Category Archives: Health

To enjoy cycling you need to stay healthy, otherwise you are missing out on riding.

Ode to the Strade Bianche not being streamed by SBS…grumble

Dear Rouleurs,

As a cycling tragic, its MMT’s favourite time of year, the brief lull in UCI calendar before all the spring time Monuments and one classics start.  MMT figures that these races are most like the sportive and charity rides he does, so there’s a bit to simpatico.  Also the riders tend to win these races are of the bigger variety, as opposed to the 50-55Kg jockeys that tend to dominate the mountain and general classifications.MMT is particularly enarmoured with the  Strade Bianche due to start on the 3rd March 2018.  Unfortunately SBS aren’t covering this modern day gem (…or for that matter the Giro..WTF!!!)

The Eroica Strade Bianche (“Heroic race of the gravel roads”) was created in 1997 as a granfondo, a recreational bike race for vintage bikes only, on the white gravel roads around Siena, an event that is still held annually the day after the professional race. In 2007, a professional race was spun off the event, inaugurally called Monte Paschi Eroica, won by Russian Alexandr Kolobnev. The race was held on 9 October; it started in Gaiole in Chianti and finished in Siena. Organizer RCS asked local cycling icons Fiorenzo Magni and Paolo Bettini to promote the maiden event.[8] Monte dei Paschi, the world’s oldest still-existing bank with its headquarters in Siena, served as the race’s title sponsor for the first four years. In 2008, the race was moved to early March on the calendar, closer to the heart of the spring classics season. At this point, professional cycling teams started competing more seriously.

There are roughly 63km of gravel roads, appearing in 11 sectors (eight of those shared with the Women Elite course). For the men that’s approximately 1/3 of the course.

Strade Bianche course for 2018

There are some nasty, nasty hills in this race ranging from 6% to 18%. But what makes it really special is the final 4 kilometres approaching the city centre of Siena.

Up, down, up down…looks like hard work.

Here’s a description pilfered from event’s web site.

“The demanding final kilometres, with gradients up to 16%, approach the city of Siena along broad, straight sections of road, connected by sweeping curves, first descending, and then climbing slightly. 2km from the finish line, the route joins Via Esterna di Fontebranda, where the gradient touches 9%. 900m from the finish line, the race route passes beneath Fontebranda Gate where the road surface becomes paving slabs. The gradient exceeds 10% until 500m from the finish line, reaching its highpoint of 16% in Via Santa Caterina. A sharp right hand turn leads to Via delle Terme, and then Via Banchi di Sotto. With 300m to go, the road continues to climb slightly then, 150m from the line, a right turn leads into Via Rinaldini. The route enters the Piazza del Campo just 70m from the finish line. The final 30m descends at a gradient of 7% and the finish line itself is flat.”

So this what the final 4km route through Siena, ending at Piazza del Campo.

WTF, that’s a really nasty finish.

Man that’s seriously leg burning and after 180km or so…ouch The other thing about the race, is that professional’s seem to take it very seriously.

  • The Palmares of the last ten years include:
  • Fabian Cancellara (3 wins),
  • Michał Kwiatkowski (2 wins), and
  • Philippe Gilbert, Zdeněk Štybar (1 win each)

and then a raft of minor placings to stars of the sport like:

  • Peter Sagan,
  • Greg Van Avermaet, and
  • Alejandro Valverde.

Australia’s own Michael Rogers finished 3rd in 2010 and is to this day the only Australian to make the podium. Luke Durbridge of Orica Greenedge/Scott/Bike Exchange/Mitchelton, finished 6th last year (2017). Cancellara has the most difficult section of strade named after him, following his third win in 2016. The 11.4km, 5 star section is 54km from the finish line and was previously known as ‘Monte Sante Marie Settore’

So speaking of the great man and Siena here’s a few pilfered happy snaps.

Whoa…how beautiful is this piazza?

The piazza from above. Spectacular!!!

Proof that the organisers named a strade section after Cancellara.

Cancellara winning the Strade Bianche for the first time.

OK that’s enough skiving off at work. Hopefully I can shake off this damn throat virus and go for a ride tomorrow morning. The weather outside looks awesome.

Until next time, ride safe.

MMT

YAFFed again and Richmonditis

Dear Rouleurs,

OMG I’ve been YAFFed again. YAFF being short for Yet Another F*$%king Flu.  I’ve recycled my daughter’s cold for the third time this year. Twice yaffed in this month of September, MMT has spent 8 days off work trying to ward off this rotten, rotten cold. I’m mean its not even the proper ‘flu’ that’s reached epidemic levels in southern Australia.

So that means MMT’s numbers for September will be well and truly sub-par…boooooo!!!

On a different tact, MMT’s Richmonditis has reached full blown status with every TV, newspaper and piece of social media commentary inducing nervous heart palpitations and,  in some cases, a vertigo like feeling. MMT can not wait until tomorrow afternoon and the start of preliminary final against the Greater Western Sydney Giants. Speaking of which here’s the team lists.

 

Hopefully, the weather will be excellent tomorrow, the forecast is for a summer-like 27 degrees. That should be good for both cycling and football.

Fingers crossed, Go Tiges!!!

Marv

Marv’s post-Christmas childcare blues

 

Dear Roulers,

The baton of primary child carer has been passed to me and I’m officially in ‘daddy daycare’ mode. My main job is to transition my darling daughter into childcare.  My wife, the other member of Team MMT, has had really mixed feelings about this, after having nearly 7 months leave. Alas all of us will need to return to our employment and keep our places in the great rat race that is working in Melbourne CBD.  Happily, our daughter seems to be adjusting to the transition.  We both draw solace from knowing that she’s being cared for in a centre nearby to our respective workplaces. 

So onto cycling, MMT is still recovering from his brush with pneumonia which has really reduced my horsepower.  This has taken some of the gloss MMT’s main Christmas present.  For Christmas, MMT received an annual membership to Rapha Cycle Club from his wife.  MMT rolled up to his first ride last week.  RCC operates 2 rides during the working week.  The Thursday one leaves from Elwood’s Turtle Cafe and cruises down to Mordialloc and returns via the Nepean Highway.  I should qualify that description of the route with “I think’ as this bunch has dropped me 2 out of 2 rides, after about 10kms. It’s happening on the ramp that leads into Blackrock.  MMT just can’t seem to find the grunt to keep up with these guys.

Much of what MMT has read suggests that to become a faster, better rider you have to start riding with people are better than you. So it seems I have had my wish granted. These guys are moving much quicker than what RCC App says is the overall speed for this ride. So I’m going to  have to suck this up and get back to shedding unwanted kilos and getting my pre-Christmas conditioning back. I’m hoping that another new member will turn up one morning and challenge me for latern rouge that I seem to keep ‘winning’.  May be I’ll form up the second bunch that that the Rapha app speaks of 😉  

So onto the main topic of this blog, my new Trek Domane SLR 6 Disc.  First let me say I’m in love.  Its taken me awhile to get used to the geometry and the stopping power of the disc brakes.  Here’s a picture of MMT’s new machine.

Its soooo beautiful. My Trek Domane SLR 6 Disc

The first couple of weeks were driving MMT a bit nuts as the relaxed geometry and bike fit were creating aches and pains in places that weren’t there before.  The most significant problem being the saddle, which seemed to be creating friction and soreness in a area that MMT would rather not have it.  So after a few adjustments in seat post height and saddle position, it looks like that problem is now resolved. So happily, it looks like I have the bike and enough conditioning to take on, at least, the 65km version of the Cadel Evan’s Peoples Ride next weekend.  A weeks ago I wasn’t sure that I had either.

So in a couple of weeks time I’ll write up my experiences on that ride.  Last time I did in 2015 and it was great fun.

Until next time ride safe

Marv

What the heck does Isotonic mean anyway??

 

Dear Roulers,

On my recent Easter holiday I was laid low by a very nasty stomach bug. I’ll spare you the details, but it pretty much ruined my first trip to Kuala Lumpur. I didn’t eat any of the very nice chocolate my wife had bought until I came to Australia. I digress, back to the point of this blog, in the middle of a very average night I’m really dehydrated, I reach into the hotel minibar and find this weird drink called 100Plus.

I’m desperate, so I sip the drink slowly over the course of a few hours. It tastes bland and most importantly stays in my stomach. I look at the can and there’s some blurb about the drink being Isotonic. At the time I wondered what that meant and thought nothing of it.

About month later I’ve run out of Staminade. I’ve been buying the stuff for years as a means of having non-vile tasting liquid to drink whilst cycling.

20150518-Staminade

At this point I’m putting in a shameless plug for Staminade being made here in Australia…how rare these days…and raise a 2 finger salute to another couple of US drinks ending ‘ade’.  I buy another container at local supermarket and I notice that word again ‘isotonic’….hmmm some little gears whirl around in my head….ah ha I’ve made a connection back to that awful night in KL. So what the heck is isotonic? And why is it important.

Enter the science of the sports drink as provided by Google….
The basic theory goes like this. Being hot and dehydrated is bad. I’ll dispense with the explanation. It should be self-explanatory.  Plain water will keep you hydrated not fuel your muscles. Research has shown that body will perform better if your drink contains some carbohydrate. But it mustn’t be too much, fruit juices and sugary fizzy drinks can dehydrate as the body uses available water to dilute them and enable the carbs to be absorbed.

So much to my surprise sports drink can belong to one of three categories: Isotonic, Hypotonic and Hypertonic. Essentially these words describe how rapidly the fluid and carbs are absorbed through the stomach.

Type of Drink Description
Isotonic Drink These drinks are said to be in balance with the body’s fluid levels and empty easily from the stomach into the bloodstream. They contain somewhere in between 5 to 8 grams of carbs per 100ml. Some have sodium to assist absorption. They can be consumed at anytime while cycling.
Hypotonic Drink These drinks are absorbed by the stomach faster than Isotonic ones, but this is achieved by having low levels of carbs. They are very useful for hot conditions, where you are working up a sweat. However as a long distance cyclist you must eat something as well to keep your energy levels up.
Hypertonic Drink These drinks are the slowest to be absorbed by the stomach. They have upwards of 10 grams of carbs per 100ml. They provide plenty of energy, but can hinder hydration, as discussed earlier. They are best consumed after cycling, possibly when you are too tied to eat food.

A word of caution…drinking strong hypertonic fluids can reverse the normal process of osmosis and cause diarrhoea. Think Greg LeMond, Tour de France circa 1986. Which brings me full circle to KL and the 100plus drink in the minibar. Ta da 🙂

Until next time

Marv