Scott Price at Vuelta de Bisbee.
Read Part One
Scott Price Interview, Part Two.
VT: Okay Scott, we were talking about how racing has changed during your
career. What is the best and worst?
Scott: The best change is the level of competition and the growth of the
sport in general. Fields are bigger, faster
and more competitive than ever. Put it this way, in 1993 I won the Sprint Jersey
at the Redlands Stage Race, now I cannot even get to the front of that crit.
Let's call the overall increase the Lance effect.
With the current sponsorship support, TV coverage, money, races, fans,
healthy fields, all the external is in place. ;-)
The worst change is the trickling down of performance enhancing drugs into US
racing. Yeah, I know, not here, right? This fact alone was a big part in my
decision to become a regional rider rather than a full time pro.
VT: Scott, I really dread that whole scene, but when did you first see
the ugly head of drugs rise up in the USA cycling scene? What was the poison of
choice? Recently a rider posted on our message board that he had kidney and
liver problems from using performance drugs earlier in his pro career, he was
warning off other riders not to make the same mistake. Have you seen similar
tragedies with riders?
Scott: I prefer not to discuss specifics in this area as it tends to give
riders ideas and adds fuel to the fire. We see major health effects such as
adrenal burn out, anger, premature aging and loss of Qi or vital energy. We are
only born with so much energy or so many heart beats, it seems that going beyond
your natural limits with the use of drugs that balance will be restored down the
road. I honestly wish there were more pronounced short-term health problems.
Legal substances like alcohol are arguably more dangerous. It is the
spiritual and emotional damage involved that should direct an individual to
making the right choices, but many people prefer to ignore their soul. In
cycling doping is often "justified" if one can make a living in cycling, but
this is wrong. Would you take a small pay check to scar your spirit with guilt
and shame? It is not an honest living and it is not right livelihood. Those who
live with this view do not think there are consequences and they are wrong. For
a person who is a master of himself this simply would not be an option.
VT: I hate to ask this, but how prevalent do you think the use of
performance enhancing drugs have become? I get the idea the percentage is really
small. Do you think that it is less prevalent today with the testing?
Scott: Testing has been such a joke. High level athletes know what they
can use, when and how much. It seems recently there hane been some really
positive improvements as more professional cyclists are getting popped. Cycling
is so difficult and the money is so hard to come by that it puts people into
survival mode and choices become more clouded. I am in no place to give numbers
or percentages. Isn't one athlete too many?
VT: 1996 you rode in the Tour Dupont, a race that lives in legend today.
Among the field were: Eric Dekker, Bobby Julich and of course Lance Armstrong.
What was that first day like when you stepped up to the starting line
accompanied by these guys?
Scott: It was amazing. You really get a sense of deep respect for the
level these guys ride at and an understanding how HARD (headed and physically)
you have to be to stay there. You really have to do the biggest races year after
year to have your body, mind and skills adapt to that level.
A few weeks before Dupont I had won the Tucson Bicycle Classic TT over team
Shaklee and the US National Team. No Dupont field, but a good sign of form. In
the Dupont TT, which came after a 100 mile morning stage, I lost something like
3 minutes in a 15 minute TT to Lance.
In the last km I was grinding up this false flat on bumpy pavement in my
55x17 or something and on TV I see Lance spinning his 55x12... It was also a
shock to be climbing with the sprinters on the climbs. The biggest variable for
North American racers there was coming from smaller regional events whereas Euro
pros coming to Dupont had years of hard or harder races in their legs. A lot of
us simply did not have the stimulus or the distance for our systems to adapt to
such a high level that was only thrown our way on a rare occasion.
VT: You just finished one of the fastest Tour of the Gilas. Gila is one
of my favorite races; how many times have you ridden the Tour of the Gila?
Scott: Gila is a special race. I consider it the working rider's Tour de
France. I mean, it requires time trialing, endurance, savvy and especially
climbing ability to excel. I particularly love the Mogollon RR and its demanding
mountain top finish. I have finished 2nd, 3rd, 4th, 5th, 6th and 7th on GC at
Gila and ridden it 7 times.
Oh yeah, it was so fast this year because our Trek All-Star team spent 90% of
the race at the front either chasing breaks or setting tempo for Drew. In both
of the longest RRs our team was either on the front en masse riding our hearts
out, or Drew was in the lead on the climbs for the entire stages. It was amazing
to see a group of riders that had never ridden together before rally together
with friendship to accomplish a great goal. Drew Miller (three-time winner)
would tell you himself that he could not have won the race without a strong and
unified team, as would Lance lose Le Tour without his team, even though both are
respectively the strongest.
The Trek VW All Stars team at Tour of the Gila. Courtesy 3 Cats
VT: I thought this year was interesting with most of the top pro road
teams missing and the mtn bike and smaller teams animating the race. Drew
Miller, your teammate, did a great ride. I understand Drew works a forty hour
plus work week while training and being a dad?
Scott: Yes, our Landis Trek VW team is a bunch of "old" guys who work and
have families. We all race as a group of friends and do it for fun. If it isn't
fun we don't race. It is an entirely different level from the groveling,
competing with teammates for jobs or trying to make a few bucks racing your bike
full time. Drew and I have seen it many times where a rider doesn't make it as a
pro when racing full-time because they become over-trained and over absorbed
with it all. They quit, get a job and start riding for the love of it and they
ride better than ever before. I have also seen the passion and commitment it
takes to race at a professional level while being a professional.
Lunch at Tour of the Gila. Courtesy 3 Cats Photo/Beth Seliga.
VT: I can understand that. I noticed your name on the Healthnet roster
earlier this year; did you consider it and then decide to take another path? To
concentrate on coaching and HLHAP (Higher
Living Health and Performance)?
Scott: Hmm, long story. I offered my resume to help that team build
sponsorship and I put Mike Sayers in contact with Healthnet, which led to Gord
Fraser joining the team. I simply decided to stay with the perfect team for me.
Landis Trek VW.
Healthnet has really come along way this season and the rumor mill suggests
they have designs on rebuilding a mini-Mercury! What really turns me off about
professional racing are too many elephants fighting over too few peanuts with a
total lack of humility about it all. I would much rather work to earn a living
better, than cycling for the most part and not have to give up my freedom of
choice for how, when and where I want to race.
VT: Rumor - I heard from a very reliable source that Healthnet and
another major team will be merged this winter. We will see, won’t we?
Be here tomorrow as we discuss Scott’s unique coaching approach with HLHAP,
training on a limited schedule, over-training and how to avoid it, nutrition and
performance, motivation and recovery.
On Monday, 1 September, please join Scott in the Daily Peloton chatroom
for a live chat.
Where: Daily Peloton
When: Monday, 1 September 2003
12 noon Pacific Time
1 pm Mountain Time
3 pm Eastern Time
20.00 British Time
21.00 European Time