Hundreds of pages of fairly damning evidence came out against Lance Armstrong this week, accusing him of not only using performance enhancements but also of being "a bully" and developing "a culture of doping." It all leads to an obvious question: What about me? If I got up from my desk and injected some high-octane Armstrong juice, could I, too, win the Tour de France?
No. But if I replicated his (alleged) process, I might be able to get up a mountain I couldn't get up before.
Here's a list of some stuff Armstrong is accused of doing--call it the Armstrong Cocktail. Let's go down the list.
This is something of a catch-all term, says Don Catlin, a pharmacologist at the University of California, Los Angeles. Most of the time, people use it to describe a blood transfusion process that can improve athletic performance. The general idea is to take blood--either from yourself (an autologous transfusion) or--if you're in mid-Tour, say--from another, compatible donor (a homologous transfusion). You then concentrate it to separate the red blood cells, and inject it before a race. (Armstrong is accused of using the autologous method.) Either way, the extra red blood cells can increase endurance quite a bit--according to one study, improving stamina up to 34 percent. Erythropoietin (EPO), which was also mentioned in the allegations, is another way of increasing the concentration of red blood cells in your blood. It's a naturally occurring hormone, usually given to anemic patients, that can stimulate the body to create more red blood cells.
For men, standard hematocrit (the proportion of red cells to other stuff) is about 44 to 45 percent. Most testing regulations, Catlin says, dictate that competitors will be flagged if hematocrit is above 50 percent. So: "They aim for 49 and a half percent."
How much would I improve?
Potentially, my stamina could increase 34 percent. That could make the climb up a hill a lot easier.
This is complicated. Conventional wisdom dictates that you won't get anywhere taking testosterone or other steroids if you aren't already training, but a few studies have come out contradicting that assessment, says Charles Yesalis, an emeritus professor of sports science at Pennsylvania State University. But either way, it's going to be a much bigger increase for people who train regularly, or even semi-regularly, than for people who don't. Similarly, women, who produce between one-tenth and one-fifteenth the testosterone of men, will see a much bigger increase in performance, Yesalis says.
Even for the regular person, there's some variability in how you'll react to steroids--it might be a huge increase for someone, and next to nothing for someone else. But even the low end could have "a profound effect," Yesalis says. Catlin estimates that between a 5 and 15 percent improvement in cycling speed would be "expected," although, again, that could go up or down depending on how the person reacts to the dope. (We don't know exactly why, physiologically, people vary in their reactions, but Yesalis says there's going to be some increase for anyone.)
How much would I improve?
Let's take the low end: 5 percent. I'm just an average cyclist, after all. Still, that shaves quite a few hours off my completion of the 21-day Tour.
HUMAN GROWTH HORMONE (HGH)
This one's a no-go in some ways: Athletes use it, but this hormone, which makes it easier for competitors to increase muscle mass over the long term, hasn't been definitively proven to increase strength or endurance. Although one study did find a four percent increase in sprinters' performance, what's more commonly reported that is that it decreases the recuperative time between training; that's widely, if anecdotally, reported, Yesalis says. It's tough to say how much that adds up to mathematically, but being able to train more could increase my performance, if I felt like training.
How much would I improve?
Hard to say.
This is used as a way to mask pain caused by workouts, thereby letting a cyclist (or whoever) compete more efficiently. Generally, they're a way to reduce inflammation in people experiencing pain, but they can give athletes a boost in the same way by letting them keep going--no pain, lots of gain. Hard to quantify, but I definitely plan on using plenty.
How much would I improve?
Same as above. Inconclusive.
SALINE AND PLASMA INFUSIONS
This doesn't directly give athletes any increase in performance; it's more of a way to foil drug tests. When competitors are blood doping, sometimes they "overshoot," Catlin says: The amount of red blood cells goes over that 50 percent mark (or whatever the mark is) and they'll be sit out of competition. So, to balance out the equation, dopers will add saline or plasma to their system, bringing the proportion back down to acceptable (but still performance-enhancing) levels.
How much would I improve?
SO CAN I BIKE UP A MOUNTAIN YET?
Sure! Especially if I aim for a mountain that I can bike up already.
It's hard to say exactly how these boosts "stack," Yesalis says--that is, whether two percentage increases can be combined neatly or whether you have to factor them into a complicated curve. For the most part, these are small increases, which can make a lot of difference in a top-tier race that comes down to a second or, in longer races, the minute.
To get up that mountain, I'd need to be able to climb most of the mountain (80 or 90 percent maybe) without help. If there's a mountain that's your own personal white whale, that you're within a few more pushes toward slaying, the Armstrong Cocktail could do it.
Remember, though, that it also depends on the person. A woman would get more out of the testosterone increases than a man; some people will see more improvement from steroid use in general; a regular cyclist who continues training while doping will see more of an improvement. Will I see a boost from this? Yes, probably. How much will it be? Not as much as Lance (allegedly) saw.
Conclusion? Probably not worth it. I am not going to transfuse my blood just yet.
For everyone who was critical of my view that performance enhancers were in widespread use among top athletes I have two words.
Lance - Armstrong.
Now carry on.
Blood doping. I always knew Lance was "Full of himself".
For professional riders it's the watts per kilogram a rider can produce, that you need to look at:
<i>"In the late 1990s and early 2000s if you were going to be competitive and win the Tour de France you would have to be able to cycle between 6.4 and 6.7 watts per kilogram at the end of a day's stage.</i>
<i>"What we are seeing now, in the last three or four years, is that the speed of the front of the peloton … is about 10% down compared to that generation and now the power output at the front is about 6W/kg."</i>
The only way you can get stronger and faster is by working out. Adding supplements to that, will increase peak performance over time(Maca, tribulus, kefir, creatine,) . Adding pharmaceutical grade performance enhancers (hgh, Steroids, Insulin) in enhance will increase your recover and strength, will greatly increase (including health risks). There is no substance you can take that will give a performance increase other than a slight increase at the moment. If you add it to your regimen over time, you will definitely see jumps in recover time and strength increases depending one health.
1) I missed the part where he was actually proved guilty.
2) I did see the part where he was tired of being hounded.
3). I didn't see the part where he was PROVED guilty. I only saw the part about him being tired of being hounded.
4) When they come up with a lot more evidence than they have, which is basically the doping police threatening to sue riders who would not testify against Lance or choose to testify and not get sued. I don't call that as finding guilt.
5) I want scientific PROOF that he doped.
No I don't know Lance and as far as I know I don't know anyone that knows Lance. Maybe I'm stupid or maybe the people that think he is guilty are stupid. All I know is there is ONE test that says he *might* be guilty. Other than that he has passed THOUSANDS of tests.
As far as I know his samples are still being held and they could perform more tests to see if he cheated. If they got rid of the tests then they are idiots since who wouldn't think they would want to run more tests on the samples if they truly thought he was cheating.
All this BS is like the Catholic church during the inquisition. If they drown they are innocent. If they don't drown they are guilty.
I'm making $86 an hour working from home. I was shocked when my neighbour told me she was averaging $95 but I see how it works now. I feel so much freedom now that I'm my own boss. This is what I do, Red97.com
OlsonBW, this image says a lot:
90% got caught except Lance, everybody knew he was using we only didn't knew how it was done, and the report tells it all. It's sad that he still has the arrogance to keep on denying, it is doing nobody any good and especially not the cycling sport, where he and his team turned young riders into users, he was not only a user but also a pusher. He needed a team around him that was as doped as him, otherwise you can't win, it's also a team sport. He's like a fallen dictator ... it's also sad for all the people with cancer who believe in him, he's letting everybody down. If he would simply admit, than he could get some pity because everybody was doing it at the time, and you need to do it to win, but the way he is behaving now is just a shame.
I'm going to take a wild stab in the dark and say OlsonBW also believes in a supernatural deity.
The relevance is that I don't see any point arguing with such people. I agree to disagree.
I like that image. It demonstrates my point with crystal clarity.
Performance Enhancers Are In Widespread Use Among Top Athletes!
You have to be a dope to think these guys are not doping.
Passing a test means you passed, it says nothing about HOW you passed.
I am a performance enhancer.....
How about we just cut to the future, make all "performance enhancing" drugs legal, level the playing field again, and if someone comes along and wins without the use of these drugs = super bad ass. And last I checked, Phelps got booted for "performance enhancing" drugs as well, but last I checked Marijuana, not a performance enhancer, well unless we are talking about competitive eating or sexual endurance...
Playing Devil's Advocate since 1978
"The only constant in the universe is change"
-Heraclitus of Ephesus 535 BC - 475 BC
I don't condone doping or anything, but if all of them were doing it, wouldn't that kind of put them all on a level playing field? Except for those one or two poor honest bastards who decided to go it on the level and play by the rules. I think we should split all sports up into two categories, doping and non-doping. That way we can see how far the athletes can push it if they're allowed to just go to town and eat steroid sandwiches.
funny how he passed every test, even every random test...and all this come a decade after he's retired.
also he is considering a high quality lie detector challenge against the 26 "witnesses".
so far all ive seen is what he could have done and what he was said he done 10 years after the fact. and zero proof.
You are missing the fact that he bribed the UCI when he WAS tested positive; and he also paid an Italian doping doctor about a million Euro on a Swiss bank account. You should read the report, very interesting stuff.
Yes all the top riders were at that that time doped, but the difference here with Lance is that the whole team was doped, this gave them/him an edge. Also they where about 2 years ahead of the rest regarding the doping they where using. A second point is that all the riders that have been caught have had to pay fines, where excluded and had to leave the sport; while Lance is still parading around as if he was the clean one.
btw the future works the other way around, cause nearly all doping is now being traceable, just like last year when Alberto 'el pistolero' Contador was banned for a year, when they found the now famous amount of <i>'Zero, zero zero zero zero zero zero zero zero zero zero zero zero zero zero zero zero zero zero zero cinco gramos.'</i> clenbuterol in his blood, and he said that it was from some piece of meat he ate.
There is no point in separating athletes into doping and non-doping. There would be hardly anyone in the non-doping group.
What they should do is only ban the most dangerous performance enhancers.
We know that doping is widespread all across society now. I don't care if Lance does, but he shouldn't be able to lie about it and profit fame and fortune by deception.
Now on the hematocrit limits in testing, there are some people, especially men, who have very high natural clotting levels. They aren't taken into account. These people have real valuable blood, and most times never really know it or consider it. With widespread testing in sports now, it's virtually assured that we have assigned false doping penalties on some number of people.
Testing needs to be more individuated now. Our testing doesn't account for a wide variety of locale specific environmental or personal factors that pertain to a given athlete. Are we ordering that no athlete eat meat? Not to go barefoot on certain fertilized soils or swimming in waterways? While our ability to test levels increases, other things don't keep pace. Are these athletes making about 2 trillion or so yearly worldwide? More? Then testing should reflect THAT, not some arbitrarily set world human standard for a handful of things in a test tube. We could be using breathalyzer tech much more, as everything in the blood tends to get around to the lungs once or twice every minute. We could do sweat swabs, finger pricks, and eye inspections. But my prediction is the Senate would never dream of ordering stuff like that, nor anyone else.
Past reports - the man beat cancer how many times?
Past reports - I remember reading that his heart is 2x more efficient in delivering oxygenated blood than a healthy 20 year old male.
Past reports - from winning how many tour de france he obviously has incredible stamina
The big question shouldn't be did he dope, the big question is why are we ALL doping.
You don't need transfusions to increase the red blood cell count. All you need to do is acclimatize yourself to some higher location, just before the competition. E.g. if you trained for the Tour de France in and around Denver Co., you'd have significantly more red blood cells than if you had trained around Paris. How could your training location possibly be ruled illegal?