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Letters to Cyclingnews - June 22, 2002
Here's your chance to get more involved with Cyclingnews. Comments and criticism on current stories, races, coverage and anything cycling related are welcomed, even pictures if you wish. Letters should be brief (less than 300 words), with the sender clearly identified. They may be edited for space and clarity. We will normally include your name and place of residence, but not your email address unless you specify in the message.
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Cycling in Louisiana is dangerous
Having lived in New Orleans for five years in the 1990s and having ridden on River Road in Baton Rouge many times, it was with sorrow that I read your report of two deaths on that road. Cycling in Louisiana is a dangerous activity, kept dangerous by a Louisiana State Department of Transportation and Development that is the inverse of being cycling pro-active. Motorist attitudes in Louisiana are too often negative and dangerous to cyclists.
Around fifteen years ago, a New Orleans cyclist was killed by a drunk driver on New Orlean's Lakeshore Drive during a training ride/race. His death, leaving a wife and two young children, prompted the creation of the New Orleans Regional Bicycle Awarness Committee which has done much to improve the lot of all Louisiana cyclists. I hope that these new deaths will prompt a resurgence of bicycle advocacy in Baton Rouge and throughout Louisiana.
Is there any documentation indicating which is the strongest crankset/bottom-bracket combo out there? I would like any answers to be kept to the more traditional looking cranks and not the carbon style. So I guess it really is between, Campy, Shimano, Ritchey and other similar cranks.
Also aluminium frames are quite stiff but how is their longevity? I know they don't rust, but do they weaken? What about Carbon Frames? What would be the draw back to them? As for steel, so many companies indicate that the bikes are as "smooth as steel". Why don't we see more Columbus/Reynolds "steel" frames? If steel frames were made with as large a diameter as aluminium, wouldn't they get stiffer also?
I know everyone has opinions, but I am looking for data (not that opinions aren't fun to read, and would gladly take those also). Any independent studies, showing us the real numbers?
Thanks again for all the coverage.
This might not be too much help - but I tore my hamstrings 3 times over a period of 6 months whilst trying to get back into cycling. They were excessively tight due to the amount of time I had off in the off season - sitting down etc.
Two years later after trying several specialist physios, sports doctors and
Before I could only ride for an hour at best - now I'm back up to around 50/700km a week including specific hillwork and interval training.
Hamstring injury #2
Since I am from the USA, I do not know who would be a good physiotherapist in London, but I may shed some light on how to prevent the same thing from happening in the future when you recover from your injury.
The hamstring help stabilise the leg when pedalling. There can be several factors that contributed hamstring injuries:
1) Lack of flexibility (biggest factor) in the hip region.
Most cyclist and runners only do the basic hamstring stretches (hurdlers exercise, touching toes, etc.). They neglect flexibility exercises for the hip and gluteal region. As you have found out this is where most hamstring pulls and tears occur.
When runners and cyclists do strength training, you will see them do tons of leg machine curls in the gym. This trains the hamstring as a single joint but the hamstring is a multi-joint (hip & knee). It is more beneficial to do more strength training that incorporates the hip area (leg lunges, squats, single leg squats, step-ups, hip & back machine, hip abduction & hip adduction).
There are several good books on the market:
1) Sport Stretch by Michael J. Alter by Human Kinetics Home Page ISBN 0-88011-823-7,
2) Functional Training by RoseMarie Gionta Alfieri ISBN 1-57826-063-9 published by Hatherleigh Press
3) Bicycling Medicine by Arnie Baker, M.D. ISBN 0-684-84443-5 published Fireside Book
4) The Sports Medicine Bible by Lyle J. Micheli, M.D. ISBN 0-06-273143-2 published by Quill
5) Serious Cycling by Edmund R. Burke PhD ISBN 0-87322-759-Xby Human Kinetics Home Page
6) The Cyclist's Training Bible by Joe Friel ISBN 1-884737-21-8 by VeloNews .
Another excellent form of cycling information is from the Performance Conditioning Inc.
Contact your cycling federation in England. Also seek out a qualified strength & conditioning coach in your area who trains cyclists or is an avid cyclist him/herself to set up a program for strength and flexibility. Again contact your cycling federation for names or the National Strength and Conditioning Association (NSCA) for strength coaches in the London area.
Brad Jordan, BA NSCA-CPT
Hamstring injury #3
I would recommend a series of Pilates floor classes. I've found that these exercises are easy to do at home, and are an excellent stretching and strengthening routine to balance cycling.
Some years back while riding in France I discovered a fantastic set of books in a French bookstore. You may be able to obtain them in the states, if not you can find them in a French bookstore when you get there.
There is a two volume set, in paperback titled "ATLAS DES COLS DES ALPES",
Vol 1: Alpes du Nord, Vol 2: Alpes du Sud.,
These are fantastic books for cyclists with descriptions, directions, and detailed
profiles of all major and many of the minor alpine cols. Included with most
of them is a listing of the percentage of grade kilometre by kilometre. Similar
editions are also available from the same publisher on the cols of the Pyrenees,
Jura, and Massif Central. These are about 5"x8", approx 240 pages. The last
set I bought in 1997 cost approximately $12.00 each.
It's all about the right gear #2
This shows a detailed view of the Tourmalet. Find others on this site as well.
I rode the Tourmalet during the 2001 Tour. It was great! I used a 39x23 on the upper section.
I've been reading the race reports this year, and have been interested in the descriptions of the climbs along various race routes. In particular the length/gradient descriptions go far to help one imagine the difficulty of a particular climb.
My curiosity is to the point where I'd like to be able to describe the climbs on my home roads to others as well as to be able to ride say, a 1/2-mile 8% climb, or a 3-mile @ 6% for more specific hill training.
What is the best (and simplest, i.e. can be stuffed in a jersey pocket) way to take accurate measurements of a climb and its various pitches?
The most simple solution to the selection of teams to the Tour de France has been overlooked.
Currently there are 21 teams of 9 riders taking part. This is means that 189 riders will be starting the race. If the organisers decrease the number of riders per team to 7 riders, then the organisers can add 6 more teams and still have 189 riders in the race.
Less riders per team would make the races more challenging and exciting as well. Big teams would have much more trouble controlling breakaways.
I'd even like to see the number of riders reduced to 5 or 6 because 189 riders is too many, and crashes are inevitable. The larger the fields the more chance of a marginal racer taking out another team's star in a crash.
If the French don't want to put on this type of race, I say let's do it right here in America. We have the financial capital, the mountains, the valleys and we're great at importing. We can import some crazy fans and we don't have to include lesser French teams that couldn't hold a candle to our Navigators.
Tour de France Selection #2
I seriously doubt the organisers of the TDF have any interest in excluding competitive riders. They just have an excessive interest in including French riders and believe they are justified since this is their national tour.
I think they miss the point that riders' contracts are largely negotiated based on UCI points, which are an international commodity. There are a large number of UCI points up for grabs at the TDF. Excluding riders who aren't French gives the French riders unfair opportunity to score those points. Those points can then be used to demand entry into the other big races based on results that were only achieved by racing against a lower-quality field.
Perhaps they should reduce the team size to 7 riders? It's an easy way to
Tour de France Selection #3
I personally believe that true cycling fans would watch the tour regardless of whether or not they had a "star" rider from their nation present. True, you may lose some peoples interest if they don't have a big name to associate with but I think that the majority of people who follow bike racing do so because of what it offers and not just who it offers.
The fact that the whole Saeco team was excluded from the tour is very unfortunate, especially for the truly innocent as I'm sure there must be some.
Tour de France Selection #4
It seems odd to me that LeBlanc and the TdF organisers were very quick to bounce Saeco after Simoni's non-negative test, but no word at all has been given on Mapei. One could make the same argument on Garzelli's team leadership that LeBlanc did with Simoni when he removed Saeco. I am not in any way suggesting that Mapei should be removed and there is no way that I want to see another undeserving and marginally qualified French team end up with another wildcard spot, but it seems a bit strange how the events have unfolded.
France obviously suffered a great loss when Inspector Clouseau passed on. His talents are sorely missed in the French department of investigation into 'non-financial organised crime'.
"If Lance Armstrong had made himself available for certain tests, then we could have been sure. But he did not want to, as is his right."
Why even report on this non-announcement? Why report Fran┘ois Franchy's latest fairy tale? It has been reported on this site and else where that Armstrong did make himself available. USPS cooperated with the investigation, going so far as to provide blood samples if I remember correctly. Armstrong himself went so far as to contact the Judge and offer to meet her but was never contacted.
I will be travelling to Milan in October of this year and I have heard that the Colnago factory outside of Milan is an incredible place. I'd really like to visit there but I don't know if they offer guided tours, etc. Can someone let me know if it's worth visiting there and what's the best way to go about setting up an "appointment". Any other detail/suggestions would be appreciated.
Although I am unaware of any, I would say that there is no reason for any of them not to be one. There is nothing depriving in any sort of "normal" vegetarian diet. They can get all the protein they need (or want) from Legumes, and as far as good complex carbs go, well, that goes without saying. Personally I am not a pro, but I do put some miles in, and my diet is all non meat.
David Duffield drives me round the bend. As a female I find his comments particularly sexist. He's always going on about viewers encouraging their wives and girlfriends to watch cycling, or suggesting they tape the coverage and watch it in the bedroom while the wives and girlfriends are watching the soaps. Honestly! My husband has no interest in cycling and I am addicted to every piece of live coverage I can get. Yes, I'm grateful for getting live coverage at all, but surely the cult Duffield following isn't enough to validate his mind-numbing commentary.
Nobody has mentioned my favourite! Drink up when as the stage winner approaches the finish line and Phil says," Now as the rider zips up his jersey to look good for the cameras" or some such.
Another round of drinking games #2
Though there are ample submissions on this subject, I must offer a couple more rules for the OLN Drinking Game:
1(a). Drink anytime Paul uses the word "sterling" as an adjective.
I am just wondering if anyone can get me a contact for Clara Hughes? I would like to invite her to come for a presentation at the University of Manitoba on September 3rd.
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