Sunday, 31 July 2011

Sport Science Connect

I'm studying sport science and while the course has a lot to be desired organization wise, I adore it's content. I originally studied and dropped out of Sports Technology, ironically due to not being able to hack the maths; ironic because I now fly through the more "mathsie" parts of Sports Science.

Studying Sports Science and being a proffessional athlete with experience at elite level in two distinct sports allows me to be particularly pragmatic in my analysis of sports and the science.

The Sport Scientist is the all important jack of all trades. The sport scientist is the person who knowing a lot about the diverse sciences in sport can take a bit of Biomechanics, mate it with Physiology and propose a way to ameliorate performance in the field.

Anyway, I made a site:

Sport Science Connect 

The idea is simple: Tie everything together, so that real world results can be achieved. A way of blending basic sciences and applying them in the real world so to speak.

I believe in this idea, and encourage anyone to contribute.

Thursday, 28 July 2011

Why I must change teams -take 2- or: Being the exception.

Last night we had a dinner as a team. As usual the atmosphere was great on the cyclists table, although we drank far more moderately than usual.

I recognised the scene pretty well and knew that such an event only takes place because they can't pay or they have some demand to make of us.

Anyway, after an excellent grilled chicken and some chat of started the speeches which went something like this:

"Blah blah blah, no money, pay you "amanha", blah, blah, blah."

"doing us proud, fighting spirit, pay you "amanha"

"The first all Portuguese team, well no, nearly, except Tomás, but he's an okay worker."
I am actually the best worker as voted by my colleagues in the peloton. Plus I have never been given an opportunity to race for myself.

"bla, blah, blah, we need a Portuguese winner for the Volta a Portugal, so not Tomás, hahaha!"

One man, sorry about the situation actually came up and apologized, even gave me a hug -I think he was the only person in that room who realized the seriousness of the situation...

I beamed a broad smile throughout the proceedings. It wasn't an ironic smile, it was a victorious smile. Victorious because I've thought not a few moves ahead, I am several games ahead.

They say a captain should go down with the ship, however guess who are the first I have identified scurrying from the sinking ship? Yep, you've got it ;-).

Starring at the obvious I thought I would compile a list of facts on why a British cyclist is an important asset:

  • The United Kingdom is the 6th largest economy in the world. 1
  • Britain ranks 4st in the world for ease of doing business. 2
  • The UK has seen a 25% growth rate in 2010 for bicycle imports.3
  • Britain is a market of 62M million people.4
  • The UK cycle market is worth 2100000000 £.5
  • Britain has a projected growth of 2.3% in 2012. 6
  • 16% growth in British Cycling memberships 09-107


So where is Portugal in these statistics?

Plus I only remember of one company stating an aim to invest in Portugese cycling and guess what, it's British:

So there you have it, just a spinet of what I have to tollerate.

Why I must change teams:

I'm not happy with this team and I don't mean the cyclists -I know them well and consider each one a friend and a few close friends.

I was left waiting unnecessarily in the sun for 30 minutes after a longer 1hr delay waiting at home. needless to say I mentioned my disgruntlement to the boss (politely) upon which he got kind of heavy; accelerating and smacking the dashboard. I am an extremely tolerant person and can take a lot of shit; too much in fact, as people take advantage. Now this type of mistake is tolerable once in a while. But incessantly? No.

My reaction was completely cold and I simply went all in. I said "You continue like this and I will stop working with you this instant". And yes, I would skip the volta, perhaps even terminate my career right now without very much thought. He cooled his tempers, but I know he's vindictive so I'm awaiting reprisal.

I think the story is a bit like the pigs in Animal Farm. Something starts out well intended and then people (pigs) get corrupted by power and projects decay. I'm Boxer in this whole story.

I have to switch teams. So any teams interested, contact me.

Wednesday, 13 July 2011

Grande Prémio Joachim Agostinho

I've had a rough week. We raced the Trofeu Joachim Agostinho which went really well. My team mate Ricardo Mestre won the first stage and the overall and I am glad to say we did an excellent job defending his position.

The race was hilly and windy making it a nightmare for cycling, but this is also the terrain on which my team goes best. It's a team built for climbing. Controlling the race was arduous enough, but there is also a weight of stress, a stress that doesn't pass until the race is over. I was terrified at the prospect of failing to protect our yellow jersey. But I managed to do a very good job.

After the race we had to go look at a few stages of the Portugal. This wasn't brilliantly organized and turned into an ordeal, none of us happy with the long journeys, the absence of celebration for our victory and most of all -the 2000 metres of climbing facing us on what was supposedly a rest day. The following day was a continuation of this nightmare and after many, many kilometres through the mountains of central Portugal we finally got on the road home at about 21:00. One of the stages was important to look at, however we would have been just as well seeing it from a car than a bike. Actually just saying "harder than you could possibly imagine" would have done the trick!

Sunday, 3 July 2011

British Championships

Adventure is a big part of cycling. You are thrown in the deep end time and again. The British Championships is one such adventure. For me doing it un-attached I have a lot to worry about when I go to this race: Transport, bike, timing etc. Things are never optimal and one can never fuss about. No electrolytes  Water will do. No carbon wheel: aluminium is just fine. It goes like that. It would be tough for the spoilt brats of cycling to just get on with it, they'd drop out, not turn up, etc. Luckily I was well educated at Tavira -no primadonna there.

I met many great people at the race and the support was heart felt and overwhelming. I am not a big fish, but have been only a domestique in my career so far. All I can say is thank you and I may honour people's support with good performance.

I missed the initial break by a bit as I was badly positioned at about mid pack. Sky did a text book move on the the only hill in the course which was beautiful to watch, but frustrating also. I set of up the field winding my way through the carnage on the hill and got to the group just behind... Alas just a bit short of the Sky "train". All credit has to go to Jez Hunt in that he was the one that stretched the bunch before the climb allowing his colleagues to get away and eventually win the race, sacrificing himself in the process.

Racing for scraps, I tried to get away, possibly even up to the group. Unusually for a domestique I seemed to be heavily marked. I myself had my eye on David Clarke of the Endura squad as I knew he was as strong as an ox, a good worker in the break and the know rider sure to try for it. This meant that time and again I got dragged back. Anyway bored of this I just sat in. watching people go up the road in drips and drabs and coming bad in similar fashion. I sprinted at the end to went to soon and got passed 50m before the line. I came 32nd in the results although I had though I came approximately 21st. I must not have been paying enough attention at a some point.