Saturday, September 29, 2007
1 Hanka Kupfernagel (Germany) 34.43.8 (43.432 km/h)
2 Kristin Armstrong (United States of America) 0.23.5
3 Christiane Soeder (Austria) 0.41.5
4 Amber Neben (United States of America) 1.02.8
5 Christine Thorburn (United States of America) 1.11.1
6 Priska Doppmann (Switzerland) 1.21.2
7 Jeannie Longo-Ciprelli (France) 1.21.8
8 Emma Pooley (Great Britain) 1.32.6
9 Karin Thürig (Switzerland) 1.35.2
10 Meifang Li (China) 1.37.8
11 Mirjiam Melchers-Van Poppel (Netherlands) 1.49.7
12 Zulfiya Zabirova (Kazakhstan) 1.50.5
13 Susanne Ljungskog (Sweden) 1.55.3
14 Tereza Hurikova (Czech Republic) 1.55.5
Friday, September 28, 2007
As a two-time Ironman Hawaii winner, you have entered a new, higher place in the sport's list of all-time stars. Your new agent Jan Wendt tells me you have made big changes in your sponsorships, management and in media exposure and public acclaim. Can you share some of your new enterprises?
Normann Stadler: With my new Principal Partner, Dresdner Kleinwort (an international investment bank), I am now in the lucky position to have a sponsor that really suits me. We share the same values and attitudes such as unconventional thinking, discipline and strength. Both banking and triathlon is a mind game!
The good thing about my new management is that they take all worries from me, so I can concentrate on what is important for me. The triathlon. The media concept is to create awareness for triathlon 12 months a year. Normally you have two or three big sport events in a season and that's it, you disappear.
IT: Jan also says you have made some big changes in your personal life? Can you tell us about some of them?
NS: Well, I am just a lucky man having the best time of my life right now. I have a great girlfriend, moved into new apartment and feel healthy, fit and strong.
IT: I have heard that you took over the unofficial championship of the the so-called German Loop in San Diego. You know, about 105 miles out to Lake Henshaw and back. Locals tell me you were the first to crack the 24 mph barrier on that loop - rated as a difficult Tour De France stage. How fast have you gone there? And how is it going so far this year?
NS: Well I am sorry, I don't know myself how fast I was on the loop. If I was really the fastest, I can live with it. Things are going well for me, if you leave out Frankfurt. I did some smaller competitions which I won and I think I could expand my capability on the bike while getting better in swimming and running as well.
IT: So you were quite fit going into Frankfurt and then you were surprised by back problems. Sorry to hear that! What caused it and how did you fix things?
NS: It was only bad luck that day. After the swim start I had a slight collision with another swimmer directly after the first buoy. I strained my back and the pain crawled into my leg when I was on the bike later. It got worse with every mile until I had to give up. To cure it, I did nothing special. I just took a small break, did some punctual training and let it heal the natural way with the help of a physical.
IT: Most observers were excited to see your close race with Chris McCormack last year and felt that Ironman Hawaii was one of the best ever. Many of us felt you both ran a perfect race for your own strengths - which made it a classic, a work of art so to speak. How do you see the race now in perspective?
NS: I saw the Ironman Hawaii always as a very fair competition. There are no excuses, only the best and strongest who resists the drift, the heat and the winds can succeed there. The last year showdown was really tough and we both reached our limit.
IT: Many people enjoy the smack talk and think this will continue to be an enjoyable rivalry that has been missing from triathlon. Do you think the Stadler-McCormack-Al-Sultan rivalry is good for the sport?
NS: Yes I think so, as long it stays a fair competition and we still respect each other. Chris, Faris and me we are totally different characters, no doubt. People who like me might not like Faris and the other way around. But just like in any sport, they can pick their favourite athlete and support him
IT: With your two Ironman Hawaii victories, you raised the popularity of triathlon in Germany - if that were possible. Yet the first year there was controversy that cast a shadow - Nina Kraft doping in 2004. You spoke out for integrity in the sport. Are you still worried for the sport's integrity?
NS: I am always worried about that and that's why I subject myself voluntarily to the strictest anti-doping guidelines ever seen (in the sport of triathlon). Together with the sponsor Dresdner Kleinwort and the National Anti Doping Agency (NADA), we worked out a pilot project to combat doping in endurance sport. Each year there will be 10-12 training controls, up to 2 pre-competition testings, post-competition testings and long-term chemical analysis with frozen blood and urine samples that are stored in a database.
IT: Five hours of live coverage of Ironman Hawaii in Germany and wire to wire live coverage of Frankfurt on German television. versus Ironman Live in Hawaii and one month later NBC broadcast in the States. Why is Germany ahead of the USA in its embrace of triathlon?
NS: It seems to become a German thing. In the past years, German athletes had big success in Hawaii. Plus, the Frankfurt European Championships are getting bigger and bigger and we have some great sponsors here. But I am sure the US will catch up soon.
IT: How important was it to get away from Germany and train in San Diego early this year?
NS: Very important of course. It is ritual and a constant part of my training plan for a long time now. And to be honest, the weather in Germany is terribly wet and cold this summer. I needed a break and a bit of the Californian sun. It never rains in Southern California.
IT: Any dark horses do you see contending in Kona?
Tuesday, September 25, 2007
This season Tereza has beaten the best Czech women in the World Cup series. Her 6th place in Offenburg is so far the best, right after 8th place of Kateřina Nash in Spa 2006 and also Kateřina’s 11th overall position was beaten by Tereza’s 9th.
And what did the race in the ski center Pohorje in Maribor look like? After a good start, where Tereza and Katka were both in the top ten position, Tereza had a defect, she had to change her tire and fell behind to 35th place. It was a hard job for her to move her way up to her final 25th position. “I came to Maribor knowing, that this is my last chance this year to fight with the rest of the world and set right my mistakes from the World Championships and other races. I felt really well, I was in 8th position in the start loop at the top of the hill. The start was good, because right after the start was a wide road, so I didn’t have to ride elbow on elbow with anyone else. In the downhill part I passed Katka and kept moving forward, but then I suddenly heard the air coming from my tire, I came down from the downhill section with a totally flat tire. After having the defect it was very hard to find some motivation and continue fighting in the race, I was losing my physical power and also mental motivation, it was very hard and I didn’t feel well at all. I regret losing such a nice number like 7, I mean I rode this race with 007 on my plate, which had to evoke worries in my competitors,” said Tereza about the race.
Monday, September 24, 2007
Why the Big Kahuna Half? It fit all the criteria for a race this time of the year. It was relatively close to home, it's a Half Ironman distance and plus a bunch of my friends were also planning on racing. Matt( my training buddy/mechanic), John(the guy who doesn't eat soy), Hayley( I have been helping her with her training), Roch(husband of Heather Fuhr) and Pete was going to be our cheer squad.My friend Molly was going dog sit the brats while we were in Sana Cruz so we all were set.
Some how I think I got the better deal because while I took a Southwest flight on Friday to San Jose and then a quick ride into Sana Cruz. Everyone else where doing the 6-7hour car ride. I did get up for a 6am Masters swim workout and a run before catching my flight. I got bored on Saturday morning and managed to convince everyone to get out for a run by 7.30am. Actually Pete was trying to locate a Starbucks hours before. Believe it not, it's not that easy in San Cruz. So we headed out for a 30 minute jog and then we went for an easy hour spin on our bikes over the run course. We also picked up our race packets and I was a little surprised I was going to be in one of the last waves. But with a little convincing I was able to change my entry into the elite wave. The rest of the day we got our gear ready and l pretty much rested all afternoon. Which felt very weird after all the training I had been doing over the last few weeks. Maybe my legs would start to feel a little fresher by Sunday fingers crossed.
Dinner was at a little shack called Hong Kong Charlie's which we would never have ventured into if Alex from Sram hadn't had some local knowledge.
Race morning began at 4.30am with some oatmeal and toast while I sipped on MotorTabs and Carbo Pro. I nearly crashed on the way to the race as while we all were riding our expensive race bikes Pete pedaled as fast as he could on a beach cruiser with a basket on the front. We all were laughing so hard you really had to be there.
As I dove into the water for the swim it was almost cold enough to give you a ice cream headache. It is always interesting when you go to a race and all the rumors start circulating about water temperature. So if I was going to guess what the water temp was, maybe around 60. One guy was so far in front at the start of the swim by the time I took my first breathe he was gone and then another guy wanted to swim the widest possible path to the first buoy.
So I was in third swimming all by myself.
I kept thinking to myself what if one of the seals at the Pier decides he wants to come over and play. Everyone was telling me how there are sharks in Sana Cruz but I have never been bitten by shark but I have been by a seal so they scare me more!. I have the scar to prove it... I got the seal of a approval. Ha. Ha. Ha. I kept thinking this as I headed to the beach and ran what seemed like a mile on the hard pavement in bare cold feet to the bike transition.
Once onto the bike I just tried to get into my groove as quickly as possible. Around mile 4 the poor guy just in front of me lost all his water bottles at the railway crossing. He came storming pass me after he went back to get them but his anger must have worn off because just before we hit the turn around I passed him for the last time and didn't see him again. I was expecting the nasty head winds that everyone had told me about but the free ride back home didn't eventuate.
I was feeling stronger as the miles ticked over. I transitioned into the run leg in 4th place and the plan for the run was to go out steady and come home strong. At around mile 5.5 someone at the aid station yelled turn around at the Tiki. As I was running on the winding trail I was thinking boy were is that darn Tiki. It took what seemed like forever to reach it and then there wasn't even anyone to say Hi.:) One guy passed me with 4 miles to go.
The finish was on the beach in pretty deep sand I am sure the race director was thinking let's make them really earn it when they were designing the course. With a 3/4 of a mile run along the sand it sure did. I finished 5th across the line and ended up 7th overall in a time of 4.19.32. Matt rode like a demon with the 5th fastest bike spilt and did a personal best but he lost his bet to me as he finished outside his predicted finish time so he has to cook me breakfast. John finished 12th in his division. Hayley was 4th and just missed the podium a great result for someone doing there second half. Roch pulled up a little hurt but still managed 4th.
Coolest thing about the race were the trophy's I won a Hula statue and age group winners all got Tiki's.
For several million years, humans existed on a diet of animals and vegetation. It was only with the advent of agriculture a mere 10,000 years ago -- a fraction of a second in evolutionary time -- that humans began ingesting large amounts of sugar and starch in the form of grains (and potatoes) into their diets. Indeed, 99.99% of our genes were formed before the advent of agriculture; in biological terms, our bodies are still those of hunter-gatherers.
While the human shift to agriculture produced indisputable gains for man -- modern civilization is based on this epoch -- societies where the transition from a primarily meat/vegetation diet to one high in cereals show a reduced lifespan and stature, increases in infant mortality and infectious disease, and higher nutritional deficiencies.
Contemporary humans have not suddenly evolved mechanisms to incorporate the high carbohydrates from starch- and sugar-rich foods into their diet. In short, we are consuming far too much bread, cereal, pasta, corn (a grain, not a vegetable), rice, potatoes and Little Debbie snack cakes, with very grave consequences to our health. Making matters worse, most of these carbohydrates we consume come in the form of processed food.
That 65% of Americans are overweight, and 27% clinically obese, in a nation addicted to sesame seed buns for that hamburger, with a side of French fries and a Coke, is no coincidence. It is not the fat in the foods we eat but, far more, the excess carbohydrates from our starch- and sugar-loaded diet that is making people fat and unhealthy, and leading to epidemic levels of a host of diseases such as diabetes.
If you are experiencing any of the following symptoms, chances are very good that the excess carbohydrates in your body are, in part or whole, to blame:
• Excess weight
• Fatigue and frequent sleepiness
• Brain fogginess
• Low blood sugar
• High blood pressure
• High triglycerides
We all need a certain amount of carbohydrates, of course, but, through our addiction to grains, potatoes, sweets and other starchy and sugary foods, we are consuming far too many. The body's storage capacity for carbohydrates is quite limited, though, so here's what happens to all the excess: they are converted, via insulin, into fat and stored in the adipose, or fatty, tissue.
Any meal or snack high in carbohydrates generates a rapid rise in blood glucose. To adjust for this rise, the pancreas secretes the hormone insulin into the bloodstream, which lowers the glucose. Insulin is, though, essentially a storage hormone, evolved over those millions of years of humans prior to the agricultural age, to store the excess calories from carbohydrates in the form of fat in case of famine.
Insulin, stimulated by the excess carbohydrates in our overabundant consumption of grains, starches and sweets, is responsible for all those bulging stomachs and fat rolls in thighs and chins.
Even worse, high insulin levels suppress two other important hormones -- glucagons and growth hormones -- that are responsible for burning fat and sugar and promoting muscle development, respectively. So insulin from excess carbohydrates promotes fat, and then wards off the body's ability to lose that fat.
Excess weight and obesity lead to heart disease and a wide variety of other diseases. But the ill effect of grains and sugars does not end there. They suppress the immune system, contributing to allergies, and they are responsible for a host of digestive disorders. They contribute to depression, and their excess consumption is, in fact, associated with many of the chronic diseases in our nation, such as cancer and diabetes.
Friday, September 21, 2007
Inside Triathlon caught up with the dynamic 2005 Hawaii Ironman champion to gauge his mental and physical preparations leading up to the Big Dance this October. Al-Sultan finished third in the 2006 event.
Inside Triathlon : I've talked with Mark Allen, Dave Scott and Greg Welch and they all predicted a top 3 finish, maybe a win for you. I predict a win for you, too, baseed on your strengths and career. Yet unlike 2005 and even 2006 your best and lone major long distance result was a 6th at Frankfurt. What did that result mean in your quest for Hawaii?
Faris Al-Sultan : The preparation this year was different and it absolutely did not work for Ironman Germany. It just means that unless there are certain training sessions before an Ironman in my preparation, it doesn't work.
IT : Are you following in Dave Scott's footsteps - the only race that matters is Hawaii?
FS : Depends on how you personally feel about it and whether the media make it possible to give other races the attention they deserve. But, of course, Kona is the race of the races and my personal favorite as well.
IT: Looking at Frankfurt, you were totally in the hunt after the bike. Then a 2:59 marathon left you 6th where a sub 2:50 marathon - easily within reach of your capabilities - would have put you on the podium. Were you slightly injured, behind on fitness, or taking it a bit easy?
FS : As mentioned above my preparation wasn't working. I was not 100%. I was so afraid after Kona 2006 to train, especially run, too much that I would burnout so I did very little running, although I usually don't run that much. I was in good shape at, but couldn't recover from my preparation races of Kraichgau and Schliersee, in time for Frankfurt.
IT : Last year, you said your race choices were made as defending Hawaii champion - you did several for the good of the sport. What is the basis of your shorter schedule this year?
FS : Yes and I don't have to do the same races every year.
IT : In brief, how did you do at Sparkasse Kraichgau Fesitval Triathlon, the ITU European Cup, the 2 Deutsche Triathlionliga Schliersee, and the Alpen-Challenge Lenzerheide?
FS : I won Kraichgau and was second in Schliersee. I did the Alpen-Challenge spontaneously. One of my friends said that he was going to do it and I was still third after a hard three week training camp at altitude in St. Moritz.
IT : What did those results tell you about your fitness?
FS : That I'm still able to race, but the preparation has to be right.
IT : Are you stronger physically or mentally because you are a little more under the radar this year - not defending Hawaii champion?
FS : I don't know what exactly happens around Normann, but I still feel as though I am on the radar.
IT : Is you personal life any better because you are a little less in the spotlight?
FS : I still get enough attention, so I can't complain about too little responsibilities.
IT: After Ironman Hawaii last year, Chris McCormack recounted a moment when he advised Luke Bell to let you stay out front of the chase pack. The gist of what Macca said was - "Let Faris go..he's a stubborn man, always grinding away in the long gear. If you pass him, he will just pass you back. Save it for the run.' Was that good advice to Luke Bell?
FS : I don't know Luke Bell enough to know his capabilities. You always have to play the cards you get. Cam Brown wouldn't try to win an Ironman on the bike and Jan Sibbersen wouldn't try on the run.
IT : After the race, Normann Stadler said Macca was a cheater - a drafter. The current rules say 7+ meters is legal. Does McCormack ride fair or not?
FS : There are race marshalls, if they say it was fair, it was fair.
IT : What do you think of the critical remarks made by McCormack and Stadler about one another after last year's race? Is that controversy good or bad for the sport?
FS : Of course it's good. It creates attention and emotion. Americans invented a whole sport, wrestling, that's just about show and insults.
IT : Do you feel sympathetic to Stadler for getting in temporary hot water for throwing down the victory lei at the finish line?
FS : I don't understand everything that Normann does and wouldn't do everything that he does.
IT : Who in your mind is Hawaii's greatest champion?
FS : That question pops up from time to time and my answer is still the same. You can't compare. In the early days it was more like an adventure race. Then there was a very small group of very dedicated athletes, and now you have plenty of guys but also tons of inventions and gadgets that make it easier for you to finish. Just imagine everyone carrying his own food and water.
IT: Dave Scott and Mark Allen said you were a true triathlete who has an equally balanced attack of strong swim, bike and run. Has that always been your intention, or is that the way it just worked out for your talents?
FS: I'm just gifted the least probably for swimming but because I trained hard and started at age 15, I managed to balance it out.
IT : Besides the obvious odds on favorites of Normann, Macca and you, who poses strong threat in the men's race? What are the odds of Craig Alexander pulling a Luc Van Lierde debut?
FS: I can't tell. There are superathletes on short and middle distance that are simply unable to go for eight hours and others that have no problem at all. The only time I raced Alexander in 2004 at St. Croix, I wasn't impressed by his cycling, but he has great results. Not a bad base for Kona.
Thursday, September 20, 2007
By: Betsy Delcour
In these days leading up to the 2007 IM World Championships in Kona, Xtri is focusing on Kona contenders and the buzz surrounding the event. First up is Sam McGlone, 2006 Ironman 70.3 World Champion. She's a former Olympian and a force to be reckoned with at the half distance, and her inaugural full distance race will be none other than Kona. Will she surprise us on race day and make it all look easy? Read on for what Sam had to say about it all...
1. Tell us about your childhood – what type of student you were, what sports you were involved in, etc.
I was a geek/jock in high school. I got good grades and trained for sports even though it was cooler to be a slacker. But I had a great group of friends and we had fun too. I did cross-country and rowing in high school, but my first love was horse riding – I had to give it up when horses got too expensive…bikes eat less.
2. How did you get involved in triathlon? What was your first race like?
My first race was the Grimsby triathlon. I was last out of the water and walked my (Canadian Tire mountain) bike up the big hill. I loved the run though and passed a few people and thought, “ hey this is fun!”
3. You started out on the ITU circuit – what was that experience like? How did you transition from doing primarily shorter distance races to half Ironman and the 70.3 circuit?
The ITU races are so tough, it is a great breeding ground for future long course athletes. I think there will be a lot more in the future coming from the ITU circuit. They are very intense races so I started to do the 70.3’s as a way to get some long training in early season and have a more relaxed, fun racing experience. They long course is hard in a different way, but a lot less intense.
4. What was it like competing for Canada in the 2004 Olympics?
Amazing – it was one of the best experiences of my life. I’ll never forget walking into the opening ceremony’s with 80,000 people in the stadium cheering for Canada. It was a realization of a childhood dream.
5. Tell us what it was like winning the inaugural 70.3 World Championship in Clearwater. Do you think that short course athletes have an advantage at this distance over the iron distance athletes who race halves?
It was thrilling to win in Clearwater – I never dreamed one day I would be a world champion. It took a couple of days to sink in. I definately think the short course athletes have the advantage in the 70.3 distance. Most ITU athletes train for 4-5 hours a day anyways so to bring speed to a longer distance is much easier than coming down from an Ironman program.
6. Your first ever Ironman will be this October at the World Championship in Kona. Do you have any butterflies about your first crack at this distance being on such a large stage? What changes have you made to your training to get ready for this distance? Do you think your relative freshness (compared to the other pro’s who might have raced more than one IM already this year) could actually be an advantage for you? And most importantly, have you seen the designs yet for your Zoot race kit yet? :)
Of course I am nervous about making my debut at Hawaii, but also very excited to jump right into the “big one”. I am an all-or-nothing type of person so this is perfect for me. I have changed my training program completely to include lots of riding and long runs (and fewer swims which is nice :)). But I have still maintained a fair bit of intensity. I don’t do a lot of over distance, just try and go faster over the IM distances. I may be fresh in that I have not done an IM yet this year so that could work in my favour , although I did have a short course season so I probably raced more than most of the IM girls this year.
7. So far this year you’ve raced against 2006 IM World Champion Michellie Jones twice, and both times you’ve come out ahead. How do you think these performances (at the half IM distance) will translate to race day in Kona? Do you feel pressure to perform at a certain level at this race due to your credentials, or do you think you’ll be off the radar since it’s your first time?
I like to be under the radar – its always easier to be the dark horse. I think I may be considered a long shot, but no one really takes me as a serious threat since its my first one. I think it could go either way – I may have a great day or I may be flat on my face at 10 miles, who knows. IM is a very different beast then the 70.3.
8. You’re such a force to be reckoned with at international and half iron distances – any chance you might try for another Olympic berth in the future?
Probably not next year but who knows down the road?
9. You’re ending this season with a triumvirate of races: Kona, XTERRA Worlds and the 70.3 Worlds. What are your goals for each race? Have you raced XTERRA before?
I may not do Xterra – learning how to mtn bike while training for my first Kona was maybe a little too ambitious. I think I may just focus on recovering and preparing for Clearwater where I would like to have a crack at defending my title.
10. With so many victories under your belt, what professional accomplishment would you most like to achieve that you haven’t reached yet?
Winning the Hawaii IM of course :)
Monday, September 17, 2007
Natural compounds in Coconut Oil help stimulate your metabolism, optimize your weight, decrease cravings, and support a healthy thyroid gland.
If you live in the United States, you have a 55% chance of being overweight.
And, by now, I'm sure you're aware that obesity affects your quality of life and is linked to many health concerns.
One of the best benefits of coconut oil lies in its ability to help stimulate your metabolism.
Back in the 1940s, farmers found out about this effect by accident when they tried using inexpensive coconut oil to fatten their livestock.
It didn't work!
Instead, coconut oil made the animals lean, active and hungry.
Now, I'm certainly not comparing you to a farm animal ...
However, many animal and human research studies have demonstrated that replacing LCFAs with MCFAs results in both decreased body weight and reduced fat deposition.
So, by changing the fats in your diet from the unsaturated long-chain fatty acids found in vegetable or seed oils to the MCFAs in coconut oil, along with following an exercise plan, you may find yourself gradually losing those unnecessary pounds.
The reasons are simple:
1. The long-chain fats nearly always go to fat storage, while the MCFAs are burned for energy.
2. Since coconut oil helps to stimulate your metabolism, you may burn more calories each day, helping to accelerate weight loss (and probably your activity & energy level)
Coconut oil has often been compared to carbohydrates in its ability to be "burned" for energy. However, since insulin is not involved in the process of digesting the MCFAs in coconut oil, you won't get those carb-related spikes in your blood sugar level. This is especially good news for those of you concerned about maintaining normal blood sugar levels.
In fact, the ability of MCFAs to be easily digested, to help stimulate the metabolism and be turned into energy has entered the sports arena. Several studies have now shown that MCFAs enhance physical or athletic performance.
Additionally, research has demonstrated that, due to its metabolic effect, coconut oil increases the activity of the thyroid. And you've probably heard that a sluggish thyroid is one reason why some people are unable to lose weight, no matter what they do.
Besides weight loss, there are other advantages to boosting your metabolic rate. The healing process accelerates. Cell regeneration increases to replace old cells, and your immune system functions better overall.
Sunday, September 16, 2007
By Timothy Carlson
Young Jarrod Shoemaker ignored the oddsmakers who made 2005 ITU World Number One Hunter Kemper and two-time ITU World Cup winner Andy Potts prohibitive favorites.
As he did at the BG HY-Vee World Cup in June, Shoemaker used a fast 31:37 run to finish first American. Today he was 11th overall, but more important - he outpaced US veteran stars Hunter Kemper (15th) and Andy Potts (18th) to grab the first US Men's Olympic Triathlon team slot by the throat.
While Shoemaker has a 2005 Under 23 ITU World Championship, the 2006 US Elite championship, and two top five finishes in ITU World Cup racing, his 2007 season has been full of ups and downs - including a 56th place finish at the ITU World Championship two weeks ago in Hamburg Germany.
More to the point, Shoemaker scored top American at the prestigious Hy-Vee World Cup in June, and came into Beijing under the radar until he blasted past Matt Reed, Kemper and Potts in the first kilometer of the run.
Shoemaker's 31:37 run, while 56 seconds slower than overall winner Javer Gomez of Spain, was 21 seconds faster than Kemper and 41 seconds faster than Potts.
Shoemaker celebrated his first big victory in New York by hurling at the line. "I kept up that tradition today," said the 25-year-old star, wiping off the remain from his smiling face.
Saturday, September 15, 2007
Less than one year to go until the Beijing Olympics and the new world champion Vanessa Fernandes has made a serious name for herself with a convincing win at today’s Beijing BG Triathlon World Cup with a time of 2 hours and 36 seconds. Aussie Emma Snowsill ran herself into second place, more than a full minute behind while Laura Bennett came third, an exact replica of the podium at the Hamburg BG Triathlon World Championships two weeks ago. As the top American today, Bennett earns an automatic spot on the U.S. Olympic team.
The world number one turned 22 years old yesterday and celebrated it with her third consecutive Beijing world cup title. In a dominating season in which she has won every major title including world championships and European championships, Fernandes has to be considered the gold standard in women’s triathlon as the world’s best continue to push towards next year’s Olympics in Beijing.
Nervous energy was evident from the start of the non-wetsuit swim as half the women dove into the water before the starters horn. The athletes swam hard for about a hundred meters before officials stopped them and directed them back to the pontoon. When they finally did get off to a clean start, it was the American women who surged to the lead. Sara McLarty, Sarah Haskins and Laura Bennett led the women out of the water and into the first transition. Three-time world champion Emma Snowsill and Fernandes were not far behind as the leaders headed out onto the 40-kilometer bike course.
Early in the bike, Snowsill and Fernandes pushed to the front of the lead pack, clearly not afraid to put in the work to break away. The front group that also included German Joelle Franzmann and Pan American Games gold medalist Julie Ertel (formerly Swail) established a 43-second lead after the first lap. But the lead dissolved by the start of the fourth lap as the two packs merged, resulting in 30 women riding within five seconds of each other. With no riders attempting to break away in the final two laps of the bike, this race was going to come down to the 10-kilometer run.
As the came off their bikes, Ricarda Lisk of Germany and Bennett were first out of transition but within seconds, they watched Fernandes explode past them to steal the lead. Bennett tried to stay with her early but after the first lap, the world number one broke away and manufactured a 15-second lead. By the second lap, Fernandes opened up a 42-second gap and it was unlikely any woman, even Snowsill, was going to catch her.
Fernandes crossed the line more than a full minute ahead of Snowsill to win her 18th world cup win and the officially test even for the Olympics. In a riveting race that had many Olympic spots on the line, Debbie Tanner and Samantha Warriner qualified for the New Zealand team as the top two Kiwis today.
2007 Beijing BG Triathlon World Cup – Final Women’s Results:
1st – Vanessa Fernandes (POR) 2:00:36
2nd – Emma Snowsill (AUS) 2:01:51
3rd – Laura Bennett (USA) 2:02:06
4th – Debbie Tanner (NZL) 2:02:10
5th – Anja Dittmer (GER) 2:02:43
6th – Samantha Warriner (NZL) 2:02:44
7th – Nicole Spirig (SUI) 2:02:45
8th – Emma Moffatt (AUS) 2:02:54
9th – Elizabeth May (LUX) 2:03:09
10th – Felicity Abram (AUS) 2:03:16
Friday, September 14, 2007
So you’re on the road - maybe away on business or partaking in the great American road trip - when your stomach starts growling. There isn’t fresh, healthy food in sight. The only place to stop for the next 100 miles is the upcoming gas station. And we all know the range of quality fare (spare me) your average petrol station offers. In this video Mark will guide us through making sensible food choices when your only option is the dreaded convenience store.
This video is the first in a series of videos we will bringing to all of our readers from Mark’s Daily Apple. Check back regularly to view new video log posts to get advice and encouragement from Mark and his host of friends.
This video is the first in a series of videos we will bringing to all of our readers from Mark’s Daily Apple. Check back regularly to view new video log posts to get advice and encouragement from Mark and his host of friends.
Wednesday, September 12, 2007
Cardiac problems like an abnormal heartbeat are exacerbated by rigorous exercise in a way that can be fatal in athletes, and regular testing for the problem could save lives, doctors at a heart conference said Sunday.
Italy is the only country that mandates heart screening of all its professional athletes, Dr. Domenico Corrado of the University of Padua said at the European Society for Cardiology meeting in Vienna.
Since 1981, Italian authorities have run heart checks on all competing athletes. The incidence of sudden, fatal heart attacks has dropped from four cases per 100,000 to 0.4 cases per 100,000.
Without testing, athletes genetically predisposed to having an irregular heartbeat might not be aware of their condition until it's too late, doctors said. Adrenaline produced during exercise may overstimulate the heart, causing it to essentially short-circuit.
"Sport acts as a trigger," Corrado said in research presented at the meeting.
Corrado said he had no ties to companies involved in screening athletes. The research was funded by the Italian government.
Last week, Antonio Puerta became the latest high-profile soccer player to die while competing.
After the 22-year-old Sevilla midfielder lost consciousness and fell, doctors treated him on the field and he walked off, but then had a heart attack in the locker room and another in the emergency room of a Seville hospital.
He died three days later.
A day after Puerta's death, former Zambia striker Chaswe Nsofwa died minutes after collapsing on the field during a training session with Israeli club Hapoel Beersheba. The 27-year-old Nsofwa was given electric shocks and an external pacemaker but could not be revived by paramedics.
On Aug. 24, 16-year-old Anton Reid of English League One team Walsall died after collapsing on the field.
Because they have been exercising vigorously, many athletes who collapse during competition do not have enough oxygen in their bodies to allow the heart to start pumping again, even if a defibrillator is used to try to restart their heart.
FIFA, world soccer's governing body, deemed the risk of irregular heartbeats to be so great that before last year's World Cup in Berlin, its medical committee demanded that all players undergo heart scans. Following the recent deaths, FIFA said it was considering expanding health checks.
"Athletes may have a silent but important heart disease that's not ... manifest," said Dr. Douglas Zipes, a cardiologist at Indiana University School of Medicine. Though little data exist, Zipes said that a genetic disorder may cause some athletes' hearts to get abnormally big when they train.
Corrado estimated that the cost of Italy's heart screening program is about $82 per athlete. Other countries are not convinced that screening is worth the cost, given how few athletes are at risk. Concerns have been raised about the effectiveness of the scan, which relies largely on echocardiograms, a test that shows if the heart is pumping normally.
"As a screening test, it's very imperfect," said Dr. Gordon Tomaselli, chief of cardiology at Johns Hopkins University and spokesman for the American Heart Association. "It can pick up many of the things that cause sudden death, but not all of them."
Doctors said that more awareness about the potential dangers is key to preventing future deaths, though not all athletes with suspicious tests will collapse on the field.
"Coaches should pay more attention to their players' symptoms," Zipes said. "If an athlete is complaining about chest pains or shortness of breath, those are warning signs that should not be ignored."
The weather in Europe this summer has been terrible. This week in Germany was no better with cold temperatures and rain during the middle of the week. But like Denmark and Austria, race day was OK with the sun actually coming out a few times during the day.
This race in the Black Forest has now become a tradition. The Titisee-Neustadt folks love having the athletes in town, the hotels are full, the restaurants are busy and the race is colorful and loud with music and announcers keeping everyone entertained. A bunch of Americans made the trip this year and all loved the trails, the food, the folks and the party. Put this on your list To Do for next year.
Monday, September 10, 2007
I headed off to Germany on Friday night, acutely aware of the pitfalls of arriving at an international race the day before. Namely, the prospect that one’s bike doesn’t make it.
You guessed it, got to Hamburg at 1:30pm but the Griffen Vulcan Rocketship remained at JFK and it didn’t arrive until after the next morning’s event. Remaining calm, a hallmark of my personality (cough), I knew I’d come up with something to ride; cruiser bike or not, I’d be competing. Tim Yount, Team USA’s director, the soon-to-be savior, is well-known in this little circle for handing these things. I finally found him at 6:15pm and a scant three hours later, as I lay in a half-sleep in my hotel room (the situation at hand made an actually sleep hard to come by), the knock on the door signaled something came through. Brandyn Gates, wife of age-grouper Trevor Gates, presented me with her near-perfect fit road bike! Faith, ladies and gentleman. When you’re a poor planner like me, you gotta have faith…
Like the NYC Tri a little while back, I laid in bed rolling and flipping and wrestling with the comforter trying to get some sleep. Jet-lag perhaps. In any case I got about three hours in before eagerly jumping out of bed at 5:15. Rrrrrrace Day!
Getting right to it (I know you, the reader, have got things to do), the f-f-f-freezing cold swim, in water so brown you literally couldn’t see your hand in front of you, took us under three bridges en route to the exit ramp – kinda cool. I got out behind, among others, fellow below-knee amputee Jeff Glasbrenner. I’d caught him at the halfway point and felt his presence the remainder of the ride and so did my best to put as much time on him and the others in my class as possible. While doing so on the second lap I was repeatedly disappointed to see the packs of young men passing me. The 20-24s who started in the wave behind us were on the first lap and blatantly cheating; age-group triathlon is a draft-free sport and these guys were committing the triathlete’s cardinal sin: drafting!
Off the bike and switching legs, with Jeff just a couple spots to my left doing the same, I saw an Austrian BK run by me getting started on the final leg of the race. Now, we’re the first wave and there aren’t a whole lot of us to begin with, so if another guy missing a leg passes me, I’m going to notice, and if he’s in front of me on and out and back course, I’m going to see him at or near the turn-around.
As I comment out loud on this, Jeff tells me he saw the guy blaze by him in one of the packs. This really set off the competitive juices, not to mention drew forth my R-rated vocabulary, and I took off after him. As I hit the 1k mark of the 10k run I was about to overtake him when the leg became loose. A few more of those words later and I was back in the hunt. I caught him a bit past the 2k, but another reboot at 3k rescinded the lead. Same at 5k. At 7k I was far enough ahead that upon the fourth reboot I was back in a step ahead of him. My temper was greatly tested and many bad words came forth with another reboot at 9k. By then the Austrian was off pace and I was back to focusing on the arm guy, a German.
I caught him in the finish chute with 100 meters to go and crossed the line first in my category, fourth overall behind a very fast partially paralyzed arm guy and two visually impaired competitors.
The 13 women who toed the line on Venice Beach Sunday knew the 26 year-old three-time World Champion, Snowsill, was yearning for the top podium spot after she finished runner-up to Portugal's Vanessa Fernandez at last weekend's ITU short-course world championship in Hamburg, Germany.
Dibens continued her solid onslaught at non-drafting races this season exiting the water only seconds behind swim leader, and recently crowned U-23 silver medalist at the ITU world championships, American up-and-comer Jasmine Oeinck. Also in the lead group behind Oeinck were Joanna Zeiger, Rebeccah Wassner, and Amy Marsh.
Onto the 40k-bike down Venice Boulevard, Dibens assumed the role as race leader with Snowsill cycling behind the Brit, biding her time to strike on the run, but perhaps riding to make sure her challenger correctly made the turn onto 6th Street in which numerous athletes missed in the 2006 race and were subsequently disqualified (Snowsill was the only main contender who completed the correct bike course enroute to winning by ten minutes).
Even with Dibens into T2 ahead, Snowsill did not waste time in cutting down the Brit's lead, and took over the race lead for good. By race end, the Aussie superstar broke the tape in 2:00:45 with a comfortable victory margin of two minutes and 48 seconds ahead of runner-up Dibens (2:03:33). Mirinda Carfrae and Wassner battled throughout the morning, running side by side and mowing down competitors throughout the 10k-run, with Carfrae taking the final podium position 21 seconds ahead of Wassner.
With her victory Sunday, Snowsill has given herself a second chance to capture the $60,000 Lifetime Fitness Triathlon Series prize bonus for winning the series and garnering over 39,000 points.
Los Angeles Triathlon Results
Los Angeles, CA
1500m S, 40k B, 10k R
1. Emma Snowsill (AUS) 2:00:45
2. Julie Dibens (GBR) 2:03:33
3. Mirinda Carfrae (AUS) 2:07:17
4. Rebeccah Wassner (USA) 2:07:38
5. Mary Beth Ellis (USA) 2:08:48
6. Jasmine Oeinck (USA) 2:09:53
7. Joanna Zeiger (USA) 2:12:21
8. Pip Taylor (AUS) 2:13:45
9. Amy Marsh (USA) 2:14:27
10. Justine Whipple (USA) 2:14:33
Champion Australian Triathlete Craig Walton has recorded his third consecutive podium finish, after grabbing second place in the 2007 Kaiser Permanente Triathlon in Los Angeles.
Walton who was ranked third overall in the Life Time Fitness series finished just six seconds behind race winner and current points leader Greg Bennett of Australia.
It was a tremendous result for the four time Australian Champion, considering he lost around a minute to the front runners, after he surprisingly went the wrong way during the opening swim leg at Venice Beach. But Walton, looking in awesome form, didn’t let the mishap deter him from the task at hand, he simply got back down to business, and using his trademark power on the bike, turned it on as he charged back up through the field to almost claim an unlikely victory from his good friend Bennett by the end of the race.
“Congratulations to Greg, as he had another good race today, the early mistake I made in the swim was very disappointing, but despite that there are a lot of positives from today’s race. “I felt really strong, in fact it was the best I’ve felt all year, my bike leg was very good and even the run, which is normally my weakest part of the race was much better, as I managed to stay ahead of Greg for a lot of the run, but he got me in the last 500 metres, I just couldn’t quite hang on”.
Today’s second place gives Walton another hefty points haul in the overall Life Time Fitness series standings, keeping him on track for a top three finish with just one race remaining, which will be held in Dallas, USA on October the 14th.
For LA race results and more event information please log on to www.latriathlon.com
Thursday, September 6, 2007
1 Liu Ying (People's Republic Of China) 1.45.43 (19.43 km/h)
2 Chengyuan Ren (People's Republic Of China) 3.31
3 Elisabeth Osl (Austria) 5.20
4 Tereza Hurikova (Czech Republic) 5.50
With the introduction of diets like the Prudent Diet to the blockbuster Pritikin Diet and Susan Powter’s crusade against fat, the 1960s through the 1990s waged an all-out war on fat in the diet. Of course, there were questions:
Why did Mediterranean peoples look so much slimmer and have much lower rates of heart disease and cancer, despite high amounts of fat from fish and olive oil in their diets?
If fat was bad, why had humans relied on fat from nuts, meat, dairy and fish for millennia?
How about that “French paradox”?
The U.S. government was quick to support corn and grain producers and recommend a low-fat diet high in cereals, pasta and bread. During the 80s and 90s, “light” varieties of just about every previously fattening food became available. Fat was derided and to be avoided at all costs. Many folks still avoid fat scrupulously. We’ve been told all fat is bad – but is that true?
Did You Know?
Not only is fat not bad for you (it is glucose – sugar – not fat that stores as excess fat cells), it is necessary to good health. Without fat, our bodies cannot regulate hormones effectively. Without fat, our bodies cannot absorb many vitamins and nutrients. Without fat, our bodies develop infections, poor skin and hair, and our vision suffers. We need fat. Fat is actually a wonderful, dense source of nutrition. The key is to consume “good” fats.
The Science Says:
“Good” fats are long-chain fats such as Omega-3 fats. These fats are found in certain foods, such as olive oil (in small amounts), fish, nuts, avocadoes and grass-fed organic meats. You can even purchase eggs that are now DHA-enhanced. There are three types of Omega 3 fat: DHA, or docosahexanoic acid, EPA, or eicosapentanoic acid, and ALA, or alpha linoleic acid.
What You Can Do:
Of course, you should eat foods containing beneficial fats. The best and most efficient fat is DHA, which is found in fish. Unfortunately, with our major fisheries and ocean waters being so heavily contaminated with pollutants like mercury, it’s not safe to consume fish on a daily basis. That’s why supplementing with a highly-filtered, prescription-grade Omega-3 oil is such a convenient and safe way to get your vital fats.
Omega-3 fats have been scientifically shown to serve tremendous potential benefits to the nervous system, cardiovascular system, and brain. Omega-3 fats help improve sleep, regulate mood and hormones, improve metabolism and organ health, boost immunity, fight stress, protect against oxidation, reduce inflammation, and drastically improve cardiovascular and heart health. Omega-3 fats are crucial to good health and one of the most important nutritional resources you can ever utilize. Primal Nutrition’s Vital Omegas are the most powerful, effective, pure form available anywhere. Use this link to learn more www.primalnutrition.com
To learn about good sources of fat, visit:
I had wanted to send out my proper race report with this update but since the report is still being drafted, I thought I would send out this brief update instead.
On August 26th, I won Subaru Ironman Canada, my 11th Ironman victory. The victory was the icing on the cake for just being able to compete on race day after spending most of the year rehabilitating some chronic injuries. Of course, I went into the race wanting to win but I really just wanted to race and share in the sport that I love so much. It was also interesting going into a race slightly less prepared. My swimming and biking were both strong and race ready, but I had only begun running in June literally my first run in June was 1 km. By mid July, my run was up to 21 km and before IMC, it might have reached 28-30 km. So, I definitely ran conservatively at Subaru Ironman Canada and reminded myself that this was my big long run for the Hawaii Ironman!!!
I cannot tell you how happy I was to cross that finish line in first. It really was a dream for me probably the greatest sporting achievement of my career.
So now, I am off to the Hawaii Ironman. I will leave on September 18th to prepare on the course and acclimatize. I will train with my 2006 training partner, Craig Alexander, and hopefully lift my fitness to another level. I will continue to work on building my running, but my focus will be on getting to the start line as healthy as possible rather than with the incredible mileage that I used to log.
Thank you all for supporting me for all the years you have supported me. And thank you for caring about me, the person, not just me, the athlete.
Wednesday, September 5, 2007
By - Andrew Hood
Bjarne Riis's self-imposed exile is over and the controversial Dane returned to his spot behind wheel of the team car at Team CSC following weeks of seclusion in the wake of his admission that he doped on the way to his 1996 Tour de France victory.
It's Riis's first race appearance since deciding to skip the 2007 Tour following a dramatic confessions that he used the banned blood booster EPO and other illegal performance-enhancing drugs during his racing career.
"I considered leaving the sport. It was a very difficult period for me, but I took my responsibility," Riis said outside the Team CSC bus Wednesday morning. "Why should I quit? We have the best team in the world. We are on the right way and we're doing what we should do. I also have responsibility for 75 people who work for me and 75 families. Why should I throw that all away?"
The Dane quietly arrived at the Vuelta a España two days ago and will remain through Monday's rest day. He's so far try to avoid the limelight, but he was spotted by journalists ahead of the start of Wednesday's stage.
"I want to be here. It's good to be back with the team," Riis told VeloNews. "I missed the team, but I needed some time to think about the future."
Riis, who owns Team CSC and also serves as the team's lead sport director, has been the lightning rod for controversy since he became the first Tour winner to publicly confess he used doping products during his racing career.
In a press conference in late May, Riis admitted he took EPO, human growth hormone and corticoids during his professional career. His career highlight was victory in the 1996 Tour, a triumph that's now been erased from Tour history books.
"It was the right decision for me and I'm happy that I did," Riis said of his public confession. "At the beginning, it was hard, but it was the best thing for the team and for me."
Riis's admission capped what was a flood of confessions from former members of the Telekom team during its hey-day in the mid-to-late 1990s.
Other riders such as Christian Henn, Udo Bolts and Rolf Aldag also confessed to doping and a pair of former Telekom team doctors also admitted to administering doping products to team riders.
Reaction was strong, especially from Tour officials who said they no longer considered Riis the rightful owner of the 1996 maillot jaune.
In the wake of mostly negative reaction, Riis felt his presence at this year's Tour would be too distracting for his team and left after the opening weekend in London.
"If I had been at the Tour, it would have been the first week of polemic all about me. The riders needed to focus on the race and not waste energy," Riis said. "I missed my team, but it was also nice to see that they could win without me being there. They could concentrate on the race and I was glad to see that they did very well."
He insisted that it was his decision to leave the Tour and that he wasn't pressured by race officials to make a hasty exit.
Instead of following the Tour every day, Riis took time to reflect on his past and his future.
"It was difficult. I was tired. I had to take some time off. It was necessary," he said. "Now I feel comfortable to come back. I feel fresh and I am optimistic about the future."
Riis is hopeful the ghosts of his doping past will not haunt the team's future.
"We have to draw a line in the sand. We cannot change the past, we can only influence the future," Riis said. "Now we have to do things in the right way. We have to do things in a clean way."
Ironically, Riis has become one of the strongest spokesmen against doping in cycling.
This year, Team CSC introduced a strict, independent anti-doping testing program that's administered by Danish doping crusader Dr. Rasmus Damsgaard.
"I am very positive about the future. We have the strongest anti-doping program in sport. We've been able to show everyone that we can win races clean," Riis said. "We had a meeting last week with 12 teams. We all agreed that we want make a strong anti-doping program that's very close to ours right now. This is a great commitment for the sport. That doesn't mean there won't be cases and scandals, because there are always stupid riders."
Tuesday, September 4, 2007
Beautiful weather, perfect course conditions, and a talented field at the Shenandoah Mountain 100 in Virginia set the stage for course records to be broken in both the men's and the women's races. Jeff Schalk (Trek / VW) surprised many at the race with a solo win in 7:06:13, but Sue Haywood (Trek / VW) seemed to surprise no one but herself with a stellar ride that broke her old course record by a whopping 27 minutes. Haywood finished in 8:12:36.
"Where's Chris? Where's Floyd?" were the two most commonly asked questions as part-time Harrisonburg resident Schalk rolled through aid stations three, four, five and six solo, with no chasers in site. Schalk, won the BC Bike racer earlier this summer with his partner and Trek / VW team-mate Chris Eatough, but Schalk took this win on his own after Eatough suffered a catastrophic mechanical when his rear axle failed early in the race, on only the second climb. Eatough then withdrew from the race, but kept the series title he'd secured after the Endurance 100 last weekend.
In fact, Landis (Smith & Nephew) was never far behind the Schalk until the end, and at times, he rode with him and challenger Harlan Price (Independent Fabrication). Schalk gapped Landis and Price thanks to a speedy transition through aid station two, and he remained solo off the front for the remaining 70 miles of the race.
"I wanted to pull a Landis on Landis," smiled Schalk, referring to Landis' legendary solo, lengthy, and ultimately race-winning break-away in Stage 17 of the 2006 Tour de France.
Landis and Price see-sawed the rest of the race, with Price leaving behind Landis on all the mostly-singletrack downhills and Landis catching and passing Price on lengthy flats or climbs. In the end, Price would leave Landis behind on the final singletrack descent and take second in the race and the series with a little over a minute's gap.
1 Jeff Schalk (Trek / Volkswagen East Factory) 7.05.25
2 Harlan Price (Independent Fabrication) 17.22
3 Floyd Landis (Smith & Nephew) 18.42
4 Chris Beck (Joe's Bike Shop) 37.06
5 Gerry Pflug (Fredie Fu / Kona / Speedgoat) 43.11
6 Todd Helmick (Trek / Volkeswagen East Factory) 46.00
7 Brett Morgan (Cannondale/Bear Naked) 50.06
8 Michael Simonson (Bells Brewery/Quiring Cycles) 52.46
9 Sam Koerber (Pro Bikes) 53.15
10 Shey Lindner (BearNaked/Cannondale) 1.02.11
Monday, September 3, 2007
Reigning world champion Paolo Bettini says he's not superstitious, but he was probably having his doubts after what's been a long season for the usually prolific Tuscan tiger.
Bettini (Quick Step-Innergetic) came into the Vuelta a España with just one victory on the 2007 season and was relieved with his sprint victory Monday ahead of Oscar Freire (Rabobank) and Allan Davis (Discovery Channel) to end a winless streak dating back to February's Tour of California.
"I'm so happy with this victory. It really means a lot to me after coming so close to wins this season but always finishing second or third," said Bettini. "It's been a long time since I've won, but we're professionals and we know with the hard work, the results will come."
Sunday, September 2, 2007
Following his emphatic victory in the USA Cycling Pro Championships on Sunday, Discovery Channel's Levi Leipheimer wasn't giving any clues as to whereabouts next season after the American squad disbands at the end of the year. The 33 year-old, who has enjoyed his most successful season ever after making the Tour de France podium, broke away solo on the ascent of Paris Mountain and put his time trialling skills on show to come home 1'11 ahead of team-mate and last year's winner George Hincapie.
"Regardless of which team I ride for next year, to be the US national road champion is... honestly I didn't even believe it today," said Leipheimer. "I was taking [the race] how it came, I was aggressive and if I was out front giving it everything I knew that George was behind chasing me. In the end it worked out and I was pretty tired, but thankfully there wasn't a lot of cooperation behind me."
Hincapie, who will ride for T-Mobile next year, did not seem very happy with his second place behind his teammate's win. "This year was a lot more negative racing," he said. "When Levi went up the road it was up to the other teams to chase and they just sat there and watched everyone else. If I tried to go they would come after me. I had to play my cards from the back, there wasn't much cooperation, but the team worked well today. Last year was a lot faster and more aggressive racing."
When asked what it was like racing for a team that would not exist next season he said, "The team is disbanding but we are all under contract until December 31, 2007 and we are professional riders, doing our jobs until the last day."