In Such Nobel Events

In such noble events as we aspire,

Can we see a thing most deep,

Or fable a story and be marked a liar?

And all of this in pursuit of a dreaded sleep.

The gift of time has most been most freely shown,

To run its course and be most steep,

Or shop for pleasure and into chaos thrown?

And all of this in pursuit of a dreaded sleep.

We stop for moments to leave the memory lying still,

Craving a touch and only then to make the leap,

Or should the risk be taken for such a moment’s thrill?

And all of this in pursuit of a dreaded sleep.

Breathe deeply and shoulder the burden of life,

It is then and only then that we sustain such strife.

Suis-je perdre mon temps ?

Without a doubt, I love the sport of cycling. As a matter of fact, I am about to go riding in about an hour. Why did I wait so long and not ride when it was cooler this morning? The Tour, of course. Today was a beast of a stage, but . . .

As a sat though five hours of Tour, I began to wonder if I am just wasting my time. I mean, for the love of Pete, it is THE Tour. If you like cycling, it is your Superbowl or Gold Cup. Okay, so Nibali won a stage after he attacked Froome when he had a mechanical. Okay, Quitana waited patiently before attacking on the last climb to take back 30 seconds . . . yes, 30 seconds of time on Froome. Bless their heart, Phil Liggett, Paul Sherwen, Bob Roll, and Christian Vandevelde keep pushing the fact that we have a slug fest going on. Uh, wait. I am on the right channel?

The problem that I have is with team strategy. Movistar and Tinkoff Saxo act like they’re protecting Froome! Maybe I haven’t paid attention to it before, but since when does a team not fight for the Yellow? “They are concerned with not losing a podium position” has been said over and over. Maybe the teams just know that they cannot beat Froome. Two or three of the best climbers in the world are attacking him (which looks like a cluster because each one does the attacking without help from teammates), as if to say that it’s part of the job for me to attack, but I know I can’t do anything. Yawn. Many of you can remember the battles of yesteryear like the 1989 victory of Greg LeMond by eight seconds! Now, the main talk is about drugs and motors in the bicycles. As I have said before, professional cycling must do something . . . anything . . . it WILL die like “professional” body building.

Yes, I’ll keep watching. I love it too much. I have more of an interest now in the bikes, the components being used, helmets, shoes, and the like. I have my favorite riders. I’ll still gripe about decisions of coaches, just like any sports fan. I still have a dream of seeing the Tour in person, one day, but there’s something I can’t quite put my finger on. What’s missing? What is it going to take to bring the Tour back? Once Lance stabbed cycling in the heart for the American fan, it’s very quiet over here. A question that keeps popping up in my mind is where is the pain? It has been a while since I’ve seen riders collapsing at the line from exhaustion. Now, they’ll ride three Cat 1 hills and an HC, hope off the bike, get a drink, and do an interview. I know. I know. I’m all over the place with this, but . . . there’s something I just can’t nail down . . . anyway, I’m headed out to ride.


Thermal Regulation

Yes, there are things you can to do combat the heat. Being safe on your bike should be your number one priority. Overheating can be deadly. “I’ll push though it” doesn’t work. The human body is air cooled and water cooled. Here are the top five things to do while riding in the heat:

  1. Drink enough fluids. This has to be done before your ride, as well as in the ride. Hydration does not start at the beginning of the ride. You’ll never catch up. Another big problem is actually running out of fluids. Emptying both bottles and just reaching the halfway point happens often. Also, not wanting to be empty, and conserving your fluid is just as dangerous. Plan your route in conjunction with the heat. Know where a source of water is located. Refill. Consume water every 3-4 minutes in extreme heat and heavy bodily exertion. Just a mouth full ever time. Don’t guzzle.
  2. The zipper on your jersey should be treated like a thermostat, constantly moving up and down in your ride. Just the act of moving on a bike stirs the wind and can be a great aid in cooling your body. You must remember not to unzip all the way and leave it flapping throughout the whole ride. When riding in elevation, zip back up when starting a descent (or at least a partial way up). You don’t want to cool down too quickly, all the same.
  3. Just as well, placing fluids on the outside of your body can assist greatly in cooling. A shot of water on your neck, top of your head, chest, and wrists can work with the wind in dropping temperatures a few degrees. “But I don’t want to waste my water!” is often said of new riders. It’s not wasting if you’re cooling your body; that is why you’re drinking it in the first place. It can a bit sticky if you’re drinking a sports drink, so use the refill time to do the outside treatment. Remember that you have planned your ride in conjunction with places to refill.
  4. Don’t have excess movement. Stay seated as much as possible when climbing. The act of standing in a climb causes a huge amount of caloric burn, upping the body temperature. A death-grip on the handlebars also burns quite a bit of calories. Talking too much to fellow riders can also aid in dehydration because of the humidity in your breath. Speaking of breathing, don’t pant. Keep how you are breathing in your thoughts. Slow and deep. Have a long exhale every now and again, pushing out carbon dioxide.
  5. Watch your heart rate often. Have you ever noticed that your heart rate stays lower when you cycle in the fall and early spring? That is because the daily temperatures are cooler, and the body has less of a struggle. The heart rate increases when the body is fighting to stay cool. Also, the amount of sweat you are producing is crucial. If you stop sweating and your heart rate continues to climb, find a cool shade on the side of the road and give yourself a break. Yes, even if the group is pedaling away. It is better to be smart than dead.

As you’re staying cool on your next ride, watch for fellow riders as well. Don’t be scared to speak up, if you see someone struggling. Sure, someone might get snappy, but that is just the heat and his manhood talking. Oh, don’t forget that when you’re taking in food on your ride that your body uses a lot of fluid for digestion. Keep that in mind.


Team Sagan

 Once again Tinkoff Saxo failed Peter Sagan. Is he just too strong for nine other men to stay with him? Maybe Oleg Tinkov and Steven de Jongh are as bad as Dave FAILSford (SKY) when it comes to planning for a race (i.e. the 2014 TdF). As many witnessed today, Stage 16 was no better for the efforts of Peter Sagan. Digging deep every single day is plan. Race alone is the plan. Forget about getting help from “teammates” is the plan. The team meetings in the bus before the start of the stage must be short and go something like this:

Steven de Jongh: “Okay, everybody listen up. Today, we’re gonna pace Contador up all the climbs and lose time. Peter, you jump out front and hammer. You’ll need to be your own domestique. Also, if you have a flat, see if you can bum a wheel from whatever team car is closest to you. Keep the green jersey and try to get a stage win. Second place is getting kind of old. Any questions? Okay, be safe . . . especially you, Alberto.”

Peter Sagan: “Uh, Steven, I’m getting kind of . . . how you say . . . tired?”

Steven de Jongh: “Here’s a bar and a bottle. Go get ’em, kid.”

Of course, second place in a stage is nothing at which to thumb your nose. As a cyclist, I am in awe of the abilities of Peter Sagan. Day after day, he shows up and races . . . hard. He seems to always have a positive attitude and just glad to be there. Me? I would be fuming by now. Sure, he gets paid a ton of money to pedal a bicycle, but the Tour de France is a TEAM effort. Sagan doesn’t have a team. Mr. Tinkov did mention that he was proud of Sagan, today. Well, isn’t that nice? I’ve got an idea, Tinkov. How about jumping on your director’s rear end and demanding support for, what appears to be, the ONLY rider Tinkoff Saxo has!

Nope, this is not a bromance. Also, Sagan is not American, so it has nothing to do with nationality. I just cannot stand to see anyone left alone to fight his own battle when he supposedly has others whose job it is to support and encourage. Peter Sagan must have the masseuse work on his lower back more than anything else, from the pain and agony of carrying the whole entire Tinkoff Saxo team.

Tinkoff Saxo and the Delorean

 It was all the rage in the 1980s. Gull wing doors and futuristic interior, not to mention it took people back to the future, the Delorean was the quintessential flash in the pan. From 1981-1983, the car showed major flaws and eventually died on the production line. The V-6 motor was terrible. The assembly of the car was shoddy. It became cool to look at, but the design flaws sent it to an early grave. Enter Tinkoff Saxo cycling team.

Building a team around a V-6 rider (Contador) that runs on high octane fuel and runs like garbage when he’s not fed the right “mixture” is ridiculous. For the past fifteen stages, Peter Sagan has been a one-man team. He has no lead out train. He’s in the mix for almost every stage victory, but where is his team? Yes, he did have a tiny bit of help on Stage 15 to get the sprint points, but other than that, Tinkoff has been AWOL. The team owner, Oleg Tinkov, placed millions into a team that works individually. Maybe he could spend a few more dollars and have a video feed on the Tinkoff Saxo bus, playing a loop of Lotto Soudal or Giant Alpecin and demonstrate to the team what a lead out train suppose to look like. Where is the team when Sagan is fighting in the front? Oh, that’s right. They are in the back, nursing Contadope up a Cat 4 climb. If I can see this, the whole world can.

 The accomplishments of Sagan during the Tour de France are mind blowing. No, he hasn’t won a stage, but he has accomplished what he has (basically a top five in all stages thus far) by bumming off of other teams and riding smart. Like Jens Voigt stated during Stage 15: “When Peter Sagan was created, the mold was broken. There are no more riders like him.” Peter Sagan needs to be on a team that dedicates itself to him. He’s only 24 years old! Could he be a GC contender? With the correct team and a different training mind-set, I believe he could. Maybe Sagan is satisfied with the green jersey, but I don’t think so. He’s said multiple times that he wants victories. He’s young and hungry. Feed the beast!

Creating a team that looks good and is filled with great egotistical, non-productive talent dies on the production line. What is the point of having something that looks fast and bulletproof, but has too many internal flaws? Ask John DeLorean.

What a Cool Experience!

There are certain things in cycling that a person may never experience. Win races? Sure. Complete a century or sportive? Sure. But who actually gets a tiny little taste of what it would be like to be in the Tour? Crowds screaming, motorbikes zipping by, strangers giving congratulatory kisses, and being interviewed at the line are just some of the things that would be a so fun . . . even if it were pretense.

Enough Already!

 From what I see is that Direct TV, Cadillac, chocolate milk and Heineken Light are the only sponsors of the Tour de France. Allow me to reference the first one. I have no idea what kind of advertising agency made off with thousands and thousands of dollars from Direct TV to come up with Hannah in three shots: lying in an obviously uncomforable position in the surf while talking to a horse and a goat, bathing a horse in the surf, and sitting in the shade with a horse. I am a very straight up, staunch, and proud heterosexual male, but geez Louise this is nuts. I surely hope that the Tour de France has more sponsorship that this!

I get it. I really do. Sex sells. It’s been proven. For instance, a few years back, a Toyo Tires commercial had a man and a woman all over each other in the rain while hunkered down in an alley; this goes on for quite a few seconds and then . . . Toyo Tires! Wait, what? The only people that Direct TV is reaching at this point are perverts and 13-year old boys. Like the previous Hardees commercials where a woman is licking and eating a hamburger with sauce smeared all over her face, this shows one thing: your product is not good enough to sell to the public, based on the quality of your product. You have to bury it in a campaign of sex, just for people to pay attention to you. Sad, indeed.

I have a unique idea: be creative! If you are an advertising agency, be proud of your job and the work you do. If you are a product manufacture seeking public attention, pay for quality advertising. Quit looking a pie charts and who will buy what if you stick a woman, who is half naked, beside your product that has absolutely nothing to do with the product. Want to sell suntan lotion? Okay, put her there. Want to sell vacation spots? Okay, put her there. But for the love of all things holy, have a reason for exploiting the woman . . . because that is what you are doing. No, I am not a male feminist (actually far from it), but I detest stupidity in any form.

Okay . . . gotta go now, the Tour is back on.


Theatre Thursday: Shed the monster

Originally posted on Kite*Surf*Bike*Rambling:

Cycling is about more than exercise. It’s a lifestyle choice that lifts your mood and gets you out of the house and out of your stressful little world, even for a few minutes. At least that’s what this film from cycling charity PeopleForBikes is trying to tell us.

The advert’s director Evan Fry told Ad Week that although it sounds corny and pretentious “ever since I was a little kid, cycling in one form or another has been my therapy, my church, my athletic pursuit, my trusted friend and my main vehicle for growth.”

View original

Man has Free Wheel

How you choose to ride is up to you, but there are things that will make your ride better. When new riders experience a faster and more determined group ride, it can be a bit perplexing at first. Just being able to hold the wheel of the rider in front of you becomes the number one goal. Breathing goes out the window. Cadence and pedal stroke is not considered anymore. Hand position is just a battle to keep one or both of your hands from going numb. I understand. I’ve been there. As with lifting weights, form is more important than how much weight you lift. Injury can occur; and worse yet, you lose power and productivity. Keeping your body under control when it is rebelling against you takes focus and determination. YOU are in charge. When that wheel seems to be slipping away and your breathing is becoming erratic, your brain is designed to help you not kill yourself. Being the good brain that it is, it will only focus on what it thinks you need to survive what you are putting your body through. Controlling your body’s reactions and staying focused is the key to being a better rider. Of course your current VO2 level plays a huge part in how well you breath when the going gets tough, but controlling your breathing is very important. The first reaction when panicked is to breath faster and take in more air. The body actually needs you to get rid of the carbon dioxide build up that’s going on. Take a second to exhale as hard as you can, two to three times; then take in a long deep breath. After that, control your breathing. Don’t pant. Panting only restricts the amount of oxygen your lungs take in (very little) and causes your body to see other sources of energy, resulting in a domino effect. Speaking of energy, your body must hydrate and consume fuel. The normal rule of thumb is to drink every 5 minutes and eat every 20/30 minutes. This must become habit forming on the bike. You cannot wait until your brain reminds you to drink; if you so, you’re screwed. You’re already into dehydration and will be playing catch up. On the other hand, you cannot drink a bottle every 15 minutes. You will develop a “slosh belly” where you have more fluid in your stomach than your body can handle at a given time. One full mouth of fluid is good enough. Let your body do the work. You’ll feel much, much better. Keeping your body under control when you are tired is the key factor. Too many times a rider will start growing more and more tired, trying to stay with the group, and he begins to flail around on the bike. His knees will begin to flop away from the top tube, his head and shoulders begin to bounce, his hands grip the hoods (and only the hoods) like grim death, and worst of all he will begin to frantically search for easier gears which does nothing but increase his cadence (to stay on the other guy’s wheel) which increases the heart rate and matters get worse. It’s all a matter of staying calm. You tell your body what to do, not the other way around. Give these things a try for a start, and let me know if it helps. BON VÉLO