Friday, July 24, 2009

Profile of Alpe d'Huez bike course

(CLICK on picture to enlarge) This is the profile of the Alpe d'Huez bike course for the long distance race next Wednesday. You've got to feel for me. This is blinking ridiculous! We'll have already swam 2.2k in glacial runoff freezing water and then we have to ride up here followed by a half marathon, Mummy....!

Hidden Dip! Funny.

We're off to France tomorrow so no idea how much blogging I'll be able to do (or want to do for that matter) - we'll see but here are a couple of funny piccies before I go. Made me chuckle anyway.

Family planning anyone?


Confucius and Nick Flynn says...

"Person who believes something is impossible, should get out of the way of person doing it." ~ Confucius (and Nick Flynn)

Armstrong to launch new US team

Simon says: - Amazing result by Contador last night in the TdF. Assuming he's clean this guy deserves the race win. Very classy act to win the stage yesterday. Meanwhile...

(Courtesy of the BBC)
Seven-time Tour de France champion Lance Armstrong will quit Astana and form a US-based team for 2010.

The new outfit will be known as Team RadioShack and sponsored by the American electronics retail giant.

Armstrong said: "To compete for an American team with the world's top cyclists, supported by the best coaches and staff - I couldn't be happier."

The Texan returned to competition with Astana after a four-year retirement and lies third overall in this year's Tour.

In a statement, the RadioShack Corporation said: "Lance Armstrong will compete for Team RadioShack as a cyclist, runner and triathlete in events around the world, including the 2010 Tour de France."

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Second coolest wedding entrance ever

(Courtesy of Sonja via Twitter)

Now if I hadn't ridden to my wedding on an elephant in full Indian regalia, sword in hand, a 30 piece band in front with my friends and rellies dancing down Sukhumvit in Thailand then I probably would like to think I'd do it this way - very cool (marginally spoilt by the brown suits though).

4 Ways to Bike Like Lance

By Matt Fitzgerald
For Active.com

Unless your Internet access has been cut off and your marathon training has totally replaced your TV time, you've heard the news that, at age 37, Lance Armstrong has come out of retirement and is competing in the 2009 Tour de France.

He says that he was inspired to do so in part by recent Olympic performances by older endurance athletes like American swimmer Dara Torres (41) and Romanian marathoner Constantina Tomescu (38). Perhaps it's only fitting that Armstrong is now benefiting from the inspirational example of others, as he has long been an inspiration to fellow cancer patients and survivors—not to mention other cyclists.

While atop the cycling world, Armstrong's innovative training methods set a new standard that has since been widely emulated at all levels of the sport. Specifically, according to Mr. Yellow Jersey's longtime coach Chris Carmichael, Armstrong's training regimen emphasizes the four components of aerobic development, pedal cadence, consistency, and stretching more than most other training systems.

So whether you want to make your own run at the Tour de France or you just want to boost the cycling in your triathlon training, here's how to do it like Lance.

1. Aerobic DevelopmentArmstrong does a greater percentage of his riding—and just plain more riding—in the aerobic training zone than most other cyclists.

"Aerobic development—that is, increasing Lance's ability to transport oxygen to his working muscles—takes up 95 percent of our focus in training," says Carmichael.

Many other cyclists, according to Carmichael, place too much emphasis on raising their lactate threshold—the level of exertion at which the blood lactate level begins to increase—instead of concentrating on building their VO2 max, which is the maximum amount of oxygen a person can use to fuel exercise.

"I see a lot of triathletes focusing on getting their lactate threshold up as high as possible," he says. "But there's a point of diminishing returns. If your lactate threshold is 85 to 90 percent of your VO2 capacity, it's just not going to get any higher. So what you've got to do now is go back and build a bigger engine, which means you've got to grow your VO2."

There's no single method or type of workout Armstrong uses to increase his aerobic capacity, says Carmichael, but perhaps the biggest VO2 bang for the pedaling buck comes from his tempo rides. In these, Armstrong maintains a steady heart rate—just a hair below his lactate threshold heart rate, which for him is an inhuman 178 to 180 bpm—for a long duration of up to two hours.
Simon says: - Hard but sustainable basically - an unpleasant feeling that physically you can hold for a long time but mentally you'll need to be hard as nails.

2. Pedal Cadence
When prescribing workouts for Armstrong, who is known to turn his cranks faster than any other man in the European peloton, Carmichael includes numbers not only for duration and heart rate but often for pedal cadence, as well. Why?

"You start to develop efficiencies at certain pedal cadences the more time you spend at them," explains Carmichael. "Generally, at lower pedal cadences, say 60 to 80 rpm, people have the greatest efficiency (on flat terrain). Once you get above this level, you start to lose efficiency and you start to consume more oxygen and your heart rate increases.

"Well, that's a great training opportunity for improving aerobic development. You need to keep moving cadence upward in order to keep gaining efficiency at higher cadences. You're going to be uncomfortable at 90 to 95 rpm if most of your training is at 70 to 75 rpm, but over time you're going to start improving your aerobic capacity and your efficiency at that higher rpm level."

This leads directly to faster cycling, as there are only two ways to cycle faster: by pushing higher gears and by pedaling faster.
Simon says: - I followed this passionately. I trained myself to almost effortlessly turn a cadence of 107 over 200+k rides. Then I was told that I had it wrong by Brett Sutton (Coach of TBB and Chrissie Wellington fame) and that I needed big gears and a low cadence. Having followed Lance's lead I was sceptical about changing back to my old technique, especially after the years of effort perfecting the high cadence technique. I wondered though whether I was leaving time on the course with the high cadence so I dropped it to about 93rpm for the last 10 weeks training before IM Langkawi and knocked out a 5hr3min PB (improved by 30mins) and then did a IM marathon PB. I'm not saying high cadence is wrong but I think it depends on the individual and the resulting power output - no point in spinning if there's no power!

3. Consistency
Never shy about revealing the ingredients of his recipe for his success, Armstrong has said, "I never miss a workout. Ever."This machine-like consistency is the key to achieving the high training volume through which Armstrong continually builds his aerobic capacity.
Simon says: - How many of us can say this (in fact two smart a$$es have already said they can on Twitter/Facebook) I can surely say that I am remotivated to say this from now on. I don't miss many but I shouldn't miss any!

Says Carmichael, "People are often amazed to see how little high-intensity training I prescribe for Lance, but he's a 24/7/365 athlete. If you look at any particular workout, you might say, 'Hey, that's not so bad,' but if you look at the consistency with which we train, it's pretty numbing. Every year, Lance wins the Tour between November and January. He makes his biggest gains in the offseason."

Try being more consistent during your next offseason and see what a difference it makes.

4. Stretching
Armstrong stretched an hour a day in preparation for the 2001 Tour using a program designed by Jeff Spencer, a former Olympic cyclist himself and now a Scottsdale, Arizona-based chiropractor.

Armstrong publicly credited the stretching with taking his cycling performance to a new level by increasing his power output and pedaling efficiency, reducing muscle recovery time, and keeping injuries at bay—all results sure to lift your cycling performance as well. So give your muscles a thorough stretching after your workouts. You certainly don't have to spend an hour per day, unless, of course, you want to try to spoil Armstrong's second cycling comeback.
Simon says: - I am the world's worst at stretching, I like stretching less than I like swimming and I'm worse at it than swimming too and that's saying something. However, I do stretch now (only twice a week) after my spin classes and I can say that I have no doubt that this contributed to my improved Ironman performance. I intend to do it daily but just need that little push to get more motivated to do it - this article will help and I certainly plan to stretch daily once the Ironman training starts again after my hols.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Sam at the TdF

Sam's reply to my SMS asking him where he was: -

"Sorry I did not reply to your sms. I was too excited to hear it! Carmen and I were about 500m before the end of the climb in a great spot. The buzz at the top of the climb was absolutely fantastic. You would have loved it. I took a load of photos but I was too close to the action and they turned out a bit blurred. However, the one attached turned out ok which has the main contenders in it including Andy Schleck, Contador, Wiggins and off picture to the right is Lance. I will try and see the start in Bourg tomorrow to see if I can get more freebies that are thrown from the sponsors’ cars. Its great fun!"

Sid and Seb in Thailand

Sid and Seb (and Mummy) went to visit Meenu Massi in Thailand last week to see Meenu Massi's new baby. Unfortunately the baby was warm and snug in Meenu's tummy and decided to stay indoors for a little while longer.

Sid and Seb got to see Nana, Nani, Meenu, Ranjan, Kapil and Ritu though, so they were well happy (and still the centre of attention, at least for the time being anyway.)

I can't tell you how lovely it is to have the three of them back home though, Daddy was getting very lonely and missed them sooooooo much.



Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Fresh Air Fund

Simon says: - I received this email recently and it strikes me as a great cause for anyone planning to do the New York Half marathon to think about supporting: -

"Hi Simon

The Fresh Air Fund is looking for runners and sponsors to join our Fresh Air Fund-Racers team for the NYC Half-Marathon on August 16th. I thought you would be interested in helping out by posting a mention of this exciting news on Tritwins. This is a great way to participate in NYC's premier summer road race while helping Fresh Air Fund children. Please feel free to repost anything from our site here:

http://freshair.org/racers

Last summer's NYC Half-Marathon was a huge success and the Fresh Air Fund-Racers raised more than $125,000. We are also still in need of Friendly Town hosts for next month. Host families open their hearts and home to a NYC child who would not otherwise have the opportunity to escape the hot, crowded city streets. Please let me know if you are able to post or have any questions, and if you could send me the link that would be fantastic.

Thank you so much,

Sara

--
Sara Wilson,
The Fresh Air Fund
sara@freshair.org
www.freshair.org"

Monday, July 20, 2009

Siemens 10K

(Photo courtesy of Tey)

Usual 21K on Sunday morning was switched around a bit. First of all I ran Double Hill at the usual time and that gave me a few minutes to run down to Merdeka Square in time for the Siemens 10k.

Sadly it was a tough old day for me. It was hurting from the get go. Struggled around Double Hill and really wasn't looking forward to running the next 10k. Check out my photo - this was a cross between a smile and a painful grimace!

I started at the very very back and weaved my way in and out of the walker/runners. Each kilometre was well marked and I painfully made my way from one to the next. It seemed to be going on forever so the last 2-3k I put my foot down, so to speak, and accelerated to the finish to put myself out of the misery.

At last it was all over. I shuffled back to the car, drove home and promptly spent the WHOLE of Sunday in bed watching TV and sleeping. I guess the KL Marathon and two races in PD finally caught up with me. I don't feel much better this morning and now only have one week to recover for Alpe d'Huez - rest rest rest (maybe with a little bit of training - you know me, I can't totally stop).

One little gripe though. As I ran through the finish I got handed a certificate but no medal!!! I think only the first 100 get a medal per category which I think stinks! They cost next to nothing, especially when bought in bulk for a race of this size.

It's always nice to go home with a chunk of metal even though mine goes into a huge draw with literally hundreds of others. So it doesn't bother me really, what does bother me is that running a 10K for a great many runners is a really big deal and for some a massive struggle. They deserve a medal regardless of where they finish. I remember my first few races and how the whole thing seemed wonderfully magical with that medal around my neck. Recently Sid and Seb won their first medals and they squealed with delight (in a manly way of course) when they were presented with them.

Come on organisers don't be tight, charge everyone an extra RM2 if that's what it really takes or save costs elsewhere but NOT on a coveted finishing memento! It's the last 100 you should be encouraging to keep it up; the first 100 are hooked already.

Lunch with Sir Bobby Charlton

As it turned out I'd got a little carried away with my own imagination and the understanding of the lunch that we'd been invited to by the British Consulate's Trade and Investment Department. I thought it was going to be Sir Alex, Sir Bobby and the Team.

As it turned out the Guest of Honour was Sir Bobby Charlton - Alex and the boys were elsewhere. Not to worry the whole attraction and highlight for me was to meet the great man himself - and that we did.

Sir Bobby was incredibly patience in signing autographs, shirts having his photo taken etc... What a total gentleman of the first degree he was.

He gave a wonderful speech over lunch, reminiscing of his early days when he joined Manchester Untied at the age of 16. He talked about the city, touched upon the tragedy of the Munich air disaster and most of all exuded his passion and love for Manchester and and Manchester Untied Football Team. A very articulate chap.

Truly wonderful.

Ian, Olly and I then went and made up for the lack of beers over lunch by downing a few sitting outside the Twin Towers and putting the world to rights.

A big thank you to Olly for the invitation, it was greatly appreciated and thoroughly enjoyed.



Friday, July 17, 2009

Lunch with Alex, Bobby and the Boys tomorrow

Pity its not with Jackie Charlton - a good old Leeds United boy. Actually there is lots of animosity between Leeds and Man United apparently, so I'd better keep my allegiances to myself tomorrow - at least until I've quaffed a couple of bottles of champagne!

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Alpe d'Huez Long Distance Triathlon

KL Marathon - DONE. PD Triathlons - DONE. Now time to think about Alpe d'Huez Long Distance Triathlon in less than two weeks eeeeek!

No only that, can you believe we arrive in Paris early in the morning on the 26th - the finish day of the Tour de France and I didn't even make the connection - aggggghhhhh! What an idiot. Now I have to see if we can get a later train so we can watch the riders do the circuits of the city centre - and see Lance pick up NUMBER 8 of course.

Latest update: Too much logistical nightmare to change trains car hire etc... so I'm going to have to put this one down to experience and miss the finish in Paris. Anyway I need to focus on the freezing frigid waters of the swim, the nightmare climbs of the Alps and the dizzying, lung busting altitude run of the race.

Alternatively I'll do what I usually do and DENY any of it is actually happening until the gun goes - there I feel better already.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Port Dickson Olympic Distance Triathlon 2009

(Photos courtesy of Ivie and ??? let me know who else, I feel it's important to recognise people's efforts in supporting us with photos - it makes such a big difference and helps to keep the wonderful memories alive - a big thank you).

So I got home at a reasonable (ish) time and straight to bed. Sadly I didn't get a great night's sleep, my injured foot was playing up and a lot off searing pain in my ankle. Anti-inflammatory/painkillers eventually helped me sleep, albeit fitfully. (I should have iced it but I was too tired and I couldn't be bothered - silly boy).

At about 2:30am Sid paid us a visit and that was the end of the sacred pastime they call sleep. The alarm was set for 5:15am but I gave up pretending at 5:00 and dragged myself into the bathroom.

Got sorted, kissed Shilpa and Sid and then to the coffee machine (via a kiss for Seb too of course). A quick buzz back down the highway and I was at transition and all set up with loads of time to spare. Black Beauty was looking particularly gorgeous in the morning dawn light.

I was in the third wave to go and despite yesterday's efforts I was determined to give this race everything. The gun went and it was back into the washing machine. Biggish swell again which made things slow going - and then a first, I got my goggles totally knocked off (I've been kicked before and felt like my eyeball was going to be sucked out but not this). I struggled blindly for a few metres and then stopped and fitted the right lens. I'm pretty blind in my left eye so I didn't bother with that until the saltwater nearly burnt the eyeball out, so I stopped again and all was right with the world again.


As with the Sprint I was determined to "compete" in the swim rather than my usual "complete". I can't express to you how enthused I was when I went around the turnaround buoy next to Iwata-San. Sure he must have been having a bad day but things felt good for me too.

















I came out 10metres behind Iwata-San and made a point of running past just so he knew I was there. A super fast transition and that's the last I expected to see of him. However, great credit to him, I looked behind after about 5k and some sharp accelerations and small hills and he was right on my tail - also the pack was getting bigger and bigger. Things didn't look good, I needed to blow it apart otherwise the pack was going to get too big to shake.

The rolling hills started getting bigger and longer and I kept driving the pace as hard as I could without blowing up. I came across Yip and Meng and encouraged them to stay with me but sadly they couldn't hang on for long. Soon after that I looked behind and there was no one there - WOW, perhaps my legs weren't that cooked after all.

A few minutes later my "PD Strategy" kicked in. The relay guys start in the waves behind us in PD so I always try to put a half decent swim together (half decent for me I mean) so that I'm on the bike before all the good teams have gone. As they started 10 minutes behind today it was only now that the first relay guy came through. He was strong and it took all my resolve to stay with him up the last part of a long hilly drag.

After that it was great, we shared the work and picked up a couple of other strong guys along the way culminating in an Aussie guy in my age group at about 30k. Coming down to the last few Ks we picked up another big group of the earlier waves and headed towards T2 with them. Not wanting to get caught up with them I went to the front and entered T2 first. Another swift transition and I was out ahead of the Aussie guy.

I was very quickly into my stride, fast cadence, short strides, forefoot striking, I felt remarkably good. I heard the guy behind closing me down but I knew it must be hurting him - it was all a mind game now - the pain was to be acknowledged later but not now, not now, NOT NOW, send it on a little holiday, concentrate, fast turnover, light steps, smile, take the shortest straightest line, I'm here because I chose to be, the more I hurt the faster I'll go - the better I'll do - the more satisfaction I'll feel - ahhhhh yes, I remember more pain equals more satisfaction...And so the thoughts travelled through my mind...I hadn't even hit the main road (500metres) at this point by the way.

Then I heard the Aussie guy make some sort of painful grunt...the sort of noise you hear people make on the bike when they know you've got them beat on the big hill...Maybe I imagine such things but anyway I was pretty confident that provided I kept this pace all would be good. I went past one other guy in my age-group and was pretty happy with the progress. As we'd hit the main road Iwata-San hadn't come in on the bike yet so I assumed he was at least 2-3 minutes down. The big question now was where was my other big Nemesis - Ip Chin Nang from Macau. He's an amazing swimmer, solid biker but has been known to blow up on the run (but then haven't we all?).

Not long before the turnaround I saw him, he was looking strong - I didn't realise how strong until I saw the results today, he actually ran a 39:58, a full 1min1sec faster than me!!!!! Anyway, back to the race, I knew it was going to be a big ask and would likely come down to the last few hundred metres but I was determined to have a shot of beating him.








At the turnaround I picked up the pace and was surprised to see the Aussie guy less than a minute behind. Blimey I thought, I need to pick up the pace regardless, soon after I saw Iwata-San coming along at his usual express-train pace. I was still feeling very strong so I was pretty sure I'd hold them off but where was Ip? The course was running out, I saw Wong At Thiam just in front of me (not bad, he started 5 minutes ahead in the 2nd wave).




Alas, it was not to be, Ip had already finished 3mins and 6secs ahead of me (IF ONLY I COULD SWIM). I have to say though, Ip Chin Nang is a deserved winner, he said a couple of years ago that he needed to work on his run and WOW, has he ever!!! Talk is cheap, actions (and training) win races. Great job buddy, huge respect to you.







Never mind, second place and the body responded amazingly especially considering I'd pushed the Sprint yesterday and the KL Marathon 2 weeks before. I have no complaints, the weather helped enormously though I may add, it was bordering on cold for us wimpy tropical types - very unlike Malaysia. Hopefully I can now hold it together long enough for Alpe d'Huez and then the body can have a proper rest for a couple of weeks.

Oh yeah, Shilpa reminded me, I won another pair of Crocs and RM700 (US$200). I kept the Crocs but as usual shared the money between Shilpa, the boys and the maids. Looks like everyone was happy.

Miss Amazing - Chrissie Wellington smashes World Record

(Courtesy of Slowtwitch.com)

ROTH, Germany -- Superwoman Chrissie Wellington didn’t just break it, she obliterated the one-year-old women's Iron-distance world record today with a, 8:31:29 finish. That winning time knocked off 13 minutes 49 seconds of the world-best mark Yvonne Van Vlerken set here last year.

Wellington, 32, the two-time defending Ironman World Champion, is now undefeated at eight Iron-distance races, holds the Ironman Hawaii run record with a 2:57 clocking, and now holds the women's all time Iron-distance bike split with a 4:40:28 clocking. She smashed the 4:45:59 mark set by the USA's Krista Whelan in 1992 at Roth and also topping the 4:47 mark for official World Triathlon Corporation Ironman bikes set by Tyler Stewart at Ironman Florida in 2007.

Almost as shocking was the second place performance by Australia's Rebekah Keat, who also trashed the old world best mark with an 8:39:24 time that included a marathon that took time away from Wellington - 2:55:26 to 2:57:32. Keat' continued her hot 2009 which includes wins at the Challenge France half Ironman and the Challenge Kraichgau half. All of this was done under the guidance of Keat's new coach Brett Sutton, who guided Wellington to remarkable success in her first two years in the sport. This year Wellington switched coaches to 5-time ITU World Champion Simon Lessing.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Port Dickson Sprint Distance Triathlon 2009

(Photos courtesy of Ivie, Steve, Karoline, Paul Lee to name but a few)

Shilpa is studying for her MBA and simply didn't have time to come to the events this year so I left her hard at work and the boys at home - very sad about that but France is but two short weeks away.

I was very organised for a change and was at registration almost 2 hours before the race (3 hours as it turned out). There was a little hic-cup with registration for today's Sprint and tomorrow's Olympic Distance races but Samantha looked after me beautifully as always. Thanks Sam, much appreciated.

Put the bike together, got asked if I was a "Pro" by one guy and then told by another that I couldn't possibly ride with a disc as there was a strong cross-wind. I thought that made discs even faster! But he wouldn't have it, so I apologised as I only had that option today. He gave me a knowing look as if he thought I was doomed - oh well ay!

Loaded the bike on the racks near the exit, said hi to so many people - I love these races and this sport, everyone is so friendly and such a cool bunch from the fastest pro to the newest newbie - awesome.

Went to Mr. Chan's briefing - I can't describe it, you have to be at one - bring along plenty of time, lots of patience and a good sense of humour - they are classic and huge fun if you don't have your serious head on.

The news was that the race for the Super Sprint (Under 13s) would start at 4pm and the Sprint at 4:40pm, it later transpired that the police asked for the Sprint delayed to 5pm for safety reasons. So a full hour after we were supposed to start, off we went.

The tide was out so it was a long run to the water and then a bit of a washing machine - partly due to the flailing athletes and partly due to the large swell sweeping in. All went well and for once I actually felt reasonably competitive in the swim (the upper end of rubbish but it's all about one's perspective).








As it happened I came out alongside my main rival, Nemesis and friend Iwata-San. He usually kicks my butt in the swim so I was pretty surprised but sensed a potential upset today.










The Sprint in PD is always 750m rather than shorter distance in places like A'Formosa. Therefore I spend most of the bike trying to catch Iwata - and failing - I've never won PD Sprint race so I was pretty enthused today.










Out of transition first and nailed the bike for all I was worth to put as much time on him as possible and mop up any better swimmers in our age-group ahead (there were many).











A very strong bike on my own had me out on the run as Iwata was coming off the main road. I was now running scared (a good way to run I might add - you don't slow down until you fall down). I passed the lst two or three guys in our category before half way so now I knew where I was and what I had to do.









Round the turnaround at the yacht club and time to pick up the pace some more. There was Iwata, maybe 2 minutes or so down on me. No way was I going to let him catch me - still running scared I finished in a time of 1hr10mins. 1st place and nothing left for tomorrow (or so I thought) but it was worth it. No longer a bridesmaid.

I grabbed a shower and went to the carbo-loading and prize-giving before driving back to Kajang for a well earned sleep in my own bed.

No prize-money this year as budgets have been cut but I got something better - a Milo hamper. The boys were ecstatic! I also got a lovely glass trophy and a nice new pair of Crocs. My weekend was complete although there was the small matter of the Olympic Distance race tomorrow.

Footnote (pun intended): - I started off the KL Marathon with a dodgy right foot after Xterra, I survived but it was still painful and very weak before the race - I seem to have gotten away with it again but only a good night's sleep and plenty of ice will see if I really did.

Monday, July 13, 2009

Photographer captures moment a bubble bursts

(Courtesy of Sonja and the Telehraph)

A breathtaking picture of the exact moment when a bubble is burst has been captured with a slow-motion camera.

Amazing picture shows the exact moment a bubble is burst Photo: BARCROFT MEDIA The photograph, taken by Richard Heeks, of Exeter, shows a soap bubble with one half still perfectly formed while the other shatters in a distinctive pattern of streaks.

"There's something so satisfying about picturing something in your head and then finally seeing it on the camera," he said.

"It would be great to record the sound of a bubble popping, slow it down and play it over slow-motion footage of a bubble bursting.

"The ripping action reminds me of a storm front passing across land. It must be like a wave."

His wife Sarah provided the finger to burst the bubbles as Mr Heeks used a 1/500th of a second shutter speed on a day when weather conditions were "absolutely perfect".

"There was absolutely no wind, the bubbles just hung in the air," he sad.

Mr Heeks was at pains to stress that the photographs were genuine and not something he had created with the help of computer technology.

"This is a real photo of a soap bubble bursting. I've made slight edits to raise colour and light, but this is just to add some punch. This is not a Photoshop creation," he said.

He took a series of pictures showing Mrs Heeks' finger as it first makes contact and the progress of the 'burst' as it engulfs the bubble.

Friday, July 10, 2009

Rollerskating babies - I ain't kiddin

(Courtesy of 5Great, Evian and YouTube)

Thursday, July 09, 2009

New Giant TT - Radical or what!

(Courtesy of Crooked_Knee and Road Bike Action Magazine - Click Here for the full article and photos)

Radical yes but I'm a bike snob so the fact that it's a Giant means that it doesn't do it for me.

So what do you need to know about the Giant Trinity Advanced SL 0?
1. It will be available this September.
2. It won't be cheap. If you think all the hours of design, wind tunnel testing and manufacturing a complicated bike like this don't add up to much, you are wrong, wrong, wrong. Asking price will be $14,000.
3. As Giant's good looking PR honch Andrew Juskaitis reminded us, all of Giant's performance bikes are sold at various levels. The new Trinity too will be available at a variety of prices and with an assortment of different component selections.
4. Perhaps most important of all, the bike you can buy in September will be better than the bike the Pros are riding today. As the saying goes (and has been proven time& time again) racing improved the breed and so what problems they have uncured and solutions they have found with the team bikes have been incorporated to the production bikes.
5. By touting both a Tri/TT variable seat angle adjustment (74, 76 and 78 degrees), it would seem that Giant is sticking to the one bike/two use model for the new bike. Whether or not they will profit, or pay a price for that decision, is something the aero aficionados out there will have to decide.
6. The frame will be available in three sizes and Giant is making eight differently sized stem assemblies available for optimum sizing.

Wednesday, July 08, 2009

I want I want...

(Courtesy of Slowtwitch.com)

Brand vs Bland

I took great delight in seeing that the Tour d'France Team Time Trial was taken apart last night by the boys riding their TREK TTX SSL's.











I also had a wry smile on my face when I noted that the Cervelo Team could only manage an eigth position - yes that is a long way down isn't it?!!! Do we blame the riders or the bikes?

Of course "everyone" (almost everyone anyway) seem to ride Cervelo's these days in Malayia. I'm considered a bit of an eccentric riding my whacky non-conformist Trek. I'm starting to ask myself "Could so many people be so wrong?".

I have surely raised the heckles of all the Cervelo riders in Malaysia and no doubt now have very few friends left. Never mind, you can all whoop my a$$ on Saturday and Sunday in PD (although I will have an unfair advantage and I call her Black Beauty, my beautiful Trek TTX)

What's is that?

(Courtesy of Mohan - thanks Mohan, it brought a tear to my eye)

Watch this and then give your Mum and Dad a call (and hope that at some point in the future your kids watch it too).

video

LANCE OMG! Can this be 8 on the way?

Sorry I just couldn't resist saying something about the King of the TdF. Yet again on stage three he found himself at the right place, at the right time AGAIN. Funny how "lucky" people at the top of their game are! Or as Thomas Jefferson said "I'm a great believer in luck, and I find the harder I work the more I have of it".

He is now in second place by 2/10th of a second - I just keep chuckling to myself. Alberto Contador must be wondering what on earth has happened. Having said that Lance continues to pay him huge tributes so hopefully there's plenty of genuine mutual respect in the team.

I suspect that Contador might well come through to win but it really is looking like the Astana Road Show at the moment.

I don't ever remember the tour being so exciting so early - it's only Day 4 of a three week race.

Tuesday, July 07, 2009

Look out, it's the Smile Police

(Courtesy of the Telegraph) - [I had to change the picture - the last one kept freaking me out]

Japanese railway workers face enforced "smile scans" every morning in a bid to boost their customer services, it has been claimed.

More than 500 staff at Keihin Electric Express Railway are expected to be subjected to daily face scans by "smile police" bosses.

The "smile scan" software, developed by the Japanese company Omron, produces a sweeping analysis of a smile based on facial characteristics, from lip curves and eye movements to wrinkles.

After scanning a face, the device produces a rating between zero to 100 depending on the estimated value of the fulfilled potential of a person's biggest smile.

For those with a below-par grin, one of an array of smile-boosting messages will op up on the computer screen ranging from "you still look too serious" to "lift up your mouth corners", according to the Mainichi Daily News.

A growing number of service industries are reportedly using the new Omron Smile Scan system for "smile training" among its staff.

Workers at Keihin Electric Express Railway will receive a print out of their daily smile which they will be expected to keep with then throughout the day to inspire them to smile at all times, the report added.

Sam conquers Marmotte

From Sam our roving/cycling reporter from France.

Hi Simon/Aaron/Emma

If you ever want a cycling challenge, come and have a go at the Marmotte. With 7000 cyclists crammed into the narrow streets of Bourg D’Oisains at 7.30am, it made for a spectacular start.

As I crossed the starting line, I could not image what lay ahead in what turned out to be a long day in the saddle. I finished in 10hr and 14min and I felt well chuffed with myself even though the final climb up to Alpe D’Huez proved to be really difficult.

Before reaching the final climb, I had to first conquer three other legendary climbs of Col du Glandon, Col du Telegraph and the really difficult Col du Galibier. While the 5000m of vertical climbing proved to be a huge challenge, the descending proved to be a challenge too.

As soon as I went over the top of the cols, there was some very scary and dangerous hair-pin bends to navigate. I opted for the safety first approach and took it very easy while some riders flew past me at a vast speed even after seeing casualties on the side of the road being treated by ambulance staff. I even saw one guy on a stretcher in a neck brace just about to be put into an ambulance.

The last decent off the Galibier and back to the base of the Alpe D’Huez climb was a staggering 60km and my shoulders were screaming after all the braking. Once I was back at the start of the Alpe D’Huez climb, I refueled and I felt reasonably ok. But I soon discovered I was beginning to bonk! The worse part of the Alpe D’Huez climb is the fist 6 hair-pin bends since they are steep and sustained. I managed a few of these early bends without stopping but then I found my breathing becoming erratic and my lower back giving me a lot of pain. So I had to stop to stretch my back and to regulate my breathing before continuing up the hill.

I repeated this stop and stretch approach a further three times before I finally made it to the top and to the finish line where Carmen was patiently waiting. What a relief it was to get off the bike and to duck into the comfort of the feed tent albeit I could not face any food which was a shame since the pasta looked really good.

After a nice hot shower, Carmen and I retreated to a bar where I supped a lovely grand bier and we watched some of the tail-enders approach the finish. Boy did that beer taste good. I checked my result today and I discovered that I was in the Silver category (as opposed to the Gold and the Bronze) based on my finish time which is not too bad. To give you an idea, the top riders did the course in 6h 30min! I can only imagine that these riders are mountain goats in disguise!

In summary, the Marmotte is an absolute “must do” event for cycling enthusiasts and especially for those that get a kick from ticking off the famous climbs featured in the Tour de France. It is a similar format to the L’Etape du Tour and having done both events, I reckon the Marmotte is the more challenging. Stick it onto your ‘to do’ list!

Sam

PS My Cervelo R3 SL proved to be the dog’s bollocks. I was very happy with how it coped with the ascents and descents and the SRAM worked a treat too. So no complaints except for the old fart riding it!


Simon says: - So Sam has now got most (if not all) of the course for the Alpe d'Huez Long Distance Triathlon under his belt and dialled in. It sounds terrifying and we have a half marathon to run at altitude straight afterwards - can I get my money back please - can I just go and watch, drink wine and eat cheese & baguettes?

Yet again Sam you inspire me and remain firmly in the "Gold" category of my sporting heroes.

Monday, July 06, 2009

He rode 344k and then fought off muggers!

Check this out, a hero or what?!!!!!

Click on the link - impossibleisnull.blogspot.com

105 Marathons in a year!!!!!

(Courtesy of our own Mohan the Great)

This guy makes Mohan'2 21 marathons in a year look doable (see article here) and makes the rest of us look positively lazy. Read, enjoy, be amazed...

Click on article to enlarge

Click on article to enlarge

Nike Lunarglide+, quick update

I wore them in the office on Friday afternoon and my feet got very hot very quickly. The upper seems very close knit but the hot feeling may have just been the office.

I received as many positive comments as negative about the black and orange colour scheme. Personally I like it. Some may argue that Nike lost it's way as a serious shoe maker for runners but none can argue they've ever lost their way as the leader of sports fashion.

Personally I really like the colour scheme, very bold and very funky. Put on your black running shorts and singlet and you're decked out and looking the part.

I missed my Sunday run (body not responding after Saturday's hard bike/run brick). However, I used them for a reasonable brick run on Saturday. Just 4.4k but hilly and a sub 5min per k pace.

My ride was hard and fast (115k averaging 37.5kph) so I was pretty shot by the run and I was a little worried that the Lunarglides were going to be unstable as they have a very "mushy" feel when you first wear them (not an unpleasant feeling I might add). As it happens they were extremely stable and very gentle on my feet.

I started off thinking I was going to be disappointed but at the end I was very happy and quite impressed. Early days yet and NO I won't blog after every run but since this was the first one I thought I'd write something.

I'll crack out a few kilometres before the next update - I'll no doubt have a good idea about them by then.

Fishing theme (no idea why)

A blonde wanted to go ice fishing, so after getting all of the right tools, she headed toward the nearest frozen lake. After getting comfy on her stool she started to cut a circular hole in the ice.

Then from the heavens a voice boomed, ''THERE ARE NO FISH UNDER THE ICE.''

Startled, the blonde moved further down the ice, poured a thermos of hot chocolate and started to cut yet another hole in the ice. The voice boomed, ''THERE ARE NO FISH UNDER THE ICE.''

This time quite scared, the blonde moved to the far end of the ice. Then she started another hole and once again the voice said, ''THERE ARE NO FISH UNDER THE ICE.''

The very scared blonde raised her head and said, ''Is that you, Lord?'' The voice answered, ''NO. IT IS THE MANAGER OF THE ICE RINK.''

Monday morning buddhist quotes

(Courtesy of Dave Clenton)

Give a man a fish and he will eat for a day. Teach him how to fish, and he will sit in a boat and drink beer all day.

If you lend someone £20 and never see that person again, it was probably well worth it.

If you tell the truth, you don't have to remember anything.

Some days you are the bug; some days you are the windshield.

Friday, July 03, 2009

NIKE LUNARGLIDE +

I got my Lunarglide+ when I arrived in the office this morning. Nike clearly promoting them and passed them to a number of people in Malaysia to test them and comment on-line in their various blogs and social networking forums.

The challenge now is to put these shoes through rigourous testing (not a problem, they'll have several hundred kilometres under their belt within a few weeks). Then I have to be objective about what I find and write honestly about them, whether good or bad.

At the end of the day all runners are different so what I might consider good, others may find bad and vice-versa, therefore I will give my opinion but ultimately I suggest that if you're interested in trying these shoes then read multiple reviews and take it from there.





First impressions - I like!!! Very different looking shoe, orange and black - quite funky! They smell great although that will soon change for sure.

I was just about to buy a new pair of Asics Nimbus for my long, hard and hilly runs. The Nike Lunarglide+ will now be the formal replacement - I might go for a spin in them today but for sure I'll be doing a swiftish 21k on Sunday.

Watch this space.