More of the ongoing exchange between Mr. Zirbel and myself. I asked him, essentially, where he was at in all of this. This is his reply.
From: Tom Zirbel
Obviously, my life has been turned upside down since that day in mid Nov. in which I received the news of my positive ‘A’ sample. But it hasn’t been all bad….it’s been mostly bad not completely. I’ve been overwhelmed by the support. Most of the publications have treated me more than fairly in what they’ve reported. And my friends and family have been a wonderful asset in dealing with this.
But this process and situation has been an eye opener for me. Let me preface this by saying that I realize that this isn’t a tragedy. A tragedy is the earthquake in Haiti or growing up in worn torn Afghanistan. My situation is unfortunate, nothing more. However, it still has been very difficult for me and my family to deal with. I’ve said in previous interviews that I could see myself walking away from the sport, but it’s not going to be as simple as I had thought. The last time I raced my bike, I had the best result of my career. For the first time, I believe I’m capable of big things at the highest level. I just don’t think I can give up and quench that fire that is still burning. As hard as this situation is to endure, I have to keep pretending like I see the light at the end of the tunnel.
Another hard thing about this is not knowing how this all happened. I didn’t change anything from my routine leading up to the positive test so I don’t have any strong inclinations as to what caused the positive. I’m still hoping that we’ll figure it out but that’s a scary prospect if we don’t. Both in clearing my name and in assuring that it doesn’t happen to me or someone else again. Once this is all cleared up, I will have plenty to rant about as far as the process and justice of the system in place. And hopefully I will actually do something about it and try to help change what many agree is a very flawed system.
And for those who genuinely love the sport and hate how dopers have affected the integrity, sponsorship, and sustainability of cycling – that is no excuse for damning every positive test outright. We need to treat every case individually and ask intelligent and relevant questions. We tend to treat positive doping tests more absolute than DNA evidence in a criminal trial. Even with DNA evidence motive and criminal history, etc. need to be established as well.
Admittedly, I’m a little biased, but once you start scouring over the facts of my case – you realize that it just doesn’t add up. By saying that I knowingly ‘doped’ with DHEA – you’re essentially saying that I’m a moron. Which is fine if you actually believe that, but if not then there must be some other explanation. It reminds me of the movie “12 Angry Men”. Ask questions. Inform yourself. Be critical. It’s actually sound advice for social issues such as health care reform, foreign wars, political candidates, etc. But usually we’re too busy watching youtube videos, listening to mp3s, and twittering all at the same time to be bothered. Oh, and leaving scathing, anonymous comments on public forums! How’s that for stereotyping modern culture? Condescending, I know. But at least I signed my name to it.