Adam Semple: guest writer

Adam Semple has been kind enough to agree to take a quick break from being a pro cyclist on the UCI Continental (and rather successful) Drapac Cycling Team.

born in ’89 and still a sometime student, Adam had perhaps his best season in terms of results in 2011, when he won two stages at the Tour de Taiwan. crankpunk met Adam on the Asia Tour somewhere and was most impressed not only by the maturity of the young cranker but also by the way he rode his bike (and for the fact that being Australian seemed not to have held him back in life, which is commendable). what isn’t written on the cq ranking system is that Adam rode his arse off at the Tour de Taiwan this season too as he worked tirelessly to secure the GC win for teammate Rhys Pollock.

you don’t get points for riding like that but you do earn the respect of your peers…

the cool thing about Drapac is that the team is more about helping to shape people through competitive cycling, with the emphasis on doing it the right way, than putting your EPO-stained fist through the other guys’ faces, and Adam adheres to that too. in the mire that pro cycling is in right now many fans are asking where the clean riders are. well, we are here, busting our backsides, getting the odd result here and there and doing it all for the love of two wheels and a crank.

and with the intro done, i’ll leave it to Adam…

Adam winning in Taiwan in 2011

in this oh-so-proud moment of ‘The Life of Cycling’ (Terry Jones we are waiting), lest we forget those who irrevocably declared their innocence for so long to now suffer the impotence which is their demise. surely we could say that since the ‘stormy days’ (roughly a few years ago, all the way back to the dawn of cycling) cycling hasn’t had the smoothest rails to ride on.

scandals a-plenty…

there was never really a reason to follow the rules though, besides, umm… dignity?  seriously though, it was more or less totally accepted and condoned within the professional cycling fraternity, and we all just ignored it like the sheeple we are. Eddy Merckx, the greatest ever cyclist by a country mile, admitted to taking drugs on at least one occasion: “I was wrong to trust a doctor,” said the legend.

oh boy. such a shame you got caught.

i love the whole idea that doping (and winning) was tearing the guy apart inside, that whole ” it was hurting me” – even though until you got caught everything seemed hunkydory….

it’s the staple confession, post-conviction.

the problem is, where money is, cheating is too.

to become a pro it takes some natural ability of course, you do need that. ignorance is bliss, as they say, and that’s required also, the hallway-like thoughts that can allow a rider to train for anything up to 6-8 hours a day. but the problem is that all that has for so long been all mixed with dollars well spent on doctors who know their shit.  In a sport that claims your every iota of concentration and dedication it was never going to take too long before someone was willing to go that extra step and cheat. provide someone with only one goal in life, one target, one way to achieve ‘happiness’  and surely someone will morally digress at some point.

i will be the best. by all means necessary.

let’s face it, besides some incomprehensible logic suddenly appearing in sport that renders all participating in it fair and honest, it’s a total conscious shift in society that is needed to eliminate doping.

our mentality comes from beating everyone else, not improving yourself to be your best and finding contentment with yourself – or others for that matter – for their achievements. competing, as it stands, is defined with a get the **** out of my way! approach than anything else.

if these ignoramus’ are doing this for the money, then that’s a problem we must blame on society. they want money to live better lives, buy more shit they don’t need, or eat more expensive food that isn’t any better than the fresh goods from a farmers market. face it, our society breeds greed, so we should be blaming the chicken not the egg.

it all depends on the society that brings up the riders. the amateur Italian scene is run – a lot of teams – by ex-dopers. Spanish too. some teams still ‘allow’ it. all of their idols do it or did it. the money and fame in those countries for cycling is so large the pressure to perform is on. as an Australian myself and the great majority of my peers would never even consider it. it isn’t, and won’t ever be (for me at least), on the table. in other cultures though – the evidence is there to back this up – where riders are racing for their financial lives or where doping  has been so deeply ingrained – more succumb.

but if the achievement of simply competing against yourself and of being in the race was all that mattered, how could someone possibly comprehend doping? winning is awesome, but it’s not all – yet even with a win, the emotional reflection must surely render itself against the the training and suffering that was done to achieve the goal. each 1% effort, every day of psychological preparation and sacrifice. winning in that way is all about the realisation of what it took to get there. the means justify the end, not the other way round.

so if we could ‘learn’ riders to get that concept, why would someone dope? i’d have to say that it would take someone with a psychopathic personality, someone who lacks the ability to discern between winning and achievement.

what happened though for so long was that so many, many guys doped. the balance between achievement and winning was so skewed. the general consensus was that doping was so engrained in cycling and this led each doper to relinquish all morality and dope “because everyone else was doing it.” this is also informed by the fact that many of these riders had little or nothing outside of cycling.

If a person has nothing else, no education, the win-at-all-costs mentality, dreams of financial rewards, no real desire to do anything in life except cycling, then the door to drugs will stay open. in a society driven by greed, materialism and consumerism, that door’s not gonna close too soon. but let’s not give up all hope. we will see. either the professional cycling fraternity can somehow get to grips with a clean approach, one entwined with honor and a respect of one’s fellow riders, or the money will continue to draw the dopers in.

 Adam Semple

Adam & the Drapac Boys, achieving and winning again… the annoying b******s…

Adam Semple

Author: Lee Rodgers

Cycling coach, race organiser, former professional cyclist and the original CrankPunk.

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