Archive for February, 2008

Ken’s Torch Bearers

linford.jpg The Mayor of London nominated four torch bearers for the Olympic torch relay on 6th April. They are Linford Christie (doper), Dame Kelly Holmes, (you remember her, she refused to act as starter for the London Marathon as the organisation would not meet her demand for a fee of £5000 to come from her home in Kent), Sir Trevor McDonald (he reads stuff on the tele) and Amara Khan (no idea). Now I have been trying to figure out what it is that the Gang of Four share that would make Red Ken think they were appropriate nominations but for the life of me I can’t. Can you?

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Lose that lard

Research by the Pennington Biomedical Research Center indicates that in a flat time trial losing 3kg off the body will save twice the time saved by losing 3kg off the bike. My first thought is how the hell do they know that? Were they the same cyclists? By the time the subjects had trained off 3kg of fat they would be much fitter so of course they would go faster.

More American research shows that varying crank length between 120mm and 220mm made no difference to performance in maximal sprint power tests . Can that be true? Who knows!

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Dutch Never Happy

Dutch Rail wants to promote the use of cycles, hoping to increase the number of bike journeys made to and from stations to one million by 2010.  At present almost 50% of passengers arrive at their local railway station on a bike but only 10% cycle the last leg of their journey.  The plan is to expand the number of bike hire outlets at railway stations from 120 now to 200, says Dutch Rail.

Can you believe it, half of Dutch train users cycle to the railway station and now they are under pressure to cycle the last leg to the office as well! I say give those cloggies a break, they are already doing more than their share to save the planet.

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Olympics Mountain bike update

As you must surely know you should never believe what you read on t’internet. It seemed most unlikely that the UCI would demand a 3000 seat stand for the M.B. race so I did more “research.” I now suspect theUCI is asking for room for 3000 spectators around the circuit which seems entirely reasonable.

The UCI “demand” that Essex be re-profiled to allow for a height difference of 300m seemed, on reflection, to be too costly a venture even for the Olympics body to agree to. What I suspect is requested is 300m of climbing each lap which is probably achievable somewhere in Essex if not at Weald Country Park. If only the Olympics body had properly managed this story by issuing a clear and concise press release this confusion would not have arisen. That said I have been unable to find information from the UCI or indeed British Cycling.

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Shock Revelation-Essex is Flat

Olympic chiefs have been ordered to scrap the proposed 2012 mountain biking venue because it is not hilly enough. UCI bigwig Peter Van Den Abeele ruled out  Weald Country Park in Essex as a Games venue after a recent visit.  They told the London Organising Committee (Locog) to find an alternative because the chosen course is too flat to test top riders.
The inspectors will return to Britain in two weeks to view other locations but have apparently accepted that the venue must remain in Essex. As the experts are said to believe  that a height difference of around 300 metres from the lowest to the highest point of the course is the minimum required for top competions they may have a problem as the highest point in Essex is about 150 metres. They also say the venue must seat 3,000 spectators. How crazy is that? I would guess that the finish line stand at the World Champs typically seats about 500 which contains mainly the “Blazers” who have attended the UCI annual conference. Fans won’t be in the seats at the Olympics and I can’t believe they are expecting 3000 “guests” and hangers-on to show up.
Epping Forest is a possible alternative but it is crisscrossed by pathways and bridle paths and who’s to say how much wildlife would be disturbed. If they have to close bridlepaths I guess they should have started the process about five years ago.
The news was broken to Locog in a meeting with the UCI’s top mountain biking expert, Peter van den Abeele, and director of sport, Olivier Queguiner.
Locog had opted for the 500-acre Weald Park partly because the lakes and tree-lined avenues would provide nice pictures for television and is easily reached by the A12 and M25 with rail access from central London. It was preferred to alternatives in the Chilterns (where there are serious hills) because the International Olympic Committee prefers a compact Games.
Is it bad of me to relish every cock-up and disaster that surrounds these appalling games?  If Paris had won the UK would have saved £10 billion (and rising) and anybody stupid enough to want to go could have got there by Eurostar in two hours.

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