78 comments posted · 4 followers · following 0

8 years ago @ - Western States And Har... · 0 replies · -4 points

HR has always had the opportunity to expand if they choose. Doing so would require an environmental impact statement and some expense and the result is not guaranteed but they absolutely have the opportunity and they have chosen to not pursue it for their own reasons as is their right. But it's wrong to say that the Forest Service has put an absolute cap on the number of entrants. They have only said if you want to expand you need to follow standard NEPA procedures regarding any commercial activity on federal land.

And getting a permit doesn't entitle them to do anything they want. If enough people complain to the FS I suspect they will listen and they absolutely can require a more fair entry procedure as a stipulation of the permit in the future.

8 years ago @ - Western States And Har... · 0 replies · -3 points

I'll admit to being far less familiar with WS entry than HR, but I think it's OK to have some performance based entries. And I don't think it's the same people that get in every single year at WS, except for Gordy. And there are several hundred tickets pulled in the lottery rather than the 40 or so avaliable for first timers at HR.

But your point is well taken. The rules regarding participation in events permitted on public land should apply to all races. And making the permit issuers aware if what is going on is the best way to affect change. They do actually listen to the public. Certainly the race organizers feel their actions are totally appropriate and are unlikely to change without pressure. To their credit both races are upfront at least about their goals and the lottery procedures. I don't think they are deliberately hiding anything, just misguided.

8 years ago @ - Western States And Har... · 2 replies · -2 points

I agree. All those things are important I have no problem with race directors or public lands administrators limiting field sizes or even denying permits in sensitive areas. I don't think they should have races in national parks, in wilderness areas, or other sensitive areas. But I don't see how allowing the same 40 people to get in every single year helps to achieve those goals.

In the case of HR I have often wondered if keeping the field so small actually increases the environmental impacts. Because it is so hard to get in to it is becoming something that will likely be a once-in-a-lifetime event. When people get in they plan their entire year around it, come out weeks before to acclimate, scout the course, etc. And they bring family and friends along to crew and pace and be part of the mythic experience. And all summer long there are now people on the course, even unmarked, non-system trails who want to experience a part of the event. I lived in the area since before there was a lottery and I have watched it balloon to the point where I don't even want to be near Silverton in early july anymore. It has become such a zoo.

I don't know for certain but maybe if they allowed 500 people every year, the stigma will be lessened and it would become like any other race and people would just show up on race day and run because they know they will likely get a dozen chances to run it over the course of their lives. I realize altitude acclimation and course familiarity are still important in such an event but surely they become less important if you know you will get a second chance.

Maybe it would be better to have 500 racers and 500 pacers for a couple days than to have 150 racers and 1000 family, friends, crew etc, in the area for weeks.

8 years ago @ - Western States And Har... · 7 replies · -6 points

Can't speak for anyone else but I have zero desire to run either one or any other hundred mile race. I prefer to have balance in my life. . I do care intensely about how we use public lands. I could care less about how these races were designed. As long as they take place on public land they absolutely should be populist events or they will lose their permits.

8 years ago @ - Western States And Har... · 2 replies · +4 points

I like the idea of having some elites being able to race their way in to keep things competitive at the front end. Makes it fun to watch. But maybe WS overdoes it a bit and HR underdoes it a bit.

My issue is with HR veterans getting virtually automatic ins. The HR board can certainly make whatever decisions they like with regards to letting all their friends come back year after year, but I think the Forest Service and BLM need to take a harder look at the way the race utilizes our PUBLIC lands. It should not be a private party. When there are thousands of people trying year after year after year to get in and a few people who get in every single year it is contradictory to the egalitarian spirit of our public lands which should be equally available to all. If you want to have a private party for your friends, great, but do it on private land.

The HR board has the right to WANT anything they desire for their race but they don't have the right to DO anything they damn well please on our PUBIC land. They still need a permit and the FS and BLM need to step up and exercise a little more oversight over the entry procedures on lands they manage.

8 years ago @ - Performance Enhancing ... · 0 replies · +5 points

Ian, you need to update your list.

8 years ago @ - Performance Enhancing ... · 4 replies · +9 points

Buzz, I understand that nobody wants unfounded rumors. But unfounded rumors won’t gain any traction. Such things will take care of themselves without need for such extreme censorship. In the comments I made that were censored I mentioned no names. I didn’t even mention the name of a race. I merely mentioned an example of behavior that certainly raised red flags for me at a recent event.

You of all people should know that there is no authority to report such things to. Doping in sport is illegal in some countries but not in the US. Very few races in the US fall under any sanctioning body. You could see someone getting a transfusion in the streets of Ouray or Auburn and there would be nobody to call who would have any authority to do anything about it. The only way to prevent such things is for the community to have frank and open discussion about what is acceptable and what is not acceptable and speak out against athletes that violate the ethics of the community. That’s not rumor – mongering, it is collective self – policing until such a time as we have an authority. It’s still the wild west in ultra – running and is up to the citizens to stand – up for themselves until a sheriff is elected.

8 years ago @ - Performance Enhancing ... · 1 reply · +10 points

Yes, coaching is a critical issue in our response to doping. Ask the 30+ east Africans who have been busted recently. Or the Russians. Or the folks at the Nike Oregon Project, or hundreds of cyclists. Most get introduced to doping by their coaches. Keeping coaches with histories of doping their athletes out of ultra-running is the most important thing we can do to keeping the sport clean.

Does that mean an athlete who uses such a coach is automatically guilty. Of course not. But it does tell me that those athletes are not committed to clean sport. They are ethically challenged and they have access to both doping materials and doping methods. To me their results are questionable and the sport itself is damaged by their decisions. The way to prevent this is for the ultra-running community to collectively say it is not acceptable to allow such coaches in our sport. If people speak out, sponsors will respond and if sponsors respond then athletes will have no choice but to seek other coaches.

Judging by the popularity of my comments I think most people agree with me that is a problem. But hitting a thumbs up button is different than being vocal with your name attached to it. And the editors of this site repeatedly defend and excuse the athletes who use those coaches and censor those who speak out. They provide save haven for ethically challenged athletes to credit their coaches performance for their success, and thereby encouraging others to seek out the same coaches without allowing anyone to question it. They are damaging the sport by their actions.

8 years ago @ - Performance Enhancing ... · 9 replies · +25 points

What a crock of shit. I didn't accuse anyone of anything. This is exactly the reason why this problem is going to get worse before it gets better. The media consistently defends, makes excuses for, and refuses to even allow discussion of the topic.

8 years ago @ - Performance Enhancing ... · 0 replies · +6 points

Exactly. Lance had a lot of power, influence, and money. He could pay his doctors enough to have them exclusively advise him which reduced a lot of risk and gave him a huge advantage. Nobody wanted to have the heroic cancer warrior go down in flames so he was given a lot of leeway by the UCI and media, and he had the power to make or break the careers of lesser cyclists and journalists, which he did repeatedly.

I'd love to see someone come up with a coalition for clean sport in ultra-running. They could collect money from sponsors, athletes, and RDs. $5000 could test the top 3 men and women at randomly selected events. Two or 3 a year would probably be enough to catch a few people, open some eyes, and begin changing the culture of the sport, without being so often that it provides a big incentive to beat the test.