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Mail for the week of November 11, 2002

Bas and Gerome were coolEditor;Two of the coolest guys I have met in my 15 years of bike racing, Jerome Chiotti, and Bas Van Dooren-both admitted cheaters, drug users. There is something good about their character. Is this saying I am lover of drug users? Of course not. I am just pointing out that only two guys have ever admitted it, and I like that Bas and Jerome are really great guys. Heck everyone and their mother smokes pot in this world, and I think that should be illegal, how come everyone praises a pot smoker and not situations like this?These guys made a huge mistake and realized it,

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Bas and Gerome were cool
Editor;
Two of the coolest guys I have met in my 15 years of bike racing, Jerome Chiotti, and Bas Van Dooren-both admitted cheaters, drug users. There is something good about their character. Is this saying I am lover of drug users? Of course not. I am just pointing out that only two guys have ever admitted it, and I like that Bas and Jerome are really great guys. Heck everyone and their mother smokes pot in this world, and I think that should be illegal, how come everyone praises a pot smoker and not situations like this?These guys made a huge mistake and realized it, (see Suspended Van Dooren retires“)and got out. It is a shame to see both of them leave the sport since they are so good with the fans, great party guys, etc…not the typical boring saps on the XC circuit. The majority of the field in road and XC MTB is doing some illegal stuff, these guys just had the balls to admit they screwed up. I like that.UCI, IOC, OPP, BFD, etc… can not stop all these cheaters. Perhaps everyone should race bikercross where all the drugs in the world are not going to make you win, unless you got lots of talent and big balls.Anyway, everyone stop ripping on Bas, he is truly a nice guy, who made a mistake, and is walking. If you clowns knew him you wouldn’t be calling him out like this. Goodbye to Bas, the XC field has lost another personality, what’s left now is the continuing sage of the secret underworld of drug users and the not-so-secret boring saps.Craig “Stikman” Glaspell
Team GT Pitboss

Unless you ride a kilometer in his cleats…

Dear Editor;
I commend Bas on his honesty. I do not think what he did was right, but I really don’t think that ninety-percent of us have a right to judge. How many people who talked smack on him have raced Mtn. Bikes at that level, who has experienced that pressure first hand? Those of you who can honestly say you have been there can, but if the pinnacle of your cycling career is third place in sport class at a local NORBA race or being in a field print at a Tuesday night crit’ in the 4,5’s I really think you should re-think you criticism before it even comes out on paper or a computer screen.Secondly, I agree, promotion sucks in cycling (see “It’s not about the t-shirt” under “Friday’s mail” below). There is no way to sugar coat it, that’s that and that’s how it is. Until someone comes up with a great idea (or a blooming money tree) we just have to roll with the punches and have our fun, that why we are doing this right? If not then get out of the sport. I can understand being angry in some situations but I don’t expect a whole lot from a weekly crit’ that I paid eight bucks to enter (although it would be nice) but when it comes to a Mountain Bike race that I ended up paying close to fifty bucks to enter, drove 2 hours to get to, win, and receive a plastic medal for podium in expert and that’s it, I get frustrated, as is typically the case with Team Big Bear here in Southern California. I understand perfectly well that these things cost money and with the current state of the sport that is not too abundant from sponsors so they gouge at the registration line? Is that really necessary? I don’t think so and I think there are a whole lot of people who agree with me. To prove my point, take a look at the Rim Nordic series that runs just a little further down the mountain at Running Springs, they charge almost half of what TBB charges and they have better courses, cooler prizes and friendly smiles everywhere as opposed to … well you get the point.
Sincerely, Brian Hepinstall,
Costa Mesa CA.A question of trust
To Rob Witt,
Who wrote to encourage the peloton to turn each other in (see “Turn ‘em into Hein” under “Friday’s mail” below).Now there’s a way to shore-up morale and ensure a rock solid foundation amongst the riders!Wake up Rob and get in touch with the history of the sport.Tim Sheedy
Sports Editor
The Moscow TimesDon’t turn it into the Rat Pack
Editor;
Regarding Mr. Witt’s comments about “ratting on the pack” as it were, it’s comments like his that we can totally do without. Casting suspicion on people without proof is the mark of a true coward.And by the way Bob, the IRS doesn’t pay you to tattle on your neighbors -that’s the Taliban….Richard J. L. SealeyNew boss same as the old boss
Editor;
In a recent letter, one of your contributors lamented the sad state of grassroots cycling in Northern California(see “It’s not about the t-shirt” under “Friday’s mail” below). He was disturbed by the prize lists and how the races were run. He appeared to think that the NCNCA was responsible and hoped that USA Cycling would turn things around.He’s going to be disappointed.Issues like prize lists are set by the promoter, not the governing bodies. As long as the promoter doesn’t violate the rule book, (s)he can do pretty much as (s)he sees fit.That’s the way things are in bike racing. It’s a “work-ocracy”. The people who do the work get to make the decisions. And, since the vast majority are volunteers, the opportunity to pursue their own vision is their compensation. People who want things to change should step up and get involved. If you’re doing some of the work, your voice will be heard.I’m not suggesting that it’s OK for promoters to ignore the views of the racers. Most will take input, if it’s given respectfully (e.g. without questioning the promoter’s species of origin, for example). At the Nature Valley GrandPrix, we ASK for racer feedback and we take it very seriously. But a key volunteer will always have more impact. Losing your corner marshal coordinator is a whole lot more painful than losing one out of 500 racers.David LaPorte
Nature Valley Grand PrixThere ain’t no such thing as a free T-shirt
Editor;
Everyone across the country wishes there were more races.Traffic and local law enforcement rarely look forward to these events and often come up with an amazing array of ‘permits’ and other legal obstacles to discourage these kind of activities. Being an active cyclist/racer for twenty-five years I am pleased with much of the acceptance our sport has begun to receive in the mainstream. Count how many people show up for training races on a back country road during the week, and you can understand why some of us are thrilled that some promoter is willing to take the time to make the contacts, fill out the paper work and organize the volunteers. To people who complain that they are only racing for a t-shirt I say, “go find another race.” What you are really doing is safely racing on closed roads and enjoying the weekend. Part of safe racing is pulling riders. If there are more races to possibly attend, the caliber of category five (etc) racers will become more evenly based on prize lists vs. quality field. Faster riders will travel farther for better competition and larger prize lists, lesser riders will stay local and win a t-shirt or at least not get pulled.These are the basic, fundamental, cold hard economic facts. Safety first!David DerbyLet each do what each does well
Editor;
James Darlow complains about being pulled from NCNCA races after 4 laps.Under the new system (if the NCNCA ultimately decides to go through with it after negotiations), the NCNCA officials will be the local USCF officials (since most of them already were to begin with.What’s to prevent the same officials from pulling you from the same races just because the sanctioning has changed?Mike Murray from OBRA writes “Since less than 10 percent of OBRA members carry a USAC membership if we were to accept this it would mean that those members would need to purchase USAC membership. This increased cost would be expected to decrease at least entry level participation.”What’s to prevent OBRA from running Elite (P/1/2), Elite Masters, Elite Women,and Cat. 3 men’s and women’s races under USCF sanction, and the Cat 4/5 and citizen races under OBRA sanction, should OBRA ever decide to rejoin USA Cycling using the same deal as the NCNCA?Keep the true grassroots at the local level with local licensing and insurance and run the Elite races under USCF auspices, where it actually matters.That would be the best of both worlds, in my humble opinion.Steven L. Sheffield
Salt Lake City, UTLive to ride…
Editor;
I’m in pain so I’m reaching out. I have been called one of New York’s fastest messengers. Needless to say, fear of dying on the bike was an every second type of thing. When I heard about how Ed Burke died and the suspensions of guys like Bas van Dooren and Juan Pineda (formerly associated with 7UP-NutraFig, and NYC resident), it really twisted my wig.Here’s a guy dying while doing what he loves; and some other guys trying hard to die because there isn’t a life without cycling. A podium couldn’t hold all those that would give their lives for a spot. So here’s to all those cyclist that came and went. Feel their pain if you will. And remember the delicate balances of living to ride and riding to live. James Bethea
New York, NYRiding with Uncle Ed
Editor;
It has been nearly 30 years since Ed Burke and I went cycling together.I remember on the evening before our first ride I found him working on his bike in preparation for a ride the next day. As I remember he was drilling some large holes into his crankset. When I asked him why he was doing this, he replied by saying something about “needing to remove rotating weight”.As he continued to work, and we continued to talk about cycling, I finally decided to ask him if I could join him on his ride the next day. He looked at me standing next to my bike, grinned and said “Sure you can, just be ready to go at 7 a.m.”Early the next the next morning it was 15 degrees out, and we set out on our ride together. Ed took the lead first, and I settled in behind his rear tire. Five minutes into the ride, and feeling pretty good, I pulled ahead of him to take a turn in the lead. I pedaled furiously in front of him, showing no regard for pacing, or much of anything for matter. When I looked back, I saw Ed right behind me, smoothly spinning his pedals. He coached me to “Slow down and concentrate on pedaling smoothly. Don’t overdo it.”After a few minutes Ed retook the lead position after I exhausted myself, and he told me to try to stay right behind him. With Ed in the lead we continued to ride for about an hour. When I told him I could not go on any further he said “OK, let’s head on back.” When we arrived back at my house, I fell to the ground in exhaustion. I looked up at Ed, and he laughed and told me I did great, and asked if I wanted to go again tomorrow. I said yes, and we repeated similar rides almost every day for the next 2 weeks. Even if I overslept, Ed would wake me, and tell me it was time to go on our ride.I am pretty sure my bike was a Schwinn Bantam, and I was about 8 years old when I rode with my Uncle Ed. Uncle Ed would often come to visit his brother for a couple of weeks around Christmas time, and he always brought his bike.I found out many years later, that when our ride was finished and I would go inside to have breakfast, Ed would take off on his own for his “real” morning ride. Funny how for all those years I just thought I was keeping up with him! For those that got to ride with my uncle recently, I do truly envy you. I really enjoyed reading the recollections of his friends here (see “Remembering Ed“).To his wife Kathleen, and his mother Mary, and his brothers Donald, John and Thomas please know you all have my deepest sympathies.Sean Burke
Delray Beach, Florida


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Friday’s mailDear VeloNews;
Van Dooren did the right thing. It’s refreshing to see someone fess up re: drug use. I wish the same would happen in road racing. You test positive, you swallow your lumps and get the hell out of the sport.Eddy HenczelTurn ‘em in to Hein
Dear VeloNews,
The news about Bas the Cheat is the last straw for me.Since it seems like everyone in the peloton knows who the cheaters are, how about the UCI setting up a reward program for those willing to turn in these people who are ruining this sport? This would be similar to the IRS program that pays people a portion of the penalties that are recovered from the tax cheats.And make the reward substantial so those at the back of the pack have a financial reason to turn in the team “leader.” And to you, Bas: good riddance, I hope we never hear of you again.Bob WittIt’s not about the t-shirt
Editors;
While I may sympathize with those members of the revolt who decided to forsake the prestige of USA Cycling for “grassroots” cycling I ask you this: how many promoters put on races in your ‘districts’? Here in Northern California while I peruse the available road races on the NCNCA website, I find that there is ONE person putting on a majority of the criteriums in Northern California!! And while racers may applaud Mr. Leibold’s ability to put on race after race after race usually with very little thanks, I have heard many racers complain about the spoils of victory at the races that he promotes. In a few instances a T-shirt is all you receive. And that is NOT for Cat 5 racers!! Pros may make payback of their entry fees but it is sometimes a rare occurrence that they can make any cash.Yes the sport of cycling is small. Yes the amount of time and effort is monumental. And yes sometimes people complain about everything under the sun. But my experience in Northern California with the NCNCA is that they made a point but never offered anything better than what they were revolting against. If I chose to race an NCNCA race I had to get a license. I then had to pay for that license in addition to the entry fees for a race.And what did I get for my time and effort?Well, in the few races that I did under NCNCA rules, regs and whatnot – I got pulled from the race after four laps!! Now I don’t pretend to be fast or a great racer, but if the NCNCA is promoting “grassroots” cycling then I don’t think this the way to do it. Do you?In the numerous events I have participated in over the past seven years I have held a racing license (NORBA/USCF) I was never pulled! I may have finished DFL but I was allowed to finish. I paid my money and got to race. I got the experience and I enjoyed myself. Is that not why we race?Whether there is one promoter or many in an area should not matter but the feeling that I have seen in Northern California is that the NCNCA has done little to offer up an alternative to USA Cycling over the past three years.In fact, in some areas of promotion they have done worse — see my earlier statement about the numerous promoters in the district. I would hope that the melding of NCNCA and USA Cycling forces can return the Northern California and Nevada areas to prominence within the grand scheme of United States cycling but I fear that the “grassroots” ideology that fosters itself within the Northern California road scene won’t allow it. Too bad. Because racing for a T-shirt makes no sense when I am paying $45 a year or more to race my bike!James Darlow
Sacramento, CA


VeloNews.com welcomes your letters, so dropus a line.Please include your full name and home town. By submitting mail to this address, you are consenting to the publication of your letter.


Earlier MailBye Bye Bas
Dear VeloNews;
The statement by Bas van Dooren that he took EPO to extend his careerwas mind boggling (see “VanDooren retires as suspension begins“). At least he’s retiring.Bas said “They’ll never see me again.” Don’t let the door hit you inthe ass, Bas.Just another case of someone rationalizing cheating because it’s theonly way they think they can win. We don’t need that attitude in sportsor in our everyday life. Maybe I should steal other peoples ideas so Ican further my career as a design engineer? Is that OK with you Bas?Phil MetzgerGood riddance!
“They’ll never see me again in mountain biking,” he said.Thanks for polluting a great sport Bas (Ass)!We are happy to see you go.Will Geoghegan
Irvine, CA
Enough already!
Dear VeloNews;
Okay. I’m getting truly sick of hearing about positive drug test results.It’s time for everyone to come clean. If you are using drugs… thenstop, NOW or quit cycling! We don’t need you in this sport!Cyclists who use drugs are making it hard on those who don’t. How can youwin a race if you are not using drugs when the rest of the field is hoppedup on EPO or some other substance that they are masking? It’s not fair,and it is down right unethical.I remember when I was tested after a NORBA national cross-country race.I was totally scared because I took 2 Advil the night before the race.How completely silly and naive of me! I was so naive I had no idea thatpeople would really use illegal drugs to enhance their performance.And to think I was shaking in my cycling shoes because I took some Advil,and placed 46th.Tonya LaffeyWhat were they thinking?!?!?
An open letter to the NCNCA:
While I realize insurance concerns were paramount in your decisionto rejoin (see “NCNCAapproves deal with USA Cycling“), I absolutely cannot believe thevote was in favor. After all the years of shoddy response from the USCF,do you now think they have changed their spots? And what about the uppermanagement types who have retired with payment packages and salaries thatfew large corporate companies in the real business can match.All the years they took our money, paid themselves ten times over theirworth, and gave NOTHING BACK while smiling all the way to the bank. Shameon you for not standing up to one of the biggest shams going on in thiscountry.Do you honestly think they really care? Hopefully none of the otherFIAC members will follow you over the cliff.Howard KinneyHappy to have Henk
Dear VeloNews;
It’s a pleasant surprise to have Henk Vogels stay in North America(see “Vogels signs“)knowing his wish to exploit his unending talent in Europe some more. Navigatorswill be blessed with a guy with great social skills on and off the bikeand more importantly armed with a combative element. Both features bringcolors to his racing style.After working several Tours DuPont, First Union, Miami Classic and TourDe Beauce, Vogels and Gord (Fraser) stick out as remarkable soldiers inmy book.Eric Van Bockern
Quebec CityAnd what about Wherry
I think I heard that Mercury is suspending its team sponsorship fornext year. Is that true? If so, is there any word as to where Chris Wherryis going? He seems poised for some European greatness; will he be goingto Europe in 2003? I want to see that guy on the roads with the Italians,Spaniards, and Germans, not to mention the top Americans.Greg Everett
San Clemente, CA
(formerly of Boulder, CO)Editor’s note: It’s true that Mercury has, after a five-yearrun, ended its sponsorship of the cycling team. Director Thurlow Rogersand John Wordin have been scrambling to put together a sponsorship package and have been promising an announcement some time “soon.” It’s likely that the team will probably have about half as much money as it did in ’02. Several riders on theteam have left for other teams, though Wherry and Scott Moninger, for example,say they expect to see some sort of team emerge from the Mercury program.Wherry is currently on vacation in Australia with his former teammate HenkVogels, who recently signed on with the Navigators squad.Thanks for honoring Ed
Dear VeloNews;
I have been out of the eye of the cycling world for a few years, andwith the changes that happen in the normal course of events, there maynot be anyone at VeloNews who even remembers me. However, at onetime I was President of Polar USA and had a close working and personalrelationship with Ed Burke.I just wanted to drop a line and thank you guys for the wonderful memorialthat you published on your website. Ed was a truly unique, original andspecial individual and the cycling world is very fortunate to have hadhim as an ambassador. Your tribute was fitting, touching, and, in my humbleopinion, most appropriate. It helped at least one individual deal withthe loss of this special human being.While my career took me away from the industry a few years ago, I stayedin touch with Ed — in fact, I am at a loss to understand how anyone whoever came in contact with Ed could wonder far from him. How anyone couldappear to be so be grumpy, but always have a twinkle in his eye remainsas one of the Creator’s great mysteries.Thanks VeloNews for helping us all remember a guy who truly touchedeveryone he met. And, thanks, Ed, for being a friend. We are all gonnamiss you.Tony Harmon
Chief Operating Officer
THE COLLEGE KIT


Earlier MailRejoining the Fed’ makes little sense for Oregon
Dear VeloNews;In your article (see “NCNCA approves deal with USA Cycling“) you wrote: “the independent associations have been unable to secure insurance that offers as much liability and catastrophic insurance coverage as that offered through USA Cycling.”This is inaccurate. The accurate statement is that the independent organizations have elected not to provide the higher aggregate limit and catastrophic medical coverage offered by USAC. In the case of the Oregon Bicycle Racing Association this was done because it was felt that the higher limit was unnecessary since it is never required by a land owner of road use authority in Oregon. In addition, the cost of the higher aggregate limit and catastrophic medical coverage is too high. The value of the single limit alone, much less the aggregate limit, far exceeds not only the total assets of OBRA but also the amount of any bike racing liability loss ever sustained in Oregon. For USAC, with larger assets and a poorer loss history this is not the case. This is simply a case of purchasing the appropriate amount of insurance not purchasing an inferior product. Although I can not speak for the other FIAC organizations I expect that their decision making was similar.Gerard Bisceglia offered OBRA the same arrangement as NCNCA. Since less than 10 percent of OBRA members carry a USAC membership if we were to accept this it would mean that those members would need to purchase USAC membership. This increased cost would be expected to decrease at least entry level participation. In addition, it would be expected that the increased cost of insurance and the hassle of dealing with the USAC permitting process would lead to an increase in entry fees and a decrease in number of races. Clearly for us in Oregon, offering 20 percent of licenses which is approximately 10 percent of expected total revenues from the state of Oregon, is inadequate return on our investment.Mike Murray
Oregon Bicycle Racing AssociationEditor’s note: The passage has been changed to reflect your input. Thank you for the clarification.More memories of Ed
It was 1974 when Ed walked into my dorm room at the World’s Trials in Milwaukee. Introduced himself and what research he was doing on slow and fast twitch muscles.I remember thinking there is no way this guy is going to take a biopsy muscle sample out of my quads, no way.We would go on to pretty much live together during Eddie B’s first year here with those fabulous juniors of 1978. Ed shepparded our sport into the new millennium by making sure that all his breakthrough research was attributable to our sport, cycling.He did it all from cleaning water bottles to rubbing legs. He was working too hard in the field for a PhD and cleared the way for me to become the first official US Team Soigneur of the modern era, circa 1978 to 1980.I would call or email him for advice in 2000 just before placing 3rd in the Master’s World’s Cross Country Races in Bromont. He would email us all great stories of his efforts in The Leadville 100, Oh how he wanted that belt buckle. When he finished the Founder’s Ride last June, I remember him saying, “If I had started riding 20 or 30 years ago like you guys did, I’d be whipping your ass now!”Ed, it is time for all of us to hug our kids, kiss the wife and go for a ride in your honor.Bill Humphreys
Bike GuyBurke was an inspiration
Ed never knew he changed my life.I guess I could have told him when I met him last year at the OBRA (Oregon Bicycle Racing Association) yearly conference. It would seem a little awkward, though, telling someone you’ve just met, “I picked a career because of you.”It’s true, though. My first experience with sports science was through Ed’s writings in VeloNews and Bicycling. Prior to that, I didn’t know what Exercise Physiology was, much less that I wanted to be one. Ed showed us that you could be so passionate about a sport that studying it could become your life’s work. I never got to work with Ed, and that’s a shame, as his interest in all things cycling (especially ergogenic aids) was consuming and infectious. But I wonder how many others learned that they could pursue their passion for a living because of his example.I’ll be sorry to miss you at the national meetings, on the road, and in print. Thank you for your example. All the best to your loved ones in this time of sorrow.Ian Penner
MS in Exercise PhysiologyEditor’s Note:A memorial service for Ed Burke has been scheduled for 5pm Wednesday, November 13 at the Housing Village Lodge at the University of Colorado at Colorado Springs. Those attending should park on the west side of the campus.


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