The Canadian Thanksgiving weekend passed in a blur for me. Instead of stuffing myself on pumpkin pie, I have finally begun to get seriously into training again:
Saturday: 90 minutes spinning class, followed by 90 minutes of relaxed cycling on the Marinoni (relaxed because it is clear I have to replace the middle chainring now)
Sunday: 60 minutes spinning class, followed by nearly 3 hours of climbing in Gatineau Park on the Tarmac
Monday: 75 minutes of cycling the Eastern Parkway with five high-spin 15 second intervals at 120 rpm on the Tarmac
The Leader time trial bike has been set up on the Kurt Kinetic Road Machine trainer and I have a new Power Computer installed to give me watts readings. I even rearranged the setting for the Tour de Basement so that I will not get any electronic interference on my heart rate monitor. Tonight will be the base-setting Short Duration Power Test. I will be soon summarizing my year of cycling and setting new goals for 2009.
Towards the end of the year I tend to find my motivation drops, which is pretty normal for most people. Knowing that the weather will only get colder and that I will be doomed to spend hours and hours and hours either in the basement or at the gym spinning or lifting weights is hard on morale but I will treat myself to some more racing DVDs and, yes, those cross-country skis and lessons. The other motivator will be the planning for our next assault on the roads of Europe in 2009; some ideas are already being hatched.
Speaking of Europe, two more of the participants at the Tour de France, which we watched in Briancon, have been found to have doped. They are the winner of both time trials and the King of the Mountains, who placed third overall. Both have signed with new teams and both, in my view, should, if the tests are beyond doubt, receive lifetime bans. The riders are obviously not getting the message and as a fan I have other things to spend my money on.
Both of these riders were part of the now-defunct Gerolsteiner team. While living in Germany I saw Manager Hans-Michael Holczer raise up his Continental-level team to the top ranks by 2001. He was someone who loved the sport and he and his family put a great deal into it. There were many highlights, including exciting wins by Davide Rebellin in particular in 2004, and support for a number of young and exciting riders, such as Markus Fothen and Fabian Wegman; there was and only one instance of doping I can find (one of the sprinters in 2005). In 2007 at the World Championships in Stuttgart, the Canadian team's bicycles were stolen and Team Gerolsteiner stepped up with loaners for the race.
Due to the bad odour of pro cycling in Europe, Herr Holczer was unable to find a replacement sponsor as Gerolsteiner was pulling out after ten years of support and the team was scheduled to race a final time in Sunday's Giro di Lombardia. Instead, it has been disbanded and Herr Holczer, who has been outspoken over the years on the subject of doping, has left cycling entirely. I feel disappointed for him but grateful for his efforts. To leave the sport in this way is unfair and uncalled-for.
Turning to that source of breaking sports news, the Economist, there was a nice piece about using high-technology to promote exercise (although nothing about sweating for seven months in the Tour de Basement!):
WE ARE constantly warned that we are becoming too fat. A third of American adults are already reckoned to be obese; a quarter of adult Britons; and, in the tiny Pacific nation of Nauru a staggering four-fifths of adults. The World Health Organisation forecasts that by 2015 (rather beyond our horizon) there will be 2.3 billion overweight adults in the world, including 700m who are obese (ie, with a body mass index of more than 30, compared with the “ideal” range of 18-25).
A safe prediction, therefore, is that exercise products will be heavily advertised in 2009—and perhaps even used. Already jogging fanatics can wear a chip in their Nikes that transmits to their iPod to be downloaded to their computers—which will then add to a graphic display of kilometres and routes covered, even gradients climbed, calories burned and speeds endured.
So what could be next in 2009? One project now in development targets the “road warrior” who tries to stave off the perils of fast-food and a spreading waistline by going to the hotel gym. The idea is to transmit a hotel guest’s athletic profile and needs ahead of check-in. All the guest will have to do is key in his or her code to the treadmill or other machine and the equipment will automatically adjust to the guest’s requirement for speed, tension, time or whatever.
Which leads to another safe prediction: there will be plenty of work for the maintenance men.