Might as well steal this one from Youtube at this point. It's all stolen anyway.
Much coverage in the news this week (like most weeks) and some pretty bad news for professional road cycling, but this time the culprit is one of our own. I guess not, it turns out.
Honestly, that one hurts me a little. There's not much I can say about it that hasn't already been said in the mainstream media that's way more timely and better written than this rag, and the damage is already done and all that. But damn.
Still, I'm just a fan, and despite my fantasies to the contrary 12 years ago, I've never had that kind of power. But plenty of other guys did - or might have - guys I know and respect and still see on the local goods sometimes. And it's those guys that really ended up holding the bag for Ryder's greed.
Erin Bishop put this photo up on big blue yesterday. It's just sad. Jeremiah and JHK, all the clean riders, taking a back seat in an up-and-coming sport to cheaters. Shortly after this, Hesjedal got a pro road racing contract, departed for Europe, and made a whole life for himself on the basis of his "talent" as a mountain biker. That's a whole lot of money, fame, a house in Europe, the adoration of his country, Sportsman of the Year in Canada, etc, etc.
Look, I don't really care that another pro roadie got popped for drugs. If that surprises or dissapoints any fan of cycling at this point in the game, it's probably worth admitting that it's going to get worse before it gets better. And hopefully some notion of clemency and forgiveness can happen on a large-scale, global level that will allow that sport to move forward before it completely goddamn implodes.
But this sport isn't that sport. So don't give us that bullshit, Ryder, about "everyone was doing it so I had to cheat too blah, blah, blah..." You were a mountain biker. It was a pretty clean sport (I hope, God, I hope) save for a few assholes like you who cheated to get to the top. In my head, that's way, way different than leveling the playing field in the pro road peloton where you pretty much had to juice just to stay in line. You cheated because you wanted an advantage, and you thought you'd never be caught.
Maybe the real drag of this, though, is that there's no punishment. Ryder cheated, now nothing happens because of some randomly selected eight-year statute of limitations on the matter. Ryder gets to keep racing, even though his whole career is founded on the same artificial legs and stolen money that righteously sacked other riders. He, as they say, "can't give back the legs, won't give back the money."
And really, I guess maybe he shouldn't. That's dirty cash. I'm not sure JB would take it anyway (though I do hope JB would spit on him.) But it gives me pause, and I wonder what would make us - the fans, fellow racers, sponsors, all of us - feel better about this. Maybe if Ryder self-served a two year ban on his own volition, though he might as well retire at that point. But that won't happen, and it doesn't matter.
Indeed, the only real consequence is that we all know now. Sure, this blog might be tiny, and my readership (that's you, Dad) probably doesn't identify with this quite as strongly as I do. But, even if it's all we've got, I guess it's still our role as a mountain bike community to call this one out for what it is and not forget.
Hey Ryder, Fuck You.
If nothing else, maybe the sale of those awful POC shades will take a little hit, and thank God for that.
|You can take this picture down if you have to, Blogger, but you know what ugly is now.|
Up, up, and onward.