Well, ok, not really. But despite our ethical views against doping both Sheldon and I have wondered over a beer or three just what it might be like.
Would we instantly feel like supermen and fly past our competition, ascending hills as if immune to gravity? Or would it be something more marginal… An increase based on our training volumes, finally beating those riders that tend to always edge us out?
I think I speak for both Sheldon and I when I say that it was always more of a conversational fantasy over beers rather than a curiosity founded in any type of reality. Whenever I actually think about something like that it kind of makes me a little queasy.
I just don’t think I could do it. It just wouldn’t feel natural. And realistically, at this point in my life, there’s absolutely no reason. I race for the sport and fun of it, any results I get are simply a bonus, not something I live and die by.
Well, it turns out that somebody else had similar thoughts, but actually decided to go through with it. The author takes you on an 8 month journey from a clean amateur cyclist training an average of 15-20 hours a week, to a chemically augmented version of himself.
I have to admit, I started reading the article with a somewhat bemused curiosity, but by the end I was feeling something very different. I’m not sure how to categorize it. Shock? Anger? Disgust? Perhaps some combination of them all. All I have to say is that never in my life will I start walking down that road.
It’s a bit of a longer read, but I think it’s very much worth the time. You can read the full article at one of my favourite blogs Cycling Tips.
Some of the more dramatic quotes from the article:
“I want to be leaner, stronger, with better endurance,” I told him. “I don’t want more mass.” I thought for a moment. “And seeing better…that sounds good, too.”
He looked up from taking notes and nodded. “I can help,” he said.
And so he did.
After a few weeks of the HGH, I began to notice subtle changes. My skin started getting… better. Sun blotches that I’d had on my arms for a year faded away. One morning I woke up and a scar on my forehead—which I’d gotten from a mountain-bike endo two years earlier—was more or less gone. Even though I was training like a madman, I looked more rested. Younger. A little fresher.
The last time I’d ridden 200 miles, I felt awful the next day, like I’d been hit by a truck. After the Solvang race I woke up and felt hardly a touch of soreness. I also felt like I could easily ride another 200, and I realized that I’d entered another world, the realm of instant recovery. I’ll be frank: It was a reassuring kind of world, and I could see why people might want to stay there.
A month later, when I added a basic anabolic steroid to the mix, I felt like I’d grabbed on to a car moving at 60 miles an hour. The effect was powerful, fast, and difficult to modulate.