Saturday, January 10, 2009

The Whereabouts Program

Lucky me. I have been chosen to be part of the Whereabouts program. That means I have to account for 1 hour of my day, every single day of my life , minimum, so I can be randomly tested out of competition with no notice to prove that I am a clean athlete. I am all for making sure our sport is clean and fair but this is going to be a pain in the ass. I can tell that already because of the introduction I got to the program.

The UCI (Union Cycliste Internationale) apparently sent me a letter on Dec 22 which informed me that I had been chosen for the whereabouts program. I guess my one week stint as world #1 caught someones eye. This letter must have sat in the CCA inbox over Xmas holidays because I did not receive it until Jan 5th. As it was the start of a new "quarter" I am assuming I was already in violation as my whereabouts information for Jan had not been inputted into the ADAMS website (Anti-Doping Administration and Management System). I read the letter over and over but had zero guidance of what to do next. I emailed my UCI contact person on the letter. Its Jan 10th and I still have had no response from them. I emailed people at the CCA (Canadian Cycling Association) who had forwarded me the letter, but they could not answer my Qs and forwarded me to the CCES (Canadian Center for Ethics in Sport). So I finally had someone from the CCES who sent me a link to a PAPER  copy of the form I could fill out TWICE because one copy had to go the UCI and one to the CCES. Uh no thanks, I would rather use the electronic method. It is 2009 after all. All I needed was a login and password. Noone seemed to know it. Someone from the CCES eventually got back to me with a login/password. He was keen. He even used an exclamation mark when welcoming me to the whereabouts program. I knew he would be good. I sat down ready to start inputting my wherabouts into the ADAMS program but the login/password did not work because of "inactivity". They use big BOLD red lettering when you have an error. And errors seem to be common. I am assuming this "inactivity" refers to the gap between me receiving my letter Dec 22 and my first attempt at input Jan 9th. My keen CCES guy transferred my account from the UCI custodiam (not so helpful) to the CCES (helpful) and I got a login/password that worked. 

So yesterday I sat down and tried to get started. Login/Password worked! Step 1 complete. I had been warned by Tony Theriault and Helen Wyman that the ADAMS program was not very user friendly. And I had read Simon Whitfields blog about his frustrations with the program. He basically said - I would rather you inplant a GPS chip in me than have to fill out all this paperwork. Hmmm. Doesn't sound promising. Helen gave me a tutorial but even though she had been part of the Whereabouts program for a few years, the input software had changed 3X since she started so she was still figuring the latest one out. This was the least efficient of the bunch apparently. Well, it took me over an hour to enter my whereabouts for the next 1.5 weeks of my life. Then I was exhausted and needed to go to bed. With an MSc in science I like to think I could do pretty well in "Americas Most Smartest Athlete" TV show so I would hate to see how much time the not-so-smart athletes clocked for this event. I hope to hell I get faster but I really should start tallying how many times I have to type my home address into the system. I guess that is what you get for being world #1. If only for a week.....

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