Monday, November 30, 2009

Courage to be out there

Simon says: - I took this quote from the blog of Bryan Payne - Training Payne. Well said Bryan (both Bryan and I have had our struggles with personal largeness so we know firsthand the pain, mental and physical, that one needs to go through to transform oneself.)

Additionally, I must say that I add to the list of respect all the "newbies", those people that may not be overweight but are no less self conscious or intimidated but still get out there and give it a shot.

I've quoted this before but it's worth repeating - as John "The Penguin" Bingham says "It's not the miracle that I finished but that I had the courage to start"

"Whenever I run or drive by a fat person running, I cheer them on in my mind. I have have a lot of respect for them. They are overweight or out right fat, they know they are, they are trying to lose weight and they have the guts to do it in public were they may feel self conscious and others may ridicule them. I have more respect and admiration for these people than the ultra fit, who I also admire, just not as much. I find seeing a fat person trying to get in shape and lose weight is very motivating. " - By Bryan Payne.

Ultra Run 100k - Bukit Aman

Check this out - Yip ran our normal Sunday morning 21k FIVE TIMES (100k) non-stop - Yip you are a ultra distance god. Full write up here.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

France vs Ireland Replay Announced

(Courtesy of Nick Flynn)

FIFA have granted their permission for a replay of the last half of the extra time section of Wednesday night’s game to take place in Stade de France.

Ireland will be playing right to left ...

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Black Beauty gets an upgrade

Coming to a particular dusky dark Trek TTX very soon. Ooo! I think I'm in love.

12 of the finest (unintentional) double-entendres ever aired on British TV and radio:

(Courtesy of Dave Spence's Mum)

1. Ted Walsh - Horse Racing Commentator - 'This is really a lovely horse. I once rode her mother.'

2. New Zealand Rugby Commentator - 'Andrew Mehrtens loves it when Daryl Gibson comes inside of him.'

3. Pat Glenn, weightlifting commentator - 'And this is Gregoriava from Bulgaria. I saw her snatch this morning and it was amazing!'

4. Harry Carpenter at the Oxford-Cambridge boat race 1977 - 'Ah, isn't that nice. The wife of the Cambridge President is kissing the Cox of the Oxford crew.'

5. US PGA Commentator - 'One of the reasons Arnie (Arnold Palmer) is playing so well is that, before each tee shot, his wife takes out his balls and kisses them. Oh my god!! What have I just said??'

6. Carenza Lewis about finding food in the Middle Ages on 'Time Team Live' said: 'You'd eat beaver if you could get it.'

7. A female news anchor who, the day after it was supposed to have snowed and didn't, turned to the weatherman and asked, 'So Bob, where's that eight inches you promised me last night?' Not only did HE have to leave the set, but half the crew did too, because they were laughing so hard!

8. Steve Ryder covering the US Masters: 'Ballesteros felt much better today after a 69 yesterday.'

9. Clair Frisby talking about a jumbo hot dog on 'Look North' said: 'There's nothing like a big hot sausage inside you on a cold night like this. '

10 Mike Hallett discussing missed snooker shots on 'Sky Sports': 'Stephen Hendry jumps on Steve Davis's misses every chance he gets.'

11. Michael Buerk on watching Philippa Forrester cuddle up to a male astronomer for warmth during BBC1's UK eclipse coverage remarked: 'They seem cold out there. They're rubbing each other and he's only come in his shorts.'

12. Ken Brown commentating on golfer Nick Faldo and his caddie Fanny Sunneson lining-up shots at the Scottish Open: 'Some weeks Nick likes to use Fanny; other weeks he prefers to do it by himself.'

Monday, November 23, 2009

Jingle Bells - Indian style

(Courtesy of YouTube and Brybrarobry)

Very funny - Happy Christmas to one and all.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Iwata Takatoshi - A LEGEND

It is with great sadness that I write this post, my great rival and friend Iwata-san has been transferred back to Japan from Malaysia by his company. Iwata-san was slated to leave a few years ago and as he consistently beat me in every run, triathlon and duathlon I can honestly say (and I'm ashamed to say) for a long time I didn't think I was goingto miss him.

As the years rolled by I resigned myself to the fact that he wasn't ever going to go so I'd better improve (or stop sulking at least). As it happened I did improve and the effort that it took was in no small part due to the inspiration I took from Iwata-san.

Gradually race after race we'd meet on the final run where he'd play all sorts of games with me and then stride away to beat me in the last few hundred metres. I worked on the basis that I would make him hurt a little more each race and at some point surely I must have a breakthrough. That time eventually came and never was there a more friendly and humble competitor in the way he congratulated me.

Our ding dong battles have continued, he has an edge over me in the runs, I have the edge on the bike and we're similar in the swim. A very exciting rivalry has built up but never a cross word or a sour face just a tremendous mutual respect. As you all may know, I hate losing but being beaten by Iwata-san is always a pleasure, partly because I know it'll make me stronger next time but mainly because he never lords it, he always makes a big and very genuine effort to congratulate his vanquished foes. If he isn't on the top step of the podium then he is gracious in defeat (but you know that you've also just made him stronger and more determined for the next race).

My last race against him was at Powerman 2009 but as he has now turned 45 he was in the next age-group up and I am pleased to say that we both won our respective age-groups which was a fitting and poetic end to our journey I think.

Of course he hasn't retired but just moved to Japan, he clearly loves Malaysia and is leaving reluctantly. He'll be back for as many races as he can and is vowing to race Ironman Malaysia 2011. No doubt he'll make some other "guest" appearances in the meantime so I'd better not rest on my laurels!

Shilpa and I attended his farewell dinner a little while ago (one of many farewell dinners it seems - he's been here a long time and has many many friends to say goodbye to). Sam & Carmen too.

Don Khor (another of Iwata-san's great rivals was there.

Not to forget Japanese Sam and Paparazzi Tey to record the evening for prosperity.

Iwata-san - RESPECT!

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Best DUI Ever

(Courtesy of Brybrarobry)

Our little fishes

(Photos courtesy of Mummy)

Sid and Seb are like little fishes now. No fear and can swim amazingly for 3 year olds. No problems diving to the bottom and picking up stones, jumping, diving (sort of). They're learning freestyle, breaststroke and backstroke at the moment and no doubt they'll be doing butterfly before too long too. Scary, they'll be whipping my butt soon - can't wait, I'm so proud of them. (CLICK ON PHOTOS TO ENLARGE).

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Sid and Seb - the aviators

A while ago we took the boys to the Military Air Museum at the old airport along Jalan Sungei Besi. We had great fun and took some cool snaps.

Don't look Mummy!

Sid really doesn't like anything wet or icky!

Two kite surfers jump over pier

(Courtesy of Chantal and the BBC)

Two kite surfers from West Sussex took advantage of strong winds on the south coast to realise an ambition to jump over Worthing pier.

Jake Scrace, 25, and Lewis Crathern, 24, had been planning Monday morning's jump for three years but had to wait for perfect weather conditions.

They took off from Goring to the west of Worthing in gusts of wind that were more than 40mph.

Mr Scrace described the build up to the jump as "terrifying".

Carpenter Mr Scrace, who makes kite boards, and professional kite surfer Mr Crathern are both from Worthing.

Between them they have 16 years' experience in the sport.

The pair said the jump was quite hazardous and should not be attempted by amateurs.

"It was probably the most terrifying thing I've ever built up to," said Mr Scrace.

"We were practising down the road and we were pretty confident we were going to do it but as soon as we got nearer the pier it was quite hard."

Mr Crathern said the jump was "epic".

"It was everything I've lived for - amazing," he said.

Friday, November 13, 2009

Powerman 2009 - Awesome Picture

(Photos courtesy of Tey)

This is one of my all-time favourite multi-sport photos. It was taken at Powerman Malaysia 2009 recently. The two subjects sprinting for the finish are Juliana Ali and Ngae Koh Hieng. Juliana valiantly completed this race carrying an injury and prior to going to have surgery done on her knee - brave or what? Ngae as you will have seen in posts earlier in the year was diagnosed with a brain tumour shortly after finishing Ironman Malaysia. He had it removed, slowly rehabilitated and now look at him.

Have you ever seen two people enjoying themselves so much? I think is says a lot about them and a lot about the sport. BRAVO!

Mr. Yee - 72 but he still nails Hawaii Ironman

(Courtesy of the Star-Online)

I am an Ironman, and an Ironman does not quit.

Veteran triathlete Yee Sze Mun said negative thoughts clouded his mind when he felt the discomfort at the beginning of the cycling leg at the Ironman World Championships in Kona, Hawaii, recently.

But the plucky 72-year-old pulled through when he remembered the solution suggested by Mark Allen and Brant Secunda in their book entitled Fit Soul, Fit Body in his attempt to earn the stature as an Ironman for the 14th time.

Jubilant: Yee celebrating his triumph after completing the gruelling Ironman distance at the recent world meet.

“When the mind is in the stage of confusion, fear and filled with negative thoughts, the remedy is ‘Be quiet. Quiet the mind.’ And I followed the silence to erase the demoralising reasoning battling in my mind,” he said.

And he finished the gruelling race comprising a 3.8km swim, a 180km cycling course and a 42km run in more than 16 hours.

Emerging from the water slower than expected by 10 minutes, Yee described the conservative start in completing the opening swimming leg of 3.8km in 1’51:37 as the warm-up to the race.

In his sixth appearance at the world meet, Yee was prepared to face the unforgiving gusty condition on the terrifying cycling course.

However, his misery started as soon as he mounted on the saddle and the instant pain on both hips impeded him to push harder on the pedals.

At the 10km mark after a steep climb, Yee’s agony was compounded with the unexpected muscle strain on his inner left thigh.

“From my past experience, I have always suffered and expected a slow split in this part of the race. But, it was the first time that I felt insecure about not finishing the cycling segment in my 16th attempt over the Ironman distance. When dropping out became a possible outcome, my inner voice reminded me that I am Ironman and an Ironman does not quit. If I throw in the towel, I will not only be shattering my own dream, my family and friends will also be dejected with the failure,” he added.

Although Yee picked up the pace after the 55km mark as the pain subsided, the next obstacle emerged again negotiating the legendary Mumuku wind as he entered the 16km ascending route to the half-way turnaround mark.

“The sudden blast signalled the torturous wind tunnel. The headwind was so strong on the way up. Despite having the wind assistance on the descend, the Mumuku is renowned for claiming many victims by blowing them away with the unpredictable crosswind to spice up the challenge. Having experienced the unfortunate fate in the past, I was braking constantly to stay in control of the wheels. It was a nightmare with the wind bashing me around and causing my bicycle to zig-zag on several occasion,” Yee said.

Coming on the flat ground, the Goddess of Fire Madam Pele turns on the heat for the endurance athletes approaching the end of the 180km cycle.
Yee said his wife, Wong Yoke Sum, daughter Joyce, son Rodney and daughter-in-law Ivi Ng also went through a long day worrying about him encountering mishaps on the cycling course.

“They followed my progress via the live tracker on the Internet to ensure that I was still in the race,” he added.

And Yee moved into the final transition with an 8’19:32 effort on the cycling leg ahead of the cut-off time combining first two disciplines by 15 minutes.

Following the 42km marathon run, Yee completed the tough course in 16’32:41 to pick up a finisher medal as an immortal gift for his son’s wedding the following day.
“I was fortunate that the strain on the hips and thigh did not come back to haunt me in the segment that counts. I knew that I was in control with 1’05 left on the clock to complete the last four kilometres before the 17th hour cut-off,” said Yee.

“My spirit lifted on the final stretch. I felt energised and gave a final push to the finish line visualising the images of the finisher medal and my family waiting for me.

“Even before I got to the starting line, my daughter was so confident that I will make it and tailor-made a personalised finisher T-shirt for me. I am glad that I did not let them down and share the satisfaction of accomplishing a dream.

“I hope that my son will share my legacy with his offspring that his father in his golden age went through a long exhausting journey of more than 16 hours to earn him a meaningful present on the eve of his wedding,” said Yee, who finished 17th in a field of 26 starters in the men’s 70 to 74 years age-group.

Fresh Air Vision

Simon Says: - I received an email recently from Sara at The Fresh Air Fund, which is an organistion that helps underprivilegeded kids. I have blogged about this organisation before - take a look at their latest initiative: -


This past summer, OneSight reached out to The Fresh Air Fund and helped over 3,000 NYC children with a traveling optical clinic.

OneSight was able to screen all Fresh Air campers and if necessary, provide free glasses to anyone who needed them. I thought that this would be an issue you and the readers of Tritwins would care about. I was hoping you could post a mention to help this worthy cause. I've created a social media microsite which explains everything:

By supporting The Fresh Air Fund we are able to partner with organizations like OneSight to provide free eye exams and eyewear to the children who need them each year. 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,


Thursday, November 12, 2009

Powerman 2009

(Photos courtesy of Tey, Ivie and Mike Williams)

So this was one of my three target races this year. (Others being KL Marathon and Miri Tri [yet to come]).

I'd really really trained hard for this race averaging 20 hrs a week for the last 10 weeks. The main focus was trying to get the volume in while maintaining quality and not getting injured or over trained. Add to this a principle requirement of success was to lose a lot of weight (especially after I'd put on so much in France). So, a difficult balancing act, not to mention trying to do the right thing by Shilpa and the boys.

The latter point was dealt with by training a lot early in the morning while they still slept and during lunchtimes. As I wasn't doing Ironman distances, Saturday rides were only around 120K and Sunday runs seldom more than 25k.

The weight? Some people train and lose weight - I don't!!! I have to be stupendously careful with what I eat even with the volume of training that I do. I admit that I do enjoy a few glasses of wine and a few beers each week which are calories that I could do without but come on, you've got to live a little. Anyway, I focused and come race day I was 72kg and had lost 9kg since France.

Although everyone said I would get injured and was over training I religiously followed a training plan and although I was dead tired a lot of the time it worked a treat.

Finally, illness? I don't seem to get ill anymore which is weird because the last 3 years or so I've gotten ill almost on a weekly basis with chest and head colds, strange fevers, flu like symptoms etc... Well I discovered a tiny device that fixed all that - a nose clip for swimming! It may make me look really geeky but it works. I suspect that I have an allergy to chlorine and certainly pool water so this device massively reduces the flow of water across the mucous membrane in my nasal passages and BINGO - no more illness.

To the race: -

Saturday started with a celebration, Shilpa's birthday. She had no interest in coming to Lumut (not really a great holiday destination) and as I'd already been overseas on business for the week and then leaving for Lumut on her birthday, I was treading on very thin ice.

So Saturday morning began with me leaping out of bed and cooking American Banana Pancakes (Shilpa's Favourite) as a bit of a peace offering. We followed that with her birthday cake (what else for breakfast?) and then late in the morning I headed to Lumut with a not too angry Shilpa (In fact just to clarify, she was totally cool about it and when you consider the circumstances she had every right not to be).

In fact it got better as later that day she picked up the present I'd bought for her which was a painting that she had fallen in love with - (me too actually) so now we're trying to find the perfect place to hang it.

I arrived in Lumut in good time, got my chip and race kit - incredibly efficient I must say - well done Quick Release.

Met a few people but needed to race to the hotel and get the bike sorted. I'd somehow managed to snap my handlebars in half on the turbo just before I left for my business trip and I'd expoxyed and glass fibred them up late on Friday night. I had to test them and ensure they weren't going to fall apart in the race.

Sam, Carmen and Emma joined me for a 20 minute ride (the handlebars were perfect) followed by a 2k run to get the systems fired up. Then it was off for a very early dinner to the local Italian with Sam and Carmen. Highly recommended. Sam then made me have an ice-cream - a very easy job of persuasion though. Then to bed by 8:30.

Up at 5am and not a bad night's sleep I'm pleased to say. A Powerbar a "sit-down" (or two) and four coffee's later I was feeling on top of the world. As this was a target race I'd stopped drinking coffee (or any caffeine) over a week before the race so that it would have a bigger impact on race day (if you're not doing this then you're leaving time on the course - I keep tellin ya!!!!).

I was strangely well organised so the bike was in transition and set up quickly and I was then into a solid warm up (highly necessary for such a race and a quick getaway).

The gun went and we were off on the first 11k run leg. There is an Elite category girl from the Philippines who runs really well and is a similar pace to me - I paced off her to start with and then started reeling in the people in front of me. Amazingly I passed Cecil fairly early on but he was only there for the fun of it rather than serious racing.

All was going well for the first 7k or so and I was pacing off the leading Elite women when all of a sudden a bee flew into my eye and stung me on the lid. I'm proud to say I didn't break my stride, no way was a little, albeit excruciatingly painful, little thing like this going to stop me. I do have to say that I did scream like a 10 year old girl though - hey ho you can't have everything! I thought I'd got the barb and poison sack out and carried on but believing that at some point soon the pain would become unbearable, my eye would drop out and that would be it - a big fat DNF (Did Not Finish).

As it happened, too many other things were in pain and I soon forgot about the bee sting. Good things were happening too, I passed Danny Feng then the Elite women and then my main rival Razani (never had I been close enough to call him a "rival" before). Additionally I could also see Iwata-san - never have I seen him at the end of a run before, he's too fast a runner and is usually long gone.

Run 1 time - 41mins 6secs

A good transition and I was onto the bike.

T1 time - 48secs

Not much to say about the bike really, other than I had a good one. I kept track of Razani at every turnaround and was pulling away from him at about a minute every half a lap, so that was good. Danny caught me just after halfway which brought a huge smile to my face. No need to concentrate now, I just sat back about 10m from him and let him pace me. Danny is an awesome cyclist so it was a pleasure to be in this position.

Then shock horror!!!! A western guy with number 330 (my age-group number range) came storming past both of us. Up until now I had thought the race was as good as mine assuming I could keep the second run together - oh well, it was after halfway so I'd have a good shot of catching him on the second run.

Going over the huge bridge I dug a bit deeper and passed Danny. He told me later that he'd done a lot to catch me and should have paced off the back of me; as it was he was pretty spent. I set about reducing the gap with Mr. 330. I reeled him in a little in the closing stages but to be honest this guy was awesome on the bike.

Bike time - 1hr 42mins 39secs

Another good transition and it was out on the dreaded second run (10k) this time.

T2 time - 60secs

I was into my stride pretty quickly and was passing the few racing snakes that were still ahead of me. Then I saw Mr. 330 (looking back a lot I was pleased to see). I caught him at about three k but knew I was starting to fade. So I straightened my back, kept my head solid and cruised past him as if I was as fresh as a daisy - my mind was going into meltdown - the effort of deceit was immense.

I just kept going and kept going, I didn't want to show any sign of weakness but trust me by now my body was as weak as mush and my brain wasn't far behind. I was also concerned that Razani could still pull off a rapid second run and I didn't want Iwata-san beating me in our last race before he leaves for Japan. So there you have it, I was a mess but I had a magic ingredient FEAR. Running scared is always a good motivator for me, especially as I hate to lose.

I came round the stadium for my second 5k loop and merged with Dave Spence who was just starting his second run. Dave is an inspiration to me, a real competitor who gets better and better literally every week. His most endearing trait is his infectious cheerfulness but not today! By that I mean he was as cheerful as ever but as we ran side by side with him chatting away (and I'm convinced pushing the pace), joking and laughing my mental resilience was crumbling and my head was ready to implode.

I think he sensed my steely antisocial aura and eventually let me go but from thereon in I was barely holding it together. It was super hot, no ice or isotonic drinks on the course. I poured water over my head at drink stations and wished I hadn't as it felt like someone had just heated on the stove. Normally I'm reasonably successful at sending my pain away on a little holiday at least for stretches at a time but today I'd lost that skill. Somehow or other I kept the pace up until the last drinks station and gave myself permission to look behind for the first time. Blimey, all that pain and anguish and no-one within sight of me! I should have felt euphoric, I was a little relieved but I just felt horrible - get me to the finish.

I arrived at the finishing chute with the marshals desperately trying to stop me entering as they wanted to send me round for another lap (ironic when you consider the first time around they tried to force me down the finishing chute), I think in the end though they saw the look in my eyes and let me past for either fear or pity.

Run 2 time - 46mins 15secs

Over the finish line and I collapsed at the first bit of shade I could find (It didn't matter that people were standing there, they weren't by the time I hit the floor). About twenty bottles of water later I had a smile on my face and a gentle glow of satisfaction (or was it heat stroke) that I'd won my first (age-group) Powerman. As it turns out I beat a few of the Elites and was first age-grouper overall. No bad for an old geezer!

(Mr. 330 turned out to be in the age-group below me anyway so that was all a bit of a false alarm).

Overall time 3hrs 11mins 49secs


Dave Spence - Fourth in his age-group - I stated when he first started riding with us (in running shoes I may add) that he was going to be good! It's not going to be long before he is regularly on the podium.

Chris Williams - fourth in the Sprint race and only seconds behind a podium spot. Not bad in itself but when you consider there were no age-groups in the Sprint, it was an open race for 16 year olds and above - CHRIS IS ONLY 14. This guy is gonna be good - you read it here first.

Ong Siok Bee - Second in the women's 30-39 category - awesome result Bee, well done.

Carmen (Kona Carmen) Leong - First in 40-44

Commiserations to Sam who was having a stormer of a race only to be sabotaged by a numpty of a policeman who waved a car out of a side road straight into Sam's path. Sam ended up with a broken collarbone and is having a plate inserted tomorrow. Our thoughts will be with you Sam. In answer to the question that is in the forefront of every one's mind I'm sure - "YES, his bike is OK". Phew!

Huge congratulations to everyone that took part. Thanks to all the supporters and in particularly to the photographers - Tey, Ivie, Victor, Jason to name just a few.

Great race, I've almost recovered, struggling a bit with post race blues but no time for that, got to tune up for Miri now.

POSTSCRIPT - When I got back to the hotel for a shower it was only then that I remembered the bee sting. I thought I'd have a look and see if there was any swelling. As it turned out I was rather shocked to see the barb still deeply penetrating the skin with the poison sack still attached - oh lordy!

Check it out the next day!!!! Ouch!

And it got considerably bigger than this by the time I got to the clinic.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

End Fox Hunting Now...

(Courtesy of David Clenton)

Please, help finally end FOX hunting.


Please support this..

We need your support.

We are desperate to eradicate this kind of nuisance.


Thank you.

Signed,Peter Cotton-tail

Wing Suit Base Jumping

(Courtesy of Kalam Pie)

Simon says: - This is absolute madness, MADNESS I TELL YOU. Of course I want to do it but honestly don't have the balls. Amazing though, if you never watch another video you MUST watch this.

Monday, November 09, 2009

Sit or Stand? (Bike)

(Courtesy of and

Simon says: - From time to time I've debated this point on long (and usually hilly bike rides with Sam). We've never really concluded much and depending on where we're at with our training or what our mindset is that year we'll focus on spinning up the hills or powering up them or a bit of both but never really knowing what is the sensible and most efficient thing to do. This article certainly helps in the great debate.

Varying our positions on the bike is required in order to adapt to different terrain or riding situations, or simply to give our body a break from being stuck in the same position and stressing the same muscles. While we know that standing is great for giving us more power, what are the effects on metabolic demand and efficiency?

Boy, You've Got to Carry That Weight...

When we think of weight-bearing exercises, the first and most obvious one is running. That's because, in addition to propelling yourself forward, a lot of energy is required simply to keep yourself upright and stabilize yourself.

Added to that is the impact force from landing on your feet each stride. It's the combination of the two that makes for a much higher heart rate, metabolic rate and overall stress when running compared to cycling. It also helps to explain why Lance felt the NY Marathon was tougher than any ride he did during his cycling career.

Cycling is mostly a non-weight bearing activity, and the bicycle is a highly efficient machine especially because it removes the impact forces and also because the cycling position cradles our body and minimizes the need to support our own weight for the large part.

However, there are times where we have to support a good deal of our body weight, and that's when we're standing. Whether it's on the flats, the hills or in a sprint, we are no longer supporting weight on the saddle. We must rely on our muscles more to keep ourselves upright.

Tradeoffs in Efficiency?

Of course, this is why standing typically costs more energy, but it's also the leveraging of more of your body weight over the pedals, along with the recruitment of additional muscles, that produces the higher power outputs possible when standing as opposed to sitting.

This is one of the main reasons why we're generally taught to keep the standing to a minimum except when you need extra power, such as initiating an acceleration (e.g., sprint, breakaway) or when you need the extra power while climbing. Wind resistance is also higher while standing due to the larger surface area you're exposing.

I have written extensively on efficiency in various forms over the past couple of years, and that's because it is the single biggest pathway to increasing the power output you can lay out on the road. To refresh your memory, check out the article on Lance's improvements in pedaling efficiency from 1993 through his first Tour victory. So this begs the question: while standing may provide more power and also cost more energy, is there a difference in the efficiency (gross efficiency defined as power output: energy consumption) between standing and sitting?

To the Books

You know where I'm heading with this--straight to the library. Doing so is always such a humbling experience, because I almost always come across one of those "why the heck didn't I think of doing this?" experiments that have me kicking myself.

This time around, it's a French research group from Montpellier that's making me black and blue from the kicking (1). The experiment itself is ridiculously simple: have fit cyclists ride for six minutes at 75 precent VO2max in the following conditions:
- flat (velodrome) in a seated position (done twice).
- 5.3 percent gradient hill in a seated position (done twice).
- 5.3 percent gradient hill in a standing position.
- Seated position consisted of riding in the drops. Standing position was done with the hands on the hoods.

Subjects also did a 30-second all-out sprint in three conditions over the same day:
- on a stationary indoor bike (Wingate test, a standard anaerobic power test).
- seated on a slightly ascending road.
- standing on a slightly ascending road.

Thanks to the improvements in technology, the researchers were no longer constrained to the lab and could take this study out onto "real" terrain and on the subjects' own bikes, increasing the applicability of the study. Namely, each subject's bike was equipped with a SRM "Pro" crankset to determine power output. To measure energy consumption, subjects carried a small and highly portable Cosmed metabolic cart, weighing about one kg or less.

Data analysis consisted of calculating "gross efficiency" (power compared to energy consumption). 100 percent would mean that every bit of energy was converted from chemical to mechanical energy and producing forward motion.

This is pretty much an impossibility, and humans are typically 20 to 25 percent efficient, with the remainder of the energy converted to heat energy. Also calculated was "economy," or the amount of power produced per each liter of oxygen you breathed in. Typical values are about four to five kJ of mechanical energy per liter of oxygen.

Just the Facts

Very simple and nicely designed study. What were the results?

Subjects were eight highly-trained cyclists, including two professionals riding 20,000 to 30,000 km/y. the others were elite junior or national-level cyclists.

As expected, power was not different across the different positions, because subjects were required to keep a similar 75 percent VO2max workload. Wattage was about 290 W for the six min, not easy!

Also as expected, heart rate was about eight bpm higher when standing compared to seated uphill. Ventilation was also higher, though no differences were seen in oxygen consumption. Cadence was similar at just under 60 rpm in both conditions.

Most importantly to answering our question, no differences were found in either gross efficiency (~22.5 percent) or economy (4.7 kJ of power per L of oxygen).

In the 30s tests, maximum and mean power were much higher in the standing than seated positions (mean power of ~820 and 650 W, respectively), despite similar cadences and blood lactate values.


For the large part, the findings of this study are not major surprises, nor were there any surprises intended to begin with. The ability to produce higher power when sprinting and standing is fairly evident, as are the higher heart rates when climbing and standing. The main novelty of the study comes in the analysis of efficiency, and the interesting nugget of information is that there were no differences in efficiency or economy while standing or seated.

This means that, while standing is a bigger stress on our aerobic and cardiovascular system, it does not necessarily mean a decrease in efficiency itself. So standing is not going to disproportionately cost more energy to perform, when you factor in the greater power you are generating. Applying this information to the road, you are NOT "wasting" energy by standing.

The caveat, however, is that practice is required to build good form and technique while standing, and likely especially so when you start becoming tired and fatigued. I remember during my graduate days at Simon Fraser University, I would often practice my technique by standing up the entire five km of the eight percent hill up to campus.

Another caveat is that all of the subjects in the study were young, lean and light, averaging 67 kg. If you're a bigger rider, the efficiency equation might remain tilted in favor of sitting. Regardless, practice remains a vital component of good technique, so keep mixing up your workouts and remember that technique and efficiency remains the key to maximizing cycling performance!

How to Think Like the Pros (Running)

Simon Says: - Having just completed Powerman Malaysia and suffered badly on the second run, I saw this article and it struck a chord instantly. Normally I'm very good at packing up the negative thoughts and pain and "sending them off on a little holiday". In Powerman yesterday I failed miserably at this very useful technique. I wish I'd read this article before the race to reinforce the little tricks that one can use to nail that mare of a second run.

(Courtesy of

Olympians and elite runners share their secrets to staying motivated and running strong when things get tough.

Carrie Tollefson had a secret weapon when she ran her PR in the 5,000 meters (3.1 miles) in 2004, and it had nothing to do with extra track workouts or fancy gear. The secret weapon: A permanent marker. On one hand, Tollefson, who ran the 1,500 in the 2004 Olympics, wrote the splits she hoped to attain each kilometer. On the other, she wrote "kick" to remind herself to do just that as she approached the finish.

Tollefson, who finished that race at Stanford University in 15:04, is one of many elite women runners who use tactics like visualization and cue words to boost performance. Sports psychologists say amateur runners and weekend warriors can benefit from them too.

"The mind and the body are completely connected," says sports psychologist Alison Arnold, founder of Head Games Sports and coach to many Olympic athletes. "Every thought a runner has affects her body."

Want to beat the mental demons and improve your running? Run like the pros with these tips.

Find Your Mantra

"Kick" is one of several words and phrases Tollefson repeats to herself when she wants to pick up the pace. She also likes "focused" and "get after it," the slogan for a kids' running camp she hosts in St. Paul, Minnesota. Olympian and marathoner Kara Goucher says the word "fighter" reminds her "to stay in the race, and be tenacious."

Repeating a motivational word or phrase during a tough run can squelch negative thoughts and fuel the body's performance, says sports psychology consultant and marathoner Kay Porter.

"Think, 'This is good for me. I'm getting faster. I'm building my strength and my speed,' " says Porter. "Sometimes, you can boil it down to one word: 'Strong.' 'Powerful.' 'Upright.' "

Porter suggests the following exercise to find a word or phrase that works for you:

Close your eyes, and imagine how you felt at the end of your best race or workout. Think of a word that represents that state of mind, such as proud or tough. Visualize your next race goal, and repeat that word. Then, use the word or phrase the next time you need a mid-workout boost.

Visualize Success

Porter says during her fastest marathon, she relied on a host of bizarre images to keep her going, from a hand pushing her from behind to light flowing into sore, tight muscles.

Amy Yoder Begley, a 2008 Olympian in the 10,000 meters and 2009 U.S. 15K National Champion, says when negative thoughts surface during a race, she wards them off by imagining "squishing them up and putting them in a box, then putting the box away." [Simon says: - similar to my favourite, I pack their bags drive them to the airport and send them away on a little holiday. Works for me anyway (sometimes)].

Porter says visualization techniques like those can transport runners out of a painful present and remind them of their motivation to race or undertake a hard workout in the first place.

"Runners--especially beginners--may find it helpful to start by remembering the hard workouts they've done leading up to this moment," Porter says. "It can also help to remind yourself of how happy and proud you'll be when you're done."

Before a race or workout, Porter suggests visualizing yourself during the tough parts--a killer hill on your regular running route or the last two miles of a 10K. She says it's important to visualize yourself from the inside out, as if you're actually experiencing the run.

"Imagine yourself feeling strong and powerful, knowing that you're up for the challenge," Porter says.

Katie McGregor, a former University of Michigan NCAA cross country champion, says when times get tough, she visualizes "all the people who wish they could be running right now, but can't due to injury."

Maintaining "an attitude of gratitude" can help, recommends Porter. She also suggests talking to your body as if "it's a separate person," promising it a massage or a long bath after the run. Then, she says, follow through on the promise.

"This is about sending a little thank-you to your body, and letting it know how much you love it," Porter says. "It's so important not to take it for granted that your body is healthy, and that it can run at all."

Distract Yourself

Greg Dale, director of sports psychology and leadership programs for Duke Athletics, says most runners do best developing a plan for how they will tackle a race, then distracting themselves from the race until the event is close.

Yoder Begley says she relies on music for distraction and to help her kick into high gear. She sang Bon Jovi's "It's My Life" to herself during the Olympic Trials in the 10,000 meters in 2008, where she placed third to secure herself a spot on the team.

"I needed to take things into my own hands to make that team, and it seemed pretty fitting at that moment," says Yoder Begley.

McGregor says she relies on a wide variety of musical cues to motivate her, from hip-hop tunes to her alma mater's fight song.

"I listened to a lot of Kanye West during marathon training, and his music was playing at one of the ING New York City Marathon mile markers last fall," McGregor said. "That got me going. It reminded me to keep pushing and enjoy the ride."

At the starting line, no matter how you feel, try smiling and saying, "There's no other place in the world I'd rather be than right here, right now," Dale suggests. "If you're going to race, you need to view it as your reward for the hard work you do, not something to be afraid of or worked up about," Dale says.

Shalane Flanagan, bronze medalist in the 10,000 meters in the 2008 Olympics, worked with Dale while attending the University of North Carolina, where she won national cross country titles in 2002 and 2003. She says she now views races as "an opportunity to perform."

"When something means a lot, there's a tendency for it to be scary," Flanagan says. "But if it didn't mean a lot, it wouldn't be worth it. I try to look at it in a positive light."

Focus on Your Goals

Tollefson says a constant stream of daily affirmations helps keep her focused when she's not on the track.

Computer screens throughout the house display images of upcoming races. Tollefson's husband, Charlie, an architect, even designs artwork to remind Tollefson of her goals, such as a piece of weathered wood with antique house numbers listing American records for the 1,500 and 5,000 meters.

"We have reminders of my goals all over the house," Tollefson says. "If you don't have a goal you're working toward, it's easy to just float through life without really challenging yourself."

Olympic marathoner Deena Kastor also relies on daily positivity to ensure her head is in the right place on race day. She says her favorite motivational tool is a large chalkboard visible throughout the house.

"It always has a positive message on it," Kastor says. "After the Fourth of July, our board donned the words, 'Let every day be worthy of fireworks and celebration!' "

Monday, November 02, 2009

Halloween - Sid & Seb and the Grim Daddy (Reaper)

Shilpa wrote: -

Check out the two "lost" was raining cats n dogs and we were all trick or treating around Country Heights soaking wet......Seb n Sid were super tired - it was way past their bedtime and they really didn’t have a clue what was going on [Simon says, "Nor did Daddy, flippin American influences"] the end, just when we were going to the last house for trick or treat, Sid said...."Mummy, I don’t want to go, I don’t want any more chocolates n sweets...(ha ha ha.....did we EVER say that as kids????)......oh and don't miss the "watermelon pumpkin" - that's our Asian version.

BTW, any guesses what Daddy dressed up as?

The other kids are Izyan, Nina, Alasdair (Ian n Siti's kids) and Sami (Sue's son) - a friend in Country Heights.

Sid and Seb looking totally bemused and dumbfounded by it all.

Check out The Grim Reaper picking his nose, I guess everyone has to do it but come on Mr. Death there's a time and a place.

A pretty scary bunch or what?

The Pumkins are so cute I could eat them...and maybe next year I will...hahahahaha [evil laugh].