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2006 reflections...

2006 certainly is a big year for cycling. Armstrong is gone, and the cycling world waited in anticipation for a new generation of riders to succeed his throne. Names of many pretenders and contenders were thrown around and I was quite excited for the Tour to start. I was anticipating great battles between McEwen, Pettachi, and Boonen. I was expecting battle royale in the high mountains between Basso and Ulrich. All set for an exciting TdF.

Boom or rather Blap!  Pettachi crashed, Boonen petered out, but at least McEwen delivered. I have great respect for the pocket rocket despite his often unconventional racing tactics. Like I said, he delivered. No excuse given. A real sprinter, to me at least. Only wish Zabel won a stage, he is such a great sportsman to me.

Basso and Ulrich provided much publicity to the Tour, but what at what cost! Well, someone once said, no publicity is bad publicity!

Just when we thought the cycling rags have a field day on the doping scandals, cycling was hit with a double-shot expresso. Floyd Landis rise from hero to zero to hero and zero again was almost like climbing the Alps itself. Hors Category award goes to Landis!

So here I am wondering what has become of the sport we loved so much... can cycling take another hit before 2006 is up?

Well, there're always two sides to a coin...

  1. T/E ratio. Thanks to Landis, I can now impress my non-cyclist friends about my "medical" knowledge! This is the latest medical stuff I learn from cycling. I can't even pronounced it yet, but hey... I know it before the football fans.
  2. Hematocrit-level. Before getting into cycling, I would be proud to know what criterium racing is. Now I know there are crit-racing and then there are another type of "crit-racing".
  3. Base-training, threshold-training, anaerobic-threshold, VO Max, slow-twitch, fast-twitch, don't you just love those terms? Suddenly, I feel so well-educated compared to my err,, golf-club-swinging and rugby friends. I don't have any wrestling fans, or at least openly declared wrestling fans, but I'm sure I still sound more intelligent when I can talk about aerobic threshold, lactate threshold compared to headlock, body-slam blah blah blah.
  4. High-glycemic and low-glycemic food, carbo-loading, isotonic drinks, protein-shake, bodyfat percentage. I wouldn't have a clue about all these if not for cycling. Now, I can spar with all those protein-shakes in Planet Fitness.
  5. I learned a few strange words like peloton, bidon, derailleur, lanterne rouge, etappe, ... Man, I feel more sophisticated already just being able to pronounced Alpe d`Huez and Ventoux correctly :)
  6. In the past, my hands wasn't able to tell the difference between a kilo or two with my eyes wide open. Now, I can tell the difference of 50gms when I am holding two objects with my eyes closed. So, this sport improves more than just my aerobic fitness! Right now, I still can't feel the difference between 6-layer and 9-layer carbon weave, but I am working on it.
  7. No other sports allows me to wear gaudy colors since golf has gone mainstream. But golf doesn't allow you to shave your legs and make excuses for it. So if you have fetish for smooth skin, cycling is good for you! By the way, I don't shave my legs, hair is a precious commodity to me, if you've seen my head you'll understand why.
  8. Coefficient of drag, rotational weight, rolling resistance, stiffness to weight ratio, Q-factor, stress-risers, asymmetric chainstays, asymmetric lacing, blah blah blah. Suddenly, I am not just a medical-expert, now I am an engineer and ergonomist all rolled into one! I am sure your average hockey player wouldn't have so much to talk about the hockey stick!

To all you depressed angry disappointed cycling fans and cyclists out there, take heart! There is still hope in our chosen sport. Cycling is a very resilient sport because we can actively participate in it. Cycling is one sport where we can intimately feel the pain and the suffering of the participants and our heroes when they sprint for the line or crawl up the mountain because whatever fitness-level you are, you can feel the same pain and lactic burn when you are doing it yourself. The pain is just as real! I can't say that about ice-hockey, motor-racing, boat-racing because you need a certain level of skill or financial resources to be able to do the stuff we see on TV. Cycling is a democratic sport, not just for the elite.

So, now I have convinced myself to stay away from buying the fish-tank for another year! Why did I mentioned fish tank? Many T@ members are greying and a few starting rearing fish, to my horror! You know who you are...

Wishing you a great second half of the year, bring on the Vuelta!!

Ride safe!

OldMan (no fish tank, no EPO, just pure fun...)

Comments or criticism can be sent to oldman@teamabsolut.net
 

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