November Supports Clean Racing

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When we started November to help level the equipment playing field, we didn't foresee that we'd eventually be involved in helping to level the physiological playing field.  But here we are.  Mike and I race masters, which as you'll know if you read the internets, means that we and everyone else we race with and against is on the sauce.  Freaking masters, what can you do with them?  But seriously, we aren't doping and we don't think you're doping.  What we do see is an opportunity to benefit everyone in our region race with the peace of mind that there is a significant deterrent and identification mechanism in place against anyone who wants to be the next David Anthony, or Jonathan Chodroff, or whomever else. 

For those unaware of what I'm talking about, USAC has offered local associations matching funds in $3000 or $6000 increments in order to have USADA test at local events within the region.  MABRA can elect to take part in the program or not.  There is significant concern that, while this may be a great and noble program, spending $3000 on it isn't the greatest use of MABRA funds.  To that end, John Cutler has initiated an ipetition where MABRA riders can voice their support for MABRA's participation in the program, and pledge to voluntarily donate money to fund the program.  We went through the whole thing pretty much backwards and forwards with John, and he identified that about half of the $1500 threshold had been reached.  At that point, we offered to retroactively match the funds already pledged, and make up the difference. 

THIS DOES NOT MEAN THAT THE PROGRAM IS GOING FORWARD IN MABRA.  It merely means that a decision on whether MABRA should participate in the program or not can be made without needing to figure out how to pay for it.  The decision of whether MABRA participates in the program will be made at the MABRA Annual Meeting on January 6.  Anyone who has an opinion one way or another needs to raise the discussion within his/her club, and make sure that the club's stance is registered at the Annual Meeting. 

Significantly, this is November's first sponsorship investment of any kind.  We feel that sponsorship itself benefits the few at the expense of the many, and instead we choose to put any money that might go into sponsoring a few athletes into keeping our prices as low as possible for all athletes.  This program is unique in that the benefits accrue to every racer equally.  We realize that this is a contentious issue (the thousand and nine emails on the MABRA list serve having been our first clue) and that there are legitimate concerns on both sides.  We thought it was important that the decision be made on its own merits without regard to the financial question, which is now possible through all of the people who contributed individually and our match.  We want racing to grow and be healthy, for racers to be secure that their efforts aren't being undermined by people giving themselves unfair advantages, and for parents to have some reassurance that they are getting their kids involved in a healthy and beneficial sport. 

I took an extensive walk through the system with John Cutler.  The systems in place to ensure that this isn't an onerous burden or threat to people living their lives are great.  ANY medical condition for which you are being treated, and any medical event for which you might need therapy, are easily addressed through the TUE process.  I stress easily.  Finding out which products are banned in which circumstances is easy.  If you are into the purple fizzy stuff that you buy out of the back of fitness magazines, you'd probably want to take a second look at that, but I'd say that regardless of testing.  We are very satisfied that this is a good program, and that it's very easy to stay on the right side of it, but again the ultimate decision is for MABRA clubs and riders. In any case, as USAC license holders, we all agree to be beholden to USADA rules, and are subject to testing at any event.

We encourage everyone to become aware of the program and how it may or may not affect them, and to be involved in the very important decision that will be made on January 6th.  If you are in another region, this has undoubtedly gotten some air time in your district and we'd very strongly encourage you to be a party to the process as well.

Race smart and race clean.


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  • Dave on

    Thanks for the comments. Gordy – The whole thing is separate. The money goes to USADA, and then they decide when they're going to show up. No one from UCI/USAC/MABRA will know what race(s) it's happening at – they just show up. The simple fact is that the expense is great, and USADA doesn't really have the budget to reach down to the local association level. Mobilizing the "race day let's go out and test" part of it, plus all of the stuff that takes place in terms of chain of custody, plus the actual testing, is just really expensive. Also, not sure if it's a typo but it's USAC's "I'll give cash if you do too." But really, we aren't in the camp of selling participation in the program. That's for MABRA's members to decide. It's a little bit like a kid being able to decide whether to go to college without concern for the expense of it – we're offering to kick in a lot so that MABRA (the racers, clubs, officials, etc) can decide whether it's worth it without having to say "well that's a juniors program we can't fund" or "we'll have to cut back on our officials program" in order to say yes to it. Matt – The entire point of individuals pledging money, and us matching, is that participants can voluntarily pay for it, or abstain from paying for it. There is zero mandatory incremental cost to racers the way this works. Your racing costs won't go up by a dime because of this. The money from USAC ultimately comes from racers, but as it stands now, your costs to race in 2013 will be no different because of this. You raise a HUGE point about pot, and a draft of this post (no, I don't ALWAYS pull posts out of my butt, extemporaneously – freaking huge word there, huh?) had a section addressing that. Pot is a) popular among racers, and Americans in general b) banned c) has a really long "glow period" for those who read The Secret Race. My personal belief is if it weren't for the money, which we're addressing as we can, and the issue of the reefer, there wouldn't be ANY objections to this. NO ONE wants this to be a program where at the end of it all, there are 6 positives and all are for THC. It's banned in competition but not out of competition, which is problematic. If you were in the pool of athletes eligible for out of competition testing and a tester showed up at your house, you could say "hey, buddy, come on in and hold this joint while I whip you up a nice sample." A week later, without having touched pot since, you podium at a huge race and you get tested "in competition," you're still very likely to test positive for weed and since it's an in competition test you are hosed. It would be ideal if there were a means of recategorizing pot for our purposes but there is not. The nature of the whole thing is the the EXACT WADA protocol needs to be held. But again, debate among teams prior to the meeting and then the vote is at the meeting. This is one of those things where people have to be involved in order for the best and most representative decision to be made.

  • Matt on

    I applaud what November is doing here because you guys are standing up for your beliefs. Whatever one's beliefs – that is admirable.Everyone wants to know they are racing against a clean field, but I can't see how this is going to happen without across-the-board expenses going up for participants – and I don't care if I lose to someone who's on HGH enough that I want to pay more to race. It just doesn't matter that much to me in the end. I know I race clean and that is all that matters to me. Honestly, of a bigger concern for me is recreational drugs. I'm not going to lie – I like pot…. and based on what you see in the parking lots of most cyclocross races, I don't think I'm alone in that category. It sure doesn't make you faster. I just hope this doesn't turn into some side show with a bunch of middle of the pack cat 3 guys getting popped because they smoked a joint the night before a race.

  • Gordy on

    This smacks of being a complete joke, but not by you guys. If USADA really want to promote and enforce clean cycling, then they should be the ones paying for drug tests. And if we as a society really want to promote and enforce clean cycling, then the government/ people should be the one/ ones funding USADA to administer said tests.Paying MABRA to administer tests sounds a lot like professional cyclists paying UCI to administer tests. But wait, I'm having deja vu… isn't that a conflict of interest?Not that I'm belittling what you guys are doing, far from it. But the kneejerk outrage at the UCI for attempting to police themselves (not an idea I agree with either) doesn't go nearly as far as its logical conclusion states it should. Responsibility for testing of athletes should be entirely separate from the governing bodies. USADA's "I'll give you cash for this if you do too" stance is frankly a little embarrassing.


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