A group of British soldiers serving in Bosnia, called the "Iron Guardsmen" have returned from their tour of duty in a newsworthy fashion. This group of 10 soldiers from 1st Battalion Welsh Guards cycled, kayaked and ran the entire 1,300 miles back to the Wellington Barracks in London!
This triathlon of epic proportions began on March 1st in Bosnia as the team cycled through the Alps as they made their way across Europe, kayaked across the English Channel and ran three consecutive marathons from Dover to the capital city. The tour designed to honor of the 25th anniversary of Britain's Falklands conflict also raised funds for The South Atlantic Medal Association 82, the Army Benevolent Fund, and the male cancer charity; Everyman.
Team spokesman, Capt. James Westropp, described the final leg of the journey to be the most challenging. "It was wet, cold and miserable,and, for all concerned, a bit of a low point," he told reporters. "The Iron Guardsmen really dug in and I was proud to be part of such a resilient team. The human body is not designed to take this sort of pressure, but there was no complaining. Just a few silent tears. "Despite suffering delays due to broken equipment and injuries, the "Iron Guardsmen" managed to persevere and complete their highly anticipated return on Saturday.
NBA superstar LeBron James has recently purchased an undisclosed ownership stake in The Cannondale Bicycle Corporation. The privately held company has worked with James before; providing bicycles for the James Family Foundation's annual "King for Kids Bike-a-thon" in Akron, Ohio. This charity bike ride event in James' hometown benefits children and single mothers. The bike that was custom built for the 6 foot 8 inch Cleveland Cavaliers forward was later incorporated into James' off season cross-training workout routine. James often rides 2 to 3 hours at a time during his sessions in the saddle.
To become an internationally recognized NBA superstar like LeBron James or a sub-2:10 marathoner, it is quite obvious that an athlete must train within their discipline. The very best athletes also recognize cross-training as an important component in avoiding injury from repetitive strain or overuse.
I use rock climbing as my cross-training activity. I find that the combination of long and stretchy core power and stability movements without impact is a great compliment to the high pavement-pounding mileage I log each week. Plus, the required upper body strength and endurance helps maintain my muscle mass.
Whether you are looking to excel within your sport or you are more interested in maintaining a high level of overall fitness, cross-training will keep you healthy and motivated.
The Kodak Gallery Pro Cycling Team presented by Sierra Nevada Brewing Company made a major commitment to environmental sustainability for the 2007 season by offsetting 100 percent of the carbon pollution that their team creates by purchasing 460,600 kWh of renewable energy credits (RECs). According to the team website, not only have enough RECs been purchased to offset all of the pollution generated by domestic team support vehicles operating in approximately 120 days of bicycle racing in the 2007 season, but their efforts also include the offset of "100 percent of the home electricity consumption of each of its athletes and management, as well as all of the team?s travel emissions."
To help highlight the significance of this initiative, statistics provided by The U.S. Department of Energy confirm that 460,600 kWh of RECs is equal to the following: "planting 8,460 trees, not driving 669,950 miles, or preventing the burning of 344,340 pounds of coal." This progressive step towards sustainability and independence from fossil fuel is noteworthy amongst the general public, let alone the cycling industry.
Beginning in Oregon and ending 108 days later in Delaware, Paul Staso completed his 3,260 mile run across the U.S.A. on October, 20, 2006. Paul Staso was running to promote his campaign called P.A.C.E. Run 2006, which stands for "Promoting Active Children Everywhere". In addition to becoming the seventh person to successfully complete the unsupportedtrans-continental crossing, Staso was able to encourage active and healthy lifestyles in the lives of many young people from coast-to-coast. His 30 mile per day effort took much training and planning which was not new to this ultra endurance athlete. Click the link to read in more detail of Paul Staso's P.A.C.E. Run 2006.
On April 11, 2007, Staso will embark upon a brand new challenge: to complete a solo crossing of the U.S.A. on a bicycle. Following the same route as the P.A.C.E. Run 2006, Paul will retrace the 3,260 mile route during his newest campaign, P.A.C.E. Bike 2007. Staso will continue to promote youth fitness through motivational presentations as he passes through 15 U.S. states during his voyage from east to west. At an average of 55 miles per day, Staso plans to complete this journey by June, 17. Upon completion, he will become the first person to ever run solo, from coast to coast and then bicycle back across the U.S.A. alone, within one year for a total of 6,520 miles! Stay tuned for updates this spring as we follow his ultra-endurance quest.
On Monday, what was a major investigation into doping in cycling came to an anticlimactic end for those anticipating a strong legal stance against alleged cheats. Judge Antonio Serrano ruled that he could not charge anyone because Spain's doping law did not exist when the case, dubbed Operation Puerto, broke last May.
Though admitting doping took place and calling it a lack of "fair play," Serrano said that without evidence that it harmed the riders' health, Spanish law at the time of the charges couldn't prosecute them.
A new law, which took effect last month, makes it illegal to prescribe, dispense or aid in the use of blood doping (increasing the ability of red blood cells to hold oxygen, thereby delivering more energy to a person).
Many of the riders originally named in the investigation weren't charged -- the actual defendants were mostly doctors and team staff -- but it still affected many reputations and careers. Most notably, former Tour de France champion Jan Ullrich dropped out of last year?s race and recently retired from cycling due to the allegations.
The ruling, while an embarrassment for the investigators, can be appealed in Spanish courts. Tour de France director Christian Prudhomme said, "These people were caught red-handed and it is inconceivable that they return to the world of cycling. I cannot imagine that the International Cycling Union (UCI) will let them return."
It remains to be seen how this ruling will affect cycling from here on out. It's been announced that the UCI will continue its investigation. In the meantime, how does this affect the riders and teams who were initially connected to Puerto?
While Ivan Basso, who dropped out of last year's Tour after being implicated, raced last month in the Tour of California for the Discovery Channel team, other teams had to disband as sponsors pulled out.
Perhaps this case will serve as a lesson to countries and governing bodies of sports. Doping and steroid policies are only as strong as their laws and punishments. It's one thing to embarrass an athlete, but as we've seen in everything from Olympic track and field to Major League Baseball, that?s not enough to make the problem of cheating go away.
Last month's Amgen Tour of California wound its way from San Francisco to Long Beach. Attracting some of the top international cyclists -- including Ivan Basso, Jens Voigt and Michael Rasmussen -- the event covered 641 miles of scenic California highways and roads that passed through small towns and large cities.
But how does this course compare to the venerable roads traversed in European races? According to many, the race made quite the impression.
"California has way better roads, by far," said Dr. Allen Lim, sports physiologist for Team Slipstream. "This is some of the most exceptional terrain in cycling."
Jonathan Vaughters, former professional cyclist and current CEO/Directeur Sportif of Team Slipstream explained why, "The roads are wider and smoother here in California."
Referring to stage four's route along Highway 1, through Big Sur and finishing in San Luis Obispo, Justin England of the Toyota-United team had this to say, "Highway 1 was just spectacular. I was talking to a lot of European guys who said they really enjoyed it."
That sentiment was echoed by stage four winner and defending world champion, Italian Paolo Bettini of the Quick Step-Innergetic team, "The roads are all different, the landscape changes, but the riders and the competition are the same... Day by day, I am discovering California on this course and it is beautiful.
"Here in California the courses are good for me. They are difficult, but not too difficult... The fans here are incredible, just incredible," said Bettini.
But while European races sometimes ride over cobblestones, in California riders had to deal with a slightly different hazard, the raised reflectors designating lane lines -- known to cyclists as turtles.
"They can wreck havoc sometimes," said Lim. "But the guys know they're there. They are mainly bad in packs, where they can be dangerous."
On the whole, the future looks bright for the Tour of California. At the conclusion of the race, Frenchman Christophe Laurent of the Credit Agricole team remarked, "There were lots of people at the start and finish...and the encouragement was great. The races in Europe have to be envious. There isn't a race in Europe that is this well organized."
Let’s first begin with this quick reference to get you up-to-date with the different race distances:
Sprint distance triathlon is a 0.45 mile swim (0.75-kilometer), a 13.2 miles bike ride (22K), and a 3.1 mile (5K run).
Olympic triathlon is the distance used at the Olympic Games: a 0.9 miles swim (1.5K), a 24 mile bike ride (40K), and a 6.2 miles run (10K).
Half-Ironman event is a 1.2-mile swim (about 1.9K), a 56-mile bike ride (89.6K) and a 13.1-mile run (21K).
Ironman event is a 2.4-mile swim (about 3.8K), a 112-mile bike ride (179.2K) and a 26.2-mile run (42K or a marathon).
The sprint, Olympic, Half Ironman and Ironman are the most traditional and mainstream triathlon events. The Ultraman World Championships is an event of epic proportions and is described as “an athletic odyssey of personal rediscovery; as such, they are the next step in the endurance challenge of being human.” The Ultraman World Championships event is a 6.2 mile (10 K) open ocean swim, a 261.4 mile (421 K) cross-country bike ride, and a 52.4 mile (84K) ultra-marathon run. This event takes place over two days where the 6.2 mile swim and 90 miles of the cycling leg are completed. The second day consists of the remaining 171.4 miles of cycling. The third and final day is devoted to the 52.4 (double marathon) run.
These endurance athletes are amazing! Through find raising and accomplishing such super-hero-like feats, most of the participants are racing to benefit a cause or some else. This altruistic approach is often the modus operandi that enables these athletes to endure such a high level if sustain activity.
All of this time, I thought a marathon was tough - I’m heading back to the drawing boards to re assess my priorities!
Discovery Channel team rider, Levi Leipheimer of Santa Rosa, California emerged as the overall winner of the Tour of California yesterday at the 7th and final stage in Long Beach, CA. Leipheimer finished the 539-mile Tour with an overall time of 24:57:24.
Spinning through 10 host cities and covered roughly 600 miles from San Francisco all the way down to Redondo Beach. Cycling enthusiasts have called the inaugural Tour of California a huge success, with over 1.3 million spectators at the 7 stages, and a one-hour recap shown each night on ESPN 2.
1. Specific: These goals are most clearly defined by the 6 “W” questions – Who, what, where, when, why. The answers to these questions will begin to bring your goals into focus.
2. Measurable: By establishing a system for measuring progress toward the attainment of each goal you set, you will find increases in motivation by experiencing a sense of achievement when reaching the smaller incremental goals along the way. To prevent ambiguity and vagueness, make sure to incorporate a quantitative time frame allowing you to carry out those steps and feel successful.
3. Attainable: Once goals are identified and the incremental goals begin to be accomplished, the larger goals that used to seem far away, begin to grow closer as you grow as a person. It's truly amazing how one begins to figure out ways to make goals become reality. Previously overlooked opportunities manifest themselves and bring you closer to the achievement of your goals, all the while, new attitudes, abilities, skills, and financial strategies develop to help you to reach them.
4. Realistic: By truly believing that your goal can be accomplished, your goal will be realistic. This is something that you and you alone must decide. Be sure to set each goal as to represent ample growth. By following these guidelines, higher goals often prove to be easier to reach than lower goals because lower goals produce a lower level of motivational energy.
5. Timely: Goals should be set within a time frame with a starting point, ending point, and fixed intervals along the way. This will perpetuate a sense of urgency to act as target dates approach. Goals without deadlines tend to fade in importance and fall in rank of priority where less commitment is established.
So good luck to all you weekend warriors who are on your way to S.M.A.R.T goals!
+(Photo provided by Gettyimages / Photographer Gary S Chapman) +
Proper nutrition and diet are crucial components in the pursuit of one’s fitness goals. Even more important, is the last meal you eat before your big race. To maximize your potential, the type of food, quantity, and timing of this pre race meal must be considered.
Below is a general list of guidelines:
1. Timing: Most races take place in the early morning. If proper food intake has been consistent leading up to the race, then muscle stored glycogen will have sufficient levels to perform, despite a feeling of hunger. Since hunger will not hinder performance and it takes roughly 4 hours to properly ingest and digest a meal, it makes more sense to sleep during this time and wait until the race begins to start consuming energy fuels.
2. Size: If you do decide to wake up 4 hours before your race to eat, your pre-race meal should be composed of easily digested high complex carbohydrates between 200 - 400 calories. Stay clear of high fiber, simple sugar, and fat content. Stick with high starch foods like pasta, rice, plane bagels, oatmeal, banana and yogurt.
3. Hydration: After breakfast, an athlete should drink roughly 10-12 ounces of fluid per hour leading up to 30 minutes before the race. A sport drink containing both carbohydrates and protein is arguably the best mixture to use. A small amount of your supplemental fuel roughly five to ten minutes before your race is also recommended to boost blood glycogen stores to their optimal level.
4. Experiment: Incorporate these nutrition methods into your regular training schedule. By keeping a training journal and logging your intake which will allow you to try new combinations of foods and fuels in hopes of finding your perfect pre race meal.
Levi Leipheimer repeated his winning performance from last year, leading an American sweep Sunday in the Amgen Tour of California prologue. Leipheimer, a three-time top-10 Tour de France finisher, completed the 1.9-mile primarily uphill circuit to Coit Tower on Telegraph Hill in 4 minutes, 49.05 seconds at an average speed of 23.994 mph.
Leipheimer will wear the race leader's jersey in the first stage today, a 97.1-mile road race from Sausalito to Santa Rosa.