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Merry Christmas

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Greetings fellow blog readers, glad tidings etc.

I am finally feeling 100% again, I took a battering from illness in the last few weeks as mentioned in my previous post, I don't think I've ever been ill for so long. It wasn't particularly bad or painful in the grand scheme of things (it was only flu after all) but it was enough to stop me from training, which has been a little frustrating to say the least. It's been a good chance to reflect, rest and then eventually get bored even of watching TV and youtube. Normally when I start to feel ill I take my training down to zero*, just doing the odd gentle ride until I am 100% better again. It's a rule I have stuck to ever since I caught mild Bronchitis in Nice in 2008. I am pleased to report that even after over 4 weeks off the bike you will still feel good within a few days once you restart again. It almost (but not quite) makes the idea of doing any training at all seem silly.

*often to the annoyance of some of my directors in the past, who sometimes asked me to 'race easy' - ahem... there is no such thing.

From looking at the previous season's blog posts it seems the most popular entries have been about my power outputs. Well friends, I have good news! I have bought the SRMs that were on my TT rig from Kevin Jennings for a very generous price (thanks again Kevin!) and will be using them on my two brand new custom made TT and road frames next season. One thing I am curious to see is if I am more, less or equally powerful on the two bikes. Also, the geometry on the TT bike will be an improvement on the last one, which should hopefully lead to performance gains, too. We shall see.

Earlier this year after another bad bout of back pain (at the worst possible time...again) I went to see some sports physios/personal trainers called Core Cambridge. Even though the program I was run through was during the season and had to be fitted between races it had a beneficial effect. It's strange because my (admittedly anecdotal) experience works against the (logically sound) idea of weight training not being a particularly good idea for cyclists, Ric Stern is probably the best at explaining why: http://autobus.cyclingnews.com/fitne...=strengthstern, it makes perfect sense the way he puts it. It seems though that "VO2max, lactate threshold, economy, and nutritional strategy" might pale in significance if you have functional problems relating to a weak core or back like me, I certainly know that my performance at the national road race (DNF) had nothing to do with the 4 things mentioned in the article** and everything to do with the pain in my back.

** indeed at the time I felt like I was well stocked in all 4.

It wouldn't be a proper blog post without some more news about the elephant in the room. Here is a quote from someone called Thomas Weisel, an investment banker and cycling fanatic who was one of quite a few people who bankrolled Tailwind sports (the company that managed Lance Armstrong's US Postal team). The quote is about drugs (duhh)

Handle the problem below the surface and keep the image of the sport clean...In the U.S. sports—baseball, basketball, football—most fans couldn't care less.

Here is the article: http://online.wsj.com/article/SB1000...820993006.html

What gets me the most is the question of sponsorship (the Lance saga is starting to bore me now), something I've been thinking about a lot recently (as I've been slightly involved with it in the last couple of months). Even when Tailwind sports was at it's height it couldn't turn a profit! Shouldn't that be slightly concerning for anyone running a team? The conclusion I am coming to is that the amount of cash sponsors in cycling that actually get a return is very small indeed. Plenty of big teams have private investors (like Tailwind), the investors aren't hoping for a return but are buying themselves a mere executive toy, just like the Sheiks and Russian businessmen who own premiership football clubs. On the other hand I think equipment sponsorship works (because it's cheap exposure for the manufacturers), but cash sponsorship only works if it's a small part of a much larger advertising campaign. It seems only big media and telecoms companies and banks can afford to sponsor pro continental and pro tour teams, all the others are probably being propped up by rich fans.

p.s. Careful on the ice out there.
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Updated 23-12-2010 at 08:23 PM by David Mclean

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