The time is right, CrankPunk.com is about to grow up – just a little, don’t worry!
The original CP blog will be almost unchanged, but there will be a dedicated training section, an events page, and a store with the CP tes, kit and also, full bikes, frames, wheels and more for sale at some good discounted prices.
From early next week, you’ll be able to have a look at CP.com 2.0.
Here’s a sneak peek of how it’s shaping up.
It’s been quite a year here at crankpunk.com, quite a mad, mad 363 days and counting. The website has gone from strength to strength thanks largely to a bunch of angry Americans flipping out every time they hear the Holy Trinity (Lance, Levi & George) getting called out. I never go chasing numbers but I tell ya, touch a nerve there and it runs real deep.
One of the most bizarre moments on 2014 came lat one night when I was writing about George’s Gran Fraudo and decided to find him on Facebook. Amazingly, I did and even more amazingly, he replied to my message within 10 seconds.
30 seconds later, without me getting in touch with her. Betsy Andreu popped up in another FB message window. She finally got to ask him a few questions she’d been waiting to ask (through me), and it was all quite trippy. As the conversations were going a friend called me.
What are you doing? he asked.
Just talking to George Hincapie and Betsy Andreu, I replied.
I started getting on Twitter more often, and found the maxim ‘too many tweets makes a tw#t’ to be very true indeed.
Cycling-wise, a weird year all in all. In March I had an infection that affected my immune system and caused my face to expand to a good 4 times it’s normal size, resulting in me frantically googling ‘face swollen like a chipmunk‘ as i lay on a gurney in a corridor in the hospital with a liter of antibiotics being fed into my arm.
When i walked into the cubicle in A&E where the doctor sat, he had his head down looking at some notes. When he looked up he gasped audibly.
Thanks for that, Doc.
I’ve had this chipmunk face on and off for 8 years, I read online in horror. I don’t go out anymore, I lost my job and there’s nothing it seems that can be done.
Which consoled me greatly, obviously. 12 hours I spent in that corridor, occasionally dragging my saggy chops and drip bag to the toilet, scaring women and children on the way. Lots of fun.
The results of a blood test came in – my white blood cell count was up to 14,000, about double the norm.
More googling led me, inevitably, to cancer. Lesson learnt here – never, ever self-diagnose an illness in the internet, because no matter what it is – stubbed toe, toothache or even a bad hair day, whatever – IT ALL LEADS TO THE BIG C.
Finally I got to see the specialist. I’d come to terms with my inevitable (according to The Internet) demise and realised that I’d given the life thing a decent go, seemed to have put in a half decent shift all in all and was ready for the worse from The Doc 2.
“Cancer?! Haha! No, salival gland infection. They’ve backed up and are causing all this swelling. Worst I’ve seen but it’ll be gone by tomorrow.’
Oh you lovely man! I almost kissed him, but I couldn’t feel my lips so rather than drooling on him I refrained.
Anyway, two weeks later and a good 5kg over race weight, I went to the inaugural 3-day Tour of Tayabas in the Philippines and won, much to my surprise.
From then on in though it all went very roller-coaster, I was flying one week and very slow the next. More blood tests revealed all was well but still the fluctuations in form continued.
A crit win in the UK was followed by ten days in Belgium in April followed with Velo Classic Tours (thanks to PEZ Cycling News), affording me the opportunity to pray at the alters of Paris-Roubaix and the Tour of Flanders. That was just like heaven. Incredible.
Get that on the list, if you haven’t already done it.
My trip to the TransAlp MTB stage race was quite the disaster and saw me dragging a very sorry cp arse over the mountains in a state of sufferation every single minute of that beast of a race. Still, it was beautiful!
Next big race was the Mongolia Bike Challenge in August, where I started ok and just got stronger and stronger as the week went on, winning 4 stages in the Masters category and taking 3rd in the Open on the final day. Had my bike not exploded on Stage 3 I might have won the Masters and taken 3rd in the Open overall, but, if there’s one race where the results really do not matter, it is this one in Mongolia.
Professionally (and I mean job-wise) things have been interesting. I now work for both the Mongolia Bike Challenge and the Taiwan KOM Challenge as Director of Communications, and am the official coach of both those events, of the Taiwan Cyclist Federation and also of the biggest club in Singapore, ANZA Cycling.
The big highlight with regards to all that has been the emergence of the zero-tolerance rule with regards to former dopers competing in the KOM (and, soon to be announced officially, the MBC too). Next year will, I hope, see a union formed consisting of other like-minded race organisers.
My work for PEZ Cycling News is to increase in 2015 with more regular writing, the articles on The Roar will also continue as will, of course, crankpunk.
Very soon a reinvigorated http://www.crankpunk.com will be on your screens, a new site that will bring together all the various stuff I get up to, writing, riding, coaching, brand consulting and event co-ordinating.
Then there are the Crank Punk Coaching Systems clients also, who, well, have been phenomenal. It’s not rocket science, I tell them when they come on board, but it does take a chunk of effort. This year has seen some fantastic transformations, people hitting their targets and going beyond them, and a bunch of podiums that are always a nice cherry on the old cake.
Ladies and gentleman, your endeavor and motivation to crank it really humbles me, I sincerely mean that. Cheers!
Finally I’d like to say a huge thank you to everyone who comes in to read my scribblings here, sometimes it’s 1,000 a day, sometimes it’s 50,000. You guys make the effort worthwhile, many, many thanks.
Merry (belated) Xmas and Happy New Year!
And finally, I have a CrankBump on the way – or rather, Missus CrankPunk has one.
Yes, a little BabyPunk is on her way, due May 6th.
Alright alright, don’t get all emotional on me.. Sniff.
Let us all crank on.
INDEED just WHAT has the WORLD COME TO?
i woke up this morning with the strangest desire careening around my loins, stranger than that time i almost got arrested for taking single bites out of a a good 7 or 8 dried sea sponges all those years ago in Boots pharmacy on Norwich High Street.
yes, it is – turn away now if you are squeamish – THE DESIRE TO DO A TRIATHLON.
my head is so full of questions.
1. can i get treatment for this? is electrotherapy a real option still these days or would it be easier if i just black up and walk up to an American cop?
2. do Speedo still make speedos, or have they been banned by the Obama government? #obamabansspeedoscosheisaterrorist
3. will i have to unlearn the art of cornering, braking, going uphill and riding in a bunch of more than one?
4. will i really lose all of my friends?
5. where can i buy a brick?
6. will i have to tape 55 assorted gels on my top tube every time i ride? even to the shop? is it REALLY more aero than a friggin’ pocket?
7. is it true that i’ll have to wear the bellytop/speedo/compression sock combo uniform at ALL TIMES even whilst sleeping?
8. can i really get my number burned into my skin? #trinumberburntintoskinisCOOL
9. do i really have to wear iridium glasses with the iridium on the inside too?
10. will i really have to lose my sense of humor?
…so many, many questions…
a version of this article originally appeared on the Round the Island website, which is connected to the ANZA Cycling group.
The Big Race is coming. A week and a half to go.
Time is running out as it starts very soon indeed, so you better not get training harder.
Yes, I did say not.
One thing I have learned about the week and a half before a bike race is that you really cannot improve that much in strength, stamina or power in those 7 to 10 days beforehand. However, you can do a lot of damage by overtraining, by riding to fatigue, and by simply going over things too much in your head, thus putting at risk all your previous gains by using up too much nervous energy.
The key to the final week of pre-race prep is to be as calm and composed as possible and to make decisions about your training, rest, hydration and nutrition that will allow you to maximize the work you have already done, ensuring that when you get on that start line your condition is optimal.
‘Consolidate your previous gains’ is a phrase I use a lot. It simply means that instead of jumping ahead of yourself and leaving holes in your preparation, it is far more beneficial to take care of what you have gained.
This way, your base will be solid and established, and all further gains will be real and not fleeting. So often, in that week before the big race, you see riders going out on death marches of 170km or battering themselves up that hill in the hope of somehow making the Great Leap Forward from Cat 2 quality to Cat 1.
It doesn’t work that way, and we know it too. Better to shore up what you have, to use short, sharp intervals (in their three and fours, not in the dozens) and to taper your lead into the sharpest point possible.
My final week prep before a big race would look something like this:
Day 1: Off
Day 2: Relatively moderate spin, anywhere from 1 up to 3 hours, depending on time. This would be a tempo ride (say a 6 on a Perceived Rate of Exertion (PRE) Scale). Fairly flat, if hilly I would spin as much as possible.
Day 3: A medium-hardish 3 hour ride. Either with a group, or preferably alone. Personally I prefer riding alone most of the time as it gives me control over my efforts. I’d try as best I could to ride a route that emulated the race route, do a couple 10-15 minute TT-like efforts, some shorter, harder sprints every 15-20 minutes or so, and also throw in 3-4 hard hill efforts.
Day 4: A spin or off completely. I prefer to be off the bike at least twice the week before a big race, knowing that when I am doing the hard efforts, I am nailing them and thus getting the benefit from them at 100%.
Day 5: If it is a one day race, I’d go for a 2 hour ride, a hard day where I’m going to glycogen depletion. Studies have shown that depleting the glycogen stores starts of a cycle whereby the glycogen is replaced rapidly, being at its absolute peak between 60-72 hours later. So, three days before the race I like to do about an hour to an hour and a half of hard, dedicated, shorter intervals. This isn;t a last-ditch attempt to get fitter so if I am not feeling it, I’ll skip it. Rather, it is a ride to get the system working and to have your energy stores at their optimal by race day.
For a stage race, the duration is shorter as you need more energy later in the week. Intervals again in this case but less – you needn’t do too many , you just want to isolate the muscles, get the cardio blasting and tap in to those glycogen stores so that the system starts working.
Day 6: Typically off or a light spin.
Day 7: Pre-Race prep day. Usually an hour and a half at a light spin with 3-4 short sprints in succession early on, 2-3 three 3-minute seated intervals at a TT pace, and finish with another 3-4 sprints. Some people prefer to just ride lightly, I find that I need the tension in the legs, and to remind them that they belong to a bike racer.
On the Day: Studies have found that 3-4 short, 20 second sprints in succession about 20 minutes before a race can stimulate production of the body’s natural EPO. It works, and it’s all legal!
In the race, there are two great ‘rules’ I was told as a spotty-faced 15 year-old by a grizzled veteran of the road. These have served me well ever since and they are:
- If you’re not alone and the wind is on your chest, you’re in the wrong place.
Meaning, position yourself intelligently and do not waste energy. Cycling is a numbers game, and energy levels are crucial.
- If you don’t feel good, take a chance. However, if you do feel good – do nothing until that moment.
Knowing when that moment is exactly comes with time, but basically, do not give up your natural advantage with speculative attacks. If you feel great, wait, and give it all. All you have to do in a race to win, is to go faster than everyone else for one tenth of a second. Simple!
- And another I almost forgot: Stay away from the manager’s wife. The old boy who bestowed these three nuggets of wisdom upon me had, he told me, got into a ‘spot of trouble’ on one tam he rode on…
If you are going to attack early, follow wheels for the first 20-30 minutes and let the attackers tire themselves out. Wait for ‘The Lull’, the moment when the speed drops and everyone looks at each other, desperate for respite – that is when you have the best chance of getting away.
A word on cramping. It happens to us all – well, most of us. One key to limiting the cramps is to train harder. Simple but true. The other is to hydrate well the week before the race. On the morning of the event you should be peeing water, clean and clear as from a mountain spring.
Things like Nunns and drink mixes help, but in my opinion the best thing out there for cramps is Extreme Endurance, which you can find here: http://www.xendurance.com. I make no money from this at all though they do sponsor me, but I take this because it really does help a great deal with my cramping. It’s the only product I recommend.
In the race, if you have friends in the pack, communicate. How quickly cyclists forget they are actually part of a team. Plans don’t often work out but by staying clam and thinking about a situation and how to handle it, rather than going of individual instinct, you can make better decisions.
Finally, stick to what you know and ride to your strengths, and take care of those weaknesses. If you don’t train to do 100km solo attacks – don’t try it in the race!
If you never usually get up three hours before a hard ride and eat 6kg of wholewheat pasta and drink beetroot juice by the gallon – don’t do that before the race either.
Similarly, if you are racing for the first time and don’t usually guzzle four gels and a 1kg peanut butter power bar per hour, again, probably not too smart to do that on race day either.
Train for these things. Work out what works in an environment where there isn’t a finish line and you can actually ride home to throw up!
Confidence is a hugely underrated element of bike racing. If you prepare badly or do things in the race you never normally do and have a bad day as a result, that can stick in your head for months and affect all future performances.
This is supposed to be fun. For most of us, we get precious little chance to take risks and to wear ridiculous clothing and just enjoy ourselves like kids every day – so take it. The result should not define you, but the effort and the sense of achievement should enhance all other aspects of your life – something the pros forget all too often, sadly.
So yes. Go forth! Go crank!
(CAPITALS here are, I think, appropriate…!)
I am very proud to announce that the ANZA Cycling club have chosen to accept Crank Punk Coaching Systems as their official coaching provider!
ANZA is the largest club in Singapore with over 300 members and plays an active role in the local cycling scene and indeed all around Asia.
The initial coaching will cover a 3-month trial period to be extended to one year.
I’d like to offer a huge thanks to long-time CPCS client and ANZA Cycling Road Director, Don MacDonald, for his support in all this. Many thanks, Don!
More can be read on the partnership by clicking on the image below.
Well he didn’t really say that but he should have.
James Cole, 37, originally from Oz but now living in Singapore, joined CPCS some months back in preparation for the 2014 Haute Route Alps. Here is his account of life as a crankpunker.
by James Cole
Crankpunk got me through the Haute Route Alps (HRA). This event is 900+km over 7 days with 23,000m of climbing over the French Alps. There is just no other way I could have completed without Lee/Crankpunk sorting me out with a program that just worked.
Living in Singapore with the highest lump only 80m above sea level, I set myself a huge challenge by signing up for HRA in July 2013. Having only really been cycling for 6 months at that stage it was a really crazy idea to think I could do it. At that time I getting into cycling and was enjoying it, but training? What was that? I just rode to work daily and did group rides on the weekends with their pre-designated sprint points and otherwise comfortable do your turn on the front and have a good chat time rides.
Then I started getting into the racing, and oh crap. I was able to keep up for the first half, and then the suffering and the getting dropped set in and that was just no fun. So it was time to re-evaluate my approach and ask around what the fast guys were doing. This is when I stumbled onto Lee and decided if you can’t beat them, then at least start utilising their coach and programs.
So in Dec 2013 the Crankpunk relationship with Lee started. First with the discussion of goals, what I wanted to achieve (ie complete the HRA) and working out my general timing and availability to ride. Having 2 young kids time pressures can get restrictive, but fortunately riding to work daily (30km each way) made for a satisfactory alternative and Lee was able to work around that. So gone were the rubbish miles rides where I rolled into work to be replaced by various types of intervals. The work ride changed from routine to being what punishment/suffering has Lee dreamed up for me this week. It made Sunday nights interesting as I waited for what was in store the following week.
After a few months the initial results were in. OCBC race in April came and went and finished with a 6th place in the sprint. Never been at the front at the end of the race let alone in the sprint. Then there was the Cycosports Bintan Race shortly after. Got into a break which lasted for 60km before the peloton chased us down. Never had been in a real break before let alone lasting that long in one. So the crankpunk program was working.
Now it was time to focus on HRA. How on earth was I going to get over those mountains when all I did was train and ride on the flat? But somehow Lee nailed it. When I got to France and started that first climb up Columbiere I put myself into the groove as we had trained for on those mind-numbing repeats up that 80m lump they call Mount Faber he had me do regularly. I sat in that groove, kept the cadence high but comfortable and climbed. And then everyone seemed to be going backwards as I climbed. I reached the top and went wow, I can do this and now for the next climb. 7 days later the HRA was complete and now it was a case of how to convince the wife to let me do it all again next year.
So the Crankpunk program works. It isn’t one of those cookie-cutter one-size-fits-all program, but it works around what you want to achieve and the timing you have available to do it. It isn’t easy but you shouldn’t expect easy if you are signing up for a cycling program, but it is fun and very rewarding with a lot of variety. Lee provides great feedback and keeps you focused.
great ride last weekend by CPCS rider Donald MacDonald from Singapore (by way of Scotland) and his Direct Asia teammate Pierre-Alain Scherwey. the pair were riding in the Singapore Cycling Federation Celebration Series TTT and managed 3rd place, behind the Infinite team rider and the winners, from the Kenyan national team, no less!
great work, Donald.
you can read Donald’s testimonial on CPCS here.
this article originally appeared on The Roar
Many would have never heard of a TUE until last week, other than the one that brings you closer to FRI, but in the past seven days or so ‘Therapeutic Use Exemption’ has entered the lexicon of cycling fans the world over.
Reaction to the news that Sky applied for and received an exemption for glucorticosteroids on Chris Froome’s behalf just before the Tour du Romandie back in late April has been mixed on cycling websites and forums.