A star is born!
November 12, 2018 § 30 Comments
The worst thing about masters doping scandals is that there is nothing even vaguely scandalous about them. Outrage? At what? Some narcissistic, saggy old fart stealing money from other narcissistic, saggy old farts?
In the case of Steven Strickler, the latest in a hoary line of SoCal masters “athletes” to get busted for doping, there is not much I can add. I’ve raced with Strychnine for about ten years and have never beaten him when it mattered. He couldn’t climb but like Meeker the Beaker and Tatty-Poo LeoGrande, he could sure race an old farts’ crit.
The last few years I always wondered how a guy who looked well into his third trimester could consistently get on the podium. “Experience. Savvy. A lifetime of bike racing,” I always thought as I eyed his prodigious gut. It never occurred to me that aw-shucks, Gomer Pyle Strickler was a drug cheat, which is my way of saying “I am a complete fucking moron.”
This past year he stood on the podium a bunch, often on the top step. I was always impressed when he showed up with his monster gut, fit as a beach ball, and still somehow made the split. “Talent and a lifetime of bike racing,” It didn’t occur to me to add, “and a whole bunch of banned drugs.”
Although I always assume the very worst about anyone who races a bike, not limited to doping, Strychnine never seemed like a doper. First, my theory has always been that the vast majority of dopers are in the middle and end of the field. Second, the people who invariably get on my radar are the donkeys who grow the legs of a racehorse, like this wanker who I wrote about a while ago and is still just killing it. You know, the guy who can barely hang on one year and is dragging the field around like a tin can a few months later.
Strychnine was also disarmingly aw-shucks. Unlike The Beaker, who made you want to take a shower after talking with him, or like Tatty-Poo, who had the silent churn of a guy thinking about how to immediately exercise his 2nd Amendment rights, Strychnine was a grinning goofy dude who was savvy and quick.
Now I’m waiting for the team’s statement. Something along the lines of “Steve is a complete fuckhead for tainting all of us, ripping off promoters and competitors, and doing it in our team colors.” Uh, yeah. Ain’t gonna happen. Just like when The Beaker got the boot and everyone over at Amgen kind of mumbled and then went on about their business. “Rich who? Oh, the guy we’ve been racing with for ten years? Him? Uh, I dunno, man. I had noooo idea.”
What team is Steve on, you may be wondering? None other than the G3 Foundation, a non-profit that allegedly supports clean groundwater projects in poor countries. I say “alleged” because here’s the organization’s info on Guidestar. Oh, and super cozily, Strickler is also CEO of the company that shares the non-profit’s name. Lots of transparency here, folks.
As you cruise through G3 Foundation and Strickler’s FB page, they are simply carrying on as usual. No comment about Steve’s cheating, no comment about Steve tainting the entire team, zip. Why? Because no one on the team feels tainted? Racing with, sponsored by, and buddies with a drug cheat is no big deal? Huh.
But don’t get too bothered by this “business as usual” approach because it’s simply business as usual. Doping so thoroughly part of the SoCal masters racing scene that if it is ever eradicated, the fields will be thin, indeed. Oh, what I am I saying? THEY ALREADY ARE. As the threat of having to pee in a cup gets more real, gran fondos and The Stravver look lots better. Strickie is a cheat, a dude who would gladly dope for the thrill of a win, but what does it say about all the people who simply mumble and carry on?
Hint: Nothing good.
A brief history of SoCal Masters Doping
The illustrious list of masters cheats includes Rich Meeker, Nick Brandt-Sorenson, Kayle LeoGrande, and now Steve Strickler. With the exception of Brandt-Sorenson, whose “about” section on his clothing web site says that he “stopped racing 14 years later after competing against some of the world’s top professional cyclists” (AND WHY WAS THAT, NICKY?), these guys have won a whole bunch of races.
On the bright side, Strychnine’s demise may hasten one worthy goal, which is the total collapse of masters racing. Although I’m not hopeful enough to think it will spill over to the aged track cheaters competing for a “world champion” jersey as they out-dope two other feeble riders for their “world champion” title, perhaps this bust will add one more nail to the coffin of USAC-sanctioned masters cheating, uh, I mean, racing.
Chris Lotts, one of most offensive people to ever promote a bike race and therefore perfect for the job, had it right when he identified masters racing as the sport’s predominant cancer. Mast-holes suck time, attention, and money from the only area that can possibly sustain competitive cycling–juniors and Cat 5/4 racer recruitment and development.
Was I the only person who noted the sick contrast of having the #fakeworld #masterstrackchampionships at the same time that America’s underfunded, largely ignored elite track program was in town? The same program gunning for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics with #3 in the world omnium racer Daniel Holloway? Is there any incongruity there? Guess not … better hit the boards hard to get my rainbow jersey as I beat that other 70-year-old.
Witness the absurd lengths to which mast-hole road racing has metastasized, even as events vanish and new rider numbers implode. Mast-hole teams demand and get bikes, clothing, and equipment discounts when college clubs are groveling for $500 sponsorships to defray gas costs. National road champions like Justin Williams have to compete for resources with guys who “race” in the 55+ category.
But you can feel good about your membership on G3 because they are helping poor people get clean drinking water. They say. And what’s a few injectables when we are saving lives over in Africa? Africa is a country right? Well, they’re saving people somewhere.
If anything, everyone with a USAC license who is over the age of 40, if not 35, should shred his/her license and donate the money to a junior or a Cat 5/4 rider. Why? Because you can’t possibly have any reasonable doubt left that old fart races are rife with cheaters.
Probably would have lost anyway
The fact is that the winning dopers, without drugs, wouldn’t have won as much. But they still would have won. Bike racing is too much a combination of smarts and strength for a few injections to put you over the top. Look at Icarus Wankarus, the documentary that exposed the Russian Sochi doping program, if you want to understand the old adage that you can’t make a donkey into a racehorse.
Filmmaker and super donkey Brian Fogel did everything right in his quest to dope to victory and he still sucked. Why? Because he fucking sucked, and people who fucking suck can’t buy the podium with a syringe.
Strychnine, The Beaker, Tatty Poo, and Thorfinn-Assquat were good bike racers. If they had stayed off the juice they wouldn’t have won as much, and some of the glory would have been spread around a bit more, if glory is what you call winning $50 while standing atop a wooden box and being buffeted by a sandstorm in the desert as absolutely NO ONE looks on or gives two broken fucks.
Every year ya gotta re-up
No matter what anyone says, after a certain number of years #fakeracing bikes, you find yourself asking the hard questions as you contemplate forking over money for yet another overpriced USAC racing license. Questions like this:
- Why am I such a moron?
- What is wrong with me?
- What normal person could possibly enjoy this?
- Why can’t I quit?
- Would someone shoot me now?
As the circle of douchebag cheaters gets bigger and bigger, what possible reason is there to continue? The scenery at the brokedown bizpark crit?
For this worn out old shoe, there is no reason. At least I can thank Steve Strickler for finally showing me the door.
Seriously, you’re out?
Out, out, and out.
70 year olds are the only ones who can afford to pay $250 for the “privilege” of racing max 120 seconds on the actual track. I don’t blame the seniors, I blame the frigging rich bike sponsors who have millions for professional athletes but can’t spare crumbs for amateur athletics.
The seniors are a miserable lot. I know. I’m a senior.
I was going to say something flippant, but after all the efforts you made to shure up and try and grow local racing it does not seem right.
Flippant is often the best medicine when it’s a subject as tiresome, lame, and boringly predictable as masters doping!
I. I think the cool kids would say “mic drop’ the fact that I know that, ensures it’s not cool any more.
ii. Time for run what you brung no questions asked racing.
iii So which Fondo’s are you targeting next year?
Seriously I think the cheese moved somewhere else along time ago and it’s time to let it go. The kids have NICA thank dog so I think it will be alright in the end.
Yep. The cheese moved but the oldster mistook smelling his own gas for the cheddar. Mistake acknowledged. Onward.
Death to USAC.The “leaders”, aren’t. It’s a money hole, and they’ve done NOTHING to staunch the riders all leaving for the exits, and on to more pleasurable cycling/rec/competition events.
Amen, and sorry that another racer soiled the sport.
You can’t soil what’s already covered in shit!
Seth it would be a bummer for you to stop coming to the races. You have done a lot to support racing in SoCal. As a team mate of Strickler I can only say he was taking steroids for his knee replacement and knowing so he should have not raced. This result doesn’t mean he has been doping this whole time. The guy put in the work for years so much so his knee was a mess.
Maybe we get all Masters racers together and put in some money and we all get drug tested ?
Maybe then you would Race again.
Just my opinion. Lare
The same thing happened here locally when a female racer was popped. Somewhere during her course of multiple knee surgery/recovery treatments a steroid was used. She was a driving force in promoting the sport and sponsoring a women’s team. She deserved a redemption not banishment.
Why do you believe her story, instead of what is most likely the truth? That she was a committed, repeat offending doper who cheated everyone she raced against?
Strickler is a cheater and I simply don’t believe that this is his first offense. It is far more likely that he’s a repeat doper who has gained all of his masters “success” through drugs, lying, and cheating. As with drunk drivers, who on average only get apprehended on their 80th drunk sortie, it beggars belief to claim that Steve is a one-off cheater. Look at his friends. Look at his utter lack of repentance. Look at the way everyone on his “team” makes excuses for him with absolutely no facts at all, just Steve’s promise that “he was having knee trouble.”
Steve and Meeker aren’t the problem, they are its symptom. The problem is that SoCal masters fields are thoroughly doped and rife with cheaters. If your ego needs that, either to be associated with #fakewinners or to dope yourself and claim that it’s not really cheating, then by all means do so. I simply choose to quit subsidizing narcissistic, lying old farts who steal money from each other. And yes, it would be great if Strickler and Meeker and their apologists, team mates, friends, and fellow dopers all got together and tested one another. But it still wouldn’t bring me or my dollars back to such a pathetic endeavor filled with such pathetic people, gullible chumps who will believe anything in order to keep the fantasy alive that they are really and truly athletes, that they are really doing something important/cool/impressive, that they are really anything other than what they are.
But me? I’ve seen the light, and it’s the light of selfish old people stealing time, money, and attention from the young under the fake banner of do-gooder charities or whatever the Cause du Jour happens to be. Strickler is contemptible, a liar, and is laughing his ass off at people like you, not to mention suckers like me. If you’re still racing in the SoCal masters scene after all this obvious dishonesty and chicanery, well, enjoy the taint. As stopped up as my sinuses are, the smell has finally gotten too bad to ignore.
Well ok then.
I still enjoy racing and have fun doing it with out any drugs needed. It’s just something fun to do. It is to bad you put so much pressure on your self to try and win but can understand that maybe that’s how you are.
I had my son racing over two years and maybe 30 races in jr
We went to nationals and everything. He could not stand not getting a good result because he was so competitive.
He quit. Not everyone is this way
Any way those cash prime will be missed
I’ve never been in it for winning; check my lifetime results. I love competition and I love being pushed. Nothing more satisfying than giving it your all, then congratulating the person who won. But masters racing has reached a point where I’m no longer racing a few cheats; the cheats predominate to such a degree that there is no possible satisfaction — for me — in getting hammered by drug-addled racers. After several decades, it’s okay to say “Enough.” And if that decision is hastened by lying, cheating, doping sacks of shit like Strickler and Meeker and others, that is okay, too. By the way, it’s also fine with me if people admire those cheating liars. We have a President who exemplifies both qualities and is adored by millions. Just not my thing, and I hope it never will be.
Tilford would be giving you the thumbs up, i’m sure.
The master-bators are a bunch of losers. You’ve said it all, I can’t add anything except I’m saddened you don’t use your trademarked “leaky prostate” description much anymore.
Between roasting coffee beans and writing truth, can’t wait to see what you get yourself into now that your weekends are free!
More squabbles. That’s my prediction.
If you’re tall or tall ish and fit give rowing a try. Any rowing club would be happy to see you walk in and we definitely don’t take ourselves very seriously. “The boys in the boat” is a good story a good look into the culture.
I’m afraid of large flat clubs.
Yes, they can be a problem. Usually the much taller rowers get it before I do.
That was well written and very funny and entertaining. A bit sad too. I will have to disagree to a point. I remember when I was young and had the fire in my eyes as I was struggling to become a cat1 that I always admired the masters racers for still ‘doin’ it’ later on in life. I’m that guy now and I work with collegiate teams and mentor them and I hope that they were the same way as me. So masters help promote the sport. the one’s who dope just ruin it though.
Helping young people is always a good thing. But at some point, given the tainted and corrupt nature of masters competition in cycling, swimming, triathlon, running, etc., I think it’s fair to ask yourself why you’re still racing. I do it every year. This year the answers all sucked, and I’m grateful to the doping, cheating, lying, pieces of shit who helped me reach the right conclusion. It’s not always the teacher. Sometimes it’s the lesson.
Yeah I hear ya. I still like racing though. The thrill of going 45mph down a mountainside in a field of 75+ riders on closed roads is hard to beat. I do think the problem is a lot worse in SoCal to. Not that we have not had a few caught here in the Mid Atlantic but still.
No more road races left here to speak of. All crits …
Seems like in Master’s cycling there are just too many 50+ dudes with bodies they wished they had in their 20’s – veins popping out everywhere, etc. Doesn’t make any more sense than EPO days in UCI or the Sosa, McGuire, Bonds days in baseball – just a lot harder to explain why “Pops” would take drugs vs. a guy actually getting paid multi-$M’s” to be the best in the world…
Super double jeopardy question: What is narcissism?
Carly Simon song
Well I’ll be 55+ next year. I compete in every master race we have here in CO. I still enjoy it. I’ve been riding and racing for 30+ years and father time has taken its toll. The dopers in the SM fields were out there when I was younger and I’m sure they are numerous in the master’s fields. I know SoCal has had many. It sucks. I like to think everyone that beats me is a doper! LOL I just still like the competition. I still enjoy riding with younger racers. Grim death on fitness. I ride a lot. Some may even think I dope? I am fit. I guess that is the hardest part. Who is real and who is full of shit? What can you do? I think I’ll just keep spinning the cranks.
Everyone’s tolerance differs!