Imagine this scenario. You’re riding down the street on a group ride. You turn to chat to the guy next to you and as you do you front wheel rubs the rear wheel of the guy ahead of you.
You go down, the guy next to you falls, and there’s an almighty pile up behind to boot, that grim, grisly sound of carbon and metal keranging onto tarmac, informed by the dull thud of fresh flesh smacking down and slipping all over the road.
Apologies done – and gingerly accepted – you limp home feeling a proper lemon, embarrassed and guilty at the mess caused by that moment’s inattention.
A week passes, two, the road rash diminishes, the new bar tape helps wipe away the shame and you’re back in the fold.
Then one day you get an envelope, sent from a solicitor. Inside is a letter informing you that you damn well better get some representation quick, because Jack Smith is suing your lycra-clad backside for a busted 50mm front rim and a fractured tibia that might mean he’ll never ride again.
Your fault? Well maybe the crash was, and yes, you said as much in front of 20 folks. But do you deserve to be sued for it?
News broke Saturday reporting that a Canberra cyclist has been awarded a AUS$1.66 million award in his case against fellow cyclist David Blick after a judge ruled against Blick.
Michael Franklin’s contention was that Blick had been negligent when he swerved to avoid a branch that was in his path. Blick is said to have tried to veer away from the ‘wooden obstacle’ but clipped it, then bumped Franklin, sending him into the oncoming traffic.
Franklin suffered spinal injuries as a result of the accident, which occurred in 2009, and is said to be still suffering from problems as a result of the incident.
The judge declared Blick as ‘negligent’.
“Bearing in mind the size of the piece of wood and the lighting in the area,” the judge said, “I am satisfied that if the defendant had exercised reasonable care he would have seen and avoided the piece of wood.”
Reports state that Franklin had considered trying to get compensation from the driver of the vehicle he hit, but that his counsel warned him against it as the driver could not be shown to have been negligent.
Mr. Franklin then, it appears, turned his lawyer’s attention towards Mr. Blick.
Blick was insured so all costs have been covered by his insurer.
Blick and Franklin were reported to be friends before the incident, but whether they remain close is unconfirmed. Possibly, knowing he was insured and it would not cost him personally, Mr Blick holds no hard feeling at all towards Mr. Franklin.
However, this case does raise some serious questions, one of which is, is it safe to ride in group rides and in races? Another would be, is it safe to head out without some serious heavy duty insurance?
Also, the Franklin case sees the setting of a precedent, one that could lead to the bankrupting of people less well insured than Mr. Blick.
Another case, again from Australia, is still in motion and very similar to the Franklin case. Olympic champion Sara Carrigan is being sued now for $750,000 for an accident that happened on one of her bunch rides.
Bernie Elsey Jr, the son of property developer Bernie Elsey, put in a claim for personal injury damages against Sara Carrigan Cycling and another cyclist Stephen John Milligan, as reported in the Gold Coast Bulletin.
The incident happened in May last year. Elsey Jr claims that Milligan’s riding ability was not up to scratch and that he was “not satisfactorily equipped to ride in the group ride that day.”
After the accident, Elsey was treated in hospital for a complex left fractured femur and had a steel rod and screws permanently placed in his leg.
“I’m just trying to get back some quality of life,” he said, citing the loss of his house as being a direct consequence of the accident.
In both cases any right-thinking individual would feel for the two men injured in these accidents – but do we not, as cyclists, have to bear the responsibility of what happens to us out on the roads?
If there was to be a claim every time someone broke a carbon rim, cracked a frame or broke a collar bone in bike racing then no one would be racing. Imagine the professionals taking one another to court and watching videotape of a crash in the Tour to work out just who touched what wheel or dodged a bump but didn’t warn the guy behind.
It’s not that I am saying cyclists should be exempt from the ‘rules of the road’ – if I was to go off the pavement and onto the sidewalk and hit a pedestrian then yes, I should be liable. But when it comes down to one rider suing another because one dodged a bit of wood? Or one slammed into the back of another and is claiming it’s because he braked too hard? That kind of stuff happens all the time. There is a responsibility issue here – we all know this when we decide to join a group ride.
Should Sara Carrigan be at risk of losing her quality of life because Mr Elsey Jr had an accident? And should Stephen Milligan also be criminalised for an accident that he may or may not have caused?
Show me any experienced ride that has ridden a bike in a group or in a race that hasn’t lost focus or concentration or been in forced into a dangerous line by the movement of the pack – and that hasn’t caused a single accident (or almost caused one, because often it is the skill of others around us that makes the difference) – and I’ll eat that hat of mine.
To be punished in this way for the random series of events that leads to a crash seems to me to be simply unjust and unfair.
I’d rather every sale of a bicycle sees $5 go to a nation-wide fund to be used just for such situations as these, let us all pay – and let us all benefit, when and if the time comes and that becomes a necessity.
One other point to consider is that many people would be put off biking if they had to have insurance just to go for a weekend ride with a mate. Also, many people cycle because they cannot afford a car nor the insurance costs that go with it.
I know of one Asian national cycling federation that is at risk of folding because one rider died after suffering heat stroke and collapsing, hitting his head on the pavement, at one of their organised sportifs. Despite the fact the he had signed a waiver, his family is suing for millions and, apparently they have a chance.
How? I do not know and I do not understand. Surely this man, this unfortunate guy, knew himself the risks involved. What is now at stake is the disbandment of a very good federation that is truly trying to instil a responsible cycling culture among local cyclists.
It’s a tricky one this. You feel for the families and for the guys that get injured, but, something in me just says this is wrong. Be very interested to hear your views.
a version of this article originally appeared on the Round the Island website, which is connected to the ANZA Cycling group.
The Big Race is coming. A week and a half to go.
Time is running out as it starts very soon indeed, so you better not get training harder.
Yes, I did say not.
One thing I have learned about the week and a half before a bike race is that you really cannot improve that much in strength, stamina or power in those 7 to 10 days beforehand. However, you can do a lot of damage by overtraining, by riding to fatigue, and by simply going over things too much in your head, thus putting at risk all your previous gains by using up too much nervous energy.
The key to the final week of pre-race prep is to be as calm and composed as possible and to make decisions about your training, rest, hydration and nutrition that will allow you to maximize the work you have already done, ensuring that when you get on that start line your condition is optimal.
‘Consolidate your previous gains’ is a phrase I use a lot. It simply means that instead of jumping ahead of yourself and leaving holes in your preparation, it is far more beneficial to take care of what you have gained.
This way, your base will be solid and established, and all further gains will be real and not fleeting. So often, in that week before the big race, you see riders going out on death marches of 170km or battering themselves up that hill in the hope of somehow making the Great Leap Forward from Cat 2 quality to Cat 1.
It doesn’t work that way, and we know it too. Better to shore up what you have, to use short, sharp intervals (in their three and fours, not in the dozens) and to taper your lead into the sharpest point possible.
My final week prep before a big race would look something like this:
Day 1: Off
Day 2: Relatively moderate spin, anywhere from 1 up to 3 hours, depending on time. This would be a tempo ride (say a 6 on a Perceived Rate of Exertion (PRE) Scale). Fairly flat, if hilly I would spin as much as possible.
Day 3: A medium-hardish 3 hour ride. Either with a group, or preferably alone. Personally I prefer riding alone most of the time as it gives me control over my efforts. I’d try as best I could to ride a route that emulated the race route, do a couple 10-15 minute TT-like efforts, some shorter, harder sprints every 15-20 minutes or so, and also throw in 3-4 hard hill efforts.
Day 4: A spin or off completely. I prefer to be off the bike at least twice the week before a big race, knowing that when I am doing the hard efforts, I am nailing them and thus getting the benefit from them at 100%.
Day 5: If it is a one day race, I’d go for a 2 hour ride, a hard day where I’m going to glycogen depletion. Studies have shown that depleting the glycogen stores starts of a cycle whereby the glycogen is replaced rapidly, being at its absolute peak between 60-72 hours later. So, three days before the race I like to do about an hour to an hour and a half of hard, dedicated, shorter intervals. This isn;t a last-ditch attempt to get fitter so if I am not feeling it, I’ll skip it. Rather, it is a ride to get the system working and to have your energy stores at their optimal by race day.
For a stage race, the duration is shorter as you need more energy later in the week. Intervals again in this case but less – you needn’t do too many , you just want to isolate the muscles, get the cardio blasting and tap in to those glycogen stores so that the system starts working.
Day 6: Typically off or a light spin.
Day 7: Pre-Race prep day. Usually an hour and a half at a light spin with 3-4 short sprints in succession early on, 2-3 three 3-minute seated intervals at a TT pace, and finish with another 3-4 sprints. Some people prefer to just ride lightly, I find that I need the tension in the legs, and to remind them that they belong to a bike racer.
On the Day: Studies have found that 3-4 short, 20 second sprints in succession about 20 minutes before a race can stimulate production of the body’s natural EPO. It works, and it’s all legal!
In the race, there are two great ‘rules’ I was told as a spotty-faced 15 year-old by a grizzled veteran of the road. These have served me well ever since and they are:
- If you’re not alone and the wind is on your chest, you’re in the wrong place.
Meaning, position yourself intelligently and do not waste energy. Cycling is a numbers game, and energy levels are crucial.
- If you don’t feel good, take a chance. However, if you do feel good – do nothing until that moment.
Knowing when that moment is exactly comes with time, but basically, do not give up your natural advantage with speculative attacks. If you feel great, wait, and give it all. All you have to do in a race to win, is to go faster than everyone else for one tenth of a second. Simple!
- And another I almost forgot: Stay away from the manager’s wife. The old boy who bestowed these three nuggets of wisdom upon me had, he told me, got into a ‘spot of trouble’ on one tam he rode on…
If you are going to attack early, follow wheels for the first 20-30 minutes and let the attackers tire themselves out. Wait for ‘The Lull’, the moment when the speed drops and everyone looks at each other, desperate for respite – that is when you have the best chance of getting away.
A word on cramping. It happens to us all – well, most of us. One key to limiting the cramps is to train harder. Simple but true. The other is to hydrate well the week before the race. On the morning of the event you should be peeing water, clean and clear as from a mountain spring.
Things like Nunns and drink mixes help, but in my opinion the best thing out there for cramps is Extreme Endurance, which you can find here: http://www.xendurance.com. I make no money from this at all though they do sponsor me, but I take this because it really does help a great deal with my cramping. It’s the only product I recommend.
In the race, if you have friends in the pack, communicate. How quickly cyclists forget they are actually part of a team. Plans don’t often work out but by staying clam and thinking about a situation and how to handle it, rather than going of individual instinct, you can make better decisions.
Finally, stick to what you know and ride to your strengths, and take care of those weaknesses. If you don’t train to do 100km solo attacks – don’t try it in the race!
If you never usually get up three hours before a hard ride and eat 6kg of wholewheat pasta and drink beetroot juice by the gallon – don’t do that before the race either.
Similarly, if you are racing for the first time and don’t usually guzzle four gels and a 1kg peanut butter power bar per hour, again, probably not too smart to do that on race day either.
Train for these things. Work out what works in an environment where there isn’t a finish line and you can actually ride home to throw up!
Confidence is a hugely underrated element of bike racing. If you prepare badly or do things in the race you never normally do and have a bad day as a result, that can stick in your head for months and affect all future performances.
This is supposed to be fun. For most of us, we get precious little chance to take risks and to wear ridiculous clothing and just enjoy ourselves like kids every day – so take it. The result should not define you, but the effort and the sense of achievement should enhance all other aspects of your life – something the pros forget all too often, sadly.
So yes. Go forth! Go crank!
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!