As many of you are aware Mike Miller was recently suspended by USADA for a non negative test at Masters National Track Championships in July of this year. I have personally been involved with Mike during this most difficult time as I support all cyclists in PA/WV per my role as president of the PCA. My support of Mike has shown me the impact this situation can have on a rider, his/her friends and family. It has also exposed a system that is flawed and the support a rider receives from the governing body is little at best. The enclosed letter to the PCA membership is a public apology from Mike. If you have questions or need additional information please contact me at your convenience.
David H. Mitchell
The Performance Lab p/b Caffeinated Cyclist
President – Pennsylvania Cycling Association (www.pacycling.org)
To My Family, Friends, Teammates, Members of the Cycling Community, and whomever it may concern:
I never thought in a million years that I would have to write a letter like this. I have no idea how to start. Perhaps the best place is from the beginning. Let me first say that I truly apologize for my actions and the effects these actions have on all parties involved. If there is any trust left in your heart for the honor of my word, when you have finished reading this letter, please believe me when I tell you that this was an innocent and unfortunate mistake. I do, however, take full responsibility for my actions. My hope in writing this letter is that others can learn from my experience and not repeat my mistakes.
As many of you may have already heard or seen, a press release went out on Wednesday, October 26, 2011, stating that during the 2011 Masters National Championships after posting the fastest time in the 3000 meter time trials, I was tested by USADA. Testing of my ‘A’ sample given that day found that I was positive for taking a controlled substance. Unfortunately, I have to admit it is true. The press release did not give a clear explanation of the facts, however. And I would like to take this opportunity not to make excuses, but to explain.
The simple facts are this: after years of never having to take any type of supplement for dieting, I decided to take a dietary supplement with what I thought was a single energy component during my preparation for Nationals, but more importantly Worlds. My weight was not where I wanted it to be, so I turned to an appetite suppressant to help fight the hunger pains. My goal was not to enhance my cycling performance in any way. I asked the store manager/owner if the supplement could result in a positive drug test, he said no. I even explained that it was for Olympic level competition and drug testing, he said the energy component was caffeine, which is not a prohibited substance. I specifically asked about Ephedrine but he again said it was safe.
I checked all of the ingredients on the WADA website because, in all of my years of racing, I had never been tested by USADA and my goal was to go to Masters Worlds in Manchester. I assumed that the WADA site would be the most appropriate, resourceful, and restrictive. I was wrong.
After being tested, I found out that the USADA site has a global Drug Reference Online (DRO) and an (800) hotline to a pharmacist that can help make sense of the ingredients in medications. They do not, however, like to comment on supplements because it is an unregulated industry. I was instructed by the USADA officials at Nationals to contact the site and review the supplement I was taking with the pharmacist. The pharmacist was very kind was concerned for my situation; he researched the supplement I was taking and called me back the next morning.
To my utter shock I found out that one of the minor ingredients in the supplement I was taking called 1,3-dimethylamylamine (as labeled on the bottle), is also known as methylhexanamine and is sometimes commonly referred to as Geranium Oil. This substance is legal out of competition, but considered zero tolerance in competition. 1,3-dimethylamylamine at that time was not list on the DRO (it is now), but methylhexanamine was placed on the list in early 2010. If it had not been for the pharmacists expertise, he said even my family doctor or local pharmacist would probably not have known the relationship.
Even though I only took the supplement on training days because of the cramping effect the caffeine has on my body, there was a chance I could be positive. I went back to Masters Nationals and asked the onsite USADA officials what to do and they suggested I keep competing since there was a chance that the tests would come back favorable. So, I competed in only the events I had preregistered for and pulled out of all team events. I also decided to pull back from all racing on the road as to not affect any yearlong PCA BAR standings.
After working with USADA regarding my sanction, I have expressed to them that I would like to help others who may not know the risks of taking dietary supplements. And, therefore, decided to write this letter. Again, I would like to express regret that this unfortunate mistake ever occurred. I did not intend to cheat in any way and my integrity in the sport of cycling, is more important to me than I can express.
I first want to send my deepest apologies to the other competitors in the 40-44 category at the 2011 Masters Track Nationals and to USA Cycling, especially David Albrecht, Kurt Broadhag, Joe Wentzell, Timothy Mullins, and Rodger Carted, the riders directly impacted by negative outcome of my USADA drug test. In 2009, I too, was directly impacted by the positive test of another rider, so I know the disgust and betrayal you must feel. The feeling of being cheated of the joy to stand on your rightful step on the podium is something I am truly sorry for.
I also want to apologize to my friends, teammates, and officials who have always stood behind me, supported me, and inspired me. I have always held myself to a higher standard; I have always worked harder and pushed myself deeper to gain your respect and fulfill your admiration. Now I have disgraced myself and damaged the relationships with people I have known and cared about for more than twenty years. I wish I had the power to turn back the clock.
My greatest shame comes from the pain I have caused my family. My wife and children, my parents and other relatives have stood beside me, cried with me, and prayed for me through this entire ordeal. I could not have asked for better support. Up to this point, I have only told a select few people in the cycling world about this process. This is my burden to bear, but I am so appreciative of the support and understanding that I hope will come from those who read this letter.
For those who choose to believe in me and the unfortunate set of circumstances that caused my positive test, I thank you. Throughout this entire ordeal I have cooperated and chosen to accept the fate that USADA and USA Cycling has for me. I hope that one day I will be able to regain your trust and respect.