|Product dimensions:||6.00(w) x 8.90(h) x 1.00(d)|
|Age Range:||17 - 18 Years|
About the Author
Read an Excerpt
I'd always wondered what might happen to make a rider dope for the first time. I'm sure every situation is different, whether it comes from a doctor, outside pressure from staff or teammates, or a just a dark moment of personal desperation. I wondered what I would do if, by some miracle, I was signed to a top team and someone handed me a needle at training camp, explaining that I'd be on the next flight home if I didn't take it. After all I'd been through to get there, would I have the courage to say no? It was a scary thought.
I wanted to raise the stakes on myself, to help remove any temptation I might encounter, so I decided to get a tattoo. The design would be a bar of soap with the word "CLEAN” on it. If I was ever tempted to take something, a tattoo would be another incentive to avoid it, and maybe enough of a statement that my next doctor wouldn't close the door to ask what drugs I was on. I'd place it on the inside of my lower bicep, to be plainly visible in a victory salute.
I'd never had a tattoo, so in the spring, I mentioned it to my teammate, Nick Waite, at national championships in Greenville. We decided to get it that night, peer pressuring each other into action, but on a Sunday in rural South Carolina, our options were limited. I made some phone calls and convinced one shop to stay open. It was such a simple design, Nick and I didn't think we needed to go somewhere good. What could go wrong?
We hesitated when we arrived at the small building behind a gas station in nearby Spartanburg. A tall African-American man was walking out. He'd just gotten his son's name on his chest, and was explaining it to a friend, who wondered why he hadn't gone with his wife's name. "See, my son's gonna be my son forever. But my wife? That bitch could leave me any day.”
Nick and I held strong. We explained our idea to a heavily pierced female tattoo artist with a shaved head. She was pale and overweight, she wore a leather jacket filled with shiny silver buckles and spikes, and her teeth looked like a box of crayons. I went first. Nick looked at my tattoo, which ran the full width of my puny arm, and got the same design 25 percent smaller.
Her work was shaky; maybe she had never worked on anything as scrawny as a bike racer's arm. Nick and I both had to get our tattoos touched up a few weeks later, but we'd formed a club and made a pact. We'd do our best to spread the word and convince more athletes to get CLEAN tattoos. And if anyone doped, the rest of the club would come and scrape it off with a cheese grater.
Table of ContentsIntroduction
1 Riding Fixes Everything
2 Take What You Can Get
3 Pay Your Dues
4 Get in Your Damn Car
5 Pay Your Dues Again
8 Get Serious
9 You Gotta Believe
10 I Don't Believe It
About the Author