I recenly got a book called "Positive" which was written by Werner Reiterer. Werner was Australia's finest discus thrower of all time. During his career he pronounced himself as a natural athlete even though he knew that there were many around him who doped. This was both from talking to other athletes and also from actually seeing them injecting etc.
It pretty much highlighted in exactly the same detail as what I have read in many other accounts of what is a standard procedure for doping. The interesting thing that I found was that he was still getting all of his work done in Australia by an Australian doctor and he also had support from officials from within the organisations controlling athletics in Australia. Plus as he did not make a lot of money, as discus throwing is about as glamorous as cutting your toenails, I found it intriguing that the bill of $20000 was taken care of.
Ultimately, he did not go through with qualifications for the Sydney 2000 Olympics, even though he was throwing gold medal distances in the lead up, due to the enhanced power he was getting whilst being pumped full of steroids and hormones. In the end he did not like what he had become.
I have read a few books on doping, Dog in a Hat, Breaking the Chain etc but this one is probably the best one - though I do like Joe Parkin's writing style better.
I have known a few guys who had the chance to be sensational on the bike in the Euro Pro roadie ranks. However, they were born into the wrong era of the 90s. They made a choice and didn't want to go there. I raced against some interesting characters back in the day. A couple of guys got popped positive - one for horse steroids and another for Sudafed. I raced against some guys who just would come out of nowhere, throw in an absolute pearler, then disappear all of a sudden, or just ride ordinary the next times you saw them.
Occasionally I will use the roadie term of "surprising" which is used to denote that the individual put in a superlative effort - for them. I have only seen a few of these sorts of actions in the last 5 years of mtb racing. And of course, you just don't know what an individual has done. They could of course, just be training their as$ off.
Usually an individual will be good from the beginning, and pretty much what they bring to the table at age 19 is what they will pretty much have the rest of their career. ie, if you're good, you're good. Of course they will gradually build strength, endurance and power, but these things take time and can only incrementally be improved over time.
Anyway, in keeping with the theme of incrementally improving over time, I have been focussing of late on the accumulation of a lot of riding time. I have also been trying to figure out where the Capital Punishment race is going to actually go between key venues. I am seeing some road time and some road rules having to be inserted in order to get from Majura to Bruce Ridge - if anyone knows any better, I would love to know!