The Denver Post is reporting on a case of Sporting/Bicycling fraud, well, to be precise mountain bike racing fraud.
Cyclistas are very precise about terminology, and "bicycling" is something you do on a bicycle you can pick up at Wal-Mart, while someone who spends more than let's say $800 on something you pedal, is probably a little more dedicated to a particular cycling-pursuit. With the expensive 2-wheeler, there is a specific style to be adopted and appropriate language to be used. Someone riding a mountain bicycle is a "mountain biker," some riding a road bicycle is a "cyclist." There are endless permutations and you risk humiliation and sarcastic contempt if for instance, you wear a mountain bike helmet with it faux brim while rockin' a Pinarello. Doubt me, read BikeSnob for the lowdown on all the cultural implications of the "curated culture" of all-things-bicycle, better yet buy his new book. You can also always get the straight story on cycling from the definitive, VeloNews.
One of the more interesting domestic bicycle races is the Leadville 100. A documentary of this 2009 mountain bike race is easily located somewhere on the internets, I'm sure at YouTube you can look at excerpts from it. Lance Armstrong won last year's edition on tires that were almost flat, as I recall. Lance Armstrong, needs no introduction, perhaps the greatest male American road cyclist of modern times, although there is a legitimate argument for oft-litigant, Greg LeMond. Armstrong is one of the few pros to race mountain bikes and pursue European professional racing.
So back to the case in Leadville. With the involvement of Armstrong, the profile and the participation in the Leadville race reached a level not previously experienced. Race organizers had to go to a lottery system to limit participation. The dedicated female racer Wendy Lyall could not get into the race so she arranged to race under the registration of a mountain biker who did obtain a registration number: Here's a brief summary of what happened, from the Denver Post:
"It probably would have gone unnoticed except the [Lyall] came in second in her age group, and in front of a thousand people, one . . .[ and] went up and stood on the podium and accepted the award and accepted the trophy and the prizes that went with it," race founder and organizer Ken Chlouber said. Lyall has been charged with criminal impersonation, a Class 6 felony. [Katie] Brazelton, 40, [who let Lyall use her registration] will face the same charge, District Attorney Mark Hurlbert said. Class 6 is the lowest felony charge.
That's right, folks you can become a felon for using some one's identity (and letting someone use your identity), for the sole purpose of racing 100 miles across a mountain top, and win a prize.
Cycling, and by this I mean professional road racing, primarily professional European cycling is both beautiful and utterly corrupt. Cycling is fantastic, superhuman, the world's most beautiful landscapes, and cheating like nobody's business. I love the sport, but it breaks your heart. I was a big fan or Marco Pantani (pic, right) a brilliant rival of Armstrongs, dubbed, Il Pirata, the Pirate for his bald pate and gold earrings. Pantani won both the Giro d'Italia and the Tour de France only to be discovered to be a doper. After his disgrace he died of a drug overdose.
I love cycling less, now.
Even the bicycles have evolved into a technology that I find hard to relate to: carbon fiber with prices no mortal can reasonably be expected to pay. A fully equipped professional-level bicycle can easily run $15,000 or more. There are wheel sets, that's right bicycles on this level are assembled from components like high-end audiophile equipment--as I was saying, wheel sets that run $6,000, don't ask if the tires are included, they aren't. Bike Snob has had fun with the marketing metaphors, one manufacturer says his bike frames are "lighter than milk." Professional bicycles became so light that the governing body of cycling, has been imposing rules requiring that bicycles weigh at least a certain amount to be "legal."