The Village Velodrome Appreciation Society

A blog about jitensha and jogging

Sunday, July 29, 2007

The cleanest Tour de France in years?

It's counterintuitive, but I believe this year's Tour de France has been one of the cleanest ever. For the first time since the mid-80s the testing has caught up with the doping - which meant a lot of riders got caught. Riders who, in previous years, would still be riding.

There's also a big push from the ranks of the French, British and (most) German riders to clean up the sport.

As for my predictions?

Well Cadel Evans has ridden to a fine 2nd place. The best-placed Aussie ever. Only 23 seconds off first. Oh, and Cadel is clean.

The green jersey was won by another clean rider - Tom Boonen. Not my pick, but I'm happy he won.

The polka dot jersey went to the Colombian, Soler. Soler's performance is another indicator that there's fewer drugs being taken. He is the first Colombian to win a mountain stage since EPO (which mimics the effects of altitude training) was introduced. Colombians winning is a good sign.

My pick for the white jersey competition was Amets Txurruka, who is wearing the white jersey today because Soler and the overall winner were both also young riders. So Txurruka is the highest placed young rider not already wearing a more imprtant jersey. Geddit?

I've always been told that if you can't say anything nice about someone you shouldn't say anything at all. So I shall not say a word about the "winner" of this year's Tour.

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Friday, July 27, 2007

An amazing tale about a runner

My lungs still hurt, so I'm not running until after my MRI scan.

However, I thought I'd share an amazing tale with you all. It's about an 18-year-old runner called Ryan Farrington who came fourth in last weekend's English Schools' Championships in the senior boys' 100 meters.

I read his story in Britain's Guardian newspaper.

Click HERE for the story


Sunday, July 22, 2007

Tour de France

Earlier this month I tried to predict who would win the various categories in the Tour de France.

The yellow jersey goes to the person with the lowest elapsed time for all the stages - the leader of the race. The green jersey goes to the best sprinter - based on points given for crossing the line first, second, down to 25th place, as well as some 'bonus' sprints (nasty sprints placed in the middle of a race - imagine having to sprint your guts out at the 35km mark of a marathon and then keep going). The polka dot jersey is for the best hill-climber, again based on points given, this time for crossing mountain peaks first. And the white jersey goes to the best rider aged less than 25 years old on January 1 of the year the Tour is ridden.

My choices were:

Yellow - Cadel Evans
This prediction looks like coming true. Evans is in second place and looks very strong.

Green - Robbie McEwan
An amazing sprint on Stage 1 made me think I'd definitely opted for the fastest rider. But a crash, also on Stage 1, made it impossible for Robbie to hold onto the handle bars up the steep mountains, and he lost too much time and was eliminated.

Polka Dot - Michael Rasmussen
The leader of this category is my pick - Michael Rasmussen. Although he is not wearing the jersey because he is currently leader of the Tour. He will be the Polka Dot jersey winner if he makes it to Paris. A major drug cloud hangs over him at the moment. He has been banned from riding for his national team up to and including the Beijing Olympics. A former friend has alleged Rasmussen tried to trick him into carrying Biopure blood into Italy for him. Rasmussen's career might be over. (

White - Amets Txurruka
My rider is 6th in this category, 24 minutes down on the leader of the white jersey competition, Contador. However, Txurruka is a climber from the Basque region, so he will be saving something for the Pyrenees, where the Basque fans form a corridor of orange to cheer their riders on. Txurruka won't beat Contador or Gerdemann, but he could finish third overall.

Regarding my running. I still have lung pain and I'm waiting for my MRI scan on August 13. I'm fine - I still ride to work and the pain is no big deal, but not running is frustrating. I don't get the results until August 20.

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Monday, July 16, 2007

Looking for things to do in Tokyo?

You could check out my wife's blog called Tokyoism

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Sunday, July 15, 2007

It's handlebar madness

The latest trend in fixie culture? Cutting into your prized Nitto or Cinelli handlebars with an engraving tool or mini-grinder.

The results? I'm not sure I'm sold on it - but there's some pretty good designs. Leading the pack are clothing designer Jun Takahashi and an artist Kosuke Masuda who goes by the name Ko5.

Jun Takahashi - opting for the leopard-print look

Another angle





And it's not just bars and stems - here's some Dura-Ace track cranks given the once over by Ko5.


All photos taken by the artists themselves and belong to them.


Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Howard's crusade

I won't say much about what is happening in Australia at the moment because I don't have the answers. However, I found this report by Germaine Greer very informative. click here for the report by Germaine Greer


Monday, July 09, 2007

Chest/lung problem

I went to the hospital today, and after an ECG and X-Ray the doctor was able to tell me that something might be wrong with me. He thinks I'm OK, but wants to do more tests to be sure. But he can't do the test (using an image resonance machine) until August 13.

I asked him if it was OK to go in a race (I've got a 5,000m track race on July 16) and after asking how long it was he said no (not sure why he bothered asking how long it was - 5km would seem to be one of the easiest distances on the lungs).

Then I asked if I could still train. He said that training for 5km might be too difficult for me (what ever that means).

So, if I follow doctor's orders it's no training for me for a month, and I miss my race.

It would seem from what he told me, that I have pleuritic pain.


Sunday, July 08, 2007

1 hour easy

Did an easy hour. Came back a bit too quick.

I'm going to get my chest pain checked out tomorrow. The closest thing I can find to describe it is a pericarditis type pain. It's funny that Britain's NHS site writes: "... is most common in men aged 2050 years old." A spot of chest pain at that age is to be expected one would think.

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Saturday, July 07, 2007

1 hour - at a funny kind of speed

Did a good hour tonight - at a speed that was fastish but never went into the red. Probably a tad too fast, but I felt comfortable. The pain at the back of my right knee has gone. My ITB both sides was a bit sore. Not bad.

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No commitment

Lately I've been pretty busy with work. Working during the day then coming home and doing freelance stuff, so the running has had to fit around that. I just finished a big job this week, so I thought I'd have a good week's running this week. However, I seem to have got into a rut. I train well Sunday and Monday, take Tuesday off, run track Wednesday, but then something always crops up and I find myself doing very little or nothing Thursday and Friday, then I run Saturday. This week it was a big drinking session Thursday night. I haven't drunk much in ages and it made me feel tired.

I've got to start increasing the miles and running more regularly. With my knees still in recovery mode I think it's a good idea to have two days off a week, but the current three days off a week is no good at all. And the distance needs to go up. Currently I only run one run a week over 90 minutes - I should be doing something that length twice or three times a week.


Friday, July 06, 2007

Courier bikes in Tokyo

Here's a couple of bikes that get well used. The black one I snapped at night and I didn't get a chance to see what it was. I don't even know what the hubs are, I'm sure lots of you do know. The blue one is a Panasonic (I think). The shot-in stays should be a giveaway, but I'm not that great at remembering who offers what style.

Also, the Tour de France starts tomorrow, and I think it'll be a great one for the Aussie riders. I'm tipping:

- Northern Territorian Cadel Evans to win overall (a dark horse, but has had better form than the red-hot favourite Alexandre Vinokurov)

- Brisbane's Robbie McEwan will take the green jersey for best sprinter

- The hill-climber's polka dot jersey will go to the Dane Michael Rassmusen (no Aussies can match him in the mountains)

- The white jersey for the best young rider will go to Amets Txurruka.

But back to the Aussies, I predict Brett Lancaster will win a stage as will Stuart O'Grady (look out for O'Grady on stage 1 on Sunday).

The other not so hard to make prediction is that the Astana team will be raided more than once to check for drugs. In fact, not only will their hotels be raided, their bins will be emptied, wives' and girlfriend's cars checked, and massuers frisked. Despite riding in blue, they're known as the Men In Black - shady characters who seem to be a little too strong.

Oh, and followers of the Brits - the prologue is tailormade for Bradley Wiggins. He'll have a tough time beating Fabian Cancellara, but I think he might just do it. In Chris Boardman he's got the best coach in the world.

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Wednesday, July 04, 2007

Oda Field - 5 x 1,200m

Tonight's session at Oda Field is my favourite. I enjoy the speed at which 1,200s are run.

Tonight, as usual, I got there late. But I only missed two efforts (which I made up at the end).

My times were: 3.57, 3.58, 3.58, 4.09 (and it hurt), 4.19 (I didn't try hard enough).

I'm getting a lot of aches in my stomach and chest. Maybe I've got IBS back, or maybe I need an ECG to test my heart.

Now, time for a quick rant. I picked up a copy of the U.S. magazine Running today. It used to be my favourite magazine, but it was recently sold to Rodale publishing - and now it's gone all preachy and god-bothery. They subject readers to their faith all the way through the magazine. I wish they'd focus on what unites runners, whether they be in Africa, the Middle East, Australia and Japan, rather than preaching what sounds like an evangelical sermon in each of their pieces.


Monday, July 02, 2007

30 min run

More and more work, less and less running. Today I could only do 30 minutes. Back of the knee hurt again. Pain sort of went away after 10 mins.

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