4.18.2009

The road tilts ever upward

The steepest section of Blush Hill in Waterbury -- part of the Gravel Grinder course.

It's sad but not surprising that it takes another cycling doping scandal to temporarily revive interest in this moribund blog. Cyclist Tyler Hamilton tested positive for a banned substance with little if any performance enhancing tendencies and announced his immediate retirement yesterday. His career was certainly checkered and included some high points as well as some incredible lows (doping scandals), and the lows were never fully acknowledged or objectively discussed. Pro cyclists are, to a large extent, a gladiator class, and it's probably best not to fully know what goes on behind the scenes.

Six degrees of separation: Back in my wasted youth, I was at a wet, cold, dirty and miserable edition of the Keene NH road race and Hamilton rode the pro/elite race and crushed the field alone, I remember Dick Ring announcing what what happening as I cleaned up after finishing my race. I also knew someone who raced on one of Hamilton's old bikes -- a steel Serotta -- from early in his career; the bike was later destroyed in an epic racing crash. This was during the heyday of the Killington Stage Race in Vermont so I am, as usual, dating myself.

What does this have to do with this site? In May 2007 I wrote a post about doping in cycling that was entitled "The secret dossier of [Hamilton's then wife]" -- her name was on a fax sent by a notorious Spanish doctor. Over time this post became the 2nd most viewed page on this site, a fact that I was not too thrilled about (at least the most viewed page on the site is a more innocuous write up about my current 1x9 mtb setup). I don't know if this person had a lot of friends, or if cycling fans had an unhealthy interest in Hamilton's marital situation, but I hope that interest will now fade. I also don't think that I wrote anything slanderous or that could be construed as libel in my original post.

Hamilton's retirement announcement yesterday sparked a sudden surge of searches for this subject and consequently has generated a month's worth of traffic to this site -- granted, not very much -- in the course of two days.

A sample of recent keyword activity, and also a graphic illustration of Google's monopoly on search today.

Myself, I hope that Tyler Hamilton fades into history and that interest in this subject on this site noticeably diminishes. I still foll0w the antics of the pros but I do so fully aware that there's a lot of 'training in a vial' that still goes on -- and also look at more mainstream American sports (baseball, football) quite dubiously as well. Myself, I just want to go for a mellow ride tomorrow on the local roads without getting too sore...

No comments: