Crank Punk Coaching Systems: Tom Little wins the HATTA MTB Endurance Challenge Pairs

Would you fancy a 6-hour technical off-road bike race in the desert, starting at 10am?

crankpunk mirror cpcs logo

No neither would I, but luckily Crank Punk Coaching Systems’ Tom Little did, and along with race partner Franck Jassaud (racing under their club name HotDogs/CycleHub), he only went and won the bloody thing, the ‘thing’ being the duo category of the Hatta MTB Endurance Challenge in the UAE.

Tom in action a the race

Tom in action at the HATTA MTB Endurance Challenge

And by a nice chunk of time too, over 42 minutes ahead and having lapped the field, with their average lap over 4 minutes faster than the next pair. That’s three very solid wins for Tom since we started working together back in the middle of last year, and a few 2nds and 3rds too.

Awesome work Tom, crank on.

a shot from the start, men down already...

a shot from the start, men down already…

 

 

 

 

 

The world’s first 3-D printed bike goes SNAP…

These are coming, they must be, there will be some freaky time ahead when you buy a plan from Pinarello or whoever and then print your bike in your office. But, judging by this amusing video, not quite yet.

Here some students from Carleton University do a first time ever! test-ride of their plastic bike, or rather, they don’t. Still, kudos to them for suffering through the shutter clicks as the assembled media hone in on their acute embarrassment.

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They might have suspected something like this would happen though – here’s a quote from one of the lads after the press conference:

“Once we had attached wheels and a seat, we were ready to sit on the final product to see if it could withstand the weight of a person,” he said. “Ignoring the known weaknesses, like the part where the printer had run out of plastic and not finished the print or the one with a small crack, we decided to go for it.”

Crank on regardless fellas…

Marijuana to enhance cycling performance? (& not just for downhill MTB kids)

Yes, apparently this might be happening. An article in The Guardian this week cites a report in The Wall Street Journal that an increasing number of ultra-marathon nutters runners are lighting up the doobies in training and pre- and post-race.

“If you can find the right level, it takes the stress out of running,” says Avery Collins, a 22-year-old professional ultramarathoner. “And it’s a postrace, post-run remedy.”

The right level… So, presumably not the level where you end up stuck on the sofa playing video games for 22 hours a day eating delivered pizza and MaccyD BigCracks whilst putting on 22lbs a week then.

“The person who is going to win an ultra is someone who can manage their pain, not puke and stay calm,” said veteran runner Jenn Shelton. “Pot does all three of those things.”

The Guardian article backs up the claims by runners that it helps them perform, stating that:

“A 2012 study funded by the National Institutes of Health…  found that exposure of up to seven “joint years” (ie 365 joints and/or pipe bowls) did not diminish lung function. That study actually found that marijuana users performed better on a lung function test – by a microscopic margin – than nonsmokers, possibly because of smokers’ “training” with deep breaths and holding smoke, the researchers said.”

But before you head down to the local corner for a dime bag, note that the jury’s not out on this one. The article goes on to state that:

“…marijuana “does have an effect of symptoms of chronic bronchitis”, Dr Donald Tashkin of the University of California said, including “cough and sputum” that develop when smoke irritates the lungs. “There are other potential risks that have not been confirmed,” he added, such as a possible associations for pneumonia, particularly for people with compromised immune systems, since the psychoactive chemical THC found in cannabis suppresses the system.”

But with some NBA players saying that 40-50% of athletes in the game are smoking weed, and the New York Times saying that could be as high as 60-70%, combined with the loosening of marijuana laws around the USA and indeed all over the world, it’s not too massive a leap to think that this is happening in other sports also.

The Journal article states that:

“In a nod to the growing acceptance of marijuana as a recreational drug, the World Anti-Doping Agency in 2013 raised the allowable level of THC—the drug’s active ingredient—to an amount that would trigger positive results only in athletes consuming marijuana in competition. That essentially gave the green light to marijuana usage during training, not to mention as a stress reliever the night before a race.

Hmm. So, is it cheating? I’m not that keen on PEDs as you may have noticed, but recreational drugs, no problem, as long as you are affecting no one else and keeping on an evenish keel, whatever floats your boat is fine by me. Yes they can be destructive but so can Krispy Kremes, and yes they can be rather interesting, as can… well, unlike Krispy Kremes.

God Bless America! And ganja! Cos how else could this thing possibly have happened...

God Bless America! And ganja! Cos how else could this thing possibly have happened…

THC and the reported effects means it’s not exactly EPO, and yes, riders and runners and other athletes are people too and they need to relax, but it doesn’t sit well with me this one. It sounds like these guys aren’t even actually smoking it for the sheer fun of it all, but because they believe it makes them better competitors.

Imagine if they legalise this and you get someone who gets all the bad side effects from dope, such as the clawing, feverish paranoia that comes with it, but the poor guy is in his room with a 6ft bong going slightly bonkers because everyone else is doing it.

Beta blockers block pain receptors right? And they are banned in most sports. We’re also moving into Therapeutic Use Exemption territory here too, where riders use pain killers by dint of permission from the authorities for an ailment (or not… possibly) which means they can ride on when they would otherwise have to stop – something again I don’t agree with.

So yeah, I feel like a party pooper here because a) some drugs are fun as long as they don’t make you give oral sex with scabby strangers in alleyways to get hold of them or turn you into Rob Ford (which is almost the same thing), and b) because I really like reggae. B

ut yeah – I’m gonna have to drop the trousers at this soiree.

Humbug.

click below to see the video report on this.

http://video-api.wsj.com/api-video/player/iframe.html?guid=540E2E9F-D35A-464A-9BE3-E15CD8E605BC

 

 

 

World Exclusive New Bike Preview! The all new VELOCITE SYN

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Velocite is a bike brand located in Kaoshiung in southern Taiwan, headed by husband & wife team Victor and Jessica Major.

I got to know Victor thanks to my racing here in Asia and my time as the editor of CyclingTime.com, and I’ve tested as few of his bikes over the past four or five years, with the Velocite Magnus being the stiffest bike I’ve ever ridden bar none. Word from Victor though is that this one is even stiffer (see the full press release at the bottom of this post).

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Victor just sent over these images if his new Syn frame, all built up and ready to go. Thoughts? Personally I think it looks really good. Liking the paint-job too.

I’ll be getting one of these to review as soon as I can, stay tuned for that.

You can get hold of one too, if you’re lucky!

Victor says:  “If you would like to be one of the first to try the Velocite Syn, and be a part of our live testing program contact us either via Facebook or on service@velocite-bikes.com .”

Wow huh. Get mailing.

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To read the full press release, please click below.

Continue reading

Quite Comprehensive: The Oral History of Lance Armstrong

No, you dirty-minded Fred, not the history of Lance in the back seat of cars… which is kind of a misnomer as he’s always in the driver’s seat. Right, Madame Armstrong?

Here is a thoroughly investigated and lovingly compiled history of Lance’s verbal spewages, some conscious and others less so, about how great and lovely and just darntooting honest he was, til he wasn’t, but who cares anyway? It’s all American Pie, the Apple Dream and cheating/lying athletes/politicians at the end of the day, just smile and keep blinking sideways, no big deal and yee flippin’ haw all the way to the bank.

Well, I care. You might too. And the person that compiled this does also.

Enjoy.

click the image below to head to the article.

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The CrankPunk Bike Room

We’re missing the beer fridge and the BBQ still but I’m working on it.

Finally, after years of having all my bike gear crammed into a space that made it more like the compactor room in Star Wars –

my old bike room

my old bike room

– I now have a proper dedicated space to all things bike. Oh and a widescreen TV, also missing. Damn. But we’re getting there!

R.A.C.E Paskenta, racing as it should be

I love this conceptracing your bike for the sheer heck of it, no frills, no cops, no race numbers, no messing, and the best trophy I have seen yet. Here’s the blurb that accompanies the vid on youtube: “Following the Amain.com Cycling Team at the first big race of 2015. Paskenta is a 100 mile bike race/ride with around 300 participants. The winner receives a traditional homemade trophy. Each winner must add something new to it. The race features wind, rollers, and 4 miles of technical gravel. Despite having no classes, age groups, or race numbers, the race brings racers from every level up to professionals together to ride together and compete against each other and themselves.” Paskenta+Trophy+001 Living in Taiwan, racing gets frustrating here with competing cycling associations, police interference and local governments getting involved and fudging things. Somehow they manage to squeeze the fun right out of what is one of the funnest things to do in the world. I got this vid from NorCal cycling Jedi Chuck Hutcheson, who gets namedropped in the film by the winner, and who has this fantastic photo below on his blog page. Screen Shot 2015-02-07 at 13.49.05 Cool soundtrack, great shots, looks like one very cool day out – I intend to to hold a Taiwan Paskenta very soon! Thanks for the inspiration guys! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nkyusXH-LgI

Animal Cruelty: Slaying The Badger on 30 for 30

ESPN’s 30 for 30 films are just about the best collection of sports documentaries I have come across, cutting through the hype and floss to get right down to the bone. They are about so much more than ‘just’ sports (Once Brothers is a fine example), so good that even folk without a real interest in sport can get into them.

The enthralling story of the 1986 Tour de France, as dealt with in Richard Moore’s excellent book Slaying The Badger gets the treatment here and the result is brilliant.

slayingthebadger

Watch Hinault tarnish his own legacy, Kochli squirm (though he does nail it when he talks about cycling as a game), and Lemond looking bewildered as his older brother puts the knife in again and again.

They don’t make ‘em like this anymore, that’s for sure…

 

The Bicycle – A Celebration of the Invention

Excellent film here on the bicycle’s history – possibly the best I have seen, it is so comprehensive and so obviously in love with the machine. Ignore the quality and settle in for a treat, really cool to actually see the old bone-shakers being ridden.

Especially likes the Scot who rode his invention to Glasgow from his home and was “arrested for knocking down a small child.”

Did you know cycling was banned in Central Park due to the mass of bikes flying about back in the late 1800s?

The section on the Keirin school in Japan at 55mins is also very good. When I lived there I once managed a time for the kilometer on the local track that would have gained me entry to the school if I was to become a naturalised Japanese and to laser off all my tattoos. The first wasn’t going to happen as my written Japanese wasn’t good enough to take the prerequisite test, and neither was the second because my Mum likes them.

The Keirin guys were pretty minted, all driving Beemers and Mercs, and most of them smoked like chimneys too.

Great section on the Tour and Tommy Simpson at 46:00, with a touching interview with Albert Beurick, the Belgian guy who looked after Tom when he was on the Continent. He talks about doping briefly also, and the video moves on to Greg Lemond saying how the sport has ‘really cleaned up’!

The joy of cycling is considered at about 1:15:00, with a cycling flautist saying “I find when I ride that my face opens up. It takes away the wrinkles in my mind and my face.”

Hmm, think I need to ride harder, these wrinkles might need intervals…

And the brilliant Beryl Burton pops up at 1:18:00.

The mighty Beryl Burton

The mighty Beryl Burton

This is cycling, if you ask me,. This is the sport I love.

And check out the cops on wheels at 1:47:00, proper Village People stuff!