1987 EPO emerges as a doping agent, and over the next three years, 17 Dutch and Belgian professional cyclists die after injecting it.

1988 After winning the 100 meters at the Seoul Olympics, Canadian sprinter Ben Johnson is stripped of his gold medal after testing positive for the steroid Stanozolol.

1996 Irish swimmer Michelle Smith medals four times in Atlanta. Two years later, FINA, the governing body of international swimming, finds her guilty of manipulating a urine sample for an out-of-competition test. Smith is banned from competition for four years and misses the 2000 Sydney Olympics.

1998 Four days before the Tour de France, Willy Voet, a masseur for the Festina cycling team, is caught with 400 vials of performance-enhancing drugs. The team is asked to leave the Tour.

1998 In August, shortly before breaking Roger Maris's record of 61 home runs in a season, St. Louis Cardinals slugger Mark McGwire acknowledges that he has been using androstenedione, an androgenic steroid, for more than a year.

1998 U.S. runner Florence Griffith-Joyner, a three-time gold medalist, dies in her sleep from a heart seizure at 38. It is widely suspected that she used human growth hormone to increase her strength.

2003 Bernard Lagat of Kenya, a bronze medalist at the Sydney Summer Games, tests positive for EPO and is banned from the World Track and Field Championships in Paris. He had planned to run the 1,500 meters.

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Interview with MotoEndurance.net's Robb Beams
Part 2
By Tim Crytser

In part 1, we talked to Robb about his 16 year career as a MX trainer,  and he explained what someone can expect when they click on MotoEndurance.net.  This week, Robb gives us some insight as to how training benefits everyone from the seasoned pro to the D class beginner, and we get down and dirty with the topic of performance enhancing drug use in MX. - Virtual Trainer 

Looking for Part 1.....it's right here!

So, is MotoEndurance.net best suited for the serious rider who wants a serious training plan, or can a regular weekend warrior also benefit?
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Kawasaki Pilot Kyle Chisholm finished 9th in TX and is currently 10th over in the 250F points chase.

Oh, the weekend warrior can definitely benefit from what we offer.  We probably have 35 or 40 riders that we work with and many of them have full time jobs or own their own businesses and can't ride their motocross bike except on the weekends.  So we may only have them doing certain protocols that are gym specific because that is all they can get access to for hour or so at lunch.  So, yes we have a lot of weekend warriors.  Last year at Loretta Lynn’s we had 17 guys that were racing and they were all over the age of thirty.  It is amazing how competitive the vet class can get.  So these are guys that are certainly weekend warriors but we are also privileged enough to work with some of the professional riders.  But even if you look at something like Loretta’s, yes we had several riders that were competing for that Pro Sport title, guys in the B mod and B stock classes, all the way down to the 85 class.  And in between, we have guys that are just your weekend warriors that want to win the Florida Cup Series if-you-will.  Not that there is anything wrong with the Florida Cup, but these are truly weekend warriors that just get a chance to ride and train on their motorcycles on the weekends.  But other than that, they are just doing their cross training so they can be ready to go out and bang bars with their buddies every weekend.  The thing we like to pride ourselves on at MotoEndurance is that the goal for the weekend warrior is to help reduce the risk of injury just like the elite guys.  We help keep you in the game so that you can have some fun racing.

Yea, just last week I interviewed Jeff Montgomery at Cytomax and we were talking about the same thing.  If weekend warrior types would just do a little to get in shape and eat right, the differences on the track not only in pure performance, but also in injury prevention and pure enjoyment is astounding.  It doesn’t take a lot to get into better shape and to eat right; I don’t care how busy you say you are?
You are so right and "Iron" Jeff had a good point.  It’s the attention to details that counts.  I know that he spoke a little about the energy drinks that are out there and things like that, but I mean, lets face it, Iron is trying to recommend a product that is going to keep someone from getting dehydrated.  Regardless of who you are, dehydration is an ugly experience.  We call it bonking in the performance world where your blood sugar levels go down.  He was talking about all the adverse side effects.  It may be one thing that you are not fit enough to ride 35 minutes at the speed of a Kyle Chisholm or a Matt Boni, but the key is if you are able to sweat and regulate your body temperature through proper hydration so you can go out there for 10 or 15 laps and have fun.  But once you are dehydrated, you are done.  One thing we like to work on with our weekend warriors is flexibility.  That is probably the number one thing we work on with our recreational riders.  Because it’s not a matter of if you are going to fall, it's when.  So what we always say is if the muscle groups are so tight you end up tearing a muscle every time you fall, well then you are going to spend half your season injured.  So, the same way "Iron" was talking about  how hydration is not just for the elite, it's about getting people to make smarter choices.  So the same thing is true in training.  If we can just get people to work on their flexibility, you are certainly going to be in the game longer with such a simple thing like flexibility.  You may not be as fast as the A class, but that is not the point for 95% of guys out there.

If I clicked on MotoEndurance.net and told you I was 40 years old, worked 50 hours a week, had a full time job with my family, could only ride on the weekends, and could spend 1 hour a day every other day at the gym, what would you recommend?
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Alisa Nix makes up the female contingent of the Toyota TMX program and is currently 8th in the WMA Outdoor Nationals

Well, like with any athlete I train, it would start with a baseline assessment to find out what their weaknesses are.  What I try to get from my athletes is ideally at least an hour in the gym.  In that hour, I like to see 15 to 20 minutes of strength training, at least 40 minutes of cardio and then I would ask them to stretch 10 to 15 minutes after their shower everyday.  The reason for this is now you are just asking someone for a nominal amount of time to work on the three key components.  The three components that I see as the biggest limiters with all athletes is one, the lack of cardiovascular fitness, two, the lack of physical strength, and the last is the lack of flexibility.  Now obviously there are other deeper variables that contribute, but those are the three key limiters.

What about the opposite spectrum of that.  What do you recommend for a young kid in the 65 or 80 class that has Loretta Lynn’s speed?
Well, for the riders we worked with this year at Loretta’s the two big key components for us is working on lactate tolerance and balance.  We are not real big on load bearing exercises at such a young age.  Any load bearing training we do is based on their body weight.  I think that lifting too heavy of weight at a young age can be very detrimental to the growth plates of some of these kids.  Each kid is different and some kids mature faster than others, but you can usually tell which kids are ready and which ones need to mature a little more.  The two things we really focused on with our kids at Loretta’s was for them to be able to handle the speed and their balance.  If you look at most of the younger classes, where do most of the errors occur?  It's not because they don’t know how to jump or because they don’t have fast enough bikes; its that they don’t know how to maintain their balance as they make their way through the corners.  When the bike gets off kilter, they have trouble with that.  Some of that has to do with strength, I’ll give you that, but most of it is a lack of balance and coordination at such a young age.

Ok, let's shift gears a bit and talk about one of my favorite and sometimes painful topics to ask trainers in the industry about.  No one gets away without answering it, so I have to present it to you.  What is your opinion on performance enhancing drugs, and do you think it is being used in our sport?
I definitely think it is prevalent in our sport and I would love to see mandatory drug testing at the professional level.  I think it is imperative for the future of our sport.  When you have the amount of money coming into our sport like we have seen over the past few years, unfortunately you are going to see kids make sacrifices due to the pressure of sponsorship obligations, performance pressures and everything that comes along with being a professional motocross athlete.  I absolutely will not work with anyone who is using performance enhancing drugs, or any other drugs for that matter.  If we ever picked up a rider and later found out that they were using drugs like that, we would drop them immediately.  I mean racing is one thing but you have to be able to live the rest of your life after the racing is over.  And if you look a drug like EPO [Erythropoietin] in the Tour de France that just ended in July, once again there were a couple of people busted for using EPO.  And I just want to be crystal clear about this to any young kid out there who thinks that the worst thing about using EPO is getting caught.  EPO will flat out kill you and that is no joke.  Four years ago, half of the Belgium team died from EPO use.  No amount of money in the world is worth your life.  Do I think EPO is being used in our sport, it saddens me to say, yes I do.  Do I know who or have concrete proof; no, but I know enough about training and the signs of it’s use to suspect that it is being used.  That is why I would love to see the AMA get behind random drug testing not only for performance enhancing drugs but also casual drug use.  Then there would be no speculation.

So if taking EPO boosts your performance so well, why is it unhealthy to take?
You know, your body can only do so much before it tries to shut down and protect itself.  And when you unnaturally go past those limits its very unsafe.  There is a reason why an amateur rider will get tired after 5 or 10 minutes of extreme exercise when their heart rate is 86 to 92% of max like some of the professional riders.  Your heart just wasn’t designed to go that hard for that long without proper training.  It’s just like the engine on your bike.  If you put parts in it and push that motor past its intended max performance, it’s not a matter of if it’s going to break its when.  That’s why we break the motors down and rebuild them after each weekend.  Well the same is true with your body.  When you think about the level of output that these riders are doing, it gets to a point where the body can just not physically sustain 14, 16 or 18 different races depending on the series you are in.  That is where a drug like EPO is so scary because it shortens your recovery time so much that it is no longer natural and the body just needs more time to recover naturally.  These kids making the transition from the amateurs to the pros, without allowing their bodies to physically adapt and taking shortcuts, unfortunately it is going to take a death from a high profile rider and they prove that he was taking EPO or doping for a big light to be shed on this topic at the higher levels of the AMA.  Without a doubt that would shed some very ugly light on our sport and I would love to see the AMA take a proactive approach instead of a reactive and not let something like that happen. 

Do you think that there isn’t a big push from the AMA because they just don’t understand the problem?
Absolutely!  Just look at the Tour de France and see what that has done to that sport.  They are in major damage control right now.  Our sport is so much about the young people that it would be devastating for something tragic to happen and have it get traced back to something like EPO and the AMA wasn’t proactive in doing something about it.

What exactly does EPO do for you?
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The EPO Protein increases the oxygen carrying capabilities of your blood.

Well, essentially it increases the oxygen carrying capability of the blood so that your muscles can do more and more work.  The problem is that the thickness of the blood plasma increases so much that your heart has to work harder and harder to pump the blood through your blood vessels.  It’s like really thick oil in your bike.  Make it too thick and the motor will blow up.   Essentially you end up over revving your heart and it just can’t take anymore.   It’s like putting an oversized piston and not boring out the cylinder and wondering why the top end locked up.  The same thing applies to us.  Your heart can only pump so much volume and when the blood plasma gets too thick, eventually the heart will give out and go into cardiac arrest.  Your blood turns to sludge and you die.  And it’s a very ugly death.  So if you are a young guy out there and think that performance enhancing drugs will give you an advantage, think again because that stuff can really kill you.  And that’s no joke!

Well Robb, I appreciate your candidness about this topic.  I, like you, think that it is already a big problem; it’s just that no one has been hurt yet.  Let’s hope, like you say, the AMA is proactive and not reactive to this topic before it brings our sport to its knees.
No problem, Tim.  I just don’t want some kid out there to get hurt because he was misinformed about something he read on some website that said it was ok.  If anyone out there needs proof about the dangers of performance enhancing drugs, let me know and I can show them study after study from the Olympic Training Center on the problems of EPO.

I’ll do that Robb, and thanks again for your time.
No problem, Tim anytime.

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That's it from Robb for now.  Be sure and check out his website (MotoEndurance.net) if you want a personalized MX training program that will make you faster and stronger.  Until next time, good luck with your training and, as always, VT can be reached anytime at crytset@comcast.net .  In addition, be sure and check out the Racer X Virtual Trainer archive section , your complete one-stop information zone for motocross fitness.