As many bike racers will tell you (off the record, at night, under a bridge), blood doping—using transfusions to boost one’s percentage of oxygen-carrying red blood cells—is still the most effective way to gain an edge. Floyd Landis has claimed that he, Lance Armstrong, and other members of U.S. Postal used transfusions during Lance’s string of Tour victories, in part because they’re impossible to detect. (Or were. The World Anti-Doping Agency now has a test that will turn up trace amounts of blood-bag plastic in the body.) We consulted several doctors to show you how it’s done, but we do not suggest you try this at home.
1. Tap a vein.
During the off-season, draw a pint—or several dozen—of your own blood. (Never use a friend’s, which could kill you or raise red flags during a drug test.) Next, add an anticoagulant, such as citrate. Blood bags manufactured by Pall ($15; pall.com) come equipped with 16-gauge needles and are preloaded with anticoagulant.
2. Save it for later.
Freeze your blood to store it.
Put the bags on a Burrell Model AA wrist-action shaker ($1,850; burrellsci.com), then add intravenous-grade glycerol to keep those endurance-boosting red cells from bursting when they freeze.
Store the blood in a liquid-nitrogen freezer ($3,756; bsilab.com) at minus 112 degrees Fahrenheit.
3. Thaw and reinject.
Grab a cold bag and dunk it in a 98.6-degree water bath.
Wash out the glycerol, another potentially lethal and detectable foreign substance, by spinning it off in a Unico large-capacity variable-speed centrifuge ($1,695; medicus-health.com). Reinject your blood over a two-hour period using a gravity drop. Massages and bus breakdowns offer good cover. Side effects include stroke, staph infections, and feigned indignity.
Latex-free tourniquet strips come in a variety of colors. $16 per roll
A Veinlite EMS can help locate hard-to-find blood vessels. $219
Phlebotomy totes conveniently organize your blood-doping supplies. $199