Thursday, December 27, 2007

The art of muscle care

As chief soigneur of the US Postal-Berry Floor team, Freddy Viaene looks after Lance Armstrong and arguably the most powerful cycling team in the world. While talent and hard training is a big factor in USPS' successes, Freddy believes that how riders are looked after is also extremely important - and so is how you look after yourself.

US Postal-Berry Floor maintains a staff of 16 to support the nine riders during a race: directors, doctors, mechanics, chefs. I have a staff of three experienced massage therapists. Not every rider can have a support team, but there is much you can do yourself and with your team-mates.

Too often riders and teams think riding is all they have to do to keep themselves at top performance. But your training can go sour and injuries ruin your season if you don't pay attention to protecting and repairing your muscles and giving your body the proper nutrition. All the members of the US Postal-Berry Floor Team from Lance Armstrong to the newest member understand that the muscle care we give them is as important being in top form as the days they put in riding.

The key to endurance, as well as quick recovery after an event is circulation. Tight, cold muscles squeeze the vessels and slow the blood so it can't do its job of renewing and protecting. Warm and flexible muscles reduce swelling and improve circulation through the muscles bringing them the nutrition they need and taking away the toxins that build up from fatigue.

Stretching, massage and balms all contribute to increasing circulation.

When I am in my hometown of Izegem, Belgium, in the off season, I work with my hometown football and triathlon clubs. I tell them what I know from experience is true, that massage, balms and stretching are the keys to winning.

Be sure to stretch properly before training or events.

This is something we trainers preach constantly and I know how difficult it is for riders who are trying to find time to train and still meet the demands of family and work schedules. Take the time: it's worth it.

Stretching before and after a ride helps warm the muscles and speed recovery.

Stretching exercises are usually well known to the cyclist. Every member of US Postal-Berry Floor stretches for a long time before a race, particularly in the later stages. But even five minutes a day can help, especially if you combine stretching with the proper balms.

Even if you have only a short time, stretch slowly and hold the stretch for 15 to 30 seconds. Remember to breathe. And use your breathing to relax into your stretch. The object is to relax the muscles so pain is not the objective-it only tightens the muscles. So if you feel pain when stretching, you are pushing too hard.

Don't just concentrate on your legs. Your neck, shoulders, spine, lower back, groin and Achilles tendon are all vulnerable to injury and should receive attention.

Sunday, December 23, 2007

WV's Nick Waite Returns to Team Kelly Benefit Strategies/Medifast

Kelly Benefit Strategies/Medifast 2008 Squad Announced

By Staff
Date: 12/19/2007
Kelly Benefit Strategies/Medifast 2008 Squad Announced

Kelly Benefit Strategies/Medifast 2008
Jonas Carney’s Sophomore Squad Returns with Stronger Sprint and GC Capabilities, Fast Young Guns from US & Canada and an invitation to the Tour of California.

Carney adds Five New Riders for 2008
Following a first season that saw the Kelly Benefit Strategies/Medifast pro cycling team take on the strongest teams on the North American circuit, Jonas Carney’s sophomore squad returns in 2008 with proven performers and five new athletes that strengthen the sprinting core and GC threat for the new season.

2007 USA Criterium Championships - Kelly Benefit Strategies/Medifast train pushing the pace in the pouring rain with ten laps to go. Photo © Kurt Jambretz/Action Images

Joining the roster in 2008 are former Jelly Belly teammates Alex Candelario and Andrew Bajadali. Cadelario is the 2007 winner of the Tour de Nez and one of the fastest sprinters in the United States today, while Bajadali who won the 2007 Redlands Classic and the Tri Peaks Challenge this year is one of the strongest climbers in the country.

Also new to the roster are Ben King, the US Junior National Road Race and Time Trial Champion who won the road race by seven minutes, and David Veilleux, three-time Canadian U23 champion and the 2005 winner of the Tour de L’Abitibi. Rounding out the new additions is Brian Buchholz, a phenomenal time trialist who joins the team for his first year as a pro after only three seasons of racing.

“I’m extremely exited about our roster for the upcoming season,” says performance director, Jonas Carney. “In 2007 we demonstrated that with great teamwork we could take on some of the biggest teams in North America. 2008 is all about building on that momentum, so it was important to return with the majority of our team intact plus some strategic new additions.”

“Our sprinting core will be stronger with the addition of Alex Candelario, and Andrew Bajadali will improve our overall GC threat. All of our athletes who suffered injuries in 2007 have a full, clean bill of health for the new season and will be coming back stronger and faster than ever. Plus we’ve added three powerful all-rounders in David Veilleux, Brian Bucholz and Ben King so we’re excited to see what they’re capable of doing, especially in the time trials."

Returning Riders
Returning for a second season are Dan Bowman, proven sprinters and Canadians Martin Gilbert and Keven Lacombe, Jonny Sundt attempting to better a phenomenal, career-defining year plus Nick Waite, Justin Spinelli, Reid Mumford and Mark Hinnen, all of whom suffered injury in 2007.

Martin Gilbert wins the USA Criterium Championships in August, 2007
Photo © Kurt Jambretz/Action Images

“We are focused on building the best team in the United States,” says John Kelly, title sponsor and president, Kelly Benefit Strategies. “We’ve taken a giant stride toward that goal in just our first season. But we’re not here to buy results or rush things. 2008 will be about looking after our guys first and foremost, making sure they have the environment, equipment and support to race at their best – and then about watching them win.”

Mike McDevitt, co-title sponsor and CEO, Medifast Inc., agrees. “We had a few of our athletes down with injury last season. But we’re big believers in proper nutrition, training and in total athlete care. Even with a weakened lineup last season, Jonas and the athletes achieved tremendous results. This year should be even more exciting to watch what happens.”

The Kelly Benefit Strategies/Medifast pro cycling team is managed by Minneapolis based Circuit Global Sport Management.

Tour of California Invitation for KBS
The team received an invitation to take part in the Tour of California, from February 17 - 24.

Kelly Benefit Strategies/Medifast
Pro Cycling Team 2008 Roster
Andrew Bajadali
Dan Bowman
Brian Buchholz
Alex Candelario
Martin Gilbert
Mark Hinnen
Ben King
Keven Lacombe
Reid Mumford
Justin Spinelli
Jonny Sundt
David Veilleux
Nick Waite

Kelly Benefit Strategies/Medifast Beefs up 2008 Roster

Spiuk Sponsors Kelly Benefit Team
Team to use Spiuk Helmets, Shoes and Eyewear
Following its great success last season, in which the Kelly Benefit Strategies/Medifast team proved to be one of the strongest teams in the North American circuit, the group led by Jonas Carney has returned to work with renewed enthusiasm and has incorporated several new faces among its ranks. Hence, it still maintains its trust in SPIUK to provide the competition kit which is to be worn in all races, since SPIUK is to sponsor the
team between 2008 and 2009.

The recently signed agreement between Kelly Benefits Strategies/Medifast and SPIUK means that the USA team will wear the competition helmets with the international emblem. During 2008, these will use a NEXION helmet which has been specially designed for the occasion, as well as the KRONOS, a successful helmet used in the time trials, which is becoming increasingly popular in the North American territory. They will also wear SPIUK eyewear and shoes.

Kelly Benefit Strategies is a group insurance broker and consultant that specialize in healthcare, and is a division of Kelly & Associates Insurance Group, Inc, headquartered in Hunt Valley, Maryland. KBS serves thousands of employers ranging in size from small businesses to Fortune 500 companies and is committed to bringing its customers affordable group benefits through innovative benefit design, management, and administration.

About Medifast - Medifast (NYSE: MED) is the leading easy-to-use, clinically proven meal replacement program. Medifast has been recommended by thousands of physicians and used by over one million customers. Its programs have been proven effective through studies by researchers from major university teaching hospitals. The company sells its products and programs direct to consumer via the web and national call centers as well as through its national network of physicians and clinics, and Take Shape for Life program. Medifast was incorporated in 1980 and is headquartered in Owings Mills, Maryland.

About Circuit Global Sports Management () Minneapolis-based CGSM facilitates strategic alliances between corporate partners and professional cycling initiatives. Previous high-profile clients include Cadillac, Red Bull, Panasonic, DKNY, Dollar Rent a Car, Jeep, Timberland, and the State of Minnesota.

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Indoor trainers causing knee problems

Indoor trainers causing knee problems
Like many cyclists, I am now settling into a long winters worth of indoor training sessions on my trainer. I currently have my bike hooked up to an Elite fluid trainer with my front wheel up on a block.

My question is related specifically to knee pain experienced while riding on the indoor trainer only. For the last two seasons I have been getting pain in my left knee, just under the knee cap. I only experience this pain when riding inside, never outside. At this point in the year I am spending most of my time spinning comfortably in mid 90 rpm range with concentrated efforts to simulate climbing a couple days a week for a total of 5 - 6 days of training per week. My knee doesn't show any signs of swelling but does seem to tighten up after a long ride.

What could be causing this knee pain and why does it only present when on a trainer? Given that my position hasn't changed and my workload is really pretty easy right now, the only thing that I can think of is that it has something to do with the bike trainer combination. My thought is that the bike, while mounted on the trainer, has no give so any natural movements or quirks are being stopped by the trainer whereas they would normally be absorbed into the natural movement and flow of riding on the road. Of course I could also be on the completely wrong path which is why I am writing to you.

Any help or direction that you could provide would be greatly appreciated.


Steve Hogg replies:

G'day Jason,

Assuming the bike is level on the trainer and given what you say about riding under moderate load only, the most likely reason for your problem is the lack of momentum of an indoor trainer compared to you and your bike on the road. Indoor trainers have relatively small flywheels and when flywheel momentum and the roller momentum is added to the weight of your rear wheel and crank rotation etc, it is still only a fraction of momentum of you and your bike on the road.

That in turn means that on an indoor trainer, pedaling technique differs anything from slightly to massively.

Here is a test; next trainer session, twist your left hip forward a touch when the knee niggle starts.

If that arrests the niggle, then either your seat is too high by a few mm on the trainer and you are autonomically choosing to self protect the right leg and sacrifice the left (very common) by mildly twisting the right hip forward OR you are already doing that on the road but the technique you adopt on the trainer causes you to drop your heels more and again, you choose to protect the right side as described above. Either way, drop the seat 3 - 5 mm and let me know what happens.

If twisting the left hip forward (and it will seem forward to you but if I am right, that forward movement of the left hip will be squaring up your hips) doesn't eliminate the niggle when it arises, get back to me for more advice.

Thursday, December 13, 2007

New tentative route of Tour of America stoping in two WV cities!

The Tour of America is a month long cycling race that will commence the Saturday closest to the September 11th and end three weekends later on a Sunday. For the year 2008 the event will begin appropriately on September 6th, 2008 and end on the 28th of September 2008. The event will be 23 days long with 2 days of rest in between. The first day will start from Central Park. The remaining 22 days of races will snake its way through states in our country till we reach one of the many beautiful cities on the West Coast. This would truly be a race across the continent from sea to shining sea. The route taken by the race each year will differ with every single one of the 48 states in the contiguous U.S. being trekked across by the cyclist once every 5 years. All races will be run on local and state roads avoiding any Interstate Highway.

This is a tentative route and subject to change upon city approval:

The breakdown of the stages of the Tour is as follows:

Stage Date Start Finish Miles/Km Cumulative
1 9/06/08 Central Park, NY Philadelphia, PA 122/195.2 122/195.2
2 9/07/08 Philadelphia, PA College Park, MD 135/216 257/411.2
3 9/08/08## Olney, MD Frederick, MD 30/48 287/450.2
4 9/09/08 Winchester, VA Morgantown, WV 139/222.4 426/681.6
5 9/10/08 Fairmont, WV Athens, OH 142/227.2 568/908.8
6 9/11/08 McArthur, OH Cincinnati, OH 125/200 693/1108.8
7 9/12/08# Greenfield, IN Indianapolis, IN 27/43.2 720/1152
8 9/13/08 Casey, IL St. Louis, MO 143/228.8 863/1380.8
9 9/14/08 St. Louis, MO Columbia, MO 134/214.4 997/1595.2
Rest Day 9/15/08 Columbia, MO Denver, CO (via Air)
10 9/16/08* Denver, CO Buena Vista, CO 120/192 1117/1787.2
11 9/17/08* Poncha Springs, CO Pagosa Springs, CO 135/216 1252/2003.2
12 9/18/08 Farmington, NM Gallup, NM 118/188.8 1370/2192
13 9/19/08* Window Rock, AZ Winslow, AZ 125/200 1495/2392
14 9/20/08* Cameron, AZ Williams, AZ 113/180.8 1608/2572.8
15 9/21/08 Kingman, AZ Las Vegas, NV 110/176 1718/2748.8
16 9/22/08# Las Vegas, NV Las Vegas, NV 35/56 1753/2804.8
Rest Day 9/23/08 Las Vegas, NV Barstow, CA
17 9/24/08* Ridgecrest, CA Whitney Portal, CA 92/147.2 1845/2952
18 9/25/08* Big Pine, CA Yosemite, CA 118/188.8 1963/3140.8
19 9/26/08 Harden Flat, CA Sacramento, CA 127/203.2 2090/3344
20 9/27/08# Napa, CA Santa Rosa, CA 40/64 2130/3408
21 9/28/08 Santa Rosa, CA Palo Alto, CA 107/171.2 2237/3579.2

# Time Trials ## Team Time Trial
* Mountain Stages

Saturday, December 8, 2007

W.Va. ski town a little-known gem in the rough

W.Va. ski town a little-known gem in the rough
By Vicki Smith, Associated Press
DAVIS, W.Va. — At the summit of Salamander Slope, Tom Blanzy kills the engine and hops off his six-wheeled all-terrain vehicle into ankle-deep snow. Gray clouds have dimmed the panoramic view from the top of Herz Mountain, elevation 4,268 feet, but the silence is nothing short of astounding.

Tom Blanzy, general manager of Timberline Four Seasons Resort, advises skiers at his resort to "follow the upward elevation. "
Dale Sparks, AP

Starting in December, skiers will come to this spot and pick a path, from a beginner trail like the meandering two-mile Salamander, to the double black-diamond slope, suitably named Off the Wall. Cross-county skiers might venture just beyond the tree line and into the Dolly Sods Wilderness Area.

"You can strap on some skis, follow the upward elevation and just hear your heart beat," says Blanzy, general manager of Timberline Four Seasons Resort.

Timberline and its nearby competitor, Canaan Valley Resort & Conference Center, are the main attractions in Davis, a little-known skiing and outdoor sports paradise that the November issue of Men's Journal declares one of the "10 Coolest Mountain Towns" in North America.

"Like redneck in-laws, serious snow is a secret many Southerners would prefer to keep," the magazine says. "But with 150-plus annual inches, Davis is the Dixie darling for skiers who'd rather drive to the Appalachians than fly to the Rockies."

"I'm surprised the word hasn't gotten out sooner," says Laird Knight, owner of Granny Gear Productions, which stages mountain bike races. "I've lived here 23 years and I would have thought by now, the place really would have been discovered.

"It's everything that an urban refugee would look for," he says. "It's everything a city isn't."

Davis is an old lumber and coal mining town, tapped by industrialists in the late 1800s and early 1900s, and named for former U.S. Sen. Henry Gassaway Davis, who paid between $5 and $15 an acre for land.

But it is location, more than history, that makes it special.

Davis sits at the edge of the highest mountain valley east of the Rockies, a 14-by-3-mile trough with an average snowfall of 160 inches. At 3,200 feet, Canaan Valley is drained by the Blackwater River, which occupies anglers and rafters alike. It is ringed by mountains perfect for hiking, biking and skiing, and it is filled with distinctively northern trees like red spruce and balsam fir.

And with fewer than 700 full-time residents, it's a place that Claire Martin says often goes overlooked by Northeasterners in ski season.

"It was on our radar, but we realized it wasn't necessarily on the radar of the rest of the country," says Martin, deputy editor of Men's Journal. "We've all been to Vermont and seen the Green Mountains, and seen the White Mountains of New Hampshire, but not very many outdoor enthusiasts — even in the know — have been to West Virginia."

"I tell ya, people in Virginia don't know about West Virginia," says Chip Chase, owner of a cross-country skiing company called White Grass Touring Center.

"We don't reach out to a national audience, but when people in the know do come, they really get off on it," he says. "I've been here 25 years, and I've never had a boring day."

The ski stats speak for themselves.

Timberline has a vertical drop of 1,000 feet, 37 slopes and trails and 94% snowmaking. Canaan has a vertical drop of 850 feet, 37 slopes and 85% snowmaking.

This year, Timberline has improved its snowmaking capabilities, while Canaan is reaching out to families with a program allowing children under 12 to stay, eat and ski for free.

Also new at Canaan is a high-tech form of sledding that spokesman Bryan Brown says only a half-dozen resorts in the country offer. Airboards are inflatable, lightweight, steerable sleds about 4 feet long, with a grooved surface that allows for quick turns and stops. Airboarders will have their own terrain at Canaan, just like snowboarders and tube-riders.

But Brown says Canaan has lost none of the solitude and scenery that guests treasure.

"It's not overcommercialized," he says. Then he laughs. "It's not commercial at all. It's the antithesis of commercialization."

When it comes to stores, well ... there aren't many.

"If they're after the Aspen experience, they're not going to get it here," says Roger Lilly, owner of Blackwater Bikes. "If the husband wants to be outdoors and the wife wants to shop, that's going to be a problem."

In Davis, shopping is limited to anti-ques, a gourmet food store, an herb shop and an art gallery.

"It's not an area if you're looking for frills," Lilly says. "There are some really good small restaurants, but no big fancy dining experiences. And we'd like to keep it that way."

Davis' few eateries include Muttley's steakhouse, the Flying Pigs Cafe, Blackwater Brewing and Sirianni's Cafe, a rustic pizza joint whose tantalizing aromas fill the still, cold air.

Michael Goss manages Sirianni's, where the walls are decked with ski posters, some autographed by extreme skier and occasional visitor Glenn Plake. Plake's decadent "Extreme Garlic Chips" are featured on the menu, essentially a crispy pizza crust smothered with handfuls of fresh chopped garlic and gooey cheese, then cut into small squares.

"Every big city has its little communities, but they don't have the quaint, small-town charm," Goss says.

That's why he believes most visitors return. Locals remember their faces and greet them at every sighting.

"We make them feel welcome," Goss says. "Here, they have a mountain they can call their own."

Clare Ferguson and Andy Norton, Londoners now living in Takoma Park, Md., found Davis after less than a month in the United States. Clare's mother, Wendy Ferguson, was visiting from France for 10 days, so the family packed up and rented a cabin in the woods.

"We wanted to take my mom somewhere nice. We wanted to find someplace with beautiful trees, and arts and crafts," Clare says. "It's beautiful. Lovely."

After lunch, the Fergusons head for the neighboring town of Thomas, where there are slightly more shops and the MountainMade Artisan Gallery —— a showcase of West Virginia workmanship. Thomas also offers some hard-to-find nighttime entertainment, with live music at The Purple Fiddle Coffeehouse —

Susan Moore, owner of the Bright Morning Inn, worked in the advertising business for years and says she always felt she could be honest about places like Davis.

"It is wild and wonderful," she says. "This is the closest real wilderness for lots of people who live in the mid-Atlantic. ... You can really feel totally lost and totally away from everything, and that's harder and harder to find."