I looked at the clock this morning at about 6:45 and was happy that I could roll over and close my eyes again. Then about 7:30 I hear the dogs let out a few quiet barks and think that maybe they were trying to tell me I had slept enough already. Then I thought, “crap, I bet it’s USADA” coming to collect a sample for out of competition testing. I quickly throw on a robe, peek out the blinds, and sure enough I see 2 people standing at the door. Yup, it’s USADA coming to take to my urine (no blood today). By the way, USADA stands for United States Anti-Doping Agency.
So, you see, I am in USADA’s out of competition program which means that for 365 days of the year I have to tell USADA exactly where they can find me without any advanced warning from them. They can show up any day, any time, anywhere around the world for an out of competition test. It also means that for at least 1 hour of the day, I HAVE to be where I say I will be so that they can collect either blood or urine. If I am not at home during that period and if they cannot track me down, it will be marked down as having a missed test – NOT a good thing. Too many of those and you get dinged with a positive test. I have chosen 6-7am as my 60-min time slot because I am rather confident I will be at home then (god forbid that I have to leave the house before 7am). Plus, it’s most likely that I’ll be able to pee without having to drink liters of water to produce a sample. Because the DCO’s (doping control officer and chaperone) showed up outside of my 60-min time slot, had I been in the middle of a ride or about to start a ride I would have had the option of making them follow me until I was ready to produce a sample. Lucky for them this morning I was still wiping the sleep out of my eyes and had to pee straight away so they didn’t have to worry about hanging out with me for hours on end.
First things first, my chaperone had to follow me everywhere I go around the house until after I have given them my sample. Since I was only dressed in a robe, she even had to watch me get dressed. Then, she had to watch me pee. Yup. It’s awesome. I’ve had to do this plenty of times before, but it’s still weird when you’re being watched in your own house! Once the sample was collected I set my urine sample on the table, inspected and picked from 5 different sealed and numbered kits the one I wanted to use for my samples, carefully poured my urine into the A and B glass bottles that are inside the kit, sealed the bottles tightly, and then repackaged the kit with both bottles to be sent to a doping lab for analysis. Then I was given the option of declaring any substances which I might have used recently. Because I have chosen not to take any sort of supplements, not even multi-vitmains, nor have I been sick and taken any meds, I had nothing to declare. Easy. So then I signed my life away and the DCO’s were headed back to Boulder/Denver. All was said and done in about 20 min. Bam.
While it can be quite frustrating to always remember to provide USADA with my whereabouts at all times, the program is in place to keep sport clean and fair for everyone….and THAT I fully support.