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Legs of the Day

November 20, 2008

Fashion show or racers?

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“Schumacher Insists on Quickstep Contract” – Wha???

November 15, 2008

Strange News of the Day

There was a story on my cell phone today that fell in the category of strange news.

November 14, 2008
York, PA. – Police say a central Pennsylvania man tried to rob a bank – but teller’s empty drawers thwarted the attempt. Springettsbury Township Police Lt. Scott Laird said the teller’s were waiting for their drawers to be filled when a man entered a Susquehanna Bank branch Thursday morning and demanded money. The first teller fainted and the next two showed him the empty drawers.

Laird says the robber then threatened to file a complaint with bank management before leaving.

Associated Press

Maybe Schumacher was in York – fookin’ moron thinks we are all fools. Hate to tell it to him but the Quickstep drawers are empty. You gotta wonder what size this guy’s brain is. First he comes storming out nowhere to win 2 TdF TT’s and in between be OTF for what seemed like the whole freakin’ race. Gosh he was practically flaunting his obviously doped legs with the wake he was leaving behind. And then have the gall to insist on continuing to work. I just gotta laugh – no team manager is crazy enough to touch this guy with a flagpole. Unless of course he is a Kazakh.

Read the strange news on Cyclingnews.

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Legs of the Day

November 7, 2008

From the 2007 Italian National Championships.

So how come the podium girls at the big tours don’t dress like this???? Or for any of the other ‘mens’ races for that matter???

campionato-italiano-donne-2007-1033

campionato-italiano-donne-2007-10361

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John Korioth on Drafting Lance – Tour de Gruene TTT

November 7, 2008

Mere mortals like me can only wonder and relate to John Korioth in just succeeding to draft behind a POWERFUL animal like Lance.  To quote John, “This was probably the hardest thing I have ever done on a bike.”

From a Training Peaks Interview with John Korioth

John Korioth Shares His Thoughts (and SRM file) About Racing with Lance at the Tour de Gruene

4 November 2008

Lance Armstrong teamed up this past Sunday with John Korioth to race the Tour de Gruene two-man team time trial event. John describes his experience as “probably the hardest thing I have ever done on a bike.” The pain paid off as the pair won their division with a time of 56:37 on the 27.3 mile course, which was 2:34 faster than the second place team of David Wenger and Steven Wheeler.

John and Lance both raced with an SRM powermeter and John has provided TrainingPeaks with his race file which can be seen and downloaded here.

gruene TTT Korioth

John averaged 340watts and had a normalized power reading of 357watts, which makes you wonder how many watts Lance was pushing given that John rode the majority of the race in Lance’s slipstream. John reflects on his experience racing with Lance in a short interview with TrainingPeaks.

TP-How did you feel during the TT?
JK- This was probably the hardest thing I have ever done on a bike. Its tough to say I felt good with my HR so high all the time (well above my Lactate Threshold 168hr). I would have thought I would have been able to get some recovery sitting on Lance’s wheel as I do on my road bike when riding behind him. However, once he is fully aero (TT Suit, and helmet) it is very tough to get a good draft off of him and then be able to get any recovery. As you can tell from the file, I think only once during the race did my HR ever get back down below 170 and that wasn’t for long before it was back up to 178.

TP-Did the race go as planned?
JK- I thought I would have been able to help a little more and make some stronger pulls. When I was called through I was so redlined I tried to go easier just to get some recovery. Lance and I knew one of the keys was going to be communication and with those Aero helmets it is tough to hear so there was a lot of shouting at each other. If you would have heard me you would have thought I was mad at him but that was not the case. I was just trying to tell him to take it easy up the hills and into some turns so he wouldn’t gap me off.

TP- How much did you pull versus Lance?
JK- I would probably say Lance pulled 75% off the time. I think he could have won all by himself if he wanted to. He is just that strong. He also just has the ability to make the bike go fast. He can get it up on a flat road to 31mph and just hold it there. Its tough to stick behind that for a long time.

TP- Did you specifically train for this race? You had a great race.
JK- I did train for it, but not like Masters Nationals (John is the current USAC 40-44 National Road race Champion). This wasn’t even on my schedule until about 3 weeks prior. So I had to go get dust off the TT bike and make some adjustments and do what I could. My coach Dave Wenger (who was part of the second place team) from Source Endurance did the best he could but I think it could have been better with more time and some motor pacing.

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Legs of the Day – Norwegian Thunder

November 5, 2008

From Holland Ladies Tour:

Legs of Thunder

Legs of Thunder

Photo Courtesy from CyclingFX

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Good NY Times Article on the Truth About Stretching

November 5, 2008

I’ve not been one to stretch before exercise and have always preferred a slow start to warm up so this article certainly affirms my approach.

Stretching the Truth

By GRETCHEN REYNOLDS
Published: October 31, 2008

WHEN DUANE KNUDSON, a professor of kinesiology at California State University, Chico, looks around campus at athletes warming up before practice, he sees one dangerous mistake after another. “They’re stretching, touching their toes. . . . ” He sighs. “It’s discouraging.”

If you’re like most of us, you were taught the importance of warm-up exercises back in grade school, and you’ve likely continued with pretty much the same routine ever since. Science, however, has moved on. Researchers now believe that some of the more entrenched elements of many athletes’ warm-up regimens are not only a waste of time but actually bad for you. The old presumption that holding a stretch for 20 to 30 seconds — known as static stretching — primes muscles for a workout is dead wrong. It actually weakens them. In a recent study conducted at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas, athletes generated less force from their leg muscles after static stretching than they did after not stretching at all. Other studies have found that this stretching decreases muscle strength by as much as 30 percent. Also, stretching one leg’s muscles can reduce strength in the other leg as well, probably because the central nervous system rebels against the movements.

“There is a neuromuscular inhibitory response to static stretching,” says Malachy McHugh, the director of research at the Nicholas Institute of Sports Medicine and Athletic Trauma at Lenox Hill Hospital in New York City. The straining muscle becomes less responsive and stays weakened for up to 30 minutes after stretching, which is not how an athlete wants to begin a workout.

THE RIGHT WARM-UP should do two things: loosen muscles and tendons to increase the range of motion of various joints, and literally warm up the body. When you’re at rest, there’s less blood flow to muscles and tendons, and they stiffen. “You need to make tissues and tendons compliant before beginning exercise,” Knudson says.

A well-designed warm-up starts by increasing body heat and blood flow. Warm muscles and dilated blood vessels pull oxygen from the bloodstream more efficiently and use stored muscle fuel more effectively. They also withstand loads better. One significant if gruesome study found that the leg-muscle tissue of laboratory rabbits could be stretched farther before ripping if it had been electronically stimulated — that is, warmed up.

To raise the body’s temperature, a warm-up must begin with aerobic activity, usually light jogging. Most coaches and athletes have known this for years. That’s why tennis players run around the court four or five times before a match and marathoners stride in front of the starting line. But many athletes do this portion of their warm-up too intensely or too early. A 2002 study of collegiate volleyball players found that those who’d warmed up and then sat on the bench for 30 minutes had lower backs that were stiffer than they had been before the warm-up. And a number of recent studies have demonstrated that an overly vigorous aerobic warm-up simply makes you tired. Most experts advise starting your warm-up jog at about 40 percent of your maximum heart rate (a very easy pace) and progressing to about 60 percent. The aerobic warm-up should take only 5 to 10 minutes, with a 5-minute recovery. (Sprinters require longer warm-ups, because the loads exerted on their muscles are so extreme.) Then it’s time for the most important and unorthodox part of a proper warm-up regimen, the Spider-Man and its counterparts.

“TOWARDS THE end of my playing career, in about 2000, I started seeing some of the other guys out on the court doing these strange things before a match and thinking, What in the world is that?” says Mark Merklein, 36, once a highly ranked tennis player and now a national coach for the United States Tennis Association. The players were lunging, kicking and occasionally skittering, spider-like, along the sidelines. They were early adopters of a new approach to stretching.

While static stretching is still almost universally practiced among amateur athletes — watch your child’s soccer team next weekend — it doesn’t improve the muscles’ ability to perform with more power, physiologists now agree. “You may feel as if you’re able to stretch farther after holding a stretch for 30 seconds,” McHugh says, “so you think you’ve increased that muscle’s readiness.” But typically you’ve increased only your mental tolerance for the discomfort of the stretch. The muscle is actually weaker.

Stretching muscles while moving, on the other hand, a technique known as dynamic stretching or dynamic warm-ups, increases power, flexibility and range of motion. Muscles in motion don’t experience that insidious inhibitory response. They instead get what McHugh calls “an excitatory message” to perform.

Dynamic stretching is at its most effective when it’s relatively sports specific. “You need range-of-motion exercises that activate all of the joints and connective tissue that will be needed for the task ahead,” says Terrence Mahon, a coach with Team Running USA, home to the Olympic marathoners Ryan Hall and Deena Kastor. For runners, an ideal warm-up might include squats, lunges and “form drills” like kicking your buttocks with your heels. Athletes who need to move rapidly in different directions, like soccer, tennis or basketball players, should do dynamic stretches that involve many parts of the body. “Spider-Man” is a particularly good drill: drop onto all fours and crawl the width of the court, as if you were climbing a wall. (For other dynamic stretches, see the sidebar below.)

Even golfers, notoriously nonchalant about warming up (a recent survey of 304 recreational golfers found that two-thirds seldom or never bother), would benefit from exerting themselves a bit before teeing off. In one 2004 study, golfers who did dynamic warm- up exercises and practice swings increased their clubhead speed and were projected to have dropped their handicaps by seven strokes over seven weeks.

Controversy remains about the extent to which dynamic warm-ups prevent injury. But studies have been increasingly clear that static stretching alone before exercise does little or nothing to help. The largest study has been done on military recruits; results showed that an almost equal number of subjects developed lower-limb injuries (shin splints, stress fractures, etc.), regardless of whether they had performed static stretches before training sessions. A major study published earlier this year by the Centers for Disease Control, on the other hand, found that knee injuries were cut nearly in half among female collegiate soccer players who followed a warm-up program that included both dynamic warm-up exercises and static stretching. (For a sample routine, visit www.aclprevent.com/pepprogram.htm.) And in golf, new research by Andrea Fradkin, an assistant professor of exercise science at Bloomsburg University of Pennsylvania, suggests that those who warm up are nine times less likely to be injured.

“It was eye-opening,” says Fradkin, formerly a feckless golfer herself. “I used to not really warm up. I do now.”

You’re Getting Warmer: The Best Dynamic Stretches

These exercises- as taught by the United States Tennis Association’s player-development program – are good for many athletes, even golfers. Do them immediately after your aerobic warm-up and as soon as possible before your workout.

STRAIGHT-LEG MARCH

(for the hamstrings and gluteus muscles)

Kick one leg straight out in front of you, with your toes flexed toward the sky. Reach your opposite arm to the upturned toes. Drop the leg and repeat with the opposite limbs. Continue the sequence for at least six or seven repetitions.

SCORPION

(for the lower back, hip flexors and gluteus muscles)

Lie on your stomach, with your arms outstretched and your feet flexed so that only your toes are touching the ground. Kick your right foot toward your left arm, then kick your leftfoot toward your right arm. Since this is an advanced exercise, begin slowly, and repeat up to 12 times.

HANDWALKS

(for the shoulders, core muscles, and hamstrings)

Stand straight, with your legs together. Bend over until both hands are flat on the ground. “Walk” with your hands forward until your back is almost extended. Keeping your legs straight, inch your feet toward your hands, then walk your hands forward again. Repeat five or six times. G.R.

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Softride for my Riding Buddies

November 4, 2008

Here’s a real softride for my riding buddies JohnM and Batillog:

softride