Favourite Things

14Jun10

It’s been awhile. So rather than waste words here are my favourite things from the world of cycling and beyond.

Danny MacAskill:

The data from Floyd Landis’ incredible attack on Stage 17 of the 2006 Tour de France. Unfortunately one of the great stages ever was too good to be true.

Powerfeed Stage 17: Redemption

Today Floyd proved that he has it. Today he gave everyone a reason to believe.

By Allen Lim PhD

I’m so overwhelmed right now, I can barely even write. This morning he was so angry…so mad at himself. He had the music cranked to max as he paced around his tiny hotel room like a wild animal, foraging for his belongings so he could pack his suitcase for the transfer. His appetite for redemption was so raw and you could see his thirst for blood as he proclaimed, “I’m the strongest guy in this race! And yesterday was crap! I may lose this Tour, but it’s going to cost them!”

I stood there with a scale and a piece of paper in my hand. “I need to weigh you,” I said. His attention suddenly shifted and with one quick shove he slammed the bed up against the wall to open up some floor space. “Here, we’ve got some room now and you can sit on the bed,” he said. I put the scale on the floor and he threw me a small book. It was a book of Jack Handy quotes that I asked Scott Thompson from Quality Bicycle Products to send. “Scott sent these,” he said proudly. “I know,” I said. And then we just sat there and read each other Jack Handy quotes for the next 15-minutes. He laughed louder than I think I’ve heard him laugh all Tour.

I showed him the piece of paper. On one side was every reason I could think of for his bad day. I asked him what he thought and his answer was simple. “I just sucked yesterday but it’s not going to happen again.” On the other side was a list of power values showcasing his best moments at this year’s Tour. I showed him the numbers and he once again proclaimed, “I’m the best guy here. Today, I’m going ape shit. Today, I’m going to win.”

We took his weight. I told him good luck then headed off for the finish. But he’s never really needed luck or any sentimental “Chicken Soup” for his soul to get over a bad day. Just a bit of humor to lighten the mood, loud music, a wide-open road with nothing to lose, and the unyielding belief that he’s the best in the world. Well, whatever it takes, today he proved that he has it. Today he gave everyone a reason to believe.

– 5 hours 23 minutes and 36 seconds.

– Covering 200.5 kilometers (130 km alone in the wind).

– At a speed of 37.175 km/hr.

– Averaging 281 watts when moving for the whole ride and 318 watts over the last two hours.

– Averaging 324 watts while pedaling for the whole ride and 364 watts over the last 2 hours.

– At an average cadence of 89 rpm.

– Transferring 5,456 Kjoules of energy to his Cycleops PowerTap.

– Taking, no joke, a total of 70 water bottles (480 ml each) from the car to keep himself cool and hydrated.

– Attacking about a quarter of the way up the Col des Saisies for 30 seconds at 544 watts, which settled into a 5-minute peak of 451 watts, which continued for 10 minutes at an average of power of 431 watts, and left everyone in his dust after 30 minutes at an average power of 401 watts.

– Spending 13.2% of his time or 43 minutes coasting like a rocket on the descents and another 60% between 4 to 7 watts per kilogram of body weight (aka, the pain cave).

– Holding onto 373 watts over the Col de Joux-Plane.

– Hitting a max speed of 83.7 km/hr (51.9 mph) and flying like a Phoenix on his way to the most incredible moment in sports I have ever witnessed.

Chris Akrigg:

Check out all of Chris’s videos at http://vimeo.com/user1089639

Impressive bike handling

Santiago Botero on Lance and what it takes to win.

The following passage is written by Columbian, Santiago Botero. who during the Tour de France while riding for Kelme – Costa Blanca Team wrote a column for a newspaper:

“There I am all alone with my bike. I know of only two riders ahead of me as I near the end of the second climb on what most riders consider the third worst mountain stage in the Tour. I say ‘most riders’ because I do not fear mountains. After all, our country is nothing but mountains. I train year-round in the mountains. I am the national champion from a country that is nothing but mountains. I trail only my teammate, Fernando Escartin, and a Swiss rider. Pantani, one of my rival climbers, and the Gringo Armstrong are in the Peleton about five minutes behind me.

I am climbing on such a steep portion of the mountain that if I were to stop pedaling, I will fall backward. Even for a world class climber, this is a painful and slow process. I am in my upright position pedaling at a steady pace willing myself to finish this climb so I can conserve my energy for the final climb of the day. The Kelme team leader radios to me that the Gringo has left the Peleton by himself and that they can no longer see him. I recall thinking ‘the Gringo cannot catch me by himself’. A short while later, I hear the gears on another bicycle.

Within seconds, the Gringo is next to me – riding in the seated position, smiling at me. He was only next to me for a few seconds and he said nothing – he only smiled and then proceeded up the mountain as if he were pedaling downhill. For the next several minutes, I could only think of one thing – his smile.

His smile told me everything. I kept thinking that surely he is in as much agony as me, perhaps he was standing and struggling up the mountain as I was and he only sat down to pass me and discourage me. He has to be playing games with me. Not possible. The truth is that his smile said everything that his lips did not. His smile said to me, ‘I was training while you were sleeping, Santiago’. It also said, ‘I won this tour four months ago, while you were deciding what bike frame to use in the Tour. I trained harder than you did, Santiago. I don’t know if I am better than you, but I have outworked you and right now, you cannot do anything about it. Enjoy your ride, Santiago. See you in Paris.’

Obviously, the Gringo did not state any of this. But his smile did dispel a bad rumor among the riders on the tour. The rumor that surfaced as we began the Prologue several days ago told us that the Gringo had gotten soft. His wife had given birth to his first child and he had won the most difficult race in the world – He had no desire to race, to win.

I imagine that his smile turned to laughter once he was far enough not to embarrass me. The Gringo has class, but he heard the rumors – he probably laugh all the way to Paris. He is a great champion and I must train harder. I am not content to be a great climber, I want to be the best. I learned much from the Gringo in the mountains. I will never forget the helpless feeling I had yesterday. If I ever become an international champion, I will always remember the lesson the Gringo taught me.

Gent Six. Iljio Keisse coming from behind in a Derny race. Impressive speed from the King of the Six. Poor quality video, great riding.

And one I was shown just the other day. Nothing to do with bikes is a nice way to finish.

If you have liked this I suggest you watch the videos of Frank van den Broucke in one of my older posts. He was invincible in 1999.

Back soon

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