By Swiss Miss and ALP Coach Patricia Schwager.
If you are a bike racer, then you should pay special attention to this blog. As a member or license holder of USA Cycling, you have to be aware that you can get drug tested; no matter on what level you are racing. This is because USAC is a recognized sport of the United States Olympic Committee (USOC). For this reason it is important that you know the anti-doping rules.
If you are in a registered testing pool, then you are required to fill-out anti-doping whereabouts 365 days a year.You can get tested in AND out of competition.
In my case, this means I have to send 3 months of planning at a time to Swiss Antidoping. This is because I’m Swiss and I’m racing with a Swiss license. I have to make sure my whereabouts are updated all the time. These whereabouts include travel, team camps, daily training, races, race accommodations, time I’m at home etc. It is quite some work but I’m responsible that my whereabouts are correct all the time- 3 missed tests within 12 months would lead to a positive test.
I spend a lot of time in the US, and because of this, Swiss Antidoping authorizes USADA (United States Anti Doping Agency) to test me out-of-competition. Last year I had 5 or 6 out-of-competition and 3 or 4 in-competition tests. With that amount of tests, I was the most tested rider of my team. Filling out whereabouts and getting frequently tested is part of being a pro rider- still I think there aren’t enough tests. The problem is that the tests are expensive and they need to get improved all the time because the prohibited substances develop further all the time.
Things are different if you are not registered in a testing pool. You do not have to fill out whereabouts, but you still can get tested in-competition.
Join our ALP Cycles Coaching Family. 3 Coaches and 2 Coaching levels to choose from. We ride with our athletes, spend quality time with each athlete (in person, on the phone, over email), and really take the care needed to develop each person into the best cyclist they can be. http://alpcyclescoaching.com/coaching.php
At races, there is usually a chaperone waiting for you after the finish who will tell you that you have been choosen for the anti-doping test. You then have to sign a notification paper and the chaperone will accompany you as a ”shadow” to the control station. Sometimes, however, there are no chaperones and you have to check yourself if there is an anti-doping control and, if so, which bib numbers got drawn for the control. A DNF doesn’t save you from testing and you still can get choosen. This is really important as a missed test will count as a positive test.
If you have to go to an Anti-doping test, you have your rights but you must also follow the rules. You may be required to provide a urine sample, a blood sample or both.
The following link to Anti-doping 101 for Athletes explains all about testing: http://www.usada.org/athletes/antidoping101/
The World Anti-Doping Agency’s (WADA) prohibited list is the international standard for identifying substances and methods prohibited in sport. Broken down by categories, the list identifies which substances and methods are prohibited in-competition, out-of-competition, or in some cases by specific sport. The list gets updated annually.
This means as an athlete you have to be very careful when taking any medications or supplements. You and you alone are responsible for what you put in your body. Never ever just take something assuming it will be ok- if you are unsure don’t take it. Ask before you buy or get the product. Always double check and look up the exact same name that is written on your product.
You can check it online: http://www.globaldro.com/
Or you can call the drug reference phone line: 719-785-2000 press option 2
It is also important that you talk to your coach about any substances you are taking or wish to take.
If you are on any strong medication then you shouldn’t race anyway- in my opinion. Your head has to be in the game while racing, being on some sort of painkiller drugs, for example, will make you feel different.
In some situations you might have an illness or condition that requires the use of a prohibited medication. In this case you have to file a TUE (Therapeutic Use Exemptions). But you need to do that in Advance of a competition/ race and USADA has to approve it.
My indisputable request is: Race clean- Play true!
Editors note—Many athletes use an inhaler for asthma and/or exercise-induced asthma. Most of these medications require a TUE and, if you are an athlete wishing to race at a National level (Master’s Nationals, Elite Nationals, etc.), then you need a TUE, as you have a higher chance of getting tested at National events.