“Everybody just went ‘Whoah…who the hell is that?’ when he shot out of the bunch,” explains Kjel Schokked of the Columbia-Highroad squad. “Immediately the speculation began. Riders began whispering he’s probably leafing. ”
Leafing is the common slang of the pro-cycling peloton for eating spinach—the iron-laden vegetable banned for its potent and often unpredictable performance stimulation.
WADA has yet to perfect testing protocols to detect the presence of the highly nutritious leafy green. Abuse is feared rampant among pro cyclists, however only the most seasoned riders are able to avoid suspicion by controlling the boost in strength that eating a packet of spinach can bring a rider.
“Some say he popped a LEG (leafy edible green) packet back among the team cars,” continues Schokked. “The surge of vitamins and nutrients made his legs swell abnormally. I guess he’s more of a climber, but when he went by me, he made (Eric) Heiden look like (Alberto) Contador. They were circus-freak massive.”
WADA is frustrated in their efforts to catch leafers.
“There are no effective tests for leafing,” bemoans WADA president, Dick Pound. “In the absence of the ability to directly detect spinach, we look for external signs. Sudden and often violent performance bursts are key indicators. Freakish swelling of leg muscle tissue is usually a dead giveaway. Add to that an unhealthy attraction to abnormally skinny, homely, and whiny women and you’ve probably got yourself a case of leafing.”
Other tell-tale behaviors can betray a potential leafer.
“Sometimes a leafing rider goes into a mysterious, euphoric state and can only utter ‘Ack-yuk-yuk-yuk-yuk’ repeatedly. Strangely, we’ve often found a corn cob pipe in the possession of riders suspected of leafing, but we’ve yet to determine its purpose.”
The shroud of mystery around the rider doesn’t stop at leafing, Pound continues.
“We believe he was also gussing (loading up on asparagus before a race) to benefit from the combined effects of the two incredibly healthy and vitamin-rich vegetables,” Pound suspects. “But again, gussing is something we’re unable to test for. No-one will go near their urine sample.
“Man, does their pee stink.”