Friday, June 23, 2006

Were you here? Sydney 1000, 1982

Where were you in 1982? At Camperdown Velodrome watching the Sydney Thousand? Well I was! This year (2006) the Thousand will be at the equivalent of Camperdown Velodrome, if you like - the 80's vintage banked outdoor velodrome at Tempe, one of Sydney's inner southern suburbs.

Wednesday, June 21, 2006

Someone say 'tachypnoeic shift'?

Did someone say tachypnoeic shift? Well Faria et al did and I quoted them (at least in part) here.

But wait, there's more! If you read Lucia, A., Hoyos, J., & Chicharro, J. L. (2001). Physiology of professional road cycling. Sports Medicine, 31, 325-337 as I found it here, you'll see this quote: "Several studies have recently shown that PC exhibit some remarkable physiological responses and adaptations such as: an efficient respiratory system (i.e. lack of "tachypnoeic shift" at high exercise intensities); a considerable reliance on fat metabolism even at high power outputs; or several neuromuscular adaptations (i.e. a great resistance to fatigue of slow motor units)."

Tuesday, June 20, 2006

Exercise physiology and cycling mythology

I keep reading in mags and online about lactic acid buildup and the importance of massage and stretching and I keep thinking "but, but - recent research says...".

I don't know the truth, after all what is truth? Perhaps only mathematics can truly be 'proven'...

Anyway, in my personal experience (based on feel as much as biology) there are both aerobic and anaerobic energy sources phasing in and out during efforts and probably interacting in a fairly complicated way. And each person has individual limits in oxygen transport (blood flow , haemoglobin content, heart size and cellular uptake) and energy delivery and use that can be modified by training. Apart from these training-induced changes, the upper and lower limits of these physiological processes are individually set, probably genetically, and vary across a lifetime and probably to some degree day to day.

Most people will feel and report upon these processes and their limits; the heavy breathing, limp or leaden legs and a burning feeling in the muscles or the lungs for example. The 'I can't go any harder or faster' feeling, if you like. And no amount of massage erases these feelings - or any other feeling. However if you are a spiritual person - and cycling can be very spiritual in its regimentation, beliefs and repetition - and you have the faith, then yes massage - and stretching - may work for you. If it seems right for you and clearly doesn't injure you (in the broadest sense) then it's probably OK.

For me I'll stretch when I'm warm because it's good to gain and maintain flexibility; but I'll warm up by exercising at a lower pace for a period and then gradually lift to the level I need to be at for my intended activity. Stretching can be harmful if you exceed common-sense bounds and massage is really - sorry about this - all in the mind. As for lactic acid being the evil behind post-exercise pain and a limiting factor on your performance - well maybe we are seeing this the wrong way and making bold assumptions! As I said, there may be no truth outside of maths.

Try this for an enterprising overview of cycling physiology. By Faria EW, Parker DL, Faria IE. Exercise Physiology Laboratories, University of New Mexico, Albuquerque, USA. In part it states "The positive facets of lactate metabolism dispel the 'lactic acid myth'. Lactate is shown to lower hydrogen ion concentrations rather than raise them, thereby retarding acidosis. Every aspect of lactate production is shown to be advantageous to cycling performance." Myths begone!

Monday, June 19, 2006

Ullrich overpowers everybody in the TT to win the Tour de Suisse

In the final analysis it was Ullrich overpowering everybody in the TT to win the Tour de Suisse overall. Cadel Evans was 2nd in the TT and moved to 10th overall. Read the full Cyclingnews report here.

With just 13 days to the start of Le Tour we have Giro winner Basso cooling his heels, refreshing after last month's efforts - whilst trying to maintain something like 90% of his form, and Ullrich now resting and refreshing after a shorter but more recent winning effort. Will Basso recover enough from his 3 week effort to resume in similar form? Or has Ullrich the advantage with more recent race efforts in his legs and time to recover? Psychologically it's about 50:50, slight advantage to Basso in all but TTs. Ullrich looks able to hang tough in the mountains but Basso looks to have the form to storm the Alps. He could gain plenty of time that will leave Jan chasing in the TTs. Add in Landis and Evans plus Valverde - even Cunego - and we have a race on our hands!

Saturday, June 17, 2006

Freire's audacity reminds me of Anderson

3-time World Road Champion Oscar Freire's audacity and skill in bunny-hopping a median strip to get a gap on his breakaway companions - and win - reminds me of Phil Anderson pulling a similar stunt in a one day race oh so many years ago. Cyclingnews reported: Five kilometres from Ascona, Freire displayed some superb skills to bunny-hop a median strip with apparent ease and leapfrog to the other side of the road, catching his three companions by total surprise, who could only turn their heads in amazement, looking like a trio of stunned mullets.

This is the Tour de Suisse folks. Only a few weeks left before the real excitement starts. Aussie Michael Rogers was in the break but was swallowed up up the chasing pack. GC is Koldo Gil Perez (Spa) Saunier Duval-Prodir leading, Jorg Jaksche (Ger) Würth 2nd, Jan Ullrich (Ger) T-Mobile Team 3rd. Cadel Evans is 18th, about 5mins back.

Meanwhile Baden Cooke was 4th in yesterday's stage of the Elektrotoer. And a stack of Aussies including Wilson and Chadwick doing well in Tour de Beauce.

Friday, June 16, 2006

Plenty of form on display at Tour de Suisse

There's plenty of form on display at Tour de Suisse. Ullrich has put the hammer down and is now 3rd overall. Meanwhile plenty of others are shining whilst climbing, too. Aussie Gerrans came close to a breakaway win. Cyclingnews reports.

Thursday, June 15, 2006

Ullrich reveals more form

I don't know about you but only once did I find the time and motivation in my life to do 700km a week. For just one week. And a few 500km weeks either side. And some (read six months or more) 400km weeks either side of that. So probably 8-12 months of really hard, focussed training at a sub-elite level. No HRM, just training by feel. I don't think I found my peak, as such - although across 5 years or so of riding where I averaged close to 200km a week that period was one where I was the most prepared. And when it mattered I flopped.

The 228km race I aimed at went well until my bunch splintered on the mountain. Rather than regroup at the top we remained fragmented - indeed many just stopped and got in cars! - whereas just a minute up the road a bunch or two did form and they won the race. Me? I rode the next 100km largely catching, briefly riding with and then watching individual riders stop and give up; and when the only guy left with me chucked it in, so did I. That sort of negativity is catching. Although I had plenty of miles in my legs I needed to go harder up that one key climb and make sure I had a bunch around me that would be committed to finish.

Cycling's a solo sport in many ways - but one where getting into a team, either a loose collective of like minds or a formal club, national or pro team is absolutely vital. As is setting your goals and planning to achieve them. Just having the miles in your legs may work at club level but it falls apart when things get serious and "they" start ganging up on you.

Which brings me to Jan Ullrich. Setting aside Lance Armstrong, Jan is the dominant tour rider of our generation. By now he must know how to train and peak at the right time. Yet he still needs his team - they must match wits, skill and strength with Basso's proven squad plus fend off Phonak's team and the less fancied but capable individuals like Cadel Evans. So we mustn't focus on Jan's form alone but on his team's performance overall. Nevertheless it's reassuring to see him pushing the pace in the Tour de Suisse (link to Cyclingnews coverage). It's a step forward. (Jan is now 7th on GC, Cadel is 12th.)

Wednesday, June 14, 2006

Ullrich aiming for 72kg

It's nice to have goals. Jan Ullrich would like to be down to 72kg in time for Le Tour, for instance. Procycling has the story. It must be nice to have Jan's physiology. Train on your own for a while, then with some teammates. Enter the Giro for 'training' and win the TT. Do some more training and then go on the attack in the Tour de Suisse. Lose a few more kilos and front up for the Tour a lean mean TT rider who can hang with most of the best on the climbs. I have trouble doing any of that. Just getting on the bike is a struggle some days. Then again I don't get paid to do it, either ;-)

Sunday, June 11, 2006

Boonen first, Davis 5th in 70th Tour de Suisse

Boonen first (again), Allan Davis 5th in the first stage of the 70th Tour de Suisse. McEwen dropped on the last steep climb, reports Ominous that Boonen can stick on the climb with Bettini, but it was short and steep... he's proven he can cope with that sort of challenge.

Good form for both Iban Mayo and Levi Leipheimer, too, in the Dauphine Libere.

Saturday, June 10, 2006

Did someone say 'velodrome'?

Sydney's Velodromes!

Camperdown, now closed; also known as O'Dea Reserve. I raced on this track from 1985 until about 1992 or so. It no longer exists (it was destined to become unit housing last time I heard). In brief, the history runs like this...up to the 1970s the Dulwich Hill club (incorporating the Petersham and Marrickville clubs) raced at Henson Park, Marrickville. However Henson was also the home of a Sydney first grade rugby league team that needed Henson redeveloped with lighting towers of television grade. Of course the towers were slap-bang in the middle of the track. Ironically the club in question - the Newtown Jets - was subsequently relegated to a lower grade, despite the lighting investment. In any case a deal was struck where Marrickville Council assisted the Dulwich Hill Club by providing land suited to a steep-sided concrete velodrome, in Camperdown.

Read more here.

Bike racing clubs in Oz

Here are 2 clubs that, co-incidentally, I have been a member of... it's essential to join a club if you actually intend racing, but it's worth it for the cameraderie, the training insurance and the skills transfer, too.

Try the Central Coast Cycling Club's ever-improving site, or Randwick Botany's colourful, congested but extremely informative site. (Don't forget to check out Robbie McEwen's visit to Heffron Park!) Then join a club near you!

Friday, June 09, 2006

NZers win races too reports that New Zealander Greg Henderson has won the 2nd leg of the Triple Crown (Race 2 - June 8: Reading Classic, 75 miles/25miles). 6th was Caleb Manion, 13th Matty Rice. Luke Roberts was next in line, followed by Trent Wilson (16th), Karl Menzies (17th) and Peter Hatton (49th and in a chasing pack). Lots of others that I won't mention. You can click on the link instead ;-)

Wednesday, June 07, 2006

Racing wrap up

More results to note...
Cyclingnews reports that Karl Menzies was 2nd in the CSC Invitational at Arlington. Jeff Hopkins was 6th. In the 58th Critérium du Dauphine Libere Stuart O'Grady was 7th, now 9th on GC. David McPartland was 11th in the 43rd GP Kanton Aargau/Gippingen.

We are just a month away from Le Tour. The big guns are resting up from recent racing or training in anticipation. All will be putting finishing touches to their form with the coming shorter stage races or training in the mountains. Basso remains favourite but Ullrich hasn't shown himself in the mountains yet, so we don't really know. It's likely that Basso will gain time in the mountains and Ullrich will claim it back in the TTs. Landis is in the mix as well... we'll see how closely he can follow - or maybe lead - Basso and Ullrich. Evans and a few others look good for top 10 but will lack the team to give them a shot at the top 3.

Monday, June 05, 2006

58th Criterium du Dauphine Libere and more

Cyclingnews has reported David Zabriskie (USA) Team CSC 1st in 4.35.84 (53.509 km/h), then Hincapie (USA) and Stuart O'Grady (Aus) Team CSC 0.06.07 in the 58th Criterium du Dauphine Libere. Renshaw, Davis and Gates are there too.

Meanwhile Hilton Clarke (Aus) Navigators Insurance has managed a handy 4th in Race 1 of the Triple Crown, the Tom Bamford Lancaster Classic, PA, USA. Brooks, Wilson, Manion, Sullivan and Menzies are there too - and finished. A stack of riders didn't.

Also in the US Nathan O'Neill picked up 5th in stage 6 of the Mt Hood Classic, giving him the win overall on GC!

Friday, June 02, 2006

Another Aussie wins in Montreal

Once again an Australian rider has won a stage of the Le Tour du Grand Montreal. Cyclingnews reports that Kate Bates has won Stage 3 - May 31: Petite Italie criterium, 50km. 6th was Oenone Wood (Aus) Nurnberger Versicherung (11th on GC), 7th Rochelle Gilmore (Aus) Colorado Premier Training and Olivia Gollan (Aus) Nobili Rubinetterie Menikini Cogeas was 10th (and 12th on GC atfter this stage). Stage 4 saw Olivia take 11th place overall on final GC.

Thursday, June 01, 2006

Olivia Gollan wins a stage in Montreal

Cyclingnews reports that Olivia Gollan has won stage 2 of Le Tour du Grand Montreal in Canada.
Oenone Wood 10th (11th on GC), Katie Mactier 17th, Kate Bates 42nd, Helen Kelly 43rd, Rochelle Gilmore 61st.

Also, they report that the 66th Skoda Tour de Luxembourg has kicked off with Corey Sweet and Baden Cooke in the top 15.