Drugs in downhill?


Just an observation I’d like to share.

Perhaps downhilling will be the salvation of cycling in the eyes of sponsors and the general viewing public as it is the only cycling discipline that the use of drugs is not an advantage. Or not so much of an advantage.

Every other discipline needs either explosive power or endurance, but in DH the most talented guy that gets the most luck is going to win (especially if you take the chain off like they often do in Cairns, Australia, home of Mick Hannah and Chris Kovarik).

Maybe you could throw the question out to readers: Anyone ever take drugs to DH faster? Know of anyone that did? Did it make a difference?


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Hey Chris,

Whoa there! Downhill does require explosive power and endurance — as well as skill, focus and discipline. Luck has very little to do with winning a downhill race.

Some riders do use drugs to enhance their performance.

Some riders smoke pot to mellow themelves. Some use stimulants to amp themselves. Some of these stimulants are legal, some aren’t. I use caffeine all the time.

Some riders use steroids to get stronger. Back in the late ’90s, a bunch of the top riders got suspiciously muscular. Their faces got puffy, acne broke out and one I knew personally seemed even more aggro than usual. But after a couple seasons, everyone went back to their normal sizes. Downhill rewards overall strength, power, endurance, agility, etc. So using steroids to pack on major muscle wasn’t worth the risks. But rumor has it some 4X racers still use the juice.

Question: If the pros of a substance (feeling strong, winning races, feeling like a worthwhile person) outweighed its cons (bad health, official sanction, jail), would you use it?

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