Saturday, 2 January 2010

Living in the past.

The stake in your shorts is medium-rare !

This months Cycle Sport Mag highlights what the Italians have in their musettes.
Of course as part of the Cycling Weekly stable articles on food are no surprise, I firmly believe that the nations favourite weekly cycling magazine is positioning itself for a tilt at the slimming market, but I digress.
It seems that the Italians are pretty much old school, ride for an Italian team and you mid race feed will consist of a couple of cream cakes, a Mars bar and a bottle of water, occasionally there is a gel thrown in, but I suspect only if the swannies have found a few laying on the floor after the first feed.
The big question is why, I mean the benefits of Gels / Card/Protein mix drinks, energy bars etc etc are all out there for everyone to read, so why do supposidly 'professional' teams remain routed in the dark ages?
Well OK, maybe things aren't as bad as they used to be, I used to ride with a guy who grew up in Italy, his father told me that it was 'correct' for riders to have a little bottle of brandy in their back pockets and at the end of the race, knock it back to get a little extra gas for the sprint and you think modern sprints are crazy? Just imagine being in the middle of 50 pissed Italians all going full gas for the line. Apparently this was quite common across mainland Europe where each weekend thousands of bottles of cheap locally distilled fire water would be necked in an effort to emulate Darrigade and his chums.

As a coach poor mid race nutrition annoys me, but as a track coach poor race prep makes me apoplectic.
Turn up at any round of the world cup and indeed the world champs and you will see riders making their 200m efforts with a bog standard road helmet on their heads, WHY?
Which is more aero dynamic, a solid helmet, say a Casco Wrap, of a nice road helmet with plenty of nice head cooling slots that can trap the air and slow you down? The average road helmet can lose you 30 - 50 watts in your effort, so why not just start making your effort at 210 meters instead of 200, the effect will be the same, i.e. a complete waste of time.
All you need to do is look at who's currently using Casco Wraps on the track - GB, Aus, French & German sprinters. Now need I say any more, surely if you looked at that lot you might get the general idea that sticking a Wrap on your head could be worth while.

It seems that some teams are just being wilfully stupid here, why, when the research is out there, when the best in the world are doing it, would you continue to do what you've been doing for the last 120 years?

Time to stick a steak down your shorts for the race and have it medium rare at the dinner table that night.


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