OK, no question I am sensitive to this subject. The recent cancer and more major rehab efforts in the not so distant past than I care to remember high light that sensitivity. But with what I realized just recently was over 40 years in endurance sports let me offer a few comments and more opinion yet..
I first noticed "enhanced athletes" when one of my climbing partners was light years beyond any of his peers in strength. He also had a health club membership that cost more than my monthly apartment rent while we were in our mid 20s. His personal coaching staff and trainer costs were way beyond the club's membership dues. Younger than me by a few years he had already successfully competed internationally in two different sports. He was gifted, talented, strong. and well supported financially. It was years later before I put two and two together and came up ( in my opinion) with the idea of his obvious use of performance enhancing drugs.
The same guy worked hard and was obviously talented as well. I've know a number of world class athletes over the years. But it was obvious even then what he was getting from his work outs was not what we were getting from ours.
Still it is only my opinion that my friend was using "dope" to enhance his own climbing. After all, how many enhance their own climbing by a little "weed" these days? Last trip to Index made it obvious many do. Red Bull, a triple expresso, Gu? Where does it start or end?
Herman Buhl used Dexedrine on Nanga Parbat. These days we have living at altitude to increase red blood cells or buying a bed chamber to simulate sleeping at altitude to increase red blood cells or blood doping to inject your own red blood cells. Diamox? Better yet Oxygen?
How many will take advantage of the IV option in the Grand Columbian Ironman distance race in September?
"For all Iron and Super distances (Aquathlon included) athletes may optionally purchase an 1000 ml IV during registration for $35 that guarantees them accelerated post race hydration and accelerated recovery. The purchase will assure you a no hassle IV that will set you on course for a quick recovery. We will have medical staff waiting at the finish line to administer them." http://trifreaks.com/grand-columbian-super-tri/ I know from experience how long it took me to fully recover physically from a sub 12 hr long tri course event. No question an IV would have helped that recovery. I used two "force feed" 1000m IVs after a nasty bit of food poisoning when I was still required to perform, for "better or worse". But how can you not consider that doping? The same (IV) is a common occurrence in the pro peloton btw and totally legal. And how do you decide when to do an IV and what to add to them. It is so easy to add something to an IV. I literally lived off nothing but IVs for 5 months last winter so I know some of what is possible once you start sticking needles in your body. Yes, that was just an IV, no food or water via the mouth for months. It isn't just a slippery slope but a quick road to hell if you view doping as "hell".
I have friends in the military who have commented about the use of "juice" used from Viet Nam to Iraq and Iran. And none of them were pilots.
For any climb going past a 24hr c2c effort there are a lot of ways to chemically enhance your physical abilities if you are willing. Funny though as my only recovery for any climb has always been a hot shower, a good meal and some decent sleep. Even the massages I have always saved for after a hard bike or exceptionally hard run. Just never had the money for a massage when I was climbing hard.
Take a look around any big city triathlon or the local road races (bike or running). Sorry but IMO 60 year old men just don't finish in the top 10 or even top 20 of a 500 person race without being a past professional or a damn good collegiate athlete in their 20s. Even then top 10? Not on their own is my bet. The availability of drugs for the geriatric crowd these days is simply amazing and more common than you might think.
"Through the intelligent application of today’s performance enhancing drugs, we
no longer have to succumb to the natural stages of life. So long as that man is
willing to do his part by putting the required effort into his training &
nutrition, he will be able to stave off and even reverse the aging process on
both the inside and the outside."