The Spokesmen #145 – Hemoglobin & Estrogen

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Today’s Spokespeople:




Pro Cycling / Racing / MTB/Doping News

Industry News


Tips, Hints, Best Practices

  • Carlton: Buy from your local bike shop!
  • Tim: Recycle old cycling socks. Put ‘em in your saddle bag.
  • David: (more interesting than Strava Flyby), and Chris suggests Made with SISU for Strava posters
  • Chris: Cleat replacement on same shoes: Sharpie outline of position of old cleat before removal
  • Jim: Inflation chart, download and put on your workbench

10 comments to The Spokesmen #145 – Hemoglobin & Estrogen

  • Donnie

    Fascinating as usual.

    Couple of questions for you:

    You said that “every single one of these TUEs” in the first two batches of Fancy Bears leaks were to allow the taking of steroids but wasn’t Simone Biles taking ADHD meds?

    And can you explain why your breakdown of Chris Froome’s TUEs is different from those one has seen reported elsewhere please? My belief was he had had just two short term ones but you say he’s had one every year from 2012 to 2015. My glance at the Fancy Bears website couldn’t verify this.

    Perhaps you could look into these matters and, if you deem it serious enough, clarify on the next round table?

    But yes all those beyond the time cut should have been axed from the Vuelta.

  • Chris Wilkinson

    With reference to the use of steroids via TUEs by athletes in the hacked data from the UCI.
    The steroids listed are not anabolic steroids as used by bodybuilders etc to build muscle but rather corticosteroids which have an anti-inflammatory effect to reduce swelling and ease movement.

  • simon

    Well I got back from a ride with my 13 year old son. He started riding at 4 and has ridden road bikes MTBs and a BMX. He likes cycling and loves the clipless shoes he took for his first ride today. We went to a hill/peak that the locals use for their hill training and just as we rolled up the local highschool cycling team was getting ready to leave. I got him set up and he had spent the day before practicing for an hour how to clip in and out smoothly while still looking where he was going, he got it pretty quick. So I send him up the hill after the high schoolers and get my bike off the car and start chasing him down, or is it up? Anyhows, the high school team coach was giving him tips on cadence and opening up the shoulders e.t.c and I never saw that little bugger for the next 10 kms. It was WATT but it was me he was waiting on. He was proud and to his credit all he asked me was if I was okay? Apart from a slightly dented pride I was fine, actually my dent was more than compensated by the pride I had in his riding up a hill with some 12% or 13% grades and riding back down under control and very sensibly. In the car on the way home he tells me he wants to be a champion road racer and make a career out of it. Then I listen to your podcast and WTF? Should I tell him to give up on the idea unless he wants to cheat and beat the system as that’s what everyone else in the race will be doing? I know, he probably will decide next week he wants to be a mercenary fighting in Turkey or somewhere but it was depressing to think about his potential career where everything is crooked and corrupt, or is that what it is in any career? Great podcast by the way and I really enjoy hearing from the ladies. Cheers and thanks Simon in Japan.

  • Ian


    One of the best podcast episodes I’ve heard in the last year just came out from Cycling Tips.

    It touches on a lot of these issues. The entire thing is well, well worth listening to. But they get on the subject of professional cycling and the culture at around 50:00.

    “As an American and a lot of the american cycling fanatics have this idea that cycling is a healthy thing to do and it’s a healthy sport and people go out and ride their bikes because they eat, y’know, organic figs and free-range chicken eggs.

    “But the fact of the matter is when they’re saying they want to ‘fix’ the sport, what they’re really saying is they want to create an entirely different sport altogether. This sport was never anything but what it is right now. It was..look, Eddie Mercx? He tested positive three times when no one was even testing–and I don’t even know how that’s possible.

    “From day one this sport has been a ruthless war to win at all costs.”

    Again, if anyone hasn’t heard this interview yet–and regardless of how you feel about Landis or Zabriske, or doping in general–it’s absolutely a must-listen piece.

  • Bob S.

    Great episode.

    Re:doping/cheating. The latest from the hack wasn’t all that revealing, other than Wiggins has some explaining to do in regards to “I never get shots” and then getting them before his major events.

    Most of the major bike brands seem to stick to a product lifecycle similar to that of the auto industry. As you all pointed out, this has some serious issues, especially when it comes to the consumer learning about products many months in advance. It conditions consumers to wait for the next big thing either to buy it or to get the current big thing at a significant discount. Either way, not good.

    Jim is right. Vegas is cheaper for those attending shows like Interbike. Of course Trek and other large brands will do their own thing. They want the captive attention and they can command it. Most brands do not have that leverage. Funny enough, you will find people from the large brands at the show, even though they’re not exhibiting. The shows still have some purpose, but that is becoming murkier as each year passes.

  • Chad

    Hey Guys!

    Thanks for another fine episode. One of the topics that came up was the product release cycle in the industry with seems to follow a model similar to that of the auto industry rather than the model used in the tech industry. I was wondering if, in a future episode, you might talk a bit more explicitly about that in terms of the reasons and history and whether it would make sense for brands to consider a different strategy or model in the present economy. As more an more bike shops are finding it harder and harder to compete with on-line distributors, will there be a time when brands such as Trek and Specialized decide that their major sales channel is through the internet and establish their own release schedules?


  • Ryan Hale

    I just heard the last show and as much as I loath rehashing the whole drugs and cycling issue, it’s unfortunately become as big a story as the racing itself. I wanted to share my own experience with you. As you know I am a mental health counselor and have specialized in working with athletes and their issues. I’ve seen Pro Tour riders but for the most part see “2nd tier” domestic and regional pros and triathletes for issues ranging from relationships issues to eating disorders, bipolar disorder and depression. I make an assessment and recommend a course of treatment to a prescribing physician who is board certifed in sports medicine. We are both well aware that our athletes are tested and we have to cross all the Ts and dot the Is to make sure they are in compliance.

    It drives me nuts when the governing bodies second guess their need for prescription meds. I’ve had USA cycling and other organizations call and ask me why a particular rider is on bipolar medication when the diagnosis was depression or why someone with no history of psychological disorder suddenly has a diagnosis that requires a mood stabilizer (ummm, because it went undiagnosed for the past 10 years). Very often a client will respond to a medication that isn’t intended for their disorder but as you know psych meds are far from precise.

    Anyway, it’s frustrating when an athlete with a real need, is prescribed a drug with minimal performance enhancing capability and we have to practically testify before congress to justify our treatment.

    Ryan Hale

  • Steve

    I’m afraid that the episodes are getting repetitive and frankly more snarky as some of the panelists appear to be trying to act the most outraged. OK, I get it, pro cycling sucks, the bike industry sucks, cyclists that wear Rapha and use Strava suck. The Fred Cast was such an overall positive show about cycling, while also not ignoring the negatives. Other than the trade show visit episodes, The Spokesmen seems to all about the negatives.

  • Simon and Ian;

    Cheating is human nature. Drugs are present in ALL sports, at nearly every level. I’ve known masters racers who doped to win nothing more than bragging rights at some stupid office park crit or Mexican “fun ride.”

    Cheating is a human problem, rather than a cycling problem.

    I’m not an apologist for doping in cycling. I’ve been a loud critic for many years. I support lifetime bans for the first offense, given certain criteria. That said, cycling is getting better. It’s far from cured, but it never will be … again, because there are humans on the bikes.

    Be proud of your son, Simon. And be proud of the fact you showed him something to be excited about, whether he sticks with it or not. As a parent, that’s all I want for my daughters- I want them to find something they love and are passionate about. I’ve been wildly passionate about cycling since 1982, and it has taken me around the world, provided me with highs and lows, nearly killed me multiple times over, and has given me many of my closest friends. Whether your son loves cycling or basketball or football or soccer or gymnastics- the temptation to cheat will be part of the experience. It’s up to us as parents to steer them the best way we can through those early experiences, giving them the strength to make good choices.


  • fbhidy

    Just an FYI the hemoglobin tracker isn’t the same as a pulse oximeter. My father has a disorder that requires regular transfusions because of low hemoglobin/hematocrit levels (he’s anemic). He regularly is at 97-98% oxygenation levels, but he’s actually in an hypoxic state because he doesn’t have enough hemoglobin to carry oxygen to the brain. So this device is actually measuring your bodies ability to carry oxygen, not your current oxygen level; so really not the same thing…. Otherwise a great ‘cast.

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