Monday, April 30, 2007
On Sunday April 29th Discovery Channel Pro Cycling Team member Ivan Basso requested a meeting with General Manager Bill Stapleton and Sports Director Johan Bruyneel. At the meeting Basso asked to be released from his contract, effective immediately, citing personal reasons related to the re-opened investigation by the Italian Olympic Committees (CONI). At the conclusion of the meeting Bruyneel and Stapleton granted the request and have taken the appropriate steps to formally release him from the Team.
“This was a very difficult decision, for me and my family, but I think it is the right thing to do. Johan, Bill and my teammates have always believed in me and shown me great respect. This decision is my way of showing them that same respect,” stated Basso. “The Team is trying to find a new sponsor and win bike races, and my situation is a distraction to both of those goals. It is important that everyone knows this was 100% my decision. Nobody asked me to leave. I am grateful to all of the staff and riders and wish them the best of luck.”
In October 2006, the Italian Cycling Federation (FCI) officially shelved the Basso case following a recommendation by CONI. However, early last week CONI re-opened the investigation which dates back to July 2006 when Basso was kept from competing at the Tour de France. Tailwind Sports subsequently asked Basso not to compete until more information was available. Basso is scheduled to appear before the CONI on Wednesday May 2nd.
“Ivan’s request was unexpected and he was very emotional, but adamant, about his decision to be released. We spoke with him at length before granting his request. Although he was only on our Team for a short time he was a great leader and a very well respected and selfless teammate. I, along with the entire Team, wish him the best,” commented Johan Bruyneel.
Team Discovery Channel is without a title sponsor at the end of 2007 and Tailwind Sports General Manager Bill Stapleton is optimistic about the Team’s future even without Basso.
“Ivan was a great addition to our Team and I am very sad to see him go. He was one of our leaders and we expected big things from him this season, however, this Team has 15 wins in 2007 and we have great depth and talent on our roster. We will continue to win and be competitive in all of our races, including the Tour De France,” commented General Manager Bill Stapleton. “When we signed Ivan, all the necessary governing authorities had cleared him. He deserved a Team and we had always wanted to sign him. We did our due diligence and we have no regrets.”
Sunday, April 29, 2007
It was a Texas-sized private bash to rival any backyard barbecue: Lance Armstrong opened the grounds of his Austin home on Friday night for 450 guests, including his steady, fashion designer Tory Burch – and good pal Matthew McConaughey and the actor's current flame, Camila Alves.
The occasion was to celebrate – and raise about $1 million for – the 10th anniversary of the Lance Armstrong Foundation.
"Why not have a party in my backyard?" the seven-time Tour de France champ, 35, asked guests from the stage, where his longtime buddy Lyle Lovett and his band performed before a backdrop of trees covered in twinkling lights which prompted Armstrong to joke, "My neighbors were all wondering why I was decorating early for Christmas."
McConaughey, tanned and fit from surfing on the Bahamas set of his new movie Surfer Dude, and Alves, wearing a backless sundress, cheered as Lovett played.
Like the other guests in the yard, noshing on such treats as wild boar quesadillas from the local restaurant Hudson's on the Bend, the new couple sat on a blanket close to the stage, cuddling together, playing with Armstrong's 5-year-old daughter, Grace, and drinking Margaritas from one of the three open bars.
Armstrong joined Lovett onstage for two songs, "Here I Am" and "That's Right (You're Not From Texas)," leading the group in improvised lyrics.
Besides Grace, other Armstrongs attending were Lance's ex-wife Kristin Armstrong and their two other children – Luke, 7, and Grace's twin sister, Bella.
Armstrong, who first met Kristin in January 1997 at a press conference announcing the Lance Armstrong Foundation (they married in 1998, and divorced in 2003), said of her: "Kristin became my wife, the mother of my three beautiful kids and is an important part of this story. Thanks to her for being with us this evening."
Armstrong also discussed his cancer diagnosis on October 2, 1996 and his decision to start his own foundation, which in its first decade has raised about $180 million.
"I hated losing and I hated rivals," said the now-retired cyclist. "And I despise, detest and hate cancer. This foundation is going to continue to be ruthless and relentless in this fight against cancer."
As for his backyard get-together – holding it on his own property certainly helped contain the party's overhead expenses – "It all went really well," he said. "It was fun to have so many people over to the house. I'm not worried about anything spilling on a pillow or sofa, because you can clean up almost anything. It was a great evening."
But is he ready to throw another? "Well, we're having my stepsister's wedding back here in three weeks," he said. "I think I'll take a break after that."
Thursday, April 26, 2007
One of the few pro triathletes today who is capable of leading a race through all three events, Faris Al Sultan is a major force to be reckoned with. The 2005 World Champion recently took the time to sit with us, discussing everything from the type of music he listens to before races to the state of sports in the Middle East, in his typical direct manner.
1. Tell us about yourself – where you grew up, if you have any siblings, what kind of student you were in school?
I grew up in Munich, have no siblings and was a good student (1,8 Abitur that means among the top 20%)
2. Can you tell us how you got involved in sports? When did you figure out that you were pretty good?
I was a pretty active kid although I ate too much. I did basketball, judo, climbing, swimming and soccer - none competitive. After a crash weight loss at the age of 14, 15 kg in 8 weeks I started with swimming. I became better fast but it was obvious that I wouldn’t be a good swimmer. I looked for new challenges and ran a marathon at age 16 and did open water swimming. I took part in the German 25k Champs in 1996. Before I won races in 2000, I knew that I was good but blamed it on the high volume of training.
3. What made you decide to do a triathlon? What was your first race and what was it like?
I saw a TV coverage of IM Hawaii was impressed by Thomas Hellriegel and decided to take part at an Olympic distance race close to home. There I was third out of the water although I had no wetsuit and swam a detour. I was overtaken by the women on the bike and suffered through the run but I was third in the junior class.
4. Your first ever Ironman was at Lanzarote in 1999 (at the age of 19). What made you choose one of the most notoriously difficult races for your first Ironman? How’d it go for you?
I couldn’t race in Roth as you had to be 21, and saw some advertising in the German tri-mag for Lanzarote. It went well. I was top 15 out of the water - still no wetsuit - biked it in 6 hours with three stops to relieve the belly and ran 3:39, the slowest time I ever had in a marathon. It took me 10:33 and I was 6th in my agegroup.
5. You’re one of the very few pro’s who does not employ a coach (and obviously that’s worked out well for you). Has this always been the case? Did you have a tri coach earlier in your career? Do you use any plans as a guideline now, or do you just really do your own thing?
There are several other athletes that don’t have a coach. I do my own thing but of course I’m influenced by how other Pro’s train and I work with the guys from 2peak.com.
6. You mentioned that you just finished a bike race in Pakistan (Tour de Pakistan?). What was that like? Have you done this race before? And how did you decide to do this bike race? Were you the only triathlete racing?
It was the tour of Islamabad, which is a non UCI race for charity. I was the only triathlete there and I’ve never done a three-stage road race before. It was really good training. I’ve never been more on my limit on the bike before. Most of the other athletes were Continental or Ex-Continental riders; some Iranians were in good shape and made it though.
7. How did you come up with your trademark racing style: speedo, unshaven with a bandana around your head? It makes you instantly recognizable among all other pros. When did you adopt this style? Is it just the most comfortable for you? Is it good luck for you to race unshaven (since you’ve been spotted the day after a race clean-shaven)? Do you get chafed from the speedo?
I don’t get chafed, it’s simply how I feel most comfortable and of course I’m inspired by history. Hellriegel and Allen won in Speedos.
8. What kind of music do you listen to? Do you have a favorite type of music for training?
Pretty much everything besides Techno&House, I hardly listen to music while training, before racing it’s Xavier Naidoo and Eminem (“Till I collapse”)
9. What’s a typical training day for you? What’s your biggest training week in terms of volume? What’s your favorite/hardest workout?
There is no typical day (wouldn’t make sense by the way). Biggest week, although I don’t train as much as I used to when I was young, is maybe 40 hours, 800 km bike, 80km run two times Gym and 15-20km in the water. The hardest workout is speedwork on the track or a two hour run with hard 20 minutes towards the end.
10. Are there any training/racing mistakes you made in your earlier days that you can tell us about?
Almost too many to tell, from bad food (only cookies) to too many km (up to 1100 bike and 110 running in one week)
11. Being German/Iraqi, have you received a lot of positive feedback from Middle Eastern countries? Triathlon is still a relatively unknown sport in most parts of the world; would you say it’s a little more popular in this region now that you’ve become so successful? Also, what are your thoughts on the U.S. involvement in Iraq?
Unfortunately most people in Middle Eastern countries have other problems than pursuing sporty goals. The general interest in doing a sport yourself isn’t as big as we wanted it to be. But starting from the UAE, the most developed country, we try to encourage people in the Middle east to take up endurance sports. I don’t overestimate my influence there.
The involvement in Iraq went the wrong way. I still believe that without the U.S invasion there would have been no way for the Iraqis to get rid of Saddam, but the situation now is bad for everyone. I have no super solution.
12. How do you organize where you train and when? For instance, I know you train for part of the year in the UAE as well as Southern California. How do you decide when you will be in a certain place? Do you have a favorite training location?
Al-Ain in the UAE during winter & spring, San Diego before Hawaii, the rest is decided on short notice and of course depends on the racing schedule.
13. What’s your 2007 season look like? I see that you have a couple of XTERRA races on the list. Do you do these to spice things up? Do you add mountain biking into your training for fun?
I just do Xterra Germany. I need not to be the favorite at some races and it’s fun.
14. So it’s established now that you’re a guy who races your own race, out in front from gun to finish. What goes through your head at a race like Kona when someone like Lieto passes you on the bike? I’m sure you’re confronted by the temptation to “stay” or “go.” What do you do? And will you be more tactical in any of your races this year, or will you stick with the formula that’s worked so well for you so far?
I was already on the start line so exhausted from a very tiring season last year that I didn’t have the option to go with Chris. But even if I had the option it’s always my feeling that tells me how fast I can go, not my competitors.
15. Are there any races you haven’t done yet that you’d like to do?
Many - IM Klagenfurt, IM Malaysia, IM Australia.
16. What book are you currently reading? Do you have a favorite movie?
I was busy with my own book (“Triathlon” Faris Al-Sultan & Christoph Dierkes) the last movie was “Am Limit” about the Huber brothers (famous climbers).
17. You’ve taken a hiatus from your graduate studies in Near Eastern History and Culture to focus on triathlon. What are your plans for when you retire from the sport?
Many ideas but I hope to race on top for a few more years.
18. I’ve heard that you eat “normal” food rather than obsessing about proper nutrition all the time. So what’s your favorite indulgence or junk food? Do you have a favorite post-race treat?
First of all I do not eat only fast food top level performance is not possible without proper nutrition. I like pasta with tuna sauce my typical training camp food. As fast food I like Burgers and of course Burritos. After races in Germany the whole crowd usually meets at the next fast food place.
19. What are your non-tri related hobbies/talents?
Playing cards, watch movies, go out.
20. Shout out to your sponsors!
I don’t have to shout their products speak for themselves.
The Italian Olympic Committee (CONI) wants to ban Ivan Basso and all other riders suspected in the Operación Puerto doping scandal from riding in the Giro d'Italia, and is putting pressure on the race organiser to realise its goal.
Angelo Zomegnan, manager of the Giro organising group RCS Sport, said that "Naturally, openness and believability have priority. We will check everything out before coming to a decision." However, according to the dpa press agency, he is worried about the loss of sponsors as well as decreased media and public interest.
Meanwhile, Basso gave his first interview after the newest announcements, with the Italian newspaper Il Giornale. "I'm not going to give up, I'm going to carry on. I'm strong-minded," he said.
"However, I feel really frustrated. If these latest events had emerged in December or January, everything would have been clarified and closed now, for good or bad. Instead, new documents have suddenly arrived two weeks before the start of the race [the Giro d'Italia]. First they let me train like a donkey and then say 'Sorry, please stop and explain'. That's a time-bomb form of justice."
"I'll be there on May 2 to understand what new things I'm facing," added Basso. "My DNA? I've already given my permission to everybody, my team and even to the anti-doping investigators."
Basso won't be the only one facing CONI on May 2. It was announced today that Michele Scarponi has also been summoned to appear. His appointment is at 8:30 a.m., Basso's at 1:30 that afternoon.
Dave Zabriskie, winner of a Giro d'Italia stage in 2005, is returning to the Italian stage race next month as part of Team CSC's nine-man squad for the corsa rosa.
Zabriskie remains the only American to win stages in all three grand tours.
Zabriskie, 28, won stage eight in the 2005 Giro and then went on to win the opening time trial at the Tour de France that same year. Coupled with his 2004 Vuelta a España stage victory, the feat distinguishes him as the only American rider to win stages in all three grand tours.
The Giro will also mark the grand tour debut of Juan José Haedo, the Argentine sprinter who's already scored wins in the United States and Europe.
Team CSC will line up without a clear GC candidate and will instead be aiming for stage wins and a run in the maglia rosa. The opening team time trial will be especially appealing for CSC, which won the TTT in last year's Giro as well as the TTT that kicked off the 2006 Vuelta a España.
Reigning world time trial champion Fabian Cancellara will target the pink jersey and hone his form before a likely early departure ahead of the mountainous final week.
"We want to win the opening team time trial and I want to wear the maglia rosa," Cancellara told VeloNews earlier this month. "I won't race the entire Giro. I will probably race two weeks and then prepare for the Tour."
Team CSC for Giro d'Italia
Juan José Haedo
Wednesday, April 25, 2007
Lance Armstrong offered words of support for Floyd Landis, whose lawyers and defense experts publicly criticized the French Chatenay-Malabry lab for procedural testing irregularities as they pertain to doping allegations against him. In Stage 17 of the 2006 Tour de France, Landis tested positive for an elevated testosterone to epitestosterone ratio. The lab has conducted both initial tests and recent follow up tests on his seven B samples, and procedures to determine whether Landis will keep or lose his title and possibly face a two-year ban are ongoing.
"I think it's a good tactic to share that with the public," said Armstrong Wednesday to the Associated Press. "I believe in Floyd, I believe he hasn't had a fair shake. I don't trust the lab."
The French lab, which is accredited by both the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) and the International Olympic Committee (IOC) recently reported that follow-up tests on Landis' samples showed traces of synthetic testosterone.
Perhaps more than anyone, Team CSC manager Bjarne Riis is watching with interest the latest developments concerning defending Giro d'Italia champion Ivan Basso.
On Tuesday, Discovery Channel was forced to suspend the ex-CSC captain after Italian authorities decided to re-open a probe into Basso's alleged links to the Operación Puerto blood doping scandal.
"I have no regrets. I couldn't do anything else than what I did. It was my decision. I cannot change the past. I prefer to focus on the future," Riis told VeloNews. "It was difficult to see Ivan leave the team because we worked so hard, but we took the decision and I am still confident with it."
Last summer, Riis was forced to make the painful decision to part ways with his skilled protégé after Basso's name popped up in the Operación Puerto police dossier.
Despite circumstantial evidence that Spanish police said connected Basso to alleged blood doping ring, Basso vehemently denied any link to alleged ringleader Dr. Eufemiano Fuentes and investigators from the Italian Olympic Committee (CONI) concurred.
Following Basso's departure from Team CSC, CONI authorities cleared Basso of any possible sanctions last fall. That decision opened the door for Basso's arrival at Discovery Channel, the American team anxious to find a grand tour captain following the 2005 retirement of seven-time Tour de France champion Lance Armstrong.
But Riis had a feeling that wouldn't be the end of the Puerto story. Prosecutors in Germany earlier this month confirmed that a DNA sample taken from ex-rider Jan Ullrich matched with nine bags of blood seized in police raids last May.
That prompted Italian authorities to reconsider the Basso allegations. Instead of racing in this week's Ardennes classics, Basso is scheduled to appear before an anti-doping prosecutor next Wednesday, May 2, and his participation in next month's Giro has been thrown into doubt.
That was precisely the scenario Riis wanted to avoid when he decided to end his close relationships with the Italian.
"I was thinking about the team. The team was more important than to keep going on with this doubt hanging over the team," Riis told VeloNews last month. "I couldn't spend my energy on it and I didn't want the team to be bothered by it. We want to race our bikes and not be distracted about anything else."
Riis and Basso forged a close relationship when the inexperienced but promising Italian joined Team CSC in 2004. Under Riis's tutelage, Basso evolved into a legitimate grand tour contender, finishing second to Armstrong in his final Tour in 2005 before taking an overpowering victory in the 2006 Giro.
When asked what his reaction about seeing Basso in the uniform of rival Discovery Channel, Riis refused to take the bait.
"I have no comments about Ivan. We were in agreement that he was free to go. That's it, there's no more to discuss," he said. "I don't want to discuss that he's with Discovery. This is not my business. If I didn't want him to ride with another team, I should have kept him. I can understand while any team would want to pick him. Operación Puerto or not, he's a good rider."
Riis expressed frustration about how the Spanish doping scandal continues to overshadow cycling. No other CSC riders have been linked to the scandal and Riis said he's turned the page following Basso's departure.
"For me, this case was over a long time ago. In general, there's been so much confusion with what's going and what's not going on. We cannot do anything about it," he said. "We moved on a long time ago. I don't want to talk about it. I don't want to hear about it anymore. I am sick and tired of it. We have more serious things to do than talking about Operación Puerto."
Riis said the team has demonstrated it can be competitive without the dominant presence of Basso, who was tapped by many as the heir apparent to Armstrong at the Tour de France.
"I think you have to look from the end of the Tour de France last year until the end of the season, we proved have a very strong team even without Ivan," Riis said. "We managed to keep up the confidence, the morale and motivation to do some good things. We came through a good winter, a good training camp and we've had a good start of the (2007) season. We are pretty confident coming into the season and I don't think we have too much to worry about."
In the wake of the Puerto scandal and Basso's difficult departure, Team CSC has since instituted a groundbreaking anti-doping program. Independent and mostly out-of-competition controls are conducted by Danish anti-doping crusader Rasmus Damsgaard, who was contracted by Riis to run the program.
Since its introduction last winter, Damsgaard's team has conducted more than 300 controls in Europe, the United States, Australia and South Africa. Test results are shared with the UCI and any positive tests will face the same scrutiny as WADA-sanctioned controls.
"I want to prove that my team can be clean and still be good. This is the proof and this is what I want to show the world," Riis said. "I believe in the team. I know they can do it. There's no hocus-pocus. I know there are some who still don't believe us, but we will prove it."
Tuesday, April 24, 2007
Nearly 20 years after taking his first Gold medal at the Seoul Olympic Games, Russia's Viatcheslav Ekimov has returned to the sport in an all new capacity. The newly appointed Discovery Channel assistant manager told Cyclingnews' Kirsten Robbins what has reignited his love for professional cycling and prompted his return to the sport.
Russia's cyclist of the century Viatcheslav 'Eki' Ekimov has returned to professional bike racing after his second attempt at retirement. He has been assigned to start every world-class cycling event - from the Spring Classics to the Grand Tours - in the pursuit of more victories to add to his historic resume. However, this time around he wont be riding a bike. Instead, Ekimov's name appears on the registration list directly under team director Johan Bruyneel's as Discovery Channel's newest and most valuable assistant director.
Ekimov was spotted early this season wearing the director's hat for the first time at the Tour of California, where Levi Leipheimer held on to the yellow jersey from start to finish. After Discovery Channel's appearance in the United States, the team boarded a plane back to Europe where it took victories in the next five races, including Paris-Nice, Castilla y Leon and the final stage of KBC Driedaagse va De Panne- Koksijde.
"They call me Mr. 100 percent," joked Ekimov during last week's Tour de Georgia, where the squad took another overall victory. "Out of the five races that we have done since the Tour of California we have also had five victories. But in general we are doing very well together and I am learning a lot."
"Someone who has not been apart of that can never learn. You have to have lived it."
-Bruyneel believes it takes a former pro to do a director's job
The American ProTour team is one of the world's largest and most successful cycling teams. With over 70 staff and riders from 18 different nationalities, the team can contest three cycling events around the world concurrently. The unique nature, by comparison to other sports, of a cycling team means the director's job requires similar personal traits to that of a successful cyclist, says Bruyneel: "In my opinion, you have to have been a professional cyclist. It is important because as a director you need to decide so much on tactics and on things that happened in the race. Someone who has not been apart of that can never learn that. You have to have lived it."
"I was also well respected in the peleton by the riders so that transmitted to my work with the team," added Bruyneel, who has a reputation for spotting up and coming stars. "I speak five languages because communication is important. You have to have good social skills and communicate well, even be a little bit of a psychologist. Some times we also have to deal with sponsors, and recruit athletes, while selecting which athletes will race and when."
While he has been learning the director-specific side of his position through working closely with Bruyneel, Ekimov was given a large portion of the responsibility in Georgia. "Johan arrived on the evening of stage one so that day I was responsible for the team completely," said Ekimov. "It has been really fun as the director. On one side it is easy and on the other side it is not easy at all. You have to be really fast to make decisions and there is a lot of responsibility. This is not something new for me, the bike race. This side is just a little new and there is a transition to being in the car rather on my bike out there in the break."
Amongst the dual Olympic Gold Medalist's daily chores is preparing the logistical plan, booking hotels, and ensuring riders are happy, rested and well fed. During the race, Ekimov was been spotted weaving along side the peloton in order to make his way to the break. "I would usually drive the second team car and Johan would drive the first," Ekimov said. "This way if there were a break it would be my responsibility to follow it between the gap to the peloton."
Having finished all 15 Tour de Frances he's competed in, the Vyborg-born Ekimov has plenty of confidence on the bike but the 41 year-old admits it's taking time to adapt to his new role. "It's something new for me, but I have become a little bit more confident with myself and my job assisting Johan since the Tour of California, which was my first race directing," he explained. "It is getting better and better and better. It is almost like racing, sometimes you don't know what to do with yourself at the start of the race but by the end of the day you are able to give advice to somebody else."
Why the change?
"For now I am on this team and I don't want to think about anything else or any other jobs."
-Ekimov, as he has been for 10 years, is commited to Discovery Channel
Ekimov joined the US Postal Service squad, which eventually morphed into the current Discovery Channel outfit, in 1997 and announced his retirement from the team in 2001, only to return with the outfit the very next season. After his 'come back', he went on to race in five more editions of the Tour de France, placing him equal second with Lucien Van Impe on total editions contested. The big question on the minds of Ekimov fans was, 'why the shift from bike racing to directing in 2007?'
After his actual retirement from competition at the end of last season, the idea of directing along side Bruyneel was presented. "Last year, all of a sudden I just realized that professional cycling has become really difficult for me," he confessed. "My back injury from two years ago set me back, way back from where I was before that. At the same time I received an offer from Johan to be a sport director for this team and I thought that maybe there was another chance to do a different career in cycling with a new angle. I can easily see myself being a professional team director because I really enjoy this job."
"It's a very responsible job," continued Ekimov. "Many things depend on my behalf and how I am going to show the people I work with a new authority or a new power so it keeps me staying in a good mood to be concentrating a lot on the team."
Ekimov was always held in high regard within the peloton during his competitive years, so much so that the peloton allowed him to lead across the line on the first of eight laps of the Champs-Elysees in his final Tour last year, and that respect has been carried over to the team car and team meetings. His history and experience in the sport has provided him with a natural aura of authority, one that commands respect from the next generation of athletes. "I like to have fun with the guys but I also have to look like a leader on the team," he noted. "A good thing is that I have just come out of bike racing and it is the reason everyone cares about my insight. I keep riding my bike and training with the team so that they all know that I still understand the feeling and what it means to be on the bike. They are able to respect the advice that I have to give."
While the 2007 season has been a steep learning curve for Ekimov, he has taken to it like a duck to water, prompting him to embrace the change in career. "There isn't one specific thing I love about being a director because I love this job in general and my general feeling is it's perfect for me," he said.
And with ten years of service at the US Postal/Discovery Channel the only change in colours Ekimov is planning will happen when the team takes on a new sponsor for 2008. "For now I am on this team and I don't want to think about anything else or any other jobs," he explained. "This is a great organization, very experienced and very successful, so I am really proud to be apart of this organization."
Monday, April 23, 2007
After the first quarter of the 2007 season done I’m now back in the US training for the Wildflower triathlon and Florida 70.3. So far there has been quite a few up and downs as usual but fortunately the biggest races for me is yet to come so hopefully things will take a turn for the better soon.
My season started off with a cycling stage race in Belize in the beginning of February. I only had about 2 weeks of training after my off season for the race so I didn’t have any expectations and merely viewed it as a good training opportunity. Thanks to some good training in Tucson Az beforehand I got in much better shape than expected though and won 2 stages and was in the race lead for 5 days. Unfortunately I caught a virus and got sick the last 3 stages and had a tough time. Especially the last stage since my flight out of Belize was about 90min after our expected finish time that day. I did make the flight but needless to say I felt less than stellar sitting on the plane with a high fever after riding 100miles in tropical heat and stressing to get to the airport. My travel schedule the next couple of days was a bit optimistic as well.. The Swedish tri fed had a training camp in South Africa I needed to attend the following week so from Belize I flew to Dallas then NY and from there back to Sweden. Once home I had half a day before the long flights to Port Elizabeth and South Africa. All that traveling certainly didn’t help my health situation and once in PE I had 3weeks with all sorts of problems. I’d wake up every night with night sweats and bad leg pain keeping me from sleeping and doing anything but light activity. The plan was to race Ironman South Africa but I was a bit skeptical since once I got well there was only 2weeks until the race and I was far from top shape at this stage. I decided to train hard for 10 days and start the race since I was there anyway. Not much to say about how it went really as you might expect. I was simply not trained for it and only lasted about 6h.
So some good parts and some not so good but either way I was motivated to get back into things again and have some better races. After resting up a bit I started training only to have one of my blisters from IMSA get infected leaving me with an infection and another couple of weeks with poor training. So here I am now at founder of slowtwitch.com Dan Empfield and ex pro Mark Montgomery’s place in Xantusia Ca which truly is a training paradise. So far I have 10 days of solid training and getting in better shape day by day and looking forward to my next race Wildflower and hopefully some better future racing experiences.
Sunday, April 22, 2007
Please join our exclusive annual July training camp in San Diego California that I will be providing with fellow Ironman Champion, Chris Lieto. Whether you are a Sprint, Olympic, Half or Full Ironman distance Triathlete, you can experience this elite training environment starting July 9th. The camp will take place in Del Mar, San Diego, California and will be held from July 9th-14th. The ‘Chris McCormack Triathlon Performance Camp’ has been developed to offer dedicated and inspired athletes the rare and unique opportunity to train with myself, Chris Lieto and other top athletes as well as handpicked, first-class coaching talent, like Darcy Norman from the T-Mobile Pro Cycling Team. Each session has been developed and prepared to challenge and provide you with a personalized learning and training experience that can be applied to your future training and the second half of your 2007 season. This will be an incredible week of training, hard work and personal growth for everyone involved.
Chris 'Macca' McCormack
Chris McCormack Triathlon Performance Camp includes:
* Each evening’s dinner with Macca, Chris Lieto, Darcy, the Team and MORE!
* Fully supported workouts with all nutrition and hydration supported by Macca’s sponsors Clif Bar and Penta Water and Chris Lieto’s sponsors: Power Bar and Penta Water
* 2-3 group training sessions per day with Macca, Chris Lieto, and Team
* Support Vehicle for running and cycling training sessions, including follow vehicle support from Nytro and Shimano
* Intimate daily discussions and seminars with Macca, Chris Lieto, Darcy Norman and team which include running mechanics, injury prevention and core training and education
* Athletes’ Performance world class methodology including Movement Preparation and Recovery and Regeneration sessions at the beginning and end of each day with Darcy Norman, performance trainer and physical therapist for the T-Mobile Men’s Professional Cycling Team and the world famous Athlete’s Performance Center
* Unlimited access to Macca, Chris Lieto, Darcy Norman and their support staff throughout the week of the camp
* Tour hosts and a personal support team for duration of tour/camp
* All in-camp transportation
* Sponsor products, discounted product and gifts provided by Macca and Lieto's sponsors and camp partnerships
$3,200 per person
For more information, discounted room information and camp reservations, please contact:
Loren Pokorny ~ Director, Chris McCormack Triathlon Performance Camps
"Put me on the start line, point me towards the finish and I go!" said CSC’s Jens Voigt prior to the start of the Amstel Gold Classic on Sunday. Munching a carbo energy bar prior to the start in Maastricht’s markt area, he said that he would be taking an aggressive approach during the race.
"I have some freedom. We have the guys to work, Frank [Schleck] and Karsten [Kroon] for the final and then I am kind of in-between. There is always a decision: you see a group going and you say ‘mmm, this could be good." Then you go. It could be with 200 kilometres to go, or 40 to go. You can’t really plan it. I need to follow my nose. Of course, you need to have the right legs, too."
Voigt was as good as his word, going clear with Steffen Wesemann (Wiesenhoff) and Daniele Righi (Lampre-Fondital) prior to the Wolfsberg climb, catching an earlier break and then pressing on ahead. They were finally reeled in by a chase group after the Gulperberg, with less than thirty kilometres remaining. However, it goes without saying that the German will soon be on the attack again.
When asked if he is planning to target a specific race before the Tour, he played down such thoughts. "I will go for everything. I want to win as much as possible!
"As regards this race [Amstel Gold] versus Liege…I think that perhaps Liege suits me a little better," he said, speaking about the race he was second in two years ago. "It is less nervous, the climbs are different and I think it suits me a little better."
Saturday, April 21, 2007
After wearing the Best Young Rider’s Jersey for one stage at the Tour de Georgia, John Devine (Dixon, Ill./VMG Racing) turned in another strong performance for the USA Cycling National Development Team with an eighth-place finish in the event’s signature stage, the 172-kilometer stage five from Dalton to the top of Brasstown Bald in Towns County.
The result signifies one of the best performances of his young career given the world-class field of international competitors racing at the Tour de Georgia.
Devine finished just 1:30 off the pace of stage winner Levi Leipheimer (Santa Rosa, Calif./Discovery Channel), who made his winning move on the final ascent to the mountaintop finish. Devine’s eighth-place finish was the best of any rider eligible for the Best Young Rider classification and vaulted him from 61st to 29th in the general classification.
In July, Devine, 21, will join Leipheimer and Brajkovic on the Discovery Channel Pro Cycling Team’s roster as the latest in a long line of USA Cycling National Development Team graduates to compete for a UCI ProTour squad, the highest level of professional cycling in the world.
Friday, April 20, 2007
Rhodiola rosea is a plant that is native to the mountainous regions of Europe, Asia and the Arctic region. It grows in dry, cold areas and has been a staple in the diets of many Eastern European and Scandinavian countries for centuries. Not surprisingly, much of the research on this herbal supplement has been done in that part of the world. Only recently have we, in the West, become aware of the amazing properties of Rhodiola.
Researchers have categorized this herbal as an adaptogen. An adaptogen is an endurance enhancer. It can increase the body’s responses to a variety of physical, chemical and biological stressors. Researchers tout its usefulness in warding off depression, cancer and cardiopulmonary dysfunctions. It can also be used to treat hypertension, irritability, headaches, fatigue and many other sleep disturbances. It may even be helpful in increasing thyroid function, improving memory and learning capabilities, regulating menstruation and infertility and even helping to protect one from environmental toxins.
For more information please visit www.recovox.net
Tuesday, April 17, 2007
It took 8 months, but finally I heard Mike Rilley say the magical words "Vince Rosetta, you are an Ironman". I have to say that Ironman Arizona was the hardest thing I have ever done in my life. I had a back problem that really effected my run so my time wasn't as good as I wanted (12:51:14), but I can honestly say that I left everything on the course. I take more pride in that fact. When faced with adversity I kept moving forward. Everybody I talked too said to remain open for changes you can't expect. Adapting to the Ironman obstacles is as important as training for the 3 disciplines. I thought I knew what that meant, but didn't know for sure until the race.
All of my training was to finish the Ironman, I now have a new motivation for training, to improve my performance. Recovox really helped me recover from this race. I felt great on Monday morning and didn't have any pain on my first run post Arizona.
For more information on Vince please visit www.vincerosetta.com
Sunday, April 15, 2007
Team CSC's Stuart O'Grady on Sunday became the first Australian to win Paris-Roubaix.
The 33-year-old entered the Roubaix velodrome and crossed the finish line alone, nearly a minute ahead of Juan Antonio Flecha (Rabobank) and former winner Steffen Wesemann (Wiesenhof Felt) in the race known as the "Hell of the North," the seventh event on the 28-race ProTour series.
Vanessa Fernandes and Courtney Atkinson win in Iskigaki Japan.
2007 World Cup Series Men
1. Kahlefeldt, Brad AUS 50 +
2. Gomez, Javier ESP 44 +
3. Gemmell, Kris NZL 39 +
2007 World Cup Series Women
1. Snowsill, Emma AUS 50 +
2. Densham, Erin AUS 44 +
3. Fernandes, Vanessa POR 39 +
Saturday, April 14, 2007
Thursday, April 12, 2007
The spectators witnessed a regular deja vu on Thursday, when they watched Team CSC's German freight train Jens Voigt take a comfortable victory in fourth stage of Vuelta Ciclista a Pais Vasco – his fourth victory in the history of this particular race.
For the second day in a row Voigt was part of the early break and with about 45 kilometers left of the 176-kilometer stage from Vitoria-Gasteiz to Lekunberri he dropped the other members of the break and never looked back.
This M.O. was practically identical to Voigt's previous victories in Vuelta Ciclista a Pais Vasco (in 1998, 2004 and 2005), and the spectators showed their appreciation and support for the German Team CSC rider all the way to the finish line. Sports director Kim Andersen was also full of admiration after the stage.
"It was truly brilliant. Not just the victory – but the way he did it. He initiated the break himself after 80 kilometers and took nine other riders along with him. Then about 50 kilometers before the end he suffered a flat, which meant extra work to catch up again. But he managed and after that he dropped them just like that. It was fantastic," said a very excited Kim Andersen.
The performance was even more impressive considering the fact that Voigt was also in a break yesterday during the third stage, where he ended up being dropped on the final climb.
"Yesterday I didn't feel that strong and the riders in the break were very strong. I felt much better today. Already from the beginning of the break I got the feeling that my chances were better today. And yes, when the opportunity arose I made a move. I like to keep my tactics simple – that's the best way for me," explained Voigt.
Saturday, April 7, 2007
It's so I can drink beer without getting fat and watch babes without anybody yelling at me.
A number of years ago, I was drinking a lot of beer and got fat. A friend of mine suggested that I could take off the weight by running. So I started running and you know what? It worked. I then discovered that if I ran fast enough and hard enough, I could knock back a few pints after the run as well as before and still not gain weight. I ended up running a lot, and even entered a few marathons.
I found out that women ran, too, which was pretty great, but the faster they ran, the skinnier they were, so the faster I ran, the skinnier the women I was running with, so I didn't pay much attention.
Before too long I started gaining weight again, but I was getting pretty bored with running so another friend told me about triathlon. When you get bored with running you can bike, and when you get bored with that you can swim. Even better, when you race there's this thing called "transition" in between them and you're allowed to lay aside your own stuff. I packed in a few pints and boy, was that great! Swim a bit, knock back a pint, bike a bit, knock back a few more, then run and spend the rest of the day and evening knocking back even more. And you don't get fat! How great is that?
But I haven't even gotten to the best part: Da babes! Ohmigod are they gorgeous!
I found myself trying to follow them in races, but they were just too fast. So I started training harder so I could keep up with them. The more I trained, the faster I could go. I got really good at it, too, and by the way, I could drink more beer without getting fat. Talk about your basic motivation. Pretty soon it got to the point where I could go fast enough to follow any babe I wanted. And you know what? The best looking ones go the fastest. So I trained even harder, until I got to the point that there wasn't a babe anywhere who could outrun me and I could drink as much beer as I could hold and never get fat.
And that's how I became Ironman champion of the world.
Thursday, April 5, 2007
Hundreds of studies exist showing the many health benefits of green tea. But what makes it the most consumed beverage in the world after water is its pleasant taste and relaxation effect. Both of these qualities—and more—can be traced to a unique, neurologically-active amino acid in tea called L-theanine (gamma-ethylamino-L-glutamic acid).
L-theanine is a free (non-protein) amino acid found almost exclusively in tea plants (Camellia sp.), constituting between 1 and 2-percent of the dry weight of tea leaves. It is the predominant amino acid in green tea leaves, giving tea its characteristic umami or "5th taste" (besides the four traditional tastes: sweet, salty, acid, and bitter). Attempts to isolate the L-theanine, with its physical and neurological benefits, from the tea leaves were once difficult, expensive, and inefficient. Economically feasible methods of producing the identical L-theanine now exist and do not require a mountain of tea leaves.
The calming effect of green tea may seem contradictory to the stimulatory property of tea's caffeine content but it can be explained by the action of L-theanine. This amino acid actually acts antagonistically against the stimulatory effects of caffeine on the nervous system. (1) Research on human volunteers has demonstrated that L-theanine creates a sense of relaxation in approximately 30-40 minutes after ingestion via at least two different mechanisms. First, this amino acid directly stimulates the production of alpha brain waves, creating a state of deep relaxation and mental alertness similar to what is achieved through meditation. Second, L-theanine is involved in the formation of the inhibitory neurotransmitter, gamma amino butyric acid (GABA). GABA influences the levels of two other neurotransmitters, dopamine and serotonin, producing the key relaxation effect.
Alpha Brain Activity
The brain emits weak electrical impulses (brain waves) that can be measured on the surface of the head. The predominant frequency of electrical impulses correlates with different types of mental states and activities. Brain waves are classified into four categories (delta, theta, alpha, and beta)—each with an associated mental state (Fig. 1). Delta is seen only in the deepest stages of sleep. Theta is seen in light sleep and drowsiness. Alpha is present in wakefulness where there is a relaxed and effortless alertness and Beta is seen in highly stressful situations and where there is difficulty in mental concentration and focus. It is well known that alpha brain waves are generated during a relaxed state and therefore alpha waves are used as an index of relaxation.
In one study of these mental responses to L-theanine, brain wave topography showed that alpha waves were observed from the back to the top of a person's head (occipital and parietal regions of the brain) within approximately 40 minutes after the subjects had taken either 50 or 200 mg of L-theanine. In a separate study, the intensity of alpha waves were determined to be dose dependent (with a 200 mg dose showing a significant increase over controls) and detectable after 30 minutes.
L-theanine has a significant effect on the release or reduction of neurotransmitters like dopamine and serotonin, resulting in improved memory and learning ability. L-theanine may also influence emotions due to its effects on the increased release of dopamine. L-theanine reduces brain serotonin concentration by either curtailing serotonin synthesis or increasing degradation in the brain.
The regulation of blood pressure is partly dependent upon catecholaminergic and serotonergic neurons in both the brain and the peripheral nervous system. Studies on spontaneously hypertensive rats (SHR) showed an impressive blood pressure lowering effect with L-theanine. The lowered blood pressure effect was dose-dependent with the highest test dose creating the most significant drop. L-glutamine was used as one of the controls. Although L-glutamine is similar in chemical structure to L-theanine, it did not exhibit an anti-hypertensive effect.
Preliminary studies report that L-theanine has been found to increase the anti-tumor activity of some chemotherapeutic agents (doxorubicin and idarubicin) and to ameliorate some of the side effects of these drugs. It appears to increase the inhibitory concentration of these drugs in the tumor cells, although the mechanism is not known. At the same time, L-theanine decreased oxidative stress caused by these agents on the normal cells, possibly due to its mild antioxidant activity. In this regard, L-theanine has been shown to inhibit lipid peroxidation, catalyzed by copper, in low-density lipoprotein (LDL) in vitro.
Stress and anxiety are debilitating conditions that upset the balance of our hormones leading to a loss of our well-being, performance, and even lifespan. Stress impairs the immune system, leaving us vulnerable to opportunistic infections, and can cause depression. In 1998, pharmaceutical sales of anti-anxiety drugs totaled over 700 million dollars, while sales of antidepressants totaled close to 5 billion dollars! People under stress can mitigate many of the harmful effects of stress with L-theanine without becoming sedated in the process. L-theanine doesn't make one drowsy, nor does it promote sleep because this amino acid does not produce theta waves in the brain. It should be noted that if an individual were already relaxed, taking L-theanine would not produce further relaxation.
Status and Usage
L-theanine has just recently been introduced to the U.S. market. Japan is credited with most of the clinical studies and information we possess thus far on L-theanine but research is ongoing. We do know that it is absorbed from the small intestine via a sodium-coupled active transport process. It crosses the blood-brain barrier, as evidenced by the mental effects. L-theanine competes for absorption in the intestinal tract and the brain with the amino acids found in the methionine group (leucine, isoleucine, and valine), however the concentrations of amino acids are unchanged by simultaneous ingestion of L-theanine.
L-theanine is extremely safe. There are no dietary limits on L-theanine intake by the Japan Food Additive Association. In 1964, the Japanese Ministry of Health and Welfare approved L-theanine for unlimited use in all foods, with the exception of infant foods.
The intended use of L-theanine is that of a mental and physical relaxant that does not induce drowsiness. Although there is no set schedule for taking L-theanine, it may generally be taken at the first signs of stress. Based on the results of the clinical studies, L-theanine is most effective in the range of 50-200 mg, with the effect being felt within 30 minutes and lasting for 8-10 hours. Individuals with high stress levels may increase their dosage of L-theanine to at least 100 mg, with no more than 600 mg being taken in a six hour period. FDA recommends a maximum dose of 1200 mg daily, although the reason for this limit is not clear, due to its demonstrated safety. There are no known adverse reactions to L-theanine and no drug interactions have been reported. L-theanine is not affected by food and may be taken anytime, as needed. Because it has a mild taste, capsules may be opened and dissolved in water.
Research into L-theanine derived from the contradictory observation that green tea, with its high caffeine content, produces a very calming effect. The seemingly multi-dimensional reasons for this relaxation effect will continue to be studied. Current areas of ongoing research include using L-theanine as an alternative to Ritalin in children and adults, as a treatment for PMS, in controlling certain conditions of high blood pressure, in sharpening mental acuity and concentration, and as an anti-cancer agent alone and in synergy with other cancer-fighting agents. L-theanine may find another area of application for its use as a supplement in reducing the negative side effects of caffeine brought on by the over-consumption of coffee, soft drinks, or other caffeine-containing substances.
Recovox has 100 mg per serving - to learn more about L-Theanine please vist www.recovox.net
Tuesday, April 3, 2007
By - Paige Dunn
In my Sport Psychology work I talk to many athletes about their relationship to their sport and you can learn a lot about them and how to work with them based on their response. It was clear that Floyd is truly just a guy that likes to ride his bike.
From the second I sat down next to him for our interview Floyd was gracious, calm and clearly humble. When I asked him about being a role model to other cyclists who have also suffered from hip conditions or chronic pain and who have found hope through him, he seemed a bit surprised.
This was no ordinary bike event. San Francisco’s subculture of uber cyclists and turbo triathletes filled the room that would set them next to Floyd. From Tour de France victory, to major hip surgery, Floyd is back and ready to compete. But what’s unique about this race is that on this night Floyd and all of the other riders were on the new CycleOps Club Pro 300PT, a commercial version of the same stationary bike he used for his rehab.
Floyd’s wattage was projected on a monitor in front of the class and other riders could monitor their own power on their individual bikes. With an average over 600 its pretty unbelievable that just six months ago Floyd was under the knife.
It was a great event and M2 and CycleOps put on a great show. I’ll be putting together an article from my interview so stay tuned.
Monday, April 2, 2007
My former coach and one of the greatest endurance minds on the planet Mark Sisson and I have been talking recently about the healthiest fitness regimen to pursue for a lifetime. Having both ended our competitive careers long ago (Sisson is a former 2:16 marathoner and placed 4th in the 1982 Ironman), it’s clear that what we did in our primes is neither healthy nor reasonable or desirable to pursue for the long term.
In fact, endurance training, when pursued even at a seemingly sensible level, can be unhealthy and depleting to your body, mind and spirit. To say nothing of the overtraining syndrome that seems to be par for the course among triathletes and distance runners of all ability levels. If you’ve been paying attention, much has been written in the endurance world about fallout - an alarming frequency of heart trouble among elite and amateur athletes, negative consequences of consuming too much sugar (the endurance athlete's bread and butter, and a key culprit why endurance athletes are not necessarily lean athletes), the training-induced breakdown of the immune and musculoskeletal system and finally as my friend and former national champion amateur triathlete Dewey says eloquently, “the fact that people sell out their families for the sport.”
Sisson argues that endurance training is, “counter to our basic caveman physiology, where were are programmed to produce shorts bursts of life or death energy – to avoid a predator or feed our families with a kill - balanced by the downtime of a simple, hunter/gatherer primitive life. It’s clear that endurance training causes a steady reduction in testosterone levels, along with a corresponding increase in the levels of the stress hormone cortisol. High cortisol/low testosterone level causes a very distressing chain reaction of negative events. The immune system is suppressed and the body stays in a catabolic state. Taken to the extreme in the classic overtraining state, an athlete’s muscle will literally waste away – identical to the ‘dying of old age’ scenario,” Sisson explains.
The free thinking scientist/athlete Art DeVany has produced some interesting posts on his blog about a concept he calls “Evolutionary Fitness”. Briefly, it means aligning your diet (as with the popular caveman diet trend) and training methods with the nature of human lifestyle over the course of thousands of years. DeVany suggests a workout regimen where once a week you go absolutely all out “like your life depends on it, very short and intense...lasting no longer than 15 minutes. It must be no more than once a week; you cannot recover adequately if you do it more often and it is too taxing. Pick a random day. Don't do it on the same day always” and offers the obligatory caution to keep it safe by practicing proper technique and not accumulating tension in the body.
Today Sisson, at 53, maintains a fighting weight of 164 pounds at 8% body fat “with no special effort or emphasis on a strict diet or fat loss”, despite virtually no “endurance” training. He explains, “These days I lift weights on a schedule that works body part groups every four days. My endurance activity is cycling for 40 minutes, twice a week. This session includes some extremely intense intervals, such as 5 x 1 minute at maximum wattage. It’s a drop in the bucket in comparison to my old training days, but I feel healthier today than I have been since I was 13. (He recently bench pressed a stunning 275lb! Must be some kind of record for a former top-5 Ironman finisher over age 50. Take that, Dave Scott, ya girlie man...). I believe that training for more than an hour a day destroys your immune system and that the more hours you train, the worse it gets.”
This kind of talk may not sit well if you are currently pondering a 2007 season with World’s Toughest Half and Ironman Couer D’Alene on the calendar. And to be sure, the way to succeed in endurance sports is to approximate the challenge of your race in your training. However, this does not mean racking up weeks upon weeks of high mileage. This old school philosophy is simply inferior to pursuing competitive goals, even extreme endurance goals, with a balance of stress and rest and a constant respect for your health. I talk extensively about Key Workouts in my book, Breakthrough Triathlon Training, where you occasionally push the body with a challenging workout that stimulates a fitness breakthrough and is aligned with your competitive goals, and balance these challenging workouts with plenty of moderately paced exercise and complete rest.
Let’s take an oversimplified example: Fred Flatliner is training for a marathon, running eight miles a day, 56 miles a week. He will surely get you in decent condition, but likely suffer from injury, illness and burnout due to lack of stress/rest balance. In contrast, consider Sam Seismic, who follows a weekly mileage schedule of something like: 2 – 14 – 4 – 7 – 0 – 10 – 3 = 40 miles, with the 14 mile day steadily increasing up to 22 miles before the marathon. Who do you think will be better prepared for the marathon? Even though Sam will, over time, will complete hundreds of miles less in training than the Fred, the answer is obvious. Since a week is an arbitrary block of time, we also have to constantly think big picture too – the balance you achieve annually and over the course of your career.
For example, if you are hard-core immersed into your glorious amateur triathlon career, is it necessary to do 10-15 races from May to October, or centerpiece around an ironman event, every single year? How about a down year every three or so, where you pursue alternative health, fitness and lifestyle goals and give your mind and body a chance to rejuvenate? Remember Mark Allen in 1994, coming off five consecutive Hawaii Ironman victories and no doubt massively incentivized to defend his title. Instead, he announced he would pass on the race to give his mind and body a break. Yep, he came back the next year and won in a new record time to culminate his career. Which is a hell of a lot better than ending his career with a 5th and a 3rd, eh?
The point is, feel free to experiment with your training methods so that they align with your lifestyle, your intuition and your caveman physiology built for occasional heavy stress balanced by down time. Understand that your obsessive/compulsive tendency to accumulate measurable results, every day in every way, flat out contradicts and sabotages your ultimate athletic potential and compromises your health. If you feel like resting or backing away from your ambitious plans, do so. If you feel like doing an extreme workout that challenges your mental and physical limits, take that Felt out for an all day ride in the mountains once in a while. Or roll over to the Tuesday night group ride, launch a one-man breakaway at mile three and hold on for dear life. Notice how this alteration in training perspective and behavior may stimulate breakthroughs in fitness, body composition, general health and well being.
Sunday, April 1, 2007
By - Floyd Landis
I am now 6 full months from my BHR procedure and let me tell you that my physical health has not been this good in many years. I have no pain from the AVN, the hip joint or from the surgery that resolved my condition.
The issues surrounding my career take a tremendous amount of time and energy, including travel, long stretches of standing and walking and an overall change from the usual activities of a professional cyclist. I could not have imagined undertaking such a public campaign for fairness in my case with my old hip. I would not have been able to keep up and would not have been able to deal with the increasing pain as my hip would have continued to deteriorate.
I can describe some of the things I’ve been able to do in the past few months that would have been impossible, or downright dangerous before my BHR procedure:
Mountain Biking – I have been getting on the trails with some frequency. Before, falling was too big a risk
Running – Now, I’m not saying I am a runner in any sense, but since my BHR procedure I have been able to hustle through airports or chase a taxi in a way that just was impossible previously.
Sleeping – Here is where my quality of life has gone up. I can get full, restful nights sleep without being awoken by the nagging pain in my hip that would pulse and throb in the past.
As I push forward in my effort to resume my career, I look at the decision I made in September with Dr. Kay and Dr. Chao to select the BHR procedure. After 6 months, I realize that my team and I have given myself the best chance to return to the highest level of competition in cycling. I want to thank Dr. Kay, Dr. Chao and Ronan Treacy for their effort to get my hip fixed. I also want to thank all the fine folks at Smith & Nephew who have worked to support me through this entire process. My hip is truly unbelievable.
For more information on Landis please visit - http://www.floydlandis.com/blog
With a seventh place in the third and final stage Jens Voigt was celebrated as the overall winner of this year's edition of Criterium International ahead of Swedish rider Thomas Lövkvist (Francaise des Jeux.) Lövkvist won the 8.3-kilometer time trial ahead of Alejandro Valverde (Caisse d'Epargne.) This is the third time Voigt has won the French race – last time anyone did this was Sean Kelly in 1983, 1984 and 1987.
"This is a big deal for me, because growing up Kelly was a big hero of mine. Of course winning is always nice, but this particular race is special to me. It's short but still tough, it carries with it a lot of prestige and it never gets boring," said Voigt after his victory.
The German rider lead with a fairly comfortable margin of 48 seconds ahead of the final stage and no one ever really came close.
"I didn't relax at any point – I gave it everything I had in me, but of course I was more careful in the turns than I would've been if the margin hadn't been that big. And I have to admit that I was a tiny bit tired after being in a break for such a long time this morning," concluded Voigt, who will now be heading for Vuelta Ciclista al Pais Vasco.
Lavaman Triathlon is this weekend and the day before I had the pleasure to be a part of the kids "Splash and Dash". Kids from the ages of 7-14 do a short swim and then a 2 loop run around the grounds of the Marriott Hotel. Kids from the ages of 2-6 do a short run of maybe 200 meters on the sand and through the finish line. I lead the kids in a stretching routine before the start and got to award them with medals when they came across the finish. It was so much fun watching these little kids just give it their all. They don't hold back at all and have smiles on there faces the whole way. This is what this sport is all about.
Now that my son Kaiden is 3 1/2 years old I appreciate watching little children just having fun and living life. I wish my family was here to enjoy Kona and I wish I could have seen my son run in the kids race. There will be many more opportunities, and I can't wait for them.
Be like a child and live life to the fullest, and enjoy every minute of it.