May 10, 2013

    Photo: Nils Z/Shutterstock

Fondo Organizers Test for Amateur Doping

Gran Fondo New York budgeting $15,000

Organizers of the Gran Fondo New York are spending $15,000 on drug tests to deter dopers from competing in the 105-mile event on May 19. The winners collect a total of $50,000 in prizes, and the drug tests are drawing support from participants.

“The culture has just trickled down,” Andrew Tilin, who was banned for two years by USADA in 2011 for testosterone use as part of research for his book, “The Doper Next Door: My Strange and Scandalous Year on Performance-Enhancing Drugs,” told Bloomberg. “It’s pathetic, frankly. Who are we really impressing? We’re racing for PowerBars, tires and passes to amusement parks.”

First held in 2011, the Gran Fondo New York had two doping cases in 2012, its first year of testing. The winner of the 45-49 age group, David Anthony of the U.S., tested positive for EPO while the winner of the 50-54 category, Gabriele Guarini of Italy, was popped for oxygen-enhancing peptide hormone use.

Since 2011, 10 amateur cyclists have been cited for doping infractions. In response, race organizers have been testing non-elite athletes and holding them to same standards as the pros.

Read Andrew Tilin's story on being an amateur-doping guinea pig.

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    Photo: Polaris

Owner of Sunken HMS Bounty Sued

Mother of victim accuses him of negligence

And so it begins. Legal action has been taken against the owner of the HMS Bounty, a tall ship that sank in October when it sailed into Hurricane Sandy (on purpose). The mother of Claudene Christian, a deckhand who drowned during the sinking, is seeking $90 million in damages from owner Robert Hansen and the company of the Bounty.

Christian alleges that the ship set sail into the hurricane with known structural problems, and that the captain of the ship grossly overestimated their ability to weather the storm. The Bounty, which was built in the 1960’s as a movie prop, rolled over and sank about 90 miles from Cape Hatteras, North Carolina. The Coast Guard rescued 14 crew members, but Claudene Christian and the ship's captain, Robin Waldridge, both died.

The suit says that Hansen and company’s “willful, callous and reckless conduct” led to the “greatest mismatch between a vessel and a peril of the sea that … could ever be imagined.” Hansen has not yet made any comment. Meanwhile, the Coast Guard continues to investigate the circumstances surrounding the Bounty’s sinking.

Read the entire story of the HMS Bounty disaster in “Sunk: The Incredible Truth About a Ship That Never Should Have Sailed”.

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Bee Venom Killed Tucson Climber

Cause of death confirmed for man and his dog

The mystery has been solved in the death of a Tucson rock climber who was found on Mount Hopkins Monday, hanging from his rappelling gear and covered in hundreds of bee stings. A medical examiner confirmed Thursday that both Steven Johnson and his dog were killed as a result of “mass envenomation,” according to the Arizona Daily Star.

Johnson, who was an experienced climber, appears to have rappelled about halfway down a cliff to scope out a new route before his rope disturbed a beehive just a few feet away. 

Arizona sees its fair share of bee attacks every summer, and residents must sometimes deal with particularly aggressive swarms. Still, deaths from these attacks are uncommon since it can take anywhere from 500 to 1000 bee stings to kill a human.

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    Photo: Edwin Verin via Shutterstock

International Space Station Leaking

Could require emergency spacewalk

Commander Chris Hadfield tweeted from space this morning that the crew of the International Space Station (ISS) is planning a spacewalk to fix an ammonia leak in a critical cooling system.

NASA said the crew is not in danger, but the coolant is expected to run out sometime today. Since the cooling system affects one of eight solar arrays that provide power to the ISS, NASA must reroute power sources to keep all systems fully functional.

This comes at a somewhat inconvenient time for the astronauts on the ISS. Three crew members, including Hadfield, are scheduled to return to Earth Monday after a five-month stint aboard the station. The leak is not expected to affect the undocking process.

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