Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Solstice lunar eclipse

Last night I witnessed something that the world had not witnessed for the past 400 odd years: a full lunar eclipse on the winter solstice. Not that it looked different from other lunar eclipses I have seen, but to think that something like this hadn't happened since way before bicycles were invented and before triathlon became the sport that it is today, made it extra special.
The bringer of good tidings???

Meanwhile I am still out recovering from my separated shoulder and cracked rib. I still haven't been able to get a refill for my prescription despite five calls and a useless visit to the pharmacy where nonplussed personnel told me they did not have any refills for me. Given all that I was extra pleased to see the attorney general from the Commonwealth of Virginia talk about his court victory against the recently passed, but not yet fully enacted health care reform bill. It is good to know that so many people care about keeping the US healthcare system in the poor state it is currently in.

Cycling on the other hand could not be doing better. The drug scandals keep on coming and WADA is deeply concerned "about the Iljo Keisse case and the message it sends." One message that WADA no doubt does not approve off is the recent Sporza vote that picked Keisse's win in the Zesdaagse van Gent as one of the major cycling events of 2010. WADA would have preferred a message that is more in line with the "purity of the sport," whatever that may mean? Like Woody Allen would say, all good things in life are messy.

Meanwhile another rider, the Dutch National mountain bike champion tested positive for clenbuterol. He too blamed tainted meat, this time consumed in Mexico. So far, no reaction from the Mexican butcher's union. If someone thinks the bad news will ever stop they must be dreaming or maybe they are smoking the same stuff WADA is smoking.

An ongoing battle
The Wall Street Journal weighed in on the doping matter with a story about the people behind the scenes. Here we read about the men (and women presumably) whose money carried Lance and his postal buddies to victory and who are now in danger of being dragged into a rather nasty court case. One famous backer was quoted as saying, "most fans couldn't care less."  I said as much in an earlier post.

But then I uncovered that some fans think we should let bygones be bygones because the whole matter is getting better. That -it appears- is also the official position of cycling's national governing bodies and ASO, the most famous race organizer in the world. They seem to think increased scrutiny is working and the sport is getting to be "cleaner." Victory is just around the corner!

I have no data to say otherwise of course, but I strongly doubt that that is the case. Why would it be? Do people really think increased scrutiny works? Has it ever worked before? Fortunately, now is as good a time to believe in magic as any. Christmas is the time when we all pay lip service to "Peace on Earth," which must be the greatest wishful thinking of all. But perhaps now that the heavens sent us a signal they haven't sent in over 450 years, things will change?

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