[Deadspin] Last July, 90-year-old cyclist Carl Grove was the lone competitor in his age group at the U.S. Masters Track Championships, where he set an age-group world record in the individual pursuit with a time of 3:06:129. Sadly, Grove subsequently popped a positive for the banned steroid epitrenbolone in a drug test after the race. Now, even though the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency let Grove off with a public warning, he has been stripped of his world record.
Many people believe that I hate bicyclists. I suppose the name of this site would lend credence to that theory. But it isn’t true. The truth is, I love bicyclists. I want to help them. I’ve always said that I don’t support hurting bicyclists. I don’t support taking action against them. They are victims, victims of a terrible psychosis that leads them to believe that they cannot be hurt, that their actions have no consequences, that they can, nay, that they MUST be entitled to the entire road. Time and time again this mentality proves actively harmful to them, but they cannot shake it. Friends, the only conclusion I can draw is that bicyclists are deeply unwell people, and I feel their pain as if it were my own.
Stories like this really drive the point home. The bicyclist mentality is baked in deep–and the world of competitive bicycling is perhaps the greatest example. It doesn’t matter whether you’re a 20-year-old kid entering your first road race or a 90-year-old man looking to set a world record. When you enter the world of competitive bicycling, all roads lead to doping. No matter how pointless it may be in the end, no matter how sad and terrible the ramifications, they just can’t help themselves. They can’t!
Think about this poor guy. Think about Carl. He could be spending time with his grandkids. He could be telling stories about the good old days down at the local watering hole. He could be playing chess in the park (people do that in real life, right?), hustling youngsters with his buddy Larry who always gets him into trouble, but they’ve been friends for 60 years, so what are you gonna do, right?
Instead he’s cramming his body full of epitrenbolone and forcing it to pedal up hill after hill in pursuit of an accomplishment that he knows in his heart is ill-gotten and meaningless. Where is the satisfaction in this life, I ask you? Where is the pride?
I know not, dear reader. I know not where such a man finds his zen, but I do know that it is not to be found on the back of a bicycle.