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22 Apr 16:14

How Minneapolis Made Prince

by Dylan Hicks

Early in 1980, Prince Rogers Nelson and his band appeared on American Bandstand, pantomiming the pair of “Wanna” songs that open Prince’s self-titled second album: the disco-funk hit “I Wanna Be Your Lover’” and “Why You Wanna Treat Me So Bad,” an urgently slick rocker whose closing solo can be heard as a survey and apotheosis of ’70s guitar clichés. Young and no doubt hindered by the absurdity of lip-syncing, Prince is less commanding, more nervously showy than he would be a few years later, though he’s already coyly sexy in gold lamé pants, his guitar hanging off his shoulder from a leopard-skin strap. During the between-song interview, Prince’s laconic responses to Dick Clark fall somewhere between sphinxian and childlike. At the start, Clark enthuses, “Man, how’d you learn to do this in Minneapolis?” Prince scratches his head: “Where?” Clark pursues this racially coded line of questioning: “This is not the kind of music that comes from Minneapolis, Minnesota.” Prince chuckles flatly. “No.”

13 Apr 20:20

How to beat the dreaded post race blues

by Meg Gillmer

Recently I completed the Falls Creek Peaks Challenge after a mammoth eight-month build-up. There was a lot of hard work that went into my preparation and I was completely elated after my race went better than I’d ever planned and I set a huge one hour personal best on my time. Full of adrenaline, pride and happiness, it felt good to celebrate my achievements and be congratulated by so many friends and family. However, not long after the race, I got a case of the sneaky post-race blues.

Haven’t heard about the post-race blues (PRB)? That’s because no one ever talks about it!

Many of my friends are cyclists themselves and only two people asked me a few things along the lines of my mental well-being and “where to next”.

In the lead-up to an important event, your focus is on everything to do with the actual event itself: from the gun to the finish line. But what about what happens after the race? People often give their advice and share ideas about how to train then how to transfer this to the race but what about post-race? We spend so much time and energy training for the event itself that we neglect to prepare for what comes after; and it’s not always positive.

The “Post Race Blues” is that sinking feeling that sets in after the elation and adrenaline subsides. It varies from person to person but it may include:

  •  Lack of motivation to train again.
  •  A sense of apathy
  •  Sadness
  • Lethargy
  • Uncertainty about training goals and plans

You’re now left without a clear goal and/or a structured program. There’s less of the physiological and chemical high we get from hard training sessions.

How to beat the post-race blues

Prepare for it.
You might know in advance, from prior experience, that you’re going to feel a certain way. Prepare yourself for it. Know that there’s a chance it may happen again.

Take the time to reflect on the race and relish in the experience.
You did it! You committed yourself to a goal, worked really hard then achieved it. Congratulate yourself.

Enjoy the things that you might not have been able to in the lead up to the race.
This might simply be time with loved ones, precious sleep ins, more indulgent food or an alcoholic drink.

Try not to over indulge – for too long.
Of course you want to celebrate with a nice meal, a drink or maybe some of those foods you’ve been avoiding for months but don’t go overboard. This can put you at risk of forming bad habits, feeling guilty, struggling with lethargy, or undoing all of your hard work.

Set another goal.
Enter another race, pick another goal or choose something you’re going to be involved with. This is best done before your goal race.

Keep active.
Mix it up with activities by trying a different sport, heading out without a plan or leaving the Garmin behind.

Talk about it.
It is a good idea to have a conversation with someone who may be able to understand how you’re feeling. If you can’t shake the feelings after a few weeks, please consult a professional.

For me, I gave myself a fortnight off – two weeks of enjoying training when I feel like it, with whomever I like – sans technology. I have celebrated with a wine here and there as I haven’t been drinking for a while leading into my race. I’ve enjoyed more yoga classes, enjoyed smash-fest gym sessions without fear of painful rides to follow and been one of those sleep-in-walk-to-café type people on the weekend. Sure, I’ve struggled along the way but having open, honest discussions with friends who are experienced cyclists has helped.

Here’s to setting goals and looking forward to the next build up!

Better known as The Wholesome Athlete, Meg Gillmer is a Sydney-based cyclist and passionate foodie. Currently a student at the Institute of Integrative Nutrition, meg is on a mission to bring us all fresh, seasonal and simple food to get the most out of our bodies and move away from processed products. She has previous shared some of her favourite recipes with us here on Ella.
04 Apr 17:10

Cheesesteaks And Charlie Brown: Minor League Baseball’s Best Jersey Promotions

by Jackie Bamberger

Known for their food-inspired promotions, the Lehigh Valley IronPigs will honor Philly's most famous food this season. (Courtesy of IronPigs)

Known for their food-inspired promotions, the Lehigh Valley IronPigs will honor Philly’s most famous food this season. (Courtesy of IronPigs)

Minor League Baseball is all about promotions. From Charlie Sheen-co De Mayo Night to Speed Dating Night, minor league clubs showcase ingenuity every year in an attempt to get fans in the park. In particular, special themed jerseys are a time-honored and popular tradition. Only A Game recently lauded the Albuquerque Isotopes and the Omaha Storm Chasers’ offerings for 2016. And with the new season on the horizon, it’s important to take a look what’s to come at minor league ballparks across the country.

Stockton Ports — Asparagus Night (May 21)

Stockton loves its asparagus. The town is home to the annual San Joaquin Asparagus Festival, which bills itself as the biggest asparagus festival in the West. Oakland’s Single-A affiliate will represent its regional pride with Asparagus-themed jerseys.

Harrisburg Senators — Home Improvement Night (June 2)

The Washington Nationals’ Double-A affiliate will show their affinity for ’90s TV shows with their Al Borland-themed “Home Improvement” jerseys. What makes this night unique is a special appearance from Borland himself, actor Richard Karn.

Toledo MudHens — Geekend Weekend (June 3 – 5)

The MudHens will celebrate classic video games with their Legend of Zelda jerseys that they’ll debut as part of Geekend Weekend. The weekend will continue with a live ochestra showcasing music from “Star Wars, Harry Potter, Star Trek, Lord of the Rings, Superman, Batman, and a medley of your favorite video game tunes.”

Lehigh Valley IronPigs — Salute To Philly Night (June 10)

The IronPigs love food, promotions and especially food-themed promotions. The IronPigs have previously donned bacon-themed jerseys and they’re “raising the steaks” even higher this season. On Salute to Philly Night, the IronPigs will pay tribute to Philadelphia’s most treasured delicacy: the cheesesteak.

They’ll change their names to the Cheesesteaks while also answering the age-old question: onions or no onions? As of press time, #TeamWit holds a slight lead over #TeamWitout. 

Frisco RoughRiders — 8-Bits And Arcades Night (July 8)

For those looking for more classic game action, the RoughRiders have you covered with their Game Boy-inspired look. On July 8, there will be arcade machines posted throughout the stadium and in-game contests based on old-school video games.

If you can’t wait until July to get in the spirit, you can grab your own Game Boy jersey online. That’s not the only throwback-themed jersey the RoughRiders have in store as they’ll be holding a Salute to “Top Gun” Night on June 24 and a “Ghostbusters” Tribute Night on July 29.

Brooklyn Cyclones — Full House Tribute Night (July 9)

The Brooklyn Cyclones are all about paying homage to ’90s TV shows as they’ve previously rolled out “Saved By The Bell” and “Seinfeld“-inspired looks. Now, they’ll be celebrating the return of “Full House.” The Cyclones will be donning special jerseys and the first 2,500 fans will receive Uncle Jesse bobbleheads.

But wait! There’s more! The event will feature a Danny Tanner clean-off, a “How Rude” pout-cam, a special appearance by Mr. Woodchuck and other Tanner-themed entertainment.

Fresno Grizzlies — Taco Tuesdays and 30 Amigos Night (July 22)

Last season, the Astros’ Triple-A affiliate celebrated their own central Californian regional fare when they became the Fresno Tacos for a night. The event was so successful that the Grizzlies announced that they’ll be celebrating Taco Tuesday at every Tuesday home game in 2016.

It looks like there’s some friendly food fighting going on between the Grizzlies and the IronPigs. I can only hope that these two sides meet in the Triple-A Championship Game so we can get the Tacos vs. Cheesesteaks matchup we all deserve.

Lake County Captains — Good Grief Night (Aug. 26)

The Cleveland Indians’ Single-A affiliate has no shortage of throwback jerseys in store this season. In addition to jerseys celebrating the Republican National Convention (which takes place in nearby Cleveland) and the ’90s Nickelodeon show “Legends of the Hidden Temple,” the Captains will honor the Peanuts protagonist with a special yellow zig-zagged jersey.

Various Teams — Star Wars Night

From the aforementioned Storm Chasers to the Durham Bulls to the Buffalo Bisons, it seems as if every minor league team will be traveling to a galaxy far, far, away this season.

Extra points for creativity go to the Altoona Curve, who will attempt to top the success of last season’s Jabba the Hutt jerseys. This year, the Curve will wear “annoying” Jar-Jar Binks uniforms on May 21 specifically designed to distract opposing pitchers.


31 Mar 16:51

5 Training/Diet "hacks" that work good AF

by (Paul Carter)


Control your environment for diet control - 

When I was working in IT, much like the movie office space, we all had cubicles.  And because you can simply walk up and down the aisles and peer into co-workers cubes, I always felt like I got a little bit of insight as to their life.  Or at least, a snapshot in time.

For the co-workers I was good friends with, it never failed that when they were struggling with problems at home or otherwise, their cubicles tended to be messier and far more cluttered in that time.

This is just my own personal observation and nothing more than some anecdotal evidence, but I feel the correlation is strong.  Kinda like the woman going through heartache is likely to sit at home and eat a whole pan of brownies and throw discipline right out the window during that time.

While not always being the case, our environment that we control like our house or workspace, is often a reflection of our headspace and emotions at that time.  After all, it's hard to clean up and get everything neat and tidy while your personal world is being turned upside down.  So you literally turn everything around you upside down, or leave it in that state while your mind and emotions are occupied in a similar manner.

There was a study done a while back on this very thing.  100 women were asked to come in and sit down in either a messy or cluttered kitchen, and write an essay about either a time their life felt in control, or out of control.  The women who sat in the cluttered kitchen were asked to write about a time they felt out of control in their life, and the ones that sat in the clean kitchen were asked to write about a time they felt in control of their life.

The women were given snacks to eat while they wrote.  The ones that sat in the cluttered kitchen ate more than twice as many cookies as the ones that sat in the clean kitchen.

Some might dismiss this study because of all the quality control or blah blah blah, but I think it's right on point.

When your mind is occupied by feelings of having your shit together, and your environment is a reflection of that, discipline tends to easier, and willpower will be strong.

When your mind is occupied by feelings of chaos and discontent, and your environment reflects that, our other habits will reflect that as well.

As humans, it seems, whatever is at the core of us...whatever is driving our thoughts, emotions, and controlling our mind tends to reverberate throughout every other aspect of our behavior.

Fuck it, might as well eat all the cookies

Focus, or lackthereof, tends to cascade off into every direction of what we have control over.  Our words, actions, thoughts, and habits.

So it shouldn't be of any surprise that the women who were writing about feeling out of control sitting in a messy room would be more inclined to loosen the reigns on eating, and throw more caution into the wind.

I can tell you from experience that when life is really in the shitter it's very hard to find the mental energy or desire to clean everything up around you.  But I can also tell you this; when my own house is very neat and tidy that I do in fact work more efficiently, and seem to have my "shit together" better.

The next time your life feels out of control, remember this - there are still things you have control over.  And the truth is, those are the things you should be putting your energy into.  Because what's the point in sitting around worrying about things you literally have no control over?  All it does is keep you from being as efficient and organized in your life as you can be.

So if you are trying to clean up your diet, and be strict in your eating, literally stop and take a look around at the environments you are spending time in.  If your house is a mess, clean that fucker up.  If your workspace is a mess, clean that fucker up.

Take back control over the things you have the power over, and try to let go of the worries about things you cannot change.  I know this can be hard to do, but actually focusing on the things you can change, will help you find clarity in regards to the things you can't.

Listen to relaxing music while doing lunges -

I've written about this many times, but of course lots of people don't see everything I write, so here it is again.

I love lunges.  I think they are one of the most underrated movements you can do.  They have been hi-jacked by women trying to build glutes and legs and get "toned".  But the fact is, lunges are a great economy movement.

By economy I mean they do a lot of great things all at once.

They improve mobility, create balance throughout the lower body, stretch the hip flexors, and are great for pretty much every muscle from the hams to glutes to quads.

Many moons ago, I somehow ended up having some easy listening ballad type shit come on my Pandora during the end of my leg session.  This would normally be something I'd thumbs down during training as my usual selection is hard, fast paced metal.

But this shit came on during the middle of my set of lunges.  And I found myself lunging, and lunging, and lunging.  After my set, I actually added an easy listening/soft rock station and went back to lunging.  And sure enough I could do far more lunges than I had usually been doing.

It made total sense to me afterwards.

Adrenaline driving music, the kind that helps you "get up" for a big set of squats or deadlifts is great because naturally, you tend to get tighter all over and feel that rush of "crush-kill-destroy" while it's playing.

And this is good.

You need to be amped up and tight as fuck during those big movements.

But for lunging, the fact is staying tight as hell tends to zap you of energy a lot faster than if you're keeping the rest of your body very relaxed.

I likened it to fighting.  When you're sparring, the tighter you stay the faster you're going to gas.  You only  "turn it on" for a split second during a combination thrown, a punch or kick here or there.  But you must learn to stay relaxed if you want to have the energy explode when the moment calls for it.

Lunging isn't much different.  If your upperbody is tight and tense, then that's energy expended that has nothing to do with the part of the body you're actually trying to work.

You should stay upright during lunges, of course.  But you need to stay upright in fighting as well.  I mean, I've never seen someone fight bent over with floppy spaghetti noodle arms.

The key is staying upright, but keeping the torso mostly relaxed.   And what I found was, with the easy listening type music (and no I don't give a shit what kind of easy listening you use), I relaxed better, breathed better (instead of holding my breathe like in squats or pulls), and was able to do about twice as many lunges as usual than I was doing before.

Much like how we reflect our environment and how it's a reflection of us, music in training can and does play a big part in where our mind goes.  If you've ever left your headphones at home and had to listen to awful gym music you're very aware of this.  Your own music that resonates with you, and can give you that surge of focus and adrenaline can help drive you to a PR or to power through a hard set.

In this case, back off the head decapitating stuff, and throw on some relaxing shit and you'll notice a big difference.  I've had multiple people try this and they always laugh at the difference it makes.  So give it a whirl.

Put all of your big movements last in the workout - 

I've been doing this for quite some time, and without fail when someone checks my Instagram for my training log for the day, I will get asked why I am doing my squats and other big movements after all of the other stuff.

Their retort to my "why not?" response is generally the same, not-well-thought-out one.

"Because I have more energy at the beginning of the workout when I can use more weight."

This is true.  However, my stance on muscle growth is that training frequency may be the biggest player in the paradigm of intensity, volume, and frequency.  The more often you can get into the gym, and stimulate growth - and recover from it- then faster you're going to grow.

Of course, this means you have to train very hard.  You can't just go into the gym and do some bullshit sets a bunch of times a week and expect to get mad gainz.  But doing your big movements first, where you're using as much bar weight as possible, tends to play havoc on the systemic recovery curve.

Whether you believe this or not, growth is not determined by how much you're lifting, but by a myriad of other factors that can and do impact hypertrophy.  You can grow off of sets of 5, and you can grow off of sets of 20.  Obviously the intensity (weight on the bar) is going to be much lower during a set of 20 than a maximal set of 5, but do three months of hard as fuck 20 rep squats and tell me if your legs don't grow.  In fact, I'd bet money they grow more than during all the months you did sets of 5.

With all of that said, if I want to train hard more frequently, then I have to weigh in the intensity, frequency, volume factors to meet the demands for recovery.

I've covered this before, but here it is again....

Two of these can be high, but the third needs to be down regulated.

If volume and frequency is high, then intensity needs to be lowered.

So if I want to train often, with a high degree of volume, then the weight on the bar needs to be lowered so that from a systemic standpoint, I'm recovering enough to meet the other variables.

And this is why I have moved almost all of my big compound movements into the end of my training sessions.  Because I still believe they have the greatest amount of value from a growth perspective, but if I want to be in the gym often, doing a lot of work, I can't be suffering from workout hangover because I went heavy on everything.  Remember, there is localized muscle recovery (which is fairly fast), and systemic recovery (the various nervous systems involved in training).

What I have found is that when I move my big movements to the end of my training, I can use far less weight, yet still bust ass on them and benefit from them.  So while using 405 for squats may seem "inferior" than using 500-600 for them, all my legs know is they are having to work exceptionally hard to move that 405 pounds.  At the same time, it's still 405 vs 500-600 pounds, and I wholly believe that from a systemic standpoint the impact on recovery is far less.

Another great example of this is front squats vs back squats.  You can take a maximal set of front squats to failure at 8 reps, but if it's at 365 pounds vs doing back squats to failure with say, 500 pounds, don't you think there is a difference from a systemic recovery standpoint?

I do.  I don't need a study for this.  I've seen it in my training.

So if you want to train hard, and often, be mindful of these factors, and do some pre-exhaustive work before your big movements and you will notice a massive difference in how you "feel" each day recovery wise.  You should be able to train more often, without feeling run down all the time.

To add, I don't care what you pre-exhaust with.  Just think in terms of more single joint movements, or "small" movements that put more tension on a very direct area than spreading it across a large degree of musculature.  So before you ask "what are your recommendations for...", well there they are.

Go in and experiment.

Avoid temptation one time at the grocery store, instead of every night at your house -

I wrote this on my Facebook page last week, but hey let's cover it one more time (and props to the guy who gave me the bolded title for this part).

I can't tell you how many messages or e-mails I get a week from people who blow their diet, or have trouble staying disciplined to what they are supposed to eat, and it's not always the weekend binging (but I will get to that as well).

It's not always the going out to eat on the weekends, or getting wasted at Bob's big kegger that weekend.  It's most often, shit they are eating out of their own pantry.

And my first thought when I hear this "how is that shit in there in the first place?!?!?!"

"I get it for my kids."

Oh so you feed your kids junk all the time.

"No, it's just for snacks!"

They can't snack on fruit or some yogurt or something somewhat "healthy" rather than Oreo's or Twinkies?

Hey look, you are the parent of your kids and if you want to feed them that shit, that's your call.  But here's the thing, if you're trying to drop weight or bodyfat, and you cannot refrain from eating your own kids junk food, then maybe it's best not to have it in the house all together?

I know, it's an Earth shaking revelation but if shit food isn't in your house, it's really hard know...EAT IT!

Here is a better option - Make a list of the shit on your diet, and JUST BUY THAT.  Nothing else.  Just what's on your diet.  Throw away all of the foods that call out to you like the devil asking you to participate in smoking meth and having orgies with two dollar hookers.

If you have kids, it's my SUGGESTION (I'm not telling you what to do here, so gear down, big rig), to buy them healthy foods like nuts, fruit, greek yogurt, etc.  You can also turn them on to chocolate rice cakes, which I personally find delicious and will eat 500 of them when I refeed and they are very low calorie.  It's hard to really fuck yourself up diet wise, by binging on rice cakes.  And there's a lot of flavors.  I'm just throwing it out there as an option.

Have your cheat meal mid-week by earning it on the weekends -

Everyone loves their cheat meal planning.  I swear it's become such a staple in dieting now that it's almost always one of the first questions I get when new clients come aboard.

"When is my cheat meal?"

First off, let's clear something up.  You don't even need planned cheat meals.  It's actually better to NOT schedule them in my opinion, and listen to when your body needs a refeed, than to believe that because some arbitrary day of the week has rolled around that it's time to have one.

If you're not already lean, I am going to stand by my stance that you don't need one at all.  If you're insulin sensitivity sucks nuts, and your body cannot partition your macros very efficiently then it's going to do a very poor job of moving those nutrients into the places it should be going, rather than right to your love handles or saddle bags as fat.

The former seems better than the latter doesn't it?

I know, I know, you need the mental break from dieting.


What I propose in regards to cheat meals, or refeeds, is to eat a high carbohydrate meal with very little fat involved and a moderate amount of protein.

Now that I'm consistently in single digits I have a much better handle on what my body does in regards to food variation.  When I refeed on "clean" food that is low in fat and loaded in carbs, I will wake up the next morning very full, and feeling awesome.  When I eat a bunch of shit that is loaded with high amounts of carbs and fat, I turn into a water buffalo for a few days until that water comes off.

I also "feel" shittier during that time as well, and my joints tend to hurt and I feel sluggish as fuck.

But back to planning cheat meals/refeeds if you happen to be one of those people.

Outside of the people who can't control themselves at home, eating all of their kids snacks, the people without kids who do indeed buy only what is listed on their diet tend to quite often blow their diet on the weekends.  Eating as much as 20% more calories than they did each day during the week.

So think about this - your diet could be on point all week.  You did awesome.  Only ate what you were supposed to.  Then the weekend rolls around and you have plans on Friday......and eat out and think "fuck it, I had a great week.  I deserve to splurge."  No biggie for the most part.

Then Saturday rolls around, and you have some friends over, and hey you have some finger food or they bring some dishes.  Well fuck me, you don't want to be rude, so you eat........all of it.

Sunday comes and you're sitting around in your pajamas until 3 P.M. and all discipline has gone out of the window at this point, and you're tired AF, and lying in bed all day watching bulk TV (this means 17 episodes of Breaking Bad in a row) and there is no "plan" in regards to eating.

You know why?  Because that shit feels good.  Let's decompress from life for an afternoon and eat some spaghetti with 9 loaves of bread dipped in olive oil and butter with cheese on it (ok that does sound delicious right now).  Evening hits and well, fuck, you realize the whole weekend has been one big food indulged binge.

Your week of discipline has basically been all for naught at this point.  And from my own observation these kinds of weekends tend to take about 10 days for most people just to GET BACK to where the were the week before they decided to go off the rails.  That's right.  You're looking at something to the tune of three weeks of being disciplined just to get back to where you were before.

So here is a better option.  Do NOT scheduled your cheat meals for the weekend.  And I will tell you why - If you've been strict, once you cheat, there is this huge urge to eat more food, or eat more shitty food than when you were walking down the straight and narrow.  Anyone who has dieting for a long period of time can identify with this feeling.

The urge to cheat again, becomes much stronger after a refeed or cheat than before.

If you look at your weekends as the "earning time" for your cheat meal mid-week, then at least you've set something in place mentally, to help keep you on track.

Second, when the mid-week refeed rolls around, my other suggestion is not to go out to eat, but to buy and cook your cheat meal.  Once it's eaten, if there are leftovers then bring them to your neighbor or throw them out.  Don't leave it in the house, dammit.

If you go out to eat, at least have SOME guidelines.  Like you can't order three fucking desserts (and yes I've done this and am being a total hypocrite, so kiss my ass...I'm still saying it's not a good idea) after two main courses.

The entire purpose of a refeed are a few.

1.  Replenish depleted glycogen stores
2.  Give a mental break from dieting if you need one
3.  Spike leptin so that your metabolism gets a bit of an upwards shift again

When you factor all of these things in, you can easily come to the conclusion that a refeed or "cheat" meal doesn't have to mean you eat a bunch of shitty food.  In fact, you can still use the same foods you're dieting on, and simply move the portions around.  So if you've been going very low carb, you can just dramatically increase your carb source (like rice or potatoes or whatever), while lowering fats and protein.

Or you can eat a butt load of sushi or plain pasta with some grilled chicken and marinara sauce, etc.  Point is, it doesn't HAVE to be a time where you shovel down a bloomin onion along with half a cheesecake.  In a lot of ways, that can indeed set you back, rather than spur you forwards towards your goals.

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Death is something
31 Mar 15:10

Ephemera's appeal

by Klaus

I remember the day when Colombian presidential candidate Luis Carlos Galan was assassinated well. My mother had been working as a volunteer for his campaign, and upon hearing news of his assassination, she rushed to the party headquarters on Carrera Septima, in Bogota's northern suburbs. My father, who had lived through El Bogotazo (albeit at a very young age) urged her not to go, afraid that the city would come undone as it had when Jorge Eliecer Gaitan had been killed years earlier. 

Before Galan was killed, I had gone to the party's headquarters a few times with my mom to help out. My duties were mostly comprised of "folding votes", which amounted to folding endless small pieces of newsprint that listed all the party's candidates. These were given to people on their way to the voting booths, in order to get them to vote straight down the party line. 

But what I remember most about that time (grim aspects of it aside) was my obsession with collecting paraphernalia from the political campaign. Posters got my attention, their bold imagery printed on cheap newsprint. My mom, fastidiously clean as always, pointed out that I was collecting garbage. And I was, but for some reason the ephemera around such an event got my attention. So I collected away. Posters, cheap pennants, fliers. I wanted them all. But sadly, as with so many other things,  they were all tossed upon our move to the United States. Of course, some of the very posters I collected back then are now considered landmark pieces of Colombian design, and are very valuable. 

Little has changed as far as my attraction to ephemera (or "garbage" in mother parlance). Even if it's unbecoming of me, I always keep an eye out for such things. I certainly do that in cycling. I bring back these bits and pieces, and I stash them away. I'm not sure why I do this, but knowing I have these things makes me feel happy somehow. Like I'm holding on to a bit of the past that others would likely forget about and throw away....perhaps because it is, after all, garbage. 


1. This weekend will bring about another Tour of Flanders, which in turn makes me think about Giovanni Jimenez, the first Colombian to ever do the race. Sorry about the fact that I post this video around this time every year, but I simply have to. It's too good to pass up. The video is captioned, you may just need to hit the CC icon at the bottom right. 

2. Just sayin'

3. Jasper LIVES-strong

30 Mar 17:41

A Look at LL Bean’s 100 Year Old Archived HistoryIt takes a lot...

by derekguypto

A Look at LL Bean’s 100 Year Old Archived History

It takes a lot more than just history to be a heritage brand. Abercrombie & Fitch, for example, is an old company, having started in the late-1800s as a high-end retailer for outdoor gear and utilitarian clothing. In their heyday, the company dressed adventures and explorers, but after some financial struggles in the 1970s, they were bought out by The Limited and turned into the teeny-bopper label we know today. That loss of identity makes Abercrombie & Fitch a company with a lot of history, but not a lot of heritage. 

Heritage brands are different. They not only have a lot of history, but are also committed to their identity. In fact, that’s partly why they’ve become so popular in the last fifteen years. As life moves ever-more quickly in the electronic age and trends die as fast as they’re born, people have come to appreciate brands that remain steadfast in their identity and values over time. Doing so requires more than willpower, however. Many heritage brands maintain meticulous archives, which they rely on for their current designs and production. Those archives are what allow them to maintain that continuity. 

One of the more famous archives is LL Bean’s, which holds thousands of items from the company’s 100+ year old history. We talked with Ruth Porter, the company’s archivist, about how they maintain their collection. 


How did LL Bean’s archive start?

Ethel Williams, L.L.’s secretary, started it by slowly collecting various items of interest. For instance, she kept a few things from L.L.’s desk when he passed away in 1967, and because of her relationship with L.L. and his second wife Claire, she was given his tackle bag and all of its contents. Ethel kept everything together in a box with a strict warning that nothing was to be disposed of – and we still have the contents of that box today. It started there, and over time, many others saw the importance of keeping maintaining elements of our rich history, like the first “ice bag,” which would later become known as the L.L. Bean Boat and Tote Bag, one of our most iconic and well-recognized products. L.L.’s desk chair and the White Sewing Machine that the first 100 pair of Maine Hunting Shoes were sewn on are also some prominent items. Over time, and as we gained popularity as a company, customers began sending us interesting L.L.Bean products from the past. That’s how the archive collection really began to take shape.

What are some of the memorable things you’ve received from customers?

A family once gave us an old pair of Maine Hunting Shoes they found under a house they were restoring in Canada. The boots were in questionable repair, but we were excited to date them back to the 1920s. One of my favorite donations in the last decade would be a complete woman’s hunting outfit including pants, jacket and a hat that a granddaughter sent back to us after her grandmother passed away. It is in pristine condition from 1930.


About how many pieces are in the archive and how big is the space? How do you maintain and organize the items?

We have over seven thousand objects in the archive, which we manage using a database. Objects are stored by specific categories, of which we currently have fifty. Examples of these categories include things such as hunting apparel, fishing tackle, decoys, vintage catalogs, original catalog cover art, and many more. We of course have an amazing collection of Bean Boots, our most iconic product, with some dating back to the early 1900s. We have approximately three thousand square feet of space devoted to the archival facility. It should also be noted that the facility is completely climate-controlled.

Where is the archive kept?

A facility was built in 2006 to house the collection under one roof. The building is located directly behind the Leon L. Bean Home in Freeport, Maine and was designed to look like a barn type structure as a continuation of the house.


How does LL Bean use the archive for its current design projects? 

Our in-house designers and developers often visit the archives for design inspiration, especially when looking to develop products with a deliberate nod to our heritage. They will often get an idea for a new product they want to develop and review old catalogs, read the copy, examine the photographs, as well as peruse actual garments that are held in the archives. In other cases, such as with hunting apparel, they will examine old pieces from the archives to identify the features and benefits that made some of those pieces for popular and functional – why change a good thing?  

What are some specific examples of how the archive has influenced L.L.Bean’s modern designs?

Several pieces in our Signature line are influenced by our archive, but come in a more modern fit. Our “Signature 1933 Chamois Cloth Shirt,” for example, is made with the same rugged attitude and attention to detail as the original, but has been made slimmer. Another is our “Original Field Coat,” which is very close the original design from the early 1920s.


How do you think maintaining the archive has influenced the development of the company as a whole? Not just in terms of how it designs products now, but in any other ways.

The archive is a demonstrative, tangible example of our commitment to preserving, maintaining, celebrating and perpetuating our history, heritage and our brand. Also, it exists as an example of the high level of quality of our products. The items in the archive are of exceptionally high quality and have stood up to the rigors of time, much like the products we develop to this day. Throughout our history, all of our products needed to be of supreme quality in order to stand uop to our iron-clad 100% satisfaction guarantee.  

Thanks Ruth for speaking to us! For more on LL Bean’s archive, readers can check out Backwoods PlaidA Restless Transplant, and Foster Huntington. DownEast also has some very cool footage of the space (one of which you can see below).

(photos via Foster Huntington, Katon, and Bangor Daily News)

24 Mar 17:40

Lumbopelvic Rhythm: The Powerlifts, Spine Health and Performance Longevity

by Chris Kelly

This was a fun thing to read when it was directly aligned with what i was trying to fix.

Spinal stability, diaphragmatic breathing and neutral posture, among others, are all “buzz words” that, as of late, have entered the conversation in a multitude of training facilities, across a wide array of practices. This is due to the fact that the underlying concept is extremely important. It is no secret the sport of strength requires years of hard training and adaptation to achieve its highest levels. Due to the demands and potential risks associated with loading the spine, its health and maintenance are among the key contributors to performance across a long and successful career.

Before one can understand what spine health is or what training with it in mind translates to, it is important to grasp the biomechanical function of the spine. Under ideal conditions, the role of the spine is to evenly (key consideration) carry load and transmit force while maintaining length-tension relationships and permitting distal mobility through proximal stability. In order to derive this functionality, the physiology relies on three subsystems the passive and active musculoskeletal systems, which include muscles, tendons, ligaments, bones, joint capsules, etc. and the neural-feedback loop. The combination of these three subsystems produces system-wide stability capable of managing the instantaneous demand of posture and load. In this case, it’s relative to the successful performance of the powerlifts. The actions responsible for managing forces at the spine can be defined as anticipatory postural adjustments (APAs). APAs are minute changes in length and tension about involved musculature, with the goal of placing the spine and relevant structures in a position where they can express their role to the greatest capacity (4,9,10,12). With that in mind, Lumbopelvic rhythm (LPR) can be classified as an APA assigned with the management of spinal load in the sagittal plane. LPR is classified as functional or dysfunctional, based on individual neutral zone parameters, and expressed as total lumbar rotation over pelvic rotation (11,12,13).

Most if not all readers will have seen exactly what is being described. The “butt wink” or “hips tucked deadlift” are real world illustrations of these principals in a dysfunctional system; the difference is now you understand what is taking place. Poor movement quality specific to LPR is often overlooked and misunderstood. For this reason, it can be identified as a contributor to global instability and associated with an increased risk of injury (9,10,11,12,13)

In a dysfunctional system neutral spine cannot be maintained and appropriate APAs are replaced by suboptimal compensation patterns. The spine and its related structures are placed in a compromised state of elastic equilibrium and the system is subject to unnecessary and unbalanced loading. In this state, degenerative processes may occur and have the potential to detract from both performance and overall spine health. These degenerative processes include, but are not limited to, tissue dehydration, contracture, a decreased ability to tolerate load and passively restrict motion (6,8,9,10,12). “Simply put, if any one part of the biomechanical chain is utilized in favor of sharing the load, it will undergo greater cumulative micro-trauma and is most liable to undergo changes in tensile strength and eventual degenerative change” (12).

If that is not enough to change the thinking surrounding spine health, an addition to these principals outlines the suboptimal compensation patterns themselves. Allowing for compensation to persist, “to get the lift done,” reduces the potential for maximizing force production qualities over time. In the short-term dysfunction may add momentary increases in poundage, but serves poorly as a long-term strategy for development. An example can be drawn considering the “hips tucked deadlift.” In this example, often, the influence of a prime mover in hip extension, the gluteus maximus, is substituted for the influence of the much smaller and less capable spinal erectors. The lift may start fast, but often the lockout comes to a grinding halt. At the top of the lift leverages drastically change and poor movement quality (LPR dysfunction) can force the lifter to place an emphasis on spinal extension over hip extension. This has the potential to detract from mechanical advantage and creates a position likely to promote degenerative change (3,12). Left unchecked movement patterns such as these continue to strengthen dysfunction and place a ceiling on developmental capacity. Unfortunately, in this example, the spinal erectors become the limiting factor, as they can only contribute so much when compared to the gluteals.

On the other end of the spectrum, there is a squat or deadlift executed with balance, stability and functional LPR. This encourages a state of elastic equilibrium and a system under minimal load (6). Placing the spine in a neutral positon can maximize the potential for mechanical advantage through the maintenance of length-tension relationships and body-segment positions. Doing so places the lifter in a position to take full advantage of their own developmental capacity. If remaining injury free and performing optimally is among your goals, this is not something to just hope for… it’s a goal to actively pursue and constantly assess.

In order to train with spine health in mind it is important to take a step back and evaluate your movement quality. This can be completed either through video analysis or through seeking qualified coaching. During the analyses it is crucial to be subjective, especially when evaluating yourself, to note deviations from neutral, flexion or extension while under load, and assess what may be the contributing factor (i.e. muscular weakness, lack of mobility, motor planning, etc.). The core musculature (abdominal complex, spinal erectors, psoas, diaphragm and pelvic floor musculature) is generally noted as a good place to begin evaluation. This is due to its associated role with systemic functionality (4). While it is a good place to start it will be up to the lifter to complete their own due diligence as compensation patterns are numerous and individualized.

Once the potential limiting factor(s) has been identified a plan can be implemented. This plan may heavily influence choices in training and programming. Factors to consider while planning may include competition form (sumo vs conventional, high bar vs low bar, stance width, etc.), assistance exercises and warm-up protocols. Each component should be rationalized and grounded in the effort to improve movement quality and related force production. Exercises that may be useful given the prerequisite evaluation, include the Lewit, McGill curl-up, cat-camel, birddog and side bridge exercises (1, 7). To augment, one may also consider planning general physical preparedness or “pre-activation” exercises around muscle groups or movement patterns assessed as potential contributors. For example, the classic illustration of upper back inactivity contributing to improper execution of the squat or deadlift. In this case, an exercise such as the face-pull could be utilized in a post-activation potentiation capacity to “fire up” the upper back. The effort is designated to further recruit and ensure a strong neural connection while executing the lift (5). On the other end, the same exercise could be emphasized in the program with rationale regarding long-term carry over to increased postural awareness and stability. Along these lines one can start to build programming that is targeted, instead of just throwing proverbial “darts in the dark.”

Lastly, a cue, which can be successful concerning correction of dysfunctional LPR, is “rib cage down.” To cue this the coach or lifter could visualize several things with the goal of keeping the rib cage closed, but not collapsed during expiration, inspiration, bracing and throughout the lift. Cueing “rib cage down” aligns the diaphragm with the pelvic floor creating the zone of apposition. The zone then becomes a platform for establishing proper intra-abdominal pressure and length-tension relationships between the anterior and posterior core musculature. Doing so may help to yield all the benefits associated with maintaining a neutral spine under load (2).

Taking these few points into consideration has the potential to help guide your training for continued improvement, while maintaining spine health and ensuring the longevity essential to a successful career in strength.


  1. Badiuk, B.W., Andersen, J.T., & McGill, S.M. (2014). Exercises to activate the deeper abdominal wall muscles: the lewit: a preliminary study. Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research, 28(3), 856-860.
  1. Boyle, L.K., Olinick, J., & Lewis, C. (2010). Clinical Suggestion: The value of blowing up a balloon. North American Journal of Sports Physical Therapy, 5(3), 179-188.
  1. Janda, V., Frank, C. & Liebenson, C. (1996). Evaluation of muscular imbalance. Rehabilitation of the spine: A practitioner’s manual. Philedelphia, PA: Lippincott Williams & Wilkins.
  1. Kibler, B.W., Press, J., Sciascia, A. (2006). The role of core stability in athletic function. Sports Medicine, 36(3), 189-198.
  1. Lorenz, D. (2011). Postactivation potentiation: An introduction. International Journal of Sports Physical Therapy, 6(3), 234-240.
  1. McGill, S.M. (2007). Lumbar spine stability: Mechanism of injury and restabilization. C. Liebenson (Ed.). Philedelphia, PA: Lippincott Williams & Wilkins.
  1. McGill, S.M. (2003). Enhancing low-back health through stabilization exercise. ACE Certified News. 
  1. McGill, S.M. (2002). Low back disorders. Champaign, IL: Human Kinetics.
  1. Panjabi, M.M. (1992). The stabilizing system of the spine. Part I. Function, dysfunction, adaptation and enhancement. Journal of Spinal Disorders and Techniques, 5(4), 383-389.
  1. Panjabi, M.M. (1992). The stabilizing system of the spine. Part II. Neutral zone and instability hypothesis. Journal of Spinal Disorders and Techniques, 5(4), 390-396.
  1. Tafazzol, A., Arjmand, N., Shirazi, A.A. & Parnianpour, M. (2014). Lumbopelvic rhythm during forward and backward sagittal trunk rotations: combined in vivo measurement with inertial tracking device and biomechanical modeling. Clinical Biomechanics, 29(1), 7-13.
  1. Wallden, M. (2009). The neutral spine principle. Journal of Bodywork and Movement Therapies, 13(4), 350-361.
  1. Wu, M., Wang, S., Driscoll, S.J., Cha, T.D., Wood, K.B. & Li, G. (2014). Dynamic motion characteristics of the lower lumber spine: Implication to lumbar pathology and surgical treatment. European Spine Journal, 23(11).

The post Lumbopelvic Rhythm: The Powerlifts, Spine Health and Performance Longevity appeared first on Juggernaut.

21 Mar 17:50

With One Season Down, Women’s Pro Hockey Looks To Expand

by Bill Littlefield

The WNHL finished its inaugural season last weekend. What does the future hold for this new league? (Zoe Sobel/Only A Game)

In its first season, the WNHL featured four teams, including the Boston Pride (gold) and the Buffalo Beauts (grey). Now the league is looking to grow. (Zoe Sobel/Only A Game)

When the women’s professional hockey team in Buffalo was born in 2015, somebody felt it should be called the Beauts. And so it was. And now we’ve gotten that out of the way.

Buffalo’s roster, like those of the three other teams involved in the recently concluded inaugural season of the National Women’s Hockey League, is populated by players who see themselves as pioneers.

“The market for women’s hockey is becoming more and more popular in the United States,” says U.S. national team star Megan Bozek. She jumped to the Buffalo club after a year with the Toronto Furies of the nine-year-old Canadian Women’s Hockey League.

“A lot of us have played in the Canadian Women’s Hockey League, and it’s a great league,” Bozek says, “but there’s nothing better than to write that history book with you as a part of it.

Many of the Olympians who have represented the U.S. and Canada, the top two women’s national teams, play in the CWHL or the new U.S. league, so in each the quality of play has been excellent and enthusiasm among the players has run high. But that “market for women’s hockey” is another matter. At the games in Boston I’ve attended, “crowds” might be charitably described as disappointing, and less charitably as easily tabulated.

Especially considering the paucity of paid customers, what has made the NWHL historical?

The Makings Of A Pro League

“I think just playing professional hockey in general for women is awesome, so then to get a paycheck on top of that is just kind of over the top,” Buffalo goalie Brianne McLaughlin explains,

There are no paychecks in the CWHL. The ones in the U.S. league range from $9,000 to $25,000 per season, so lots of the players coach or have other jobs. But the existence of those checks means that, like Hunter S. Thompson, Bozek, McLaughlin and the rest of the players in the NWHL can say, “We are, after all, professionals.”

McLaughlin lives in Pittsburgh. She drives three and a half hours to Buffalo on Friday for a practice, then drives three and a half hours back home after a Sunday game. So as she suggested in the audio diary she recorded for Only A Game early this season, “professional” hasn’t meant pampered:

“I’ve been just kind of finding a place to take a quick nap and then finish my drive later on in the day, so by the time I get home, I’m always so sleepy, and I’m not normally a napping person, but it’s been kind of taking its toll.” — Brianne McLaughlin 

Hence the naps. And hence the challenge of building team coherence, because even when you’ve got some of the world’s best female hockey players on the roster, how well are they going to play together with only a couple of practices a week?

“I know a lot of us practice elsewhere,” Bozek says, “but we have to find that chemistry off the ice and on the ice when we are with each other. We have to make the most of the three hours that we see each other on a Wednesday and a Friday.”

Or maybe just on a Friday.

No matter.

For Buffalo, at the end of the first NWHL season last weekend, it looked as if it might all work out:

“We arrived in Newark, New Jersey yesterday for the Isobel Cup Finals. We are playing where the New Jersey Devils practice because New Jersey Devils are on a road trip and actually the circus is in town. So if we want to look out our hotel window, it’s elephants.” — Megan Bozek

Buffalo might have been better off if the elephants hadn’t gotten out of the way. They lost that final series to the Boston Pride.

History has been made #ThePack #14Strong #FirstChampions


“When you’re talking about women’s sports, Digit Murphy is happy,” says Digit Murphy.

Murphy is a veteran women’s hockey coach who’s now working to create a women’s pro lacrosse league, and her happiness is tinged with a larger concern about where women’s hockey goes from here. She worries that the Canadian league, already damaged by defections, and the NWHL will engage in competition that might hurt the larger cause.

“Let’s face it, women’s sports are a small world, anyways,” Murphy says. “And if you start trying to compete instead of collaborate, I think you’re in for a setback. I just do. I don’t think we’ve even stretched, you know, our imaginations to see women as women in sports.”

On the actual rather than the imaginary level, even as the Boston Pride was accepting the NWHL’s championship trophy, the U.S. league was making noises about expanding into Montreal and Toronto next season, thereby threatening the existence of the Canadian women’s league.

“It’s a soap opera that I never imagined I would be covering at this point,” says Jen Neale, who edits Yahoo’s Puck Daddy hockey blog. “I wrote it up for Puck Daddy as almost a declaration of war, like, ‘We’re coming for you.’ It just shows that this has gone from a plucky little startup to an actual competitive league. And this declaration by the NWHL really just says, like, ‘We’re not here to work with you.'”

Would it be a stretch to say that though there was little suspense in the NWHL’s final series, which Boston won in two straight, the season ended in a cliff-hanger?


21 Mar 14:52

Not sure what makes me happier… that comedian Adam...

by jessethorn


Not sure what makes me happier… that comedian Adam Conover, host of the excellent “Adam Ruins Everything” on TruTV, is giving a talk at a millennial marketing conference called “Millennials Don’t Exist, Dummies,” or that he’s doing it while wearing a Put This On pocket square.

18 Mar 20:21

The Process

by Elisabeth Akinwale

Competing in The CrossFit Games means different things to each individual, and changes over time.  Some thoughts I have on the process after five years of pursuit: 1) KNOW YOURSELF Self-knowledge will allow you to establish appropriate expectations for yourself and your body, both day to day and in the big picture. It’s only with

The post The Process appeared first on Elisabeth Akinwale.

18 Mar 18:52


by Masini
While tomorrow may be my favorite race of the year, I should be writing again about it being my first big pro race I ever saw live way back when. However, it also ties to today's topic, my cycling idol, Costante Girardengo, born March 18, 1893. Girardengo won in San Remo six times - seven if you count the time he was DQ'ed for going off course in 1915.

Gira loved San Remo like no other race. Much like myself!

Part of my shrine to Gira... thanks, Brett Horton!

I found this online somewhere and grabbed it a while ago. It's Girardengo's ten points to be a perfect racer...

Quick translation below:

  1. Love your bike and care for it as best you can
  2. Submit your body to the strictest control and avoid, with equal fervor, the excessive wear and tear from unnecessary tasks
  3. Get to bed no later than 10:00 and wake early in the morning, even if you don't have to train
  4. Don't ask from your muscles more than they can give
  5. Stay well away from alcoholic drinks, don't abuse coffee, and never get drunk from wine. Well water is the drink of champions!
  6. Remember to abhor drugs. Taking drugs will age you in no time. You must smoke as little as possible(!).
  7. Don't forget, when racing, to act fairly. Winning from cheating has a toxic stink.
  8. Don't believe you a fuori classe. Don't confuse the desire to win with the certainty of winning. The first is a macho virtue. The second is an ugly swagger. 
  9. Don't just bring your legs to the race, but also your brain. Always have a clear and lucid mind. Only like this can you react to those little moments of difficulty that no racer can avoid, not even the greatest.
  10. Pay your dues according to the rules. If you lose, don't blame the jury. If you win, don't boast to your rivals. Tomorrow could be your turn. Don't complain but consider your sport for what it is:  master of nobility and provider of wellness.
Still applies 90 years later! Well, apart from that smoking bit!

Gira... l'omino who was Italian national champion NINE times, San Remo SIX, fought the Spanish flu, raced until he was 43, "friend" of public enemy #1 Sante Pollastri (of which the famous ballad was written by Grechi), 106 wins on the road and 965 on the track, and DS to Guerra and Bartali.

02 Mar 14:46

Top UCI teams to contest Women’s Tour of California

by Anne-Marije Rook

Ladykits so good looking!

SOUTH LAKE TAHOE, CA - MAY 8: The first stage of the Amgen Tour of California Women's Race Empowered by SRAM. (Photo by Jonathan Devich/Getty Images) *** LOCAL CAPTION *** SOUTH LAKE TAHOE, CA - MAY 8: Amgen Tour of California - Women's Race Stage 1. (Photo by Jonathan Devich/Getty Images) *** LOCAL CAPTION ***

For the past decade, the men’s Amgen Tour of California has been the biggest race in North America, attracted some of the world’s biggest cycling stars.  For women however, the race was limited to an invitational individual time trial and criteriums without much grandeur or UCI points on offer. This all changed in 2015, when the Women’s Tour of California empowered by SRAM grew into a proper stage race with a UCI 2.1 ranking.

Now in 2016, a banner year for women’s cycling, the Women’s Tour of California will be bigger, more international and more competitive than ever before. The four-day stage was selected to be part of the inaugural UCI Women’s WorldTour, and today race organisers announced that seven of the top 10 UCI teams will be present, including current top-ranked Wiggle High5.

Held in conjunction with the men’s event, the Women’s Tour of California empowered by SRAM will take place May 19-22 and will the be the first UCI Women’s WorldTour stage race in North America.

Among the world class contestants will be two-time Olympic and World Time Trial Champion Kristen Armstrong.

“The Women’s WorldTour is coming to home soil, and I couldn’t be more excited. This amazing opportunity will showcase women’s cycling on the biggest stage in our sport,” commented Armstrong, America’s most decorated female cyclist. “The Amgen Tour of California Women’s Race will bring the best of the best including Olympians, World Champions and National Champions representing countries from across the world – and not to mention the event lands just three months before Rio!”

The full list of confirmed teams for the 2016 Amgen Tour of California Women’s Race empowered with SRAM includes:

Invited teams Women's Amgen Tour of California

  • BePink (ITA)
  • Boels-Dolmans Cycling Team (NED)
  • Canyon/SRAM Racing (GER)
  • Colavita | Bianchi p/b Vittoria Women’s UCI Pro Team (USA)
  • Cylance Pro Cycling (USA)
  • Drops Cycling Team (GBR)
  • Hagens Berman | Supermint Pro Cycling Team (USA)
  • Hitec Products (NOR)
  • Podium Ambition Pro Cycling p/b Club La Santa (GBR)
  • Rabo-Liv Women Cycling Team (NED)
  • Rally Cycling (USA)
  • Team TIBCO-SVB (USA)
  • Twenty16 – Ridebiker (USA)
  • UnitedHealthcare Pro Cycling Team (USA)
  • USA Cycling (USA)
  • Visit Dallas DNA Pro Cycling (USA)
  • Weber Shimano Ladies Power (ARG)
  • Wiggle High5 Pro Cycling (GBR)

Video coverage will be available by Vox Women at and


29 Feb 16:28

NAHBS 2016: Rob English reinterprets Graeme Obree’s Old Faithful

by James Huang
Rob English Graeme Obree bike-feature

Without a doubt, Rob English is one of the most creative custom bike builders of the modern era, deftly blending art, science, and engineering into some of the wildest steel creations on two wheels. Seeing an English in person tends to bring forth a sense of intrigue and curiosity, as if such a thing couldn’t possibly be real — and yet it is, and more often than not, you somehow find yourself wanting one (or at least wanting to ride one for yourself).

At this year’s North American Handmade Bicycle Show, English looked back to when he first got into cycling in the early 1990s. One of the most dramatic scenes of the time was the epic Hour Record battle between Scotsman Graeme Obree and British Olympic champion Chris Boardman. Obree established a new record in the summer of 1993, only for it to be toppled by Boardman days later. Obree would ultimately triumph over Boardman, though, retaking the prize the following spring.

That back and forth would have been drama enough on its own but the side story of Obree’s radical position would also provide its own narrative. Instead of using a conventional drop handlebar or outstretched aero extension, Obree folded his arms beneath his chest, tucking them tightly up against his flattened back in a contorted form that seemed horrifically uncomfortable but was nevertheless extremely efficient in terms of aerodynamics.

Even better, Obree built the highly unusual bike himself.

“Obree was an engineer and an athlete, and he did both to a very high level,” English told CyclingTips. “I’ve always wanted to try his position and racing in Oregon, we’re not subjected to UCI rules. So I used this show as an excuse to get this done.”

English prefers working in steel, which he says can be easily manipulated to suit and joined in a wide range of techniques as needed.

English prefers working in steel, which he says can be easily manipulated to suit and joined in a wide range of techniques as needed.

Like Obree’s original bike — which bore the nickname, Old Faithful — English turned to fairly pedestrian steel tubing that he could freely manipulate as needed to mimic the original frame profile. And just like Old Faithful, English’s interpretation is radically narrower than typical track machines.

Down below, the ultra-skinny bottom bracket shell features a total width of just 50mm (including the bearings), filled with a custom eccentric and one-off machined aluminum crankarms built by a friend in England.

Maintaining the narrow theme are HED three-spoke carbon wheels that the company custom-made for English with 80mm spacing up front and 110mm out back — 20mm narrower than usual — as well as a sprocket interface that’s offset further inboard than usual to maintain a proper chainline.

The bottom bracket measures just 50mm between the crankarms.

The bottom bracket measures just 50mm between the crankarms.

Interestingly, the bike also features an unusually low bottom bracket but English insists that cornering clearance isn’t an issue.

“It’s amazing how much you can lower the bottom bracket when you make the cranks narrow. It makes a huge difference! I was able to drop the bottom bracket by 30mm so in terms of frontal area, everything went down.”

English admits that he has yet to actually ride the bike given the last-minute completion just days before the start of the show. Nevertheless, he plans to race it in Oregon’s local time trial series.

“It’ll be interesting to see if I can hold this tuck or not.”

For more information, visit English Cycles.

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Custom builder Rob English channeled the spirit of Graeme Obree for his latest creation.

Custom builder Rob English channeled the spirit of Graeme Obree for his latest creation.

The modern interpretation of 'Old Faithful' looks no less unusual today than it did more than twenty years ago.

The modern interpretation of ‘Old Faithful’ looks no less unusual today than it did more than twenty years ago.

English is one of the most creative builders of the modern era.

English is one of the most creative builders of the modern era.

The rear wheel tucks closely behind the sculpted seat tube.

The rear wheel tucks closely behind the sculpted seat tube.

Even English isn't sure he can hold this position.

Even English isn’t sure he can hold this position.



Despite there being just one tube joining the seat tube to the head tube, English claims this frame is remarkably stiff owing to the heavy-gauge steel

Despite there being just one tube joining the seat tube to the head tube, English claims this frame is remarkably stiff owing to the heavy-gauge steel

English's goal was to mimic the narrowness of Obree's original machine.

English’s goal was to mimic the narrowness of Obree’s original machine.

The head tube and headset bearings are fully custom.

The head tube and headset bearings are fully custom.

Simple pinch bolts secure the eccentric in the shell.

Simple pinch bolts secure the eccentric in the shell.

The custom HED three-spoke rear wheel sports 110mm spacing and a cog interface that's set further inboard than usual to maintain a proper chainline.

The custom HED three-spoke rear wheel sports 110mm spacing and a cog interface that’s set further inboard than usual to maintain a proper chainline.

The stark white paint doesn't at all diminish the visual impact of the bike.

The stark white paint doesn’t at all diminish the visual impact of the bike.

The crankarms were custom machined by a friend in England. The chainring is cut from a solid plate of carbon fiber.

The crankarms were custom machined by a friend in England. The chainring is cut from a solid plate of carbon fiber.

The eccentric bottom bracket allows for vertical rear dropouts and a more consistent fit between the rear wheel and seat tube.

The eccentric bottom bracket allows for vertical rear dropouts and a more consistent fit between the rear wheel and seat tube.

Obree used the single-tube configuration to keep his knees from hitting the frame given the ultra-narrow pedal stance width.

Obree used the single-tube configuration to keep his knees from hitting the frame given the ultra-narrow pedal stance width.

English also builds the custom steel fork, although in this case it uses two blades unlike Obree's single-blade arrangement.

English also builds the custom steel fork, although in this case it uses two blades unlike Obree’s single-blade arrangement.

The fi'zi:k Ares saddle is mounted to a custom seatpost with an ultra-skinny shaft diameter.

The fi’zi:k Ares saddle is mounted to a custom seatpost with an ultra-skinny shaft diameter.

24 Feb 18:47

First Ascent of Mount Washington by Bike in Winter

America’s first and oldest manmade attraction, the Mount Washington Auto Road has never welcomed a two-wheeled vehicle in the middle of winter, until now. Professional cyclist Tim Johnson ascended 4,685 feet on an icy 14-percent grade slope in one-hour, forty-five minutes and 48 seconds (01:45:48) by utilizing the latest fat bike technology to push the limits of what is capable on a bicycle.

Watch the video below

When comparing a fat bike to your average road bicycle setup, the tire width is approximately four inches larger. Pair these oversized tires with carbide studs in the knobbies and you have a vehicle that can ride on unstable terrain, such as the icy, snowy and wind-blown Auto Road.

Mount Washington is famous for these dangerous wintry conditions and until recently held the world record for the highest recorded wind speed on land of 231 miles per hour.

© Brian Nevins/Red Bull Content Pool

A native New Englander, the six-time cyclocross national champion is known for raising awareness for bicycle advocacy through his work with PeopleForBikes.

Johnson's career started on the Auto Road, winning the Mount Washington Hill Climb in August of 2000 and 2001. Even in the summer, the 7.6-mile route challenges the most accomplished amateur and professional cyclists.

Check out the POV video below

Factoring in 49 mph wind gusts driving wind chill temperatures as low as -19°F and this climb becomes an even more challenging feat. “I feel like I was fighting being too hot in the beginning because the first pitch out of the parking lot is one of the steepest pitches of the entire climb. You go from standing still to immediately realizing that this is one of the hardest climbs in North America,” said Johnson.

© Brian Nevins/Red Bull Content Pool

“By the time I got up to the Hair Pin turn (6.5 miles, 5,700 feet), it was really windy, I had no traction and it was really tough to find anyway to keep moving forward. I couldn’t even stay upright.”

Reaching the summit, Johnson leaned over his bike and smiled. “Turning around and seeing what the White Mountains have to offer makes everything better. It’s amazing isn’t it?” The beginning of Tim’s cycling career was founded by riding anything, anywhere at anytime. More than a decade after his Mount Washington Hill Climb victory, Tim is still able to find firsts within his sport.

We caught up with Johnson to learn more — read below to hear what it took to reach the summit on his bicycle on February 2, 2016. Tell us more about your allure with Mount Washington.

Tim Johnson: For a kid that grew up in New England, Mount Washington is this almost mythical giant — but it’s really not that crazy, you learn when you start to travel. It’s 6,288 feet, so by numbers it’s really not that tall, but the way the weather works in that area makes it a really dangerous place.

How rare is it to access the top of Mount Washington?

You can’t ride a bike up there, unless it’s on one of the two annual, official race days — so we had special permission to ride up.

I guess I’ve never been afraid of being cold

Tim Johnson

What other vehicles can summit in winter?

We had a snowcat that summited and a van for the very beginning, for pavement support. And then logistically, we also had a few snowmobiles that were carrying some of the camera guys to the top.

What precautions did Mount Washington give you? 

One of the older, more-established Mount Washington site employees actually said to me, “I just want you to know that we require our snowmobiles to have carbide spikes — on the tracks and even skis — because when the wind is more than 55 mph, it can push lighter vehicles right off the road." And then he paused and said, "But, I understand you’re kind of a bad ass mountain biker, so it shouldn’t be a problem for you.” That made me think: “Oh, s#it, really — that can happen?"

What are your personal memories of the mountain?

So I had visited it as a kid, but when I began my bike racing career, on a mountain bike, the one road race I’d do every year was the Mount Washington Auto Road Hillclimb. It was open one day of the year for this one event — I started doing the event when I was 17 and was able to use it as a stepping stone to turn pro.

For a lot of people, a fat bike is a way to extend their riding season in the fall and winter

Tim Johnson

So where did the motivation to try and ride up it in the winter come from?

Being a cyclocross guy, fall and winter have always been my time to shine a little bit… I guess I’ve never been afraid of being cold, so the idea of this winter cycling challenge to get to the top of Mount Washington in the winter came up.

Tell us about the "fat bike" you chose.

For a lot of people, a fat bike is a way to extend their riding season in the fall and winter. I rode the Cannondale Fat Caad and made a few personal modifications — changing the handlebar, stem, seat post, seat, etc. I also used a pair of lighter carbon wheels.

What was your most anticipated challenge prior to departure?

Overall, the weather. Weather runs everything on Mount Washington. It’s held the world’s highest recorded windspeed of 231 mph and the day before I climbed up, the wind was 95-100 mph with 125 mph gusts...

You need to wear [micro spikes] on your boots so you don’t fly off the mountain

Tim Johnson

What was the biggest technical challenge once the ride began? 

Getting traction was a challenge. The snowfall this winter hasn’t been great, so a lot of what’s up there is dried-out ice — evaporated ice that gets rock hard.

How did you keep the bike moving forward on the ice?

The studs on the tires were key. I even had to stud my shoes. Stopping for a moment to readjust cameras or change clothes, you need studs on your feet. That actually became a problem for the crew documenting the climb...

How did the video crew come prepared for the icy conditions?

 One of the things said on a conference call prior to the project was: “Hey, we’ll have a bunch of micro spikes that attach to your feet — you need to wear these on your boots so you don’t fly off the mountain…” 

Mount Washington is steep and slow — for 30 years, the best run and bike times were almost the same

Tim Johnson

For cycling, how does Mount Washington in the east compare to a climb like the western U.S.'s Pikes Peak?

Pikes Peak is a two-hour bike ride when you’re going for it, so it's longer by twice the distance. But Mount Washington is steep and slow — for 30 years, the best run and bike times were almost the same. My best time riding up Mount Washington in fair weather is around 53 minutes.

What was your overall time on ice and snow?

I was anticipating a three-hour climb... But in the end, total elapsed time was one-hour and forty minutes with moving time of one-hour and thirty-three minutes.

What filled the non-moving moments?

Adjusting a camera once, took one urination break and I crashed a couple times! I was having a real hard time getting traction, on the front or the rear. When you don’t have a lot of weight on the studs, we found they don’t grip very well on this type of ice.

The night before, I had a moment where I just lost it, emotionally.

Tim Johnson

Tell us about the bike finesse needed — how sketchy was it, really?

It was a balancing act to make it up — at times, while trying to keep the back wheel engaged, the front wheel would sort of lighten up and if there were any sort of camber or slope to my path I would just sort of slide out. A few moments resulted in total goofball crashes that were just odd, slipping immediately to the ground.

Keeping your balance while pedaling your hardest must have been a challenge...

I used a power meter and it was interesting to review the data because you can’t push too hard. If I was doing 350-400 watts at the bottom, at the top I was barely doing 200 watts because I was sliding so much — you could barely turn the pedals.

Where did your head go during the grind up?

This was one of the few bike events that my dad, who passed away in 2008, used to attend. He went to one mountain bike race and a few cyclocross races, but he went to Mount Washington six of the times that I did it because he lived just an hour away. Growing up, my parents were divorced and I didn’t see my dad a ton. I kind of grew up in New Hampshire and in my adolescent years we totally battled and did not really spend any time together.

It really hit me a few days before that this was really [my dad's] mountain in my mind.

Tim Johnson

Did you expect such emotions to enter your headspace during the climb?

No, I didn’t expect it at all. But it made it more fun and more special. It really hit me a few days before that this was really his mountain in my mind. The night before, I had a moment where I just lost it, emotionally. I couldn’t really understand what was going on, but it hit me really hard during the ride itself. It was so much different that any race I’d done before where I was trying to beat someone, it was much more emotional trying to get up this frozen rock pile than it ever was going for a national championship or something… 

What was your personal goal with this project?

Getting the opportunity to do this is, first of all, fun. But it’s also challenging and creative in a sport that really is not [creative]. Cyclocross and road racing, by nature, are not creative — you’re simply trying to beat the hell out of yourself and, essentially, survive longer than the person you’re racing against. That’s it. It was really cool to experience this, and see it from a different angle than what a "bike ride” was all about for me for so many years...

24 Feb 18:45

Kim Walford: The Deadlift Queen

by Team Juggernaut

Kimberly Walford is a living legend in powerlifting. She is the 4x IPF Raw World Champion, has the best deadlift of all-time by Wilks of 242.5kg/535# at 68kg/151# bodyweight in the 72kg class, as well as World Record total in the 72kg class.

Kim stopped by JuggernautHQ recently to hang out with Chad and Marisa plus teach about the deadlift. Check it out:

Learn more about Kim in this interview:

Listen to the full interview with Kim:

The post Kim Walford: The Deadlift Queen appeared first on Juggernaut.

24 Feb 17:00

Training vs. Testing

by Kelsey

I really like the last couple pages of this.

feb 24 blog

It is now well known that when anyone who hasn’t exercised in a long period of time (or ever) does anything that their fitness will improve simply by having done anything. But, what this does not mean is that this anything is the answer for everyone’s fitness goals.

Since the early 2000’s CrossFit has been a juggernaut method of thinking about how to exercise. It has brought more to the fitness industry than what was created in the 50 years prior. Sure it has created much controversy, but in the same token, it has provided massive growth in our understanding of what “work” REALLY is. Historically work was always connected to running, track, and bike sprints.

When CrossFit proposed work could be:
• Running +
• Jump Rope +
• Dumbbell (db) Push Jerk +
• Pull Ups +
• DB Hang Squat Cleans
*Prepare yourself…we will dig into this more later in this post

…all of these movements are combined in 5 min where the commentary from the public looked like this:

• The old school Strength and Conditioning coaches called it “blasphemy”
• The exerciser thought it was awesome
• The new coach saw it as a business idea
• The athlete saw it as a challenge

I have sat in all of their shoes. But I had the belief that if it was done effectively that it was a powerful tool for people’s progress.


17 Feb 18:43

The *real* balance of power.

by Kyle


With all of the goings on in the political world this week, I thought it would be interesting to talk about power and pedaling balances in our athletes.
We are very topical here at FFC
When I first started bike racing as a young man we used funny leather shoes with clips and straps that really only served to hold our feet in place and somewhat aided in control and power; but mostly they made our toes fall asleep.  The struggle was real.  When Look came out with those fancy clip-less pedals in the 1980s, well then everyone started to want to pedal in perfect circles.  We didn't know why, we just knew that it was probably important.

Since then, bicycle mounted power meters have revolutionized the way we look at pedaling in circles and very recently, the advent of dual-sided power meters means we can really look at how a rider is pedaling, and whether or not adjustments or specialized training needs to be done.

Andrew in France
Towards the end of the racing season last year, Andrew raced in a major event in Plouay where he had a pretty decent day and noted how he was spinning well on the climbs and even was able to bridge to a late group to get a solid result.

If we were to look at the hardest 40 km of that race in something we call "The Zorro Chart" we can see how Andrew was applying power and if he was being smooth and efficient or not.
This busy scatter-gram shows some very important data to a coach and is great to review with the athlete.  Even though we all think we are pushing down the pedals on the front of the stroke and (hopefully) pulling up on the back side, there is still a chance that we are weighting the pedal with our feet and actually working against ourselves on every turn of the pedals.

This graph first shows the Gross Power Released (making the bike move forward) in red and blue and the Gross Power Absorbed (fighting the bike) in pink and green.  What is important to see is that the more watts that Andrew was averaging per second of application, the more efficient he was turning the pedals.  You can see how his GPA value stayed relatively flat along the bottom, but his GPR number climbed to the right as the overall power climbed as well.  This is fantastic and the sign of a true professional.

At the same time as all of this data, the Zorro Chart also shows the Kurtotic index in black and yellow.  This value is the ratio of the maximum pedal force and the average pedal force and basically shows us how smoothly Andrew turned his pedals.  What is obvious from that 40km effort is how he actually got smoother the harder he worked.  The punchy pedaling of lower efforts went away to smooth massive circles as he went harder.  

How can we be like Andrew?
Ever since we started working together, the one thing that Andrew has been really focused on has been his core strength and conditioning as well as overall muscles conditioning and hip flexor work.  One of the tools Andrew used in France was his TRX suspension straps, a favorite here at Finish Fast Cycling.  (Normal gym work is awesome as well, he just didn't have one in France.  Go figure.)
TRX suspension straps in use.  Love.  Them.
By using simple body weigh exercises and strengthening and conditioning the hamstrings and hip flexors, Andrew helps keep that "absorbed" number low and his pedaling efficiency sky high. Andrew also does a lot of Nordic skiing during the winter as part of his off season job coaching his local middle school developing ski team and that really helps too.  What a great guy.

When you mix in his high level of aerobic conditioning as well as his race effort training, Andrew developed a very good pedaling review.

Why do we want to be like Andrew?
I realize that a lot of my readers aren't D3 pros living in a sweet trailer in central Europe, so you probably want to know why this is important.  Well, if you are trying to get up a hill climb in a record time, or hammer for 9 gosh-awful hours on a gravel event or slog around the Rockies, then your efficiency and ability to pedal smoothly and effectively is just as important as any race, trust me.  That bike ain't gonna pedal itself.

Don't Forget the Bike Fit
We were just talking to one of our u23 women the other day about perceived differences in leg strength and the first step towards balancing out those two sides is making sure your bike is set up correctly.  You would have to be living under a rock if you didn't know that we take this very seriously.  If you are dropping your heal too much (or too little) then the Released Power will be one sided and you will not go as fast as you want.  Finish Fast Cycling will be stepping up our bike fit game later this Spring and Summer and hopefully all of you can take advantage of it.
Well, this was a little technical and long winded, but I promise next week to have more pictures of Julie and llamas as is the norm.  Thanks for reading.
Let's see if anyone scrolls this far.
10 Feb 20:58

Stevens on the UCI Hour Record: “It’s going to be one of the most painful hours of my life”

by Anne-Marije Rook
Fleche Wallone 2015 women

Just two weeks after Australian Bridie O’Donnell set a new women’s UCI world hour record, USA Cycling announced on Monday that American Evelyn Stevens will attempt to break the record on February 27th.

The 32-year-old Boels-Dolmans rider will take on the challenge in Colorado Springs in front of a live and online audience.

This will be the fourth attempt on the women’s world hour record since a modernisation of the rules in 2014. The first to beat Leontien Van Moorsel’s 12-year-old mark of 46.065 kilometres was American law professor Molly Shaffer van Houweling who made it to 46.274 kilometres before the clock ran out.  And just last month, O’Donnell added more than 600 metres to Van Houweling’s mark, rising the bar to 46.882 kilometres.

“Bridie [O’Donnell] set a really great target so it’s going to be hard,” Stevens told Ella CyclingTips. “It’s going to be one of the most painful hours of my life.”

But Stevens is no stranger to suffering. She’s a  two-time national time trial champion, three-time team time trial world champion, and a silver and bronze medalist in the individual time trial at the world championships. For her, the hour record attempt will ‘just’ be a very long, flat time trial.

So why the hour record?

“The challenge,” said Stevens. “I like the idea of a big goal. I have been racing now for a while and this is something different, a new challenge.”

It’s also a means to reach a new level of fitness and prepare for what has been called the biggest year in women’s cycling yet with Olympic glory, the inaugural Women’s WorldTour title and rainbow stripes all on the line.

Last year Stevens watched with intrigue as riding partner Rohan Dennis undertook his successful UCI Hour Record attempt and the season that followed. Then, after crossing the finish line at the UCI World Road Championships in Richmond, somewhat disappointed with her time trial results, she started thinking about what she could do to prepare for the big 2016 year.

“We first talked about it at the world championships in Richmond and looked at what we needed to do to get Evie on the Olympic team and be her best in Rio,” Neal Henderson, who coaches Stevens and Dennis, told Ella CyclingTips. “We respect the record, where it is and where it’s been but we’re also using this attempt as a training goal. [As with Dennis] we hope that by developing this fitness in the front end of season, we can carry that fitness as well as psychological aspect carry onto the road.”

“In Richmond I felt like I was lacking power on the flats. And I thought this would be a good way to work on it,” added Stevens. “I train with Rohan a fair amount, especially at the end of last summer. One of the things I noticed about Rohan is that he can go into a whole other level of effort and I think for me, I know that with the hour record I’m going to go to a level I’ve never been to be before in terms of pushing myself physically and mentally.”

Additionally, Stevens hopes to bring more publicity to women’s cycling and to inspire more women to take on this challenge.

“While attempting to break the UCI Hour Record is exciting for me and my career, I’m also proud to help shine a light on women’s cycling,” Stevens said. “The hour record is an exciting thing. I’d love to see more women coming out to do it and keep the momentum going.”

 Anna Solovey (Ukraine), Lisa Brennauer (Germany), Evelyn Stevens (USA) on the 2014 world championships ITT podium

Stevens (right) is a five-time world championship medalist


While they managed to keep the endeavor quiet, Henderson and Stevens have been preparing for this throughout the off-season.  Stevens said she’s been training  for the season ahead as usual but with a bit more time on the time trial bike. and an extra trip to Specialized’s wind tunnel to dial in her position. While not a track cyclist, Henderson revealed that Stevens has trained with the US track team every winter for the past four years to benefit from the high-power work and therefore is no stranger to the velodrome.

Additionally, she’s been spending a lot of time at the Polo Field track in San Francisco’s Golden Gate Park.

“It’s good because it’s 1000 meters, there are no cars and there is a dedicated fast lane when you need to do efforts.  I have clocked a lot of hours going around that bad boy,” she said.

Perhaps her biggest change to her regular raining has been the additional focus on her mental preparations.

“I think this hour will be very, very mental. Obviously there is a physical element to it but I think it’s going to come down to being mentally strong and prepped and ready to go into that place for an hour,” Stevens said.

Her mental training has involved a lot of  “floating”.

“I go to the Reboot Float Spa. It’s a sensation deprivation tank and you go in for 60 minutes. It’s good for recovery because it’s an Epsom salt bath and you just float, but for me it’s been a really nice way to work on visualisation and mental strengths and practicing what techniques might work for me while riding,” Stevens explained.  “I’m very aware that this is an important element to it so I’m trying to prepare as best as possible.”

Of course, as we learned from O’Donnell in the lead-up to her record-breaking ride, a lot of what goes into the hour record attempt takes place off the bike and is anything but a solo effort. It’s paperwork, finances, equipment and massive amounts of logistics. Luckily for Stevens however, she’s got the support of a professional team, sponsors and a very involved coach. And given that she’s been in the biological program since 2009, her lead time to prep for this event was shorter than that of Van Houwelingen and O’Donnell.

“Neal [Henderson] has been exceptionally helpful in doing this and USA Cycling has been really supportive. I’m also lucky to have Specialized and Boels-Dolmans. Every sponsor I have has been on board,” said Stevens. “It’s not simple and there is quite a process to go through but with anything, you have to go through the motions.”

Can she do it?

“I feel confident in my team, in my equipment and in my preparation. I’m confident in my process working towards it but there are a lot of variables going into it. I’m confident that I’m going to give it a really good try,” said Stevens, who did acknowledge the potential of failure.

“It’s terrifying. You could fail miserably at it,” she said. “But I think that’s kind of the beauty of it is, too. Anytime you do a bike race you can win or you can lose so there’s a similar idea to it. I have been focusing on it while knowing I also have a big season ahead so it’s kind of just one step along the way.”

Coach Henderson meanwhile believes that Stevens has what it takes to not only break O’Donnell’s newly set mark of 46.882 kilometres but perhaps even best the all-time distance record of 48.159 kilometres set by Jeannie Longo in 1996 using the now banned “Superman” position.

Stevens is ready to suffer.

Stevens is ready to suffer.

The venue

Sitting at 6,000 feet above sea level, the Colorado Springs Olympic Training Center Velodrome is at a significantly higher elevation than the previous attempts. February in Colorado is also significantly colder, and the velodrome’s dome only recently finished construction.

“Altitude is good for speed but I do have to adapt to it so I’ll head to Colorado pretty soon,” said Stevens. “Temperature-wise I’m crossing my fingers for beautiful, sunny Colorado days. The dome can be heated, of course, but at this point, we’re still figuring out the finer details on how to approach it and I think after the hour, there will be a lot of takeaways.”

The equipment

While both previous record-breaking rides were accomplished on a Cervélo T4 with Mavic disc wheels, Stevens will be riding a modified Specialized Shiv. Specialized tells us that the details regarding the aerodynamics, gearing and wheels will be released next week.

Follow it live

Be sure to tune in on February 27th to watch Stevens’ attempt live right here on Ella. Stevens’ start time is scheduled for 12 p.m. MST / 8 p.m. CET / 6 a.m. AEST

08 Feb 16:37

2016 Hansgrohe Superprestige Hoogstraten – Full Results and Brief Report

by Daniel Curtin Jr.

sharing for first instagram post embedded

Van der Poel celebrates with the Dutch flag in hand in his home country at Hoogerheide. © Thomas van Bracht / Cyclocross Magazine

HOOGSTRATEN, Belgium—Yesterday was the penultimate round of the Superprestige series. While there were smaller post-Worlds fields like at Saturdays finale of the Bpost Bank Trofee series, the racing was still fast and furious.

For the Elite Men, Dutch National Champion Mathieu van der Poel had a thrilling, spinning ride on his way to the victory. Trying to hop the barriers, van der Poel nearly came to grief, but was able to right himself with a 360 spin move reminiscent of an NBA dunk contest.

Behind van der Poel, World Champion Wout van Aert took second place with Tom Meeusen coming in a bit further down for third. Stephen Hyde was the only American in the race finishing 26th. Australian Garry Millburn was 32nd while Candain Mark McConnell was 33rd.

@nikkiharris86 in da corner #cyclocross #hoogstraten #superprestige A photo posted by Balint Hamvas (@cyclephotos) on

For the Elite Women, Belgian National Champion Sanne Cant edged out Sophie de Boer by 15 seconds followed by British national Champion Nikki Harris. For the Americans, Britlee Bowman was 17th and Corey Coogan Cisek was 25th. Harris’ countrywoman Helen Wyman was 7th and Australia’s Stacey Riedel was 30th.

Men’s U23 World Champion Eli Iserbyt righted affairs from the day prior and took the win in the Superprestige Hoogstraten. He was just clear of his countrymen Daan Soete and Quinten Hermans who finished second and third, respectively. Scot Smith was the only North American in the race and he finished in 23rd.

And Jens Dekker continued his winning ways in the Junior Men’s race. He’s won everything since World Cup Hoogerheide and the World Champion wasn’t going to be denied Sunday’s contest. He came in ahead of Belgian duo Florian Vermeersch and Seppe Rombouts.

Scroll through the slide show to see the full results from each race.

2016 Hansgrohe Superprestige Elite Men's Results

Pl Name Nationality Age Result
1 Mathieu VAN DER POEL NED 21 1:00:26
2 Wout VAN AERT BEL 22 1:00:43
3 Tom MEEUSEN BEL 28 1:01:20
4 Sven NYS BEL 40 1:01:48
5 Laurens SWEECK BEL 23 1:02:06
6 Toon AERTS BEL 23 1:02:23
7 Lars VAN DER HAAR NED 25 1:02:42
8 David VAN DER POEL NED 24 1:03:00
9 Klaas VANTORNOUT BEL 34 1:03:15
10 Jim AERNOUTS BEL 27 1:03:18
11 Kevin PAUWELS BEL 32 1:03:19
12 Radomir SIMUNEK CZE 33 1:03:19
13 Tim MERLIER BEL 24 1:03:24
14 Joeri ADAMS BEL 27 1:03:25
15 Gianni VERMEERSCH BEL 24 1:03:25
16 Vincent BAESTAENS BEL 27 1:04:13
17 Rob PEETERS BEL 31 1:04:20
18 Thijs VAN AMERONGEN NED 30 1:04:25
19 Corne VAN KESSEL NED 25 1:04:54
20 Jens VANDEKINDEREN BEL 23 1:05:02
21 Stan GODRIE NED 23 1:05:19
22 Michael BOROS CZE 24 1:05:23
23 Sven VANTHOURENHOUT BEL 35 1:05:35
24 Julien TARAMARCAZ SUI 29 1:05:37
25 Kenneth VAN COMPERNOLLE BEL 28 1:06:16
26 Stephen HYDE USA 29 1:06:43
28 Bart HOFMAN BEL 31  
29 Niels KOYEN BEL 25  
30 Kevin CANT BEL 28  
31 Hendrik SWEECK BEL 24  
32 Garry MILLBURN AUS 29  
33 Mark MCCONNELL CAN 28  
34 Nicolas LEBESQ FRA 35  

The post 2016 Hansgrohe Superprestige Hoogstraten – Full Results and Brief Report appeared first on Cyclocross Magazine - Cyclocross News, Races, Bikes, Photos, Videos.

05 Feb 20:20

Troubleshooting the Back Squat

by Yasha Kahn

Yasha writes for juggernaut now I guess

The back squat is one of the most important strength-training exercises. Weightlifters regularly use the back squat to build the muscles of the back, legs and hips.

Although it might seem like a simple exercise, most weightlifters don’t get as much out of the back squat as they could.

For me and the lifters I coach, there are several rules that have been effective in setting a proper squatting technique for weightlifting. In this post, I’ll talk about one rule that has been helpful in fixing my squat technique and understanding why my old squat technique wasn’t increasing my leg strength.  

Rule #1: The squat should be a squat, not a good morning.

For lifters with decent flexibility and mobility, the positions they hit on the descent of the squat are nearly always good. There is relatively little stress on the quads during the descent, so the body places itself in the proper, balanced position.

Problems arise on the squat up. An ideal squat is performed with the same trajectory on the squat up as on the squat down. On the way up, the knees shouldn’t go further forward than they went on the way down, and the hips shouldn’t go further back.
The high-bar back squat

good squat in boxes


Diagram 1 shows a stick figure squatting. The width of the rectangles around the stick figure in each position is the maximum amount of space used during the squat down. By remaining within the boundaries of the rectangle on the squat up, the stick figure keeps the correct squat positions.

For many lifters, the problem is that the body naturally tries to find the easiest way to squat by overusing muscles that are strong, while avoiding the use of weak muscles. This makes strong muscles stronger (to a point), and keeps weak muscles weak.

If a lifter’s back is strong but the legs are weak, the body will compensate by putting more of the responsibility of lifting the bar on the back, relieving the weak legs from having to do more work than they are capable. The squat becomes a hybrid between a good morning and a back squat, as demonstrated by the stick figures in the highlighted red boxes in the diagram below. The hips and head extend beyond the rectangle, placing more stress on the back, because of it’s exaggerated horizontal angle.

The good-morning back squat

bad squat in red boxes

Most good-morning squatters believe that they’re doing a back squat that will make their weak legs stronger. Instead, their legs aren’t being stressed in this form of a squat, and thus won’t grow.

If you want to increase the olympic lifts, leg strength is mandatory. Be honest with yourself – when you squat, do you feel your quads working? Or are you feeling an all-around hip/back discomfort and not much strain on the legs? If it’s the latter, then your weak legs aren’t getting any stronger, while your overdeveloped hips and back are continuing to overwork.

Fixing this problem and developing strong legs and a good squat is actually pretty simple. First, a lifter needs to feel the right positions of a back squat. To do so:


  1. Take an empty bar and find a wall you can stand against.
  2. Face away from the wall. Stand close enough to the wall so that when squatting, the butt brushes up against the wall, but not so hard that the body gets pushed forward.
  3. Do a couple sets of squats in this position. If the hips are hitting the wall and you are pushed forward, concentrate on spreading the knees wider.

The wall will keep the hips from going back further than they were on the decent, and the body will be set in the position where the legs are forced to work as they should in a proper squat. Most good-morning squatters will feel their legs working more in this position with an empty bar than when they do heavy good-morning squats.

Once you’ve identified the muscles that should be working, try to squat with light weights (30-40% of maximum) for several sets without the wall. When doing so, ask someone to watch you to make sure the positions look correct. Imagine you are in a box like the stick figures and make sure you never leave this box when you’re squatting. Or, have someone stand behind you and block your hips from moving back further than they were during the descent.


It’s important to note that back squats don’t have to be absolutely perfect to make the legs work, but the closer a lifter is to staying within the rectangle, the more their legs will be forced to work. On ‘The Back-Squat-to-Good-Morning Scale’ below, the leftmost stick figure is the ideal. The second-to-left leftmost stick figures is allowable, hence it is still in the green. A back squat should never be ½ good morning.

good morning scale with colors

When switching technique in any lift, the weights should be light at first. The muscles with the biggest potential for growth will get stressed and grow quickly. Within 1-2 months, you should be back to squatting your old good-morning squat maximums, but with good form.

Some squatting.

The post Troubleshooting the Back Squat appeared first on Juggernaut.

04 Feb 20:20

Road to Rio: Why Shane Perkins is using CrossFit to train for the Olympics

by Wade Wallace
shane perkins crossfit

WOD, AMRAP, Fran, HSPU, EMOM, Rx … it’s all CrossFit lingo, akin to cycling jargon like w/kg, full-gas, hors catégorie, KOM, bonk, and so on.

If you think it sounds a little strange, it is. Perhaps just as strange as the cycling subculture that we’re all a part of.

But there’s no doubt about it: CrossFit is polarising. It has its own culture and the people who do it can be fanatical about it. If you don’t know anything about it, you’ll be forgiven for thinking it’s one of the strangest ‘sports’ on earth.

So why is track sprint cyclist and Olympic hopeful Shane Perkins using CrossFit for his build up to Rio?

After not renewing with the AIS (Australian Institute of Sport), Perkins has had to find his own structure and training routine. After his wife Kristine Bayley (former professional sprint cyclist) began CrossFit, he was intrigued when he saw how much she enjoyed it.

“When I had the chance to have a little time off [from cycling] I thought I’d jump in and do some classes with her,” Perkins told CyclingTips. “That’s when the bug of CrossFit started for me. I couldn’t get away from it.”

CrossFit is a strength and conditioning program that aims to develop a broad base of fitness. High intensity, varied workouts with a focus on functional movements is the goal, rather than highly specific exercises like cyclists are accustomed to. It involves a combination of Olympic lifts, basic gymnastics, high intensity cardio. It’s done in groups and includes both an individual element, and sometimes an element of competition with your peers.

When asked what he likes so much about CrossFit, Shane said: “The biggest difference for me is the community. Everyone pushes you, sometimes people jump in and train with you. It makes it that much more fun.

“There’s lots of lactic training in the gym, which I’ve never really done before. Most of the stuff I’ve done is more of the power lifting and heavy lifting sort of stuff. It’s opened up a whole new avenue for me. It makes the bike riding the easy part.

“There’s no one set path with CrossFit. There’s so many different elements to it. One of those things is the gymnastics – I’ve never experienced any of that in my whole life. It’s something I’ve never done before so it’s really refreshing to me to be able to do it, because I’ve been riding for such a long time it’s inevitable that things at some point are going to go a bit stale.

“The CrossFit for me has become an integral part because I’ve seen what it can do for my training. I kind of feel like my eyes were closed a little bit”

01 Feb 19:38

Daily News Digest

by Matt de Neef
8.45am: Louis Vervaeke (BEL/Lotto-Soudal) up the Puig De Randa before breakfast

Team Lotto-Soudal 2016 pre-season training camp

Mallorca, december 2015

In this morning’s edition of the CyclingTips Daily News Digest: Additional surgery required for Degenkolb after Giant-Alpecin training crash; Adriano Malori out of his coma in Argentina; Peter Sagan previews Olympics course, Rio only one goal in a big season; Quintana – ‘We continue dreaming of the yellow jersey’; Teams announced for first-ever Women’s WorldTour event, Strade Bianche; Unibet to replace Rabobank as Dutch cycling sponsor?; Cyclocross world championships preview – Why a 21-year-old will wear the rainbow jersey; Training tips from Jens Voigt; Fabian Cancellara’s junior worlds ITT throwback; Jail time for driver who swerved towards cyclists; Michele Scarponi gets another visit from Frankie.

Additional surgery required for Degenkolb after Giant-Alpecin training crash

by Shane Stokes

Milan-San Remo and Paris-Roubaix winner John Degenkolb has returned to Germany after being hit by a car last Saturday, with his Giant-Alpecin team confirming that he will undergo additional surgery as a result of the accident.

trainingstage Team Giant - Alpecin dag 3

“John’s left index finger was damaged in the accident and he will have additional surgery in Germany,” stated team physician Anko Boelens on Wednesday. Boelens added that it is currently impossible to say when Degenkolb will be back in action.

“As a professional athlete, he needs the functionality back in his finger, and the recovery time for that is extremely difficult to predict.”

The surgeon who treated him in Spain stated this week that the rider would be out at least three months, meaning he will miss the defence of his San Remo and Roubaix titles.

Chad Haga, meanwhile, won’t require surgery on an eye socket fracture after all.

Click through to read more at CyclingTips.

Adriano Malori out of his coma in Argentina

The Movistar team reports that Italian rider Adriano Malori is out of his medically induced coma after crashing heavily at the Tour de San Luis last week.

Movistar doctor Jesús Hoyos told VeloNews that Malori has been out of sedation for two days now and is “conscious and lucid.”

The team had its presentation yesterday but did so with without Malori.

“We present the team without Adriano today,” team manager Eusebio Unzué told La Gazzetta dello Sport. “He should be here with us and the most important thing is that he returns to the peloton as soon as possible. That’s our main wish for this 2016.”

Click through to read more at VeloNews.

Peter Sagan previews Olympics course, Rio only one goal in a big season

Having just finished the Tour de San Luis in Argentina, world champion Peter Sagan (Tinkoff) headed to Rio de Janeiro, Brazil to take a look at the road race course that will be used in this year’s Olympics.

Sagan has played down his chances of winning the road race, saying the course is probably too hilly for him. Regardless, the Olympics is just one of Sagan’s goals for this year.

“2016 is not only about the Olympic Games for me because I have three parts of the season: The Classics, the Tour de France and if I’m good I will see about Rio, and then the World Championships,” Sagan said.

“The Classics are the big goals for me. Flanders, Milan-San Remo and Roubaix. These three are my goals,” Sagan said. Responding to a question about whether he felt under pressure to take a long-awaited Classics win, he said:

“We’ll see if I can win one. I’ve been racing for seven seasons but for now I’ve never won, even if very many people want me to. I’m still trying but it’s been hard for six years.”

Click through to read more at Cyclingnews.

Quintana: ‘We continue dreaming of the yellow jersey’

Chris Froome (Sky) might be going for his third Tour de France victory this year, but he certainly won’t do it easily if Nairo Quintana (Movistar) has anything to say. After Froome opened an early lead in last year’s race, Quintana closed the gap, taking it to Froome right up until the last stage. This year Quintana hopes to go one step higher on the podium than second.

“We continue dreaming of the yellow jersey,” Quintana said at the Movistar team launch. “We are concentrating on the Tour, which is what we have the greatest hopes for and have dreamed of for so long.

“Then there are secondary objectives like the Olympics and to try again at the Vuelta a Espana.”

Quintana shared leadership duties with Alejandro Valverde at last year’s Tour de France but with Valverde riding his first Giro d’Italia this year, Quintana is likely to be the sole leader at the Tour.

Click through to read more at VeloNews.

Teams announced for first-ever Women’s WorldTour event, Strade Bianche

by Anne-Marije Rook

The first ever UCI Women’s WorldTour calendar gets underway on March 5 with the second edition of the women’s Strade Bianche in Siena, Italy. Race organisers yesterday announced which teams will be at the start line for this iconic ‘white roads’ race.

Under the new UCI Women’s World Tour regulations, only the top 15 ranking UCI teams will receive an automatic invite to one-day races. Additionally, organisers are allowed to extend several ‘wild card’ invites to teams of their choosing.

Unsurprisingly, for the iconic Italian event, the wild card invites all went to Italian teams. The invited teams are:

Wiggle High5, Rabo Liv, Boels-Dolmans, Canyon-SRAM, Cervelo Bigla, Orica Ais, Hitec Products, Cylance, Tibco–Silicon Valley Bank, Liv-Plantur, Poitou-Charentes.Futuroscope.86, Btc City Ljubljana, Bepink, Astana, Alè Cipollini, Lotto Soudal, Parkhotel Valkenburg, Lensworld-Zannata, Servetto Footon, Inpa – Bianchi, S.C. Michela Fanini, Aromitalia Vaiano and Top Girls Fassa Bortolo.

Click through to read more at Ella CyclingTips.

Unibet to replace Rabobank as Dutch cycling sponsor?

Late last year it was revealed that after 20 years sponsoring Dutch cycling, Rabobank would be pulling out of the sport. But the news isn’t all bad — online betting company Unibet appears set to fill that gap.

Unibet already has a history with cycling, having sponsored a team roughly a decade ago.

Unibet will reportedly take over as main sponsor of KNWU, Dutch cycling’s governing body, in a deal worth €7 million over four years, starting in 2017. There’s one small hurdle at this stage though: Unibet doesn’t yet have a license to operate in the Netherlands.

The Dutch government is reportedly in the process of finalising legislation that would allow licenses for commercial online betting companies.

Click through to

Cyclocross world championships preview: Why a 21-year-old will wear the rainbow jersey

by Neal Rogers

The Cyclocross World Championships are on in Belgium this weekend and, as Neal Rogers writes, there’s every chance the winner of the elite men’s race will be a 21-year-old: Mathieu van der Poel or Wout van Aert. Here’s an excerpt from Neal’s preview of the race:

Mathieu Van der Poel, Wout van Aert

Together, the two riders have ushered in a new era for cyclocross fans, one marked not only by a generational passing of the torch, but also by a rivalry that could last a decade, or longer.

Both men have dominated the 2015-16 cyclocross season in their own way. Van Aert (Crelan-Vastgoedservice) was the early frontrunner, seemingly winning without opposition in September and October while van der Poel (BKCP-Corendon) was absent, nursing a knee injury that had required surgery.

By early January, van Aert had 14 victories and led all three major cyclocross series: Superprestige, BPost Bank Trophy, and the UCI World Cup. In most scenarios, that might be a career-defining season. Over the past six weeks, however, the world champion has been in a league of his own, winning four consecutive World Cups, often by large margins.

Click through to read more at CyclingTips.

Training tips from Jens Voigt

Jens Voigt has been absolutely everywhere since he retired from the sport in late 2014: in commentary roles, at VIP appearances, organising Gran Fondos — you name it. In his latest appearance, ‘The Jensie’ spoke with Cycling Weekly to provide some very useful training advice. Here’s an excerpt:

Endurance alone isn’t enough

“In the early days, in East Germany, most of my training was long and slow. I could ride Paris-Moscow at 41.5km/h, but when I turned professional I realised that races aren’t decided at that speed; they are decided in the crucial five or 10 minutes of max effort — when I needed to be stronger.”

Train specifically for the hardest parts of the race

“I cut down the volume of training and did more quality, less quantity. I already had endurance; I didn’t need any more. What I needed was to train for the crucial part of the race.

“I did 10 minutes and one kilometre maximal efforts to replicate jumping after a breakaway or trying to create a break. I’d ride five times a four- or five-minute circuit early in the season — then later 10 times — at close to my maximum effort.”

Click through to read more at Cycling Weekly.

Fabian Cancellara’s junior world ITT throwback

Swiss powerhouse Fabian Cancellara is barely recognisable in this photo of him as junior world time trial champion:

Almost 17 years ago that this is happen. #worldchampion #Junior #TT

A photo posted by Fabian Cancellara (@fabian_cancellara) on

Jail time for driver who swerved towards cyclists

A UK cyclist has been sentence to 2.5 years in jail after deliberately swerving towards cyclists in an attempt to scare them or run them off the road.

In addition to the cyclist involved in the above incident, two other cyclists recorded similar complaints.

The driver claimed he was swerving to avoid potholes, but was found guilty of two of the three incidents.

“I was in full control of the car. I do not agree it was dangerous, slightly careless,” the driver told the court after footage of the incident was shown to the jury. “I can remember swerving towards a cyclist to miss the pothole. I have got no reason… I am a cyclist myself,” he added, according to the Western Daily Press.

Click through to read more at the Sticky Bottle website.

Michele Scarponi gets another visit from Frankie

You might remember a video from late last year of Astana rider Michele Scarponi riding with Frankie the macaw. Well, Frankie and Michele have been reunited.

Apparently Frankie is something of a local celebrity, having made the news when she went missing a couple years back.

What You Missed

And finally this morning, here are a few things you might have missed at CyclingTips in the past few days:


The CyclingTips Daily News Digest features the most important and interesting news and content from around the cycling world, published every weekday morning at 9am AEST. Get it delivered straight to your inbox.

Today’s feature image comes from Kristof Ramon and shows Louis Vervaeke (Lotto Soudal) riding up the Puig De Randa in Majorca before breakfast at a team training camp in December 2015.
12 Jan 15:46

2015 CrossFit Moto Tour, Presented by Triumph

by Jordan Gravatt

not gonna watch but crossfitXtriumph moto

In this video, CrossFit Games veterans Rich Froning, Dan Bailey, James Hobart and Josh Bridges join Director of the CrossFit Games Dave Castro and X Games gold medalist Lance Coury for an epic ride from Placentia, California, to Las Vegas, Nevada.

The journey leads the six riders through six states in six days, with four of them on motorcycles supplied by Triumph. Along the way, they cover 2,260 miles of open highway and dirt roads.

Following Castro’s ambitious schedule, they rise at 6 a.m., ride a few hundred miles, stop to work out at an affiliate or two and then set up a campsite for the night. The timeframe for the trip is tight, but they still manage to mingle and sweat with members of the CrossFit community at 10 different affiliates across California, Arizona, New Mexico, Colorado, Utah and Nevada. At every box, athletes of all ages line up to take photos with the riders.

The trip is grueling—even for seasoned CrossFit Games athletes who are familiar with tough challenges. Hobart jokes about the name of their tour: “It doesn’t say CrossFit Moto Fun Tour. It says CrossFit Moto Grind Your Ass Into Nothingness, Get up Every Day at 6 a.m. Tour.”

Most of the riders make it the full distance, riding in sunshine or rain and sleeping under the stars. They practice wheelies, cook over campfires and manage to break a drone before the adventure is over.

“It’s good,” says Castro. “We’re putting in strong days, we’re getting some workouts in, long days on the bike, epic riding. I’m enjoying the shit out of it.”

Video by Jordan Gravatt.

38min 19sec

Additional reading: “‘Snatch a Dumbbell? Madness!’” by Pat Sherwood, published Nov. 25, 2013.

04 Jan 18:16

Letter from the US Editor in Chief: I know who you are

by Neal Rogers

cycling tips now has sport science contributor. will share as necessary

Neal Rogers, congratulating 2014 USA Pro Challenge winner Tejay van Garderen. Photo: Oran Kelly.

Greetings, CyclingTips reader.

I’m on to you. I know who you are.

That is to say, I can relate to you. I understand what motivates you to come to this site, to pore through story upon story and photo after photo, devouring whatever new content you can, whenever you can.

I know this because, I, too, am a CyclingTips reader. I’m one of you, and have been for some time.

As the former Editor in Chief at VeloNews, CyclingTips is a site that’s been on my radar for years. In fact, several key moves CyclingTips publisher Wade Wallace has made — hiring Shane Stokes, launching Ella, putting on events (such as the Giro della Donna Gran Fondo) — were ideas that we’d discussed internally, but were unable to execute.

Over the years, my admiration for the brand has only grown. Which is why I’m thrilled to be joining the editorial team, as U.S. Editor in Chief.

A few things about me…

I ride road, mountain, and cyclocross, and appreciate them all equally. I’ve been fortunate enough to cross finish lines at wide-ranging events like L’Etape du Tour, L’Eroica, Leadville 100, and BC Bike Race.

I started out in writing at the University of California, Santa Cruz, initially as a music journalist. Two of my favorite writers are Raymond Carver and Chuck Klosterman. Carver briefly taught at UCSC, though well before my time. It was in Santa Cruz, on singletrack in the redwood forest, that I first fell in love with cycling.

I’ve won exactly one bike race, ever — a local time trial. I found out I’d won after I got home, via an automated email. So no, I’ve never stood upon the top step of a podium. Most races I enter, no matter the discipline or category, I seem to end up smack dab in the middle of the results sheet. I should have a top tube decal that reads “X Bar.”

I worked for three months as a bike messenger in San Francisco during the first dot-com boom. It rained a lot, and I was sometimes asked to enter buildings through the back alley, or to take the freight elevator. Three months was enough.

I’ve covered nearly every major event in professional cycling — the Tour de France, the Giro d’Italia, the spring classics, and the 2012 Olympic Games, in London. I’ve also attended UCI world championships for road, track, mountain, and cyclocross.

I’ve worn many hats in journalism, but I’m never happier than when writing. I’m proud to bring my 20 years of experience in cycling to the most exciting and appealing media brand in the sport. If I have a mandate in this new position, it’s simply to create (and curate) relevant, interesting stories about bike riding and racing, across all disciplines, ages, or genders. It’s not complicated — a good story is a good story, and there are countless to be told in this sport that we love.

My primary objective will be to increase readership, and brand exposure, in the United States, working in tandem with our established editorial teams in Australia and Europe. I’ll be managing a team in Boulder, Colorado, steering editorial content across all facets of cycling — racing, training, travel, technology, adventure, lifestyle — you name it. We’ve already made a key hire, bringing in James Huang, from Bike Radar, as U.S. Tech Editor.

I’ve also recruited several American contributors to share their views from inside the sport, including pro riders Alex Howes (Cannondale) and Tanner Putt (UnitedHealthcare), as well as BMC Racing Sport Scientist Neal Henderson, who advises Taylor Phinney and Rohan Dennis, among others.

All this said, this is just a starting point — I’m just clipping in. And just like a group ride, it’s a journey we’ll take together, so please don’t hesitate to reach out and let me know what sort of content you’re most interested in, particularly as it relates to North American cycling. All ideas are welcome. I can be reached on Twitter and Facebook, as well as via email.

Enough of all that, let’s hit the road. I, for one, and am looking forward to the ride.

23 Dec 15:44

The best of Kristof Ramon: season 2015 in 17 photos

by Kristof Ramon

cuz bikes are (mostly) pretty

Johan Esteban Chaves (COL/Orica-GreenEDGE) enjoying the team victory with a champaign shower on the podium

finish podium of stage 1: San Lorenzo Al Mare - San remo (TTT/17.6km)

We’re in the privileged position here at CyclingTips to be able to work with some of the very best cycling photographers in the world. Among them is the affable Belgian, Kristof Ramon.

We asked Kristof to go through the many photos he took throughout the 2015 season and pick out a small selection of his favourites to share with us. In addition to the photos you see below, Kristof has also provided a behind the scenes explanation of each image and why it stood out to him.



Gent-Wevelgem: the storm classic

During the 2015 season I worked closely with Orica-GreenEdge on several races. When you share hotels, meals and transport with a team you get to know many of the riders and you obviously care more about what happens to them during the races.

Gent-Wevelgem had been pretty hard thanks to fierce winds but it wasn’t until we turned into the infamous Moeren flatlands that the mayhem began. I was directly behind the peloton when chaos erupted and I saw several riders (and their bikes) flying into the freezing canal directly next to the road.

When I got to the crash site I saw Luke Durbridge climb out of the canal and watch the sense of panic hit him. I stuck with him and as he got all the way up, he crawled into a tuck. The situation was overwhelming and I asked if I could help him. Luke shook his head then buried it in his hands.

He had to abandon the race at this point but was back on the bike the next day.


Kramon_GW2015 6622 - Version 3

Shooting from the hip at Paris-Roubaix

Paris-Roubaix is usually the first sunny Classic (in the past few years at least). That means dust and cobbles!

I love the action/composition in this pic — it’s a fine result with my ‘shoot from the hip’ technique where I simply aim my camera without looking through the viewfinder.

Kramon_Roubaix2015 10383 - Version 2

Wiggo’s last race in Sky colours

Paris-Roubaix 2015: Bradley Wiggins’ very last race as a member of Team Sky. This post-race face is the last one I took of him this season (back in April).

Kramon_Roubaix2015 10155 - Version 2

Late-night workers

The unsung heroes of pro cycling are the mechanics. Orica-GreenEdge’s mechanics are seen here prepping the bikes one last time during the Giro d’Italia, the night before the last stage into Milano. Travelling with teams allows you to catch these moments you would otherwise miss.

I simply shot this scene from my hotel room balcony and remember being very happy with the light.

Team Orica-GreenEDGE mechanics at work after stage 20 of the 2015 Giro

Colle delle Finestre

This was the place to be in the 2015 season: the dirt roads of the Colle delle Finestre on stage 20 of the Giro. This shot reminds me of those classic cycling shots of the 1930s-50s where gravel roads were more common than they are now.

Kramon_Giro2015_st20 20473 - Version 3

Three times pink at Orica-GreenEdge

Orica-GreenEdge succeeded in putting three Australian riders in the pink jersey in the first week of the 2015 Giro: Simon Gerrans, Michael Matthews and Simon Clarke. A great achievement by the Australian team.

As I was travelling with the team during that amazing week I suggested we should really capture those three historic pink jerseys together one morning. So just before we left the hotel heading to yet another stage start we organised this hasty but fun shoot. Whenever I work with my ‘big’ flash set-up, I can’t resist doing a jump-shot …

Kramon_Giro2015_St5 17550 - Version 2 (1)

Among giants

I got to know Johan Esteban Chaves pretty well during my stay with Orica-GreenEdge. We had this ongoing joke through the season where I dared him not to smile in any of the pics I took of him (he is, after all, the ‘eversmiling little Colombian’).

At the start of stage 4 of the Giro he was in the white jersey and I simply nodded to him, suggesting he should look up to his right. He immediately understood the joke and happily played along. I love the resulting pic of the young champion next to the ‘giant’ hostess on the start line.

Kramon_Giro2015_St4 16905 - Version 2

Pre-race preparation

Another OGE rider I came across regularly this season was Michael Matthews. This photo of him polishing his shoes was taken in the back of the team bus the morning after he won a stage of the Giro wearing the maglia rosa. I love covering these intimate prep moments just before the stage start.

Kramon_Giro2015_St4 16808 - Version 2

Reservoir Dogs

I was waiting for the teams to come out of the casino after the Giro presentation. They all had to cross the streets of San Remo to get back to the team buses and when Team Sky came along all of a sudden the opening sequence of the Quentin Tarantino film Reservoir Dogs was recreated right in front of me.

I snapped away and one shot really caught that movie-poster atmosphere. Reservoir Dogs was one of my absolute favourites when I was attending film school back in 1992. I must have seen it at least three times back then.

Kramon_Giro2015_TeamPresentation 14698 - Version 2

Going deep

After finishing the opening stage time trial at the Ster ZLM Toer, Marcel Kittel drops to the ground — he went very deep into his reserves to pull off a good prologue. It was his return to competition after a very long period away from racing and he was trying to get in shape for the Tour de France just three weeks later.

It is not uncommon for riders to go this deep, but Kittel needed such a long time to recuperate from this effort that it was clear he still had a very long way to go. He finished that stage 13th, 12 seconds behind the stage winner. He would not make the Tour de France cut …

Kramon_SterZLM2015_st1  22870 - Version 2

Going deeper

The 2015 Tour de France, stage 13. Bryan Coquard drops unconscious for a little while right in front of me after finishing and needing assistance. Racing in the 36°C heat all day takes its toll …

Kramon_TdF15_st13_DSC1363 - Version 3

The post-race rub-down

This photo shows Michael Matthews being treated by team osteopath Andrew Gerrans (Simon’s brother) during the second rest day of the 2015 Tour de France. Matthews had high hopes for this Tour but crashed heavily (as did many others) on stage 3 to Huy. He kept racing with severe bruising to his ribs that left him in agony and made it very difficult to breathe.

Kramon_TdF15_restday2_Orica_DSC1969 - Version 2

Schaal Sels: a race reborn

The award for most chaotic race of the year would surely go to Schaal Sels in Belgium. After a long history (89 editions since 1921) the Schaal Sels (or ‘Sels Cup’ in English) race was close to collapsing as a result of low interest from teams and the media. So the organisers drastically changed the course this year and introduced 30km of cobbles and 19km of ‘gravel’ roads … which turned into mud overnight as it rained heavily the day before the race.

What followed was bike crashes, moto crashes, stuck official cars, strikes (by police and then riders), neutralisations, panic, cornfield crossings … and in the end everybody wanted to do it again! It was truly memorable.

dustrider Aaron Gate (NZL/An Post-Chain Reaction) 90th Schaal Sels 2015

Sandpaper saddles and shredded chamois

Every year I somehow manage to create an image that gets spread far and wide. This pic was the 2015 version. It shows Tony Martin’s behind after he finished his (dissapointing) ITT at the World Championships in Richmond, USA. As soon as I posted it on Instagram, it was copied worldwide and illegally used in many newspapers, magazines and websites. It’s probably my most published photo ever, without me benefiting from it …

Somehow I was the only one who noticed the state of his bibs as I saw no other similar pictures popping up after this. As for the photo itself, I shot it in the two-second window I was able to get. The ‘Virginia is for lovers’ somehow balances it all nicely.


Flying through the shadows

I kept coming back to this bridge-like structure when shooting around the course in Richmond. I loved the urban/industrial feel of it. Early in the TTT the sun made these great shadows and I loved this shot of the Hincapie Cycling Team instantly.

Kramon_UCIworldsRichmond2015_EliteMenTTT_DSC6602 - Version 3

Sagan’s smile

At the Worlds finish line in Richmond the UCI was very strict on where we could (not!) stand. I wanted to stand somewhere else. I started walking towards the finish line very late (with no intention of actually getting there) and halted halfway through the line and the exit-route for the riders, hoping that the winner would stop somewhere there once he crossed the finish.

Lo and behold: Peter Sagan stopped exactly where I was standing and he threw the biggest victory show one could wish for, right in front of me. But it was this portrait-like pic of that moment I like the most. Pure joy!

Kramon_Richmond2015_UCIworlds_EliteMen_DSC5491 - Version 2

If you want to see more of Kristof’s photos and find out about how he goes about his job, check out this great behind-the-scenes piece from this year’s Fleche Wallonne and this collection of photo galleries.
18 Dec 16:10

Canyon//SRAM reveal striking new bikes and kit

by cyclingtips

OMG SOOOOOOO GOOOOOOOOD. Is Spec/Lulu>Velocio/Sram>Canyon/Sram (but wearing Rapha) keeping awesome looking alive.

Elina Cecchini models the new CANYON//SRAM Racing kit
Copyright: Canyon Bicycles // Tino Pohlmann

CANYON//SRAM Racing launched in November to take the lead in the inaugural UCI Women’s WorldTour. Bringing together the best riders to compete with some of the best equipment available, the team is now proud to reveal a bold and dynamic design to match its high ambitions.

CANYON//SRAM Racing chose Mallorca for their first team training camp

CANYON//SRAM Racing chose Mallorca for their first team training camp

The team will be using Canyon Ultimate WMN CF SLX bikes which claims to deliver a combination of lightness, stiffness, comfort and aerodynamic performance. Kitted out with SRAM’s eTap groupset and a selection of Zipp wheels, CANYON//SRAM Racing riders will be racing some of the best and most stylish equipment on the market.

The team’s Canyon Ultimate WMN CF SLX are equipped with SRAM Red eTap groupsets and Zipp wheels

The team’s Canyon Ultimate WMN CF SLX are equipped with SRAM Red eTap groupsets and Zipp wheels

Tiffany Cromwell will be the first rider to debut the new CANYON//SRAM Racing kit as she competes throughout the Australian summer over the coming weeks in preparation for the 2016 Australian National Championships.

Tiffany Cromwell will be the first rider to compete in CANYON//SRAM Racing colours

Tiffany Cromwell will be the first rider to compete in CANYON//SRAM Racing colours

CANYON//SRAM Racing 2016 Team Line-up: Alena Amialiusik (BLR), Hannah Barnes (GBR), Lisa Brennauer (GER), Elena Cecchini (ITA), Tiffany Cromwell (AUS), Barbara Guarischi (ITA), Mieke Kröger (GER), Alexis Ryan (USA), Trixi Worrack (GER)

11 Dec 19:55

Holiday reads: women’s cycling books to enjoy by the fire or on the beach

by Anne-Marije Rook

buncha bike books by ladies

Whether you’re escaping the wintery cold or headed to beach, Christmas is a perfect time to snuggle up with a book and books make great gifts! Here are some (women’s) cycling books to consider.

I love a good book but I can never find time to read, and the pile of books on my nightstand continues to grow. I’m halfway through at least half a dozen books and if it weren’t for audiobooks, I doubt I would have finished any books at all.

So one of things I look forward to over the holidays every year is being able to read. I love curling up next to the fire with a book and a cup of coffee.

Whether you’re escaping the wintery cold or headed to beach, here are some (women’s) cycling books to add to your holiday reading list.

Pro tip: books make great gifts, too!


Ride the Revolution edited by  Suze Clemitson 

ride the revolution

Published only a few months ago, Ride the Revolution is a collection of the best new writing on cycling from women involved in the sport at all levels – as fans, key personnel, riders, photographers, journalists and presenters.

Featuring Marianne Vos, Connie Carpenter, Tracey Gaudry and many more,  this collection of stories celebrates the glorious, sometimes murky, often bizarre and frequently hilarious world of cycling in all its soapy operatic glory – from the professional sport to the club run, on the roadside and in the saddle, behind the scenes and on the massage table.

These fresh and vibrant voices examine the sport from a new perspective to provide insights that rarely make it into the mainstream – what is it like to be a top women rider or work in their support team? Where is the women’s sport heading and when will more women be represented at the highest level of sport’s governance? And how do you get out and ride your bike when the news is full of stories of cyclists dying and you can’t get clothing that fits?

Op de Troon  by Marianne Vos and Rick Booltink 

Boek-Marianne-VosOp de Troon is an incredibly insightful look behind the scenes of Marianne Vos’ golden year – 2012.

The book’s author, Rick Booltink, followed the multi-world champion and her family throughout 2012, which saw a record amount of victories including a World title and gold Olympic medal.

Every race Vos competed in seemed to result in gold but not all was rose-colored in Vos’ world. In this book, Vos opened up about her struggles with weight, overcoming shyness and doubt.

It’s a great book BUT unfortunately, it has yet to be translated in English and is only available in Dutch…

The Breakaway  by Nicole Cooke

breakaway nicole cookeA multiple times national, Commonwealth, Olympic and World champion, Nicole Cooke is often celebrated as one of cycling’s greatest female athletes.  A true trail blazer for women in cycling, Cooke was the first cyclist to win the Olympic and World Championships road race in the same year but her biggest fights were perhaps off the bike.

In this autobiography, Cooke revisits her journey, her successes and failures, her quest for equality and the many hurdles she had to overcome in the beautiful yet male-dominated sport of cycling. It’s no fairytale but it is an honest, inspiring read.

Between the Lines by Victoria Pendleton and Donald McRae

Between the Lines Victoria PendletonBritain’s queen of track cycling, Victoria Pendleton, penned this autobiography with the help of author Donald McRae in the lead-up to the London Olympics. In it, Pendleton talks in honest detail about what drove her to compete in a sport she no longer loves.

Now retired, Pendleton won the hearts of Britain when, in 2005, she became first British female to win a gold medal at the cycling World Championships in 40 years. She then continued on to win gold medals at the Commonwealth Games, another World Championship and the Beijing Olympics in 2008.

She seemed unstoppable but behind the scenes, the cracks and strains started to show. Between the Lines documents Pendelton’s childhood and rise to her well-known successes as well as dark lows as she started to fall out of love with cycling before rediscovering her Championship winning form in 2011.

Rusch to Glory by Rebecca Rusch and Selene Yeager

Firefighter, multi-discipline world champion and all-around badass, Rebecca “the Rusch to gloryQueen of Pain” Rusch is one of the great endurance athletes of our time.

In Rusch to Glory: Adventure, Risk & Triumph on the Path Less Traveled, Rusch reveals how a normal kid from Chicago abandoned a predictable life for one of adventure.

Rusch has run the gauntlet of endurance sports over her career as a professional athlete– climbing, adventure racing, whitewater rafting, cross-country skiing, gravel grinding and mountain biking–racking up world championships along the way.

But while she might seem like just another superhuman playing out a fistful of aces, her empowering story proves that anyone can rise above self-doubt and find their true potential.

Women on Wheels by April Streeter 

women on wheels coverIf you’re more into lifestyle biking than sport and looking for guidance instead of tales? Here’s one for you.

From historic anecdotes to everyday practical tips, this book is a guide for all women cycling in an urban setting.

Need a nudge to get started?  How about some advice on making biking work with kids, groceries, pets, weather or anything else life throws at you? This handy pocket book covers everything from tips to etiquette to the history of women on bikes.

The Race to the Truth by Emma O’Reilly 

race to truth


If you’ve followed the whole Lance Armstrong drama or watched the recently-released film, The Program, you’ll be familiar with Emma O’Reilly, the soigneur who spoke out about Lance’s doping.

The Race to the Truth is her account of the terrible price she had to pay for blowing the whistle.



The Training Foodie by The Food Chain

Not exactly a read-by-the-fire kind of book, but a great one to have in your collection. This electronic cookbook features 39 pages of deliciousness.

Training FoodieAuthor Brittany Lindores is an Australian competitive cyclist who, following a bike crash in 2010, was diagnosed with chronic fatigue and a gluten and dairy intolerance.

The diagnoses changed not only her diet, but her  lifestyle in general. Food preparation became a big part of her daily routine and sparked an interest in the science behind food and how it affects our bodies. Already a registered nurse, Lindores returned to university to study nutrition, and started the healthy eating website, The Food Chain, with a goal to share healthy, easy and delicious recipes for those limiting their gluten, dairy and refined sugars.

The Training Foodie is her first book and with its easy-to-follow instructions, nutritional information for each recipe as well as pre-, during- and after-training meals and snacks, this is a must-have cookbook for all athletes. It’s highly comprehensive and conveniently in e-book format (which makes it searchable ctrl+f!).

02 Dec 20:23

Lessons From the IWF World Championships

by Lisbeth


iwf logoI don’t usually write about competitions, but DID YOU SEE WHAT HAPPENED AT THE IWF WORLD WEIGHTLIFTING CHAMPIONSHIPS?

Okay, I’ll stop yelling and use my inside voice.

I’m sure there are a thousand good stories and many valiant efforts, but these are two things that made me stand up and cheer:

1.)  Aleksey Lovchev Breaks The Clean & Jerk And Total World Records

Watch it here on FloElite—and make sure to turn up the sound. The crowd is quiet … and then ROARS on both lifts. It’s delightful to hear when they all hold their breath with Lovchev as he starts his jerk.

2.) Rim Jong Sim made lifts with injuries that most of us can’t do totally uninjured.

Watch it here on FloElite. Again, turn up your sound. It’s great to hear the crowd go from silent to a full roar.

We can debate how smart it was for Rim Jong Sim to continue competing (you can read about her injuries here) but it was something to witness. She had no quit in her.

Why am I bothering to tell you about these two lifters and show their videos? For the same reason I tell you about good books I read. Study, learn, go forth and practice—in the gym, in your work, in your life. Get stronger. Just two more lessons worth contemplating. 



02 Dec 19:45

I don't care what color the darn cup is...

by Kyle

oh kyle, always near my heart!

Probably one of the most common thing associated with cyclists and triathletes is their love and passion for all things coffee.  If you have ever driven across the country with a certain pro cyclocross rider or read the emails of a certain chemistry professor, then you know the importance that coffee has on their lives.  It.  Is.  Everything.  (Don't tell their wives and husbands)
The little spoon makes it fancy.

But, is that a good thing?  Well, let's talk about caffeine, but more importantly let's talk about why we need caffeine in endurance sports.  I don't want to talk about the addicting properties of caffeine, or the social fun of hanging out at a cafe in Paris, or the daily routine of stopping by Dunkin' on the way to the office (DO NOT ask about the egg patties); I want to talk about trying harder.

The biggest issue with endurance sports is that they are primarily self motivating in training and often in racing.  So more often that not, we have to rely on our ability to "keep going", which can be arbitrary and subjective.  Well, what legal and easily available product can we use to help with that?  Caffeine!

Studies have shown that the ingestion of 6mg of caffeine per kilogram of body weight at about an hour before non maximal exercise will extend time to exhaustion by almost 24%.  Wow, that seems like a lot.  It is important remember that number is perceived exhaustion, not a blood lactate or oxygen uptake value.  But hey, in a race or training environment, how you feel could be all the difference in the world.

So, what does that mean?  Sub-maximum is the equivalent of tempo or sub threshold levels where we are still utilizing the lactate shuttle process and staying on top of our fueling.  Things like transfer days in stage races, longer triathlons, marathon mtb events or even long distance time trials are examples as well as endurance training group rides and runs.  Efforts and exercise of higher intensity require different fuel and energy sources that are not affected by caffeine.

And how much caffeine is enough?  Well, a large cup of black coffee from Dunkin Donuts will have 431mg which is almost exactly the right amount for a 160 pound athlete.  Those same studies have also shown that caffeine ingested earlier than later are more effective.  So maybe that late afternoon cup of coffee at the office before you go home for the Tuesday night ride is a good idea after all.
You know who you are.

One question we often get asked is about how caffeine is technically a diuretic and could lead to dehydration.  Other studies have shown that when used in conjunction with exercise that fluid loss and induced dehydration were not as prevalent as when you are hanging around the house stalking your ex on social media.  Big difference.  And of course, skip the sugary flavor additives and all things dairy.  Don't add calories and saturated fats if you don't need to, please.

Drinking a nice hot cup of coffee is a great way to stay warm during the winter.  And speaking of winter, working with a coach during the off season is the best way to make sure you are prepared and ready for the spring races!  Reach out to Coach Kyle and Finish Fast Cycling now to help plan out the next 100 days! 

Thanks for reading, it is awesome to learn how many people around the world look forward to Wednesday! 

30 Nov 16:12

What Albert Pujols Taught Me About Swing Mechanics

by Eric Cressey

i love this piece on pujols.

Today, I've got a guest post from Bobby Tewksbary. Bobby has quickly established himself as one of the premier hitting instructors to professional and amateur hitters alike over the past few years. You might also recognize him as the guy who threw to Josh Donaldson at this year's Home Run Derby. I enjoy Bobby's stuff, and I'm sure you will, too! Be sure to check out his Elite Swing Mechanics E-Book, if you haven't already; it's fantastic stuff.

A lot of folks heard my name for the first time after this year’s Home Run Derby, where I pitched to Josh Donaldson. However, I never would have had that opportunity if I hadn't seen this swing of Albert Pujols in 2009. That was when I first saw Pujols doing something with his swing mechanics that most people don’t realize.


Even if you have studied the swing, you might be shocked or surprised at what you can see Pujols doing. It defies so much of what passes as "common wisdom" among hitters.

Over the last 6+ years, I’ve studied tens of thousands of hours of hitting video to better understand the swing and what makes Pujols’ (and all the other all-time greats) so special. I’m excited to share some of the most important things I’ve learned so you can improve your timing, power and batting average!

Albert Pujols’ Swing Mechanics

What exactly are we talking about? We are talking about swing mechanics and the movement Pujols uses to create consistent timing while being able to hit for power and for average.


When Pujols’ rear knee and hips are turning forward, his hands aren't going down… they are going up and back. Watch this clip a few times - study the hands, the hips opening, the rear knee.

This is very different than what I thought was right and it is very different than what most hitters are taught! Conventional instructions call for things like “take your hands/knob to the ball”, “stay inside the ball”, “stay on top of the ball.” In the big picture, these aren’t completely bad things but they are very incomplete.

I still remember how I felt when studying the swing the first time: How I swung the bat was very different than how Pujols and other great hitters swing. If Pujols was doing something different then me, then I was definitely the one doing it wrong!

A Deeper Look at Albert Pujols’ Swing Mechanics

The really special part of Albert Pujols swing is revealed in his barrel path. This is the secret behind his elite mechanics and what creates his good timing and his ability to hit for power and average.


Before, we saw how Pujols’ hands were working up and back while the hips were opening. Now we can see how his barrel is moving! When his hips are opening, his barrel is not moving toward the ball; rather, it is working deeper and flatter.

This is where Pujols is creating his timing for his swing. Instead of the barrel working TOWARD the ball, he is creating time by getting his barrel into the zone deeper. And because his barrel is working back and not forward, he is able to stop his swing if the pitch is not a strike. This gives him very adjustable timing.

Another key component to this movement is how short and quick his swing becomes. The lower body has already opened/cleared and the barrel already has speed. The swing's finish is very short, quick and explosive.


Look at how fast this is - and how hard it is to see this movement in "real time!"

Hitting for Power and Average

We know Pujols’ barrel moves deeper to start the swing, but how does this help him hit for both power and average?

The barrel is working onto the plane of the pitch earlier so the barrel stays in the zone for a very long time. This gives a very “long” zone in which he can hit the ball hard. Plus, when his barrel is going back, his lower body opening. This is creating an ideal swing sequence where the lower body’s turn happens first which transfers energy “up the chain” and all the way to the barrel.

In addition, the barrel is “inside” the ball later and works through the zone with great swing direction. The barrel gets behind and through the ball without having to guide or steer the bat. If you play golf, think of this as getting a good swing path and driving through the ball and not cutting or hooking!

Here is one more look:


The swing is built to hit the ball with power to all fields!

Teaching These Swing Mechanics to Other Hitters

Most hitters are taught a swing to either “push” the bat to the ball (linear hitting) or to pull/rotate the bat to the ball (rotational hitting.) Both of these swing styles create issues for hitters with their timing. Push/linear hitters tend to make more contact but lack power. Pull/rotational hitters will have more power but hit for lower average.

I call the pattern Albert Pujols uses "Elite Swing Mechanics." I use the word “Elite” because it is the swing the all-time great hitters use and continue to use. I’ve worked with Josh Donaldson, Chris Colabello (Toronto Blue Jays) and Cressey Sports Performance Client A.J. Pollock (Arizona Diamondbacks) - and hundreds of youth, high school and college players others on developing these Elite Swing Mechanics.

The first and most critical step is to developing better swing mechanics is to understand swing mechanics. The more you understand the swing, the more deliberate you can be about how you work. And when you improve your swing, you increase your abilities and performance as a hitter!

One thing that I really try to communicate to people is that I’ve never tried to invent anything with the swing. I’ve studied tens of thousands of hours of video to try to understand what the best hitters in the history of the game have done. The game tells showns us what works and the all-time great hitters all use the same swing mechanics. Whether I'm working with a pro guy or a younger hitter, the goal is the same: I try to help hitters understand the swing. If a hitter doesn’t understand the swing, then they are taking a huge risk with this very important skill. When a hitter understands how their swing works, it causes a few really good things to happen.

1. Increased Accountability - The hitter will take ownership of their swings in their training and games.

2. Learn from Failure Faster - Hitters will diagnose their failure faster and be able to make adjustments faster.

3. Trust in the Process - Hitters will trust their long-term plan. Go to work each day knowing you are building in the right direction.

The single most common comment I hear from professional hitters is, “Why didn’t anybody tell me this sooner?” Technology has made is possible to gather video and study hitters in ways that haven’t been possible before. The game is advancing and pitchers are currently WAY ahead of hitters. The first step toward building this knowledge is my Elite Swing Mechanics E-Book + Instructional Videos. I am excited to offer to Eric's followers at the special discounted price of $29.99 through the end of this week.


About my Elite Swing Mechanics Book + Instructional Videos

I wrote my book to help share what I’ve learned about the swing. This book isn’t a traditional book though. I’ve tried to create a product that takes advantage of technology to help reach hitters with all learning styles. This is what makes up my book:

*120+ page Elite Swing Mechanics PDF eBook
*Video instruction of keys points and drills with over 2 hours of total video instruction
*Audio version of book so you can listen to the book on your iPod/iTunes
*14-day follow up email program walking you through the information with videos and articles
*Lifetime Updates
*Bonus Articles & Exclusive Offers
*Money Back Guarantee - If you don't learn from this product, I'll give you a full refund.

Don't Take My Word For It

"I was introduced to Tewks' stuff two years ago and what he teaches has helped me progress as a hitter. I look at the swing with a completely different perspective now. I wish I knew the TRUTH in high school!" - A.J. Pollock

"Want to understand your swing? Bobby was one of the first guys who helped me understand the true mechanics! I 100% believe in his philosophy and I know it’s the TRUTH!” - Josh Donaldson

“The information was a game changer. What Bobby showed me taught me to do things I couldn’t do before. I learned how to swing better and it enhanced everything about me as a hitter.” - Chris Colabello

NOTE: The lifetime updates is a big reason why this is a digital product. I constantly perform research and learn more ways to communicate the movements of the swing. When I find new details or new wording that helps hitters, a digital product allows me to issue an update in ways that a printed book or physical DVD cannot. This is all about helping hitters, so this digital product format allows me to do that best.

Click here to learn more and purchase at this week's sale price!

If you have any questions, you can reach me at 

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