Saturday, April 30, 2011

Zabriskie powers to Romandie time trial win

David Zabriskie (Garmin-Cervélo) took time trial victory at the Tour de Romandie to claim his first win since last year’s Tour of California, while Cadel Evans (BMC) struck a potentially crucial blow in the race for overall victory by snatching the yellow jersey.

Zabriskie may have enjoyed slightly more favourable wind conditions than the very latest starters, but the American was still full value for his victory. On an undulating 20.1km course, Zabriskie’s class told over the testing terrain as he pipped Richie Porte (Saxo Bank-SunGard) for the win.

Among the day’s early starters, Porte had the best time at all of the intermediate checks, with Zabriskie the only man to threaten his marks. Eventually, the American’s strength would tell over the final 5km, and he managed to pull off the win.

Ivan Basso looks to get Tour de France preparation back on track

Ivan Basso (Liquigas-Cannondale) has put his recent indifferent form down to the fact that he has raced early and often this season. The Italian is currently competing at the Tour de Romandie, where he continues his build-up to the Tour de France.

“I started in January when I rode the Tour de San Luis in Argentina,” Basso told L’Équipe. “I’ve racked up racing days without ever being totally relaxed because a rider of my stature is always a little at the centre of attention.”

Basso took victory at the GP Lugano in February and was present near the front throughout Tirreno-Adriatico. However, he failed to make an impact at the Volta Catalunya and was forced to abandon the Tour of the Basque Country, citing illness.

“I didn’t have any feeling,” Basso explained. He subsequently completed Flèche Wallonne and Liège-Bastogne-Liège in 50th and 72nd place respectively. After beginning his season with the intention of picking up a series of victories in the spring, Basso now admits that his sole focus is on preparing for the Tour de France.

“My body finished up by saying ‘stop’ and my sole concern from now on is to get my approach to the Tour back on track,” he said.

After Romandie, his next stage race will be the Critérium du Dauphiné in June, and Basso also has a training camp at altitude in the Dolomites pencilled in immediately before the Tour.

Basso also refused to be drawn on the possibility that Alberto Contador (Saxo Bank-SunGard) might not be on the start line of the Tour. The Spaniard is awaiting a verdict from the Court of Arbitration for Sport after the UCI appealed his national federation’s decision not to sanction him for a positive test for Clenbuterol at last year’s Tour.

“I’m not worrying myself with that kind of consideration,” Basso said. “Cycling has only one tactic: ride faster than the others. There is very little physical difference between the top eight or ten Grand Tour riders in the world, and everything is decided by tiny details, notably in the approach to the race.”

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Lance Armstrong and George W. Bush bike with wounded warriors

Lance Armstrong joined George W. Bush on Wednesday for the final leg of the former president's 62-mile mountain bike ride with 15 U.S. soldiers who lost limbs or were seriously injured in Iraq or Afghanistan.

Bush_275 The seven-time Tour de France champion commended the soldiers for their will to recover and teased Bush about his athleticism.

“Today, he started fast but then he kind of blew a gasket,” Armstrong joked.

Bush, 64, replied: “Well, I'm eligible for Medicare next year.”

The former president said his three-day ride on the desert trails of Big Bend National Park, on the U.S.-Mexico border in southwestern Texas, was "real cool, unbelievable."

“As a commander in chief, it was my decision to put them in harm's way in the first place,” he said of the soldiers. “I feel a special bond toward them and I want them to know I'll never forget them.”

The soldiers are part of the nonprofit Wounded Warrior project.

Tim DeBoom Checks In....

The Following article was written by Tim after he and his wife, Nicole DeBoom, traveled to the Mauna Lani Bay Hotel and Bungalows on the Big Island of Hawaii, and worked with CNN’s six novice triathletes last week. They helped them prepare for the August 7 Nautica New York City Triathlon. They worked on the specific sports of triathlon, swimming, biking and running, as well as how to be more mentally tough.

The Big Island of Hawaii has given me many gifts over the past 20 years. Some have come as victories in the Ironman Triathlon, others as hard lessons learned through disappointment, and still more just from the beauty of exploring an incredible island in the middle of the Pacific Ocean. This past week, I received another unexpected gift from working with a group of people all training for their first triathlon.

When I first met the CNN 6-pack on the first morning of their trip, I could see and feel the nervousness in each of their faces. They were excited, but definitely a little unsure of what was ahead of them in the coming week.

Ironically, I was proud of them before we even started the first lecture. They were here. They had taken a chance, gone through the application process, and accepted this challenge. That was a courageous act. All of us are guilty of getting caught up in our own little worlds and letting our lives become unbalanced. Acknowledging that need for balance and then willing to make the tough changes to find it, takes courage. And to do it all under scrutiny, on national television, is downright brave.

Throughout the week I was amazed at the determination and enthusiasm all the athletes showed. They soaked up the lectures and workouts like coral reef sponges, asking questions and coming back for more each morning. They all had their strengths, weaknesses, and fears. None of them ever gave up.

Even the leader of CNN’s Fit Nation, Dr. Sanjay Gupta, showed that he struggles with balance in his life. He admitted to not finding the time to train for the upcoming triathlon like he wanted, but he was there with the other athletes, pushing his body and vowing to find more time in the coming months.

I walked away from the week rejuvenated. The energy of the 6-pack was contagious and I found a little extra energy during my own workouts just thinking about how much improvement the group had made in a few short days. They all had a little confidence in their eyes when we said goodbye, that only some time on the Queen K highway can give you. That will serve them well as they continue their training in preparation for the big day. Most importantly, I can feel that this challenge is not a passing fancy that will end with the race in August. I think they are all committed to continuing their fitness goals.

All the best of luck to Kas, Kendrick, Scott, Joaquin, Stasia, Nina, and Sanjay too. Keep up the great work. Continue the search for the balance we all seek. I will be watching along with everyone else and rooting for you every stroke, pedal, and step of the way.

Yours in Sport,

Tim DeBoom

Monday, April 25, 2011

Dave Z Checks In......


I returned home from racing La Sarthe and was reviewing my race schedule. I had a bit more than two weeks until my next race at Romandie and a day with the family was on the immediate schedule. Randi and I packed up some food for a picnic in the forest by a nice river I have passed by many times on my bike. It was fun to play with Waylon in the river. I’m not sure who enjoyed themselves more, he or I. During our river visit we talked about getting up to the mountains for an extended stay.

I had been contemplating going to the mountains to do some altitude training but we really hadn’t had much time to make it happen. Randi was all for it and while there at the river we decided to make it a family trip. I got on the internet and found a hotel in one of the highest parts of the tiny country of Andorra, about 3.5 hours southeast of Girona. But first I had to get a bike rack for the car or we wouldn’t be able to fit much luggage after I packed the bike. So off to the bike shop for me. I grabbed one of the racks that strap to the back of the car and started hooking it up while Randi went off to the health food store to buy as much food as she thought we’d need.

It’s best we be prepared as we’ve not been to this hotel before and we weren’t sure how their menu would work with our diet. When we finally got everything together we happily hit the road. Two kids, bike, food, gear, luggage, laptop and we were set for a little adventure. But because we got a late start and made a few stops along the way we got to the hotel at 2am, and wow did the kids sleep great that night. Maybe I should drive them around more often. Or was it the mountain air?
The training was really quite nice up there. I got in a lot of climbing in the Andorran mountains while the weather was always sunny. My body felt good and it was just what I needed. It was also a good block of family time for me before the season really heats up and there are extended separations.

The kids enjoyed themselves in Andorra and it was fun to be with them in a completely different environment for a while. The small challenges that arise from these little road-trip adventures are to be expected but dealing with them can be tricky and a test of one’s patience. Well, my patience, that is.

Our youngest, Bo, is not terribly fond of jarred baby food so the majority of what he eats is kitchen prepared. But we certainly hadn’t much to cook with in our hotel room? So we drove down the mountain and found a store and Randi bought a hot plate, actually, it was more of a fondue maker than a hot plate but it served the purpose. She also got a few pots and a blender. What would the maid think when she came to clean our room? Not sure, but our little boy Bo was smiling all the time like he really knew what was going on. Now Randi can make Bo some home (hotel) cooked food and supplement our food that we ordered from the hotel. Actually, I was smiling then too. But we would need more food.

An internet search shows only one health food store in the country. True…but I should add that the country has a population of only about 80,000 people so its somewhat to be expected. Anyway, we navigate our way around and even though it took a bit longer than it should have we find the health food store. We were pleased to re-load on supplies and the friendly store owner told us of another place in the next town over where we could get organic vegetables. Well we had to have the organics so we went to the next town over but the store was closed for siesta so we decided to find a spot for some lunch.

Now I’m cool with everyone’s right to make personal choices but it was at this lunch when I realized most everyone in Andorra smokes. I find it a strange personal choice and because of my training and profession I’m overly sensitive to it. I really get irritable around cigarette smoke, and it especially bothers me when I see that it’s around innocent kids. And especially when its around my kids. But it seems that its truly a part of the culture there and that was a part I was anxious to avoid.

When the store finally opens and we make our way over they tell us they get their organic shipment in the following day. So we go back up the mountain, enjoy our evening and come back down the next day to get the fresh organic veggies. It was all a bit more stressful than I would prefer but now we have Andorra dialed in for our next opportunity to visit. The cigarette smoking aside, we certainly hope to be back.

We’d only returned to Girona for a short while when the family was scheduled to return back home to California. Today Randi is flying solo with the two kids, and I really don’t know how she does it. I’m not ashamed to say that I couldn’t handle an international flight alone with two young babies. I plan to meet up with them after Romandie, my final race prep before The Amgen Tour of California, an important race on my schedule.

Like many cycling fans watching TV around the world today, I got to see Gilbert win L-B-L and was quite impressed. The man has been on a roll, to say the least.

Friday, April 22, 2011

Tereza Hurikova-Arizona training camp

Training camp of Czech professional MTB rider Tereza Hurikova, winter 2011 (Tucson,Arizona)

Armstrong On The Doping Investigation

Ivan Basso to miss the Giro d'Italia

Ivan Basso has officially announced that he will not ride the 2011 Giro d'Italia, that starts May 7 in Torino. The defending champion of the 'maglia rosa' had previously indicated that he may have ridden in support of his Liquigas-Cannondale teammate Vincenzo Nibali - but he has now confirmed that he will focus entirely on preparing for the Tour de France.

On his personal website, Basso said that "the objective at the beginning of the season was to ride the Giro before the Tour de France, in order to help Vincenzo Nibali in his quest of the pink jersey. But at the moment, I don't have the physical condition to fulfill my role as he would deserve it."

Basso has been struggling with illness recently. He pulled out of the Vuelta al Pais Vasco and has not raced for two weeks. bike. He is now recovering, as he told us before the Flèche Wallonne.

"Until now, I have been trying to find the sensations on the bike that would give me my back my confidence. But it was in vain. Together with my team, we have thus taken this painful decision. To me, it's a great sacrifice not to race the Giro."

Liquigas team manager Roberto Amadio also commented on the decision.

"To have Ivan at the start would have given Vincenzo a great contribution of experience, but the conditions do not allow it. In order not to take any risks in view of his preparation for the Tour de France, this is the best decision. We will honour the Giro as we have always done, with Vincenzo and co. looking to equal Ivan's feat and give us a new, immense satisfaction," Amadio said in a press release.

Basso will now fully focus to building up his form for this year's Tour de France. However, he promised his 'tifosi' to be back on Italian roads to try for a third Giro d'Italia title after in the future.

"The idea of winning a third pink jersey before the end of my career is an obsession," he concluded.

Ivan Basso Checks In.....

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Kara Goucher - Not My Day, But That’s Okay

by Kara Goucher

You never know what you’re going to get when you start a marathon. If your training hasn’t gone well or you’re not feeling good, you know you probably won’t set the world on fire, but you may still run better than you expect. When you’re training has good really well and you do feel good, you may know your worst-case scenario can’t be all that bad, but you may still run worse than you expect.

By the time I was three miles into the Boston Marathon on Monday, I was already worried. I just didn’t feel comfortable. Although the pace was fairly quick, it didn’t feel too fast, and my breathing was controlled. But my body felt tight and out of sync in a way that’s hard to describe. My left hamstring was especially tight. Every runner has these days occasionally, so you probably know what I’m talking about. There’s no real explanation for them, just as there’s no explanation for those special days when you feel incredible. All you can do is hope you don’t have one of those unexplainable flat days in your most important races.

I tried to tell myself to stay relaxed and positive. I might loosen up as the race went on and start to feel much better—because that can happen sometimes too. But it didn’t happen for me on Monday. By halfway, I knew it was not going to be my day. I still felt totally out of rhythm. That’s when I really started to struggle mentally. It’s not easy to keep running as hard as you can and hurting more and more with each passing mile when you know that even with all this effort and pain you will still fall short of your goal.

By 16 miles I was completely out of contention. The real race was ahead of me. Then Desiree Davila went by me looking amazing. I knew she had a chance to catch the leaders and maybe win. As she passed me, she encouraged me. “Keep your eyes up,” she said. Now that’s classy.

When I hit the hills between 19 and 21 miles I thought about dropping out. It seemed pointless to subject my body to the thrashing of the last several miles when it wouldn’t even put me on the podium. The one thing that kept me going at that point was the encouragement I was getting from the best marathon spectators anywhere in the world. As bad as I was feeling, the support I felt from all of those people shouting my name and words of encouragement gave me just enough of a lift to keep trying as hard as I could.

Once I got past the point of wanting to quit, I started to feel a little better—mentally, not physically. I was able to accept that it just wasn’t my day and realize I needed to let this one go and start looking ahead to my next goal and trust that I would be really “on” in my next big race. The one thing that continued to bother me was knowing what Adam was going through. I know how much my happiness means to Adam, and I could imagine how tormented he probably was, seeing me off the back and assuming I was crushed by it. I found myself wishing I could flash some kind of signal that a TV camera would pick up and that would tell him I was okay. I was disappointed, but I was accepting what was happening.

I was able to pick off a few runners over the last few miles, not because I got a second wind but because they were dying. It didn’t matter to me much one way or the other at that point. I was actually thinking about Desi, wondering if she was going to pull it off. As soon as I finished, race officials started asking me if I was okay, and other questions, but I ignored them and kept asking them, “How did Desi do? How did Desi do?”

I was almost surprised by how disappointed I was to learn that she had come up just short. I’m not going to lie: I want to be the woman who ends the American drought at the Boston Marathon. But I was so impressed by Desi’s self-belief, her guts, and her class, that I really forgot about what I wanted for myself and threw my support behind her as a fellow American. One thing is certain: Desiree showed that it’s only a matter of time before one of us pulls it off.

People who remember how heartbroken I was after finishing third in Boston in 2009 might assume I’m heartbroken after finishing fifth this time. But I’m not. I feel pretty good, actually. Yes, I’m disappointed that I didn’t run quite as well as I think I was ready to run. But I came away with some positives. First of all, I set a PR! That’s always something to celebrate. Also, my stomach didn’t bother me at all during the race. That’s huge, because I’ve had GI issues in all of my previous marathons, and it was a major factor holding me back as a marathon runner generally. I have my nutrition sponsor, Nutrilite, and their awesome sports drink, ROC2O, to thank for finally solving that problem.

I had a great time in Boston overall. I can’t tell you how much I appreciate all of the people who came to see me at Niketown and who came up to me around town to say “Hi” and wish me good luck. A lot of you said things like, “I’m sorry to bother you” and “I hope this is okay,” and let me assure you, you did not bother me and it is more than okay! I feel like the most fortunate runner alive to have that much positive energy flowing my way from my peers.

My final thought about the 2011 Boston Marathon is that it was worth it. When I set my goal to run the race I knew it was unlikely to be my best-ever Boston Marathon, because of my recent pregnancy, but I didn’t want to assume it wouldn’t be. Above all, I didn’t want to skip it and then always wonder if it wasn’t the year I was meant to win. Turns out it wasn’t, but I’m glad I know it instead of having to wonder about it, and I’m proud of my effort.

Adam Goucher - Race Confident, Calm and Free

By Adam Goucher

Watching Kara race is always torture for me. The longer the race the more I suffer. Even before the gun goes off, I am a bucket of nerves. When I am the one racing, I am able to focus my energy and channel my pre -race nerves into my warm-up activities. Visualizing, stretching, warming up, drills, or even talking with my coaches about strategy, clear my mind and allow me to deal with the anticipation. But when Kara is racing, I have no outlet for my stress or emotions. I have no control over the outcome. It is torture.

In the final hour leading up to the race on Monday, I was overcome by emotions and inspiration. As I watched Kara warm up, I reflected on how far she had come, not just since the birth of our son Colt in September, but even since February when she was nowhere near ready to run a marathon. I have been with her every step of the way for the last six months as she put everything she had into her training and preparation. I have lived in constant awe of her drive, focus, and determination to get back in shape. I have witnessed the effort and emotion she has poured into her comeback and the build up to running the Boston Marathon.

With these thoughts swirling through my mind, I was in search of some kind of outlet. I wanted to let her know how much I admired her. I wanted to share with everyone how much she inspired me. I quickly typed the following message into my iPhone and posted it on her facebook page and our Run The Edge page.

“Some people may not realize what an inspiration Kara is to me. Besides being an amazing athlete she’s an incredible wife and mother.

Her drive, dedication, focus and passion to harness the best she can be is nothing short of amazing!

To my love- Race confident, calm and free! -Adam-”

I knew she would not see it before the race, but I wanted to express some of the emotions gushing through me.

When the gun finally went off, I thought I would feel better. But the nerves did not go away. I wanted so badly for her to succeed. I kept getting updates that Kim Smith was 30 seconds ahead, then 40, then 50. I was starting to panic as I wondered if she could lead fire to wire and if it was a mistake for Kara to let her go.

In the final 10K is was clear that Kara was not going to be able to catch the pack or win the race this year. At first I was a little sad knowing how hard she had worked and how badly she wanted it. But when Kara crossed the line in under 2:25, I felt so proud, so relieved, so inspired, by what she had accomplished in only six months training since giving birth. I didn’t believe I could have any more love and admiration for her than I had before the start of the race, but I did.

I was again overcome by emotion and pride. I was so exhausted, as if I had run every step of the race with Kara. As if I were the one out there in the heat of it, matching moves, trying to keep up my cadence, focusing my mind and driving my body. Who ever thought being a spectator could be as demanding as racing itself?

I know he is too young to understand, but I keep explaining to Colt how amazing his mom is and how lucky we Goucher men are to have her in our lives. Every time I tell him these things, he smiles and drools. I think he understands!

For more on Adam please click on the title link.....

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Emma Snowsill makes injury woes work for her

“I think with every high there comes a low and sometimes they are the best times to look at yourself and find ways to re-evaluate how you want to move forward and how you want to get better. For me I love big races and I guess that’s the thing that really excites me the most and obviously I did have a very inconsistent season last year but I definitely learned a lot when things weren’t necessarily going right.”

On defending her Olympic gold medal in London:

“I guess the first step is just making the Australian team, for many of the nations and federations the selection policies are really tough and I know ours is really tough as well as the first step is making the team. For me to go to a second Olympics would be a dream come true and obviously it would be different this time around, with a few more years racing under my belt and a few more life experiences I would certainly hope that if I have my toes on the start-line in London that I am a stronger athlete, mentally, physically and emotionally.”

Tales of the Emirates - Faris Al-Sultan

Tim DeBoom Checks in from Kona

So, Tim’s Ride at the Mauna Lani was this past weekend. Interestingly, Tim mentioned that this was the first time he had ridden a road geometry frame / set-up in nearly 20 years of coming to the big island. Tim’s dialing in his bike arrangement for the Triathlon Alpe d’Huez later this summer, as well as, the Norseman Extreme Tri.

Tim will be spending alot of time on his Felt AR1 Aero Frame this summer. A ridiculously aero and efficient (and cool!) bike. The bike was built up by the gang at The Service Course. The Service Course is a full service bicycle repair business in Boulder, CO. Founded by ProTour mechanics Daimeon Shanks and Nicholas Legan, The Service Course can provide you the same level of service that riders such as Christian Vande Velde, Lance Armstrong, Tyler Farrar, and Tom Danielson rely on!

For more on Tim please click on the title link...

What Recovery Strategy Works Best?

by Dr. Stephen Cheung, Ph.D.

While the “work hard play hard” philosophy may be a great approach to striking a work-life balance, the motto cyclists and all athletes should subscribe to leans more towards a “work hard rest harder” philosophy. Many recovery modalities have been suggested and adopted, but how well do they work for recovering between hard training bouts?

Take it Easy
It’s one of the most basic principle in the entire wide world of training, but also the one that is most often broken by athletes. While it’s the easiest thing in the world to train hard, resting adequately is possibly the most difficult and challenging obstacle for athletes to overcome.

Most of us ride our bikes because we love to ride our bikes, and a lot of that love comes from riding hard and feeling that effort soak into our bodies. In some ways, the highs from cycling comes not just from the act of bicycling, but from the act of pushing ourselves. Therefore, one of the hardest thing for “serious” cyclists to do is to rest and recover adequately. Going easy just seems like the complete antithesis of cycling, and we often go too hard on our easy days to make them true recovery days.

Why go for easy rides at all or focus on recovery? Training is all about stressing your body with hard workouts, and then letting your body adapt to that load. If you do not allow your body to recover and adapt to the training load you’ve imposed on it, you simply will not be able to train and stress your body as hard the next workout. Do that over the course of a season, and it should be obvious that lack of proper recovery is often what sets many of us back from our potential.

I have been quite guilty of this myself through the years. So now, when I schedule easy days during my 17 km commute to university, I’ll often play a game of trying to keep the average wattage under a certain threshold. Or alternately, I’ll make a game of trying to get the ride done with as few kilojoules of work as possible.

Rushing Recovery?
OK, so it’s important to recover from our training. But that doesn’t mean just putting our feet up on the couch and letting nature do its thing or else noodling around on the bike, right? Surely there must be some way to accelerate the process?

The idea of accelerating recovery has obsessed athletes and sport scientists through the ages. The traditional methods have revolved around either passive rest, or else to do light exercise as a form of active recovery. The idea behind active recovery is generally to keep blood flowing through the muscles in order to flush out metabolic waste products.

More recently, the two main forms of high-tech recovery methods revolve around cold therapy of some form, either lower-body immersion into a cold or ice bath or some form of icing. The general theory behind such a recovery method is that the cold water acts like an ice pack, reducing swelling and inflammation following hard exercise and muscle damage. The other increasingly popular form of recovery has been using compression garments, which increases the pressure around the lower body and theoretically speeds up the removal of waste metabolites. What has not really been tested before, and the focus of what we’ll discuss today, is the combination of compression and cooling.

The Best of Both Worlds?
Despite their popularity, the scientific evidence for either cold water immersion recovery or compression garments are equivocal at best. Some studies have been able to show a decrease in perceived muscle soreness and some physiological markers of muscle damage. However, very few studies have been able to clearly demonstrate a substantial improvement in a second bout of exercise after using specific recovery modalities. Part of this is simply due to the somewhat surprising fact that very few studies have actually used a second specific bout of exercise as their performance measure post-recovery.

In the May 2011 issue of Medicine and Science in Sports & Exercise, my colleague and friend Romain Meeusen’s group at the Vrije University of Brussels, in the Belgian heartland of cycling, explored in-depth the efficacy of recovery modalities specifically for cycling performance. The nice aspect of this study was that it was very directly designed with cycling in mind, rather than most studies on recovery using strength training or other non-cycling exercise. Strength training-based studies are doubly problematic because the damage from jumping exercises like plyometrics is often far more damaging and different than anything we do on the bike.

The basic setup of the study:

• Trained but non-elite cyclists were tested, with VO2max values of about 57 mL/kg/min.

• The exercise test was designed to simulate a hard time trial effort. This is nice because it replicates hard interval work, or else a time trial as part of a two-stage day in a stage race. The test consisted of 30 min at 55% Wmax (maximum power obtained during the initial fitness testing). Then, a time trial effort based on completing the work equivalent to 75% Wmax for 30 min (e.g. if your Wmax was 300, then your TT consisted of completing 405 kJ).

• The test was performed twice each trial, with 2 h in between for the recovery protocol.

• All the “usual” variables were measured, including core and skin temperature, heart rate, blood lactate, thermal sensation, power output, and TT completion time.

The five recovery modalities tested, in two separate but similar experiments, were:

1. Passive recovery. Rest and relax for 2 h.

2. Combined compression/cooling using a set of inflated leg cuffs with coolant running throughout. The cuffs ran around the upper leg, thus cooling and compressing the thighs and hamstrings. The cuff was set to a pressure of 20 mmHg, and the coolant at 0oC, resulting in a skin temperature of ~15oC.

3. Same as #2, but with circulating fluid at 10oC, resulting in a skin temperature of ~25oC (“normal” skin temperature at rest is about 32-34oC).

4. Same as #2, but cycling at 80 W.

5. Cycling at 80 W.

Cool Results?
So what we have is a study that aimed to test the combined effects of both thigh compression and cooling, with the theory that the combination may work better than either independently. At least in theory, anyway, the compression is thought to increase the cooling capacity possible with the icing/coolant.

Did things play out? Did performance in the second TT improve, or at least not degrade as much, with one recovery modality? First off, remember that #4 and #5 conditions were in a separate study with different athletes so that, while the overall methodology remained similar, perfect cross-transfer of results isn’t possible:

• The initial TT was about 29:30 in Study #1 (Conditions 1-3) and just a shade over 29 min in Study #2 (Conditions 4-5).
• In all of Conditions 1-4 (passive and all three conditions involving compression/cooling), the second TT was worse than the initial one. Comparing the first and second TTs, the time gaps were: 1) +52s, 2) +22s, 3) +42s 4) +58s
• In contrast, with only active recovery of 80 W cycling (Condition 5), the second TT performance improved by 16s.

Keeping in mind that the reliability of the 30 min TT is pretty high and even small differences can be very significant in applied settings, and it is quite eye-catching that the only improvement was seen with active recovery alone. It is especially interesting that the second TT improved, rather than degrading as we’d expect.

This is one of the better cycling-specific studies that I have come across that focuses on recovery. It has cycling-relevant exercise, and also tested out a broad range of recovery methods encompassing the “traditional” methods of passive and active recovery. From this study, anyway, the conclusion appears to be that active exercise at a very light intensity is the best method for recovery from hard efforts. Therefore, while compression and cooling strategies may have specific uses (e.g. after heaving damaging your muscles or in very hot conditions), they are not necessarily a panacea for recovery from all types of training.

The good news is that recovery can actually be very simple, consisting of making sure you cool down properly after a hard workout. This can be done either on the road or on the trainer. However, the absolute key is to keep the intensity low and not make it a substitute workout.

Grete Waitz, Marathon Champion, Dies at 57

Grete Waitz and Lance Armstrong after Lance ran his first NYC marathon.

Waitz revealed in 2005 that she had cancer, without disclosing details. Her death was confirmed by her husband, Jack Waitz.

Waitz won nine New York City Marathons in her career, a mark that no woman or man has ever duplicated. Unassuming and yet fiercely confident, she inspired runners around the world, from Norway to New York, staying involved in the running community despite her health problems.

She was a geography teacher from Norway who came to New York for the first time with her husband. She came on a whim, for a chance to explore a new city, an opportunity to run a different kind of race.

Fred Lebow, the founder of the New York City Marathon, thought Waitz might be a good pacesetter, since she was a world record holder in the 3,000 meters in track. She had never run more than 16 miles in a training run. Jack, who was her coach as well as her husband, knew that she could run more.

Grete Waitz didn’t come to set a pace. She not only won the 1978 New York race, but also set a world best, finishing in 2 hours 32 minutes 30 seconds — two minutes faster than the previous mark.

The only problem was when Waitz crossed the finish line, nobody knew the blond woman wearing bib No. 1173.

The world, and the city, soon found out.

“Every sport should have a true champion like Grete, a woman with such dignity and humanity and modesty,” said George Hirsch, the chairman of the New York Road Runners, and a friend of hers since 1978. “New York adopted her as one of its true heroes, but unlike so many sports champions, Grete was down to earth. She was just happy to visit, blend in, talk to people, runners who came from all over the world always went right up to her. She just had time for everybody. She symbolized what was so great about what was so great about the community of marathoners.”

Grete Andersen was born on Oct. 1, 1953, in Oslo, and grew up running in the woods near her house with her brothers Jan and Arild. Both of her brothers had been running the marathon in New York for the last 25 years. She is survived by her brothers and her husband.

She was just 18 when she competed in the women’s 1,500-meter race at the 1972 Olympics in Munich. She was eliminated in the first round, but her career as a competitive runner and pioneering athlete was just getting started.

She set the world record at 3,000 meters in the summer of 1975, but did not make the finals of the 1,500 at the 1976 Olympics in Montreal. Her chance at a third straight Olympics was foiled when Norway joined the American-led boycott of the 1980 Moscow Games over the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan. In 1984, suffering from back spasms, she finished second to the American Joan Benoit in the inaugural women’s Olympic marathon.

Waitz won her last New York City Marathon in 1988. Her most famous race in New York — which she considered her 10th victory — was at the 1992 marathon when she ran with Mr. Lebow who had been, at the time, in remission for brain cancer. The two crossed the finish line with their hands joined, their arms held high. Lebow died in 1994.

For the last decade, with her health problems, Waitz sat in the pace car for the women’s race in New York. In Norway, Waitz established a foundation for cancer, Aktiv Mot Kreft, which sponsored runners in major races and supported activity centers at hospitals in Norway, much like the one in Oslo, where Waitz had received treatments.

“I am convinced you can go through a lot more when you are physically fit,” she said. “It is both physical and mental. With the athletic background, you think more on the positive side — you can do this.”

Monday, April 18, 2011

Kara Goucher 5th At The Boston Marathon

Alberto Salazar stood in a media area watching the live race feed and shouted at the screen, imploring a runner that he doesn't even coach to summon one more ounce of energy.

"I was so excited I was yelling and screaming with 300 (meters) to go," Salazar said.

He wasn't alone. Crowds screamed, cheered and chanted "U-S-A!" for Desiree Davila near the finish line on Monday as she tried desperately to become the first U.S. woman to win the Boston Marathon in 26 years. As it was, she was the first to place second in 18 years.

Davila's duel with Kenyan Carolina Kilel over the final dramatic 600 meters of the 26.2-mile race brought into focus the progress top U.S. runners are making toward a breakthrough at a major marathon.

Kilel had just enough energy to make a final push that Davila couldn't respond to, and she reached the finish line in 2 hours, 22 minutes, 36 seconds before collapsing to the pavement. Davila was two second back.

Portland resident and Nike professional Kara Goucher, Salazar's athlete in the race, finished fifth in a personal best time of 2:24:52 -- just seven months after giving birth.

Equally stunning was the incredibly fast pace of the men's race. Kenyan duo Geoffrey Mutai (2:03:02) and Moses Mosop (2:03:06) pushed each other to the fastest marathon times in history.

Victory in the men's and women's races was worth $150,000.

And U.S. hopeful Ryan Hall, who led more than half the race, held it together and finished fourth on Boylston Street in 2:04:58. That's more than 20 seconds faster than the course record set in 2010 and the fastest ever by a U.S. runner.

The Boston course is considered ineligible for a world records because it has a net 432-foot elevation drop between the start in Hopkinton and the finish. However, it does have the famed "Heartbreak Hill" to contend with.

"I don't care if it is considered a record," Hall told NBC Universal Sports at the end of the race. "All I know is that I am a 2:04 marathoner, and that is something I will be proud of for the rest of my career."

On a day of historic races, the performances of Davila and Hall made it a watershed day for U.S. running.

"We're knocking on the door," Salazar said. "Sooner or later we're going to win."

goucher.JPGView full sizeAssociated PressPortland's Kara Goucher finished 9 seconds behind the winner.
Goucher was disappointed that she was unable to stick with the leaders when the pack began to split apart around mile 14. After fading back to ninth, she kept her head in the race and competed to the finish.

"I felt like I ran as hard as I could," she said.

There was certainly no reason for regret. Goucher ran faster overall than she did in 2009 when she placed third and was nine seconds behind the winner.

"Desiree showed that an American is going to win this race, and I just want to be up there with her," Goucher said.

Davila, 27, is a former Arizona State runner who trains with the Hansons-Brooks Distance Project in Rochester Hills, Mich. She tried several times in the final miles to pull away from Kilel and Sharon Cherop but she couldn't break free of them.

Cherop faded back and then it was a battle between Davila and Kilel.

"It was the most incredible experience in my running career," Davila said on the telecast at the finish line.

Davila was tying to become the first U.S. woman to win in Boston since Lisa Rainsberger in 1985.

Of course, Goucher was hoping for the same thing.

The Oregon Project runner came into the race feeling as though she had put in the best 18 weeks of training of her life. But getting in position to compete for the marathon title she covets most was a steep hill to climb.

"The bar was raised today and I wasn't ready for them," she said. "I knew Desiree was ready for something good. She executed her race plan perfectly."

Goucher ran 1 hour, 14 minutes in the New York City Half Marathon last month. On Monday she ran back to back half marathons in 1:12.

"It's a reflection of how fast she's come in six months," Salazar said.

Goucher's finish did qualify her for the U.S. Olympic Trials marathon next January. She will take a short rest and begin training for the U.S. Track and Field Championships in June at Hayward Field with an eye on making the national team in the 10,000 meters.

Early in the race, New Zealand native Kim Smith set a scorching pace and built as much as a minute lead on the field. She led for an hour and 41 minutes before faltering badly and watching the chase pack swallow up her advantage and move past her.

Ageless wonder Joan Benoit Samuelson, 53, won her age group by finishing in 2:53:29. The 1984 Olympic gold medalist won the Boston Marathon in 1979 and 1983

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Kara Goucher At Niketown Boston - "Free"

This morning Boston Marathon favorite Kara Goucher visited Niketown to discuss her upcoming race and second attempt to capture the Boston Marathon title. She is one of the favorites to win Monday's race, and the top American female runner in the field. She last ran the race in 2009, when she finished in 3rd place - just 9 seconds behind the winner.

Goucher talked about her excitement leading up to the race and how she's preparing for 2011 differently then she approached 2009. While she faced a lot of pressure last time to win the race, she's chosen "free" as her power word this year, in order to free herself from all pressure and limitations. This will be her second major race since giving birth to her first child, as she ran the New York City Half Marathon on March 20, finishing 3rd overall.

Goucher comes into Boston with plenty of experience under her belt. In 2009 she proved that she knew the Boston Marathon course better then any other elite runner. She's also an Olympic Track & Field athlete and has had numerous championship wins. Her husband, Adam Goucher, is also a competitive runner, and won the NCAA Cross-Country Championships while attending the University of Colorado, which is where he and Kara met.

Goucher talked to a packed crowd at Niketown this morning for about 20 minutes. She looked relaxed and in good spirits, and will do her best to be the first American to win the Boston Marathon since Lisa Larsen Weidenbach finished first in 1985.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Alex Stieda, First North American to Wear Yellow Jersey

By Gary Boulanger

Former Canadian professional road racer Alex Stieda is 50 years old today, in a year which also marks the 25th anniversary of his taking the Tour de France leader’s yellow jersey after the first of two stages on July 5, 1986. Racing for the 7-Eleven Cycling Team, directed by current Team BMC Racing co-owner Jim Ochowicz and including Olympic speedskating quintuple champion Eric Heiden, Bob Roll, and Taylor Phinney’s dad Davis, Stieda pulled off the seemingly impossible, becoming the first North American to wear yellow.

Alex: 2011 marks two big milestones for you: you turn 50 today, and July 5 marks the 25th anniversary of your taking the Tour de France yellow leader’s jersey. I imagine the emotional wave is already starting to consume you...

Well, I don't know about 'consuming' but it certainly feels surreal – 25 years ago (half of my life!) sounds like a long time but it doesn't feel that way. Our 7-Eleven team had an incredible run in the '80s and I was proud to be a part of that team. We really had incredible team spirit, something that is witnessed by the fact that we get together for a reunion every five years or so.

Does 50 suit you? How do the legs feel on the bike?

I feel great! I’m staying fit during our long, white winter here in Edmonton with ice hockey, cross-country skiing, ski touring. I also run an indoor cycling class January to April.

Did you have a specific strategy on July 5, 1986, and did you share it with anyone in the organization? Whose idea was it for you to wear a one-piece skinsuit on Stage 2 from Nanterre to Sceaux? It was a short, 53-mile stage...

As an ex-pursuiter and criterium guy, I knew that this distance would be perfect for me. There was no need to carry any food with me and there was no rain in the forecast, so why not use a skinsuit? I knew there were time bonuses and I was the best-placed guy on our team after the prologue, just 17 seconds down on the General Classification.

You never know what can happen, but I had a solo break in the back of my mind. I didn't actually share this with my teammates as it would have sounded a bit audacious: "it's our first stage in our first Tour and I'm going to go solo, okay guys?" But, I knew if I got away, they would cover the chases.

The time bonuses ended up working out perfectly; the last one I went through was close. Mike Neel – our Director Sportif – had to come up in the car and encourage me to go harder as a break was catching me. That extra bonus made the difference in the end.

Phil Anderson was racing for Panasonic that year, and seemed hell-bent to chase you down. There were 204 riders breathing down your neck. Could you feel the pressure? What was going through your mind?

I certainly knew that everyone of those riders wanted to win the stage, and that it could certainly come down to a bunch sprint. When Phil’s break caught me, he gave me a pat on the back and told me “mate, you’re in the jersey”.

From that point on I realized that I had to keep the break away from the main field so (Eric) Vanderaerden couldn’t win the bunch sprint and get an additional time bonus to leapfrog me. Once the break caught me, I covered every attack to keep us together and hung on for dear life, as another attack went. This way, the break was motivated to keep working together since they all thought they had a chance to win the stage.

You finished fifth on the stage, but took the yellow leader’s jersey from prologue specialist Thierry Marie. Did you realize the gravity of the situation right away, or did someone have to tell you?

Once I had gone through the third time bonus sprint, I knew that I had a chance and I rode maximum for the rest of the stage; I wasn’t thinking about the team trial trial, just getting to the finish of that stage ahead of the main field.

Do you think it was cruel fate to have become the first North American to wear the yellow jersey, especially ahead of Greg LeMond, who was on a trajectory to take it before anyone else? Did you and Greg talk that day?

We didn’t really have much interaction with LeMond. I certainly didn’t speak with him. You could tell there was lots of tension on his La Vie Claire team, and we were busy trying to stay out of trouble and represent North American cycling.

Many of the Euros were looking down on us and we had to be careful to not get in the way! A few Euro pros befriended us, including (1978 world road champion) Gerrie Knetemann, and they made an effort to speak English and, I think, understood our precarious situation.

Let’s talk about the 34-mile team time trial from Meudon to St. Quentin, the second of two stages on July 5, 1986. Watching coverage from that day, you ran out of gas after some unfortunate issues. Then the Peugeot team passed you; was the earlier effort that day that got you into yellow just too much?

Our TTT was a disaster from many perspectives. We hadn’t pre-ridden or pre-driven it, nor had any of our team management. We simply looked at the course map in the race bible before the start and then we were off. There were incredibly fast sections of downhill with T-intersections at the bottom, one where we had to turn left onto a main road with a traffic island in the middle. Half of us went one way, while the other half went the other and three guys crashed. It was early in the TT so we decided to wait. It took forever to get wheels changed and then we were rolling again.

Final count for Team 7-Eleven was four flats and one crash in 1 hour, 16 minutes. La Vie Clair, finished two minutes behind the leaders, so in reality, it wasn’t a good day for most, including Americans Andy Hampsten and LeMond. Fignon and Systeme U won handily that day, taking back the yellow jersey for Thierry Marie. Stieda was now 5:10 behind Marie. Stieda continues the commentary…

In retrospect, I shouldn’t have been pulling as I had laid it all out during the morning’s stage. But, since I wasn’t a GC contender, I just did my part. We entered a crosswind section and half our guys didn’t know that we should use the whole road to form an echelon. At that point I was gassed and started to open gaps. Mike

Neel drove up and told Jeff Pierce to drop back and help me and we rolled in together, just making the time cutoff. We were pretty blown and really didn’t say much during that ride. The writing was on the wall and we directed all of our energy to getting to the finish line.

The next day was a 214 kilometer stage from Levallois-Perret to Liévin. How did you muster up the strength to continue, knowing that the only rest day of the entire Grand Tour wasn’t until July 22?

I still had the polka dot jersey to defend so that gave me motivation to stay in the front of the race. I focused on timing my efforts to be at the front when the short hill sprints came up and stayed in the jersey for five days.

You stuck it out and finished 120th overall by Paris, where LeMond took the final yellow after battling with Hinault. 1986 was the only time you competed in the Tour; why did you never return, and what was your focus after that?

I ended up racing quite a bit in Europe after the ‘86 Tour, but we really needed guys who could specialize in the longer stage races and I was performing well in other events, so it made sense to focus on strengths at that point, where I could add the most value for the sponsor.

How long did you race for Team 7-Eleven?

I started in February 1982 (my first race was at the parking lot of Caesar’s Palace, which I won!) and ended after 1990 when 7-Eleven’s sponsorship ended and Motorola took over, so nine years total.

How and when did you connect with the Coors Light team?

I had lots of connections in the sport and the industry by that time, including (7-Eleven teammate) Davis Phinney, so when he heard I was looking, I spoke with (Coors Light director) Len Pettyjohn and we got it figured out. They included a Softride (beam) bike in the deal and I was able to win some races for the team and for Softride.

Several former 7-Eleven teammates raced with you during those dominating Coors Light years. Phinney, Ron Kiefel, Alexia Grewal, Scott McKinley…Give us a peek into what is was like.

I think the biggest thing was the camaraderie, on and off the bike. We really enjoyed each other’s company and trusted each other. We knew each other so well, and were able to take advantage of our tactical strengths which made a huge difference. Our lead outs were just amazing, and often after getting three or four of us in a ‘train’ at maximum speed on the last lap of a criterium, we looked back and no one had stayed on our wheels!

Looking back on your career, is there anything you’d do differently with the knowledge you have today?

Well, certainly training knowledge has advanced but I think the biggest thing I would have done differently is actually moved to Europe and committed to living there. As it was, we were constantly travelling back and forth to race in North American and Europe. It made it hard adjusting to an 80km criterium one weekend, then a 250km classic the next. And, I would have focused on races that I had the best chance of doing well in, which were the races in Belgium with short climbs and cross winds.

Which of your former teams would have performed better if a Tour of California existed: 7-Eleven or Coors Light?

Hard to say but I think 7-Eleven since we had more Euro racing legs under us, which is what those stages are like.

What prompted your retirement, and what did you do after that? I recall meeting you at CABDA in the Softride booth.

I was married and had a daughter, and the reality of life was certainly right there in front of me. Softride had offered me a position as their sales manager and I realized that I wouldn’t be racing much longer, and those offers don’t come up every day. It just seemed right to transition at that time and I’ve never regretted it.

We spoke recently about the growing popularity of Gran Fondos. What’s happening in Canada, and how are you involved?

Gran Fondos are catching on in Canada in a big way. I’m going to participate as an ambassador for two of them, Gran Fondo Whistler and Gran Fondo Kelowna. Last fall I did the Whistler ride and went too hard, trying to stay with the lead group! This year I’m going to stop at the rest stops and enjoy the ride.

For more stories click on the title link to read more from Gary.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Armstrong a popular figure at fundraiser

Lance Armstrong is no stranger to the responsibilities of raising children.

"With five kids, sometimes I feel like I run my own Boys & Girls Club of America," Armstrong said at Tuesday's 15th annual Steak & Steak Dinner.

"I have two boys and three girls, and it gets to be interesting as you as parents probably know. It's probably the biggest responsibility we've all ever had in our lives, and I say that as somebody who's done some important things."

Armstrong, a seven-time Tour de France champion, was the featured speaker at the event, which was attended by more than 1,000 people at the University Plaza Convention Center on Tuesday. The evening benefited the Boys & Girls Clubs of Springfield.

"This is our biggest fundraiser by far, and this year we'll probably set a record thanks to the O'Reilly family," Boys & Girls Clubs board member Randy Bachus said.

Bachus said the club did not have to pay Armstrong a speaker's fee because of Armstrong's ties with the O'Reilly family. Larry O'Reilly, an avid bicyclist and retired president and chief executive officer of O'Reilly Automotive, serves on the board of the Lance Armstrong Foundation and introduced Armstrong on Tuesday.

Because of that, he said the club was hopeful they could break the previous event record of $175,000 raised.

On Tuesday, the club raised more than $75,000 during the live auction section of the program alone.

The club has more than 3,000 local members, several of whom volunteered Tuesday and got to see Armstrong's speech in person.

"I have two of his shirts, so I'm kind of one of his fans," said Central High School sophomore Kelly Ristine, who was one of the Boys & Girls Clubs volunteers at the event.

"He showed me that you can overcome obstacles because he had cancer."

Armstrong, who chose not to make himself available to the media, spoke for 20 minutes about his battle against metastatic testicular cancer and work with the Livestrong campaign with the Lance Armstrong Foundation.

"The only day I can say the foundation is going great is the day you don't need us anymore," Armstrong said.

And he joked he already has ideas for what to do with the foundation's building in Austin, Texas, when that happens.

"Maybe ... it becomes a Boys & Girls Club during the day and a bar at night."

Kara Goucher - Countdown to Patriots’ Day

By Kara Goucher

I just finished packing for my trip to Boston. At least I think I did. I’ll probably keep messing around with my luggage until the last minute, like always. I’m one of those neurotic packers who want to take everything and worry about leaving behind the stuff that won’t fit.

At least I don’t have any bigger worries at the moment. I’m fit, healthy, happy and completely ready for the Boston Marathon on Monday. I can’t wait to get out there and see what I can do. My last fine-tuning workout, a 12-mile tempo run that I did on Saturday, went well. I’ll do a little more fast running this afternoon, for sanity more than anything, and then I’ll shut it down and store energy. By Sunday I’ll be bouncing off the walls!

It’s interesting to compare this week to the week before my first Boston Marathon two years ago. I’m much calmer this time. The difference is Colt. As excited as I am for Boston, I’m even more excited about the two teeth that sprouted through his gums within the last week. Running is still very important to me, but now I have something new in my life that’s even more important. (Family was always more important than running, but this is different.) I don’t think the shift in priorities really takes away from my running, though. Being calmer and having other things to think about in the week before a big race can only help my performance, I think.

While the week before a marathon is always exciting for me, it’s also a little sad. The process of training for a marathon is such an intense journey that I’m a little sorry to see it come to an end each time. It’s like closing the door on a little chapter of my life. I get a bit nostalgic at these times. I will probably remember this particular chapter with special fondness because it started with the birth of my baby boy.

I will arrive in Boston on Thursday. Some of my family and many friends will be there, and I’m excited for that. I will keep off my feet as much as possible. A press conference and an appearance at Niketown are my only big obligations. Being Colt’s mom will be my main focus until Sunday evening, when I’ll foist him on my mom and sister so I can truly relax and rest for Monday morning.

If you’re in the city, come see me at Niketown at 8:30 Saturday morning. And if you’re in Boston to support a friend or family member who’s running the marathon, but you’re not running yourself, I hope to hear you on the course. I promise I hear every single person who shouts my name, and it really helps! I appreciate your support. And if you are racing on Monday, good luck!

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Lance Armstrong: Post Workout Recovery

Lance Armstrong: Power Training with Kettle Bells - The Swing

Bethany Hamilton - A Surfer and a Phenom at Her Very Core

Bethany Hamilton surfing in Indonesia in fall 2009.

Since Bethany Hamilton lost her left arm in a shark attack in 2003, the surfing champion has changed her life and her training dramatically.

Prior to the attack, Ms. Hamilton had made a name for herself at local junior surf competitions and had hopes of becoming a professional surfer. Then barely a teenager, her workout largely revolved around surfing as much as possible and watching videos of her surfing so she could improve her technique.

Regaining strength and balance were key to Ms. Hamilton's return to the surfing circuit. The sport requires endurance, a strong core and tremendous upper-body strength for paddling. She increased her workouts on land, focusing on leg, core and upper body strength and working out nearly twice as hard as before. If she was in the water, she was surfing. "Extra swimming would just exhaust my arm," she says.

Ms. Hamilton's first few months back in the water required adjustments to compensate for having only one arm. She started riding a custom-made board that had a handle to help her duck under the waves. The board was also longer and thicker, which made it easier to paddle. She had to start using her legs more to make up for her slower paddling speed. "Kicking more efficiently with my legs became really important to help me get out past the waves and into the lineup with the other surfers," Ms. Hamilton says.

After the accident, she began working with a personal trainer, in addition to going to physical therapy. About two years ago, she started to focus on postural poses that helped to realign her spine, which X-rays showed had curved toward her now stronger right side.

The 21-year-old still surfs competitively, usually entering eight to 12 contests a year. In 2005, she took first place in the National Scholastic Surfing Association National Championships, and in 2008, she began competing full-time on the Association of Surfing Professionals World Qualifying Series. "Soul Surfer," a film about Ms. Hamilton's comeback starring Helen Hunt and Dennis Quaid hit theaters last week. Ms. Hamilton says the hoopla that came along with the movie has been a distraction to her surfing this year. "I still plan to compete in all of the events I normally do, but I don't have super high expectations," she says. "I have a lot on my plate."

The Workout

For the past 2½ years, Ms. Hamilton has been working with postural alignment specialist Dustin Dillberg. They train at least two days a week for an hour and use Skype to work out together when Ms. Hamilton is on the road.

Ms. Hamilton practices custom exercises to address the imbalance caused by her missing left arm. Mr. Dillberg analyzed Ms. Hamilton's posture and movement patterns to help design her workout. "Dealing with the loss of a limb, she's always going to be slightly off balance because she will have underuse on one side," he says. "This throws off her center of gravity."

Mr. Dillberg introduced her to the Egoscue Method, a therapy technique that strengthens specific muscles to help realign the body. Ms. Hamilton has a menu of postural therapy exercises that she does almost daily. One exercise is a "wall sit" where she puts her back flat against a wall, with knees bent at a 90-degree angle and weight aimed at the heels. The pose is held for two minutes.

The postural work is often followed by exercises using the TRX Suspension Trainer, a piece of equipment made up of nylon straps that pits body weight against gravity to work the body in different planes of resistance. Ms. Hamilton can loop the TRX cradle around the stump of her left arm to more easily perform movements like one-arm push ups.

In one pose, she puts her feet into the strap with one hand on the ground and her left shoulder balanced on a foam roller. "We use the foam roller almost like a prosthetic arm to perform exercises," Mr. Dillberg says.

Or she might do power pulls, where she grabs the handle and leans back at a 45-degree angle, rotating her entire body toward the ground. She then sits back up while reaching to the ceiling. The exercise is meant to work the obliques and improve hip stability.

"My TRX training has really improved my balance and has built up my confidence in the water," says Ms. Hamilton. "It's been exciting to be able to do so many new exercises with the help of the straps."

She gets in most of her swimming practice when she's surfing. "I mostly focus on kicking because I don't like to use my arm too much, and kicking is important for me in surfing to help catch waves," she says.

At least once a week she runs about two miles on the beach or will take her dog on a hike. When the waves are good, Ms. Hamilton skips her workout and spends two to eight hours surfing.

The Diet

When in her late teens, Ms. Hamilton started eating an almost all organic diet. She usually starts her mornings making a smoothie with açaí, a purple South American fruit loaded with antioxidants. While many athletes focus on protein, Ms. Hamilton is more concerned about eating her vegetables. "I think it's more important to eat the right amount of protein and not go overboard," she says.

She likes to cook what she calls a "reverse omelet" for breakfast, using one egg and adding extra onion, zucchini or asparagus to the pan. She tries to fuel herself with healthy food every three to four hours. One of her favorite snacks is homemade kale chips.

Fitness Tip

"It's important to have variety. Find other stuff you enjoy. I love working out and love surfing, but sometimes I need a change so I'll do something different, like play tennis."

Quick Fix

When short on time, Ms. Hamilton will do a postural exercise that takes 30 minutes to perform. She lies on her back with one leg extended straight up in the air and the other straight out flat on the floor, forming a 90-degree angle for 15 minutes, and then switches to the other side. The exercise helps release her lower back and hips. "My hips had been rebelling. They were so tight and it was preventing me from having proper positioning on my board," she says.


Ms. Hamilton's iPod is loaded with hip hop and techno, as well as some "calmer" music which she plays while stretching or performing her postural exercises.

Monday, April 11, 2011

130,000 Ride With Lance Armstrong In Los Angeles At The 2nd Annual ‘CicLAvia’

More than 130,000 people participated in the second annual CicLAvia event, with Lance Armstrong leading the cyclers through miles of city roads shut down to drivers.

The event, patterned after Ciclovia (a similar ride in Bogota, Colombia), began at 9:30 a.m. with a grand opening ceremony at the Japan America National Museum Plaza at First Street and Central Avenue in Little Tokyo.

Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa and seven-time Tour de France winner Lance Armstrong were among the dignitaries who attended.

The two-way route runs between Hollenbeck Park in Boyle Heights and Heliotrope Avenue, just north of Melrose Avenue, in Hollywood. The route also included Fourth Street into downtown, the Westlake District, MacArthur Park, Silverlake and Koreatown.

Street closures went into effect early Sunday morning, with cars scheduled for towing after 6 a.m. By 3:30 p.m., officials fully reopened the streets to regular traffic.

There were four rest stops along the route with portable bathrooms and hydration stations. The stops were located at Hollenbeck Park, Fourth Street and Cummings; South lawn of City Hall, Northwest corner of First and Main streets; MacArthur Park, Seventh Street between Alvarado Avenue; and Lake and Orange 20 Bikes parking lot at Heliotrope and Melrose avenues.

Rehak said organizers hope to expand the route into the Westside with upcoming events planned for July and October.

Winners and losers from Paris-Roubaix



On the biggest of stages and with mounting pressure, Garmin-Cervélo finally delivered in the Classics. Criticised throughout the spring for their poor form, they were everything a Classics team should be on Sunday: strong, confident, reactionary, always on the front foot in numbers.

Aware that they would have been outgunned in a straight fight between Cancellara and any one of their leaders they launched Van Summeren – a top ten rider in the past – up the road, isolating Cancellara from his team and rightfully not working with the favourite once he attempted to stamp his authority on the race.

On a side note, in Sep Vanmarcke they have one of the brightest Classics riders of the future.

Frederic Guesdon (FDJ)

Laughed at when he turned pro for Le Groupement in 1995 for being overweight and out of shape, Guesdon has risen to become one of the most respected professionals of his generation. Since 1997 he’s been part of Madiot’s FDJ team and his Roubaix win that year remains the last time a Frenchman won the race. At 39 and with his career almost over, very few would have begrudged him another chance to enter the velodrome with a chance of victory. In the break that included Van Summeren and looking strong, an untimely puncture saw him fall away.

André Greipel (Omega Pharma-Lotto)

It’s not a customary sight to see Greipel in a group containing Fabian Cancellara with 40km to go in Paris Roubaix but that’s exactly what we were treated to on Sunday. In fairness Greipel was going backwards at the time but his work in the break and final placing of 21st in a group containing Baden Cooke and Manuel Quinziato deserves much credit. He showed in De Panne that he’s more than just a sprinter and while he still loses more sprints than he wins, he comes out of Roubaix as one of Omega Pharma-Lotto’s better signings.

Fabian Cancellara (Leopard Trek)

Putting the debate over whether he was as strong as last year to one side, there’s little argument that Cancellara was still the strongest rider within the bunch throughout the spring and any rider bar only himself would have accepted second in San Remo and Roubaix and third in Flanders at the start of the season.

Away from the heat of the battle and in summary of his spring, Cancellara’s biggest error was undoubtedly his performance in E3. It sounds perverse but did he need to show his hand that early, did he need to demonstrate such dominance in a race of mediocre importance? From that moment on, he moved from being Cancellara the favourite to being Superman, and every team, every rival, based their tactics not perhaps on their strengths but on his weaknesses.

Yet it’s still hard to be critical of a rider who was essentially riding as a one-man team. The CN staff joked about letting him ride the TTT at this year’s Tour de France by himself this July. We stopped laughing once we realised he could actually win.


Three riders in the top twenty in Roubaix and Cavendish’s win in Scheldeprijs means they once again have outdone themselves and punched above their weight. Stapleton was present for Roubaix and continues his search for future sponsors, but his team’s placings and Goss’s fine win in San Remo will make things far easier.

The underdog

Van Summeren was not listed anywhere near the favourites for Sunday and in many ways his win was a bigger shock than Goss in San Remo and Nuyens in Flanders.

However, his win and immediate proposal to his long term girlfriend at the finish brought down the curtain on what has widely been accepted as a thrilling spring.


Leopard Trek

The cracks were already there as far back in Gent-Wevelgem when, despite Daniele Bennati’s second place, the team failed to have another finisher. Decimated in Flanders, they were again off the pace in Roubaix with Cancellara’s first and only helper home nearly 14 minutes after Van Summeren. All theoretical of course but Saxo Bank – his previous team - managed five riders in the top 70 at Roubaix. The Ardennes will see a stronger set of riders line up for Nygaard, but Cancellara deserved better support on Sunday.


Still no Roubaix win for the American manufacturer who watched on as Cervélo took their third win on Sunday. Specialized are also on three, having won from 2008 through to 2010. Still, Trek has last year’s Tour win… oh.


Dire sums up their entire Classics campaign perfectly. Their best result came in San Remo with Pozzato taking an unpopular fifth and from there it went from bad to worse with Tchmil and Pozzato bringing their dislike for one another into the press. On Sunday they hit possibly the lowest moment in the team’s short history with no finishers. Even their team car failed to finish, puncturing on the course.


Last year Allesandro Ballan was pulled from racing on the eve of Paris Roubaix and had this to say on the matter: “It was a decision on the team’s part that I respect because at the end of the day they had to protect themselves in order to take part in races, because we weren’t in the ProTour,” he said. “A team like Lampre didn’t have that problem so they didn’t stop their riders.”

Twelve months on and this time BMC refused to budge, allowing the Italian to race despite mounting pressure and accusations from Italy. The investigation will move along within the next few weeks, and while it must be stressed that Ballan is innocent until proven otherwise and free to race, BMC’s move was a low moment for the UCI’s importance on ethical standings.

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Lance Armstrong Places 4th In SB Trail Race

The indefatigable Eric Forte beat a field of 35 runners, including cycling legend and cancer survivor Lance Armstrong, to win the second Santa Barbara Trail Series race on San Ysidro Trail on Saturday

Forte, 44, covered the 8-5-mile course in the Santa Barbara foothills in 1 hour, 6 minutes, 48 seconds.

Marcelo Perez finished in second in 1:07.32, Steve Harding was third (1:12.58) and Armstrong, who won the Tour de France seven straight times, finished fourth in 1:14.05. Joe DeVreese came in fifth in 1:14.47.

The top woman was Michelle McToldbridge in 1:23.58 (11th overall).

On Twitter, Armstrong said, “Ran race #2 in the Santa Barbara Trail Series this. Was advertised to be 8.5 miles. Felt like 20. The downhills absolutely killed me.”

He later said on Twitter that he went on a mountain bike ride in Santa Barbara with Platinum Fitness.


1 Eric Forte , 44 1:06:48 M40-44 1 M Overall Male Winner

2 Marcelo Perez 1:07:32 M35-39 1 M

3 Steve Harding 1:12:58 M35-39 2 M

4 Lance Armstrong 1:14:05 M35-39 3 M

5 Joe DeVreese 1:14:47 M40-44 2 M

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Kara Goucher balances motherhood, training as she preps for London

On Sept. 25, Kara Goucher went out for a morning run before heading to the gym to lift some weights. Nothing unusual or especially taxing there. You would expect as much from one of the country's top female marathoners. Then later that evening she gave birth to her first child. This is really going the extra mile. "My doctor was a runner and she told me I could run through the pregnancy," says Goucher, 32. "I was three centimeters dilated and so I was pretty careful. And pretty slow."

That's relative. By her estimation, Goucher traveled five miles that day, at a 10-minute pace. Her husband, Adam, an Olympian at 5,000 meters in 2000, was at her side just in case Colton Goucher made an early arrival. Colt waited. His mother doesn't have the same patience. "After Colt was born I couldn't wait to run again," she says.

She reluctantly waited a week, and without the additional 30 to 35 pounds she'd been carrying, and with the joy of new motherhood fresh in her mind, Goucher had a run she described as "sore and slow, but one of my best runs ever. My legs have never felt stronger."

Goucher upped her mileage and earlier this year she placed second at the Arizona Half-Marathon and seventh at the U.S. Cross-country Championships in San Diego. By her definition, her first real race will be the New York City Half-Marathon (a.k.a. The NYC Half), winding through Central Park and the streets of New York on Sunday. "I need to know what it feels like to really race, to go in there and fight for it," she says. "That makes the half a big test." Next month, Goucher plans to stretch herself out further at the Boston Marathon, a race in which she placed third in 2009.

To refresh Goucher's memory of speed as she resumed training after the pregnancy, her coach, Alberto Salazar, wanted her to look back on workouts she had before her major marathons. "It took me a week to do that," she said. "I wasn't sure I was ready to know how fast I had been so I'd feel guilty about how slow I'd become. Psychologically I didn't want to take that step back."

To meet Goucher is to miss the intensity. Go on, look for it. She's outwardly cheery, funny and, as friends will tell you, a little sappy, especially when it comes to motherhood. "I couldn't imagine anything that could make running a second priority," she says, "but this changes things. I don't want to be away from Colt for a second." Perspective changes, perhaps, but not resolution.

Goucher had some of that growing up. She was four when she lost her father, Mirko Grgas, who was killed by a drunken driver on the Harlem River Drive. Her mother, Patty Wheeler, moved the family to Duluth, Minn., where Kara discovered running and found an inner drive. She competed for the University of Colorado, where she majored in psychology. In 2006, she won bronze at 3,000 in the World Cup in Athens, showing signs of being able to challenge the world's best, but always struggled with confidence in big moments.

That changed in 2007, when she won a surprising bronze medal at 10,000 meters at the World Championships in Osaka. Still, given the shifting emphasis from speed to stamina as runners move up in distance, Goucher knew she would be better suited for the roads than the track. "It was the first time I really got rid of those negative voices in my mind and went for it," she says. "It set me up to be able to take more risks. I had a great race, maybe my best race, at 10k, but my heart is in the marathon."

Later that year, she competed in her first half-marathon at the Great North Run in Newcastle, U.K., where national favorite Paula Radcliffe, the fastest marathoner in history, was clearly expected to win. Goucher never figured the day would unfold as it did. Early in the race, she and Radcliffe were passing a water station when their feet collided and Radcliffe nearly tumbled. "My first thought was, I'm not going to be the stupid girl who trips Paula Radcliffe," she recalls. But soon after, Goucher began to build a lead and eventually pull away from the field. "So then I thought, OK, I'm not going to be the stupid girl who beats Paula Radcliffe, but then gets gobbled up at the end," she says. It didn't happen. Goucher won the race by an astonishing 56 seconds, with Radcliffe finishing second.

In the past few years, the two women have become fast friends. They exchanged training ideas, especially with both of them eyeing the Olympic marathon in London 16 months from now, and even had the same due dates for their pregnancies. Goucher delivered four days early. "It means I have four extra days of training for London," she says triumphantly.

That race should be different than the spring or fall marathons in New York and Boston where the rolling courses are more challenging, but the usually cool weather is more forgiving. "It will be warmer in London," Goucher says. "It's fairly flat, so people will be more willing to take chances. We talked about wanting to be able to run either kind of race: slow and tactical or very fast. I want to be ready for other people's moves."

For now, Goucher is getting plenty of practice at thinking a step ahead. Colt is poking at an equipment bag. It's time to cover another move.