Oh, Now I Remember.

About a week ago Luca Paolini remembered where the cocaine he tested positive for during the Tour de France entered his body. Unlike the usual accidental ingestion claims made by modern cyclists of all levels, in this case the point of entry was his nose. He must have done an awful lot of coke to forget a detail like that when he initially contested the adverse finding.

I never thought of Paolini as a clean rider, so it really didn't shock me to the core. Very few revelations in the world of professional cycling shock me these days. What would shock me is if that was the only banned substance he was taking. Call me a pessimist.

Luca says he was addicted to sleep aids, and the coke was just there to wake him up enough so he could function. This, I can believe. Having taken over-the-counter and prescribed sleep aids of various types over the years, I can honestly say that they never left me feeling rested. They mainly left me feeling more like a zombie than a functioning human. Massive doses of a stimulant (in my case caffeine) were needed to snap me out of it. I can't imagine the doses Luca was taking, but they were likely significant. 

That's the usual cycle with these things, and it's the main reason I gave up on medication and had a sleep study done. I got all wired up in the sleep lab (which is even less comfortable than it sounds) the proceeded to sleep better than I had in years. The dark, quiet sleep lab was everything my bedroom wasn't, so my problems were mostly environmental. Once I figured that out, the medications expired in their bottles. I can't say I figured everything out and now I sleep like a baby, mostly because my youngest is not the soundest sleeper in the world and wakes me up on a regular basis. However, knowing what's wrong goes a long way with me. I sleep better.

So, I can buy Luca's story. Doesn't mean I think he shouldn't be sanctioned, but I buy the story. I'm glad I never went that far, because I bet I'm drug tested a lot more than he is. It wouldn't be pretty.

The only sad part is that he was the standout bearded cyclist in the professional peloton, and his positive will likely keep the trend from catching on. So when I go on vacation and don't shave for a couple weeks, I'll look less like a fat version of a professional cyclist and more like an unwashed version of a fat cyclist.

Sounds about right.


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