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Performance enhancing ethical question?(16 posts)

Performance enhancing ethical question?Len J
Aug 3, 2001 5:42 AM
What is the ethical difference between using EPO or some other performance enhancing drug to raise hemocrit levels and using an altitude tent (a la Lance) or training at altitude? It seems to me that they all have the same impact. Why would one be banned and the other not? Aren't they both artificial ways of enhancing performance? Aren't they examples of those that can afford it do it? While legal, is it ethical to use a tent?

Just thought I'd flex the brain this beautiful morning.
rules vs. moralsDog
Aug 3, 2001 5:52 AM
Ethics usually refers to abiding by rules. EPO is against the rules, hypobaric chambers are not. Pretty simple.

Now, the morality of chambers is something else. If your morals tell you not do anything unnatural to gain an advantage, then they are out. If your morals tell you that you can do anything, in fact, you have an obligation to do anything to win, that is not against the rules, then they are ok. I'd bet most competitors think the latter.

Doug
B.S., Philosophy; J.D. :-)
well, speaking of rulesET
Aug 3, 2001 6:42 AM
I just read an article about a runner in Maitland, Florida, who was ticketed by a passing patrol car for running on the road rather than the sidewalk. He gave her one quick warning, and after just a few "there must be some mistake" comments (she was completely stunned), he called her in. (As an aside, most runners find the sidewalk too harsh and uneven; they usually run at the edge of the road on the side opposing traffic.) The case went to court and she lost, based on the following municipal pedestrian code:

"Where sidewalks are provided, no pedestrian shall, unless required by other circumstances, walk along and upon the portion of a roadway paved for vehicular traffic."

(Doug, do you really take pride in this kind of stuff? :-))

The hearing officer said, "You think the law doesn't apply to you because you were jogging?" She remained speechless (I would've tried the "other circumstances" approach, or maybe smartly replied that I wasn't "walking", but that probably would've made things worse), and her fine got tripled. Well, she became known as the "illegal jogger" and got a lot of press. A TV reporter contacted the police dept. for a statement, and the police spokesman said, amazingly, "Pedestrians are the leading case of death on the road."

She repeated pursued appeals which were denied, until finally she received a statement from a judge dismissing her case, writing, "In a perfect world, a seamless stream of asphalt fully lighted after dark without bushes, sprinklers, or dogs would be provided for runners...Until that happens, no reasonable runner should attempt to run on that stretch of sidewalk."

Sure, drugs are more clearcut (unfair advantage and possibly harmful), and irresponsible cyclists dangerously violating traffic laws is a bad thing. But common sense must prevail even when something is the law. Otherwise, next time I see a lawyer on his Colnago or Bianchi descending on a road well over the speed limit (no one, but no one, catches this guy on descents :-)), I sure hope he gets the book thrown at him. :-)
speaking of runners on the roadDog
Aug 3, 2001 7:25 AM
Around here, there are plenty of beautiful, new sidewalks. Nonetheless, they are a total waste of money. Nearly every runner, roller blader, mom with buggy, is well out into the street or bikelanes. They practically make the bike lanes dangerous. I want to yell at them, "Get on the sidewalk!"

I ran for years, and always ran on the sidewalk if there were one available. I know some people believe that concrete is "harder" than asphalt, so they think it is more comfortable to run on the road. I never thought so, and besides, get some darn running shoes with decent cushion and it won't be an issue. Bugs the heck out of me. We get great bike lanes, and then we can't use them for all the pedestrians in them.

So, I sort of applaud the Florida police and judge for enforcing this law. The sidewalks are there for a reason. If she persisted even after being warned, she deserved a fine.

This sounds petty and trivial on the part of law enforcement, I'm sure, and no doubt the media made a circus of her predicament. Nonethless, she was wrong.

BTW, I never said I sped on the bike. :-)

Doug
completely disagreeET
Aug 3, 2001 8:23 AM
with just about everything you said, if you can believe that.

First of all, as a runner-turned-reluctant cyclist, I won't hide that my sympathy lies with the runners, but, as is officially recommended by running organizations, just about all of them run on the edge of the road on the side opposing traffic (and so should be able to see and avoid oncoming cyclists flowing with traffic, just as they do the cars, I may add). I don't know about your particular example of bike path, but if it's where all those rollerblader types are (in which case those probably were joggers, not runners, if you know what I mean) it's probably better to avoid that area, as we've discussed in earlier threads.

Include me in the group who feels concrete is much harder than asphalt. Proving it may be another thing, but most runners feel more bounce on asphalt and much less on concrete. It's the knees that take the beating. If you ever tried a 10-miler on each, 5-to-1 odds you'd agree.

Doug, you're one of my favorites here, but I must say your tone (lumping runners with mom and buggy and "get some running shoes with decent cushion and it won't be an issue") shows both scorn for a sport you know less about--even if you did once run in school--and is plain wrong. Any serious runner already is running in shoes with decent cushion and willingly paying a lot for them (comfort and injury risk necessitating this, even though they last only three months), and yet they are still vehemently claiming it's better to get off the concrete (which is the position of the running magazines as well, I'll add). If cyclists view runners this way, no surprise those in motor vehicles view cyclists in a bad light.

Applaud the police and judge? Come on! And it's not like she resisted arrest. It was just a sentence or two to the effect of "Who, me? You sure?" He was just itching to give the ticket and did.

Finally, must I dig up from archives where you explicitly said you brazenly exceed the speed limit by quite a bit on descents, so much so that even the cars can't possibly keep up with you? You're guilty and they should throw the book at you. And when the judge tells you how irresponsible you were, endangering not only your own life you obviously don't care about but those in an oncoming vehicle whose driver might have to swerve to avoid hitting you when you lose control (try and convince him you won't, baby!) and vehicle goes over the cliff or crashes, I hope he triples the fine, and you'll wish you could hide when he asks what your profession is. It's the law and you violated it, and you should be severely punished.
I've run 3 marathons, dozens of 10k's...Dog
Aug 3, 2001 8:55 AM
The bike lanes I was speaking of were not "paths", but the marked off part of the road, like a shoulder. I lumped all the pedestrians together because they are all pedestrians. (Why a mother would push a baby carriage out in the street when there is a decent sidewalk is well beyond me, though.)

I have no scorn for running whatsoever. Gee, whiz, I ran since I was 5 years old, track, cross country, marathons, even one 50k, and college varsity track. I've run most of the intervening years I wasn't cycling. I've run thousands and thousands of miles. Frank Shorter and Bill Rogers were my teenage heros.

Concrete never bothered me, even running well over 100 miles per week. So, at least I do speak from experience.

Besides, the sidewalks are there, and that's were the runners belong, not in the street or bike lane.

I never said I brazenly exceed the speed limit. I've said many times that I go faster than the cars, but that's not where the cars are speeding. They are probably going 30 in a 55 in those areas, and I'm going 40. It's in areas where the cars can't go the speed limit, due to the cornering. But, yes, I'll concede that once or twice a year I might exceed the limit in certain areas by a couple mph. And yes, on those occasions, I well deserved a ticket, and would not have fought it had I been cited.

Doug
You're in the minorityET at home
Aug 3, 2001 1:47 PM
Most runners don't like concrete. And that is not where runners belong. Where there's no statute, they can run legally there. In any case, in addition to the harsher surface most (if not you) feel, jumping up and down curbs every few hundred feet is not a serious runner's idea of a training run.

And yes, you enjoy exceeding the speed limit. :-)
hypocrisy?Dog
Aug 6, 2001 6:36 AM
Didn't most of us jump all over the guy who said that it was better to bike against the flow of traffic, on the left (in U.S.)? Wasn't one of the major arguments that it was "against the law?"

As far as the running, it was my understanding that the lady was cited for running on the street, where the law required her to run on the sidewalk, if available. I'm arguing consistently that she should obey the law, same as the wrong way guy.

Nonetheless, even if there were no law, I still maintain that runners belong on the sidewalk, if available, not in the street or bike lanes, just the same as cyclists should go with traffic.

BTW, I'm no draconian fascist, law enforcement guy. I simply believe that we should obey the law or work to change it. When you break the law, accept your punishment honorably.

Doug
Our Local Paper...Greg Taylor
Aug 3, 2001 8:27 AM
...ran an editorial a couple of weeks ago about the issue of riders using the George Washington Parkway (runs between Alexandria and Mt. Vernon -- you know, George Washington's home) for training. There is a bike trail that parallels the Parkway, and the U.S. Park Service recently pumped money into repaving a big section of it. The paper (The Alexandria Gazette/Packet) ran an editorial saying that now that the bike-path is all fixed up, bike riders should be required to use it and not the Parkway. The problem is that, having been fixed up, it is now IMPOSSIBLE to use the bike path on weekends because of the joggers, roller-bladers, baby strollers,dog-walkers and, yes, other bikers. I am much safer playing in traffic than riding the bike trail.

The editorial touched off an interesting correspondence (which, to the paper's credit, they have printed, being hard up for copy) both pro and con. The editor that wrote the piece, by the way, lives in my neighborhood. I invited her to come out on a ride to show her what is up...no dice. By the way, my favorite moment to come out of my conversation with her was the admission that, indeed, the trail gets terribly crowded because all of the bikes got in the way when she and her companion tried to walk their four (!) dogs along the path.
ET PHONE HOME!railer
Aug 3, 2001 9:23 AM
Relax a bit. Your massive efforts to "fight" weird topics ( like Doug's high speed descents) amazes me. You almost seem bitter towards certain things ( like good riders). Do you live in a retired community? Nonetheless, keep it up, its entertaining. It really takes all kinds.

Happy trails to all.
it's busy!ET at home
Aug 3, 2001 1:43 PM
You don't get it. I'm not fighting Doug's high-speed descents; sounds exhilarating to me. I'm pointing out that his stickler for the letter of the law can be extreme, IMHO. Kinda reminds me of Robocop, with Sylvester Stallone in the title role. He was a futuristic robot cop, honorable if way overzealous, who handed out severe penalties, e.g. a year in jail and mental de-programming for something like jaywalking, until one day, something goes wrong with the system and he is framed for something and sentenced to life (or was it death) in some Godforsaken place. He manages to escape with some convicts, set things right and eventually gets his job back, but in the end, he gets an understanding to ease up and not enforce the law so severely, i.e. he got an understanding of the common man, and everyone was better off.

If you tell me you never cut to the left side of the road in preparation to make a left turn without stopping or to avoid a light, I just don't believe you. My philosophy is that on a bike, at least, if you do something like that where and when it is totally safe, the cop should just ignore it, and not ticket you just because you broke the letter of the law. If you're being obnoxious and dangerous, then he should. I think I differ with Doug on that, and I'll bet most of you do too. Who should be the one relaxing?
A bike lane is..........railer
Aug 3, 2001 9:27 AM
a lane for bikes. Its not called a runner's lane for a reason. Thats what the sidewalk is for. Speed differentials are dangerous. THats shy bikes dont ride down the middle of a lane. They cant go the same speed as a car, just like a runner and a bike.
rules vs. moralsLeroy L
Aug 3, 2001 7:32 AM
Doug is right. These athletes are professionals and they not only have an obligation to abide by the rules of their sport, but they have a duty to do everything, within the boundries of ethical effort, to win.

If an altitude chamber is not illegal, its use is ok. So is a good diet, so is purified water, and on and on.

Morality is another matter altogether - some pros think it is immoral to abuse their bodies by - say eating ice cream to excess months before the Giro so that you're overweight, for example. Is it moral to accept sponsorship money from Phillip Morris? It's probably legal.

The pros have a duty to win for their sponsors, in my opinion.

Dave Loving, BA, JD :)
You can really overdo EPO.railer
Aug 3, 2001 9:30 AM
As far as I know. So, it can be really dangerous. Altitude living, training, sleeping, on the other hand, can only do so much. So its safe and natural. You could just as easily set up camp at 12,000 feet and go sleep there every night and get the same effect.
not reallycyclopathic
Aug 3, 2001 12:20 PM
I think OD dose would be a couple hundred times beyond "reasonable"
Yes you can poison yourself (and you can do it with simple salt if you eat enough)

EPO deaths were linked to kidney failure and kidney failure was not caused by EPO EPO facilitated it

With respect to "altitude" being safe, do you know how many climbers died 'cause they ran out of oxygen?
Yeah on Everest.railer
Aug 3, 2001 12:43 PM
Isnt everest 29,000 feet or something like that? Most "high" elevation places are around 12,000 feet.

EPo deaths. Just that fact alone is probably the main reason it isnt legal. Dont you think if it were legal riders would use more than safe to have an unfair advantage on the next guy? With altitude theres a limit. I dont think the manufacturers of the alt. beds are going to allow you to crank it up to unsafe levels.