Do Not Race” list.
    Every ride leader should place him on the “Do Not Ride” list.

    • fsethd says:

      This is a great point. We’re adults and can control who rides with us. We have an obligation, regardless of USAC, to take a different route when this clown shows up. Fool me once …

  • Dear Seth,

    That was a bullshit/reckless endangerment charge-worthy move.

    That rider’s move, regardless of his history and reported motivation is why many of us with jobs and responsibilities want nothing to do with USAC road racing, criteriums in particular. There are other reasons, but that qualifies as yet another brick in the wall I’d have to climb to sign back up.

    Why would I pay to play that particular high-risk game, particularly if I know that the organizers and the governing body won’t act to weed out a known bad actor? If a repeated pattern of “race incidents” has to rise to a felony charge and proof beyond a reasonable doubt before anybody does anything besides bitch on social media, Cost>>benefit.

    A bike racing ban ain’t prison, and we are dependent on fundamental cooperation to make the sport work. A lower bar to action should apply.

    USAC can take the Swedish approach to antisocial behavior (murder, child abuse, etc). There isn’t a lot of blame, but an emphasis on removal, rehab and restitution (and eventually re-integration). Basically, you’re not bad, you’re just drawn that way. “We don’t want you to interact with our small world based on your actions, regardless of intent. We are banning you as a danger to others. Take an anger management class, commit to restitution to your victim(s), and take a peloton skills clinic. Then you may reapply for a license to play.”

    Best Regards,


    William M. deRosset
    Fort Collins, CO

  • krakatoaeastofjava (Patrick Mannion) says:

    No rider may make an
    abrupt motion
    so as to
    interfere with the forward progress of another rider, either
    intentionally or
    by accident.

    I think Walsh’s sudden movements towards the curb were both abrupt.

    • Terry Johnes says:

      Patrick, John’s movements were about as far from abrupt as I could imagine. As the lead rider, he can choose his line. He drifts to the gutter to set up for the right hand corner and then drifts a bit right to perfect the apex. John never chops Doyle, brake checks him, or impedes him in any abrupt manner. He’s simply riding his line, probably not even thinking that someone would be so reckless as to the try to pass in the gutter 6 minutes into the race and throw an obviously premeditated shoulder into him.

      • krakatoaeastofjava (Patrick Mannion) says:

        He occupied positions spanning the entire road width (with abrupt movements) in a matter of less than 10 seconds. Wide swings back and forth. Then he abruptly changed the pace (remember, motion can be side-to-side OR back-and-forth) by sitting-up. After greatly reducing his pace, he virtually backpedals and literally impedes the progress of the guy right behind him. Then he changes his position three times before ending up on the ground. The guy trying to come around him made a poor choice of side to pass on, but that guy (James) most certainly was allowed to assume that he (John) wouldn’t change direction yet again.

        • fsethd says:

          You’re locked into your own logic, disregarding anything contrary to it, including other facts.

      • fsethd says:

        Patrick is doing a great job of painting the scenario in the light most favorable to Doyle. But even with this help and generous interpretation, it adds up to Doyle’s fault. When you’re blaming the guy ahead of you for not riding a perfectly straight line in the rain approaching a turn, you have stretched the envelope so far that it’s already burst.

    • fsethd says:

      You do think that, and that’s fine. Can you find a single official who would agree? There was at least one chief referee who thought Doyle’s acts was blatant enough to warrant a disciplinary investigation. I appreciate your commentary but just because you argue hard for a split hair doesn’t mean you win. It just means you are arguing over a split hair.

      You’ve also avoided the fact that the video didn’t occur in a vacuum; that the camera operator was an eyewitness who corroborated his shock with an “excited utterance” that courts generally accept as indicative of an honest reaction.

      Why are you working so hard to exonerate this piece of shit?

      • krakatoaeastofjava (Patrick Mannion) says:

        Exonerate is not what I seek to do. I think he should be held accountable. I think this can be adjudicated within the sport, and is not requiring the criminal courts. Just his recklessness alone in making such a risky pass is enough for me to see some kind of suspension. Injury resulted.

        I’m more concerned with the zeal with which you seek to punish him outside of cycling. It reminds me of the Belgians against Steve Bauer when Claude ended up crashing. All within the context of intense competition.

        As for me, if I regain my fitness and start racing again, I’ll be sure to do the Cat3 event, and not masters. Those masters guys in SoCal are crazy!

      • Scott says:

        …”I think” Patrick may be Doyle’s roommate or brother or hired spokesperson.

        • fsethd says:

          I disagree. He’s an honest dude arguing hard for a position that seems to be wrong. People do it all the time. Doesn’t make them Doyle, Jr.

      • Terry Johnes says:

        Ok, Seth has responded 3 times to your response Patrick. He has far more experience than I do, and I have mad respect for him as a racer and a human being, especially since I’ve only been racing since 2012. That said, there’s a lot of sub-humans, Kayle LeoGrande come to mind, that I have ZERO respect for. I’m not judgmental based on experience or ability, but as a trackie who prides himself on his bike handling ability, I can honestly say that there was ZERO need for Doyle’s move, especially at that point of the race.

        • fsethd says:

          Which is the thing we are all in agreement on: Doyle’s move sucked and the consequences were horrendous.

    • Val says:

      So that makes it okay for Doyle to take him down? No logic here.

      • fsethd says:

        Exactly. He’s arguing that one infraction (which hasn’t been demonstrated) justifies a takedown. Or that’s how it seems.

  • Craig Runnalls says:

    It’s hard for me to fathom someone wouldn’t see that video and think it is anything other than Intentional. He lowers his shoulder as he tries to make space where there isn’t any…on a wet road! C’mon people… wake the F%*k up!

    • krakatoaeastofjava (Patrick Mannion) says:

      I don’t see it as intentional. I see it as unfortunate. This is bike racing. People are trying to go fast. Don’t play the blocking game if you are unwilling to risk contact.

      • I’ll tell you what Patrick, you and anyone else who thinks this is not intentional can race/ride with James…get back to me in 6 months.

        • fsethd says:

          That’s really the main point, Patrick. You’re dealing with interpretive theory, kind of like the multiple perspectives on the Zapruder film. Ride with the dude on a few group rides and if you still feel like all is copacetic, then, well, you are a tougher dude than the rest of us put together.

          Another point: If Doyle can’t be hung out to dry, no one can.

      • fsethd says:

        Where is this a rule of anything? Don’t play the blocking game? So racers can’t slow down when they’re tired or dropped because that gives the person behind the right to slam into them? Weird stuff here.

      • Mark says:

        What a blind idiot in denial.

    • fsethd says:


  • Redacted says:

    So at 3:17 Doyle gets close to the curb and you can see he gets a little loose –

    3:21 Walshy lays off the gas, Doyle decides to pass inside (idiot) and Walshy drifts left –

    You dont think there is a chance Doyle got a little wigged out by the curb and leaned right to steer out?

    **edit** looking at the video in slow-mo and over and over again so I don’t sound like an idiot it really looks like he took him out on purpose – Or intended to bump him and he went down as a result – You can see him load up before Walsh drifts over – And if you are going to get curbed because you went inside you hit your brakes, not the guy next to you – Bad news man –

    • fsethd says:

      There’s also the context: So many of us have experienced this as Doyle’s signature move. Not a one-off.

  • krakatoaeastofjava (Patrick Mannion) says:

    And let’s examine “motive to crash a guy” once again…

    So I’m riding behind my target. I hate this guy. I want to take him down. I’m GOING to take him down. Hmm, how should I do this? I think I’ll go ride in the gutter with my wheel prone (up against the curb). And no, I won’t use my elbow to push him, or take my hands off the bars to do the same. I’ll wait for him to drift left right into me. Then I’ll unleash my evil plan and shoulder him off to the right.

    Is that how I should do it?

    • channel_zero says:

      I hate this guy. I want to take him down.

      You are changing the story to make your point.

    • Scott says:

      If you weren’t in the race you’re just adding to the noise. I ask that you stand down.

      • krakatoaeastofjava (Patrick Mannion) says:

        No. It was posted for all to make comment on. If you are unwilling to risk an alternate POV, then you should be the one to stand down.

        • fsethd says:

          Well, I appreciate your commentary and especially the fact that a) you use your name and b) you are polite. But after a certain point I’m not sure you’re saying anything new. Which is okay … the bytes are free.

    • Scott says:


    • fsethd says:

      It’s how he did it. And motive isn’t an element of felony battery.

  • Waldo says:

    If I were Chris Black — and I’m glad that I’m not — knowing who I am dealing with (Seth), I would either respond completely non-commitaly or not respond at all. But, then again, I am a lawyer, trained and practiced at saying nothing for pages on end…

  • Mike says:

    Let the asshole race CBR. With how much publicity this has, I’m sure there are plenty eager racers out there to make sure things get “sporty” and don’t his way.

    • fsethd says:

      I don’t think so. This is exactly the kind of guy that scares me shitless. If I see him in one of my races, I’m spending my day elsewhere. Voting with your entry is much more effective and legal than repaying dirt with dirt.

      • Terry Johnes says:

        Mike, getting sporty with an asshole is just pushing everyone’s luck. Seth, I don’t agree with getting pushed out of the sport because of an A-hole either. We’re old men riding around in ridiculously expensive bicycles wearing lycra. We do it for the love. Let the A-hole go off the front, get a minute and half up on the field and then let’s take off. Every time he’s in the same street, we take it down to walking speed. We can race for 2nd place. I don’t think any of us are in it for the money. A few “victories” under his belt, maybe Doyle will understand that we don’t really give a shit about him.

        • fsethd says:

          That’s perfect. We can’t wait for USAC to carry our water, and vigilante justice is wrong. But we can refuse to ride with this asshole. I for one will.

  • John Wike says:

    I remeber Chris Black officiating Marrietta Stage Race and when he recklessly used his motorcycle to control the field. He would rev back n forth traveling really fast and extremely close. So close that I yelled at him to “stop it or your going to hurt some one”!!! He asked me whats my problem? I quit the race, went to the head official complained which made me even more angry because he was like “so”……

  • worthy10 says:

    I will be at CBR July 2nd. Trust me, this Nobody will not be Racing there.

  • Raja Black says:

    I concur wholeheartedly, absolutely and positively. Thanks ​again Seth.

  • John says:

    There’s a lot of discussion about intent here, and I agree with Seth, there is no way to know what Doyle’s actual intent was at that moment. Thus, all we can do is look at the video and look at the preparation for the move, the actual collision, and the aftermath and impute an intent from what we saw. At least here, we have a recording, and are not fighting about what he/she said they saw. As an attorney, I love the second, the first one is much hard to defend against. Still, as one guy has said, you could focus on John’s moves as a blocking attempt, but I don’t think any crit rider in that situation, based on the whole of the video, would reasonably come to that conclusion. The video shows that John neither made a quick sharp movement, nor did he move very far. There really never was much room to make the pass. Moreover, if Doyle was a really good rider, he could have made it through there without taking John down (I had Butch Stinton pass me on the rail like that once at Encino, and while I felt the wind of his passage, we both came out OK. Of course, Butch has skills!). Additionally, if Doyle really said something like “stay”, because John is a great track rider, his muscle memory would likely have taken over and frozen on his line.

    So much for the attorney, crit/track perspective I have to the video. I was a professional soccer referee for over 20 years. One of the things that sets a novice ref apart from someone qualified to run high level games, , as I was, is the ability to watch the players and be able to determine “intent” from the totality of their actions. And do it quickly, although I admit that sometimes I was wrong, because no one is perfect. However, after enough experience, you just know when a guy is taking the low road.

    It’s the little things, like the fact that Doyle backed off, then reloaded, then dropped his head and leaned into John during the pass. John did not move into him; look at the angles of the respective rear wheels during the attempted pass. If Doyle hadn’t dropped his head first to brace for impact, I might have let it go as him freaking out from the proximity to the curb. But, he did lean in, and he did drop his head. I have no problem calling an intentional foul here, and giving him a red card (sorry for the soccer reference), and made the call the first time I saw the video. Repeated viewings only reinforced my call.

    My only other conclusion is that if Doyle didn’t intend to do what he did, then he is just a bad rider who makes really bad decisions who should not be riding at the level of this race. That was, granting Doyle the benefit of doubt, was a Cat 5 move. Remember, the entire right side of the road was completely open; only a novice want to take the long way around.

    A lengthy suspension seem warranted to me.

    • krakatoaeastofjava (Patrick Mannion) says:

      “My only other conclusion is that if Doyle didn’t intend to do what he did, then he is just a bad rider who makes really bad decisions who should not be riding at the level of this race. That was, granting Doyle the benefit of doubt, was a Cat 5 move. Remember, the entire right side of the road was completely open; only a novice want to take the long way around.

      A lengthy suspension seem warranted to me.”

      I’m willing to go with this one. I just think the criminal push is quite extreme, and perhaps too personal in nature. I don’t like celebrating that a cycling attorney called his prosecutor friend and got this to a place that it wouldn’t have gotten to on its own. Lobbying happened here. I hate that.

      • fsethd says:

        First of all, I haven’t spoken with a prosecutor. Second of all I don’t know a single prosecutor in Orange County. Third of all, the criminal complaint was made by the wife of the guy in the ICU. Fourth of all, no charges have been filed–if you don’t know the difference between filing a complaint with the police and filing criminal charges by a DA you have no idea what is going on, none, zero, zip. Fifth of all, it’s a lie that I or anyone else have lobbied anyone. When a crime victim makes a report to law enforcement it’s not “lobbying,” it’s the only way you can begin the process of having a crime investigate. I’m willing to give you plenty of leeway to state your opinion here, but that’s a lie and I’m calling you out on it.

    • fsethd says:

      This is fantastic.

  • Terry Johnes says:

    Patrick, being under geared doesn’t mean wobbling all over the place. It means you lack leg speed and are spun out. Riding a straight line is just riding a straight line, which we all have to do. We’ve all been there. John isn’t wobbling. John isn’t moving abruptly. John doesn’t do anything wrong. Just the idea that you would equate a FNR race win with 45+ field, masters championship or not, tells me a lot. Stop fighting for a bad position. You’re the verbal equivalent of Doyle. Please feel free to hit me up at TNR or FNR, which I’ll be at to either announce as I did last season, or help new riders race safely.

    • fsethd says:

      I think this is a good point. Patrick, most of the people on this thread are actively involved in improving things. The focus on Doyle is a focus on getting a cancer excised from our midst. Terry’s offer sounds sincere, take him up on it.

    • krakatoaeastofjava (Patrick Mannion) says:

      I’ve ridden in over 500 mass-start races. Most of them with rather large fields. I’ve been on the pavement exactly four times (one of which was probably preventable by me). And I hope my friends will say that they remembered me as a competent and safe racer. We see things differently. I will not make sanctimonious conclusions about you, and I hope you’ll refrain from doing the same. You want me out of the argument, fine. Go ahead and surround yourself with people who make you feel better about your witch hunt.

      • fsethd says:

        No one’s asked you to leave any argument. But as you earlier stated, there’s disagreement over this and if you dislike disagreement then …

      • Bill Stone says:

        This is the biggest Witch Hunt in the history of bicycle racing: Newt Gingrich where are you when needed.

  • krakatoaeastofjava (Patrick Mannion) says:

    Seth, I went back and looked at what you wrote. Correct. You did not say that you were the one to persuade the prosecutor. You did later say that other prosecutor(s) looked at it and came to an “immediate conclusion”.
    You were right to call me on it, and I apologize for it. i also apologize for the assumption on your lobbying.

    Just to clarify, I do personally feel that Doyle’s actions were reckless, and going into that decision to pass, the only reasonable outcome would have been bodily contact.

    Bike racing wasn’t always like this. At least not in SoCal. People didn’t take it so bloodthirsty seriously. OK, Mark Whitehead (RIP) did, but he’s out of the sport now.

    At some point, a bunch of ‘bros showed up to the sport. I liked things better when it was mostly nerds like me.

    • fsethd says:

      Nerds sign the paycheck, as one very successful doctor once told me.

    • krakatoaeastofjava (Patrick Mannion) says:

      All my best well-wishes to John Walsh. I’m very sorry that you ended up so damaged. I was very pleased to see you in your hospital bed, smiling.

      • fsethd says:

        Bottom line is we all wish this had never happened. Maybe even Doyle, too.

      • Terry Johnes says:

        Patrick, please walk up to me and introduce yourself at our first TNR or FNR this season ( where either you’ll be watching or competing). I’ll be glad to discuss the finer points of the incident with you and either learn from you or hope you learn from me. Since I only started racing in 2012, I always appreciate learning and believe in learning from or teaching to those less (or even more) experienced than me.

        • fsethd says:

          If two people who disagree can, through the comments on this blog, meet in person and have a good discussion, everybody wins.

      • krakatoaeastofjava (Patrick Mannion) says:

        Terry Johnes, I’ll be in Cali in late July. I don’t know what TNR or FNR (or even CBR) are. If I have time (its a family vacation) I’d be happy to meet with you. I’ll get your email address from Seth.

        I have no beef with you, Seth, or even Mr, Walsh. Quite the contrary. And I even feel that Mr. Doyle’s move was absolutely 100% dumb, impatient and yes, absolutely reckless. And based on what you’ve all said about his reputation for reckless moves, perhaps his historical conduct should be looked into.

        I think this opens up the more generic topic of what we can do (as participating racers) to proactively combat careless and reckless racing conduct on the part of others. Lord knows that in my day, there were always a few people that demonstrated their dangerous habits consistently over time, but each race was a new race, and that guy always had a clean slate on each new outing. Perhaps we (in the age of databases and the internet) should have the ability to file “dangerous conduct” complaints against our fellow riders. That does not mean immediate punitive action is taken up immediately, but perhaps if enough reports are filed over time, and the officials also begin to witness the conduct, there can be some mechanism put into place for USAC to enact counseling or remediation. I would be comfortable knowing that certain riders in the peloton are riding with “strikes” or “flags”, and knowing that at least some kind of system is tracking their conduct.

  • LesB says:

    “the video by itself”
    They want eyewitnesses? Eyewitnesses are notoriously unreliable.

    BTW, thank you to whoever took the video. Otherwise the perp could sing his side of the story to a he-said, she-said.

    • fsethd says:

      The person who took the video has also provided eyewitness testimony. So it’s camera + operator + post-race testimony about what Doyle said. Plus past behavior. They send people to death row for much, much less.

  • Eric G says:

    Attorney thought — liability waivers in Calif can be invalidated for gross negligence, reckless or intentional conduct. It may not help Walsh but, going forward, anyone who is benefiting from the liability waiver (promoter, USAC) ought to think long and hard about allowing Doyle to race. Seth has pointed out several instances of bad behavior by Doyle and we’ve all seen the video. If he races again and there is a crash, there will be plenty of room for defendants in the lawsuit and plenty of risk that the waiver is invalidated. I work the other side of the street, but be seen far less meritorious attempts to get around a waiver. TL;DR — any of the people and entities in the race release could end up to their ears in lawsuit shit.

    • fsethd says:

      Plus USAC rules require promoters to take steps to ensure safety.

    • channel_zero says:

      liability waivers in Calif can be invalidated for gross negligence, reckless or intentional conduct.

      I am not a lawyer, but a civil suit with USA Cycling needs to be evaluated, soon. The medical bills will be enormous.

  • EricW says:

    After this, I am NOT racing in any race affiliated with USAC. I’m in the same 60+ Master age category. Saw video. That guy is clearly bloodthirsty. I’m out.

    • fsethd says:

      USAC, CBR, etc., are you listening?

    • TomH says:

      Doyle is age 47 and would normally be racing 45+ or younger categories. I’m also 60+ (65 actually), and while I haven’t been racing much, the 60+ guys seem a lot more sane.

  • Mike Hancock says:

    For those that want to help John and his family, the gofundme site is:
    No matter what else comes from this incident, my hope is an obviously well-respected rider return to the bike.

  • Albert Lakes says:

    Doyle’s defense: I’m Mark Cavendish

  • Redacted says:

    Hey Seth, Walshy is up to $13k to help with his medical on gofundme – I never would have known to donate if it wasn’t for your page while I’m out here in Gods country, Houston USA –

    Thanks for taking the time out

  • Craig Runnalls says:

    Good morning Seth, I just wanted to say thank you for providing this blog and a forum for not only this discussion, but all your topics. I think it’s healthy to read about the problems in cycling, which leads to discussion, and hopefully cycling will get better.
    I’m not a racer, mainly because I suck and am very slow, but it’s people like Doyle, and the dopers that keeps me from giving it more than a passing thought. I love to ride my bike, but I won’t sacrifice my health to race in one of these races. If the officials at USAC are reading this, In my opinion these issues are keeping more enthusiasts like me out of the races.

    I also wish Mr. Walsh a complete and speedy recovery.

  • Michael Barraclough says:

    Dissenting opinions are fabulous things. Consider this: when someone posts 22 times in 36 hours arguing a point without convincing anyone, perhaps it’s time to take a step back, take a deep breath and reconsider one’s position or tone. I bet a beer and an articulate argument with @krakatoaeastofjava (Patrick Mannion) would be fun (really!), but I’ve learned that the free flow of ideas requires listening to others, self reflection and an open mind. #foodforthought

    • KrakatoaEastofJava says:

      Michael, I hope you’ll consider my real end-goal. It’s not completely absolving Doyle of responsibility for this. He is more to blame than Walsh. He had his mind set on going left, and despite inadequate data to support that goal, he thought a small amount of movement to the right supported his decision. He was wrong. I don’t wish for all of you to believe that Walsh caused this (and I know several people who feel he did). I’m just hoping that people will back-off the whole criminality angle. Perhaps I’ve failed to convince anyone. I know that I’ve been conflicted about this video and have even changed my view at least once. This was not an easy one for me.

      I know that cameras do not always tell the whole story. Interesting that you care about my zeal. Yes, I can be a tenacious argument maker. And I get it, I’m no Seth Davidson. But I do have compassion and empathy. Seth knows I care deeply about fair play and the sport’s future welfare. Maybe my Catholic upbringing has something to do with my usually having some compassion for the accused. I feel bad for all of us.

  • fsethd says:

    Comment from a reader:

    You have ignited a storm that now has reached the vast wasteland of midwestern idiots. Posts about how the rider being passed did not give sufficient warning he was slowing, or moving, or being on the same road, or not having a helmet mirror, or not being close enough to the curb, or not riding on the sidewalk, or being too old and feeble to be in a real race and something something because it just happens.

    You mention that promoters have the right to ban riders. I may or may not agree with that but -and it is my own but and thus a very important but and not just your basic but put out by bike racers who have their own buts not worth consideration-what is going to happen if a promoter tells this sickhead he can’t ride in the race? Will there be a civil action based upon the USAC given right to injure and maim other pretend racers? Will USAC turn down the promoter’s next extortion fee? Will USAC revoke the licenses of all riders who refuse to participate if sickhead is permitted to race?

    NOTHING will happen. Absolutely NOTHING.

    There is as and so it goes and so it goes.

    By: Billy, a former pretend racer who gets to use his busted heart valves as why I am not as good as I never was.

    • paa says:

      Tend to agree with “Billy”, except that shining a light on Doyle might save another guy from the ICU.
      Exposure is awareness.
      USAC can’t pretend not to know, promoters can’t pretend not to know.
      More importantly, Doyle can’t pretend not to know.

      Hell, if this blog saves one guy or girl from senseless injury and heartache, it was totally worth it.
      Something did happen. It was exposed. Kudos Seth.

      • paa says:

        and a certain victim has got a chance to not be financially gut punched while trying to recover from what is probably life altering injuries.

      • fsethd says:


      • worthy10 says:

        Billy remembers the halcyon days when we blamed everything on The Bluecoats and never knew the actual name’s of the Promoters…a part from that time we rallied at the gasthous in Cyclismo (Birmingham, Alabama).

  • senna65 says:

    Isn’t the whole point here that you just can’t have this shit happening in RECREATIONAL races? You know, the ones where family gives Dad shit for being gone all weekend riding his bike? No need to break this thing down like it was the final 500 meters of a TDF stage. Bottom line is that anyone who pulls shit like at the back of what is effectively the modern version of old man’s slow pitch softball should not be allowed to race.

    • fsethd says:

      I agree.

    • krakatoaeastofjava (Patrick Mannion) says:

      And this brings me back to something that I have believed for a very long time. We don’t need age-based race categorization when we already have ability-based segmentation to work with. The dudes off the front of this race probably have no problem hanging (or even doing well) in your basic Cat 1/2 race. The ones getting dropped should probably be riding with Cat4’s or 5’s. The ones in the middle? Cat3.

      The lower categories don’t have to be crash-fests due to being almost exclusively filled with novice bike handlers. I don’t see why a shaky 22-year-old Cat4 rider can’t race side-by-side with a 45-year-old with 30 years of experience.

      Certainly fields filled with older masters riders have been no guarantee of staying upright, so I don’t see why this ideology should be problematic.

      Riders who’ve been Olympic team members, European pros, Domestic pros (etc) are not automatically deserving of decades of victories. Why provide this to them? Riders who are serious contenders for the sprint in a 1-2-Pro races (in my opinion) have no business sandbagging it in the masters race.

      If a guy like Doyle wants to mix it up like a pro, then he should race that category (if he qualifies). If a guy wants an easier go if it next season, he should downgrade. If that same rider snags 3 wins in a row, that downgrade should be reversed by USAC.

      All of the respective pelotons (I think) would benefit from having age diversity within them. I’m not saying my philosophy is perfect. I’m sure that there is probably some room for an (ahem) “older” masters division.

      • fsethd says:

        Problem is that no one has to race anymore. Gravel, Strava, fundoes, group rides, Zwift … it’s a less-and-less attractive, more-and-more expensive recreational option. Racing your category is a great idea until you race your category. Then you quit racing.

      • Scott says:

        yeah, so simple. …and unnecessarily bureaucratic. I might even go so far as to say elitist and distasteful.

      • krakatoaeastofjava (Patrick Mannion) says:

        Excellent point. One of the biggest reasons I don’t race anymore is that entry fees actually became significant to me. I only want to train like a bike racer if I can race all season (or at least large portions of it at a time). The fees have skyrocketed and the crit distances have gone down to “X time + 2 laps”… I hate to work that hard to only have an opportunity to race for 35 minutes. I’m not going to travel to L.A. to pay those fees for that small a distance. Next biggest reason is the hit that bike racing takes on the family time.

  • Jim Hansen says:

    It seems that the focus on discipline by USA Cycling is slightly misplaced (not that I”m against it). However, I would love to see him prosecuted for the felony he committed, and then sued into oblivion by the victim and his family.

    Spending some time in a courtroom, facing the victim and his family, and possibly serving some time in the county jail would be proper justice in my opinion.

    • fsethd says:

      USAC is the only mechanism to keep him from taking down someone else in another race. Suing people into oblivion gets expensive. Criminal prosecution requires law a lot of dots to line up.

      • krakatoaeastofjava (Patrick Mannion) says:

        I will say that it bothered me that Mark Whitehead spent his whole career virtually unchecked from a conduct standpoint. Look at him the wrong way in the parking lot and you could get beat up. Box him in in a points sprint, and he’d sometimes shove you off your bike. He’d get DQ’d sometimes, but that was pretty much it. He was an elite rider, and his conduct was tolerated.

  • Here’s some ideas expressed by three super talented Cat 1 45s I have the privilege of calling friends: J Alain Ferry, Adam Myserson and Todd Scheske:

    • fsethd says:

      Thanks. Doyle has pulled this exact move on me and others on group rides where we are rolling along. One person who saw the video wrote USAC that he knew Doyle from 20 years ago and that he was a jerk. I know how this asshole rides. I’ve been the victim of his “pro” moves. Eyewitnesses believe it was deliberate. There’s video that most interpret as an intentional punishment pass with shoulder English. What more do people want? A signed confession? More to the point, what’s it going to take to get shit riding like this banned? If this is okay, anything’s okay. And USAC just lost another few dozen licenses.

    • fsethd says:

      Thanks for the link, by the way!

  • JYo says:

    Has there been any update from USAC or SCNCA?

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