Ask Ping!Friday, March 22, 2013 | 9:05 AM
First off I enjoy your column and check it out every Friday. Keep up the good work! I'm an old timer by today's standards as I raced in the 70's and early 80's, however my friends and I still ride and race Vintage ads Post vintage and still go fairly well. I only mention this to possibly show my naivety in the following question.
The subject came up on performance enhancing drugs (PED) in sports and Motocross in particular. I explained that I felt that the current generation of racers had really stepped up their game and are by far the most fit athletes in pro sports. A good friend of mine agreed, but also felt strongly that at the top level of any pro sports a good portion of the athletes had to be using some form of (PED) to make that final step and to satisfy their sponsors. When I stopped to think about it and looked at the background of some of the trainers and the lack of quality drug testing from the AMA or other pro sports I thought, why not?
This may be a bit too controversial however I'd like your opinion on this subject!
Totally understandable if you don't print this.
There is no question that today’s champions are incredibly fit and dedicated athletes. It sounds like you are putting some of the pieces of the puzzle together yourself. You have young athletes looking for any kind of performance advantage, former cyclists acting as trainers to many different riders and a PED testing policy that is questionable at best. Even if the policy were more stringent, the testing procedures are years behind the curve when it comes to masking agents and drugs. Lance Armstrong fooled the world for a decade and he was being rigorously tested. If it weren’t for pissed off French nationals who hated to see an American [a cocky Texan, at that] come in and steal their biggest prize for seven years they would have given up the chase long ago and Lance would have never been caught. For ten years he fooled them! So it is conceivable that a motocross rider could slip through the deft clutches of the AMA and their policies. What would be the drug of choice? HGH is likely one of the top choices. This drug would allow you to stack heavy training days on top of one another and make gains at a rate significantly higher than if you were not using it. I won’t even begin to speculate on some of the exotic drugs being used by top cyclists, but just to give you perspective, the one guy who didn’t take any PED’s in last year’s Tour De France is just crossing the finish line riiiiigggght now. Nice work, fella.
With drug testing policies still years behind the new drugs coming out, the only way to catch athletes is to store urine samples for five to ten years and allow those to be scrutinized as new testing methods come out. By that time the money is already made [or spent in many cases] and it wouldn’t even be relevant. My suggestion is just enjoy the racing. Remember, ignorance is bliss.
After watching you talk about your new retro looking RMZ 450 (it looks sick by the way) I got to thinking about bikes in my past that fit like a glove and the ones that were some evil handling moto machines. What bikes from your past do you dream about at night and what ones leave you with nightmares (other than the 2002 KTM 125).
I do love my RMZ450. It is definitely the best all-around bike I’ve ever had. While I was racing I had some bikes that had different strengths and weaknesses. For example, my 1998 FMF Honda CR125 was the best handling race bike I ever had. You could aim that thing down the roughest straight you could find and it would stay completely straight. Of course that could have been because it made all the horsepower of an electric leaf blower. My best chance of getting a holeshot on that thing was to throw it over my shoulder when the gate dropped and run like hell. Probably my favorite race bike ever was my Bill’s Pipes Suzuki in 1999 and 2000. I won a couple races on those bikes and they were fast, nimble and comfortable. My KTM’s were actually quite fast, even back then. Suspension was always an issue and we struggled to get a setup that would go through whoops and still handle hard landings. And of course that whole piston-cracking-in-half thing was a bit of a nightmare but, hey, I don’t hold a grudge. No, really, I’ve let it go. [Note to self: Leave a burning bag of dog poo at KTM’s doorstep this week].
What is the deal with the Muscle Milk girls squeezing in on Justin Barcia’s Speed Channel interviews at Daytona? I know sponsors need their product to be seen, but that was a little annoying. I couldn’t focus on what Barcia was saying when two hot girls are holding a bottle of milk right in front of their chest. The correlation of the two sent some kind of subliminal message that I still can't decipher.
So, the pretty girls with the boobies were really a problem for you? Really? Really? Just tell me you didn’t get done watching the race and immediately call your mother.
Have a question for Ping? Email him at [email protected]
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Check out MY LIFE IN MOTORCYCLE RACINGin our Latest issue of Racer X available now.
Jean-Michel Bayle, the iconic superstar of yesteryear, raced motocross for the first time in twenty-one years at the Vets MXdN in England. Page 126.