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.
as a firm believer in listening to my body and heeding the signs that the little grey lump encased within my skull transmits to, er, itself, i took the decision not to take part in Taiwan’s second biggest race of the season (the first being the UCI Tour de Taiwan), the AMD 2 Day Huadong race.
with a total of something like 320km over two days in what looked like being bad weather (Day 2 was in fact very wet), i felt like it was going to, in then end, drain too much from my legs rather than help improve my form.
it’s been a funny start to the season this year, all affected by having to take almost three months off from the beginning of October to almost the end of December due to injuries.
that led me to having to pack in big kilometers from the start of January then to pick up the pace from the middle, way too soon really but with the Tour de Taiwan coming in mid March i had little choice.
two wins in my first two races were a little surprising but in the Tour it was obvious that I was a little off the pace but unable to really ride myself into the race, as the signs of having over-trained were all too obvious. aching legs, a lack of power on climbs and a sore throat, not to mention a pervasive tiredness, all combined to let me know that it was time to back off.
as cyclists/athletes/nutters (delete as applicable) we have learnt that through endeavor and dedication in training, we get fitter and stronger, so when we are going slow we ten to go to the default setting of ‘Train Harder,’ but this is, very often (unless you’ve been lazy), a mistake.
an old pro once told me that it’s better to be under- than over-trained, and there was never a truer word spoken when it comes to preparation. being a little slow allows you to use the next race and the subsequent training to gt fitter for the one after, whereas if you blow a proper gasket due to having done too much, it can take weeks if not months to get over it.
the human body is amazing, no doubt, and adapts to innumerable situations in incredible ways, but we have to remember that, whilst exercise may be fun to us, to our bodies it is stress. and, if you train a lot, that stress is accumulative.
the body begins to respond to being overworked by sending signals to itself. we, as irrational beings (we are cyclists, remember), often tell our bodies to shut the f**k up, cos we are hard as Belgians and love the pain.
sometimes that is justified but sometimes it is just plain stupid. like, stoopid stupid. signs of an impending crisis are an inability to get a good night’s sleep, sleeping late, a sore throat and a lack of motivation. thirstiness, for me, is another, as is feeling aches in the legs from a moderate day on the bike.
forget SRMs, PowerTaps, heart rate monitors and whatever other gizmos you paid a truckload for – the best and most brilliant training device we possess is between our ears.
the sooner we start listening to it, the sooner we can make steady improvements and get proper rest.
so, after the Tour de Taiwan i took ten days off the bike. put it in the spare room and forgot about it. despite the sniffling and whimpering i heard from it during the night, i stood firm.
then when i picked up again i had an easy 5 days, then started training proper again. my motivation was back and within another 5 i felt strong again. the Huadong race that i just missed is a lot of fun and i felt ok for it but something was telling me to ease back off a little again, so i did.
instead i did a solid 75km yesterday with one 8km climb and a 30 minute TT section, and today i headed out to Ali Shan, a beautiful behemoth of a mountain (around 2,500m to the road summit) an hour’s drive from my place.
with a hill climb up it on May 5th, i decided to tackle the route, a 63km climb that is 90% up, heading up into the rarefied air above the clouds. luckily i just missed the rain and the cold and had a wonderful ride. i’m not a natural climber but i somehow have convinced my head that these climbs are actually time trials, just, with a dollop or three of extra gravity, which helps pass the kilometers.
anyway, legs feel fine now, i’m tired but not wasted, and all good for the next week of training and the stage race the week after in Thailand.
less, as they say, sometimes really is more.
racing hurts. i mean, it really hurts, in so many ways that i’ve always wondered how Dante missed it out when he constructed his Nine Circles of Hell, for surely road racing deserves to be in there, somewhere between Heresy and Violence, being kissed by your auntie and eating Marmite.
the gut-busting, lung-bursting accelerations leave you feeling like you’re about to have a prolapse. ‘how to stop that pain?’ you may ask. easy – don’t race. it always hurts, no matter how strong you become, because you just go faster.
there are though some areas of racing that do bring pain and injury, that needn’t, or rather, needn’t as often as they do. these include body aches, the build up of lactic acid, tendionitis, crashing, bodies that recover too slowly and the effects brought on by over-training. all these, by and large, can be minimized if not outright neutralized, with just a little care and attention.
much like the pain brought on by the incredible effort demanded by racing a bike, crashing cannot be wiped out completely. the plain old fact is that if you race, you will, at some point, crash. and it will hurt. a lot. however, in my opinion, the majority of crashes can be avoided.
first of all, learn to trust yourself. a lack of confidence in your position and in your or others’ bike handling will lead to crashes. try to look not at the wheel directly in front constantly but in the guy about four or five riders ahead.
doing this will allow you to anticipate crashes much earlier and thus avoid them. keep those fingers on the brake levers but be relaxed, for if you are hitting the brakes constantly you’ll become the nuisance in the pack.
when descending and cornering, again, trust yourself. don’t take risks you aren’t confident of coming out the better of. when cornering at speed, don’t brake on the apex of the corner, but before it, thus allowing you to arch through it smoothly. if there’s someone unsteady in front of you, get out of his way.
a word too on the art of descending: instead of using your whole body to turn the bike, try pushing down with the outside (straight) leg and down on the bars with the inside hand. this provides better handling, increased ‘feel’ and allows you to be more aggressive on the way into and out of the corners.
if you are at the front of the pack on a straight descent, you have to keep pedaling, for if you stop you will slow dramatically but the others behind, in your slipstream, will suddenly find themselves travelling faster than you. if you’re hitting 70+km/hr it will be almost impossible to pedal, so get super-aero and be sure not to brake unnecessarily.
developing an ability to ‘read’ the wind is especially important if you are taking part in an event in flat areas, and can help cut down on your crashing. if the wind is coming head on and there is a right turn coming soon, that headwind will become a side wind and require you to position yourself on the inside of other riders to stay protected.
the ability to anticipate the wind’s direction is also very useful when riding alone as being exposed to sudden gusts from an unanticipated direction could have you flying into a fence, a la Andy Schleck, the famous cyclist-shaped balsa wood figure from Luxembourg.
for beginners, learn how to ride in a pack before you start racing.go on club rides and get shouted at, a lot, by old men with extruding nasal hair, shoes from 1987 and back pockets full of remnants of jam ‘sarnies’ in varying states of decay.
what’s really cool about this is that within 6 months you too will feel like you know everything about cycling and will thus be eligible to shout at the next newbie, prefacing every comment with ‘YOU FUCKING IDIOT…’ and to sneer knowingly when they say things like ‘so what’s the point of those big wheels then?’, and can, if you are very careful and make the recipient promise to secrecy on pain of death, even tell them that you rode in the Tour de France back before the days of t’internet.
for beginners, learn how to ride in a pack before you start racing. for those new to the sport, the ‘slipstream’ is the effect created behind an object as it moves through the air. if you can sit in the slipstream of a rider directly in front of you, your energy output will be lowered by as much as 30% as the slipstream ‘pulls’ you through the air.
it takes a little bit of practice though to ride close enough to the wheel in front to get the full benefit of the slipstream effect, but this is the best way to beat the effect of the wind. never let your wheel overlap the rider’s in front – this is the cause of many crashes and is a proper rookie mistake, yet one i see happening even at UCI races time and time again.
finally, stay alert. most crashes happen at the beginning of stages, when riders are tense, or at the end, when riders are fatigued but pumped full of enough adrenalin that, if combined, could potentially reanimate Marco Pantani.
the safest place in a pack is at the front, but you need strength to be in the top 20 all day.
avoiding aches and pains
cyclists often complain about back, neck, shoulder and arse ache. if your bum hurts from the saddle, change it. i suffered for years with a 133mm saddle, thinking it was just meant to be painful, all the while decreasing my chances of ever being a father, then one day tried a 142mm saddle. thought the days of my famous ‘recently invaded prison inmate’ impression were over, i was, i have to say, suddenly transported to a state of bliss.
angels rejoiced and children wept. so did i, but not, for one, because of numb balls.
if you have persistent problems with neck and back pain, head to a professional bike fitter. it might seem expensive but trust me, they can work wonders. i was always sceptical but i finally went in and came out with a new position now that has not only improved my power but means i can train longer, as i actually enjoy riding now, and am no longer bent double like a north Korean hunting for grains of rice in downtown Pyongyang when i’m done.
when racing in a long event, remember to relax the neck and shoulders so that the hands just dilly-dally on the bars. release the grip on the bars, keep your upper body steady and let the legs and backside do the work.
massages are also excellent in improving recovery time and in allowing your body to release tension. improving recovery rates mean less injury, it’s that simple.
stay out of big gears
there is a natural inclination amongst most racers to use a big heavy gear, when in fact the best way to conserve energy is to use a higher cadence.
light, easy gears will allow you to spin the pedals and get through the kilometers much more efficiently. sure, it’s kind of cool to grind, but not if it means you have lactic acid coming out your ears and are cramping all over. spinning, contrary to common belief, does not in fact induce shrinkage to the male genitalia.
racing is all about the preservation of energy for when it is most needed. keep that in mind and chances are you’ll feel stronger at the end and have less injuries such as tendonitis.
as a professional rider i should be an expert at doing absolutely nothing all day long but in fact i have a thing called a life and it also takes up quite a bit of my time.
but generally speaking, if you are serious about riding and training, recovery is massively important. keeping the muscles fresh and aiding recovery by good sleep, good food and warm-downs has such a direct effect on the way you’ll race the next day that to overlook it makes no sense at all.
massage is important, and you can do it yourself with a rolling pin if you must. sleep, well, you should know that that aids recovery by now. protein after a race is also vital, and again, as a cyclist of any note you should know that too.
so let’s take a look at three, perhaps not so often-consumed foods (by cyclists) to see that benefits they can bring. these all reduce swelling, tenderness and pain, all of which can benefit all of us.
pineapples, like red onions and walnuts, contain bromelain, a powerful anti-inflammatory that is so strong that it can actually relieve rheumatoid arthritis and post-operative swelling.
as well as being packed full with vitamin C, the bromelain in pineapples also helps the digestive system as it breaks down the amino acid bonds in proteins.
onions are also full of good stuff, with allyl propyl disulfide and chromium to reduce blood-sugar glucose levels, quercitin to maintain the health of your gastrointestinal system, and vitamin B6 to aid cardiovascular health.
they also contain a compound known as GPCS that inhibits cells that break down bones, and reduces inflammation in the throat and bones, reducing symptoms of osteoporosis, asthma and the common cold. a wonder veg!
walnuts are great little nuts, a rich source of omega-3 fatty acids and alpha-linolenic acid that improve artery function after a high-fat meal, with some research suggesting them to work even better than olive oil in promoting heart health.
anti-oxidants and L-arginine, also found in these nuts, further improve artery function, thus leading to a reduction of tenderness and swelling after exercise.
a handful of walnuts (between 6 and 8) is recommended daily. One cup of pineapple is recommended, and one onion per day will also bring about health benefits.
so, hope all that helps. remember to have fun whilst racing, because it’s a wonderful sport, but, as ever, be safe!
just joking… in fact, you best get cranking…
Once was the day when a 40 year old man was considered ‘old’. Just 30 years or so ago, people over 40 looked older, dressed older and thought older. Yet as people nowadays are increasingly knowledgeable about nutrition, exercise and the importance of having an active lifestyle, the idea of just being ‘too old’ has itself become old.
40 has become the new 30. With a decent exercise schedule, a cutting back of alcohol and rich food and a more rational approach to work, stress, and all the other attendant hassles of modern life, we can stay healthier, look better and feel better for longer.
I’m going to presume that I am preaching to the converted, so to speak. If you’re reading this you must already have at least have somewhat of an interest in bikes and riding. But maybe you’ve hit a plateau? Maybe you get out there sometimes, hit a hill whilst riding with the Young Turks and start to actually feel 40+?
Well, enough of that I say…
Ever wonder just how much can you really achieve, if you put your mind to it? What limitations are there that might hold us back from realizing our true potential, even for us over-40s?
There are not as many as you might think.
As a cyclist who turned professional at the ripe old age of 37 and went on to ride with the best in the 2012 Tour of Qatar and Oman, race in Belgium last year and notch a decent result or two here and there, I always advocate that it is never too late.
Most people assume that growing old leads to an inevitable decline from vitality and activity to frailty and a sedentary lifestyle. And guess what, for most people, this proves to be right, because that is exactly what happens to them. But who ever wanted to be ‘most people’? Not me, and not you, I hope. Studies on Masters’ level athletes show that muscle mass, power and strength decline far slower in them than in the general population.
Between the ages of 40 and 50 years, we can lose > 8% of our muscle mass; this loss accelerates to > 15% per decade after age 75 years. Loss of muscle mass is often accompanied by loss of strength and functional decline, which can be alleviated by, you guessed it, exercise.
So get training.
Yet how does an average, over-40 year old cyclist go about improving? There are three basic factors to be considered, and they are:
Training, nutrition, and motivation.
On the Bike…
As a cyclist, you already own one of the best pieces of equipment out there for getting fit. The bike provides a low-impact tool that gets you out in the fresh air to work on your cardiovascular system and strengthen muscle and, if you want, to test yourself in competition.
Regular, steady-paced training rides are not bad – if you can get out four times a week for anything from 45 minutes to 2 hours, you’ll increase the speed of your metabolism and your stamina. If you can mix up your training and start to do intervals once or twice a week, even better. The increased demand on your body will help you lose weight faster and become fitter.
Intervals are pretty simple – after a decent 20-30 minute warm-up, find a flat piece of road with little traffic, and sprint near to 100% for 30-60 seconds. Then pedal softly for one minute, then do it again.
Do this 5 times, increasing up to 10 or 15 as you become fitter. This routine is ideal if you are short on time. As you get fitter, seek out more advanced training plans. Remember, training for hours and hours is old school and often detrimental. Oscar Freire won three World Championships with a bad back and just 15 hours training a week. Train smart and race hard. Maximize your time. Train to race, have that in mind, always.
Listen to your body, that is a critical factor. If you don’t want to train on a given day, don’t. Then, when you do feel good, go out and crank it up.
For those wanting to be faster and stronger, I can’t stress enough the importance of training at close to your threshold. For this, find a 10 to 20 kilometer loop where you can simulate a time trial, or, even better, compete in time trials on a regular basis. This allows you to build stamina, speed and raw, base power and will make you fitter all round.
One more thing. We are so obsessed with technology, with SRMs and heart rate monitors, that we forget to trust our guts. Sure, these devices can be useful but, ultimately they are guides, and not as good as the one in your head. Turn them off for a week and re-discover the joy of riding for riding’s sake. It can make a world of difference.
In the gym
The benefits of a gym workout for the over-40s are many-fold. The exercises firm up muscles and strengthen ligaments and joints, and, if you include stretching, increase flexibility. You will soon start feeling (and seeing) those benefits if you can stick to a routine, and that is, in my opinion, the best motivator.
Increased muscle mass means your metabolism works harder, thus burning fat quicker. Also, these exercises, for men, help increase testosterone levels, something that decreases in men past 40.
You don’t need to spend 2 hours in the gym – a short, smart 20 minute workout will give you all you need. Train smart, not long.
Don’t fear, a ‘good diet’ doesn’t mean that you will never taste the joy of pizza again, or the crunch of a potato chip – because you’ll be exercising more, you can eat those foods with guilt-free pleasure from time to time.
However all research on nutrition is clear – the healthier you eat, the healthier you’ll become. Fish, meat, chicken, fruit and veg and and high-glycemic carbs are in.
Finally, a word on alcohol. Drink, by all means – research shows that moderate drinkers live longer than non-drinkers – but drink wisely. A glass of Cabernet Sauvignon or a dark beer a night is fine, though most doctors suggest all adults should have at least one day a week without alcohol.
Here is the tricky part. It’s hard to stay motivated with a job, kids, bills and the other million things that make up a life. Yet doing exercise and eating better is actually being kind to yourself and your family.
The healthier you are, the happier you are – it’s a proven fact. Energy levels increase, concentration become more focused, joints and muscles become stronger, and, crucially, you just might be around on this earth longer to take care of your family and friends.
Other motivators include the weigh scale – jump on there once a week for a boost. If you are dong the right things, the kilos will drop. Also, if you’re interested, try some competitions. There are many different events out there for people to try, from sportifs to real races.
Believe in yourself. Remember that, as an over-40, the bike doesn’t define you and that it isn’t an extension of your ego. That is actually a blessing, trust me! I’ve met enough guys whose whole life is defined by the bike and their performances on it, and it eventually, inevitably, gets messy when you live like that.
That wonderful machine though can be a tool by which you express your will. We’re little dots in the universe, we struggle to be heard amidst the roar of life, and yet the bike allows us to become champions, even if it’s just within the confines of our own minds.
So go practice those victory salutes!
Oh, and the most important thing of all – don’t forget to have fun!
Have expectations but manage them properly. Don’t lose perspective. Cycling demands so many sacrifices, but if you are sacrificing the sense of enjoyment that brought you to the sport in the first place then something is wrong. When I feel my motivation waning I can happily take a week or even two off, even mid-season.
It’s really never too late. Cycling, she’s a grand old dame and a forgiving mistress. She will always welcome you back…
it certainly wasn’t a perfect winter of preparation for your friendly neighbourhood crankpunk. in fact, it was little short of a disaster. a trapped nerve between the 4th and 5th vertebrae destroyed all end of year racing and early winter training from mid-October to the end of November, and then a young speedboy in daddy’s Lexus almost destroyed my good self, trying to sneak a left turn into oncoming traffic – which happened to be me, on a scooter, hurtling happily (til impact that is) along.
after flying through the air a good 15 meters and sliding along on pavement for another 20, i was lucky not to be in serious trouble. i suffered pretty severe contusions to my shins, ripped skin on my right knee that needed stitches and a broken thumb. my full-face helmet was battered and my scooter totaled, so i really was pretty fortunate.
scar tissue on my knee and a huge swelling of my left lower leg meant painful legs for weeks. two pins held my thumb bone together which meant no riding anyway, the doc said i’d be looking at 6 weeks before they took the pins out. great.
finally the legs got good enough for me to get on the indoor trainer, though by the end of December, when i first sat on the saddle again, all motivation had deserted me and i was getting close to fat – 86kg in fact, by January 1st!
to give you an idea, race weight is between 75-77kg. my friends looked at me incredulously when i told them my weight, but my hips were singing a different story, trust me – something involving the word ‘muffin’…
so, obviously, not an ideal way to prepare for a year full of UCI stage races. and especially not a good way to get ready for my ‘hometown’ race 2.1 Tour de Taiwan, which is on March 18th-24th.
without the luxury of being able to build a good base, instead i launched myself into 90-120km rides, going basically as hard as i could as often as i could. i avoided hills and trained on flats, trying to build a base of power to help in a way to substitute for stamina. it’s not ideal but it’s not as bad a thing to do as you might think. within a month i was hitting a 90km route in under three hours – one that included over 1,000m of climbing.
a week later i took 8 minutes off the same loop, and a week later still another 4 minutes. in between i started doing a shorter three climb loop with steeper hills, banging up the hills and resting in between.
slowly but surely the weight started to drop, the times got faster, and finally, after something like 4 months since i was in decent condition, i started to feel like a proper bike rider again. there’s so much emphasis these days on LSD and base training, but the truth is that that stuff only works if you can ride over 5 hours a day. if you get enough rest you can take this kind of a short cut, it just means harder training sooner, throwing in long TT -style effrorts and some 20-30 minute tests to build the lactic acid threshold, with concentrated emphasis on marginal gains and good, proper rest.
anyway, i’m racing tomorrow – a 70km hill climb up the beautiful Ali Shan in central Taiwan. should be brutal. can’t wait! and then starting March 18th, the real test, the Tour de Taiwan. i won the Green Jersey there last season by dint of 5 days of mad and very long attacks, this year i’ll be keeping an eye on the GC.
we’ll see then i guess, how good this training has been!
interesting little video made for the OPQS team, which details some of the guys’ winter training methods.
crankpunk loves time trialing and being in a two or three man break, loves the burn in the thighs and the constant, steady beat of the pedals. i actually dislike riding on the flat though, for one reason – i find it mind-numbing – it just so happens that this is the terrain that suits my abilities best. 78kg when fighting fit, i’m not exactly built for the hills and haven’t got a sprint to speak of, truth be told. tactics also aren’t my strong point – i’m more of a diesel and happiest when racing anything between 5 and 40km against the clock.
part of the reason for this is my DNA, the rest is the fact that i started riding in England, where time trialing has traditionally been hugely popular amongst the many cycling clubs. every wednesday night from April to early September, all over the UK you can find local 10 mile TTs that are open to all, and on the weekend longer TTs are held, anything from 25 milers up to 100+. time trialing flourished in the 50s in the UK largely in part to the cycling authorities’ opposition to massed road racing, which was considered unsafe and even ‘selfish’, as it angered many motorists and was felt to tarnish all cyclists, irrespective of whether they raced or not.
another rain filled day here in crankland has your friendly neighborhood crankpunk feeling a little stuck in a bubble, for it’s been four days straight now with this moiny little drizzle dampening the streets. it has though provided the inspiration for today’s training article, which is about being stuck on a plateau – not literally of course, cos that might actually be quite pleasant, hunkered down on flat, elevated land with vistas of wooded lower valleys and glistening, snow-capped peaks with a good cup o’ joe and a can-can girl you’ve rescued from the infidels.
crankpunk’s always been an adherent of the path of least resistance. often incorrectly identified as ‘being a lazy schmuck,’ the POLR provides numerous benefits if followed correctly. low blood pressure, less stress, low expectations, and a lack of worldly possessions (also know as ‘being poor’). aim low, motherpunk advocated, and you’ll rarely be disappointed...
the POLR can be adapted to your cycling. if you read the recent training post about High Intensity Interval Training vs LSD, you’ll know what i mean. i say adapted because, for example in the case of HIIT, it hurts like a bitch but just takes less time than traditional LSD training – which is more like the path of most resistance least, if you get me. anyway, the general point i am struggling so flappingly to make is that, as far as training is involved, our eyes and ears are best kept open for new methods and ideas. the old can be cherished all day – if it works. otherwise, root it up and start again.