yup, hup, bup and all that.
another thrilling installment of a thrilling Giro on the thrilling Pez by your thrillingly friendly neighbourhood crankpunk
yup, hup, bup and all that.
another thrilling installment of a thrilling Giro on the thrilling Pez by your thrillingly friendly neighbourhood crankpunk
PMA baby, positive mental attitude. ugh, don’t you hate those anacronyms…
Mark definitely does…
after many months wondering if i should, i decided i should.
i’m offering personal coaching to anyone looking to improve.
get in touch via ‘contact’ of the ‘personal coaching’ tab and we can chat.
“How did it go?” I asked a young Frenchman when he’d finally retrieved something akin to a normal breath after the 7.2kilometer individual time trial at the recent Tour of Friendship race in Thailand.
“Ah, putain!” he exclaimed, working his facial muscles into a look of disgust and wrangling a soggy baguette out of his back pocket. “My SRM console screwed up, stopped working, so I didn’t know how hard to go…”
I just stood there looking at him, unable to find a comment that wasn’t going to insult his intelligence. I mean, seriously? The guy had become so dependent on his power meter that, when it ceased to function, he didn’t know how to judge his own body’s effort.
This obviously is an extreme case but as ever in life, it is often only at the extremes where we really begin to learn anything. This guy had gone over the edge, way beyond the line where a power meter went from being a tool, a guide, to a point where it had become his own personal cult leader.
This guy was living in Jamestown and already three liters of Kool-Aid up.
“Yes,” you may be thinking, “that guy went too far. But I use my SRM to tell me my limits.”
But therein lies the problem. Accepting limits.
Two examples why. The first involves a guy who used to be on my team, who would never attack but who always finished in the pack, seemingly content with a 24th place and not getting dropped out the back.
Now, some kids on my teams come up and ask me for advice, and I can talk to them all day about training and recovery, about how to limit lactic acid build-up in a race and about when and how to attack. It’s a pleasure, to have young riders seeking ways to get better, and to be able to help them.
On the other hand you have guys who blatantly need help who never ask anything. Whether it’s shyness or arrogance I don’t know, but I’m not about to start telling someone ways to improve if they don’t first seek it out.
But this guy, he obviously had talent, and one day I’d had enough of him soft-pedalling in.
“Why do you never do anything in the race?”
“What do you mean? I always finish.”
“Finishing top 40 is worse than attacking and a DNF! You never attack. How do you expect to ever learn anything or to get better?”
“Yeah but my heart rate monitor tells me I’m near my limit. If I attack and get caught, I’ll get dropped.”
So, ‘knowing his limits’, and worse – accepting them – was leading this kid to play it safe every race. Yes, if he did attack with 5km gone he would probably get dropped once he got caught. But so what? Getting dropped through hitting the wall toughens you up. The first time he might only have managed 50km.
But the next time he might manage 60. Then 70. Then… well, who the heck knows? And that’s it – nobody knows how good he might become with real dedication and a willingness to risk it all. But if he rides forever thinking ‘I know’, with his current attitude, then he’ll never improve.
Second example. A guy is on his indoor trainer, riding with power. He does a test. He finds he can do X watts for 60 minutes. He trains each week for 6 weeks to get ready for a race, using the power meter each time he rides, indoors and out.
Studies the lines, crunches the numbers. Examines data. Goes on FB to tell his pals he is improving. Then, race day comes.
Boom! Straight off the line the pace is mad, he’s looking down and can barely see straight, then it goes uphill and ‘holycrapIcan’tdothis!’ – and then sure enough, he pulls the plug.
The fact is that his beloved numbers have obscured from him the fact that almost always in a race, without fail, you are going to be riding harder – a lot – than you can in training, no matter how regimented and serious you may be.
Improving is not always about a steady progression, in anything in this world. Every once in a while, amongst the grind and the slow push, you need to get turned inside out, strung out, dropped from a great height and just plain old battered.
You need, from time to time, to glimpse the other side of the wall. To hang in there with someone who is on another level for as long as you can and to go home with a footprint on your backside – but one well earned.
I remember my first race. Once my 15-year old self had just about gotten over the size of the muscles on the legs of the older guys around me, we then went up a hill that I rode all the time alone at a speed I couldn’t even begin to get my head around.
But I went up it. With the pack. And we did it another 5 times in total, and I almost won after being in a three-man break for 30 of the 50km race, but bonked so hard with just a few km to go that I fell over and just lay there for a minute until a car came by and asked if I was ok. Despite having entered another dimension of time and space, I think I said ‘UGH’, and they left me there, my feet still strapped to the pedals and half of my sweaty face covered in small pebbles and the odd cigarette butt.
Possibly a rabbit dropping or two.
Next race it was the same story all over again, except for the ending: this time I won. My solo attack almost petered out and the pack was just 100m behind me as I crossed the line, but goshdammit, I won. I fell off the bike straight away yet again, but this time with a smile the size of Lance’s mini-fridge on my face.
We are surrounded by limits. We encounter our first at home, then a truckload more at school, the ‘do this’ and ‘don’t do that’ – some perfectly reasonable, some less so – along with the ‘you can’t that!’ lot, which are far more insidious.
We have tests that tell us we are dumb and play games that tell us we aren’t good enough, and then we trundle off, after all that, to the ‘real world’ where it all continues apace. As if there weren’t enough limitations imposed us by society, we then begin to impose them upon ourselves.
I’m too fat.
I’m too old.
I’m too ‘me’.
Well, shove all that. You’ve all no doubt heard those tales about mothers driving down the highway. The car flips. The woman gets out. Her child is inside. There’s a flame. It’s growing. She runs to the car and tries the door, no good. Then, knowing that she must do something or her child will be dead, she gets a grip and heaves and strains and lifts the car.
Extraordinary strength brought on by extraordinary circumstances. Think she’d have done that if she was using a power meter?
Exactly. Not a chance.
We are extraordinary beings. We are of stars, of this universe, from this universe, yet the universe, perhaps most miraculous of all, is within each of us. Whenever we say ‘I can’t do that’ – however essentially, unarguably true it may seem – we are denying the limitless potential of the human mind and spirit, of will and the determination to succeed.
You don’t start riding to accept limitations, you start, by and large, to be free. To escape. To just ride, and ride fast. Then we become more ‘serious’ and start to get into the science of it all, and that’s fine, I love science, I wish it would shine its light on more of the world and our befuddled attempts at existing in it. Yet to allow it to rule us is to deny the very unscientific elements that, ultimately, make people achieve such wondrous and unfathomable feats.
It’s the immeasurable that makes it all so worthwhile.
Amundsen and Scott didn’t have power meters. Neither did the first men to set off on rickety vessels across the great oceans. Nor the early climbers of the high mountains. Neither did Eddy Merckx.
Now, I’m no Luddite, and yes, modern technology and power meters and the like can be extremely useful, but let them guide, not rule. Put them away a few days a week. Try not using an SRM in a hilly race. I’d wager that something like 85% of people who have them don’t use them properly.
I know because I was one. SRM sponsored me for a year, and the console just stopped working after 2 weeks. It was 6 months before I sent it back, and to be honest, I just kept it on the bike to scare people. Because it meant I was serious. Ha!
Riding is so much in the mind that your philosophy of riding can have a profound effect on everything you do.
See what you can do. Feel your body and its incredible ability to adapt.
And, most of all, feel limitless. Go on, give it a try…
*this article first appeared in The Roar.
thanks Levi. no seriously. really. thank you.
if only Garmin had followed the lead of OP-QS and decided not to renew the contract of their dopers we might, maybe, finally be getting somewhere. instead, good old Mr. Argyle welcomed them all back, and Dekker too, the unrepentant little lovely. but then, wait, didn’t i read somewhere that JV was a doper too?
surely not, because then how could he remain in the sport, managing riders and all that jazz? silly me.
ah, the sarcasm just isn’t cutting it. it’s not fulfilling in the usual way. and you know why? cos guys like Levi don’t deserve a cent of what they have, not a single medal in their trophy cabinet. he got busted finally because he was too scared about being someone’s bitch in jail and had finally to tell all. let us beat around the bush no more.
and then he trotted out the old excuse, ‘well they were all at it, and how does a good old American boy respond to that? why, OUTdoping the dopers, naturally…’
he said earlier today: “I sort of miss racing. I still love riding my bike.”
but you never rode your bike, amigo. you rode us. long and hard.
this movie, The Levi Effect, came out before he was exposed. well, that backfired, eh bud?
(great to hear Phil and Paul offering up excuses for Levi, too. ah, how sweet)
well, incredibly enough, seems just as many people came to have a look at the TMBK girl in the past few hours as they did in 24 hours to see the previous most popular post on cp.
‘sex sells’ as they say, or you could plump for this gem from the interweb industry: ‘chicks mean clicks.’
both are true and both are, in an odd way, slightly depressing.
so to balance the spotlight i’ve perhaps unwittingly brought on Taiwan and to soothe my Taiwanese brethren, here is a little video i made the other day. well, hardly ‘made’, but you know what i mean. it’s just me, chatting about a dog and some mud and a village, and i’m not at all sure i should be posting this.
but what the heck.
i kinda ummed and ahhed about posting these images, but then figured that your usual crankpunk reader is sophisticated and educated enough to realise that this kind of imagery is devoid of morals, vacuous when it comes to ethics and just downright degrading to women – and yes, i am speaking to the men out there.
the women readers will i am sure congratulate me on highlighting this obvious case of abuse and of the objectification of their sister-folk.
the astute cyclist will see quite clearly that the young lady in the images is sacrificing aerodynamicity for pure aesthetics, a definite no-no – and just imagine the road rash if she takes a tumble…
good to see feminism got there in the end, eh?
in this last image from the aforementioned TMBK however, the editor has nailed it – or should i say ‘needled’ it – so, maybe there’s hope after all…
crankpunk & the Giro, analysed on Pez, read it here, or here… below.
“That’s the difference for me. I can do miraculous things when I have a team that believes I can do it as well. I’m on form in the head and my heart.”
I try not to write about the obvious. That, after all, was my brief for this series from the editors at Pez. Yet when one guy is smashing the living daylights out of the peloton and generally proving that he is without doubt the greatest in the world at what he does, and doing it with an ease that borders on the violent, but another guy has slipped so far from the heady Graceland he inhabited for just about the whole of 2012, well, there’s really not much choice but to get on with it.
Yesterday the rampaging Cavendish won a sprint for which he really had no business even being around to contest. The parcours was not overly challenging, has to be said, but the speed at which the peloton covered the last kilometers, up hills, was.
There was one image of the Red Jersey wearer riding just off the front of the peloton on the way up the day’s toughest climb with about 30km to go, already eager, sniffing the line like a shark sniffing out a shipwreck. The best though was on the last rise, when the entire Omega Pharma-Quick Step train went missing for five minutes as a result of the pace Astana was setting up at the front.
Only one rider from the Belgian team was able to keep his place, and that rider was Cavendish. And that makes absolutely no sense.
Cav’s 2012 season with Sky was, on his terms, little short of a disaster. He claimed 13 stage wins over the season, claiming ‘only’ three at the Tour and missing Green. The win on the Champs on the last day of the Tour was somewhat of a salve to his wounds and would have made just about any other rider’s year, but this is a man, lest we forget, that had won the previous three Champs Elysees romps.
Just another day at the office, really.
Also, lest we forget, 2012 was his Rainbow year, something of which he was immeasurably proud and yet an honour that became, albeit not perhaps by intention, something of a side show at Sky.
2012 was the Year of Wiggo and it was not only Chris Froome that felt somewhat of a casualty. We needn’t reel off all the victories that Cavendish has racked up over his career, we’re all aware of those. That we take them for granted says something about the dominance of the man. If he were as majestic as Mario Cipollini or as charismatic as Tom Boonen I feel we would be singing his praises even more highly.
That he is ‘prickly’ at times certainly does him no favors, but then he is, after all, a sprinter. He’s easy to dislike, with his quick temper and expletives to camera. But make no bones about it, the lad is a stone cold genius on two wheels, the greatest sprinter of all time already, and he still has years to go.
Yesterday’s ride was for me a revelation. It was as though I suddenly realized just how good he really is. With a body full of slow-twitch muscles, a cardio system designed for track sprinting and a smallness that means he has less horsepower to play with than his big-boned rivals, he defied all the odds and rode with a heart over those last 30km that spoke volumes for the determination of the man.
In a modern world full of power meters and cycling coaches, where everything is defined and refined, contained and controlled, Cavendish turns up with buckets of stuff you cannot even begin to measure: willpower.
Revenge? I don’t know how he sees it – though the opening quote gives us a glimpse – but he already has 11 stage wins this year and a GC victory under his belt (Qatar), and all that with a team that, many said at the tail end of last year, wouldn’t suit him. Points Classification at both the Giro and the Tour? 5 stage wins in each?
If you’re a betting man, those odds probably aren’t good enough for you.
On the flip side of things, we have Mr. 2012, Sir Bradley Wiggins. I wrote about him in my last article here also, about what I perceived as a lack of respect for his teammate, Rigoberto Uran, and of the sense that, in many fans’ eyes, his stock has definitely fallen somewhat as a result of the toing and froing over the Froome/Tour question.
But let’s look at his form. Two wins this year, though both came in team time trials. Two 5th places in smaller races on the GC, Trentino and Catalunya. A teammate riding better than him here at the Giro, which he eventually abandoned, citing illness. Certainly no need to take him out behind the barn just yet, but he hasn’t looked very good all year.
And ok, he may well be sick right now, having something similar to the condition that befell Ryder Hesjedal, but illness didn’t make him crash and lose time in the rain, nor dent his descending skills on every downhill after that. A sudden case of the Andy Schlecks?
Possibly. Either way, 2013 has been altogether a bit shoddy for El Wiggo, whereas his former teammate is sat in a very purple patch, smiling from ear to ear. One of them has demonstrated not only incredible power and a will to keep winning, but also a longevity that has to underlie any label that includesthe word ‘legend’.
The other, despite a Tour de France win and Olympic gold, realizes now perhaps that you are only ever as good as your last race. Now he and Sky find themselves in a tricky position. Wasn’t the Giro for Wiggo and the Tour for Froome?
If Wiggo does now turn full attention to the Tour and try to pull rank, it won’t only be his form we are decrying, but also his reputation.
oh Switzerland. in the name of several million bovine and almost as many annoying little clocks, why? what possessed you to stump up for Mr McQuaid when even his own turned their backs on him?
and i thought only King Kong had balls this size – the size required to be able to humiliate yourself the way Pat is doing now. faced with the prospect of the cyclists of Ireland not backing him for re-election as President of the UCI, the man scuttles back to Switzerland and threatens to kidnap the nation’s muesli supply unless they back him – or something like that.
the vast majority of the cycling world want him gone, yet still he ploughs that furrow with his dull old blade.
Switzerland, land of chocolate, built on Nazi gold and a haven for tax-dodging celebrities: seriously, why?
this isn’t very neutral at all.
there may be a saving light though, and ironically, it is one of the UCI’s very own rules. UCI regulation 1.1.009 states that individuals may only hold the licence of one national federation. McQuaid holds a current Cycling Ireland licence as an honorary member, so technically he cannot stand as Switzerland’s nominee.
but then, when have the rules mattered before? if the last thing he does in his current term is to amend that little rule, he may well be ushered in for another.
how this can happen is beyond me. i mean, i know how it can happen, he stands and gets voted in, but, i mean, how is this happening? the evidence is stacked up, it’s all over the web, and yet he still has the brass tacks to stand again.
cheers, Switzerland. thanks a bunch.
In a weird, sad way, I’ve enjoyed watching the whole doping scandal unfold. It’s been somewhat cathartic, 20 years later, giving me a small, tiny feeling of vindication….but then again, not really.
More emphasis needs to be placed upon the System that facilitated this whole doping scandal, and how it has become so out of control. It really isn’t all about Lance (pun intended).
Lance was just the Golden Child that happened along, falling into the open arms of the United States Cycling Federation, currently USAC. The links that connect the main players, the likes of Eddy Borysewicz, Thom Weisel, Chris Carmichael and Jim Ochowicz have been covered up for years, and are best illustrated by the diagram below.
The Wall Street Journal article written by Reed Albergotti and Vanessa O’Connell, entitled ‘New Twist In Armstrong Saga’ also, thankfully, has helped put things into perspective and is a must read for anyone trying to figure out exactly how incestuous this whole affair really is.
I don’t even know where to start writing about this insidious system. I am also well aware of the fact that I am not privy to all the information, but what I come away with from all this though is the firm conviction that these men, who have been controlling so much of the world of professional cycling, should be taken out of our sport.
They obviously own the sport. Thom Weisel and Jim Ochowicz managing the funds of the ex-President of the UCI, when he was still in charge? Thom Weisel putting in place the President of the USAC? Eddy B bringing in to US cycling the doping techniques he learned in the East? A famous coach ‘preparing’ young riders before races?
It’s so glaringly obvious that they need to be removed.
After reading the WSJ article, do you STILL think this is just about Lance?
He was just the fortunate golden child of the Big Boys, having fun being Boys.
Let’s dope the young kids coming up, tempt them with fame, money and drugs. Get them into The System, get them working, pull the strings, make money by any means necessary.
Starting to sound a bit like prostitution, isn’t it?
The Big Boys can slap themselves on the back, drunk with the giddiness of their power to control and manipulate ‘The System’ of cycling. They’ve been doing it for years. OUR beautiful sport. The one I desperately love! Just a toy for them. A toy for them to tear apart, to sully. Do you think they are fully aware of the damage they’ve done to our sport?
I wonder if they have that much self-awareness ?
I would welcome the public to help fight back by more emphasis being put on removing the Big Boys of ‘The System’. Not just the ones I’ve mentioned, but everyone implicated in this scam should be Black Listed.
It’s been too easy to point fingers at the riders. We need to be pointing our fingers at the Big Boys. I would like to invite the Bicycling Hall of Fame to take a good hard look at their roster of Inductees. Look at the men that have helped put this System together.
It takes courage to do the right thing, to take them out of the USA Hall of Fame. This would be a nice first step. Jail for these Big Boys would be a nice second step, but they seem to be above the law. I don’t believe that a cyclist that has a positive test in their history should be inducted either.
Only open the door to those who had and still have the courage to make the right choices in the face of adversity, otherwise, we, too, are complicit in the continuation of that line of thinking that goes: ‘It’s okay if you dope, we will forgive you’.
One can get caught with a small amount of marijuana and go to jail, but you can inject yourself with PED’s and just get a 6 month ban from your Federation? What’s wrong with this picture? Why are the coaches and directors pushing these drugs not looking at the same jail time that a drug dealer would face?
They are doping our children! Must we continue to count the number of athletes that have died or have health problems for us to realize just how harmful this is?
I’ve gotten some flack for my stance, people saying I should be more compassionate with those that get caught. Being told I should forgive. But when you put that needle in, it isn’t an accident.
I think the previous penalty of a 6 month ban was already pretty compassionate. It obviously didn’t work. Kinda like when a robber steals, a slap on the wrist probably won’t do much to stop his behavior. Potential jail time helps, doesn’t fix it, but at least there is a harsher consequence than a slap.
BUT, a cheating personality is a cheating personality, no matter what the consequence. Look at Philippe Gaumont, the French former pro who admitted to doping in a book in 2005 and who was recently hospitalized wit ‘unspecified heart problemns.’
http://www.velonation.com/News/ID/14439/Former-pro-Gaumont-in-a-coma-after-heart-attack.aspx I think the last paragraph of this article kinda spells out the mindset of those who choose to dope: “Although he has a wife and three children, Gaumount recently said that he hadn’t left the wild ways behind him completely. “
“I’ll never be on the right path. When I party, I do it completely,” he told 20minutes.fr in mid February. “If I want to kiss a girl, I’ll kiss a girl. The excesses are not finished. Besides, I’ve a big party this weekend for my 40th birthday.”
I believe that had Gaumount had a lifetime ban after his first infraction, he would still be healthy today to be a proper father and a husband. Do you still believe that a 6 month ban is appropriate? I’d like to talk to his wife and children and get their opinion. One could argue that our Cycling Federations are at fault for his current condition, for not enacting stronger penalties.
Think of all the Health Care Professionals that are at fault and called to account in the health care industry for not reporting or properly treating life threatening illnesses. Why shouldn’t our Federations be held to a higher standard too?
When a drug dealer sells drugs to our children, he does time in jail. I just bet they would love to be able to pay the victim and get the records sealed. Would you be okay with drug dealers convicted of shooting up your kid with drugs to pay a penalty fee, get the documents sealed and go back to dealing?
Yet, the men who doped Greg Stroak, without his knowledge, pay a penalty and get the documents sealed. We should be outraged about this! AGAIN, the penalties need to be changed!!!!
It is disturbing to see Spain allowing the destruction of evidence. This is evidence that could help clean up sports. I feel they, too, are complicit. At first, I thought Nicole Cook’s statement that they should be banned from hosting the Olympics was just too much. After thinking about this for a few days, I couldn’t agree more.
Why should a country that helps cover up doping be allowed to make money off the Olympics? Countries should also be held accountable for helping cleaning up the sport. Somehow, allowing them to host the Olympics seems like a stamp of approval for their cover up. Spain should be required to hand over the evidence in the effort to fight doping.
I believe that the U.S. International Olympic Committee should also vote against Madrid’s Olympic Bid.
Pat McQuaid was recently renominated for the UCI Presidentcy. I was left incredulous. Finally, after a bit of blowback, his nomination is being reevaluated.
It’s a start. I’ll take it.
When you put that syringe into the vial, either for yourself or an athlete, you should lose the right to continue to be a part of the sport. Any other profession has a code of ethics that must be followed. Cycling needs to step up to the plate and start writing a code of ethics for coaches, directors, sponsors, etc.
I challenge the pubic to actively call for stiffer penalties for those who dope and enable doping, and demand they lose their current position and any right to a future position in the sport.
Race Directors, please don’t invite them to cycling functions to be honorary guests and lead Gran Fondos.
Bicycling Hall of Fame, remove those that have doped or helped with the System of doping. Cycling bodies need to write a code of ethics not just the athletes but for everyone else involved in the sport too.
Fear will be one of the largest hurdles the public faces in the effort to fix our sport. Fear of taking a stand, fear of the loss of a job, fear of making enemies, fear of the judgments of others – and all in the name of taking the dopers out of our sport.
It seems so obvious that they should be removed from the sport. This is something we have to fight for, to provide a different, better and cleaner vision of the sport to our children., much like our forefathers fought for the changes in society and in law that allow us to live as we do today.
It seems so obvious now to us that black people should have been free men from the beginning, yet think of all the blood that was spilled over this difference of opinion. Women also fought desperately against the common thinking of the time and made many enemies in their quest to get the right to vote. Some even lost their lives.
Yet it seems so obvious, now, that women should have the vote.
I believe that we are at a similar crossroads with our sport today. It seems so obvious that any one, in any position, that has been part of the Doping System needs to be removed, yet we are resisting this move – being told to just forgive them, being told that they have a lot to contribute, that we need them to move forward.
I’ll forgive them once they are out of the sport. Until then, as I see it, they continue to do help facilitate doping even by merely being here, within the framework and fabric of the sport.
There is no one easy fix for what they have done to our sport. It will take many, many big and difficult steps to regain any real measure of dignity. This journey will be fraught with many battles, but the battles will be worth it if we can win the war against drugs and the business men that capitalize our athletes.
I seriously doubt many of those athletes, when they first jumped on the bike thought, ‘Wow, I can’t wait to take drugs.’
And yet look at the reality of their lives now.
GET THESE MEN OUT OF OUR SPORT.
Yes, OUR sport. They lost their privileges to the club a long time ago.
Inga Thompson was a professional cyclist from 1984 to 1993, during which time she rode in 3 Olympics, won National titles on 4 occasions, and finished 2nd in two World Championships. She can, as they say, ride a bit…
Straight To The Heart Of Sport
Life inside a busy bike shop
Road biking eye candy. Vote for your favourite bikes!
Pain. Suffering. Sacrifice.