The moral dillema

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Jun 19, 2009
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Martin318is said:
For me its very simple:

If you are legitimately awarded a TUE for a medication that brings things like Anemia UP to a normal level then there is zero reason to feel any moral issues whatsoever. In effect, you are not performance enhancing by taking treatment, you are performance normalizing.

I don't know of anyone that I race with that would complain if a competitor with a health issue like that was receiving treatment for it (whether that person then smashed them in races or not). I think you are racing with a leg tied behind your back now - if you are strong now then great but that shouldn't stop you from allowing the other leg to be untied.
Except that TS legitimately asked about the difference between rec/racing and other levels. I would still stand on the opinion that I would not have a problem racing with him as an amateur. If he needed the meds to perform as a pro that would seem to be an unhealthy choice. It's not the equivalent of a surgeon needing glasses to do his job as the meds themselves contain risks. TS sounds like he has the ethical makeup to know the correct thing to do.
 
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Anonymous

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I Watch Cycling In July said:
IMO iron is basically a diet supplement and will never get you to weird and unnatural crit levels, as your body will regulate your crit (unless you take EPO). If you or anyone else takes iron, it doesn't mean that every cyclist suddenly HAS to dope to be competitive. If your behavior isn't adversely affecting others, it's difficult to see the moral issue.



Sort of. If your question was "what if my testosterone levels are really low and I get a TUE for that?" you might get a different answer.

I took DHEA for seasonal affective disorder this winter and pondered how I would feel about that if I raced. I wouldn't have been ok with it, even though my levels were tested and were quite low. So the answer, which seemed so obvious in the iron case, doesn't work for me with hormone supplements. Hmmm.....:confused:

Somehow Iv'e assumed that the body has a poor ability to regulate hormone levels, to ensure they stay below some genetically predetermined limit. I have no idea if this is correct.:eek: I just have the vague impression that taking any hormone supplements COULD put one over the maximum level that their genetic potential dictates....and therefore is not ok.

So that completely contradicts my underlined sentence above. I appear to be passing judgement on the basis of individual genetic ability, and a paucity of understanding of the medications in question:eek:. Thanks for a thought provoking question DIM.

As an aside - you probably already limit you caffeine intake but if not, that might help with the tiredness thing (once you get over the withdrawal).
thats where it gets interesting (the highlighted bit), i was asking this more as a general question but using the possibity of what may or may not come up depending on blood tests this week. For me, its not too much of a dilemma because i have not been competing over the last few years, but have been in training for four months for this winters cross racing, so, if, its discovered there is a problem its likely that i will only be competing at "my old self level" for a couple of races so reconciling any improvement in performance wont be an issue.

The dillema comes when for instance a rider who has competed for a couple of years, and who has raced to a low level, maybe finished in the top 10 in a few cat 3 races, but somehow never had the strength etc to do any better, is finally diagnosed with a medical condition given medication and starts winning races, and within months is a cat 2. On one hand they can simply reconcile it with the fact that they are now racing on a level playing field, on the other hand its not hard for them to have some niggling thoughts in their head of cheating. I think its human nature to feel guilty sometimes.

and yes, ive been off caffiene for 18 months now except for a slight unavoidable relapse in paris and holland this year. ;)
 
Aug 19, 2009
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TeamSkyFans said:
thats where it gets interesting (the highlighted bit), i was asking this more as a general question but using the possibity of what may or may not come up depending on blood tests this week. For me, its not too much of a dilemma because i have not been competing over the last few years, but have been in training for four months for this winters cross racing, so, if, its discovered there is a problem its likely that i will only be competing at "my old self level" for a couple of races so reconciling any improvement in performance wont be an issue.

The dillema comes when for instance a rider who has competed for a couple of years, and who has raced to a low level, maybe finished in the top 10 in a few cat 3 races, but somehow never had the strength etc to do any better, is finally diagnosed with a medical condition given medication and starts winning races, and within months is a cat 2. On one hand they can simply reconcile it with the fact that they are now racing on a level playing field, on the other hand its not hard for them to have some niggling thoughts in their head of cheating. I think its human nature to feel guilty sometimes.

and yes, ive been off caffiene for 18 months now except for a slight unavoidable relapse in paris and holland this year. ;)
Dim,

Would you feel the same way if you were treated for a diagnosed medical condition, and the treatment allowed you to be more effective at work... to the extent that you quickly received a promotion or a raise?
 
Jul 10, 2010
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Well, I'm kinda just one of the party now, and late, at that, but I do have .02 on this one, and it might be helpful.

I have two points, one on anxiety, and the second is about my experience in this arena.

First, you say you suffer from anxiety, and it seems to me you are actively demonstrating just that behavior pattern in your concern over this question. Much ado, eh? I think you recognized that when you said something, several posts back, to the effect of "I'm too straight for my own good".

What is your objective with the drugs? To regain normal functionality of your body. What is a cheater's objective? To improve performance. Does it make you feel good that you might be better as a result of what you are doing? It would me. But that isn't my objective. So any guilt I might feel is therefore just me being overly concerned about little stuff.

Second point. I have a leg that got chopped in two when my motorcycle met a car for lunch one day. They put it back together real good but it's missing a couple of inches - so when I raced, I did so with a lift on my pedal. The lift is to bring me back to "normal". No possible performance benefit other than regaining normal functionality.*

I have a thyroid that was pretty much killed off when I did a type of chemo for a year to kill Hep C virus I got somewhere. That same thyroid was probably less functional than normal even before that - way back to when I was a teenager - but nobody ever paid attention until it became critical. Now I take some form of thyroid every day - to regain normal functionality. I WISH it would help me lose weight, but no such luck. Without it, my "normal" functionality would be asleep, like my cat, about 80% of the day. With it, I'm a little more like a "normal" person. If I were still racing, my "normal" would be faster than most people my age on a bike. I'm not, and I'd do well now just to keep up. But, if I were, would I be happy that the thyroid made me "faster" on a more regular basis? You betcha I would! But I wouldn't feel guilty. Because my objective is, validly, to regain a medical "normality", not to improve my performance. My thyroid is like my lift.

A person who is cheating can't honestly say that. Even if that person has a valid reason for a drug - the asthma example is good for this - if they are over-medicating, their honest reason for that over-medication is now an objective of performance enhancement. THAT is cheating. Having an objective of maintaining health and normalcy is not.

*If you really want to delve into morality arguments, consider the case of the "runners" using prosthetic legs that give them a mechanical advantage! Should THEY be allowed to compete? Boggles my mind!
 
Jun 19, 2009
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Bag_O_Wallet said:
Dim,

Would you feel the same way if you were treated for a diagnosed medical condition, and the treatment allowed you to be more effective at work... to the extent that you quickly received a promotion or a raise?
There is the underlying question: when is it sports and not life? TS asked a really good question and the feedback is both encouraging and shedding a bright light on subtle attitudes. Many share the same conflict.
 
If you get a TUE and you're still uncomfortable you answered your own question. There is no "moral dillema". There really is nothing more the authorities or any one else can say to convince you otherwise.
 

SpartacusRox

BANNED
May 6, 2010
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Escarabajo said:
I don't see a dilemma. Do what is best for your health. Just don't go over what the Doctor prescribed. The 50% hct limit is too much. The Doctor will probably tell you what the normal levels should be (~43%). Is the same issue with Beloki, Pereiro, etc, with their Asthma. They take too much and go over the limit.

If it is for recreational then there is no reason to over do it at all. Just my 2 cents.
I agree. The alternative is sitting on the sidelines and i am sure you will not be happy doing that. If every day becomes a good day, just let them win once in a while.;)

Seriously if the meds just bring you up to within the normal range i do not see a dilemma.
 
Jun 19, 2009
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SpartacusRox said:
I agree. The alternative is sitting on the sidelines and i am sure you will not be happy doing that. If every day becomes a good day, just let them win once in a while.;)

Seriously if the meds just bring you up to within the normal range i do not see a dilemma.[/QUOTE]

That is the dilemma.
 
Jul 25, 2009
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hiero2 said:
....What is your objective with the drugs? To regain normal functionality of your body. What is a cheater's objective? To improve performance. Does it make you feel good that you might be better as a result of what you are doing? It would me. But that isn't my objective. So any guilt I might feel is therefore just me being overly concerned about little stuff.
Good point.
 
Jul 30, 2009
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Dim

have you tried an Iron/B12 supplement?

I can take on a gray palour if I am riding a lot and trying to lose weight at the same time.

A couple of weeks of B12/Iron and it sorts it out.

Sorry if that's a bit obvious and you've been down that route, but I didnt see it mentioned in the thread.
 
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Anonymous

Guest
Winterfold said:
Dim

have you tried an Iron/B12 supplement?

I can take on a gray palour if I am riding a lot and trying to lose weight at the same time.

A couple of weeks of B12/Iron and it sorts it out.

Sorry if that's a bit obvious and you've been down that route, but I didnt see it mentioned in the thread.
I been on high dose B (3000xRDA) for about 8 months now. Cant take iron until ive had the test results back apparently. Was more about the idea of competing while taking approved PED's than any particular diagnosis of me, but any ideas always welcome.
 
Jul 14, 2009
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*my experience* any doctor will do it. An injection of B12 is dramatically different than any dose taken orally. US system has a few restrictions because of the profit model. Office wants to charge you for an office visit plus medicine.Excessive office vists need to be pre-approved Under other systems you can stop and get a shot with very little prep work..In Germany and Belgium they who have you pull down your pants..quick cheek swab..needle jam..and on your way
 
May 18, 2009
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I suggest drinking. The more I drink, the less I worry about morals.

Just have an 18 pack or something after the race and it will be all good. Trust me.
 
Mar 11, 2009
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ChrisE said:
I suggest drinking. The more I drink, the less I worry about morals.

Just have an 18 pack or something after the race and it will be all good. Trust me.
If these are your moral dillema's a little alcohol prolly couldn't hurt anyway.
 
Good discussion

I like the principal that if it's prescribed and it 'levels the playing field' then it shouldn't be an issue. I see why people think it matters more if you are a pro or just an amateur but if you are racing you are operating under basically the same rules.

But I think you are talking more about a personal perspective than the technicalities of the rules.

This resonates for me... because of a slightly different situation...there was I time I was due to compete on a big stage and I had a cracked rib - I had been prescribed some (legal) pain killers. I'd been taking them in training but stopped when I got to the competition. I guess I had some notion that it was "cheating" even though it wasn't. In the race it hurt at the start but pretty soon the race took over and I didn't notice it until the next day when it hurt like hell. There is an irony here in that I was lined up next to guys from Romania, East Germany and USSR all of whom at the time had systematic doping programs.

I look back on all this now and smile. My advice is much like others above is to follow your heart. Do what feels right to you - if you want to ride, ride - certainly don't be a martyr. :)
 
Jul 30, 2009
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OK on topic - You wouldn't be doing anything that I would moan about if you beat me. So protect your health.

The variance in middle-aged amateur results is just good days bad days. One day you feel like Philip Gilbert the next Gilbert & George :)

If you started consistently winning at E/1/2 level then there would be some eyebrows raised and resultant attention

As we saw earlier this year...
 
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Anonymous

Guest
Second round of blood tests today, they may have found the problem.
Might need that TUE after all.

Symptoms of the possible condition, rapid heart rate, breathlessness, sweating, dizziness, anxiety.
 
I guess I am not sure why you would be competing in an athletic event with those conditions. Sure, the meds will be treating the symptoms, but what about the problem? That probably has not been determined yet. I would be more concerned with a proper diagnosis of the problem, treat with meds initially of needed, and then focus on long term natural solutions. Diet, lifestyle changes if needed etc..
Best of luck to you. Hope it all works out. I know how it feels. I suffered extreme fatigue for two years because of Hep C. Could hardly do anything. Changing diet and other stuff put me back in good health and racing again.
Cheers



Rob
 
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Anonymous

Guest
Second blood test done. First one seems to point to anemia. No great surprise. As for the moral thing, sod it, if I am anemic then Ive been riding with low blood cell count for years, sod the dilemma, supercharge me nhs :D
 
Oct 25, 2010
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TeamSkyFans said:
How comfortable do you feel about competing whilst also taking what is effectively a performance enhancing drug?
Win one race whilst on your Anemia meds and then come back and see us. Until then, just ride your bike.
 
Aug 19, 2009
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TeamSkyFans said:
Second blood test done. First one seems to point to anemia. No great surprise. As for the moral thing, sod it, if I am anemic then Ive been riding with low blood cell count for years, sod the dilemma, supercharge me nhs :D
Glad to hear your closing in on a solution. Will this speed up your healing process?
 
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Anonymous

Guest
Bag_O_Wallet said:
Glad to hear your closing in on a solution. Will this speed up your healing process?
Well mother has just remembered, 30 years to late, that I was anemic as a child. Helpful.

I would say yes it will, a lot of what I associate with anxiety, speeding heart rate, breathlessness, concentration problems (all my school reports said easily distracted) etc could very well be put down to anemia. Seems very likely I have been anemic all my life.

Which brings me back to the moral dilemma. When i first posted the ideas of anything that would in effect make me perform better, I was unsure about. Now, knowing the facts, whatever the solution wether it be legal, or wether it be something that requires a tue, or is classed as performance enhancing, I have no dillemma. If what is coming out is the case then I have been at a disadvantage competitively for years, possibly even back when i was riding seriously. No dillema anymore.
 
May 9, 2009
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Here's my similar story (without the moral dilemma since I'm not regularly competing). I went in complaining of basically the same symptoms the OP reports when I stepped up my riding two years ago. I was indeed quite anemic, but with no obvious cause: i.e., no iron deficiency, no vitamin/mineral deficiencies, no obvious abnormal cell size/shape or anything like that. Even with hematocrit in the low 30s, my hematologist told me that it would not be the cause of dizziness, joint pain, or trouble breathing or any of those things since apparently one has to be really, really anemic before that stuff happens. So he sent me for all sort of other tests like EKGs and stress tests and chest x-rays and I also had lung tests and tons of other blood tests. Nothing jumped out as the cause of my anemia.

They show no intention of treating anemia at that level either. Yes, it's over 25% below what a "normal" male should have, but this does not concern them. Now, if there was an obvious cause like iron deficiency, I'm sure they'd "treat" that by supplements or dietary changes but if it's anything more complicated, it seems my hematologists have decided to just keep an eye on it with regular testing. Perhaps they were smart to do so because my last tests showed some improvement in hemoglobin/hematocrit levels. So I just go on, wondering what life would be like if I had more red blood cells?! Would I feel superhuman compared to now? Who knows.


One thing I did discover was that taking a couple puffs from an Albuterol inhaler 20 to 30 minutes before riding or running has been an amazing help. So if you find that you have any trouble breathing, especially early in a workout, you might want to try that. Being able to really breathe has changed my life! I used to just have to suffer through the first asthma attack and then I'd be fine for the rest of the workout. Or I'd have to warm up really hard enough to trigger an attack and then recover from it, before I'd take the line for a race because usually after one attack I'm good for several hours of hard effort afterwards. Now I can just skip all that because of the Albuterol. Such a simple thing, but it's totally changed my life. I think some of the symptoms I was afraid were because of the anemia were just because of the exercise induced asthma. So you might look into that if you have those symptoms.

Now, B12 shots into the knees? I could certainly go for some of that right about now!
 

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