Talking about Judging, Doping, and The Levi Effect

10.23.2012 | 11:00 am

I was in my early thirties and had been working at Novell for about five years when a recruiter called me, telling me about an interesting local tech company that was making waves with an innovative VOIP product. They were aggressively hiring, looking for tech writers, copy writers, editors, and HTML / JavaScript developers.

They liked that I had experience doing all of these things, and I was ready to move on. So I joined the company (called “i-Link,” which I can comfortably name because it hasn’t existed for years and years.)

It wasn’t ’til orientation that I learned that i-Link’s revenue model was based on multi-level sales. A pyramid scheme.

I came home from work, sick to my stomach. I worked for a company that made money in what I considered a morally reprehensible way.

[Aside: For those of you who approve of and maybe even make a living using multi-level marketing (and that's probably going to include a lot of my Utah neighbors, because it's a very common business model around here), I'm not saying that what you're doing is wrong, and it's certainly not illegal. It just doesn't sit easy with me. Let's not make the comment section be about multi-level marketing today, K?]

So I had a serious decision to make. Stay? Or go?

I stayed. Only for as long as it took for me to find a new job — about six weeks — but I stayed.

I had a pretty good set of reasons for staying: I had a house payment to make. I had kids to feed. I knew it’s much easier to find a job when you already have a job than when you don’t.

I have never been so relieved to give two weeks notice, nor so happy when the HR rep told me money was tight and they’d prefer if I was going to leave, to just walk away.

I was free of that place.

But for six weeks I worked there, writing copy for and coding the public-facing website. Creating a tool to help people leverage a business model that made (makes) me ill. Proving to myself that if the price was right, I’d do something I felt was wrong.


I think about that experience often. For a long time, I thought about it with shame. Now, though, I think about it as an incredibly valuable learning experience.

Essentially, I learned that — like me — pretty much everyone wants to be a good person. Also in my experience, there are times when people — including me — do rotten things. I learned that if I can make serious compromises I’m not proud of and then continue to do them until I find a way out, I should guard heavily against judging others who do the same thing.

Since then, I’ve come to an additional realization: the people who are most harshly judgemental are generally the least likely to have spent time evaluating and rectifying their own poor choices.

I don’t want to be one of those people.

So, when the cascade of doping admissions confirmed that Levi Leipheimer — the pro I’ve had more personal interaction with than any other (including Lance Armstrong, many times over) — had been doping for a big chunk of his career, I did my best to switch from anger to understanding.

To move from thinking “You shouldn’t have done that” to “I’m glad you’re trying to fix the damage you’ve caused.”

Because I can’t see or understand people’s motives for what they’ve done in the past. I can only see what they’re doing right now.

Email Exchange

So I sent Levi this email:

Hi Levi,

Just in case it’s of value for you to know that you’ve still got a friend in a beloved, multi-award-winning, very handsome blogger, I thought I’d let you know: I’m still your bud, and still looking forward to doing something fun and stupid for a good cause with you next year, or maybe sooner.

In fact, let me know the next time you’re in Utah and in the mood for an easy ride. It’s about time you find out how awesome it is to go MTBing on a SS.


I honestly didn’t have any expectation of a reply, but I got one:


I really can not put into words how much it means to me when I receive an email like this, I really appreciate your support- a lot! I’m sorry that we have damaged the sport that you love but I really believe this is the best for the long term. You have supported me personally and my community and I owe you an explanation, if you want to hear it? I’m looking forward to time healing this mess and being able to redeem myself. Thanks again for the email and the support, it really helps right now.


ps I’d still kick your ass on an SS MTB

I thought this was worth sharing, so asked Levi if he was OK with that. Frankly, he was a little bit uncomfortable with it — he thought it would come off as him promoting himself. I let him know that I’d be clear that he hadn’t expected or wanted this to go public. I just tend to overshare, what with being a blogger and stuff.

So, that said, I appreciated his offer of giving me an explanation, and plan to take him up on it. I’ll get back to you on how that goes.   

The Levi Effect

So that’s the backdrop for The Levi Effect, the documentary that is showing across the country tonight.

I’m one of a few people who’s actually seen the movie twice. The first time was a couple hours after the GranDonut race. By accident, the projectionist had put the filename up on the screen, which was something like “levi_effect_short_version.mp4.”

So if that’s the short version, what’s the long version?

Well, obviously (at least it’s obvious now, although I pretty much connected the dots right when I saw the filename back at the Fondo), the long version’s the version that includes about six minutes of Levi talking about doping.

I asked BikeMonkey to send me a copy of the long version of the movie, and they obliged. So I watched it with some friends last Friday night, then filmed a few minutes of our conversation afterward:

Is the movie worth going to see tonight? Well, my point of view is kind of slanted, because I know and like a lot of the people in the movie. And I’m not talking about the “stars” of the film, I’m talking about the folks from BikeMonkey: Greg Fisher, Carlos Perez, Yuri Hauswald. And Levi’s wife, Odessa Gunn.

So, with that grain of salt, I’ll still say “yes.” It’s worth seeing. For one thing, it shows off Levi’s Gran Fondo, which is in fact one of the most amazingly awesome events put on by anyone, anywhere.

And for another thing, you’ll walk out of the theatre with an interesting conversation on your hands. See, once I turned off the camera (of course) in the video above, the conversation kept going, and actually turned a lot more serious.

It’s a good catalyst to talk about doping. And judging. You might, in fact, find that the greatest value of The Levi Effect is that it makes you think about pro cyclists as people (fallible for sure, but good at heart, like the rest of us) again.


  1. Comment by Jack in Hagerstown | 10.23.2012 | 11:21 am

    Lordy, I got roped into a multi-level marketing deal with my first job out of college and desperately (despite the poor economy at the time) was looking elsewhere when I lucked into a job much better suited to me. I didn’t have a wife or family but I did have bills that had to be paid, so I can totally understand how bad you want to not be doing what you are doing when it goes against your personal ethics.

    With that said, I was sad. I believed Lance when he said he didn’t. I thought no one that had been through what he had would willingly jeopardize his own health further. I guess I was duped. But my life doesn’t depend on the results of bike races, and while I can admire racers and their accomplishments. I guess now I have to sort of take them with a grain of salt, which I should have done all along I guess.

    Still what Levi has done with his Fondo, and Lance with Livestrong, and others with their own personal bike fundraisers for others is much more important to me than the results of any bike race anywhere.

    In life there is no white or black, just a lot of shades of gray. We all just strive to make our gray as light as possible.

    Incredibly well said. – FC

  2. Comment by Jenni | 10.23.2012 | 11:26 am

    It’s always important to reflect, thanks Fatty for taking time to do it, and do it here where you’re so vulnerable to people judging you back for how you judge or whatever. I tell my students, “When you point the finger, there’s three pointing back”. Anyway, thanks for writing.

  3. Comment by TK | 10.23.2012 | 11:32 am

    Was I alone in not being surprised by any of the guys who came out and confessed?! I had always assumed that most pros in that era had doped in some fashion. I really like Levi and George, both before and after the USADA report. I now like Tommy D and the others more than I ever did before. A funny thing happens when someone confesses that they are human and make mistakes…they instantly become more likeable.

  4. Comment by rich | 10.23.2012 | 11:33 am

    I’m probably one of the least judgemental people I know (and humble and good looking)
    Seriously though, I think that if anyone actually takes the time to do some self-reflection (and few people do) they’ll see that we all have things or decisions in our lives we aren’t proud of but justified at the time.
    Or maybe I’m wrong and I’m the only one…

  5. Comment by Mary Timberlake | 10.23.2012 | 11:33 am

    Agree with Jack…mistakes of the past are sad, but the good that these men have been able to do and the resources they’ve been able to give are much more important than the races.

  6. Comment by Dan O | 10.23.2012 | 11:34 am

    I saw a cartoon in Denver Post on Sunday, I forget who the contributor was, it had the following caption.

    “Despite Armstrong, Livestrong”

    As a survivor, I couldn’t agree more.

    As far as I’m concerned, it was a level playing field at the time.

    I want to see Levi ride a SS MTB.

    Life is good


  7. Comment by Liz M. | 10.23.2012 | 11:39 am

    I’m sorry I have a conflict tonight and cannot go see the movie — hope it is available in some other shape or form at some point in the future.

    I work in the law enforcement field and come at the whole “EPO Era” controversy from a different place than a lot of my cycling friends. I don’t think a violation of the law makes a person evil. Everyone is struggling with human frailty and some will make choices they later (or immediatly) regret. Some will never regret the choice. I try to have compassion even as I am part of a process that makes people face the consequences of their actions.

    Hopefully, the system works — young cyclists will see how much a whole generation of cyclists, really, lost and the sanctions will have their intended deterrent effect.

    As I understand it, this video will be available on DVD and for download in about 3 months. – FC

  8. Comment by Barton | 10.23.2012 | 11:39 am

    I hadn’t realized this was showing tonight (sorry, been immersed in Cardinals baseball – that’s obviously over now, so back to what else is going on in the world). So thanks. I have always liked Levi, and loved “getting to know him” through his interactions w/ you. I think right now, I am more disappointed w/ the fallout of the “confessions” than the fact that they had anything to confess to in the first place (dropped by teams, still no action to change the sport as whole or acknowledge wholesale-pelaton doping schemes which must have existed, etc). Telling the truth is good for the soul, but it always seems to attract retaliation.

    I’ve found a local theater that is showing “The Levi Effect,” and I’ll be going. (popcorn for dinner!!)

  9. Comment by Jodi | 10.23.2012 | 11:40 am

    Great post Elden – and hats off for reaching out to Levi. It’s hard to fall from grace, and certainly these guys have fallen. But they have families, they have kids, and when the shake down of the hype is over, hopefully they have friends remaining. It’s so easy to gaze up at our heroes, and be inspired by them. But I do truly think that real inspiration is being present to watch in what manner they carry themselves when the sky is falling. Levi, from his short email, seems to be trying to carry on with grace and humility. That seems somewhat heroic to me. I may be an optimist, but I hope these guys carry on in some capacity the good works they have been doing, and don’t let their failures be the new sum of their substance.

    Now I understand why mom always said you were almost as smart as me. – FC

  10. Comment by Kristina | 10.23.2012 | 11:40 am

    There’s a mantra I remind myself of frequently (to the point that now I can’t remember if I started saying it myself, or if I got it from somewhere else):

    I am not the worst thing I’ve ever done.

    It follows, then, that I don’t get to judge anyone else by the worst things they’ve done, either. Sometimes we forget who we are in the face of what we need, or even just what we want.

  11. Comment by Damon Pettit | 10.23.2012 | 11:52 am

    I think a lot of people put way too much hope into others and forget that we are all human, we make choices that dont always fit the way we would like them to. As far as cycling, I do think there needs to be a personal check for all of the riders, clean (if it exists) and non-clean. I wonder how rampant doping would be if there was no fame or prize money? I find it very interesting the “companies” that jump ship from people like Lance even though they still sponsor other riders who more than likely are guilty of the same thing. Money seems to rule….. its a sad state of affairs. Great article!

  12. Comment by FujiPixie13 | 10.23.2012 | 11:56 am

    Loved this whole post and the video, too. Thanks for sharing the opinions and takeaways from The Hammer and your other guests. I personally would not wish to be judged for some of my past actions/decisions, especially in such a public way. Way to go, Fatty, for letting your friend, Levi, know that you are still here for him, for really being an example of a true friend. It’s during the darkest days that you do find out who the people are that truly are your real friends.

    Chapeau, Fatty.

    Now, did someone say pie?!? :o)

  13. Comment by tim carls | 10.23.2012 | 12:00 pm

    this is a great background on what the film is about and what Levi is about. I am stoked to see it tonight locally in Southeastern WI..Met Levi a few times, in Missouri and Colorado. I look past his doping acknowledgement, and look at a great guy, great rider and team mate.. even if he rides with multiple doughnuts..
    Thanks FC


  14. Comment by Jake | 10.23.2012 | 12:02 pm

    Good piece Elden, honest and I like the fact you admit to initial anger, like the rest of us.

    I’d like to respond to Dan O – please read The Secret Race. It describes exactly why the playing field was not level. Everyone may have been on dope, but firstly EPO & blood transfusions affect different people differently, and secondly USPS/Discovery had a far more sophisticated set up than any of their competitors. It’s all there, read it and make up your own mind.

    Again, chapeau Elden.

  15. Comment by sdcadbiker | 10.23.2012 | 12:04 pm

    Am I still allowed to be judgmental about Hamilton and Landis? As much as I dislike Pat McQuaid I suspect he is right about those two.

    Beats me. I’m going to focus on not judging, having fun, and working with people who want to do good things. – FC

  16. Comment by Bill | 10.23.2012 | 12:05 pm

    It is easy for me, as a non-super human cyclist, to be pretty judgemental about Levi, Lance, George and so many others. It is also easy for me, as an intelligent non-super human athlete, to see that if I was given the ability to compete at the level that these guys are (and the pros in so many other sports that doped) and put in the position of doping or not, I cannot type here today saying I would have said NO and walked out of the bus and out of the business for the rest of my life.
    Anyone who says they would never dope has, most likely, never been at the level where it meant the difference between a lot of money and sponsorship or working 9-5 for a living. For us to judge those that have made the wrong choice is wrong in my opinion.
    I love cycling and I hope they clean it up because I enjoy the pain of the journey with every pedal stroke I take no matter where it is and what the cause it is for.
    It is in their hands now to make sure the sport comes clean and stays clean so our children’s children can enjoy racing and watching pros push their bodies to limits few can appreciate.

    PS – Saw a rider in B2B Wilmington in the Fatty jersey and he was rocking it and supporting your cause!

  17. Comment by davidh-marin, ca | 10.23.2012 | 12:05 pm

    he thought it would come off as him promoting himself

    I thought he was referring to his SS prowess. After reading the comments I realize that it’samore than that.

    I’ve been on my soapbox (at home only) suggesting to Wife#1 and pets that if bicycling was serious about ‘truth’ they would have done what South Africa went through with a truth and reconciliation commission. Now I see on Velonews that there’s such talk. I believe there were individuals who wanted ‘trophies’ before forgiveness.

    I for one will always be proud of Lance, Levi, George, Tom, and all the racers who have competed in a very cruel arena.

    I’m going riding now!!!

  18. Comment by rich | 10.23.2012 | 12:06 pm

    Classy post.

    Going to see it tonight. And Levi, just in case you read this: thanks for giving us a REAL apology in that email, and for all you’re doing to make the sport better. It is being noticed, and it makes a difference to many fans. Thanks.

  19. Comment by Ben | 10.23.2012 | 12:07 pm

    I’m sorry that I seem to be the only one thinking this, but Levi broke the law and committed a crime. His illegal activities brought him a lot of money and fame. It doesn’t matter how much good he did. The fact is he broke the rules. I’m not demanding blood, nor am I going to offer him a pass. There are simply consequences to every choice we make. Your analogy doesn’t work because MLMs are not illegal, as you say. Levi knew what he was doing and he certainly didn’t make efforts to come forward until the issue was forced by investigators. That is not consistent behavior with someone trying to make things right. Cycling still has a long way to go to fix this in my estimation.

    1. Thanks for expressing your POV without getting ugly. I love when all perspectives can be expressed without getting mean.
    2. I agree my analogy breaks down, but my main point was that I had done something I wouldn’t approve of, and kept doing it.
    3. I’m not sure the punishment is fitting the crime (if “crime” is the right word, and I honestly don’t know if any criminal action has been taken place) either, and there’s variance even within this group. For example, Tom Danielson pretty much is getting a short suspension. Levi lost his job. George Hincapie is getting . . . nothing, really, since he was retiring anyway.

    This is messy, no questions. But it’s better than nothing.

    Again, thanks for chiming in. -FC

  20. Comment by MattC | 10.23.2012 | 12:07 pm

    I’ve always gone with the ol’ “never judge a man until you’ve walked a mile in his shoes. That means when it comes time to judge, you’ll be a mile away, and you have his shoes”.

    They’re just humans, doing their best. It’s always easy to armchair-quarterback everything, or judge using hindsight.

  21. Comment by NW Biker | 10.23.2012 | 12:11 pm

    I’m glad you emailed Levi, and I really love his response. It made me want to ride the Fondo even more than I already did–and who knew that was possible!

    Many years ago, Charles Barkley made a commercial that made a lot of people angry, and all he did was point out that he was a basketball player, not a role model. There’s a huge difference between calling someone a hero or putting them up on some sort of pedestal and admiring that person’s accomplishments or talent. Levi (and Lance and all of the others) are amazing athletes. But they’re human beings and humans make mistakes and let themselves get pressured into things they know are wrong. We all rationalize at one time or another.

    The past is the past. I’ll always watch pro cycling and root for my favorites. I suspect that Levi is right: things are painful now, but if it helps the sports and current and upcoming riders, that’s all to the good.

    BTW, that comment about keeping our grey at light as possible should be a poster or a bumper sticker. Great thought!

  22. Comment by Jenni | 10.23.2012 | 12:11 pm

    Just throwing this out there- I’d be happy to pick up all of Lance’s endorsement deals. I am not the fastest cyclist in the world but I can assure everyone I’d never be involved in a doping controversy (unless that controversy involved actually occasionally BEING a dope, in which case I pre-admit fault).
    Nike, have your people call my people.

  23. Comment by dug | 10.23.2012 | 12:21 pm

    “I’m sorry that I seem to be the only one thinking this, but Levi broke the law and committed a crime.”

    did he? i thought he just broke the rules, not the law. but i’m no lawyer.

  24. Comment by Kevin | 10.23.2012 | 12:22 pm

    Thanks for the i-Link flashback Fatty. Someday you’ll have to explain how you dealt with being recruited by a company that had a, gasp, dress code!

    I had forgotten about that, Kevin. As it turns out, the best thing (only good thing) about joining i-Link was that I got to keep the $2000 worth of clothes they bought for me as part of my joining the company, since I had worn nothing but shorts and t-shirts for the past 5 years at Novell! – FC

  25. Comment by Sara | 10.23.2012 | 12:23 pm

    Thanks so much for writing this, Fatty. You always have a way of saying exactly what I’m thinking.

  26. Comment by ClydeinKS | 10.23.2012 | 12:26 pm

    I have a symbol inked on me that translates to “only God can judge.” Media has run with this portraying the involved as villains to the sport, I simply don’t see it. It is well known now that whole arena was involved and not just USPS/Discovery. We followed, but none of us lived in their environment and have full understanding of what took place internally (or externally) for all of the invovled riders. I am unable to place judgment based on these facts and also admit that personally I would have likely doped and also now be facing criticisms following admission.
    Thank you Jack for the statement regarding shades of gray, so very true!
    I hope I can arrange tonight’s schedule to get to the showing, thanks for the reminder.
    Once again, excellent post and very well stated Fatty!

  27. Comment by chapell | 10.23.2012 | 12:26 pm

    I really want to see(read about) a Levi vs. Fatty SS mtb competition/fundraiser.

  28. Comment by Jim | 10.23.2012 | 12:34 pm

    Nice discussion Elden.

    I’m mainly disappointed that so many of these guys broke the rules, but for a long time I’ve figured they all doped, and Lance was just King of the Doped Racers. It’s good to get the truth out in the open finally, but the real moral worth of these fellows is going to be tested from here on out. The Army beat a notion into my head that it’s human to screw up, but it’s leadership to own up to it, take responsibility, and then fix what you screwed up. These guys – most of them, Matt DeCanio and Joe Papp excepted – screwed up, and were forced into taking responsibliity for what they did. They failed the first three tests of character. The final exam – whether they work hard to fix it – is now here, and due to failing grades on the first three exams, they need to knock it out of the park. I’m mindful of the fact that it’s just bike racing, we’re not talking about murder, rape, genocide, or the other frankly nutty comparisons we’ve seen. Nor are the riders solely responsible. They are moral actors and bear responsibility for their own actions, but some sponsors and promoters and certainly the folks at the sanctioning bodies bear some responsibility. Still, we’re talking about the riders. They’ve acted fraudulently, and now the time has come – a time that may take them the rest of this decade or the rest of their lives – to fix the parts of the sport they broke, and maybe to work to help fix the other parts of the sport that they didn’t necessarily break themselves, but which are broken. Forget this ‘trust but verify’ crap and these lifetime ban things; judge them by their actions. Most of the dopers’ careers are coming to an end. Do they step up and grow up into leadership roles in cycling and help make it so that young, rising stars don’t get put into the same position that caused so many to fail? Or do they just do the Mark McGwire thing, make piece with their bad behavior and retire quietly to enjoy their money?

    Step up, gents. It’s on you to work to fix this mess. Let’s see – for real this time – what your character is made of. History will judge you based on what you do right now – you can stop and go away, or fix what you messed up. We’re watching.

  29. Comment by Paul Guyot | 10.23.2012 | 12:42 pm

    Judgement… even our court’s “judges” have trouble with this. As we all should.

    Every single LA hater and every single LA defender have done things in their lives that they would never, ever want public. That is a fact because they are what’s called “human.”

    The sole reason doping was out of control in cycling (and MLB, NFL, NBA, etc) is simply because we as a society put more value and reward on winning in competition than we do in community and integrity. You can debate me on that, but you will be wrong.

    I wish I could see The Levi Effect and hope to get a dvd one day. And speaking of documentaries…

    I suggest everyone watch “I AM” by Tom Shadyac. This movie not only answers lots of questions about doping, haters, and what’s happening to us all, but it’s also pretty darn good.

    (Note: the doc has nothing to do with cycling, and everything to do with us)

  30. Comment by centurion | 10.23.2012 | 12:48 pm

    The difference is that you, Fatty, took action to leave right away. You didn’t stay until you became an executive VP, with a big salary, and then decide the company wasn’t in line with your moral standards. Would Levi, George, et. al. have come clean if they didn’t have to testify? That’s the question.

    And it’s a really good question. – FC

  31. Comment by bikemike | 10.23.2012 | 12:48 pm

    If bacon is found guilty of doping, i’m gonna really be pissed.

  32. Comment by AKChick55 | 10.23.2012 | 1:05 pm

    Thanks for the blog post and thank you to Levi for allowing you to share his email. My heart broke when I read the affadavits (esp Zabriskies). It’s hard to admit you’re wrong when you have friends who tell you that you are blind and naive to believe that anyone is innocent in the cycling world. :(

    I’ve read so much vitiriol (sp) over the past few days that I’ve about had enough. I’m sad that it took a separate entity to elicit confessions from riders instead of them being able to come clean on their own. I understand the stigma and the reasons why this was not the case. Unfortunately for me, now I wonder about some of those that I admire, that haven’t confessed, that they probably did dope, and I just don’t want to believe they did. It’s just all so sad. I will always wonder what the results would have been without the prevalence of doping. I’m also sad that for some cyclists, the only alternative was to quit the sport they loved, but I have mad respect for them for doing so. I don’t know if I could have been that strong. Then again, a MAJOR fear of needles and the sight of blood (even fake blood, fish blood, etc) make me pass out so I probably would have quit.

    I’m just very sad for where cycling is right now, but hopeful, that more cyclists will take the brave step of coming out (so to speak). The only way this will change is if it is embraced by a majority of the teams and those teams that dope stand out like sore thumbs and are ostracized. I stand by Levi, by George, Christian, Dave, and Tom and the others who confess. I’ve done some pretty bad things in my younger days. I’ve found the hardest thing is forgiving yourself. No one is harder on me than me. I believe in second chances.

  33. Comment by Doug (Way upstate NY) | 10.23.2012 | 1:07 pm

    There is plenty of blame to go around here. Many people (beyond the actual riders) benefited from the culture that had grown around cycling and doping. Many people made a lot of money off of Lance and the others.

    Right now there is a lot of hypocrisy being spewed by the people who were supposed to be protecting the “integrity” of the sport. And what they are doing is still protecting their own self interests. That makes me as sick as anything the riders did.

    I think its well past time for all of those people to stop and do some personal reflection. Then to take responsibility for their part in it.

  34. Comment by AKChick55 | 10.23.2012 | 1:09 pm

    Also, forgot to add that I’m in total agreement with Paul Guyot. Wise words indeed! And Jim’s three tests too.

  35. Comment by Doug (Way upstate NY) | 10.23.2012 | 1:13 pm

    BTW. If anyone cares here is a blog post that I wrote this morning.

    (Fatty, go ahead and delete this comment if it falls into the shameless self promotion category :)

    I am tossing around actually sending this letter to UCI (have to work up the courage).

    I’m going to let this one slide. – FC

  36. Comment by blair | 10.23.2012 | 1:27 pm

    @bikemike, you mean Kevin Bacon, star of Quicksilver? or bacon, star of breakfast, lunch, and dinner?

  37. Comment by Brian in VA | 10.23.2012 | 1:33 pm

    There’ve been things I’ve done in my life that I’m not proud of, things that would make people who know me, gasp. At the time, they were the things I needed to do. I didn’t feel good about them and stopped doing them as soon as I could.

    What gets me through is knowing the person I am today is made up of all those things, good and bad, that I’ve done. And I’m pretty okay with the person I am, right now. It’s the only person I can be.

    I focus my time on doing as many good things as I can in the hopes that karma will see me through and even everything out.

    Good post Fatty. Thanks. Here’s hoping that all these people live doing nothing but good things from here on out.

  38. Comment by Mrj | 10.23.2012 | 1:40 pm

    We “all fall in many ways”. I genuinely feel for Lance et al, though I am not excusing the error of their ways. This AM I was watching YouTube video’s of Lance shouting down Kimmage and LeMond stating he was dope-free, and felt even more deeply for him.

    My observation is that people tend to all follow a downward spiral when it comes to ill-conceived or illegal activities. It typically starts off somewhat innocently (e.g. Vaughter’s double-yellow example), and then over time it builds and builds until the momentum of it is too large to stop. I wonder if there was a period in any of these dopers careers where they really wanted to get out and shine some light, but the unintended consequences to that (family, friends, sponsorships, etc, etc, etc) are felt far and wide and stop them cold. In fact, I would suggest that if it were a matter of personal pride and career aspirations alone, guys like Levi would have begged out sooner. There is a saying that “no one lives to themselves and no one dies to themselves”. I think in their own way, they were protecting others by remaining silent and/or continuing to dope. Again, I am not excusing them.

    We all have to answer for our actions. Levi has been fired and has a long slog to recovery to the pro peloton (and missed out on perhaps his last Olympic opportunity). Lance has not only lost every meaningful sponsor, but may be personally liable for millions of dollars of “ill-gotten” compensation, he has lost the top podium spot as the best TdF cyclist, has lost the respect from countless thousands and has children and family who are now feeling the sting of his years of misadventure and deceit. Who among us hasn’t reaped the harvest of a poor decision(s)? That fact alone should enable us to see past the problem and consider the person. True, Levi has admitted his wrong-doing, while Lance still persists (at least I think) in his approach of denial at all cost, and maybe that makes his hat a lighter shade of black (good guy/bad guy western reference).

    When all is said and done, many lives have been negatively impacted here, whether it’s the rider who deserved to win but didn’t (and didn’t get the multi-million dollar contract), or the family member who had nothing to do with cheating, and is nonetheless inextricably linked to it. Let’s not perpetuate the downward spiral, lets rather encourage the honesty, forgive and move on. That is a model that has worked for thousands of years…

    Fatty, thanks for your commentary on this topic over the past weeks– you have been able to see through the emotional fog and help guide some of our thinking in a positive direction.

  39. Comment by Roger | 10.23.2012 | 1:42 pm

    I always thought that just about everyone riding during the Lance era was doping. I often wonder if doping was the cause of Lance’s cancer. I am just glad that a portion of the riders have been exposed. I am not going to judge these riders. Everyone doped and this was the way to be competitive. I just wonder what is going to change so that I don’t have to think that all of the riders dope? I would really like to think that my favorites are riding clean but I am to cynical for that.

    I don’t like it when people speculate that doping caused Lance’s cancer. Partially because a lot of people get cancer who don’t dope, and a lot of people who do dope don’t get cancer. Drawing a line of causality doesn’t feel right. Also, even speculating that someone brought cancer upon themselves is unbearably cruel. At some point, I’ll talk about Susan’s struggle with this: she was overweight, and women who are overweight are more likely to get breast cancer. She hated herself for a while, thinking she had done this to herself. But in the same way it’s not productive to say, “I deserve this,” it’s not productive to say, “He brought this upon himself.” There’s simply no way to tell what the mix of possible/probable causes were the actual triggers. – FC

  40. Comment by Kukui | 10.23.2012 | 1:43 pm

    Thank you for weighing in on this issue that so heavily affects the sport that we love. I don’t watch tv, so this blog is my number one link to what’s going on in the cycling world.

    As an individual, it’s not my spot to judge.

    As human beings, it is our spot to make sure the next generation doesn’t feel they need to resort to doping to make their professional careers shine. We’ve sat back and watched as giants fall.

    I can only think that we are partially to blame. Instant 24-hour media coverage, constant social-media interaction, fans and sponsors who only want to see bigger-er, faster-er, stronger-er.

    I hope to see these fallen giants help re-shape cycling. Show the next generation of professional cyclists exactly what happens when you try and cheat the system and redefine the sport to be based on raw, natural ability.

    Like you’ve said, these are good people who are doing good things in the world. How ever they managed to claw their way into the spotlight, they used that light to make a serious impact and I don’t think that is worth negating.

  41. Comment by Cyclin' Missy | 10.23.2012 | 1:43 pm

    I’m proud of those who have made questionable decisions coming forward with honesty and humility. I respect Levi and other pro riders like him. And I look forward to where the sport of cycling goes as those within it strive for a higher level of excellence in integrity. Go Levi!

  42. Comment by GregC | 10.23.2012 | 2:00 pm

    wow- 38 comments posted, all are thoughtfull and courtous expressions of opinion with no personal attacks. Very impressive Team Fatty. Too bad this isn’t reflective of the rest of society. There are certainly some interesting nuggets shared that are worthy of contemplation during my next bike ride. Thanks!!

  43. Comment by The Hamer | 10.23.2012 | 2:06 pm

    Ya, so I used to dope too. Then my wife made me quit because she said it made me a Strava snob. Now I’m slow and “fat fit” and will probably NEVER make it up AF Canyon in less than an hour :(

    I wonder if the TDF devil suit guy was doping. He might be the only clean one in the race and all wins should default to him. Although he was probably smoking pot or something.

  44. Comment by ChinookPass | 10.23.2012 | 2:07 pm

    LL made the calculation, did the dope, didn’t die in the process, made a little dough, got a little famous and came out the other side and wants to make things better, good for him. It would be really really cool if aspiring pros don’t have to confront all that to the same extent.

    What’s done is done.

    It’s time to move bike racing in a positive direction or get out of the way.

  45. Comment by Crash | 10.23.2012 | 2:10 pm

    LIZ M. I agree with you. I have been in Law Enforcement for 20 years and I have seen some really good people do really “stupid” things in a quest for fortune or fame.

    Whats done is done, they should educate, support and defend a chance for the sport to move ahead with grace and dignity.

  46. Comment by Levi | 10.23.2012 | 2:11 pm

    Another great post. I’ll be watching the movie tonight. Hope to see y’all there! Levi still likes Levi. :-)

    Levi, in Lehi

  47. Comment by Zlatko | 10.23.2012 | 2:12 pm

    Well said Fatty. It’s only human to try new things, to fail and to forgive. One should do all three regularly I think. Give my support to Levi.

  48. Comment by Al Pastor | 10.23.2012 | 2:13 pm

    There’s a very good wikipedia article on the doping at the TdF. Doesn’t touch on the morality. And, as usual with wikipedia, caveat emptor.

  49. Comment by Matt | 10.23.2012 | 2:14 pm

    Fatty –
    This was a really thoughtful post – as I think is evident by the comments. Certainly the most civilized discussion I’ve seen so far.

    Doug –
    Send it! Email everyone at the UCI if you have to…

    I don’t have much skin in this game – I’ve never been huge into the Tour or pro road cycling in general – but I too am saddened by it. More than that, though, I find the witch hunt by USADA (prosecuting only Lance when it was clearly general practice) and the hypocrisy of the UCI (as you so ably outlined) simply disgusting.

    I’m disappointed by the individual riders, but in my book the organizations come out of this smelling pretty rotten.

  50. Comment by bikemike | 10.23.2012 | 2:14 pm

    @blair. the munchy kind.

  51. Comment by Alison | 10.23.2012 | 2:19 pm

    I have a lot of opinions on this, but I’ll share my main struggle. I am a huge Vande Velde fan (and I adore Zabriskie, too), and I’ve always kind of despised Vino and Valverde (and others) because they were (gasp!) cheaters.
    It feels pretty hypocritical to not put VDV and DZ in that same box. But I just don’t. Guess I’m just a loyal fan. I can say I like Millar because he is doing the work now to fix things. I really hope these guys put in the work, too. They have that luxury in the lifeboat to speak freely, which many in the peleton don’t have. Omertà, indeed.

    A side note: the NYT had a really good article on Sunday, which laid out the timeline and shows how Vaughters and others were waiting for the right time to talk.

  52. Comment by Chris (@PavementsEdge) | 10.23.2012 | 2:28 pm

    I did my own write up a few days ago. Its sad that the pro-cycling world seems to be coming apart at the seams, but its also good that guys like Levi are willing to be frank and honest and hopefully to help repair the damage so the future generations of pro-cyclists (and not so pro-cyclists) can move the sport forward and follow their dreams with integrity.

  53. Comment by blair | 10.23.2012 | 2:34 pm

    (…still thinking about bacon…)

    (…okay, done now…time to make the butting-in noise…)

    About legality: It was actually illegal in some (many? most? all?) of the places they raced. And some of the ways they hid it ran afoul of obstruction and perjury laws. And there’s smuggling, etc, etc. I’m sure we’re not remotely close to done with drying out from all the civil law that will be bashed against these shores, either.

    “Would Levi, George, et. al. have come clean if they didn’t have to testify?” Fatty says that’s a good question and I agree. But the only answer I can imagine, and the answer suggested by actual discussion of it in the documents, would be “no.” Without a government sword poised over their heads, they had no reason to go licking a razor-sharp blade. Not as long as anyone could charge them or sue them if it was revealed. But once they saw one of them being approached for information and being offered a deal instead of hounded as the main suspect, the Prisoner’s Dilemma sprang wide open and they had no reason to remain silent. They fell in a chain until the last link, the one the authorities didn’t want to offer a deal, the scapegoat, was left.

    As to good vs. evil, they succumbed to another dilemma. They reached the central arena of their sport and found that to continue even doing the legal part of it they had to participate in the illegal part. Without the dope the competition alone would run them out, but before that the team would replace them with someone who would play along. They accepted the evil as a cost of doing business. Fatty had a choice to step out of his dilemma, to go away and do the same thing for the same gain without having to accept the distasteful part of it. Cyclists did not. If they turned down the needle, they would not be able to find another series of Classics and Grand Tours to ride in. And here I could go on for pages about how this environment was misled and abetted by the overseers and the promoters and the press, and was the perpetuation of a century of history and evolution. It was hardly entrapment, but it was the only system the sport had at the only level that could fulfill their potential, and it was an ironic sort of fair play since ostensibly all of the top competitors were involved in it. Is that a legal defense? No, but it may be a bit of a moral mitigation for the participants.

    They’ll have to deal directly with the people they hurt directly, whether criminally or civilly or morally. As for those of us who feel hurt indirectly, actually as for just me, I’m pretty much over it until something new comes out. The way I see it, it’s about the same as how I felt when I found out Pro Wrestling was, well, Pro Wrestling. Except I mostly saw this coming, and it felt good, when Levi and George tweeted the links to their public admissions last week, that rather than lashing into them I congratulated and thanked them.

    And I’m really hoping I get to do the same for Lance, soon.

  54. Comment by Mike C. | 10.23.2012 | 2:37 pm

    Thanks, Fatty, for yet another balanced viewpoint. I, like many, have done things I’m not proud of. I applaud Levi for coming forward and am still a big fan. I’m getting my tickets for The Levi Effect tonight!

  55. Comment by Crash | 10.23.2012 | 2:57 pm

    I really don’t have a dog in this fight, as I just enjoyed watching them race. That being said everyone has highlighted or brought forward valid points. This is a quagmire of lies, deceit, and cover ups. The sad part is they are focusing in on Lance as the villian, yet there are many who are complicite in this mess and need to answer also.

    All the finger pointing and conjecture needs to stop and the recovery needs to start. HOW DO WE FIX THIS!

    As a father of a boy who has fallen in love with his bike and wants to “race” he’s 5, I hope that he can chase that dream at some point without the cloud being there. JV states they are doing it clean and pushing for change, unfortunately the money will control the events. RABOBANK could just be the start of a steady decline if the community doesn’t reverse course.

  56. Comment by Gumby | 10.23.2012 | 2:57 pm

    @bikemie: If bacon is found guilty of doping, i’m gonna really be pissed.

    Yep, but I’m still gonna eat it and enjoy the flavor.

    @Roger: I often wonder if doping was the cause of Lance’s cancer.

    Correlation does not imply causation.

    @Cyclin’ Missy:I’m proud of those who have made questionable decisions coming forward with honesty and humility.

    How many riders actually came forward with honesty and humility, instead of being forced to by the circumstances?

  57. Comment by Anonymous | 10.23.2012 | 3:07 pm

    We all rationalize our bad behavior…but we still know it is bad. The resulting gnawing we feel in our gut is a small piece of our soul being chewed-up. The gnawing stops instantly when the bad behavior stops, which is we feel so much better; and the wound heals with time.

  58. Comment by John in Seattle | 10.23.2012 | 3:18 pm

    Levi, Lance, and pretty much the entire top 50% of the riders were doping. like someone before me said, it was a level playing field as far as I’m concerned.

    consider the good that came from Lance’s fame. would Livestrong have done so much good had Lance NOT won 7 TDF? doubtful. what would have the other winners, who also would have been doping had done with their fame? taken the endorsements, made the money, and nothing else. Lance created something that will outlive him, and will change the lives of hundreds of thousands of people throuought it’s existance.

    bottom line, Lance is still the man, Levi is still the man, they did what was the norm in the sport they competed in. I liken it to “driving with the flow of traffic”. next time your on the freeway and the speed limit is 60, look at your speedo. if your going 70-74.5mph like everyone else, you do not have any place to judge any of these supurb riders. neither do I.

  59. Comment by Lesley | 10.23.2012 | 3:29 pm

    Here was my single response on social media as people repeatedly posted about (judged) this subject over the last few days: May you never have to face being made example of in a corrupt industry nor face extortion simply to retain your career within that industry. People aren’t bad, systems are. Thankfully, those can be changed.

  60. Comment by Paul | 10.23.2012 | 3:33 pm

    I feel bad for the documentary maker, probably losing some customers through no fault of your own.

    I have mixed feelings too, and I admire your support of friends.

    @John, yes, I paid my 73 mph speeding ticket, but I didn’t sue anyone telling the truth that I sped, or tried to have friends in government undermine the funding for the Lincoln County sheriffs office just because they did their job.

  61. Comment by Anthony | 10.23.2012 | 3:47 pm

    So many ways to look at this, all with some validity. I now see the riders on a continuum, with zabriskie ahead of LL, because:

    - LL continued to dope after USPS, and
    - zabriskie reportedly came clean voluntarily, whereas LL did not until subpoena’d

    Still mostly a fan of LL, but probably more a fan of FC. If lance ever decides to come clean, he should get FC to help him draft his press release and apology.

    Most of all I’m more convinced than ever that riding and racing my bike for fun is what matters to me, far more than watching and wondering about pro cycling.

    This is hands down the most civil and thoughtful discussion of this I’ve seen online. Kudos to all.

  62. Comment by mtb w | 10.23.2012 | 4:37 pm

    I appreciate Fatty’s stance on this difficult topic. I realize that all of thes riders could have continued the Code of Silence (which they have done so well for so many years) so I applaud them for finally coming clean, particularly for riders that never tested positive and would have an easier time denying the allegations. I would expect they knew that their admissions would have far ranging consequences and effects, not just for them personally, but on the entire sport so that courage must be recognized.

    I will eventually forgive them, though it will take some time. Unlike Fatty, they never voluntarily changed course and publicly admitted it – they were all forced by law enforcement and legal consequences of perjury (and it is likely they knew other riders were facing the same dilemma and coming clean, which makes it easier to come clean yourself). I am glad that Levi said that he stopped doping years ago, though I can’t say whether or not, or to what extent, I can believe it at this time – I am still grappling with all of this. I hope that all of these riders who came clean start working with the governing bodies to make the sport cleaner; a public admission of wrongdoing is a great start but I hope they take the next step.

    On a side point, I am not a prosecutor but I also believe that criminal laws were likely broken (though I have no idea if such laws were a felony or misdemeanor). EPO and steroids are prescription drugs that can not be obtained, carried, transported or used without a lawful prescription. The same may be true as well for bodily fluid, such as blood bags. However, given the lack of prosecution in baseball, football and other sports with doping scandals, it is very unlikely that anything will come of it, particularly since most of this occurred in Europe, not the US.

    The whole situation stinks since UCI and WADA are not clean either and have not conducted themselves above reproach. I just hope that all pro riders and all the governing bodies come together to work on a comprehensive plan that will reduce doping and be more open to the public.

    Finally, everyone of us has faced difficult choices in life and sometimes made decisions we were not proud of. The ones who admit their mistakes, work to correct them and move on show us their true humanity. Of course, those that don’t admit their mistakes or refuse to acknowledge their wrongdoing despite the evidence in front of them; well, that’s a different story for another time. Anyway, good blog today!

  63. Comment by mtb w | 10.23.2012 | 4:50 pm

    Just to add another thought, I like the comment that life is essentially shades of gray. Some people that have made bad choices to get ahead are selfish and never take action or use their illgotten goods/money/fame for the benefit of others. However, some do use their money/fame for the benefit of others and that must be acknowledged. While this is no way condones their behavior that got them their illgotten money and fame, it shows that such person has more than one side to them. It is all shades of grey and few truly rotten people exist (even Scrooge repents at the end of the movie!).

  64. Comment by leroy | 10.23.2012 | 4:50 pm

    An excellent post and thoughtful comments.

    I learned something new today from a comment: “I’m not the worst thing I’ve ever done.” I like that. I’m going to try to remember it when wrestling with my version of the inner demons we all have.

    I wish Levi a good Act II. I expect good things and am confident he won’t disappoint.

  65. Comment by Rollo | 10.23.2012 | 4:53 pm

    I agree with Doug (Way upstate NY), many were complicit in doping and profited from looking the other way or by not implementing better testing procedures. Don’t tell me they didn’t know. It seems that the quickest way to justify a holier than though position is to have a good witch burning.

  66. Comment by Tim | 10.23.2012 | 5:05 pm

    I don’t understand bicycle races anyway. One guy can draft behind all of his teammates until the very end, and then sprint ahead up the hill or at the finish for the win. To me, that’s cheating too. Or the last guy in the peloton, who took no risk, gets the same time as the guy that crosses first – if the group is all bunched up. Eliminate the teams and see who’s really fastest on their own.

    Doping/drafting. Who cares? But maybe I’m just mad that I can only ride 17mph.

  67. Comment by Aussie kev | 10.23.2012 | 5:58 pm

    I thought all the “truth” coming out and being “rubber stamped” by the uci would be good for the sport. And it is, however it makes me sad to read more and more stories and admissions coming out. And to top it off Cadel is know saying he worked with Dr douchebag. Sad Sad Sad

    Allez Clean Cyclists

  68. Comment by lorraine | 10.23.2012 | 5:59 pm

    Fatty I think you said it best: “…switch from anger to understanding”.

    How many of us can truly understand what the choice was? Doping was death by a thousand cuts. It didn’t start overnight on a wide scale. One day, someone started using PEDs. And then the next guy saw that the first guy got faster, and wanted to compete, and so he did it too. And so did the next guy. And the next guy. And now the peloton rides 20 km faster/hour. And things have escalated from amphetamines to steroids to EPO to blood doping. And riders forgot what clean competition even looked like, because for as long as anyone could remember, it was dirty.

    I know that many of the cyclists involved have tried to explain their choice. I like to think that I only make “good” and “right” decisions. However, if I lived in a world where everyone told me the sky was green…I am not sure that after awhile, I wouldn’t actually begin to believe that the sky WAS green.

    So I don’t feel it is my right to judge someone’s decision. I haven’t walked in their shoes. I can only try to understand why they made the decision.

    I do know that my heart absolutely ached as I read the affidavits. To hear Danielson describe it as “mentally terrifying” and Zabriskie draw parallels between the environment of substance abuse he was running from, only to find the PED abuse in cycling… it was all so very sad.

    I wish Levi, George and everyone else involved only the best. I am still a fan. I hope they use this moment to create what everyone is hoping for: an environment where everyone rides clean.

  69. Comment by Drew | 10.23.2012 | 6:10 pm

    Levi, Lance, and all the others have nothing to be sorry for. People tune into pro sports for the spectacle that highly trained athletes show off. I mean if you rather watch normal people compete ill sell you tickets to my Sunday morning softball game next weekend. We’re in the playoffs.
    Honestly this is just sports, a distraction from our daily grind doing the grisly important job of procuring food and shelter.

    Thanks to the really great cyclists who have given me years of enjoyment on tv, and thousands of hours of pretending to chase you down. I don’t care if you doped, it’s not like murder or rape or anything serious. You’re still good guys in my mind, Although never role models for my kids. If they have to look to you for an idea on how to behave as an adult then my wife and I have failed as parents.
    Good luck…

  70. Comment by Jeff Hearn | 10.23.2012 | 6:44 pm

    Thank you for expressing what a lot of us are feeling..

    Tell Levi, that this old former runner and now avid bicycle rider stands behind him.. I still respect what Lance has done even with what has come of the darkness.

    We need to go forward from this, learn the lessons that need to be learned and continue to put Cycling to the forefront.



  71. Comment by Ernie | 10.23.2012 | 7:00 pm

    A very classy move by you Fatty. I have always enjoyed your blog but now respect it even more (in some weird way). This probably only makes sense to me, but whatever. Like you, I am not going to vilify human beings for making mistakes, no matter how disappointing. I am looking forward to your follow up post about hearing his explanation if he allows you to share.

  72. Comment by perry | 10.23.2012 | 7:11 pm

    Man, you are one righteous individual….BZ!

  73. Comment by Michael | 10.23.2012 | 7:12 pm

    I think the less you have invested in it, the easier it is to get over the deceit. Fact is, Lance Armstrong introduced me to the world of bicycle racing, which, it turns out, has been a whole lot of fun for me. But Lance Armstrong is not the reason I race my bike. I don’t worship the guy, and I don’t feel like he’s stolen much from me.

    That said, it does appear that some folks did have a lot stolen from them, including their good names, some race winnings and their respectability in society. sdcadbiker’s comment about Tyler is a great example. It’s time we accept that the things Lance’s PR guys told us about his accusers were lies.

    Greg Lemond is probably still, as Graham Watson described him years ago, “an outrageous character.” (When was the last time you saw him fit that description?) Tyler Hamilton is probably still the super-nice guy we all believed he was before he was busted. Floyd—honestly, I never liked Floyd. Not even when he was winning. Then he confessed, and I instantly grew to admire him for telling the truth about his story. Now, I don’t feel nearly as sorry for Lance as I do for Floyd. That’s one person who came out of this whole thing much worse off than he came into it.

    In the spirit of not being judgmental, can we please quit maligning those who’ve told the truth? Can we quit perpetuating the lies we’ve been fed by the public relations folks and the lawyers? Can we quit bashing on people who, we now know, were just being honest with us?

  74. Comment by Liz M. | 10.23.2012 | 7:23 pm

    One more thing — in my earlier comment, I was focusing on Levi, and not Elden. That was a really wonderful thing you did, Elden. Anyone would be lucky to have you for a friend. I hope you keep encouraging Levi (and everyone else) to make the best of it and do something good.

  75. Comment by Christa | 10.23.2012 | 7:26 pm

    Fatty, thanks for another excellent post…you have a great talent for writing current, relevent posts mixed with touching, emotional ones, and then funny, coke-out-my-nose posts.

    Levi, Lance, George, Tyler, et al have to live with themselves which is is a bigger burden than anything I can do/think about them, but I admire the GOOD they have done.

    VERY disappointed in AMC movie theatres (Springfield, IL) as they have been advertising the movie, but cancelled the showing at the last minute. Hmmmmm?

  76. Comment by daddystle | 10.23.2012 | 7:40 pm

    Frauds, the real hero’s are the people who had the moral fibre to give up their dream rather than cheat.
    Perhaps if law enforcement didn’t have to force the issue, they donate their ill gottenn gains to charity and fade from the pro pelaton so the clean riders have a chance it would be a less bitter pill to swallow. They had their chance and blew it.

  77. Comment by Chris Driggers | 10.23.2012 | 8:28 pm

    I just got out of the screening of the Levi Effect here in north Atlanta. The projector broke, so I missed the Q&A section (dammit).

    It was really interesting to watch this knowing that Levi cheated. Also it was very interesting to know that he’d already confessed everything but just couldn’t talk about it openly. It colored the film in a unique way for me and made it pretty powerful.

    I’m glad I watched it. My wife refused to come and doesn’t really want to discuss it. She watched along with me all the races from 2000 until this year, and has been burned too much. She’s done, and isn’t interested in anyone’s redemption stories. It’s not that simple for me.

    I’ve been burned like everyone else. Every cyclist I’ve rooted for, literally, has doped. I’m within my rights to throw in the towel, and move on to some other sport. But I just can’t do it.

    Despite the doping, I know that being a cyclist is hard. It takes a special kind of person to compete and win, even with cheating. And now that the cheating has been exposed, we get to really see what our cycling heroes are made of. And I’m fascinated to see what will happen.

    We are witnessing a slow motion nuclear explosion in the sport of cycling and it’s going to take a while for the full effects to come to light. After seeing Levi’s documentary, I have hopes that he will be one of the ones to try to fix this. It’s one thing to confess your transgressions and step out of the spotlight. That’s fine, but for me at least, I want to be able to root for him once more.

    I’m not throwing in the towel yet because I think guys like Levi will take the reins and try to fix this. I’m looking forward to watching it play out.

  78. Comment by Chad Nielson | 10.23.2012 | 8:40 pm

    Nice post Fatty. I’m with you on the issue of judgment. Nobody knows what’s its like to be in another’s shoes, and even if you do, why be mean. I’ve always thought Levi was kind I’d a dick, but this post made me realize that that’s a judgment I can’t make from the few articles and snippets I’ve read. Way to speak up for these guys who were under enormous pressure to excel. I for one, think this entire dopin scandal is complete bullsiht. To Lance, Levi and all the others getting spotlighted, I still admire you guys, and that won’t change.

  79. Comment by Chad Nielson | 10.23.2012 | 8:42 pm

    Also, please don’t judge me for posting before I proofread a smartphone comment, eeesh when will I learn.

  80. Comment by Austin McLoughlin | 10.23.2012 | 8:55 pm

    Does news of Levi’s doping warrant a re-edit of the
    Documentary/ additional footage, mea culpa interview?

  81. Comment by Laura S | 10.23.2012 | 9:20 pm

    Well said, Elden! And Levi. And what a great series of comments. I’ve pretty much assumed for years that anyone Armstrong doped, and that any racer closely associated with him probably did. I’ve never been an Armstrong fan but I have been and still am a fan of Levi, Zabriskie, Tommy D, VandeVelde, and the rest. None of this changes that. We all know that many pro athletes in many sports have used performance enhancing drugs. Wish they didn’t, but it’s not exactly surprising. Its messy, but I feel encouraged that a large portion of the pro cycling community is addressing the problem, no matter how they were induced to do so.

  82. Comment by Jeff Owen | 10.23.2012 | 9:54 pm

    Fatty, It’s good to here that you and Levi actually don’t dislike each other! Your rants every year around the Fondo made me wonder.

    I’ve had the pleasure of meeting Levi a few times. He is a soft spoken and humble person. His Fondo got me into cycling. I wasn’t riding a bike in 2009, the first year of his Fondo. I went to the Fondo festivities that year and the incredible sense of community and people I talked to made me want to get off the sidelines. I bought a road bike and rode the Fondo the last three years; the 103 mile route the last two. It is because of Levi I ride, and I am grateful. I am disappointed about his doping, but I’m not really surprised. He rode in the era and he was Lance’s teammate. But I don’t judge him for it. Levi has done so much for Sonoma County and cycling that have nothing to do with him doing so well in cycling races. I supported him before the affidavit and I sport him after it. He has shown great humility, remorse and willingness to answer any question. And, he will kick your arse on any bike at any time. Donuts? you win, hands down.

  83. Comment by Tom S. | 10.23.2012 | 10:28 pm

    Is it still cheating if EVERYONE does it or is it just staying competitive? Either way I see it as just a bunch of guys getting paid to ride. Everyone is up in arms because we have to pay to ride.

    I like the good that some have done with their earnings and fame, to me the real villains in this saga are the ones who cheated but were never charitable. Give Levi, Lance, and company a break at least they were trying to make a better world in their free time.

  84. Comment by Saso | 10.23.2012 | 11:33 pm


    It is great there are people like you. I am humbled by your friendly approach to people. Good for Levi to have such a friend.

    I will likely watch less of competitive cycling in the future.I will enjoy riding my bike the same way as before.

  85. Comment by davidh-marin, ca | 10.24.2012 | 12:36 am

    When we tune in the World Series tommorrow we’ll see one team in the mix who had their relief pitcher suspended for the start of the season for PED’s. Then they had their star slugger suspended for the remainder of the season for PED’s. I’m sure Mr Tygart has this issue on his agenda in about 6-7 years.

    I believe that the riders I’ve admired are good people, caught in a system they thought they could handle. I believe there are players, sponsors, and organizations only too happy to celebrate the success of riders,only to abandon those same riders when the news wasn’t so good.

    I’m disappointed in the heroes of my sport, but I’ll forgive them, and I’d ride with any of them, any day.

  86. Comment by Skippy | 10.24.2012 | 1:58 am

    In writing my blog item ” Heads of Gov. ” , i was looking to encourage people , such as yourself , to create the ” Viral Effect ” necessary to force WADA & IOC to inaugurate ” Amnesty for ALL SPORTS PEOPLE ” !

    Sport is rife with “Self Interest ” and of course those using PEDs . Most of the Supply is from Criminal Elements , and thus , there are so many working to derail any efforts , to remove their gravy train . Even those in lower levels of Sport , shamateurs , rely on their PEDs to assist their efforts for ” bragging rights “!

    Unlike in other countries , USA , doesn’t legislate against ” Doping ” , so the peer pressure the youngsters suffer , as they progress in their chosen Sport , is so easily excused ! Too many Athletes are treated as “Heroes/Role Models ” and thus temptation to take the easy route is overwhelming for the impressionable .

    Fatty’s Army does GOOD Work and from the comments here it is easy to see that LEAD correctly , Action could be taken to encourage USADA and the US NOC , to call on the IOC & WADA to put into effect an AMNESTY ! Also cause your Senators & Federal Rep.s to enact legislation , BANNING PEDs and providing Penal Penalties for Supply & Distribution of PEDs . Athletes need to speak out and those granted 6 month ” holidays from Competition ” need to be at the Coal Face ! Too easy to just sit and let the storm blow over, is it not?

    Having met each of these people at Pro Tour Events , i for one feel let down . Riding with Levi in Brittany after TTT training for Radio Shack , he was pleasant . This year at the TDS with Quickstep , he was distant although Tom was chatty . These people know that i expect 4 years for being caught in sPORTING FRAUD , and that means loss of Job !

    Jon Vaughters went against UCI rules by encouraging Garmin People to speak out by guaranteeing their Team Jobs ! Quickstep sent a really bad message by sacking Levi ! They knew that he had history from 1996 , heck , everyone with minimal interest in Road Racing knows that story ?

    UCI is currently led by an Irishman , who is a sad disgrace , banned from competing as a Road Racer in the Olympics . He is seen as a bully and in most press conferences he contradicts himself , to the extent , that last Monday , he said he had no contact with lance for months , AND then , said he was speaking with him on the Telephone , the previous Friday ? There is currently a ” Petition ” seeking his and heinous’s removal from their jobs at UCI !

    Fatty , you too could create a ” petition ” that would allow your ” followers ” to effect changes that would help Levi and the other US Racers redeem themselves . The volume of comments in this post speaks for action , and you are the right MAN to lead !

  87. Comment by Skippy | 10.24.2012 | 4:17 am

    @the hamer of 2.06 ! Didi ( El Diablo ) drinks what is given him by the ” sponsors ” , occasionally passes me a can of coke or a Power Bar ! As a holder of several ” Guiness book of Records entries ” he enjoys meeting All and Sundry !
    Not riding the TDF routes on a bike , he has no need of the PEDs , even i don’t need to use them ! Fact is Georgethecyclist .blogspot from Chicago , also has no need of them , but his report on meeting Chris Vdv at the Garmin Store in Chicago will illustrate the attitude of Fans to those confessing ?

    Saw Fatty’s comment on the blog posted earlier , well worth reading !

    Creating a Petition to WADA , should be up running SOON ! ADD Your Voice !

  88. Comment by Doug (Way upstate NY) | 10.24.2012 | 4:50 am

    I sent my letter this morning…..

  89. Comment by SENichols | 10.24.2012 | 5:34 am

    Anyone who followed cycling new this was going on. And while it needed to come out in the end. It is a bit disengenous to congratulate Levi for talking about it when he was not given a choice. He did it and he would never have talked about it without the USADA guys forcing him to do so.

    It would be entirely different to me if he had come clean on his own.

    We’ll all survive but the omerta kept this secret much longer than it had to be. Additionally, the being bought off with a shorter suspension sits wrong with me. All the guys who did this with Lance et al should pay the same price.

  90. Comment by Chris | 10.24.2012 | 5:58 am

    Nice post Fatty,
    I have no idea what multi-level marketing is so if you don’t like then thats cool.

    As for Levei, I’ve always liked him, I will continue to like him and as for Pro Cycling lets all agree that cycling lets say pre-2011 was an awesome example of what science can do and lets look forward to a new season in 2013.

  91. Comment by patty | 10.24.2012 | 6:31 am

    Is Levi going to be stripped of his TOC wins?

  92. Comment by Tim the Austrian | 10.24.2012 | 6:42 am

    Hi All, Nice post Elden, having won the signed TDF jersey in WBR fund raiser last year and spent a few dollars having framed and in a pride of place in the lounge room, looking at it after the UCI decision, I thought ‘Lance, you drongo!’ but life goes on, I’ll still support some of fatty fundraisers and WBR on the odd occasion, I’ll still watch the TDF into small hours of the morning and I’ll ride a bike at every oppertunity. Cheers

  93. Comment by Bill H-D | 10.24.2012 | 7:40 am

    I was fortunate a few years ago to ride with Levi & Chris Horner in conjunction with a charity event that was sponsored by Nissan. It was a small group – maybe 20 that hung in for the full route with the pros. And both Levi and Horner were gracious and generous with those of us who were there not b/c of an affiliation with the sponsor but due to our efforts to raise funds for the American Diabetes Foundation.

    As we zipped down the road – literally a week after these two men had gone 1,2 at the Tour of California and a couple of weeks before they would go to France to start the TdF – I had two important things going through my head: 1) DO NOT half wheel Levi and Chris and ruin the U.S. chances of a podium contender (gulp), and 2) these guys are at work! I was having one of my dream moments on a bike, and they were just doing what they had to do to keep the sponsor happy. As I tucked in behind Levi’s wheel, I felt a little melancholy. A day at the office for him. A once in the lifetime experience for me. To their credit, Horner & Leipheimer did not seem like they were just punching the clock. Quite the opposite. But I walked away thinking that it was not really possible for me to understand their relationship to cycling – this thing we all love – from the inside. What it must take. What it might cause someone to do.

    So yeah, I see the shades of gray. And I see opportunity for these guys to be real heroes now. It will involve a kind of sacrifice and suffering that they haven’t yet endured, perhaps.

  94. Comment by Dr.Bryce | 10.24.2012 | 7:42 am

    How do I explain to my 9 year old daughter that Levi was cheating? Her most prized possession is her racing medal from the kid’s race at the Tour of Utah, that she stalked Levi until he would sign it.

    That he only testified once he was given immunity?

    Oh the insanity that will continue to fall out as more comes to light.

    Disappointing to hear that Lance used so much pressure.

  95. Comment by buckythedonkey | 10.24.2012 | 7:48 am

    The 200 page Reasoned Decision document from USADA is really worth a read (or at least a skim). I urge you all to read it. It is in plain English, is easy to digest, and is both informative and thought provoking.

    Here’s a link, read the entire thing:

    I’m hopeful about and for cycling, providing the UCI can be brought to book.

    I’m hopeful that my daughter, who is just starting out as a road racer, will never meet the sort of predatory scum that spoiled a lot of good talent and who ruled our sport for too long.

    Finally, I’m hopeful that a certain award winning, handsome, formerly fat, satirical blogger will rediscover his mojo and won’t allow this veritable feast of subject matter, so ripe for dissection, to pass by his sharpened pencil.

  96. Comment by Full Monte | 10.24.2012 | 7:50 am


    I wrote much the same thing on a blog I share with a riding buddy re: Lance. I’m not without fault in my life. I’ve hurt the ones closest to me with behavior and decisions I’m not proud of. All this anger at Lance and the riders who confessed to doping (like Levi) is more than just anger at people who damaged cycling. It is anger out ourselves. We’re all human. We all make mistakes. We all cause pain. So this indignation, this tearing down of heroes, this public savaging, yes, some is merited. But mostly (as my psychologist wife always says) what we’re hating most is that which we hate in ourselves. So we must take a look at ourselves, reflect, forgive, accept and move on. Good luck Levi. I hope you can continue in this sport and give a new example to young riders of how to compete clean. You’re a good man. (You too, Fatty.)

  97. Comment by Curtis | 10.24.2012 | 8:21 am

    I agree with Ben. The arguments in surrounding the doping allegations are a comment on society as a whole. Giving a pass to cheating lawbreakers because they were “just trying to accomplish their dreams”? Please. I believe there should be forgiveness. I believe that these riders can be restored, but there also should be consequences. They cheated, broke the law, lied and stole. Period. We must call a spade a spade. These “achieve your dream arguments” should be completely thrown out. Ex: Suppose a man’s dream was to date a supermodel. However, the man is ugly and wears sweatpants in public- no chance with the models. So in order to achieve his dream, he kidnaps a model and holds her hostage as his girlfriend. His dream is achieved. Is that ok? No, nobody would think that is appropriate, yet this is the argument for the cheating that went on. Forgive, but punish. It is only right.

  98. Comment by Gumby | 10.24.2012 | 8:54 am

    I’ve seen versions of this in the posts above:

    You are so much more than the worst thing you’ve ever done.

    The doping alone does not define who these riders are. Many of the riders are good, wonderful people who did something stupid becuse the felt like they didn’t have a choice. That does not mean they shouldn’t suffer the consequences of that stupid thing. I am more mad about the coercion, vilification, and manipulation that went on.

    Saying all the bad stuff is ok because of all the good stuff they’ve done doesn’t work for me. Hamas is a terrorist organization that builds hopsitals and community centers and takes care of many people. That doesn’t make the organization any less bad. I am NOT comparing the riders to terrorists. I am comparing people justifying bad behavior because of good works.

    My heroes, as has been stated by others, are those riders that faced the choice of doping, and refused, even if it meant they would not compete at the highest levels, and have to find another profession. I salute you, riders who chose to be clean.

  99. Comment by Frank | 10.24.2012 | 9:05 am

    Thank you for reminding me (and everyone else who reads your post) that we should look to our own humanity before judging others. I truly wish I could do this more.

  100. Comment by Tominalbany | 10.24.2012 | 10:06 am

    One of the commenters above stated something like ‘not letting our mistakes define us.’ I think that’s really important. I let myself get sucked into that hole. Make a multi-million $$ screw-up and my company. I wasn’t alone in culpability but, I was part of the problem. I was lucky not to get fired. However, I let that screw-up run me for a few years. I doubted myself a lot. The goal for the repentent dopers is they should give their maximum and see what they get. Sadly, they’ll never know how good they could have been in their primes without the dope. Doubt is a cruel mistresses.

  101. Comment by Brad | 10.24.2012 | 10:16 am

    Fatty, I love your blog and admire what you do for cancer survivors, but I respectfully disagree with you here. I have not heard any of the admitted dopers apologize to the former potential professional cyclists from whom they stole jobs, money, awards, fame – in fact entire careers. I’m curious how forgiving you and your readers would be to someone who cheated and stole your blog from you, so that instead of writing about cycling, you had to write about insurance sales, or accounting every day, while someone else won awards, fame and admiration for their wit and mastery of prose (and poetry) while writing about cycling.

    It’s fine to disagree with me, but you should know that people do in fact steal my blog from me every day by reposting it without attribution and with their own ads. People also use ad blockers, so I don’t get the couple of pennies I would otherwise earn by people reading my site. My response? I don’t worry about it. Also, people stealing my content doesn’t affect whether I write or what I write about; I don’t make enough money to even come close to it paying the bills. This is strictly a hobby.

    I’m not saying any of this to invalidate your point, but thought you should know that this blog isn’t even close to making a living for me. It’s a hobby. – FC

  102. Comment by grayduncs | 10.24.2012 | 10:45 am

    I think that the understanding and forgiveness that you show is a result of knowing and liking the guy. Which is fine, you are quite right to say that we are all human and make mistakes. He is a friend and you are seeing the bigger picture of him as a person and not just as a sportsman.

    It is often the case that our views of a group as a whole are harsher than our views of a particular individual within that group. A group of sportsman who cheat to win, coerce others in to helping them, bullied those who do not agree and profited enormously from those actions sounds like a group who deserve everything that is coming their way. Focus on a friend (whose degree of involvement is unknown to me so do not assume that all of the preceding statements apply to him) who had to make a difficult decision under pressure and made the wrong one and we are much more likely to be sympathetic.

    Should we give the same understanding to the bankers whose greed and ineptitude caused much of the current recession? They felt pressure, they had mouths to feed and houses to pay for, they made the wrong decision. Do we feel the same way about them?

    I know it is not the same. Professional cycling is entertainment and it is disappointing to find that they cheated but I am not going to lose my job or house because of it. There were victims (Basson for instance). I would find it hard to cheer on the likes of Tyler Hamilton but I do like David Millar. I think that is because one came clean immediately and has worked to clean up the sport but I could be wrong.

    What is my point (do I even have one you wonder)? I think that I do.

    The judgement and punishment of the group should be objective and consistent. They should be stripped of their wins and their winnings and they have to expect that sponsors will withdraw their support. Individuals may be able to draw on the support of friends to rebuild their lives.

  103. Comment by plum | 10.24.2012 | 11:17 am

    The honest, hardworking men and women of cycling aren’t nearly as flashy and interesting and fun to talk about I guess.

    In spite of your efforts, I don’t feel the least bit of compassion for Levi. He took dreams away from real people. You continue to glorify him.

    I’ll talk to any pro who reaches out to me. My email address is not private. Please ask one of the honest, hardworking pros you think I’m ignoring how many times they’ve emailed me and whether I have ignored them. I think you’ll find that their answer will be “Who?”

    And just to pre-empt the question I expect you plan to ask, yes: Levi was the one who reached out to me originally. – FC

  104. Comment by Clydesteve | 10.24.2012 | 11:23 am

    BTW Fatty – Congrats on making the credits in TLE.

  105. Comment by D. | 10.24.2012 | 11:30 am

    I seem to recall a pretty angry Fatty post when someone “stole” your FC jersey design for a team uniform, for a charity ride. They didn’t even steal it to sell it.

    You were not so quick to forgive.

    Nor should you be to those that stole careers from rides that would not cheat.

    You’re maybe remembering things a little differently than I do. I was what I’d call “good-naturedly sarcastic,” not angry (though some commenters were angry), and we resolved things pretty quickly, with each of us making a donation to each other’s charity. – FC

  106. Comment by Mark J. in Dallas | 10.24.2012 | 11:50 am

    We all (well mostly all) love Levi because he’s always presented himself with grace and humility. Keep your head up Levi.

    I’m curious if you have reached out to Lance or Johan Bruyneel. You have relationships there too. He has taken a decidedly different approach to dealing with this than Levi, Big George, and a host of others.

    LIVESTRONG indeed. Despite Lance.

    No, I haven’t. Not ready to. – FC

  107. Comment by Dan O | 10.24.2012 | 12:31 pm

    Interesting post and comments. Comparing regular working folk and pro cyclists gets a little grey for sure, when looking at doing something you don’t believe in to stay employed. The higher end pros probably aren’t hurting for money, especially Lance, so the decision to cheat is based more on greed and/or a huge desire to win. And I would guess for some pros, just to stay competitive – depending on base line ability and skill level.

    Even so, all knew what they were doing when they crossed over to the doping side. They knew it was wrong, knew it was cheating. I’d also speculate if wasn’t for being forced to testify, none of this would have gone down.

    Having said all that, now that the bomb has been dropped – Kudos to Levi and other pros who appear to be fully putting out the truth. People make mistakes. People who admit their mistakes, and attempt to better the situation, are to be commended.

    Most cycling fans, me included, will continue to be fans of Levi and others who do the same. For the pros, officials, and others to continue to deny all this – it’s time to wake up. The curtain is gone, the jig is up, the charade is over.

    I may be dreaming, but maybe this all around sad situation will go down in history as the event that actually cleaned up pro cycling. Let’s hope so.

  108. Comment by DC in DC | 10.24.2012 | 12:41 pm

    A lot of great comments above and I’d be remiss if I didn’t start my $.02 by saying I have great respect for Fatty’s introspective post and objectively kind gesture to Levi, and Levi’s response to Fatty is the first thing I’ve read by any of these riders that actually struck me as a sincere apology (DZ’s affidavit came close).

    What bothers me most about all of this, however, is that the commentariat has bought into this narrative, perpetuated by the admitted cheaters, that doping was rampant in the peloton, that you had to dope to even be there in the first place. That it was barely a choice.

    That may very well be true, but it has certainly not been proven. Lots of cyclists (and even one is one too many) have doped, true, but this self-serving narrative of “everyone else was doing it too” needs to be acknowledged, and dismissed, if like Fatty you believe in innocence until proven guilty.

    My speculation is that there were plenty of pros that didn’t dope, and to let the ones that did pass ownership of their cheating onto “the peloton” or “the sport” is every bit as unfair to the other riders as the EPO and blood bags.

    I am quick to forgive, and truly don’t hold hard feelings against any of the [hopefully] former dopers, but saving the sport by blaming the sport is cowardly.

    Here’s a raised glass to all the riders at the back of the pack.

  109. Comment by MattC | 10.24.2012 | 12:49 pm

    Let’s not forget that the ‘rigged’ (ie: doped) system was already in place well before these people we are all talking about showed up. And whether they stayed and participated in the flawed system or packed their bags and went home, nothing was going to change over there in the big leagues.

    Lance and the Americans didn’t bring doping to the peleton, they just perfected it in the system as it was at the time, and then used it beat the rest of the world 8 times in their own rigged game (I count Floyd’s win as one of those). And now THEY are the devil(s). But not the REST of the doped cycling world…just them.

  110. Comment by Brian Ledford | 10.24.2012 | 12:51 pm

    The stanford prison experiment is the thing that makes me loathe to judge the riders too harshly, I think. It had the same lesson – that absent good institutional guidance, bad things happen. So you had a lot of factors (the limited testing regime, a history of treating doping more like a speeding ticket, enormous pressure to perform [riders need points], no external short term benefit to riding clean, etc.]) that encouraged PED usage. The pro peloton in the late 90’s essentially became every online newspaper’s comment thread.

  111. Comment by zeeeter | 10.24.2012 | 12:55 pm

    On a different note, apparently USADA are now going after Fabian Cancellara as they have it on good authority from his former team bus driver’s dog-walker that there WAS an electric power source in his bottom bracket. Apparently Cancellara’s great grandmother’s gardener was American so it allows them to go after him even though he’s technically Swiss.

    Sorry, had to get that off my chest.

  112. Comment by davidh-marin, ca | 10.24.2012 | 1:17 pm


    I continue to come back to read the comments, many of us our on the same page. If we could only end on your note, how great would that be!!!!

    BEST COMMENT AWARD (more pie for you at Davis)!

  113. Comment by MattC | 10.24.2012 | 1:22 pm

    Electric motors are ok…it’s only the chemical doping that is the problem here. Let’s stay focused people!

  114. Comment by hens | 10.24.2012 | 1:39 pm

    This whole business about Fatty’s email and Levi’s reply I sum up in a line from the trailer of the soon to be released Disney movie, Wreck it Ralph. It’s the Russian strongman’s ( I think he’s Russian) line something like this said in my best Russian accent, “Just you because you are BadGuy, doesn’t mean you are Bad. Guy.”

  115. Comment by Chris Driggers | 10.24.2012 | 2:33 pm

    It’s Zangief from Street Fighter.

  116. Comment by babble on | 10.24.2012 | 3:53 pm

    Thanks, Fatty – great perspective.
    Forgiveness is divine, it’s true.

    And bacon is definitely cheating all the way – it’s chocka block with hormones, antibiotics, pesticides, nitrites, you name it, it’s in there…totally doped. But damned, it’s good.

  117. Comment by Roger | 10.24.2012 | 4:29 pm

    I just said that I wonder if doping was the cause of Lance’s cancer. Did not say it was the cause. You just got to wonder. I also wonder how old he was when he began doping.

  118. Comment by ScottR | 10.24.2012 | 10:16 pm

    Fatty, I understand why the ‘did it the caused his cancer’ might feel distasteful, but I think enough information has come out to at least make it a valid question for Lance’s case.

    I’ve read several stories mentioning cylist Greg Strock’s tale, including part of this one at SportingNews:

    “Meanwhile, medical studies have shown that a high prevalence of human parvovirus B19 may play a role in tumor development and has an 85 percent correlation with testicular cancer.”

    It seems like Strock has been saying things for 12 or so years, but I wonder if they will get revisited now, more deeply.

    Do we feel different about people who smoke for decades and get lung cancer vs people who got lung cancer without ever smoking? Should we? Not claiming to have answers – but ‘did doping cause that cancer’ does seem like a more valid question to ponder these days.

    (And if true experts come out and say ‘No’ with some reasonable logic, then so be it. I just don’t want the conversation to be avoided.)

  119. Comment by Skippy | 10.25.2012 | 12:04 am

    @Davidh-marin 1.17 , whilst Zeeter’s comment is welcome relief , some of the following are definitely ” Star Class ” @grayduncs 10.45 , @lorraine 5.59 ,@Bill H-D 7.40,@Mattc 12.49 ,@DCinDC 12.41 ,@ScottR 10.16

    So many different points of view with rare bursts of intolerance ! Fatty has a GOOD Group of people working with him ! 120 comments and perhaps 100thousands wishing to add their 2c worth !

    Set up the ” Petition ” on :

    LEVI , this petition is to help your colleagues , follow your example ! Whether you came to the party willingly , is immaterial , BUT by signing on , you will encourage Other ROAD RACERS , to participate when the ” AMNESTY ” is Launched !

    People , John Fahey of WADA , has commented that an ” Amnesty ” could be the way to go !

    SEND HIM the message that we , the Cycling Public , EXPECT ACTION NOW !

  120. Comment by pedalpink | 10.25.2012 | 9:10 am

    A great post, Elden. Especially “I did my best to switch from anger to understanding.” I have been on a similar journey of understanding and compassion after reading “Reasoned Decision” so I went back and re-read “Rough Ride” and “Lance Armstrong’s War.” We are having many serious discussions in my house about cycling but are making few, if any, judgements.

    There were less than 2 dozen people in the audience Tuesday night for the screening of Levi’s movie. At least I didn’t disturb a crowd when I yelled out, “There’s Fatty!” at the line-up for the Gran Fondo scene. It was a good movie, and I still believe that cycling people are the best people.

    Do good (and ride a bike).

  121. Comment by Melinda | 10.25.2012 | 10:24 am

    I’m just now getting around to reading this. Honestly, I am so glad you reached out to Levi. That was one of the first things I thought about when I read he had problems, too. I am glad you are still friends with him.

  122. Comment by Terry | 10.25.2012 | 10:56 am

    Nobody owes me an apology. If you think you are doing a bad thing, stop it and move on. Public groveling is overdone and not credible. On the other hand, I admire Lance for his toughness, his (merciless) leadership and his single minded sense of purpose.

  123. Comment by wunnspeed | 10.25.2012 | 12:29 pm

    Sure it sucks that Levi was a user, but it seems most are these days. Sadly. In any case, to me, it takes a lot more guts to admit, take the punishment and move on then some others that continue to deny it at the peril of their reputation, jobs and the sport.

    Congrats to Levi for having the guys and for taking the punishment. Hope to see him back on the bike at some point in the future.

  124. Comment by saddened | 10.25.2012 | 8:08 pm

    The issue of doping is so multi-faceted it is hard to know where to begin.

    First, is how doping is a reflection of the flaws of human nature, and is also a curious reflection on our society. How did we go from the 60s and 70s where drug use was rampant in the general population (to enhance our performance in having pleasure), to where we are now where all drugs are looked down upon, except those which we regulate and tax.

    Second, what do we call the companies that now drop Lance and Levi and the other men who admitted doping. Hypocritical? Exploitative? Or capitalism at its worst? Once these guys stop making money for them, they are dropped like a hot potato. What do we think of a company like Nike, that still sponsors Michael Vick, whose actions purposefully led to the death of another living being?

    Third, Lance and Levi and the others not only made their own fame and fortune, but directly enriched their sponsors and the race directors, so why aren’t the sponsors and the race directors being asked to hand back their earnings?

    All the players involved – the riders, the race directors, the sponsors – were corrupted by power and fortune. And Lance, who had absolute power, was corrupted absolutely.

  125. Comment by JPrummer | 10.25.2012 | 9:42 pm

    I see all things in life as black or white no shades of gray. It’s either right or wrong. The gray area is only excuses for perpetuating the wrong. However I also believe in forgiveness because we all make mistakes. Would I have made the choices Levi made…..probably yes.

    Fatty you seem to be a genuinely nice caring person. Thanks for posting on these subjects which can’t be easy for you. You are now my cycling hero.

  126. Comment by JPrummer | 10.25.2012 | 10:34 pm

    PS..when the USADA report came out you were the first person I thought of and how you were handling it all.

    PPS..I am still a bit upset with Levi because I stood in line for a long time to get his autograph and they closed the line at me and I was the last in line. lol

  127. Comment by Immigration Lawyer in Croydon | 10.26.2012 | 8:08 am

    Hiya! Quick question that’s entirely off topic. Do you know how to make your site mobile friendly? My website looks weird when browsing from my iphone 4. I’m
    trying to find a template or plugin that might be able to correct this issue.
    If you have any recommendations, please share.
    With thanks!

  128. Comment by Beth | 11.28.2012 | 1:57 am

    I understand your thoughts about how everyone has made mistakes in their life – BUT these were grown men making these choices. I am confused on why these men are all blaming Lance for the decisions that they made. Choices have consequences and in cycling, these men know that if they get caught doping there is only a limited time ban and then they can continue making money to race their bikes again. They made the choice and while yes we all have made bad choices, we also have all had to deal with consequences from the choices. I feel that USADA making a ‘deal’ with Levi and the others shows young riders that you can get away with things with just a slap on the wrist. I just feel that these grown men are trying to blame Lance for their own decisions. I’m glad you support your friend Levi (as you should – that’s what friend’s do for each other) – I just feel that making ‘deals’ with USADA ad blaming Lance for their choices is not being honest – it seems to me to be looking for excuses for why they did what they did.

  129. Comment by DenHaag | 12.15.2012 | 7:06 pm

    When the riders try to justify themselves by saying ‘everyone was at it’, something I hear repeated a lot in discussions btw, I do feel it’s a bit of a cop out.

    I think that, after the Festina affair, a large proportion of the French riders were racing clean. I know this isn’t because they’re morally superior or anything but ‘cos they were monitored heavily (for the time) and the fact that it became a criminal offence there. How would you feel, riding in your home tour, and not being able to compete.

    We’ve also got to remember all those riders that became disillusioned and left the sport, possibly never to return, even as amateurs.


Sorry, the comment form is closed at this time.