uisce beatha

There stands the glass. …

Outrage repeated ad infinitum is like an overlong intervals session. At some point you come up off the saddle and then sit right back down.

I’m not even in the saddle for the news about Stuart O’Grady and the rest of them from 1998. I’m back at the house, with the bike on its hook, and looking longingly at that unopened bottle of Bushmills in the kitchen. My performance-enhancer of choice for longer than I care to remember, even if I could.

So, instead of me struggling to gin up an anemic burstlet of apoplexy, how ’bout we take a trip down memory lane to August 2007, when “Friday’s Foaming Rant” still bestrode the narrow cycling world like a Colossus?

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42 Responses to “HTFU?”

  1. Chris Coursey Says:

    That was a good trip down memory lane. One of your better efforts, you old *

  2. Arnold Says:

    My friend that was nothing short of PROPHECY and add to this “we are not worthy” down here in the ruck! 0_o

    • Patrick O'Grady Says:

      Gracias, amigo. I wrote so many of those screeds, sometimes accompanied by cartoons, and yet these clowns continue to take more dope than The Freak Brothers, Cheech and Chong and Hunter S. Thompson combined. Imagine my dismay.

  3. Stan Thomas Says:

    Well we all thought they were doin’ it so is anyone surprised? But the past is the past, we were all entertained and nobody died. I know that anyone of these guys, totally clean and on Granville’s shop bike(, would thrash the pants of me pumped full of every pharmaceutical aid up l’Alpe d’Huez and I stand in awe of their athletic prowess, drug-assisted or not.

    • Patrick O'Grady Says:

      Yup. The sad thing is that if everyone raced clean, the results would probably be about the same. The races would be slower, is all. And of course a whole lot of dope dealers and crooked doctors would have to find something else to do.

    • James Says:

      “nobody died”? Really…so where are Misters Pantani and Vandenbroucke? Not to mention the young Dutch racers who started this whole EPO hunt off in the mid-90s?? They ain’t racing on this mortal plane that’s for sure. Now, there is no ‘proof’ that doping ‘killed’ them but it *could be* argued that being implicated as dopers (real or imagined) did. Too bad they didn’t get to see the day when TCWSNBN admitted to doping and “you can’t win the Tour clean” (or words to that effect).

      • khal spencer Says:

        I had the same thought, James. I think those young Dutch riders died of heart attacks, attributed to overthickening of the blood due to OD’ing on EPO. Is that correct?

        There were also those E. German androids who were pumped full of steroids and other crap back during the Cold War era Olympics. Drugs and sport is tough on the athlete.

      • James Says:

        You are correct Khal about the Dutch espoirs. Seems a pity at this point but maybe if we had paid better attention back then the last 15 years would have been more positive…in terms of bike racing and not dope tests. Ay carumba!

      • Stan Thomas Says:

        From what I understand, Marco Pantani’s death was related to cocaine and alcohol. I don’t know about the others but, sadly, expiring before our three-score and ten in not without precedent.

        But don’t misunderstand me, I am not an advocate of doping. I find the whole thing distasteful and would hate to be put in the position where I felt I had to dope to compete. A clean, healthy sport is a better sport. But the past is past, I have been inspired by these peoples athletic performances and don’t need to rewrite decade old history books.

      • Steve O Says:

        However, too much EPO can push the haematocrit to dangerously high levels, causing the blood to clot. EPO use was suspected in nearly 20 deaths of European cyclists over a four-year period.

      • Steve O Says:

        The rightful destination of the seven yellow jerseys taken from Lance Armstrong on Monday will never be clear. In the absence of obviously dope-free Tour de France podium finishers from those years, they might as well go to the most shamefully forgotten people in this scandal. The jerseys can be draped, one apiece, over the graves of seven European cyclists who died young and mysteriously in 2003 and 2004.

        The eldest was 35, the youngest 16. A couple of them were retired. Two died in their sleep, one in a race. One was a patient in a psychiatric hospital when he collapsed. Another had just left the dentist’s office. All died within a 13-month span.

      • Stan Thomas Says:

        So Steve, and please correct me if I’ve misunderstood, you want to take the jerseys from one doper and give them to a bunch of other dopers?

      • Steve O Says:

        Stan, where in the world did that interpretation come from?

    • Steve O Says:

      Here’s what pisses me off: yet another round of confessions, but everyone is still claiming they went down to Walgreens and found their own EPO, right there in between the 5 Hour Energy and the cigarettes.


      If you want to make up for your sins, start naming docs and DSs.

      Otherwise, it’s still omertà, which was the problem in the first place.

  4. Patrick O'Brien Says:

    Stan, that is an excellent point.

    Patrick, thanks, I needed that. My drug of choice is a combination of water, malted barley, and those beautiful hops. So, a couple of beers and some green welly boots, so easy to hose the shit off, and “Bob’s your uncle and Fanny’s your aunt!”

    • Patrick O'Grady Says:

      Ah, the joys of a chilled barley pop in summertime. There’s a bumper sticker on a beater-mobile near Chez Dog that reads, “Beer is proof that God loves us and wants us to be happy.” Word.

  5. bromasi Says:

    You are one hell of a writer dog, keep it up.
    Been watching george carlin on youtube recently keeps me calm.

    • Patrick O'Grady Says:

      Thanks, Bro’. I stumble along. Nothing like Carlin, but then again, who was? I wish we could dig him up and reanimate him. Imagine what Zombie George Carlin would have to say about Anthony Weiner, Weepy John “Punkinhead” Boehner and the Royal Ward of the State.

  6. Ryan Surface Says:

    What?..wait.. are you telling me that Bushmills can enhance my performance! I just thought it was a wee dram from the olde country that made a nice accompaniment to a cigar.

  7. Larry T. Says:

    A great rant then…a great rant now. Thanks for the replay.

    • Patrick O'Grady Says:

      Thank you, sir. As an old newsie I think everything I do is shit the instant it’s done, but now and again I unearth something from the archives that isn’t totally useless.

      • Patrick O'Brien Says:

        IMHO all the rants were good. Many were great! We used to wait for them with much anticipation. Many times I went and got Sandy and said, go read the rant, it’s a classic!” Thanks for the flashback to one of the great ones. Put them all in a book, and I’ll buy the first copy.

      • khal spencer Says:

        I’ll second Mr. O’Brien’s comment about the rants and the book. I looked forward to VN less for the race results, more for the Foaming Rants. But you knew that….

  8. Libby Says:

    Thank you for that rant. How apropos! A gem!

    I’m not feeling sorry for Mr. HTFU. He retired before he wanted to but he knew what the results would be. He got to participate and contribute in a big way to his Australian team in the TdF, stand on the podium again and finish on the Champs plus not get sanctioned. He had a long career and if Matt White can come back to the sport after just a few months ‘exile’, I’m sure Stuey will be back, in a car, if he likes.

    • Patrick O'Grady Says:

      My pleasure, Libby. And you’re right, of course. Orica-GreenEdge is already paving the way for Stuey’s post-racing career. He’ll have to eat a bit of shit, buy his own pints for a while, but he’ll be back among us before you can say “Bobby Julich.”

  9. Ryan Surface Says:

    At this point, is anyone really shocked that a pro cyclist of the late 1990s doped?? I think the list of non-dopers might be more interesting like if there was a Frenchman on the Festina team who rode clean- that might be shocking. If any of HWMNBN’s super domestiques did not dope- that would be interesting..hmm..Livingston, Hamilton, Landis, Heras, Hincapie…oh never mind.

    • Patrick O'Grady Says:

      Yeah, you really have to start looking down the results sheet to figure out who wasn’t on The Program, and even then you can’t be sure. Maybe they juiced to tow the GC guy around for 180km and cut ’em loose for the final 10, then sat up and coasted in for 149th on the day, 10 minutes down.

      • SO Says:

        Sastra is about the only one left who hasn’t been nailed, or gave I missed something? And even he had some shady DSs.

      • SO Says:

        Sorry, Sastre.

        (Using the beta iOS 7, and for whatever reason, there’s a black bar with the WordPress logo on the line I’m typing. Can’t see typos until it posts.

  10. SO Says:

    Gotta recommend Dan Coyle’s Secret Raxce.

    If you’re hesitant to throw Mr. Hamilton a dime, then get it from the library.

    Somewhere on the short list of self-evident truths is that everyone who was financially able to doped for the better part of the ’70s–’90s.

    I believe LeMond was clean … but if he winds up confessing, will not be surprised in the least.

    Anyway, the big take away from The Secret Race is that EPO doesn’t turn Old Guys Who Get Fat In Winter® into Eagles of Toledo, or even Emus of Albuquerque. It let hard guys push themselves even further. So, in their minds, they could rationalize it as not really cheating.

    So …. When does St Eddy fess up?

    • Patrick O'Grady Says:

      I have to read too much of that sort of thing on the job, and so am reluctant to do it recreationally. I do have a copy of “A Rough Ride,” and man, is that ever a rough read. I made the right decision going into journalism — easier on the legs, if slightly harder on the liver.

      As for St. Eddy, who has tested positive a couple-three times, we might hear something from him after he croaks, if you have a Ouija board crosswired to the Hubble telescope via a Cray supercomputer.

    • Larry T. Says:

      I’ll disagree with the premise that EPO simply let good riders push themselves harder. That’s an easy rationalization for cheaters. I think this is what the old dope did, whether strychnine, amphetamine, cocaine or whatever – these things dulled pain as well as the human element of sanity that says STOP when you’re cooked, as in Tom Simpson.
      EPO on the other hand, actually increases the the oxygen carrying capacity of the blood, making the subject a better athlete. THAT is what is so different and damaging about the so-called oxygen vector drugs – you can dull all the pain you want but you’re not going to keep up with a guy like Mr. 60% when he’s running fully-charged up hematocrit. Beyond this, certain athletes respond differently to EPO…the best thing a crooked doc/trainer could find was a guy who was already good but had a low hematocrit – because he would likely be GREAT with a highly improved number obtained by cheating vs a guy who was good, but already had a naturally high reading – he simply would not see the same performance improvement with EPO.

      • Steve O Says:

        Not EPI, blood transfusions.

        And I’m not asserting a premise but merely repeating their claims. I’ll defer at this point to those who have actually used the stuff

  11. SO Says:

    Never, and I mean never, mix fish paralyzers with cocktails.

  12. Stan Thomas Says:

    Do I detect a change to a more balanced view of the merits of rewriting the history books?

    Patrick, you know where I stand…

  13. Steve O Says:

    From the always good Joe Lindsey:

  14. Larry T. Says:

    Good bit here about someone who decided NOT to cheat.

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