you know these days?
got up late. meant to get out at 8am but woke up at 8, thus throwing everything off by an hour. why does it take me a whole hour and sometimes longer to get out the door? today was even worse.
sat down to have a look at my emails and was inundated, some stuff i just had to do immediately. this led to replies. and more stuff. and more stuff.
and – you get the picture.
then i realised i had a flat. i tried to fix the flat, had a nitemare getting the tire back on. tightest tires in the WORLD. snapped my last remaining tire lever in the process, used a spoon as it was all i could find, then finally got to pumping.
my floor pump decided it just wasn’t gonna work with the new valve. great. so i used my hand pump.
‘it’s going up…. no, it isn’t… is it? f******ck!’
sweaty. angry. despondent.
flat tire. pinched the tube with the spoon. no more levers. bike shop thirty minutes walk away. roasting hot outside. laid out on bed depressed. decided not to ride. writing here instead.
runners? all they need is shoes.
kickabout with a ball? just need a ball.
cycling? an avalanche of crap is required.
top all this off with the fact that i have had a bad back for the past 2 weeks and ridden a whole THREE hours in that time, in much pain, add in a typhoon or two, and a short-term move to Hong Kong for three months, AND a 4 stage bike race commencing in the Philippines on Friday that i am in zero shape for, and yes…
sometimes, it is true, i hate cycling.
(CAPITALS here are, I think, appropriate…!)
I am very proud to announce that the ANZA Cycling club have chosen to accept Crank Punk Coaching Systems as their official coaching provider!
ANZA is the largest club in Singapore with over 300 members and plays an active role in the local cycling scene and indeed all around Asia.
The initial coaching will cover a 3-month trial period to be extended to one year.
I’d like to offer a huge thanks to long-time CPCS client and ANZA Cycling Road Director, Don MacDonald, for his support in all this. Many thanks, Don!
More can be read on the partnership by clicking on the image below.
It wasn’t so much that there wasn’t enough to write about on any one of the subjects included here in the title of this article, but more that all three are deserving of being given some attention, the first because it is constantly overlooked, the second because it is an example of the willfully overlooked, and the third because well, it’s worth looking at (again).
So, not so much as a ‘Top 3 Talking Points’ but more like ‘Top 3 Things That Suck.’
What sucks about the Giro di Lombardia is that very few people seem to be bothered taking it seriously. A travesty! The Classic of the Dead Leaves (or a classica delle foglie morte for those who’ve eaten all their spaghetti) is just that, a proper classic.
The first edition was in 1905, which makes it 108 this year, an age bettered by very few one day races anywhere. It was originally called Milan-Milan for reasons I can’t quite fathom, but it does lack a little in the imagination. Not that that should detract any from what is a magnificent race.
The route has changed a great deal over the years but the two constants are Lake Como and the Madonna del Ghisallo climb, the latter of which is one of the great iconic landmarks in world cycling. Sean Kelly and the great Henri Pelissier are the only non-Italians to win the race three times, but it is the Italians who have dominated throughout the lifespan of the event, winning a whopping 67 times, compared to Belgium’s 7 wins, the nation second in the rankings.
Why is it so good? It’s not just the length that it has been running, it’s also the hilly parcours, the winding lanes that feature towards the end no matter, it seems, where it finishes, the Madonna climb, the sweeping views of the lake, the fact it is in Italy and they are mad for it, the fact Fausto Coppi won it five times and because it just is a proper classic of a one dayer.
Why has it been neglected so often? Well it doesn’t help that the organisers change the route so much, nor that it comes at the end of the year and after the World’s when many a fan is ready to hibernate or do something unfeasibly ridiculous like build up a fixie and buy a flat-nebbed baseball hat, nor that it has had its name changed from the Giro di Lombardia (its proper name), to Il Lombardia and finally now to the Tour of Lombardy.
Get a grip, please, Signori! Anyway, watch it, you’ll be suitably rewarded.
On to Astana. First Valentin then Maxin Iglinsky get popped for le dopage. Well done lads, maître must be proud, she’s raised a proper little pair hasn’t she? I raced against both these guys and I didn’t like them then. That was a few years ago now and there was a rumour that all was not as it seemed in that Kazakhstan team in which they then rode.
Ah well, they got them in the end I suppose, though not until both got some decent cash out of their flaunting of those things, what are they called… ah yes, almost forgotten them – the rules.
So what would you recommend? If you have two riders on your team busted for doping shouldn’t the management get a special prize?
Like a lifesize toy -the kind you get at the circus for knocking over bottles with a BB gun – maybe of Mickey Mouse? Or perhaps the UCI could dock the team 500 UCI points and see how they get on the next time their World Tour license comes up for revision? Or maybe we just do… nothing.
I vote for the latter. Why change things now, when they are running so smoothly.
Astana though did sign the MPCC charter, which calls for any team that has two riders test positive within 12 months to withdraw itself from competition for 8 days. However Astana will still be lining up at the start in Lombardy this weekend because they say they will wait for the return of Iglinsky’s B sample. Another example, like so many others, of a team putting itself before the integrity of the sport from which it feeds.
And finally, at the back end, as they usually are, the women.
What an absolute load of tosh I have been reading these past few days after what was in all honesty a dull old World Championships. Many male commentators watched the women’s race and then said it was ‘boring’, so the women (and anyone else who points it out) should shut up about the yawning chasm in prize money. A reasoned point of view that one, well done lads.
One that needs no further comment, really. One dull race does not an argument make.
But more seriously, I have first hand experience with the difficulty of changing things around when it comes to getting the pay levels raised. I am a consultant for a big Asian race and we have several fantastic female riders coming over, absolute top level riders.
In fact, so good is the women’s list looking that it rather puts the men’s in the shade, and more than a little. This in spite of the fact that the men’s prize pot is something like five times bigger than the women’s.
And yet there are several top female cyclists mailing me and still wanting to come. Why? Because they very often race for absolutely nothing, and something is better than nothing.
The other reason is that several male riders won’t get out of bed for less than a few grand. The vast majority of female riders though are living proof that women do not get into this sport to get rich – they truly are doing it for the love.
Now, personally I’d like the pot for each to be the same, but I am not funding the event. It really is a step by step deal. It is frustrating, and I am probably going to get in trouble for saying this, but it should, absolutely, be equal, but the sponsors have different ideas.
So we hope for success this year, to have something tangible to show, and then we push for more next.
Something even close would be good, and I think that is something many women who race desire and that many who moan on about this issue negatively don’t get – it is not necessarily absolute parity that is the demand of most – it is just to get somewhere even close.
Something like 400 euro for the winner of the women’s Omloop Het Nieuwsblad race, 95,000 euro for the men. I mean, seriously?
And on that note – enjoy Il Tour di Lombadia on Sunday!
Well he didn’t really say that but he should have.
James Cole, 37, originally from Oz but now living in Singapore, joined CPCS some months back in preparation for the 2014 Haute Route Alps. Here is his account of life as a crankpunker.
by James Cole
Crankpunk got me through the Haute Route Alps (HRA). This event is 900+km over 7 days with 23,000m of climbing over the French Alps. There is just no other way I could have completed without Lee/Crankpunk sorting me out with a program that just worked.
Living in Singapore with the highest lump only 80m above sea level, I set myself a huge challenge by signing up for HRA in July 2013. Having only really been cycling for 6 months at that stage it was a really crazy idea to think I could do it. At that time I getting into cycling and was enjoying it, but training? What was that? I just rode to work daily and did group rides on the weekends with their pre-designated sprint points and otherwise comfortable do your turn on the front and have a good chat time rides.
Then I started getting into the racing, and oh crap. I was able to keep up for the first half, and then the suffering and the getting dropped set in and that was just no fun. So it was time to re-evaluate my approach and ask around what the fast guys were doing. This is when I stumbled onto Lee and decided if you can’t beat them, then at least start utilising their coach and programs.
So in Dec 2013 the Crankpunk relationship with Lee started. First with the discussion of goals, what I wanted to achieve (ie complete the HRA) and working out my general timing and availability to ride. Having 2 young kids time pressures can get restrictive, but fortunately riding to work daily (30km each way) made for a satisfactory alternative and Lee was able to work around that. So gone were the rubbish miles rides where I rolled into work to be replaced by various types of intervals. The work ride changed from routine to being what punishment/suffering has Lee dreamed up for me this week. It made Sunday nights interesting as I waited for what was in store the following week.
After a few months the initial results were in. OCBC race in April came and went and finished with a 6th place in the sprint. Never been at the front at the end of the race let alone in the sprint. Then there was the Cycosports Bintan Race shortly after. Got into a break which lasted for 60km before the peloton chased us down. Never had been in a real break before let alone lasting that long in one. So the crankpunk program was working.
Now it was time to focus on HRA. How on earth was I going to get over those mountains when all I did was train and ride on the flat? But somehow Lee nailed it. When I got to France and started that first climb up Columbiere I put myself into the groove as we had trained for on those mind-numbing repeats up that 80m lump they call Mount Faber he had me do regularly. I sat in that groove, kept the cadence high but comfortable and climbed. And then everyone seemed to be going backwards as I climbed. I reached the top and went wow, I can do this and now for the next climb. 7 days later the HRA was complete and now it was a case of how to convince the wife to let me do it all again next year.
So the Crankpunk program works. It isn’t one of those cookie-cutter one-size-fits-all program, but it works around what you want to achieve and the timing you have available to do it. It isn’t easy but you shouldn’t expect easy if you are signing up for a cycling program, but it is fun and very rewarding with a lot of variety. Lee provides great feedback and keeps you focused.
they forgot kebabs, but we can forgive them. great little video!
a rather long and amazing race in Mongolia kept me away from the computer for about 2 weeks (lordy lordy hallelujah) and as a result depraved PezCycling News of my lowdowns on the Vuelta.
but fear not, folks, for there was just time to get one in, the final roundup of the Spanish Grand Tour.
read it and weep.
click on the image below to go to the article on PEZ.
hot diggety. back in the most amazing place i’ve ever had the privilege to go to. Mongolia. this place gets inside you. it’s the world before we came along and f*&%ed it all up. no fences, no walls, just kilometer after kilometer of nothing and everything. 78 other folk and myself will be lining up in two days time to go ride 900km in 7 days alongside wild horses, past grazing camels and under the watchful eyes of eagles.
three Crank Punk Coaching clients are here too, Chris Hodgson, Erin Colshan and Michael Morrell, so CPCS will be well represented. another CPCS crankpunker here is Willy Mulonia, the man who put the race together (though he’s not riding unfortunately). as the official coach of the race i’m hoping these guys all come home safe and sound.
my journey so far did not feature getting my junk squeezed at the airport, not a mugging, nor influenza, and not even a bout of food poisoning – all of which i experienced last year.
it started with a chinese man feeling my penis and ended with a search for drugs through my luggage. in between there was illness, near-hypothermia, food poisoning, a few punches to the face and a death threat, zero romance and a whole lotta pain. what did i take from all this? that i am a navy f*cking seal when it comes to dealing with the blows (my strange) life can land and, also, that i am not alone on this voyage, as i had for so long speculated – i belong to a tribe, and they are out there. i just had to go to one of the most inhospitable places on earth to find them…
the final magazine article version was a tad less personally revealing, and can be found here.
the Genco Mongolia Bike Challenge. this is what the word ‘epic’ was created for…
(check the website for daily updates and videos – i’ll be, blissfully, out of wifi range for the next week so check the site for updates )
HUGE thanks to my sponsors who make all this adventuring malarkey possible: Lapierre, Lezyne, BLKTEC, 720Armour, Gaerne, Extreme Endurance, CCN clothing and Iris Yeh Travel Services. you guys rock.
great ride last weekend by CPCS rider Donald MacDonald from Singapore (by way of Scotland) and his Direct Asia teammate Pierre-Alain Scherwey. the pair were riding in the Singapore Cycling Federation Celebration Series TTT and managed 3rd place, behind the Infinite team rider and the winners, from the Kenyan national team, no less!
great work, Donald.
you can read Donald’s testimonial on CPCS here.
this article originally appeared on The Roar
The English start to the 2014 Tour de France surpassed even the wildest dreams of the people of Yorkshire and London who made it happen, with the crowds by the roadside estimated at some 2.5 million per day.
Race Director Christian Prudhomme was fulsome in his praise of the start up in the north of the country.
“When you said you would deliver the grandest Grand Départ of the Tour it was the truth. You have raised the bar for all future hosts of the Tour de France,” said Prudhomme.
“I work for the Tour, but I also love the Tour, and I have seen that the people of Yorkshire love the Tour too. I can see the Tour in their hearts, and in their eyes. For that, I say thank you.
“Bernard Hinault said to me that it is the first time in 40 years on a bike that he has seen crowds like we saw this weekend.”
There was an estimated 60,000 people lining the climb of Holme Moss alone, an astonishing number to anyone who, like myself, has ridden up that lonely, bleak and windswept moor on their own. More astonishing still was the appearance put in by the sun. Perhaps he got a fee for turning up too.
It was all very English in an un-English sort of way, what with it being the Tour de France and all, and yet the English – or British, if you like – have had something of a stranglehold on the race in the past two years. With the current champion and the winner before him, as well as the greatest sprinter the Tour has ever seen all standing under the Union Jack, you’d think the Brits would be over the moon at the moment.
However, one of the three lions didn’t even get a place on the start line and another got himself so giddy at the thought of wearing Yellow on his native soil that he went and rode like a fool and crashed himself out of the whole thing.
That Wiggo isn’t racing has received enough attention, but it’s worth taking a moment to consider just how irresponsible and reckless was the ride Cavendish put in on Stage One.
There’s something to be said about being a great athlete and a man that commands respect, and there’s even more to say about a great athlete that’s rash and irresponsible.
Compare, if you will, Pele and Maradonna, or Ali and Tyson.
Maradonna was arguably the better footballer, but if you were to choose from the two a role model for youngsters it would be the Brazilian who would win out every time.
Tyson may have been the most ferocious and intimidating heavyweight of all time and was a brilliant technical boxer too, but Ali’s legend is built on far more than what he achieved in the ring. He is a great man. Tyson is a thug.
Cavendish is established and the greatest sprinter of all time. In his first season, 2007, he equaled Alessandro Petacchi’s record of 11 professional wins in a debut season.
In 2009 he became the first Briton since Tommy Simpson to win a Monument, Milan-San Remo. In 2010 he became the first Brit since Robert Millar to win a stage in every Grand Tour, and in 2011 became the first Briton since Simpson to win the World Championships.
In 2012 he became the first man to win on the Champs-Elysees four times in a row, and in the same year he became the most successful sprinter in Tour history with 23 stage wins, giving him more mass start wins than any other rider in the Tour de France, ever.
Some say he’s pretty good. I begrudgingly concur.
Cavendish’s record blows Kittel’s out of the water – it blows everybody’s palmares out of the water, in fact – but Kittel is coming along very nicely indeed. He won yesterday, has now won in every Grand Tour, and he has that air of invincibility about him that is reminiscent of another sprinter at times – namely, Cavendish.
But which would you rather have a beer with? One is affable, approachable and genuinely popular in the bunch, the other is none of those things. Whilst it is true that Cavendish’s nature is an essential component of his success it is also true that he has been openly disrespectful to other riders (ask Thor Hushovd about that), and that he causes crashes.
Never was this more true than on Stage One. Cavendish’s actions caused the crash, and though he apologised to Gerrans by telephone later, it’s an indication of how dangerous his sprinting was that the OGE team were angered that the UCI had declined to punish the Manx rider for reckless riding.
The reasons for Cavendish’s crash were twofold.
First off, he was desperate to win because he wanted Yellow on home soil. As a result he was eager as a lamb at its mother’s teet for the last 300 all day. Secondly, he does not respect his peers enough. Had it been Gerrans or another rider that had been forced to abandon the ride rather than the culprit himself, the organisers would have been justified in throwing him out of the Tour altogether.
Indeed, had that happened, the injured party might even consider whether he had a legal case against Cavendish.
Milan-San Remo winner Alexander Kristoff of Katusha even went so far as to compare Cavendish to Luis Suarez, the Uruguyan thrown out of the World Cup for biting an opponent.
“Suarez was banned for biting people in soccer and to me it looked like he crashed on purpose,” Kristoff said.
“At 60 kilometres an hour it’s really dangerous and you can injure people, so it’s not nice of him. In an uphill sprint you loose a bit of control sometimes. It’s not the first time he’s done this. I hope he calms down a little bit in the future. He’s a brilliant sprinter but it looks like he lost his head a little bit.”
Lost his head and lost his chance to prove that he still has the beating of an improved Kittel. Lost too even more respect from his peers, as well as wasted all the hard work his team would have put in in training to get ready for this race.
Kristoff will not be alone in his criticism of Cavendish and there won’t be much sympathy for him in the peloton either.
Finally, it wasn’t just himself he let down out there, not Simon Gerrans or anyone else behind him, but the British public who came out to cheer him on.