Cycling Training Archives

Granfondo Axel Merckx Okanagan – Axel Merckx Live on Air

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Have a listen as Axel Merckx is interviewed by the crew at Q 103.1 radio station in the Okanagan. Axel stopped by their studios to talk about his most recent event, the Charity Spin at Kelowna’s Global Fitness Centre – an event raising funds for NOW Canada, an organization that provides programs, services and ongoing support to women who have been victims of sexual exploitation, have Read the rest of this entry

Granfondo Axel Merckx Okanagan – Trek to Sponsor Inaugural Granfondo Axel Merckx Okanagan

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Granfondo Axel Merckx Okanagan (GFAMO) is extremely excited to unveil our newest partner, Trek Bicycle. As one of the biggest bicycle manufacturers in the world, Trek is synonymous with high quality two-wheelers and corporate responsibility. And Trek Bicycle will make sure everyone stays hydrated on July 10th with a signature GFAMO -Trek water bottle. Check back here for more sponsor announcements Read the rest of this entry

Granfondo Axel Merckx

Granfondo fever!   Another Gran Fondo has just been announced for July 10, 2011 in Penticton – the Granfondo Axel Merckx Okanagan.

What sets this apart from the other events is that Axel will not only be participating (Belgian national champion and bronze medal winner in Athens 2004 Olympics), but so will his father – Eddy Merckx!!  5 time Tour de France winner!   For all you cyclists out there – how fricken cool is that??!?!?!?

Anyway, the new site just went live with the granfondo and mediofondo course routes posted, so check it out!   If you’re looking for a great event to participate in, this will be attracting a lot of buzz purely because of the the Merckx father and son combo (as well as other local celebrities like Trevor Linden).   Also, if you happen to be training for Ironman Canada – that would be a great way to get in one of your July long training rides!  Let all your cycling buddies know or facebook and twitter if you have it.   I know they’e lookin for volunteers as well so you can check out the volunteer link on the site.

happy cycling!

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    Floyd Landis & How to Beat Biological Passport Analysis

    Article posted today on ESPN – more developments in the gong-show that is Floyd Landis…

    Information Floyd Landis recently gave to the United States Anti-Doping Agency about how cyclists have and still are getting around the biological passport analysis system could have an immediate impact on the sport, according to at least two people with direct knowledge of the system.

    Michael Ashenden, a Australian exercise physiologist and blood doping researcher who sits on the nine-man independent panel that reviews biological passport data for UCI (cycling’s international governing body), and Dr. Don Catlin, an anti-doping researcher who pioneered methods for steroid detection, both told ESPN.com that Landis’ information could be crucial in understanding how cyclists try to beat the system.

    Landis

    That biological passport, which monitors blood values and urine samples over time in order to build evidence of blood manipulation and is financed in large part by the sport’s elite tier of teams, was put into place to supplement traditional drug testing.

    Yet according to Landis, teams and riders with enough monetary resources and sophisticated medical advice knew how to circumvent the biological passport even before its official implementation in 2007.

    Landis told ESPN.com last week that during the two or three years leading up to his 2006 Tour de France victory — subsequently nullified after he tested positive for synthetic testosterone — he and some of his fellow riders combined strategically timed transfusions and microdoses of EPO (erythropoietin, a red blood cell booster) in order to keep their blood values constant rather than spiking and dipping.

    The main difference between their methodology and that of riders in the 1990s, Landis said, was riders of his era learned to inject EPO intravenously rather than subcutaneously, as a cancer patient or someone with another grave illness would do.

    When EPO is injected under the skin, it is absorbed first into soft tissue and released into the bloodstream gradually, prolonging its therapeutic effects. Injecting EPO intravenously has the same effect of boosting red blood cell count and improving oxygen processing capacity. However, the drug disperses more quickly in the bloodstream and thus becomes undetectable sooner — especially if riders dilute their blood with an intravenous drip of saline solution or simply by drinking a lot of water after injecting it.

    Roughly speaking, the biological passport is designed to catch riders who cheat based on fluctuations in their baseline blood values. One fundamental element is the ratio of their “young” or new red blood cells, called reticulocytes, compared to mature cells. When an athlete transfuses his own blood, the body responds by slowing down production of reticulocytes. Landis said riders brought the level of red blood cell production back to normal by microdosing with EPO during races on a nightly basis.

    “You can use three to four times your body’s normal production of EPO if you inject it intravenously and have virtually no chance of testing positive within a matter of hours. So the biological passport is a joke, and I’m fairly certain the UCI knows about it.

    — Floyd Landis

    According to Landis, the coup de grace that made this methodology work was that he and his U.S. Postal Service teammates routinely had advance notice of supposedly unannounced anti-doping controls. “We always knew when the blood testers were going to be there the following morning, so we would know when to have the saline solution bags so we could dilute our blood the night before,” he said. He said he did not know how the team staff got wind of the schedule. “It was just nice that they did,” he said.

    “You can use three to four times your body’s normal production of EPO if you inject it intravenously and have virtually no chance of testing positive within a matter of hours,” Landis told ESPN.com. “So the biological passport is a joke, and I’m fairly certain the UCI knows about it.” Landis added that he bought an expensive piece of machinery to measure his own reticulocyte count and also learned to do the analysis manually with a microscope.

    All that may sound like science fiction, but according to Ashenden, Landis has probably provided a key piece of the puzzle that has vexed him and his peers for a long time: Why some riders’ blood values remained within a unusually narrow range, a pattern that was suspicious in and of itself but not generally subject to sanctions.

    “We’ve known they’re doing something, especially in the last year,” Ashenden said. “It’s still brazen beyond belief.” He believes a small intravenous dose of EPO would remain detectable in a urine sample for at least six hours, even if an athlete is diluting his blood.

    “We’ve known they’re doing something, especially in the last year. It’s still brazen beyond belief.

    — Michael Ashenden, part of independent panel that reviews biological passport data for UCI

    Ashenden recently completed a study in which he injected subjects intravenously twice weekly with microdoses of EPO over a period of three months, then ran their blood values through the biological passport software. “Not one of them failed,” he said.

    Catlin said Landis’ account matches anecdotal accounts he has heard through the years, “although I’ve never had it described as vividly,” he said.

    Catlin said the program required “fairly sophisticated knowledge,” and agreed with Ashenden that athletes may have had more confidence in their ability to beat the tests than was warranted. “They’ll take those risks because the rewards are so handsome,” said Catlin, who currently oversees an independent testing program for two U.S.-based teams, HTC-Columbia and Garmin-Transitions.

    Both researchers said the only way to completely foil what Landis described would be to ensure that tests are truly unannounced — or resort to more Draconian measures like 24-hour testing or regularly inspecting riders for needle marks. “[The passport] is still the best thing we’ve got in terms of targeting athletes,” said Ashenden, who added that steroid and human-growth hormone markers are about to be included in the passport profiles.

    HTC-Columbia owner Bob Stapleton said he never regarded the passport as a cure-all and doesn’t regret any of the money his organization has invested in the project. “It’s resulted in a remarkable increase in the number of tests and the sophistication of tests, and it allows experts to make non-analytical findings [i.e. doping offenses not based on positive tests],” he said. “The noose gets tighter and tighter.”

    Flawed as it may be, the biological passport has still led to sanctions against at least eight riders — some of whom have disputed the findings — in the last two years. In an interview with ESPN.com, World Anti-Doping Agency director general David Howman defended the passport as a worthwhile project that nonetheless requires continual refining. Several other international sports federations are in the process of implementing it, including those that govern track and field, skating, biathlon and skiing, along with national anti-doping agencies such as USADA.

    Bonnie D. Ford covers tennis and Olympic sports for ESPN.com.

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    TacX Fortius Indoor Trainer

    In my travels, I’ve come across many TacX Fortius reviews and many people agree the system is pretty sweet. The TacX is a “Virtual Reality” indoor cycling trainer that provides you with a high-tech workout everytime you climb into the saddle. The advantage of this type of trainer is its ability to interface directly with your computer which allows you to experience multiple simulated training scenarios.  (*click image for more info)The general opinion of the Tacx Fortius is that as soon as you get your bike mounted, you’re in for a a great workout treat. Even though your indoors, you’ll enjoy the feeling of riding outside while your friends are getting soaked! You can choose from some exciting virtual locations to bike around and the TacX has various courses with names like Atlantis, Callisto and Olympus.

    The Tacx Fortius is a fairly technical piece of training equipment and would be considered professional quality. In fact many pro cyclists use the exact same system to warm-up or train during the off season when heading outdoors just isn’t possible. Due to the virtual courses it provides, you might actually look forward to your next training session since you’ll be able to check out different parts of the world as your ride.

    The Tacx Fortius connects directly to your PC, allowing for an almost endless supply of workouts. You can compete in virtual races, go on a discovery ride, or simply freewheel at your own pace. After reading the various Tacx Fortius reviews, avid cyclists use it for intense goal-oriented workouts or just more leisurely spin. The fun part is that you are part of the action on the screen as a virtual rider along with other virtual cyclists.

    If you’re looking for a high quality indoor cycling trainer, the Tacx Fortius is definitely worth looking into. You won’t find anything like it with any other traditional stationary trainer. The Tacx Fortius is a high-quality piece of exercise equipment that includes the PC interface and software to provide you with a virtual experience while you work out that is second to none. Check it out today!

    Tacx Fortius Indoor Virtual Reality Trainer

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