End of an error

September 14, 2017 § 40 Comments

The era of organized bike racing is gone and it isn’t coming back. It has been replaced wholesale by Strava, grand fondues, club racing, and fun rides.

In unrelated news, the Kayle LeoGrande doping story got picked up by a news web site that focuses exclusively on Olympic sports. Kayle’s story is now running next to an article on the 2018 and 2024 Olympic host cities and a story about corruption at the very highest level of sport.

How the mighty have risen.

A friend sent me this incredibly sad post, which appears to come from Kayle’s Facebag page.


I think it’s sad because, if you read the story and the interview, you can see that Kayle is denying that he doped to improve his performance, something that the test results and his past behavior conclusively prove. A friend of mine who is a mental health expert and former bike racer identifies Kayle not as someone who should be pilloried, but someone who needs help and should be pitied. Perhaps he’s right. It’s very hard to read this without wincing.

In other, completely, totally, absolutely unrelated news, the last USAC crit of the year in Southern California, America’s hottest hotbed of crit racing, wrapped up last weekend. The men’s Pro 1/2/3 field had seven riders.



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§ 40 Responses to End of an error

  • Barry says:

    We still have a few people racing crits here on the East Coast.

    New Haven Grand Prix Friday night.


    • fsethd says:

      206 entries won’t even begin to pay for an event in SoCal. And the numbers show that there is no one coming up through the ranks. It’s over, folks.

  • dangerstu says:

    That’s so f’ed up.

    • fsethd says:

      It has progressed from outrageous to laughable to sad. Hard to feel angry towards this guy any more.

  • Just keep on flying over us. says:

    Organized bike racing is alive and well here in Kansas, but don’t come – you’ll ruin it. 🙂

    • fsethd says:

      I wonder how well it is. How many licensed KS racers are there? More importantly, how many licensed juniors, women, and Cat 5s? USAC has seen a massive drop across the board. Also, how robust is the season?

      It’s possible that there are a few districts with growth, but I suspect that they are small districts and their growth in absolute numbers is negligible. Also, how do your gravel/fun/fondue/century rides compare to organized racing? I bet they are overwhelmingly bigger and more successful.

      • Chris says:

        KS? Really? Are you talking KC? Wichita? Great Bend? Greensburg? How are your events organized?

      • Theo says:

        Yep. Seth with the SLAM DUNKERS here —> “how many licensed juniors, women, and Cat 5s?” When I started racing at 14 in Chicago + WI we had a pretty robust supported racing CULTURE, it seems this new gigga-goo-lux-gear culture really has no understanding of the foundations of American bicycle racing. I think you’re so right, dead, done, and buried. Bike racing in this place is over as we know it. Maybe it never took hold to begin with? I mean how many US born MLB players never played Little League baseball? I bet under 5% or less. Really it’s about developing a kind of Little League Bike Racing thing….but, I think kids just have so many choices of vices, sports, media, devices, energy drinks, on and on to dissociate n’ suck into their world….bike racing really requires so much from American youth to even show a bit of interest. It’s an European sport and USAC has never really gotten how to market it or really support it correctly, a real COL.SPRINGS WILD WEST RODEO CLOWN SHOW. I mean I don’t really see the bike industry brands throwing $$$ down on junior racing? They never have….it’s always the few local shops that support the very few junior devo-clubs…which are a dying thing also. “ALEXA” order me that new carbon everything like Froomy and extra 12oz. of Kayle Juice.

        It’s sucks that the Atlantic Ocean is so vast and still kinda costly to cross?

        • fsethd says:

          Yes. The other point is that even in Europe it’s declining. There are fewer children and more choices, and not many involving throwing yourself headfirst onto the cobbles in your underwear at 30mph in order to win $500.

    • Owlex says:

      I work very closely with one of the biggest race promoters in Kansas. There is some growth but we struggle getting ANY juniors who aren’t the children of ex-racers. We struggle getting enough women to even field separate crits for them. Racing is certainly alive here, but it’s far from burgeoning.

      • fsethd says:

        That’s what I thought. USAC numbers crater and crater and crater and everything else blossoms. 8,000 for Levi’s Grand Fondo … 7 for the last crit of the year. Well, okay then.

  • Lare Wardrop says:

    Detroit crit race was good I hear

    • fsethd says:

      There have been many good/great races this year, but the overall picture is one of plunging membership, decreasing races, increasing costs, and USAC events supplanted by non-racing events.

  • Barry says:

    it is true that the non USAC events are bigger here. I did a local bike groups organized century last weekend that had over 2,000 registered rides and probably another 400 who just showed up.

    • fsethd says:

      It’s true everywhere. SoCal is especially hard hit because doping enforcement has focused here and the positives absolutely poison the well. They dope just as much and just as hard in NorCal, in Texas, in CO, and everywhere else, but LA always loves to be the center of attention and now its wish has been granted!

      The funny thing is that they people who leave racing because of doping are going off to rides that are also doped and that are virtually never tested. I think people have given up on the idea of fair competition and want to simply enjoy themselves without being concerned about who’s doing what.

      USAC is in a lose-lose situation. Either they don’t test and riders stay home because they think everyone’s doping, or they test and confirm it.

      Oh, well. As always, just go ride your bike, right?

      • mmurphy00 says:

        This: I think people have given up on the idea of fair competition and want to simply enjoy themselves without being concerned about who’s doing what.

        Why’s racing so important anyway? I thought cyclists weren’t to be taken seriously? 😉

        • fsethd says:

          I think we’re finding that racing, which has always been a niche within a crevice within a micro-fissure, has lost even the tiny following of adherents it once had. In other words, it’s not important judging from participation.

          But people still love to compete and declare victory. Strava and fun rides let you do that. You can “win” something, “beat” someone, be a “victor.” I’ve seen few people on bicycles who, at some point, don’t try to ride faster than someone else …

      • mmurphy00 says:

        We can probably blame doping / strava for a % of that malaise. But also, it’s just the natural progression. Every 10-15-20 years or whatever, there are peaks and lulls. Cycling is probably just coming off one of these peaks, which may be aided by whatever. Incrementally; the pro’s / good riders these days are genetic mutants; there’s no way your average joe is ever going to compete with them – they weren’t born with the right constitution. Strava is a way to ‘compete’ with your friends / contemporaries and compare yourself against local fast guys. Much better than paying the UCI $50 for the chance to get killed by a roid raging doper in a crit.

        • fsethd says:

          Yes, and I don’t the day is ever coming back when people will want to pay that $50 ticket for their 40-minutes of non-fame. Why? Because people won’t let their kids do it. And no kids is why organized bike racing has zero future, except perhaps like track racing: A niche within a microfissure inside a minute crevasse buried inside a market segment whose width can be measured in angstroms.

      • mmurphy00 says:

        Haha, but a buddy of mine is a world champ master track racer. < actually true, and quite impressive, but the sample size has got to be 5-10 people.

        • fsethd says:

          Yes, it’s good to compete, but when you’re the 65-70 national champion in the track 2k individual pursuit, beating 3 other people every year, it says a lot about the “sport.”

  • RGT says:

    Kayle must have figured out how to use cut and paste, his sorrowful blurb reads a lot like Tommy D’s.

    • fsethd says:

      It’s not really sorrowful. It’s complete denial of reality. He has bigger problems than his positive drug test.

  • Joe Camacho says:

    “My friend handed me ” a concoction in a dropper that was said to be a potent mix of Levitra, Viagra and Cialis.” So know I was not doping for cycling. But he was a buddy and he gave it to me. Because going to a real doctor would have been too much for my erectile dysfunction. I RULE on a bike so all you haters can continue to hate me because I love riding bikes. I am so misunderstood”

    • fsethd says:

      It’s when you try to make any rational sense out of it that you realize there is a pretty deep problem here and it has nothing to do with cycling or drugs.

  • Chris says:

    That first sentence is one of the most insightful and impactful things you have written!

  • Jeff Dinkin says:

    Perhaps Kayle just ate some bad Chipotle right before the doping test. We just can’t be sure what’s in our food. 😉

  • Toronto says:

    Delusional people are fascinating creatures.

  • senna65 says:

    Wanker: If you had to hazard a guess, what % of profamateur racers 45-55 are on some type of PED, legal or illegal?

    • fsethd says:

      >60%. Minimum. Maybe closer to 80%. Why? Because that’s the population of the general population that uses legal/illegal drugs.

  • channel_zero says:

    I’m late to this, but, be very careful about referencing Alan Abrahamson.

    The guy relentlessly supports USATF’s bizarre decisions protecting dopers. And then when USATF hires the dopers as “coaches,” Alan defends.it all.

    His fantasies about how the IAAF is somehow an ethical organization are pretty amazing.

    • fsethd says:

      I’m not defending anyone. He interviewed Kayle and Kayle’s responses were in line with his FB post. The guy has profound problems unrelated to cycling and doping.

  • Tamar T. says:

    Kayle has “something called talent” to be a total douche. So first he confesses (kinda) and says “My bad!” and then he denies, protests his innocence (where have I heard that before), and brags that his talent is so huge it exceeds any possible benefit from doping (but then why did he dope?)
    I don’t race because I’m SLOW. And I also don’t like to work that hard. But I love to ride my bike(s)…..

  • knoll says:

    You used ‘pilloried’ in a sentence. That’s a win!

  • You want to see growth in real growth in SoCal cycling? Go see one of the NICA SoCal High School League races this spring. There will be 800+ kids competing and having fun.

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