Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Book Review: The Tour de France companion : a nuts, bolts & spokes guide to the greatest race in the world



The Tour de France companion : a nuts, bolts spokes guide to the greatest race in the world, by Bob Roll (New York : Workman Pub, 2004) is really an amazing little book. I wish that I had read it before or during the first time I watched the Tour, because it gives just the right amount of history, basics, and tactics to explain the whole shebang without dumbing it down. I would think that even experienced Tour groupies (gruppos?) would find something of interest here. Written in a similar tone to Roll's on-air persona, at times reverent, yet always with that touch of irony, this is a definite read for anyone wanting to watch the Tour or learn more about it.

Friday, December 25, 2009

23 days in July : inside Lance Armstrong's record-breaking Tour de France victory / John Wilcockson ; photographs by Graham Watson (Cambridge, MA : DaCapo Press, 2004)


Wonderfully written book. Putatively about Lance Armstrong, Wilcockson fleshes out so many of the supporting characters that Armstrong almost recedes into the background. Teammates, rivals, coaches, trainers, shopkeepers, Tour officials, and yes, the rock star girlfriend are all here. There is so much depth to this book, so many interesting tidbits, it makes me want to attend the Tour de France at my earliest opportunity.

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Triathlon Training Plan: Base Fitness

Currently, I'm training 4 days a week (2 bike, 2 run). I plan to continue this over the next several months, slowly increasing to six days a week (3 bike, 3 run) and then eventually to 7 days (3 bike, 3 run, 2 swim). I've signed up for the Bigfoot Triathlon in Lake Geneva, WI on June 27th, 2010, so towards the end of March I'll start looking for a sprint triathlon specific workout that I can modify for my own use. Not sure what other races I'll do next season, but it would be nice to complete 3, so that I can get an age-group national ranking. This might be difficult, as my wife is expecting our 4th child, due July 20th, smack dab in the middle of the year! If it works out to do 3 races, I feel relatively good about my chances. Last year, with virtually no training and having been somewhat sedentary over the past 12 years or so, I finished the Naperville Sprint Triathlon right in the middle of my age group. Who knows what will happen if I stick to my training?

Thursday, December 17, 2009

No more Downers Grove Bicycle Races?

Several months ago, it was reported that Downers Grove would not fund any portion of the Downers Grove Bicycle Races. It appears our community might lose this event because of short-sighted thinking on the part of our City Council (more concern is being expended over the loss of the city’s Heritage Festival). It seems to me that, in this economic climate, everything possible would be done to keep events happening in the City that bring in dollars to our merchants; however, it’s not the case. Ron Sandack (mayor), Geoff Neustadt (commissioner), and Mary Scalzetti (director, Community Events) all confirmed that the City is not interested in keeping the races here, but would allow the event to go on if it met the permit process and cost the City nothing. Hank Zemola, of Special Events Management, the promoter of the bicycle races, stated that the event would continue but there was a possibility it would not be held in Downers Grove.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Coffee consumption associated with reduced risk of advanced prostate cancer

ScienceDaily (2009-12-08) -- While it is too early for physicians to start advising their male patients to take up the habit of regular coffee drinking, new data revealed a strong inverse association between coffee consumption and the risk of lethal and advanced prostate cancers. http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/12/091207200917.htm

Iron heart : the true story of how I came back from the dead / Brian Boyle with Bill Katovsky (NY: Skyhorse, 2009)


Not a bad read. A little too many pages for too little story, but a compelling read nonetheless, and amazing what he overcame. Boyle makes the right decision in identifying the multitude of folks who saved him and gave him the chance to live, compete, and write this book.

Monday, December 7, 2009

Triathlon Training: Base Fitness

Last week, after several months off the bike, I used the trainer 3 times (M,W,F). After each day, my plan was to run, but each time, my legs felt dead, so I only ran Tuesday and not Thursday. On Sunday, even though the legs were once again leaden, I went out for a short run. Besides an occurence of shin pain, which cut my run short, it felt okay overall. I started wondering if maybe the cycling was interfering with my running, but my level of effort is not all that high. What I realized was that I am not even close to a base fitness that would allow me to specialize in my training. While my plan was to run and cycle 3x a week, once for speed, once for form, once for endurance, I really need to build up a base before I can plan those kinds of workouts. So now my plan is still to bike and run 3x a week (and swim 2x), but for now they will be volume efforts, building time and distance before I work on speed and form specifically.

Unthinkable : the true story about the first double amputee to complete the world-famous Hawaiian Ironman Triathlon / Scott Rigsby ; with Jenna Glatzer (Carol Stream, Ill. : Tyndale House Pub., 2009)



I slogged through half this book before finally giving up. Unfortunately, it's not written very well and the "Come-to-Jesus" stuff is extremely offputting. While I applaud his achievement, the story itself (at least in this book), is not very compelling.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

The runner and the path : an athlete's quest for meaning in postmodern corporate America / Dean Ottati (Halcottsville, N.Y. : Breakaway Books, 2002)


People think that with a little ingenuity and planning, they can get up in the morning, go for an effortless three-mile jog, arrive at the office for a stimulating, high-powered day of work, then come home and spend some quality time with the kids, and finish off the evening with great sex -- and then repeat the process the next day. We all like to think that if we just managed our time a little better, we would find this mythical easy, perpetual happiness.

Running, Skiing, and Endurance Sports - Patagonia.com

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