Happy Friday, everybody. Today, I’m giving away a slightly dog-eared copy of Ross Goldstein’s novel Chain Reaction.
Goldstein raced in his youth and continues riding throughout Marin County, California today when he’s not traveling to Italy to ride. He seems to have quite a bit of inside knowledge on pro cycling’s doping culture as he follows the adventures of Cal Scott, a rising star who’s marked for success on the European pro circuit when he suddenly and inexplicably quits the team. Though he uses real team names (T-Mobile, Quickstep, etc), Goldstein changes the names of cyclists to protect the guilty, but there’s no doubt who he’s referring to when he describes T-Mobile’s team captain, a German named Franz, or a saucy Spaniard named Castillo on Team Liquigas.
Chain Reaction was published well before last year’s damning revelations by Tyler Hamilton and the USADA investigation, but Goldstein goes in depth into the toll that doping takes on pro cycling in his very human story.
Goldstein explains why he’s so passionate on the topic of doping in professional cycling, and I agree with him.
My son is racing bicycles now, and he sent me a link to a story about one of his competitors who just tested positive for EPO after winning the Gran Fondo of New York. Now, this guy, David Anthony, is a cat 3 racer in the 45 – 49 age category. That’s right. He is old, and he isn’t very good, at racing that is. Probably not very good at doping either, since he got caught. You can read his sorry, “I’m so ashamed of myself” confession here. Don’t overlook the fact that his confession was offered only after he tested dirty. I think that matters.
What bothers me most is that this sad sack of **** was a Cat 3 amateur. I mean, amateurs? Doping? In local races where the winner gets a jersey, twenty bucks and a few tires? He was going nowhere, coming from nowhere, and had only his delusions of his racing prowess to justify his cheating ass. I repeat, this guy was an amateur. And he was cheating. And the people he was cheating were also amateurs.
Which takes me back to the folks who feel that the USADA investigation of Lance Armstrong is a waste of time and money, a travesty, a case of selective prosecution, and even worse, a insidious conspiracy to bring down one of America’s heroes. And it may be. But when I hear about pathetic characters like David Anthony and his attempt to ride the EPO train to the top, I can’t help but feel that it’s another example of the fish rotting from the head. Amateurs emulate the pros. We watch to see what they are riding, how they are training, what they are eating, and, too obviously, what they are taking to get the edge on the competition.
And that’s the reason that the USADA investigation needs to continue, despite the cost and the possibility that another icon will bite the dust. Of course, Armstrong is using all of his competitive fury to stop it before it gets going. You can’t expect anything less from the man, certainly not contrition. He will continue with his denials, fighting the fight with all of the tenacity he brought to the climbs of the Alps. But in the end, it is only with an authentic and clean vetting of the accumulated evidence that we can finally know the truth. Cycling needs that. Sport needs that. The fundamental of competition is fairness and the statement needs to be made. Hopefully, making that statement will stop the David Anthonys, even if it’s only because they are afraid of getting caught.
The people I normally hang out with don’t sprinkle their conversation with f-bombs, so Goldstein’s liberal application of the profane in his novel is a little bit shocking to me. Other than that, it’s a good story. Chain Reaction is a self published book, but it’s well written with memorable characters and a good plot with none of the silly technical flaws that plague many vanity press books.
First to answer this trivia question correctly gets the book. I’ll ship for free to USA addresses. If you’re international and want it, we can arrange something like prepay shipping with PayPal or Google Wallet. I think Amazon can transfer money, too.
Trivia Question: What cycling related event on Tunnel Road in Berkeley, California made international news in 2012?
First to answer correctly wins the book. Previous winners are not eligible.
If you don’t win, it’s only sixteen bucks from Amazon for your very own, pristine copy.