Friday, June 30, 2006

Tip of The Day

Ride your bike, clean and with a smile on your face. Don't use PEDs.

Thursday, June 29, 2006

Tip of The Day

Wear ear-plugs next time you time trial. Works wonders for mental clarity and focus.

Wednesday, June 28, 2006

Interesting reads

Usually I'm not a big reader during the summer months. I find it difficult to sit down and concentrate enough on a book when the weather is so beautiful. As for the type of books I read, I'm not very picky as long as it's not a fiction book. As a matter of fact, I can't remember the last fiction book I actually finished... So anyways, the brunt of my reading is done in the post/pre-season, but I've managed to read a few interesting books this summer and would like to highlight a couple:

"Before the Dawn" by Nicholas Wade. Mr. Wade is a science-reporter for the New York Times and has previously worked for Nature and Science. His newest book tackles the history of our ancestors seen in light of the new DNA-technology that has become available in recent years. It's a very fascinating and well-written book on a, for me, very interesting topic. Maybe one of the most interesting things in the book deals with the exodus out of Africa of the first modern humans approx. 50,000 years ago.

Recent DNA-technology shows us that this exodus might only have been of a small group of 150 humans. This small group populated the rest of the world and slowly exterminated Homo Neanderthales and Homo Erectus, our ancestral cousins.

I'm currently reading "The Blue Bear" by Lynn Schooler. Which, in short, I would highly recommend for anyone interested in wildlife, photography and "outdoor activities" in general.

Interesting reads

Usually I'm not a big reader during the summer months. I find it difficult to sit down and concentrate enough on a book when the weather is so beautiful. As for the type of books I read, I'm not very picky as long as it's not a fiction book. As a matter of fact, I can't remember the last fiction book I actually finished... So anyways, the brunt of my reading is done in the post/pre-season, but I've managed to read a few interesting books this summer and would like to highlight a couple:

"Before the Dawn" by Nicholas Wade. Mr. Wade is a science-reporter for the New York Times and has previously worked for Nature and Science. His newest book tackles the history of our ancestors seen in light of the new DNA-technology that has become available in recent years. It's a very fascinating and well-written book on a, for me, very interesting topic. Maybe one of the most interesting things in the book deals with the exodus out of Africa of the first modern humans approx. 50,000 years ago.

Recent DNA-technology shows us that this exodus might only have been of a small group of 150 humans. This small group populated the rest of the world and slowly exterminated Homo Neanderthales and Homo Erectus, our ancestral cousins.

I'm currently reading "The Blue Bear" by Lynn Schooler. Which, in short, I would highly recommend for anyone interested in wildlife, photography and "outdoor activities" in general.

Tuesday, June 27, 2006

Sir Ken Robinson and my own ramblings

To follow up on my previous entry with regards to TED; Check out their TedTalks section and watch Sir Ken Robinson speak about our current education system. Very entertaining and more importantly it will most likely get you thinking. It got the little wheels in my brain spinning.

I'm going to borrow some of his ideas to further something I've written about extensively before on this blog; the place of physical education in our school system. Or should I say the lack of physical education?

As the distinguished Robinson points out - we are currently treating education as training for our brain and even more specifically the left side of our brain. That's it. A very narrow system really, isn't it?

What if we spent just a little bit of the time available trying to teach the youth about proper lifestyle choice? What foods to eat, the importance of activity (exercise) etc. And I'm not talking about the half a semester of "health education" that a student gets in Junior High School. No, this should be a required class for the 12 years of elementary education.

We have completely neglected our bodies and treat them like transport for our brains. The result is all too visible around us today.

Also, why do we put so many limits for children with regards to their choice of careers? I don't know how many times I've heard it's not possible to ride a bike for a living. And I know a lot of other riders that have been told the same thing. I'm sure the same goes for artists, musicians and pretty much everyone else that isn't planning on becoming a science graduate.

What happened to reaching for goals and being creative?

A collection of great minds

If you have some spare minutes, which you probably do if you are reading this; check out www.ted.com

TED (Technology, Entertainment and Design) is really a collection of industry leaders and thinkers and they host a yearly forum to share ideas in California. Great stuff.

Saturday, June 24, 2006

Armstrong

Unless you've been living under a rock, you have at least caught glimpse of the allegations against 7-time Tour de France winner, Lance Armstrong. The latest is the Andreu's sworn testimony suggesting that Armstrong admitted to using PEDs prior to 1996.

For the sake of the sport, I really hope Armstrong was clean. Cycling simply cannot take another major blow to it's image. Not to mention sponsors getting cold feet due to the obvious problems of being associated with a cheating rider and a "dirty" sport. All across the world, the "man in the street" thinks of Lance Armstrong when they think of professional cycling. We need him to be clean...

It's a pity that many people think that all pro cyclists have to use PEDs to stay competitive or even to do their job. I can see how people may be lead into believing this, but it's really as far from the truth as you can possibly get. I'm not saying the sport is 100% clean, no sport is and cycling is certainly not perfect.

My point is that every day there are professional cyclists all over the world that go about their job of training and racing - without using banned substances. The vast majority of competitors are clean. Period.

Cycling's challenge will be to translate this fact into something the public can see and understand. It's one thing for me to say this as an "insider", it's a completely different, and much more difficult, task to paint this picture accurately to the fans.

One effective measure would be to increase testing and increase penalties for testing positive. The feuding between the UCI and WADA/IOC has to stop as well, it does nothing but disrupt and undermines the procedures that are in place to test and punish, if required.

Saturday, June 10, 2006

Nudity, Mt. Everest and irate, overweight 40 year olds wearing lycra

Rant alert! If you are looking for substance or anything remotely making sense - stop reading this.

Can someone please explain to me what is wrong with overweight, middle-aged lycra-wearing riders that act more primadonna-like than Mario Cipollini? I watched an amateur criterium and I can't believe the attitude and foul language of some of these riders! I mean, it even makes a spring pro event in Belgium look like a church event. WTF!!?? These riders act like they are Gods gift to cycling (a rather overweight gift usually). What happened to having fun? enjoying yourself and not to mention, acting with honor and integrity? Anyone else have the same experience? Or am I over-reacting?

On to something completely different and much more amusing - apparently a Sherpa got carried away after reaching the top of Mt. Everest. The climbing guide stripped down and strutted his stuff on top of the world for several minutes. If nothing else, you gotta give it to the guy - he has balls... Or had, at least... At over 29,000 feet above sea level there gotta be some serious shrinkage.

For more info - http://today.reuters.com/news/newsarticle.aspx?type=oddlyEnoughNews&storyid=2006-05-27T153248Z_01_B615044_RTRUKOC_0_US-NEPAL-EVEREST.xml&src=

Friday, June 09, 2006

yah, I know

Favorite recreational activity - watching "Little Britain". Another superb BBC production. Highly recommended.

My element

Wearing a skin-suit, funny looking headwear all while walking like a penguin with the accompanying sounds-effects, makes me feel uncomfortable. Even in a cycling crazy and success starved country, people going about their daily business look at me like I'm from Mars and without a doubt, completely nuts. And it makes me uncomfortable.

But, as soon as I mount my time-machine, hear the sweet sound of the cleats clicking into the pedals, feel the force of the pedals - I'm in my element. 100% comfortable. Everything that made me feel "out of place" without the bike, now becomes necessary and perfectly normal. It feels as though everything is working in a beautiful symbiotic relationship. Complete harmony. I'm no longer a klutzy, funny looking dude. I need the bike like fish needs water.

Anyways, rating put aside - The season so far is going well. We are doing well and meeting our goals. The team has had some great results and personally I'm happy. My home away from home is in a great part of Europe with lots and lots of pro riders packed into a small area. It's great to be able to ride and train with some of the best ProTour riders on a daily basis. Nothing encourages growth quite like that.