Will Frischkorn: Certified Mail

After a busy spring I’m back in Boulder enjoying a break from racing and logging some great training in the hills above town that are just barely free from snow. While collecting my mail upon coming back from one such ride, I notice a little slip along with the random assortment of junk. I toss the mail aside. I stretch, shower, eat, screw around for a bit, and then all of a sudden I remember that slip.

What other personal news could the UCI send but…

By Will Frischkorn

Fresh Korn: Certified mail from the UCI could only mean one thing, right?

Fresh Korn: Certified mail from the UCI could only mean one thing, right?

Photo:

After a busy spring I’m back in Boulder enjoying a break from racing and logging some great training in the hills above town that are just barely free from snow. While collecting my mail upon coming back from one such ride, I notice a little slip along with the random assortment of junk. I toss the mail aside. I stretch, shower, eat, screw around for a bit, and then all of a sudden I remember that slip. A pink door-tag from my postman letting me know that there was a signature required on a piece of certified mail, from the… flipping over the tag, reading chicken scratch… “cyclist union.”

The UCI. Huh. Must be some random … err … wait, UCI! They don’t send random mail. And certified, signature required mail? I’ll have to go and pick it up. In the meantime, the mind starts going south. What could it be?

Well, it could be an update to anti-doping procedure. That makes sense. But certified? No, it must be a missed test. But I had a missed UCI test earlier in the year when the testers didn’t have my latest schedule update and that notice came via e-mail. Oh sh—, this could only be … how could it be … what else could it be? I have no idea what it could be, but, but how could it be … a non-negative test result?

I was tested twice the week between Flanders and Roubaix. I gave blood two other times as well. What was different? Nothing. I took my multi, zone fish oils and polyphenols, Claritin, Advil and iron. Wait, the Claritin was a generic our doctor purchased in Italy. Could it? No … It was solid. There’s no way. Well, at least it would be the doctor’s fault. But no. I don’t understand. Something in the food? Something in a drink? Something. … Aaaaaaaaaarrrrrgggehhhh!

Okay, so it’s a positive test. Well, life is going to take a turn, a big one. Peace, see ya, no reason to fight the system and be “that guy” that nobody believes anyway. I’m out. I could sell it all, disappear for long enough that all my ex-teammates now freshly out of jobs can’t find and kill me, and then slowly poke my head back into the real world.

Right? Mexico. Perfect. Swine flu is going to be out of the picture here soon. Canada? Nope, teammates from up north, they’d hone in. Safest might be up in the mountains of West Virginia — I could crash at my parents’ place in the middle of nowhere. Perfect. Problem solved. There and Mexico, keep moving. Then what?

Well, it’s time for sleep, gotta big day tomorrow. Yeah, right. That’s not going to happen. And my mind spins and spins and twists and rationalizes and tries to figure out what in the world could have caused something like this to happen.

The pickup is available at 8:30 a.m. the next morning. At 8:25 I’m on the doorstep. They open up, I run to the counter. The guy looks at my tag and tells me I’m at the wrong place. My postman had the wrong tag for my zip code. Across town I head to find two people in line ahead of me chatting it up with the friendly lady at the counter — new stamp designs, weather, the daughter that sent the package. HELP! I’m drenched in sweat here, waiting, praying, ready to hip-check the 80-year-old ahead of me in order to get that package faster.

Finally I get to the counter, sign off the form with my ID out, and she heads to find my mail. “Funny, I can’t seem to find it. Your address is 1045, right?” I nearly pass out. A desperate squeak — “Please, look a bit more” — comes from my mouth. She finally finds it, pulls another signature-confirmation form for me to sign, and moves to hand it over.

Before her fingers release it I’ve shredded the letter. After signing off on Pentagon security I’m all but certain. It must be. Can’t figure it out, but there’s no other possibility. And then I have the message:

The UCI is making changes to out-of-competition TUE submittal and testing protocol.

Wow.

I stumble back to the car, flop into the seat, and a few deep breaths later all is back to normal. Homeward bound, a few quick calls letting people know I wasn’t off into seclusion, a bit of breakfast, the gym, and a ride — like it never happened. But what a rollercoaster 12 hours. Now to catch up on a night of lost sleep and laugh about how crazy the mind can be when given the prompt to run.