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Yeah, sure looks like Contador's proverbial chain may have come off. Even if it was simply a case of "contaminated food" it's probably karmic forces telling AC he shouldn't have kicked Schleck when he was down.

In bike lanes, either you're in or you're out. Pedestrians and motorcyclists - you're out.

Ugh. Over at welovedc, several commenters are advocating running--against traffic--in the bike lanes.

Recipe for disaster.

Recipe for disaster.

Probably true, but... sidewalks are made of cement and road surfaces of asphalt, which is much softer. Unless a jogger has convenient access to trails, s/he needs to weigh the relative risk (and legality) of running in the road (including bike lanes, where they present) and potential damage to knee, back, etc. This is why bike infrastructure issues can't really be separated from recreation issues.

What, exactly, about Gray's legislative history or campaign remarks leaves you confident that he'll continue to promote a bike-centric agenda? There was nothing in that letter to the Post to substantiate that conclusion. I think a lot of people are simply hoping for the best, as they are regarding the fates of other competent-but-soon-to-be-fired Fenty administrators. Its foolish to think Gray will be maintaining any aspect of Fenty's agenda or keeping any of his personnel. That's why I'll be writing-in Fenty for Mayor in the general election on November 2nd.

Which "competent administrators" are you talking about, Asuka? So far, Gray has indicated that he would fire Fenty's Attorney General, but there hasn't been any announcements beyond that.

Of course there won't be any announcements prior to November - Gray's worried about buyer's remorse prior to the general election (never mind that its a bit presumptive to start announcing personnel changes given that he hasn't actually been elected yet). But you can be assured that at least Rhee and Lanier are gone. Klien may be the lone hold-over, but I wouldn't be surprised if he gets the boot as well.

And what justification can Gray offer for doing so? None. With the possible exception of Nickles, DC has never had a more effective, responsive group of administrators heading its major departments as it has had under Fenty. That's why the "Write-in Fenty" campaign already has 5,000 facebook friends, and its gaining momentum.

I missed the memo on its being a good idea for runners to run against traffic in bike lanes. I think runners would be classed as pedestrians (total guess) but the poster who did that item said she "wouldn't get mad" at runners *as long as* they run against traffic.

I really don't know what the comprehensive solution is, but in no way are Segways compatible with biking (especially since a lot and possibly most local Segway operators are tourists who I doubt are experts at it).

What, exactly, about Gray's legislative history or campaign remarks leaves you confident that he'll continue to promote a bike-centric agenda? Nothing. But, there was nothing about Fenty's to make me think he'd be pro-bike either (in fact less so). During Magellan's journey around the Earth, he died. Did his men turn around and go back? No they did not. Because they were too far in (more than halfway) to turn around. Going back was an option, but not really. Same thing. We can count on Gray to continue the path of Williams and Fenty because he really has no other choice. If you want to deal with congestion in DC, what else can you do but encourage people to drive less and bike/walk/use transit more?

Washcycle: I trust that Gray does want to deal with congestion. At the same time, he is a politician elected on a backlash against Fenty's policies: his supporters wanted him to go back. Also, there were the add where bike lanes were implied as "white" projects.

I'm not saying Gray will go any particular way, only that he could go any direction and change the existing direction.

Circumnavigating the globe in the 16th century is just a little different than continuing an agenda of a political rival. Just a little.

There's nothing to substantiate your or anyone else's confidence. But since a small portion of the Washington electorate decided that what wasn't broken needed fixing, all we have to do is wait until Gray himself settles this disagreement one way or another.

Asuka, I disagree about Rhee being an effective administrator. I mean, you can give the warrior woman some credit for test scores marginally improving under her watch, but firing 300 teachers based on a budget shortfall that was later found to be false is hardly effective. It is, in fact, incompetent.

But, more to the point, what does that have to do with this blog? The one person you cite that Gray may keep (and, by the way, the way she behaves, I think it's Rhee that's chosen to leave not Gray who's asked her to leave) is Klein, the only person who has something to do with this blog.

As for the 5000 Facebook friends writing in Rhee, oh I mean, Fenty - well, I know a bunch of them, and they'll need to change their residency in order to write in Fenty on the DC ballot. What's amusing is that your candidate has actually endorsed Gray.

Gray's campaign slogan was "one city". To be a little cynical, continuing the progress on bike lanes would be a relatively low-cost (financially and politically) way for Gray to reach out to a group that largely opposed him. His core supporters are much more interested in getting rid of Rhee.

"His core supporters are much more interested in getting rid of Rhee."

I feel this is a huge oversimplication of the politics involved during this election (though at least you didn't say that Gray's supporters don't support school reform, which would be completely false). Gray's core supporters were put off by a dismissive style, of which Rhee was only one example. I would say a mayor who brushes off meetings with Dorothy Height and arrives late or not at all at memorial services for victims of the Metro crash had just as big an impact.

I certainly hope you're right about Gray. Sometimes politicians understand that they need to shift between campaign mode and governing mode. Some don't. I don't have any insight into whether Gray will shift to "governing mode" and not follow the more extreme rhetoric of some of his constituents.

As for Contador, it's difficult to say what really happened. His explanation that he consumed contaminated meat that day is plausible, given the very low concentration of the clenbuterol. But the German media, in particular, are focusing on the theory that the positive test result was caused by Contador engaging in blood doping, and using his blood that was taken when he had been using higher doses of clenbuterol. Interesting to see how it all shakes out.

I read that article about the assault on the Met Branch Trail. Unfortunately, it doesn't sound like a trail that I'd like to use until something is done about security there. I don't normally ride in that area anyway.

@Chris

Well, it has to do with the blog because...washcycle gave an opinion about Gray. Who he didn't give an opinion about was Rhee (who you've now commented on in two separate posts).

Do try to keep up and stay on topic, yeah?

@Asuka, your logic about the blog makes no sense, but well-played on the snarky come-back.

@Michael H, regarding Contador, it really shouldn't matter whether his explanation is plausible. A professional athlete is responsible for what he consumes, full stop. If the authorities accept the "I didn't know what was in the meat" argument, that kind of opens it up for anybody who wants to get away with doping.

I'm not a Contador fan but it sounds like the UCI can narrow down what happened. They should be able to determine if blood doping was involved. If so, then Contador should be sanctioned.

All the experts have focused on how low the concentration of the clenbuterol was, so low that WADA wouldn't normally classify this as a positive test. Of course I think they should follow the current rules as written. If it's a strict liability test, then it looks like Contador will lose the TdF title. But a strong case could be made for having a lower threshold limit for future tests, so that an athlete would not be sanctioned for something that would not affect his performance or recovery. There are already tests for blood doping (imperfect as they are) so that would cover the other issue in this situation.

I don't have an emotional interest in the outcome either way. I'm not particularly fond of Contador but I don't hate him either. I would just like to see an equitable outcome.

I'd also add that there are precedents in elite international sports for altering the punishment in such cases, where an extensive investigation finds that it's highly likely that the ingestion was inadvertent. I'm not saying that's the case here or not, just that I think that would be fair to consider.

@Chris,

I hear what you're saying, and trust me, I'm not a big fan of Contador. However, from everything I've read, not one single expert has said that the amount of clenbuterol in his system was not enough to have had any performance enhancing effect. It's 40x less than the minimum level that WADA-approved labs must be able to detect. IOW, an incredibly small amount.

The blood doping angle is an interesting one, but again, from what I've heard the highest level recorded was on the rest day. Why would he dope himself on the rest day?

I'm no expert on any of this. All I know is what I read. But so much evidence seems to point to Contador's explanation being plausible.

A professional athlete is responsible for what he consumes, full stop.

So, he's supposed to do chemical analysis on every food item ever consumed?

Re: Contador

I understand that nobody has said that the clenbuterol had an effect on performance, but I don't really think that's a measurement for whether or not to impose disciplinary action. That's a judgement call, not a scientific measurement.

I'm also not suggesting that he's supposed to do a chemical analysis of every food item consumed - I am suggesting that it's a reason for being careful. With the amount of scrutiny, it really wasn't a good idea to take food from some outside source outside his own regular regime.

Further, if you allow an exception to somebody who says "I didn't know," you've opened the door for anybody else who says those magic words. Even more so if the racer in question is able to produce "experts" who say that the level detected in the blood didn't have an enhancing effect.

I'm not saying any of this is fair - but this isn't about fairness. Truth be told, I am one of those who is of the opinion that most of these guys dope, and I don't really care whether they do or not. But, every single one of these racers know going in that they will likely have an extreme level of scrutiny and that there's a system where due process just isn't in play. It's just the way it is.

Re: Contador.
My concerns with punishing minute amounts are
1. lab errors, which increase when you have to detect very small amounts. Many lab tests only test indirectly for an item, and can be confounded by other molecules.
2. You make it so easy to disqualify people, opening it up to foul play by opponents. Lets say I don't like Contador. All I need to do is spray clenbuterol (it is sold as an inhalant spray, IIRC) onto dinner, and it shows up in his next blood test.

I'm not a big fan of Contador. However, from everything I've read, not one single expert has said that the amount of clenbuterol in his system was not enough to have had any performance enhancing effect.

The hypothesis is that Contador received a homologous blood transfusion with his own tainted blood (from a time when he was training and doping with Clenbuterol). Rumor has it that there are also traces of plastic in his blood (the kind of plastic used in blood bags). So the Clenbuterol is not enough to enhance his performance, but the blood doping would.

Re: Contador

Still not quite sure why he would transfuse his own blood on a rest day and not on a competition day itself, but I am certainly no expert in this sphere.

Given your info on the blood transfusion angle, especially the plastic bit, I will just take a full-on wait-and-see approach. Sounds to me like it's more of a blood doping issue than a steroid issue, then, and that's not been the angle I've seen on this story in the reports I've read. Are media oversimplifying the issue and reporting it as a steroid use case? Wouldn't surprise me.

In any case, it's sad that the credibility of cycling race results are being brought to doubt again. It's a sport I have come to love, but its image and popularity seem to continue to suffer more than others from PED issues...

Contador is an extremely successful pro cyclist. This is pretty much all the evidence you need that he's doping.

But, there was nothing about Fenty's to make me think he'd be pro-bike either (in fact less so). During Magellan's journey around the Earth, he died. Did his men turn around and go back? No they did not. Because they were too far in (more than halfway) to turn around. Going back was an option, but not really. Same thing. We can count on Gray to continue the path of Williams and Fenty because he really has no other choice.

I enjoy your blog, and generally think you've got your head screwed on properly. But that there is some super-optimistic happy-dappy thinking.

I'm not saying it's impossible that Gray will continue the Williams/Fenty reforms, but it sure as *hell* ain't a given.

Are media oversimplifying the issue and reporting it as a steroid use case? Wouldn't surprise me.

Most of the mainstream press is indeed oversimplifying. For a discussion of the plastic and blood doping angle, see:

http://sports.espn.go.com/oly/cycling/news/story?id=5636606

Dr Pangloss, there is only so much damage Gray can do. Most of the funding for the bike program comes from Federal funding (TE, Rec Trails, SRTS etc...). Now the TE money can be re-purposed, but little of it goes to biking anyway last I saw. For the other sources of funding it's a use it or lose it situation.
Back during the Barry administration I recall the discovery that the District lost millions in federal funding due to a failure to spend it or provide matches, and the uproar that caused. I don't foresee that happening again.

I just don't get the assumption that Gray is going to trash all the bike programs in the city. It seems like it's based on a campaign ad which uses a bike lane as a metaphor and a comment attributed to him that he thinks some of the lanes aren't well thought-out. That's pretty weak evidence.

Don't forget that Gray is DC Council Chair. That's not a powerless position. It is possible he could have done damage already to bike programs if he wanted to, and he apparently hasn't.

More likely, I think the problem here is that there are some disgruntled Fenty supporters who are still confused as to why the city - including his own Ward - turned its back on him. Problem is, on the bike issue, you're looking for a devil that's just not there.

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