This blog as might be apparent from the title has to do with running, biking and basically other outdoor individualistic sports, sometimes extreme, such as rock climbing . But don't be surprised if you find articles on work, personal life, music and even philosophy, this blog is an exception in this aspect in the blogosphere of running blogs and I am trying to revamp the blog to make it more runner friendly. You might want to look at the sidebar titled 'categorised', which as is obvious, categorizes my posts into different areas of interest.
The other thing that might interest many people is a section on 'running videos' and 'general videos' on the side bar, which I keep updating now and then.
I plan to bring in more posts on running and biking, with some added colour, so as to make them 'complete'. That's about it for now.
As a post-note, I have run a half-marathon, but I am yet to attempt a marathon, which through some concerted effort and time should happen in the future, but that ofcourse is not the culmination of this blog, it would on the contrary be something to jumpstart this blog onto new vistas.

Tuesday, July 25, 2006


Tour de France is an extreme endurance cycling event spanning 3600 kms in 20 stages in 3 weeks circling the circumference of France. The stages come in all kinds of flavours: mountains, flats, time trials; smooth roads, cobbled roads, muddy roads; the fast ones, the steadily painful ones, the ones in the alps with steep ascents where a slight slip could prove fatal; 57kms(time trials) to 200.5kms(alps).
As are the stages, so are the riders too. Some of them good at time trials, some tailor made for the mountains, some who can sprint well at the finish to take a podium place. This year saw 178 riders participate and about 140 finish.

The podium finishers this year were:

a) Yellow Jersey a.k.a. Malliot Jaune - For overall best finishing time. You needn't win any stage to get this jersey; consistently finishing in the top few places in all the stages is the requisite although a hard-fought win in a stage would make one more worthy of it. This is the most battled for jersey and as mentioned in my previous blog, American Landis proved worthy of it this year with an amazing comeback in the last mountain stage of the tour where he was able to makeup a 8 minute loss to the then leader Oscar Perreiro and win his first stage ever.
The top five leaders in the overall standings are:
1) Floyd Landis
2) Oscar Perreiro (+1 min)
3) Andraus Kloden (+2.5)
4) Carlos Sastre (+5)
5) Cudel Evans

The time trial(57kms) on Saturday(22nd July) proved to be the decider after the mountain stage on Thursday. Landis finished a minute and a half before Perreiro and retained the Malliot Jaune. And Sastre who was second in the standings before the time trial didn't do well ion the time trial and his place in the overall standings was taken by Kloden who finished second in the time trial.

b) Polka dot(red on white) Jersey - This jersey goes to the rider with maximum points(best finish) in the mountain stages. Last year's title holder Rasmussen(the german rides the lightest bike in the tour with a weight just 0.5kgs above the minimum specification) who was asked to pace Menchov by his team in an early mountain stage was upset since he wanted to defend his title. The result of this was that Rasmussen lead from start to finish in the next mountain stage to retain the polka dot jersey in the KING OF THE MOUNTAINS classification. Rasmussen, a former mountain biker is good in the mountains but not a contender in the speedy time trials.

c) Green Jersey - This jersey goes to the one who consistently finishes(maximum points) across all the stages. This jersey is usually contended by sprinters who can accelerate really well in the last 200 metres of the stage to win the stage. The Australian, Robbie McCewen who has three stage (2,4 and 6) wins this tour retained the green jersey. Other promising sprinters who faded out later in the stage were Tom Boonen and Oscar Friere(pronounced fereira).

d) White Jersey - Awarded to the best young finisher, Damiano Cunego proved worthy of it this year.

e) Best team - Best overall team performance, which went to team T-Mobile.

I would also recommend a time-trial jersey, but since there are no more than two time trials a clear winner cannot be established. This year saw Serhei Honchar(ukraine), with his unique swinging-riding style finish first in both the time-trials.

The other aspect of the tour is the video footage. Using motorcyles and helicopters, the organisers get the tour well covered. Helicopters prove specially useful when a breakaway from the peloton occurs. From far above, you can clearly see the breakaway and any attempts by the riders from the peloton to curb the breakaway. The sophistication in technology used in the tour is amazing: right from carbon steel frames to aerodynamic helmets and other bike accessories to the onboard computers in cars that let the breakaway group or the chasing group(the group that's chasing the leading group, not necessarily the peloton) know how far away they are from the peloton.

The tour is indeed a culmination of excellent organisation, sponsors, technological sophistication, strategies, attacks and chases, pure effort(team and individual) and plenty of fluids and food without which the riders would have a hard time staying on the course.

Thursday, July 20, 2006

The fight for the Malliot Jaune

"I am here to win the Tour de France" was the reply given when he was asked to comment on his remarkable comeback in today's stage of the tour de france at the podium. At the start of the last mountain stage, the favourites for the yellow jersey were, the incumbent holder Perreiro, Menchov, Sastre, Dressel and a few others. But Floyd Landis was no where in the picture.
The reason for this was that at yesterdays mountain stage, he had lost 10 minutes to Perreiro coming to an overall loss of 8 minutes.
Coming into the last mountain stage today, no one expected Landis to contend for the top 5 fnish leave alone the yellow jersey, but after todays remarkable breakaway from the peloton, Landis managed to pile on a 7 minute lead which he held on till the finish of the 200.5 km mountain stage with steep ascents amounting to upto 10 degrees incline in the final 20kms. This stage saw none of the contenders in the main field attempting to close down the huge gap that Landis managed to create.
Evidently, everyone was tired after yesterday's mountain stage which saw Rasmussen take the lead in the King of the mountains classification, having lead the race from the start to finish.
Today's stage was an epic showdown by Landis, who had been written off by the Frech Press sometime back, when he held the yellow jersey, as some one who wasnt really worthy of it. Indeed, Landis hadn't won any stage so far. Coming into todays stage, Landis seemed like a man possessed. He didn't know what went wrong yesterday having cracked in the final 20 kms losing a huge 10 minutes. He made no excuses and today he was the man to reckon. Sinkewitz, who was sent to keep an eye on Landis when he brokeaway just trailed him and Landis wasn't bothered about Sinkewitz not doing any pacing as he wasnt in contention. Sinkewitz cracked in the final climb of the day as Landis surged ahead to keep the lead till the end.
At the podium, Landis was very laconic and impressed on the questioner that though he was happy about today's comeback he was here to win. As of today Perreiro leads in the overall classification, with Sastre 12 seconds behind and Landis 30 seconds back. So who's it going to be? Saturday's time trial should be the decider and my money's on Landis.

Thursday, July 13, 2006

A new reason to run

Wanna get high? No, not through smoking a joint, but naturally.
Here's a blog that tells you how...

To summarise the article:
While researching on how Marijuana gives stoners a high, researchers in UC Irvine discovered the CB(Cannabinoids)-1 receptor in the brain.

A receptor essentially is an entity in the body that gets triggered by a stimuli or trigger. The stimuli can be from within the body or could be an external substance.
The CB-1 receptor in the brain discovered by the researchers, gets triggered by a compound in Marijuana called THC(TetraHydroCannabinol) which gives stoners that feeling of high.
But THC is an external trigger(coming from Marijuana), could there possibly be an internal trigger for the same receptor, thought the researchers. And voila, they discovered Archidynolethanolamide, christined anandamide(Anand - sanskrit for bliss). Anandamide they found triggered the CB-1 receptor in the brain and this anandamide is released in huge quantities during intense exercise over prolonged periods. Instances of such exercises:
Tempo runs(80% VO2 for more than 25 minutes),long runs(over 1.5 hrs), long periods of cycling, rowing, etc.

The feeling experienced when the CB-1 receptor is triggered internally(i.e. through anandamide produced during intense exercise) is the same as when triggered externally(by THC contained in Marijuana), namely: carefree mood, high spirits, relaxed body, etc. The advantage of the former trigger mechanism over the latter being the lack of any side-effects.

So the next time you think why people are so crazy enough to run or cycle for such long durations, think again: they have a reason!

Kennenisa Bekele with the WR

Robbie Mcewen and steve o'grady - The 'Nudge'