Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Energy Expenditure in The Tour de France

Of all the questions that are asked around the Tour de France, one of the most common questions is about the amount of energy (kilojoules) that these grand tour athletes expend and how they replace it all.

The short answer is that they actually don’t replace it all. Some of the most successful riders who finish strongly on the last day tend to lose the least amount of weight. On the other hand, the riders who pull out halfway through the mountain stages or fall to the back of the pack usually experience a greater weight deficit than their more successful counterparts.

There is something to be said for this difference. Certain athletes are more genetically gifted and can absorb much more carbohydrate than others…but they all train hard, and it’s the specific training that helps to maximize the ability to absorb those Calories. Before we go on, I should mention that kilojoules are roughly equivalent to dietary Calories, so if you see a ride of 800 kJ’s you can assume it is close to 800 Calories. Efficiency changes this and with the most elite athletes (like Lance) you can expect a slightly lower Caloric expenditure for an 800 kJ ride than an amateur for the same amount of work.

Many of us have seen the posts that Saris/CycleOps have done where they detail the expenditure, power, speed, etc of grand tour athletes. This gives us great insight into just what they are capable of. In the link below you can find an analysis of one of Danny Pate’s rides during the Tour de France:

Getting down to just the kJ’s, we see that he rode for a little over 4 hours that day and did a total of 4,177 kJ’s of work. On an hourly basis this works out to 982 kJ/hour – a very sizeable amount for any athlete. So back to the question of how these athletes make it through the stages with such high energy expenditures.

It’s nearly impossible to replace as much as 5900 Calories each day, so naturally athletes will lose some weight during a grand tour. However, the key is that they consume a high amount of carbohydrate and have been consuming enough Calories to maintain high glycogen (stored carbohydrate) levels before the Tour starts. There is also the matter of adapting to a high energy intake. 94 grams of carbohydrate would give most of us some of the worst GI distress we’ve ever experienced, but these athletes have been able to train their bodies to consume this for the simple fact that it’s a requirement for success at this high level of competition.

So while you are watching the Tour in July, watch what these guys are consuming on the bike and you will surely have a new appreciation for what it takes to compete nutritionally at this level of cycling. Some practical recommendations for how you can use this to your advantage with nutrient timing and strategy will be coming after the Tour. Enjoy the racing!

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Chris Lieto Wins Buffalo Springs 70.3 and donates to MORE THAN SPORT

Chris Lieto earned a hard fought victory in the Ironman 70.3 in Buffalo Springs this past weekend battling the heat, challenging course and fierce competition. Lieto stated that he is excited to have a second win this season, but more importantly he is excited that he can donate more winnings to his MORE THAN SPORT campaign to help children around the world reach their potential.

About More Than Sport

Chris Lieto decided to do more with his racing. He needed to find a way to make a difference around the World with children in need of basic items that can change their lives forever. Lieto partnered with World Vision to create the MORE THAN SPORT campaign. Lietos’ campaign is aimed at sponsoring children to get them: clean water, nutritious food, education, healthcare, and economic opportunity.

Lieto has pledged to try and get 141 children sponsored by the Ironman World Championship in Kona this October 9th, 2010. Lieto states “ I want to get a child sponsored for every mile I race this year at Kona. I feel that I have been given a gift to be able to race at this level, and I want to give back as much as I can. Join me in changing lives, sponsor a child at or become an ambassador for More Than Sport with your own race this season.”

Lieto explains that some racers have stepped up to become an ambassador for the More Than Sport campaign and pledge to get anywhere from 10 to 141 children sponsored in the MTS campaign. “ It is really great to see people jumping at the opportunity to combine their passion for racing with their passion for making a difference. “ These ambassadors become part of the More Than Sport team and receive an MTS T-shirt, invitation to a weekend training camp with Lieto, and an invitation to the MTS Gala in Kona this October.

Visit today and Change a Life through child sponsorship.

You can also email to get more information, or to find others ways to be involved at

Monday, June 28, 2010

The Primal Blueprint Carbohydrate Curve

The following descriptions illustrate how carbohydrates impact the human body and the degree to which we need them, or not, in our diet. The ranges represent daily averages and are subject to variables like age, current height and weight and particularly training volume. For example, a heavy, active person can be successful at a higher number than a light, moderately active person. In particular, hard training endurance athletes will experience a greater need for carbs and can adjust their personal curve accordingly. This is a topic Mark Sisson address's fthe book on Here then is the “Primal Blueprint Carbohydrate Curve.”

300 or more grams/day - Danger Zone!

Easy to reach with the “normal” American diet (cereals, pasta, rice, bread, waffles, pancakes, muffins, soft drinks, packaged snacks, sweets, desserts). High risk of excess fat storage, inflammation, increased disease markers including Metabolic Syndrome or diabetes. Sharp reduction of grains and other processed carbs is critical unless you are on the “chronic cardio” treadmill (which has its own major drawbacks).

150-300 grams/day – Steady, Insidious Weight Gain

Continued higher insulin-stimulating effect prevents efficient fat burning and contributes to widespread chronic disease conditions. This range – irresponsibly recommended by the USDA and other diet authorities – can lead to the statistical US average gain of 1.5 pounds of fat per year for forty years.

100-150 grams/day – Primal Blueprint Maintenance Range

This range based on body weight and activity level. When combined with Primal exercises, allows for genetically optimal fat burning and muscle development. Range derived from Grok’s (ancestors’) example of enjoying abundant vegetables and fruits and avoiding grains and sugars.

50-100 grams/day – Primal Sweet Spot for Effortless Weight Loss

Minimizes insulin production and ramps up fat metabolism. By meeting average daily protein requirements (.7 – 1 gram per pound of lean bodyweight formula), eating nutritious vegetables and fruits (easy to stay in 50-100 gram range, even with generous servings), and staying satisfied with delicious high fat foods (meat, fish, eggs, nuts, seeds), you can lose one to two pounds of body fat per week and then keep it off forever by eating in the maintenance range.

0-50 grams/day – Ketosis and Accelerated Fat Burning

Acceptable for a day or two of Intermittent Fasting towards aggressive weight loss efforts, provided adequate protein, fat and supplements are consumed otherwise. May be ideal for many diabetics. Not necessarily recommended as a long-term practice for otherwise healthy people due to resultant deprivation of high nutrient value vegetables and fruits.

Snoop Dogg Message To Lance Armstrong

Ivan Basso: “I want to win the Tour”

Ivan Basso (Liquigas-Doimo) returns to the Tour de France this year for the first time since being excluded before the start of the 2006 race after being implicated in Operacion Puerto. After winning the Giro d'Italia, the Italian now has the yellow jersey in his sights. Speaking to La Stampa, he made his aims clear: “I want to the win the Tour”.

“I feel the Tour in my heart. It seems like a cliché, I know, but it’s actually not like that, because my career began at the Tour”, the Varese-born rider said. “I can win the Tour with the desire and hunger for victory, and with the help of a team like the one that you saw at the Giro d’Italia.”

Basso hopes that Roman Kreuziger will fulfil the strong support role that Vincenzo Nibali did so well during the Giro. He has worked hard to build a strong rapport with the talented young Czech rider. “As soon as the Giro was over I went to train on the Col de la Madeleine with Kreuziger. We rode together and talked a lot. It’s fundamental to speak to one another. In a couple of year’s time, I will be helping Nibali and Kreuziger.”

As for his rivals for Tour de France yellow, Basso sees Alberto Contador as the outstanding favourite. “He is the best, he has already won all the stage races that count, the Giro, Vuelta and Tour. He’s very strong on the climbs, very strong in the time-trials. A champion like him is only born every fifty years, but that doesn’t mean that he’s unbeatable…”

Basso lists himself among the small group of contenders waiting to take advantage if Contador slips up, namely the Schleck brothers, Cadel Evans, Denis Mencov and, of course, Lance Armstrong. The influence of Armstrong’s example on Basso’s mindset and preparation has always been apparent, and his admiration for the Texan is palpable. “Only somebody like him could finish on the podium of the Tour at 38 years of age. I am Lance’s fan, colleague, adversary and friend”.

Basso was somewhat less effusive, however, when asked about the Tours he missed due to his suspension for what La Stampa diplomatically referred to as being “close” to certain “infamous” doctors. He prefered to focus on the future. “By reaching the Arena in Verona with the pink jersey, I closed the door on my two years of solitude, the most difficult period of my life. I put an end to a story and began to write another.” As for cycling’s problems at large, Basso would only say that “there are problems in every family, but I really couldn’t say what I don’t like [in cycling today].”

Basso was excluded from the 2006 Tour de France and dropped by his CSC team for his involvement in Operacion Puerto. He initially protested his innocence and signed for Discovery Channel for the 2007 season, before finally admitting to having “attempted doping” under the supervision of Dr. Eufemiano Fuentes. He served a backdated suspension that expired in October 2008.

After winning the Giro d'Italia, Basso is now focused on the mountain stages of this year’s Tour, where he believes he can repeat his feats from the Giro. “This Tour has more climbs (than usual) and the time-trial on the penultimate day might not be decisive. If I want to beat Contador, the opportunities are in the Alps and the Pyrenees. I’m praying that I can repeat the magic of the Zoncolan (stage 15 of the Giro), when 3km from the finish I felt a click, something moved inside of me and I went away from Evans”.

As Italy looks for a repeat of Marco Pantani's Giro-Tour double of 1998, Basso is clearly warming to the task. “From this moment onwards, only the Tour exists for me,” he said.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Who Is Mark Sisson?

Mark Sisson is the author of a #1 bestselling health book on, The Primal Blueprint, as well as The Primal Blueprint Cookbook and the top-rated health and fitness blog He is also the founder of Primal Nutrition, Inc., a company devoted to health education and designing state-of-the-art supplements that address the challenges of living in the modern world.

Read on for more about Mark's background from Mark himself.

I am the oldest of four children, born and raised in Maine. I was always interested in human health and athletic performance, probably because my father had been a top track and field athlete and inspired me to test myself at an early age (I even broke my leg at age two jumping off a rock for distance). By age 12, I was holding one-boy track meets in my backyard, running laps around the block and pole-vaulting with a bamboo pole into a dirt pit. My mother was always interested in achieving good health through nutrition, so I also began devouring books on health and nutrition.

I excelled at cross-country and distance track events in high school and at Williams College, where I was a pre-med candidate and received my degree in Biology.

In fact, the running was going so well after college that I decided to forgo medical school for a few years (it’s at 31 years now) and concentrate on a running career. I trained seriously as a marathoner for another five years, racking up well over 100 miles each week in training. The effort culminated in a top 5 finish in the 1980 US National Marathon Championships and a qualifying spot for the 1980 US Olympic Trials. Unfortunately, by then the inhuman amount of training and weekly racing was taking its toll and I found myself constantly sick or injured. (Note to self: too much exercise is not a good thing). In fact, in my last year of competition, as a world class, extremely “fit” athlete, I experienced eight upper respiratory infections! Clearly I was ruining my immune system and my joints doing too much exercise. That’s when I started exploring nutrition and supplementation as a way to enhance my performance and to support my damaged body and bolster my immune system.

The running injuries – osteoarthritis and tendonitis – precluded ever racing at a high level again, but that was just about the time that the new sport of Triathlon was starting to emerge, and I was immediately hooked. While I couldn’t run much anymore, I could certainly cycle and swim to my heart’s content…and I did. I spent a few more years racing triathlons, including finishing 4th place at the Hawaii Ironman, the biggest in the world at the time.

I finally retired from competition in 1988 and decided I would do whatever I could to help others avoid making the kinds of health mistakes that I had made. I figured I could use my pre-medical background, my degree in biology and an intense desire to unlock the health secrets that I knew were out there – answers to questions about health, wellness, anti-aging, safe weight-loss, nutrition and supplementation – to find the natural ways of achieving good health.

I wrote several books, including Maximum Results, The Fat Control System, The Anti-aging Report and The Lean Lifestyle Program (over 400,000 copies distributed). I edited the Optimum Health national health newsletter (circ. 90,000) from 1994 through 1996.

But most importantly, I saw the need for specific natural supplements to address the concerns of aging baby-boomers who needed nutritional “tools” to help them achieve better health. I was appalled at the amount of medications people were taking and the speed with which people were having surgery to address lifestyle problems. So I drew on my extensive research and science background to design natural state-of-the-art health-enhancing nutritional supplements and educational diet and exercise systems.

During this time, I also served for 15 years as the volunteer elected anti-doping and drug-testing chairman of the International Triathlon Union and as its liaison to the International Olympic Committee.

At the end of 2006, I decided to jump into the blogosphere to help foster compelling, critical and enjoyable health discussions. Founding is one of the best things I've ever done and has been incredibly rewarding.

Out of the blog came The Primal Blueprint (2009), The Primal Blueprint Cookbook (2010) and the inaugural PrimalCon (2010), a 3-day retreat bringing together members of the Primal community for a weekend of amazing food, great company, educational breakout sessions, and a little play, rest and relaxation.

My life has been one built around health and fitness and I don't plan for that to ever end. I've made it my personal goal to help 10 million people achieve their ultimate genetic potential. To this end my team and I have many exciting new ventures planned for 2010 and beyond. I hope you'll check back often to learn how my story, the story of The Primal Blueprint, and, most importantly, the stories of all the Primal Blueprinters out there, unfold.

Grok on!

Mark Sisson

Click on the title link to read more about the Primal Blueprint...

Lance Armstrong - Imagery & The Alps

By Paige Dunn

After drying off from a very wet Tour de Suisse, Lance went right back to work in the Alps where he set off for a series of recon missions. There are many reasons to pre ride a course before an event, but from a mental perspective, one of the most powerful reasons is the ability to take away what he experiences during that recon and create a powerful imagery exercise that he can then utilize for the next few weeks leading up to the Tour de France to mentally rehearse his ideal performance. He will ultimately be more prepared, more confident and more focused by incorporating imagery exercises in to his training over the next few weeks.

Numerous studies have shown that when athletes use the power of their mind to actually see themselves perform their sport through mental rehearsals and imagery exercises, they can go on to achieve the images set forth in their minds. Using imagery, and the power of the mind to create successful athletic performances, can in fact help athletes achieve successful performances. And that’s exactly what Lance intends to do.

Incorporating imagery practice into your own cycling training can enhance your performance and may even help you achieve that which you deem impossible. That impossible climb that you thought you’d never be able to do? Well start using imagery and you’ll be surprised to see what just might happen one day. Considerable research supports the value of imagery practice and it has been shown to increase motivation, improve confidence, improve focus and can even help you learn new technique or skill.

Here’s how to get started – imagine your ideal sport performance and start writing down everything about that experience by creating an “imagery script”. See, hear and feel yourself riding exactly the way you want. Be as specific as possible. Write down every detail you can see, hear and feel. The more senses you can include, the more effective the imagery experience will be. For Lance’s imagery script to be the most effective, he might include details such as what it smelled like during certain points on the course, how the road underneath him sent vibrations through his body and maybe even what the wind felt like across his cheeks.

When you have finished writing down your imagery script, edit and revise it until you are satisfied that you have captured your ideal performance at your event. Then dictate it into a recording device and listen to your finished imagery script once a day leading up to a key event. Pick a quiet time and place where you won’t be disturbed. Some athletes choose to do their imagery every night before they go to bed or first thing in the morning.

Successful imagery requires motivation and commitment and needs to be practiced consistently. Schedule your imagery like you would any other thing in your life, such as a workout or training session, and before long it will become second nature. Imagine that.

Road To Fabulous - IronMan Paul Martin

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Benefits of Swimming for Weight Loss

Losing weight requires you to burn more calories than you consume. The American College of Sports Medicine advises performing at least an hour of moderate-intensity exercise five times per week to encourage weight loss. U.S. Masters Swimming notes that swimming is a fun, healthy and challenging form of exercise appropriate for all fitness and experience levels. In addition to helping strengthen your heart, improve flexibility and enhance your mood, swimming encourages weight loss.

A pound of weight is equivalent to 3,500 calories, so to lose pounds you must create a calorie deficit. Physical exercise, particularly cardiovascular work that makes your heart beat faster and that utilizes the large muscles of the body, is recommended to help you create a greater daily calorie burn. An hour of swimming for a 160-lb. person burns about 500 calories, per the Mayo Clinic.

Low-Impact Workout

The American Council on Exercise notes that the buoyancy of water reduces your "weight" by approximately 90 percent. The result is a significant reduction in stress on the hips, knees and the back. People who find traditional calorie-burning activities like running, kickboxing and dancing too jarring can still raise their heart rate and burn calories. Obese people may find swimming much more comfortable than work on fitness machines, which involve impact and may not accommodate the size of their bodies.

Builds Lean Muscle Mass

Water provides 12 to 14 percent more resistance than air. The act of swimming -- kicking and moving your arms against the water's resistance -- helps build lean muscle mass and improves your overall body composition. Lean muscle mass is more metabolically active than fat tissue, and thus, you burn more calories when at rest. Adding hand-held buoys, noodles and kickboards to your swim increases the muscle-building effects of swimming.

Water Fitness

Even if you do not know how to swim, a pool can help you get an effective calorie-burning workout. Deep water walking burns more calories than walking on solid ground because of the resistance of the water. Water fitness classes also provide an opportunity to exercise in a group setting, without the impact of traditional aerobics. Group exercise promotes adherence, camaraderie and calorie burn.

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Cavendish's Rivals Out To Destroy Him

Mark Cavendish's rivals are out to “destroy” his Tour de France preparations, HTC-Columbia Directeur Sportif Valerio Piva has said. He accused others in the peloton of playing mind games with the Manx sprinter.

“The competition wants to destroy Mark Cavendish's Tour preparations,” Piva told, because they are jealous of his six stage wins last year.

"There is a lot of jealousy in the peloton, because Mark won many races last year. They want to get at him mentally for the Tour," said the Italian. "The others make him out to be a devil."

“Incomprehensible,” Piva continued. “A few weeks before the Tour, and the others want to turn the screws on him.”

Piva also defended his rider's actions in the crash at the finale of the Tour de Suisse's fourth stage. “He backed off a bit from his line, but others did, too.”

He concluded that the Manx sprinter did not suffer any serious injuries. “We are not worried about his condition. It's just pain, nothing broken.

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Snowsill Takes Second Hy-Vee Title

Aussie Emma Snowsill won her second Hy-Vee ITU Triathlon Elite Cup in Des Moines, Iowa today, topping countrywoman Emma Moffatt by 16 seconds. Snowsill came into T2 over a minute behind the leaders and then posted the day’s best run split of 34:05 to take the win.

Severe thunderstorms throughout the morning gave way to calm conditions for the start of the women’s race. As expected, Americans Sarah McLarty and Hayley Peirsol broke away on the first of two laps on the swim, as the pair battled for the $5,000 swim prime. McLarty was the first to exit the water and earn the bonus, topping Peirsol with a hard sprint in the final 100 meters of the swim.

McLarty and Peirsol set off on the bike with a one-minute advantage on the chase pack, which contained a number of the pre-race favourites, including Americans Sarah Haskins and Laura Bennett, Moffatt, and Daniela Ryf of Switzerland. World number one Barbara Riveros Diaz and Snowsill entered T1 in the third group, another minute behind the chasers.

The pair of Americans held off the chase pack of 20 women throughout the entire 40K bike leg, losing only a handful of seconds on each of the eight laps. Peirsol and McLarty exited the second transition with a 40 second gap on the chase pack, but the lead didn’t last long. Snowsill exited transition another 30 seconds back of the chase group, alongside current world number one Riveros Diaz.

A small pack of six women broke away from the first chase group to take the lead on the first lap of the run. In the group were Moffatt, Jenkins, Findlay, Brit Jodie Stimpson, American Laura Bennett and Kiwi Andrea Hewitt. By the halfway point of the run, Snowsill had caught all but the six women running in front. She finally caught the front group on the third of four run laps and immediately moved to the front of the bunch to take the lead. Snowsill broke away from the lead group on the final lap, extending her lead throughout the final two kilometres of the run.

“I knew I had a big gap to make up when I got to transition, but I just started reeling them in one by one and before I knew it I could see the lead group,” Snowsill said.

The 2008 Hy-Vee champ broke the tape in 1:59:35, earning the top prize of $200,000 for the second time in her career. Moffatt’s runner-up finish earned her $50,000, with Jenkins cashing in $25,000 for finishing third.

Hy-Vee ITU Elite Cup
West Des Moines, Iowa—June 13, 2010
1.5km swim, 40km bike, 10km run

1. Emma Snowsill (AUS) 1:59:35
2. Emma Moffatt (AUS) 1:59:51
3. Helen Jenkins (GBR) 1:59:51
4. Paula Findlay (CAN) 1:59:54
5. Andrea Hewitt (NZL) 2:00:01
6. Laura Bennett (USA) 2:00:18
7. Jodie Stimpson (GBR) 2:00:25
8. Nicky Samuels (NZL) 2:01:14
9. Liz Blatchford (GBR) 2:01:30
10. Daniela Ryf (SUI) 2:01:38

Eagleman sees Bozzone streak continue

We have been commenting on this for a few weeks now and it just keeps on growing. The Terrenzo Bozzone form streak is alive and well as the New Zealander runs the razor edge of form right to the limit. This time it was the Eagleman 70.3 and Bozzone ran away with another brilliant win.

The day began with a chase for Bozzone. David Kahn was the man out of the water early and onto the bike with 90 seconds in his back pocket. Loaded with his time buffer would have been the fear of what was behind him. One of the more interesting athletic cases of season 2010 Phil Graves was in hunt early. He and young gun Andrew Yoder were the ones to set the pace on the bike. It was Yoder who out rode everyone and he racked his bike 4 minutes ahead of Bozzone and Cotter. Graves was behind but not out of it as he went out for his run.

But it was all about to go pear shaped for Graves, An implosion ended his day and his run time (1:44) suggests something is not right and maybe a rest is beckoning. Tim Marr was in similar territory with a (1:43) run that was never going to set the world alight. These guys will be back to fight another day.

At the head of affairs Andrew Yoder's storming bike leg was taking it's toll. Behind him Bozzone was doing his best running man impersonation as he took the lead from the fading but brave Yoder. But Bpozzone is simply too good these days. He has the 70.3 distance so well dialed in it is hard to think he will ever fall out of form. His continued presence at the pointy end of the field makes the stretch of his streak all the more impressive. He came across the line to add yet another title to his list. James Cotter and Andrew Yoder had great days and finished in the podium mix.

The women's race was going to be a cracker but it went the way of one. Sam Warriner was not in a patient mood as she did not wait for anyone during this event. She exited the water ahead of some very good triathlon talent including Sam McGlone, Michellie Jones and Desiree Ficker.

That was as close as any of the women would get to Warriner as she lit the afterburners and rode away. Her bike time (2:21) was the days fastest and it gave her the separation she needed. Out of T2 Warriner made it a procession as she finished off her opposition. Behind her Samantha McGlone was having a great day out and ran herself into second ahead of Michellie Jones.

But it was Warriner's race. She was clearly the best as she was never headed throughout the day.

Men's results

1. Terenzo Bozzone (NZL) 3:58:17
2. James Cotter (USA) 3:59:51
3. Andrew Yoder (USA) 4:00:38
4. Victor Zyemtsev (UKR) 4:03:15
5. David Kahn (USA) 4:04:50

Women's Results

1. Sam Warriner (NZL) 4:20:01
2. Samantha McGlone (CAN) 4:25:22
3. Michellie Jones (AUS) 4:28:25
4. Desiree Ficker (USA) 4:31:53
5. Natascha Badmann (SWI) 4:38:26

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Mastering the Mental Game: Pre-performance Routines

By Paige Dunn

Lance Armstrong knows that focusing on the mental side of his sport is equally important as the physical side. We’ll be taking a look at some of the mental tools that he has mastered that allow Lance to perform at his best. We’ll start this week with pre-performance routines.

What a cyclist does the hours and even minutes before an event can be crucial to the outcome of their performance. Developing a pre-performance routine can be a useful tool for any athlete and help you achieve your optimal performance state.

Three hours before any given event, Lance puts his pre-performance routine into action. This routine is a well thought out plan that he sticks to time after time. He may tweak or make minor changes after he learns more about what might work better for him or make a change that is event specific, but following a consistent plan helps him focus on what he needs to, to perform at his best. In fact, studies show that elite performers adopt more consistent pre-performance routines than their less skilled counterparts.

A typical pre-performance routine for Lance looks something like this – approximately three hours before he is to race, Lance arrives at his event and begin his routine begins. First he must battle the crowds that are typical as he exits the team bus and makes his way to sign himself in for the race. Although navigating the crowds and screaming fans and media can be stressful, Lance stays focused on his mental plan and the pre-performance routine he has just begun by running through some self-talk and focusing on his plan for the day. This self-talk and internal dialogue is something that only Lance himself is privy to. He knows himself well as an athlete and he knows what he needs to say to himself to get him in the right frame of mind.

About two hours prior to the start he’ll pin his race number on. For some athletes they will do this very routine step in a very specific way at a very specific time and consider this a ritual to duplicate with every race. Then at about 90 minutes out it’s on to his trainer for a very specific workout that will warm up his body and allow him to prepare his mental game. With about ten minutes to go, he makes any final adjustments and he is ready to race.

Although this pre-performance routine may sound simple, it is extremely effective and allows Lance to focus on what he needs to prior to the event. By staying focused on his routine, he avoids focusing on any distraction that may come his way. He concentrates on sustaining calm breathing and a peaceful performance state that will allow him to ease in to an event exactly the way he needs to.

One specific tool that is part of Lance’s pre-performance routine is listening to music to sustain his focus. Twitter followers probably already know that Bon Iver and Band of Horses are among Lance’s top music choices. Those familiar with Bon Iver know that his music might be described as smooth, melodic, calming yet upbeat…. A perfect choice for Lance who has learned that his optimal pre-performance state most effectively mirrors those attributes.

click on the title link to read on....

Monday, June 7, 2010

Basso heads to the Alps to begin Tour de France preparation

Following a week of riding criteriums and celebrating his victory at the Giro d'Italia, Ivan Basso (Liquigas-Doimo) begins his preparation for the Tour de France today, heading to the French Alps, to study two key mountain stages.

Basso will spend two days in the Alps studying the climbs of stages 8 to Morzine and then stage 9 from Morzine to Saint-Jean-de-Maurienne. Today he is expected to study the Col de la Ramaz (14.3km at an average of 6.8%) and the climb to Morzine (13.6km at 6.1%). Tomorrow he will ride the four early climbs during the 204.5km of stage 9 and study the Col de la Madeleine (25.5km at 6.2%) before the descent to Saint-Jean-de-Maurienne.

Basso has confirmed that he won't ride another stage race before the Tour de France but will spend time at altitude immediately after his trip to the Alps and only ride two one-day races later in June. He is convinced it is more important to focus on training and recovering as much as possible from the Giro, rather than ride the Tour de Suisse.

"I'm going to train at the Passo San Pellegrino with some teammates between June 9 and 23. I'll only come down from there to ride the GP Nobili on June 19 and the Italian national championships on June 26," Basso told Gazzetta dello Sport.

"I raced very little in the first part of the season before the Giro and that will be an advantage. But you can never relax too much after a big race. I enjoyed my win with my family for a few days after the Giro but I quickly got back to being a rider again. There are only five weeks between the Giro and the Tour but time flies and so we'll soon be in Rotterdam."

Despite the huge effort needed to win a Grand Tour, Basso is convinced he can challenge Alberto Contador in July.

"To win a Grand Tour you have to go well in time trials and in the mountains, and have a good team. I think Contador is currently the best climber in the world and in the top three time trialists in the world, behind Cancellara. If he doesn't have a bad day or if you're unable to use the team to your advantage, it's almost impossible to beat him," he said.

"However I think I can do an excellent Tour de France. I think the Giro has done me good. Doing the Giro and Tour in the same season is tough and can cost you something but it's worth the risk. I'm happier to start the Tour after winning the Giro rather than being fresher. I'm confident about my form and the strength of my team."

Friday, June 4, 2010

Tim DeBoom - His First "Bonk"

The ride guide book said it was just under 97-kilometres. It was described as a flat 20-kilometres to the base of the climb, then a gradual 32-kilometres up, followed by a rolling 15-kilometres high in the mountains and then a screaming 26-kilometre descent back into town.

My brother, Tony, and I had just arrived in Boulder, Colorado, a few days prior. We had achieved plenty of success coming out of our home state of Iowa, but we wanted to taste what it was like to be in the triathlon land of kings and to see if training here could up our game even more.

Everyone who has crested that last hill heading north on Highway 36 before dropping into Boulder knows the feeling. The Flatirons stare at you as the foothills of the Rocky Mountains endlessly linger northward. Longs Peak, at 4346-metres, gives you a glimpse of the high country adventure that awaits. When I came over that hill the first time, I felt the hair on my neck stand up, and I knew this was my new home.

We wanted to experience the climbs of Boulder immediately, so we set out on the ride. 97-kilometres was not daunting, and the plan was to go easy and enjoy the climb. Rolling out of town, we caught a glimpse of another cyclist coming back into town. After a double take, Tony casually said, “Did you see who that was?” Obviously I had, as my tempo had increased above the prescribed easy pace, and I tried to hold back my own excitement and answer coolly, “Looked like Mark Allen to me.”

We got through the town of Lyons, which would later become my home for five years, and to the base of the climb. We both felt great, but we agreed that the way out was not flat by any means. What could have been a brooding foreshadowing was brushed off with a flick to the small chainring and a burst up the initial pitches of the climb.

please click on the title link to read on......

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Basso Looks Ahead to Tour de France

Recently-crowned Giro d'Italia champion Ivan Basso has promised to compete with the few real contenders for cycling's prestigious yellow jersey after pledging to race the Tour de France in July. Basso, who finished runner-up to seven-time champion Lance Armstrong in 2005, secured his second pink jersey from the Giro d'Italia on Sunday only two years after completing a doping ban.

The Italian has since been advised to bask in that win, achieved after a solid campaign by his Liquigas team throughout three weeks of thrilling racing. Meanwhile, Italian cycling legend Felice Gimondi, the 1965 yellow jersey champion known for his epic rivalry with Eddy Merckx, doubts Basso's ability to compete with a tougher field at the Tour.

"He should rest up, and focus instead on coming back stronger to the Tour next year," said Gimondi. "At the Tour the competition will be a whole different level altogether, riders who will be far stronger than the opposition he faced at the Giro."

Basso, however, believes he can be a main protagonist come July. When the 'Operation Puerto' drugs scandal erupted in May 2006, he, from dozens of cyclists and a reported 200 athletes in total, was one of the first casualties. All set to succeed the recently retired Armstrong, the Italian was instead thrown off the race before a pedal had been turned in anger. After taking a significant step back to redemption on Sunday, Basso - who has claimed he is racing 100 percent clean - is hoping a return to his beloved Tour will finally bury the sorry memories of his expulsion in 2006.

"I just have to race the Tour," he said. "That's where my career was shattered (in 2006), and it's there that it will really start again."

"I haven't even looked at the race route, but that's the first thing I will do when I get home on Monday."

Basso said he will rest and then reconnoiter key mountain stages on the race in the coming weeks, during which his rivals will be honing their own preparations. Although Armstrong, Andy Schleck, Basso, Cadel Evans and Britain's Bradley Wiggins will all be expected to challenge for the yellow jersey, Astana's Alberto Contador will be the name on everyone's lips when the Tour begins in the Dutch port of Rotterdam on July 3.

Basso admits Contador, a Tour champion in 2007 who also won the Tour of Italy and Tour of Spain in 2008, is a notch above everyone else.

"Contador is the number one, ahead of everyone else," added the Italian. "Behind him there's a bunch of outsiders such as (Cadel) Evans, Schleck, Armstrong and myself."

But the Italian insists he won't be competing just to make up the numbers.

"Winning this pink jersey has given me back my confidence, and my ambition. I'll go to the Tour with humility, but, with a solid team behind me, with belief that I can compete with the best."

2010 Auburn Triathlon wrap up

By Brad Kearns

The 8th Annual Auburn Triathlon was held on Sunday, May 23, 2010 in
the scenic Sierra foothills town of Auburn. Athletes contested the
World's Toughest Half, a long course duathlon (3k-56mi-13.1mi), and a
new Sprint distance tri of 1k-30k-7k. The duathlon and half starts
were staged to sync the arrival of the leaders into T1 at the same
time, then battle it out head-to-head in the remaining two events. New
spectator-friendly elements were introduced in 2010 - a two-loop swim
course of 1k and a three-loop run course of 7k where long course
racers ran thru cheering spectators in a tented village at the finish
line on each lap. UC Berkeley grad student Craig Fellers bested all
triathletes and duathletes to the finish line, to win the half in
4:57. Fellers, runner-up in 2008 in 100+ degree temperatures, handled
the unseasonably cool conditions this year. “Auburn Half Ironman is
definitely the most fun race out there,” said Fellers, who competes
with the Cal Triathlon team. “The bike course is incredible, more
hills than you can possibly imagine. It’s so much fun. I just had the
absolute time of my life.” Reno's Amy Bottenberg, 2009 World's
Toughest Half runner-up, bested the field by 16 minutes with a time of

Leroy Thomas, an Australian living in Roseburg, OR, was the duathlon
champion in a time of 4:37. 49-year-old Duathlon runner-up John Drury
had a dramatic day. A broken wetsuit zipper left him frantic at the
starting line, and race director Brad Kearns suggested he participate
in the duathlon instead. Drury scrambled around T1 in search of
running shoes, finally getting a pair that was "close enough" in size.
Meanwhile the duathlon had started, forcing Drury to play catch up
with the field. “I just kept plugging away and when it was all said
and done, to be able to race and make the most of it is great,” said
Drury. “I really wanted to do the triathlon but the alternative was to
not race at all. It was a pretty unreal day. Anything that could go
wrong did go wrong.” Defending female duathlon champion Mari Chandler
ceded her title to Tanja Tamguney, but was only 3 minutes behind in
the runner-up spot. The Sprint Triathlon was won by Luis Santos, a
Portugese living in Reno, NV, in a tight battle with Nathan Helming,
who was 17 seconds behind. Emily Cocks beat local favorite Robin
Soares to win the women's Sprint Triathlon.

Athletes lauded the festival setting at an all grass soccer park
finish line, and the extreme and diverse challenge of the bike course,
which climbed from Folsom Lake (el. 400') in the Sacramento Valley,
east into the Sierra Nevada, reaching a high point of 2,450' at mile
30. The run course took place entirely within the Auburn State Park,
100% free of auto traffic. Athletes enjoyed scenic views of the
American River several hundred feet below and a challenging 200' climb
on each lap. Complete race stories, photos and results are at

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Ivan Basso Basks In Giro Glory

It seems that redemption is complete for Ivan Basso. On Sunday afternoon the 2006 Giro d'Italia champion secured another title in his national tour and announced the impending birth of his third child.

Liquigas' captain has been unequivocal in declaring that this latest victory is completely different to that which he took four years ago and during the race's final press conference, after pulling on the maglia rosa, he admitted that his victory marked the start of a new phase of his career.

He explained that the Giro had been a hard race but success has galvanised him and made him believe he can now take on Alberto Contador at the Tour de France in July.

Ivan Basso: The emotions of the last few days have all come true. I'm really happy. It's hard just after the race to understand what I've done, it'll take me a few days to take it all in. It's been a fantastic day and to finish in the arena with my children there waiting for me."

A few days ago my wife told me that were going to have a third child. I'm happy to tell everybody the news today.

Is this the start of a new part of your life?

IB: For sure it's a start of something new for me. I'll be 33 at the end of the year. I think I can still be a protagonist in the Grand Tours. It's the start of that new chapter. There are some really strong riders out there. One is my teammate Vincenzo Nibali but there's also Alberto Contador, Andy Schleck, Contador, Robert Gesink and others I can't remember but don't want to forget.

There's a generation of 23-or 24-year-olds too, riders like Richie Porte here, [riders] who will grow and develop, while I'll grow old. I'll keep going till the road tells me to change objectives.

But after this performance I'm very ambitious, starting with the next Tour de France. I know that Contador has done some amazing things, I know it won't be easy but I've got to fight.

As I said at the start of the Giro, even if I finish behind a rider like Cadel, I'd lose with honour. It will be the same at the Tour with Contador."

After what you've shown here, can you match Contador in the mountains?

IB: "I haven't thought about the Tour de France yet. I know it starts in Rotterdam and finishes in Paris and that's it.

I don't know what I can do against Contador because I've never raced against him at his very best. But what he did in the last fours years is amazing improvement.

I believe I can do something but as ever, with a lot of respect and humility. It's the way I've done things in this Giro and I'll have to do the same in the Tour de France.

The team will be behind me and united. We'll do our best but we know that Contador hasn't lost a stage race he's ridden in the last few years. It'll be hard but we'll try. Even this guy [Evans] is a threat."

Did you suffer to win the Giro?

IB: I really suffered. I think it was great Giro that everyone enjoyed. I think everyone who rode this year's Giro was aggressive right from the start. There was an attack after one kilometre on the first road stage in Holland. We did 50km/h for the first hour of most stages.

The stage to Montalcino shaped the general classification early on and then there was disaster of the L'Aquila stage. That created a lot of tension and interest for the race, to see how it would end. It was really hard every day. It was harder to chase and pull back time rather than lead the race."

Is this year's Giro better than last year's?

IB: I'm convinced I had a good season last year. I raced my last Giro in 2006 and so came back after three years last year. To get fourth and then fifth in the Vuelta means I had a good season. This result was built on the base of last year.

When you hugged your children on the podium, it marked the end of a difficult period for you. Have they rediscovered their father?

IB: They were very little when things happened. It's difficult to fully understand what they felt. Domitilla speaks to me with her eyes and I know today she was very happy. She remembers when she climbed on podium at the Tour.

In 2008, mid-way through my 'dark period', I watched the last stage of the Tour that Carlos Sastre won. I was happy for him and when Domitilla saw his kids go on the podium, I realised that she wanted to experience that again. I remembered that and so today was special to get off my bike and find my two children there waiting for me."

When will your next child be born?

IB: It will be born around Christmas or New Year. I found out on Saturday morning, the day of the stage of the Monte Grappa. The day after I went on the attack.

Who do you want to dedicate your Giro victory to?

IB: I've got to thank a lot of people. I'll call them one by one and explain how their support has been important for me. Some people were very supportive, so it's for my family, my team, my coach Aldo Sassi. Most people know what's he's going through. He's a fantastic person. I want to make a special thanks to all the people who have supported be through good and bad.

Felice Gimondi has said you should miss the Tour de France and savour this success. Do you agree? Why do you want to ride the Tour?

IB: I want to give back to the Tour what it's given to me. I love the Tour. I know what it gave me in between 2001 and 2005: some very intense emotions and I want to give them back.

I'll call Gimondi and ask his advice. You can train and programme everything but sometimes you have to listen to your emotions. I really want to ride the Tour. I've had the road book for a few months but I know that tomorrow I'll look at it and start thinking about the Tour.