Editors note: The Racing Chronicles are as accurate as Fox News. They keen comfortably to the always-fashionable notion that facts are at best fluid and hold dear Fitzgerald's lesson that fiction is the most truthful form of journalism.


THE RACING CHRONICLES: Internet Beggars or Freud Would Wake Screaming


A man can travel far and wide
All the way to shame and Glory
And back again
But he ain't never going to find
Nothin in this old world that's
Dead Solid Perfect

Dan Jenkins

Thank you for showing me all of mankind's lofty ideals.
Now let me introduce you to the basement.

Sigmund Freud


Things Worth a Dream


1.

INTERNET BEGGARS


You recall fondly Conan Doyle's tale of the businessman who was the greatest beggar in London. Each day he would leave his comfortable home in Victorian suburbia and take the train to London and change into his work clothes. The Self would be reminded of this story whenever he saw the gentlemen who worked the exit near the Fashion Mall with his "I'll work for food sign." He certainly had the sense to go where the money was though it is hard to conjure up the image of a Carmel dweller disgorging any loot.

It is of course a lot more comfortable to tap out an email than stand on a corner and thus the Internet is now the preferred form of begging for those in the haze of the Dream. Every so often an email arrives announcing the great news that so and so is going to turn pro because well "you only live once," "if I don't I'll always wonder," "I don't want to wake up and be forty and have done nothing," "you only get one chance," "if I can do this then I'll have the confidence to do anything," "I just love to ride my bike," or some variation of a "need to find my limits."

These letters are usually addressed to Dear Self and generally contain the preamble that "I have always considered you a real friend and know that you have done a lot for the sport." However, some of these "close" friends are not too familiar with the Mail Merge Feature and thus about halfway down in a personalized paragraph the Self's name will have changed to Peter or John or some such.

Now, as you suspect the Self has not had much experience with friends but it seems to be generally accepted that friends have at least at a minimum had a Coke together or spent time staring at women. It is perhaps a little much to have actually ridden with this friend being what Pros can't be wasting their limited training time tooling around especially with the time constraints imposed by the need to update their website diaries.

As it turns out in order to fulfill this fantasy so and so is going to need some money because well being a Professional Bike Racer means not getting paid. In Looking Glass Land a Professional has to pay, you guessed it 12K. Self had always understood that by definition a racer only could be said to be living the Dream when he was being paid 12K a year. The official lexicographer of Dreamland is the Hippstar who began this thankless but important undertaking during the Regan years. Though eroded by inflation and the Bush I recession the 12K Standard has stood the test of time and a guy with that Contract could snub smugly. The Hipp assures that this 12K Buy in is probably just a Hooterland anomaly and that in the land of Californication the 12K Dream remains as elusive as a virgin on prom night. The Hipp figures the bar is already low enough what the 12K not being indexed.

Regardless the permanence of this dissemble, the extent of its obduracy in an America so staid in its veridical emblems of professionalism inveighs for a softer almost evanescent standard. Dreams after all are but our realities stripped of the defenses we create. And so it is that paying 12K to live like a grown up at Summer Camp is indeed a somnambulant experience in which the walker is blissfully disengaged. Now, the Self would rather endure Christian Rock than be labeled a Wowser; * but, the trenchancy of this deception nags an answer. Being what John Ashcroft in running the Department of Faith-see Whitehouse.org- and is constantly telling us that Satan is everywhere, it is an inquiry that a Patriot must make-though it must be admitted the Self would be less inclined had he not seen The Usual Suspects a few hundred times.

You will recall that in Damm Yankees, William Bendix made a Faustian deal with the My Little Martian guy (he was also in the Sting) became Tab Hunter, won the pennant for the Washington Senators and got to hang out with Lola played by Gwen Verdon (who by the way was the original Rene Zwellbody in Robert Fosse's play Chicago.) Now, generally the Self would not figure Satan would waste his time on cycling but hey you got to figure not even he would want to hang out with Bobby Knight and Jimmy Jones which when you think about it is sort of tangential proof that the Sixth Ring of Hell is full and they are making people stay in Texas. So with the major sports doing quite awfully all alone it makes sense to take on a light- lifting job like corrupting a sport that already has the USCF going for it. Also, being what it doesn't appear Satan was funding a Bush Election Pact it's pretty likely that Satan is not high on the list for a rich guy tax windfall and thus it only makes sense that Satan is not going to have to bid a Liz Hurley for the pitiful soul of a Buy In Pro, especially when the odds are probably like forever to one that you can get them all for a night with a team of Sundialers.

Parenthetically, the Self does not recognize baseball as a sport. Besides the fact that any sport in which you have lay twelve to ten cannot be taken seriously, it appears that George Will has written a book about it.

Besides, the Self never did understand the lure of Summer Camp. Flies, bad food, group sleeping, psychotic counselors, regimentation, and CRAFTS are far too like the prison of Self's nightmares. Dreams should be saved for better stuff. See accompanying pictures.

Kim and Hawk at St V. Massacre


*A Wowser is that particular breed of Puritan who lives in apoplectic fear that someplace in the United States someone is having a good time. H.L. Mencken. See, National Scold Bill Bennett and Department of Religion General John Ashcroft.


II.
DRUG WARS


In the interests of quality health care and a few million dollars in his campaign account Utah's Senator Hatch has long championed the cause of food supplement fraud. Thanks to him and his consumer advocate cronies cyclists are free to purchase no end of products that at best do nothing and at worst a lot of harm for which the manufacturers are essentially immune from responsibility. Now, the Self is generally of the opinion that if Someone is stupid enough to buy this industrial sludge then Mr. Someone is probably better off with that Someone's money being what it might then be spent on something important such as drugs that really work. In this regard the Self must admit a kinship with our President who in the his Pre God Talks to Me Incarnation was apparently of the attitude that "A Mind is a terrible place to me caught sober." (sic). This, it is assumed was back in the time before only terrorists sold cocaine. Regardless, in a time of limited funds it is probably best that our Moral Clarity leaders go after parents who give marijuana to their cancer stricken children. *

*It is well known that pediatric oncologists advise parents to offer Brownies to their children undergoing Chemo.

But, this would be merely opaque were it not for the presence of real victims. In the best tradition of all who get caught taking birth control supplements, Scott Moninger, is taking the villains to Court. The Self has consulted with his colleagues at the Sports Law Firm of Stickem, Humpem and Gouge. Unfortunately, Self was advised that Sports Law Firms don't actually try cases. But, with the help of MKA the Self offers the following probable cross-examination of Mr. Moninger.

Attorney Nasty: Mr. Moninger, as I understand it your Team Mercury supplied you with supplements.

M. Yes

Nasty: And according to the testimony of the Team Manager you were advised not to take any products not provided by your official team supplement supplier.

M. Yes.

Nasty. And yet you went to a store and bought supplements manufactured by another company.

M. Yes.

Nasty. And you were told at the beginning of the year by your Team Manager that if you were caught with any illegal substances in your blood you would be suspended by the FEDS.

M. Yes.

Nasty. And you were advised that you should not rely on the information on a bottle because often the label is wrong.

M. Yes.

Nasty. And why then did you take something not provided by your Team?

M. Because I didn't think that stuff worked.

Nasty. But didn't it have the same ingredients.

M. Yes. But, I don't think it worked and this stuff I bought before seemed to work.

Nasty. You are aware of no reputable studies showing that taking all manner of amino acids does anything except give you expensive urine.

M. Yes, but cycling isn't about science.

Nasty. However, you do know that the stuff caused you to test positive for something that does work.

M. Yes, but if I wanted to take something that worked I would not have been caught.

Nasty. Say What.

M. Well, I never wanted to race in Europe because I'd have to cheat and I didn't want to cheat by taking drugs that work. So, I raced in the United States where I can take stuff that doesn't work and still compete. You see in the United States you only have to take stuff that doesn't work to compete, but if you go to Europe you have to take stuff that works.

Nasty. Are you saying that all the guys in Europe cheat?

M. No, I am saying that to compete in Europe you have to take stuff that works.

Nasty. But, stuff that works was found in your blood.

M. Exactly. And that means that I didn't mean to take anything that would work.

Nasty. Help me.

M. If I wanted to take something that worked I wouldn't have been caught because if you want to take something that works you don't take something that can be found.

Nasty. So, if blood tests for something that works it means the racer didn't mean to take something that works.

M. Or it doesn't work because if it shows up it probably isn't the stuff that really works but just the stuff that shows up on a test.

Nasty. Say what.

M. You don't understand. Can you not read French (parenthetically, a great trial tactic to blame the French.)?

Nasty. But, isn't the presence of steroids proof you took steroids.

M. Of course not. The presence of steroids is proof you didn't take steroids because if you took steroids you would have taken the stuff they can't detect. Are you not only Nasty but also STUPID?

N. So, let me get this straight. Evidence of Steroids is proof they aren't being used.

M. Yes.

Nasty. And the absence of Evidence of Steroids is proof that someone took steroids.

M. Yes, if it is in Europe. Here it is just blood.

N. Okay, so let's assume we sold you bad stuff. What are your damages?

M. I lost income.

Nasty. Okay, how much.

M. Well I was going to ride for two more years.

Nasty. So, did you have a contract?

M. No, contracts are hard to get and my Team folded for not paying salaries.

Nasty. So, what is the standard pro Contract?

M. 12K of course.

Nasty. So, you lost 24K. Yeah, and I get to deduct my expenses because according to the Velofluff Legal Column I am a Pro and not a hobby racer.

Nasty. So, you lost 24 K.

Yeah.

JUDGE: You are keeping me from lunch over 24K.

M. Your honor. It's about Dreams not money.

JUDGE: No, Liz Hurley is about Dreams.

And so it is and so it is.


CODA


From time to time even the Self must leave the world of his mind where all is farce and fancy. Mr. Moninger's situation is but an extreme example of the perniciousness of so called zero tolerance that in turn is an explicative of the sub-rosa denigration of people who dare present that beliefs are not solutions. Cycling is a magically stoopid sport practiced by men and women who merely want to stay boys and girls and who despite often throwing themselves to the floor with feet kicking almost always come to treat each other fairly. No one not caught in the throes of the false hopes of zero tolerance concludes that Mr. Moninger should receive anything but a letter signed with a wink asking him to promise not to do it again. If not that then the matter should be buried for two years at which time he can retire and the charges dismissed as moot.

Every issue of Velofluff has given voice to the new Head Fed's promise that the USCF will become a user- friendly organization and that pettiness is past. Thus it would seem implicit that the officials be more interested in being accurate than right even if it does require an admission to fallacy.

MKA is my friend and while that's not much to be it does come with the realization that as Rog would say I'm not going to tell someone whose fifty pounds overweight that eating the Ben and Jerry's Reduced Fat is going to make him look good tomorrow. He is petulant, annoying, demanding, and sulky, which is on a good day. However, he supports races, racers and does things that he would not want anyone to know*. He recently finished the PVSR Race and should have gotten ninth place, which would not matter, but what the place counts for So Cal Cup Points, which he won last year, as did David and Butch. Without the PVSR points he is pretty much out of the running. At the end of the last stage he went off to attend to an injured teammate. Only later and after the protest time did he learn they had listed him as DNF. The USCF once again putting form over substance refuses to even acknowledge that he finished the race, camera shots notwithstanding.

Now, the simple easy solution is to simply award Roger his points that he earned. But, no the USCF won't have it.

Someday when things get bad enough people who can handle the challenge of nuance will no doubt have to again clean up the mess left by the Moral Clarity. But those left behind can take solace that rigid autodactics will always be welcome at USA Cycling.

And this visit to seriousness has been long. It is as dark a place as remembered.

*Besides he and my other friends came to visit me in Freud's basement.

Ride Fast and Take Chances.


Bill Stone