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On her twitter post this morning, Chrissie Wellington posted "starting to think about plans for next year.....seriously tempted by Leadville 100mile Mtn Bike Race. "


I would love to see Chrissie Wellington race the Leadville 100 Mountain Bike Race. I think she could rock it.


Then, I'd love to see her go after the run and/or the Leadman/Leadwoman records.


Ironman has just gotten boring.


For those of you that are of the dirt-type and don't know much about Chrissie...

- She is a three-time Ironman Hawaii World Champion

- Just weeks ago, she set a World Triathlon Corporation record for women at Ironman Arizona at 8:36 and she was 8th overall.

- Earlier this year, she set a record at Ironman Roth of 8:19 and was 7th overall.


Can you say..."Bad A$$ Chick, On Your Left"?

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Today’s post is the first in my series titled “fad, fact or fiction” that I mentioned in yesterday’s post.


Q. My coach tells me that I “must” learn to bilateral breathe (breathe every three strokes) for triathlons. Is that true? Is bilateral breathing markedly better than breathing every two strokes?

A. In my opinion, I think it is good to practice bilateral breathing during workouts; but use the method that allows you to be the fastest, with the least energy cost, on race day. For some athletes that pattern is bilateral breathing - for others it is breathing on one side or every two strokes.


I think it is good to have the capability to breathe on either side so you can sight buoys, no matter the swim course direction (clockwise or counterclockwise). Additionally, sometimes the sun is in your eyes going one direction or the other, so being able to take a look on the other side can help keep you swimming on course.


Fad, fact or fiction (FFF) thought question:  Do “all” of the world’s fastest triathletes bilateral breathe on race day? Do any of the fastest triathletes breathe every two strokes?  Do any of them bilateral breathe?


In just over one minute of this video of the 2010 ITU World Championships, you can see that overall series winner Javier Gomez (racer number 2) breathes on only one side. 


In less than 30 seconds of this video of the women’s race at the ITU World Championships, you can see racer number 15 (Sarah Haskins) not only bilateral breathing, but also breathing once per side. I suspect she did this to take a look at her competition.


When trying to decide if something is fad, fact or fiction – ask the questions:


Do “all” successful athletes use this method? Are there any athletes that are successful that do not use this method?


Q. What is the least amount of swimming that needs to be done to ensure success?

A. Swim only three times per week and you can break world records. I swim at the same masters swim group as Susan Von der Lippe, who recently broke two masters world records. I’ve asked her about her training in the past, including her last goal to qualify for the 2008 trials, to find out how many days per week she swims. Three. Only three.


My recommendation to swim only three times per week was tongue-in-cheek. When any website makes a bold recommendation about athletic success that seems too good to be true, take a hard look.


Fad, fact or fiction test question:


Do I have the athletic profile, goals, training time and history that allows me to succeed with the training recommendation?


Unless you have an athletic and genetic background similar to Susan’s, along with her lifestyle and training regimen, I cannot tell you that you can break world records swimming only three times per week.

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In Colorado, if you’re a cyclist and you want to stay fit through the winter, you have to be prepared do to a lot of hours on a trainer, in a spin class, geared-up for cold outdoor riding or some combination of all of these.


Left to right: Bil Danielson (hamming it up with the dog), Laelia (fur-person), Carl Ciacci, Bruce Runnels, Scott Ellis (dressed like it is spring), Ron Kennedy, Ed Shaw, Greg (last name?), Jerry Nichols, Teddy Martinez - not in the the photo are Martin and Gale


This morning there ended up being eleven people and one fur-person that rolled out of my drive way for a group ride. Other than Laelia (sp?) this isn’t an unusual event for a Sunday morning. It was the temperature that was unusual.


In my backyard, the thermometer read 27 degrees Fahrenheit. Brrr…


We did manage to get in a metric century before the weather front (which will bring snow and colder temperatures) started moving in. Timing is everything.



Safely tucked in a messenger bag, Laelia enjoys the group ride. It was her second ride with this group.


During the ride and over the last couple of weeks I’ve had questions from athletes that I will discuss in upcoming blogs. A sampling of the questions is below.


I read a blog that said…

  • Weight training does nothing to make cyclists faster. No cyclist should weight train.
  • All intensity should be eliminated from “base” season riding.
  • Stay on the flats and eliminate all hills during “base” season riding.
  • Ironman athletes with late season  2011 races should eliminate all swimming for the next five to six months.
  • Eliminate long aerobic rides during “base” season and make every ride short with high intensity.



Have you read or heard any of these items? Do you think the claims are fad, fact or fiction?

1,194 Views 1 Comments Permalink Tags: cold_ride, dog_messenger_bag

I wrote a column for Active Cyclist, 20 Holiday Gift Ideas for Cyclists, that is sure to help you find gifts for the cyclists in your life.


If 20 ideas aren’t enough, I’ll include additional ideas that didn’t make it into the column in my blog in the next few weeks.


Here are more ideas from Ed Shaw (and by the way, I liked the "wise comments"):



Right down my ally!  Almost like Retail Therapy for others………anyway, don’t pay any attention to the wise comments, but maybe the items will be of use for your article.


Here are a few ideas and comments:


If you are buying cycling items for your cycling hero/heroine, some care and caution is advised.  Some, that is, most, cycling things or stuff can be very specific for the cyclist, whether for reasons of preference, size, and compatibility with things or stuff already being used or ridden, color, brand, grade or fit.  That kind of lets out bicycles, components, clothing or a lot of accessories, unless you know cycling and your cyclist very well.  Some gifts that might not require intimate knowledge of the cyclist’s wants or needs may include something like:

                Carbon fiber bottle cages:  Please, only in pairs, as one carbon and one heavy steel cage is not cool.  These sell for $50 plus or minus EACH.  They may be something the cyclist wouldn’t splurge on for themselves, but might be happy to receive as a gift.  They are light, functional, and really cool if they don’t have them already.

                A good work stand:  Ultimate, Parks, Feedback, or other quality brand.  Portable is nice so they can take it on trips, to races, or somebody else’s house to work on or clean up bicycles.  A real backache saver, as working or cleaning a bike properly takes a lot of bending without a stand.  Prices run from $150 to over $200 and they are available at almost all bike shops.

                New Bar Tape:  A low cost item that a cyclist might not purchase until the old tape falls off, or other major bar work is done.  You can check on what type and color is on the bike, the more used-up the more likely that is the kind the cyclist likes – they are trying to “hold on” to it!  At around $12 per set, you can buy two or more colors and help them choose which is the coolest for their ride.

                Tires:  Really good tires are expensive and often ridden into the ground (that is, way too thin, way worn out, etc.) before putting on the new shoes.  This is an item that also must be given in pairs. (Maybe new tubes are in order so the cyclist can mount them Christmas morning before the Christmas Day ride.  Tubes may be an appropriate stocking stuffer.)  Matching what is on the bike is a good bet, even better would be a casual inquiry as to what tires are the best, over a drink a few weeks before the big day.   Good training/racing tires (assuming “clincher” and not tubular tires are being used, if tubulars are ridden it might be best to pursue other items) can be bought for $30 to $70 each.

                Cycling books:  They come in various kinds, Training Books, such as (Training Plans for Cyclists – Gale Bernhardt – Velopress - $21.95; Wellness Books (Medical Guide for Cyclists – Andy Pruitt available from Excel Sports at $18.95); Books about a cyclist’s favorite bicycle racer, stage race, local cycling routes, or calendars or coffee table photo books from the likes of Graham Watson.  Lots of variety in these items and the better you know the cyclist the more likely you are to hit their favorite subject for a book or photos.

                My favorite.  Winter is here and like it or not, quantities of time will be spent on the stationary trainer soon and often, before and, for certain, after Christmas.  Long-hour DVD’s of stage races, classic one day races, or specific training (time trialing, hill climbing, road racing, intervals, spinning, et al).  Example, my usual gift from my favorite person on earth, is the 11 hour, 6 disc DVD of the latest Tour de France, available from World Cycling Productions for $79.95, as well as some local bike shops off and on.  Put the DVD on, get on the trainer, and try to keep up with the pros, “Come on guys, hurry up and get to the summit so I can sit down for a few minutes!”

                Last and inexpensive but not least:  THE TRIPLETS OF BELLVILLE (DVD)  A wildly and highly original animated story about a Tour de France cyclist trained by his grandmother…. It’s really fun, and will be replayed time and time again, maybe every Christmas from here on out!  One is available from DVD EMPIRE on line at $10.83 on sale from $14.94……….Well it WAS available, but I just ordered it!

Merry Cycling Christmas

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Studded Winter Bike Tires

Posted by Gale Bernhardt Nov 17, 2010

My friend Jesse Hammond, a San Diego, California transplant is now living in Colorado Springs, Colorado. This week he experienced his first snowy-commute-home-from-work ride.


The last time I saw Jesse was in October when I was in the Springs to present at the USA Cycling Coaching Summit. When I was there we had a discussion about studded bike tires for the winter. I remembered that Steve Douglas, one of the Northern Colorado riders, has a technique for self-made studded winter bike tires.


I asked Steve about the technique and he said he used sheet metal screws to make the studs. I believe he also used duct tape to cover the screw heads and then put a tuffy liner in the tire before inserting a tube.

The conversation with Steve got us both wondering about self-made studded tubless tires.


With that background, the question for you hard-core commuters and ice riders – what do you recommend for studded winter bike tires and why? If you have a great technique that you use to make your own studs, let us know.


If I get enough interesting feedback I may turn the feedback results into a column. If I end up writing a column I will, of course, give you credit for your ideas and techniques.


Please post ideas here in the comment section and not on Facebook so the ideas are easily viewed and shared.


In advance, thanks for sharing your knowledge ~

811 Views 6 Comments Permalink Tags: winter_riding, studded_bike_tires, snow_riding, ice_damage_cleats

In yesterday’s blog I wrote about a hit-and-run driver getting a break on charges due to his job and presumably financial status.The story is getting national attention.


Today, the Vail Daily printed a column interviewing the District Attorney (Hulbert) and he stands by his decision to not press felony charges.


“At this point, the two misdemeanors are the best plea bargain given his lack of (criminal) history,” Hurlbert said.

A felony count — leaving the scene of an accident causing serious bodily injury ­— was on the table earlier, but it's not part of the plea agreement, Hurlbert said.


Additionally,  Hulbert says that once a plea bargain is put forth, the only one that can renege on a plea agreement is the judge.


You can read the full article here.

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Not only is the Vail cycling community unhappy, the incident made Colorado network news. The Vail Daily reported that prosecutors decided not to file felony charges against a financial manager for wealthy clients in an alleged hit-and-run incident.


The decision to not file felony charges are apparently not based on the alleged incident, rather on the financial status of the person, Martin Erzinger, driving the car. The District Attorney Mark Hurlbert said that Erzinger is willing to take responsibility and pay restitution. Because of his willingness to pay, felony charges weren’t pressed.


“Felony convictions have some pretty serious job implications for someone in Mr. Erzinger's profession, and that entered into it,” Hurlbert said. “When you're talking about restitution, you don't want to take away his ability to pay.”


A regular blog reader dropped me a note to point out that this is the same District Attorney that filed felony charges against the cyclists that sold a $250 race entry to another rider. The Denver Post reported on the filing and I wrote about the incident in the spring. The felony charges were eventually dropped.


I’m not understanding the logic behind felony charges against the two female racers; but none against the alleged hit-and-run driver. Perhaps someone can enlighten me.


Further, do you think legal charges should be based on the ability to pay restitution?

1,143 Views 2 Comments Permalink Tags: colorado, cyclist, vail, hit-and-run, felony_charges

Last night was the premier of the Race Across the Sky Movie, documenting the 2010 Leadville 100 Mountain Bike Race. This is the second movie about the race, produced by Citizen Pictures.


Though I attended the Fort Collins, Colorado event, live feed from the Denver event was shown on the big screen. The live feed included a panel discussion before and after the movie. Panel members included Bahram Akradi (founder of Life Time Fitness and new owner of the race),  Levi Leipheimer (2010 men’s winner), Dave Wiens (eight-time finisher, six-time winner), Rebecca Rusch (two-time winner, including 2010), JHK (Jeremy Horgan-Kobelski, second place 2010) and Erik Weihenmayer (first legally blind racer to finish the event as a tandem stoker, accomplished Mount Everest climber). The panel discussion was moderated by Boulder, Colorado’s Dave Towle.


The film began with race founder Ken Chlouber in the depths of what I assume was the Climax Molybdenum Mine. The history of Leadville is hand-in-hand with the mining industry. The mountain towns like Leadville were built on hard work, persistence and digging deep. That theme carries though the race.


There was a much better balance this year of film footage of the elite racers and ordinary people. Similar to the NBC broadcast of Ironman World Championships – if you need inspiration, you can find it in the people featured in the movie. The human interest stories included athletes able to race after surviving accidents, battling disease, fighting the age clock, racing in memory of others and racing in spite of other various obstacles.


The graphics showing the course were well done as was the pre-race course shakedown. There were loads of race-day struggles and triumphs. Those small clips woven together give viewers hints of the course difficulty.


I know it isn’t as easy to do as the men’s race; but it would be great if the top ten women were honored at the close of the film in the same manner that the top ten men were honored. At minimum, list the top ten women rather than just the top five.


Overall, I thought Citizen’s did a great job. If you love to ride and could use a bit of inspiration (who can't use inspiration?) take the time to see this film.



1,066 Views 0 Comments Permalink Tags: race_across_the_sky, levi_leipheimer, leadville_100_mountain_bike_race, dave_wiens, rebecca_rusch, jhk, erikweihnmayer, dave_towle, ken_chlouber, citizen_pictures

Is as much as 90-percent of the published medical information flawed?


The 90-percent statistic comes from a column titled “Lies, Damned Lies, and Medical Science,” written by David H. Freedman, published by the Atlantic. The column focuses on the work done by meta-researcher Dr. John Ioannidis who is known as one of the world’s foremost authorities on the credibility of medical research. Dr. Ioannidis notes that medical research can be negatively influenced by the researchers wanting to fund tenured positions, keep jobs, and win attention.


The column in the Atlantic goes on to note that the problem of flawed research is not limited to the medical community. Though not specifically called to the carpet, certainly the world of clinical sport, sport medicine and sport performance cannot be immune from flawed research.


Some of the research claims disputed in the column leaves readers with a feeling of helplessness. If you can’t trust research “science,” then who do you believe?


It is easy to read the column and get the idea that all research is flawed. Read again and you’ll note that Dr. Ioannidis is not claiming all research is flawed.


To help you sort out research claims before you enter your VISA number to have the next miracle performance enhancer delivered to your doorstep, consider the following excerpt edited from Bicycling for Women:


Evaluating Research Claims

  • Was the study published in a reputable scientific journal?
  • Who were the researchers and did they have financial incentives to gain by the results of the experiment?
  • What are the limitations of the study? Were the studies done on animals and not humans? Were the studies done on populations which are significantly different than those being questioned by the hypothesis? For example, if we want to determine the effects of 60-second interval training on masters level female cyclists, we don’t want the study group to be 20-year-old sedentary males. At best, the experiment may lend suggested relationships between the question and the results from the study group.
  • Is the study "an amazing discovery?" Are there studies which directly contradict the amazing find? Or does the study, in some way, support research which is already known? This particular point will need to be reviewed, if there is a lack of past research on the subject.
  • What was the size of the study group? A study on hundreds of people will have more weight than a study of ten people.
  • What time period did the study cover? Many studies only cover a short time, a few weeks or months. How our bodies react to nutrients or a training stimulus are complex interactions of multiple factors. These reactions may take long periods of time.


If he has done nothing else, Dr. Ioannidis has brought the attention to the issues. Based on the buzz I’ve seen on the sport and science discussion boards, everyone wants to eliminate the problems with research reliability and that will help all of us.

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