FM Show – Buying Results

sr50mtb medal

Footfeathers after the Silver Rush 50 mile MTB race. The joy is obvious.

Welcome back to Elevation Trail and the FM Show with Gary David and Footfeathers.  Today we cover a variety of topics, including older athletes dominating at Hardrock, the diversity of ultra events this week (Hardrock, Badwater, Self Transcendence, Vol State), PEDs and buying speed/results in sports whether through products or substances, and some other stuff we hope you’ll find entertaining.

We would love to hear from listeners on their opinions regarding some of these topics, so please leave a comment!

FM Show – Banned Products

25 thoughts on “FM Show – Buying Results

  1. Damn, you guys beat me to the touchy deep crap that I so badly wanted to shout out mid-podcast – that being, I think race day should be a matter of performance based on a personal satisfaction within you. Us mid-packers can blame our parents for 70% of our inability to perform “well” out there racing, and we can train like hell to gain a small advantage for the remaining 30%, but even those (like me) who can devote all their bodies will allow to train specifically for something they seek, only a handful will ever be good enough to earn them a certain title or a spot at an elite race. These guys taking this garbage to gain them a few seconds here or there or to move up a ag placement (btw, 45 seconds faster and I’d ha gotten 2nd instead of 3rd in my ag at SR….not that I’m competitive or anything) is just ridiculous, but I don’t think it can ever be fully controlled. I teach high school; you can preach all you want and set good examples to kids, but some get twisted in the head. due to one of a million reasons, and if they want something to make them feel better, they will find they can take the easy road to get it. Eventually, it catches up to them, but in that moment of weakness, it seems like the right thing to do because instant gratification is so rewarding (It was just a matter of time before Lance was caught). People can get caught up in jealousy and pettiness and feel that a tangible thing like a few seconds will make them feel better, but in the long run, is there pride and dignity in the accomplishment!?

    I say put it all out there and make everything legal – the PEDs, the MAP, the poles, the pacers, the crewers – hell, give everyone who races a 15 thousand dollar 19 l.b bike and the lowlanders an oxygen tent to sleep in if it makes it all “fair” (some guy on the Leadville Race Series site asked if they’d post results for those living below a certain elevation), but unless you’re one of the top few gifted souls, it’s not going to really matter a whole lot overall so why not just give everyone the same advantage, if they want it. Then, it won’t become so important to have it. Performing well within due to personal determination to work hard far outweighs giftedness or any spot you can “win”; it is in the translation between intent and action where excellence resides. I really don’t care that the guy next to me cut through the trees to shave a microscopic fraction off the course Sunday, or that I took an ibuprofen because my back hurt – in the end, what matters, is how I felt about my accomplishment. As it should be. But for some, their natural abilities will never will be good enough…and thus, there’ll be no way to ever control the temptations to make them just a tad bit better.

    Gawd, I’d better get back to running – soon – and stop the head from chattering.

    Thanks for the always entertaining (?) discussion with the podcast.

    You’re going to suck it up real bad in the 100 mtb and run, Tim!

  2. The line we draw for certain drugs is arbitrary, yes, but it couldn’t be anything else. Why is a 3pt shot not worth 5? Why is offside illegal, especially considering no one in this country seems to know what it is? And why not just cut courses? Why not trip your competition, or drop banana peels, like some sort of vaudeville ultrarace? Because. Because some amount of structure is needed to reasonably compete. It surely does result in contradictions and various forms of stupidity. But this is trail running over exceptional distances we’re talking about. The activity is inherently stupid, to be honest. Why should the governing rules be different?

    • To me, in one respect it is like asking ‘How many drivers are speeding?’ Technically, anyone who is running a race that is governed by WADA and/or USADA and taking something on the banned substances list is doping per the rules. So I would guess there are many ultrarunners who are ‘doping,’ just like there are many marathoners, 5k runners, cyclists, etc.

      The better question is “How many ultrarunners are taking PEDs to gain an advantage?” A whole different thing to consider.

      And if I go to Leadville to run the 100, and take something like Diamox to deal with the altitude better, then I am taking a banned substance to help with my performance. That is technically doping regardless if I am running at the front or the back. Tim’s point is I can take ibuprofen (say, like Chiclets), which is not banned but can help performance, and I am not technically a doper.

      On the one hand the issue of doping is pretty straight forward: take something on the banned list to gain advantage and you are guilty. On the other hand, it can get pretty blurry, especially when considering non-elites.

  3. Splitting hairs.

    Which (as opposed to how many) ultrarunners are taking PEDs to gain an advantage? is what I meant.

    ( I guess nobody will risk any public guesses).

  4. FM show or FG show?

    In any case … good show. Elevation Asphalt. Love it. I have a few minutes left on it, but enjoyable.

    Anyway, I have also mused that we ought to allow anything, everything – much to the point that was made by Tim in the show: our lines of what is fair and legal are those we have drawn. These lines are meant to create an even playing field, and so those at the pointy end will always look for some advantage (whether legal or not or soon to be illegal) to be better. Training on a course extensively prior to the race would be considered legally and ethically a way to gain advantage. Taking oxygen on a course would not be considered unless all competitors get it.
    By throwing out all the rules, we basically say – you all have an even playing field because nothing is off limits (sort of like an open course … you don’t have to follow the trail. As long as everyone can do that, it is okay).

    My problem however with saying nothing is off limits is the possible message this delivers to up and coming athletes. The excessive taking of EPO for example has lead to death (blood hemocratic levels so high you clog your brain and have a stroke). There are certainly those that are willing to take that level of risk to get the “winner’s” reward. By legalizing all PEDs we are giving a message to the youth of the sport that for them to be competitive and be on the same playing field, they not only need to train their ass off, have good genetics, but take substances that can potentially risk their short or long term health. I am not comfortable with that as a message. Might be the Dad in me …

  5. Christina, I guess I wouldn’t want to hazard a guess since I have no way of knowing. I would say that I would imagine no one is doing blood transfusions because it is way too costly to manage. You can see Tyler Hamilton’s book for a description of how complicated it is. I don’t know if steroids provide an advantage in ultrarunning. How much does EPO cost? Popping amphetamines on the trail? There are so many ways to dope, some more egregious (comparatively speaking) than others.

    George, I totally agree. Part of what we like about sports is that it represents this idea of meritocracy in that those who work hard will get some reward. It dosn’t guarantee equal outcome, but at least the chance of a favorable outcome based on hard work. Where doping messes that up is that people can buy advantage, and get a result based on the advantage of resources versus the work they put in. Of course it is impossible to establish total parity, but the ideal is what drives doping rules. I think that this sets a good example for young people in that there are no short cuts, and the discipline of hard work in sports can then hopefully carry over to their lives outside of sports. Learning cheating in sports is okay, or that you can buy advantage even when legal, and you have a stratified system with less chance of mobility (in sports as well as society).

  6. Well, as far as steroids go, ultrarunner Natalia Volgina tested positive for the banned anabolic steroid metenolone this spring. Not sure if she lost her title from the Old Mutual Two Oceans Marathon in the end or not. I don’t really know anything about blood transfusions and how complex that may or may not be, but I imagine that if others in other sports are doing it, and if it improves performance, there are probably ultrarunners out there with resources who are as well. …

  7. It’s more fun listening to Waltrip yell “BOOGITY BOOGITY BOOGITY” than some F1 Euro yelling “Allez Allez Allez” because #Murica.

    And they still race Indy cars? Huh, who knew.

  8. Great show.

    I think George Zack raises an interesting objection to the laissez faire approach to PEDs. If the object of programs against PEDs is merely to level the playing field, then I would agree with Tim on the futility of it all. But the anti- doping programs are also meant to save lives. And therein lies the difference between using an altitude tent and juicing to gain an advantage. As more money comes into the sport of ultrarunning, tents may become a necessary tool for the elites – but they won’t be harmed using them.

      • Fair enough. Its a question of relative harm, I guess, since many argue that even running ultras is harmful. If the overwhelming evidence is that the use of altitude tents, or ibuprofen is going to harm the people that use it in the context of ultrarunning, then ban it as well.

      • Brian hit on something I was thinking about as well. It seems that there are at least three elements that are considered either explicitly or tacitly around this. First, there is the potential for harm, and more specifically acute harm (versus use over prolonged periods of time). Second, there is the issue of access. Namely, if something is over-the-counter versus controlled substance, that has an impact on how it is approached. Third is the issue of tradition both in the sport and in society. If it is something that has traditionally been used, and part of the cultural landscape, then it is less likely to be banned. I guess I should add a fourth, which is a company’s or industry’s ability to lobby on its product’s behalf to affect policy.

        Probably not a clean representation of every case, but seems to me that these elements are in play in making both policy decisions and how people orient to them in society.

  9. Pulled this from the FDA re: how a drug is defined:

    “The FD&C Act defines drugs, in part, by their intended use, as “articles intended for use in the diagnosis, cure, mitigation, treatment, or prevention of disease” and “articles (other than food) intended to affect the structure or any function of the body of man or other animals” [FD&C Act, sec. 201(g)(1)].”

    Caffeine is perhaps the number one drug ingested by Americans on a daily basis. It has performance enhancing effects, is marketed as such, and in certain situations can be dangerous to the user. People “cycle” off it before endurance events to maximize its benefits.

    So the whole thing has an element of being arbitrary. I couldn’t get ibuprofen at Twin Lakes (leadville) last year because of its potential harmful effects (although it is not officially a banned substance).

    But then again, does that mean throwing the proverbial baby out with the bath water? Since we can’t come up with a perfect system there should be no system at all? Personally I don’t believe so, but I can see the point from other sides about it being arbitrary.

    I guess part of what draws people to ultras is to see how far you can push yourself, and if you are doing it under a masking of various agents then you’ll never know.

    We could go all Straight Edge, for those who are old enough to remember Straight Edge.

  10. If you want to take that argument to its logical conclusion, a donut becomes a drug for spiking blood sugar & producing an insulin response. The straight-edge folks I knew in the 90s all seemed to consume a fair bit of white flour, processed stuff … I think that’s a bit obvious and beyond the point.
    A big part of the issue seems to be around transparency, as opposed to actual drug use. It might be interesting if all “drugs” (however you want to define this) were allowed in sport, but with the condition of full disclosure. So, in Comrades 2012, if, hypothetically speaking, Elena Nurgalieva had been using some form of steroid or whatever, and this was disclosed, and Ellie Greenwood had not, the titles etc. for winning would hold, but sponsors and the general public etc. would know who had had what advantage. Of course, people would probably continue lying about their drug use, because there would be more prestige attached to winning without PED use.

  11. Awesome to hear a Harvey Pekar reference slipped into an ultra running conversation! Wishin’ and Hoping’ that Hokas stay OFF of the WADA banned substance list. Great show, you two are a good team.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s