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Saturday, May 2, 2009

'Its not about the bike, or is it?'

When Lance Armstrong brought out his book 'Its not about the bike' .
I was totally sold on the message.
I often used the phrase when people blamed their bikes for poor performance or bad attitude.
Each time they winged on about their bikes or various parts of them, I was often rude and quite dismissive.
I would just say 'Its not about the bike'.
Now I find myself eating some of those words.
Furthrer more I wish to humbly apologise to all those I may have offended in the past.
Sometimes it is about 'the bike' !!!!!!
For Lance the application of his message was quite unique and personal and should be taken in that context.
It was about his personal bravery in fighting and beating cancer and was enough to inspire anybody. For Lance it did not stop there. He marched right back into the arena and embraced probably the most physically demanding sport in the world - and won.
Not once, but continuously for seven years despite the envy and hostility of the 'Garlic munchers'. It was a truly amazing achievement of defiance and dogged determination.
Through 'The Alps' and 'Pyrenees', passing miles of dazzling sunflower fields and onto the Arc de Triomphe to sip the champagne of victory.
I have always found it ironic that it was the french that gave the USA the Statue of Liberty , a symbol of Liberty and freedom. Yet it was the 'froggies', through L'Equipe ,that gave Lance no Freedom or Liberty, but they certainly took a few (Liberties that is).
In the title of his book Lance seemingly dismisses his 'mule' that took him so many miles, through the endurance of so much pain which accompanies such an event.
In reality he was just highlighting the more significant components of road racing - from the carriage (his bike), to the engine and the transmission (his engine and mindset)
Let Lance Explain
Now although I knew what it was all about, I do feel a bit of compassion for Lances bike?
I bet it was upset.
If I had written a book with such a title 'Scott' would have sulked forever and would never take me up any hills ever again.
I also think that the message does not always apply.
Maybe Lance should have shown some respect for his Mule
His bike was one part, of a dominating duo.
Tested in wind tunnels, every aspect of it was designed for both lightness and Aero dynamic qualities.
Built for speed rather than comfort it had the linear qualities of a stealth fighter with similar pace.
The net result was something as light as a honey coated waffle, and just as sweet.
In the arena of professional road racing the difference between each bikes performance is minimal, you could swap all the bikes around with the riders and it would have very little effect on the result. But races are won and lost by seconds and the attention to detail is as important psychologically as it is practically.
Now with my bike its very different.
My Aluminium Scott s40 Speedster 2007.
It is wind tested in Britain's Northerly Gales. with its triple set, it is designed to get tubby men up big hills, as well as down the other side.
It is built for comfort rather than speed and has the linear qualities of a heavily laden beer truck.
It moves just as slowly up hill and as quickly down hill as if the hand brake were disengaged.

The net result is something as heavy as a large tub of Ben and Jerries, which we all know that once consumed, its not entirely good for you.
In the arena of amateur cycling the difference between each bikes performance is massive, you could swap all the bikes around and you would be surprised to see some 'donut eaters' well up the rankings.
In the amateur world Lance 'It is often about the bike' !!!!!!!!!!
When I was cycling in Texas I only used cool Lance type bikes.
My lowest average was 19 mph, with it being 20+ mph at times.
This was with my heart rate at an acceptable level.
On Scott my average usually only peaks at about 17 mph, when I spend half my ride in the red zone.
Now Lance might say that I should increase my power/weight ratio by loosing some lard.
He would agree that it would definitely make me go faster.
I would totally agree too.
So I have set myself a new challenge starting with a weigh in on Monday.
By the time I take part in my next major charity ride.
'Hotter than Hell' Texas in August
I want to be 40lbs lighter.

Having sampled the joy of heading a pace line I want more of it.
Once I had tasted the Champagne of the Champs Elysees,
Spring water now tastes a bit bland.
So now my head is full of new bikes, and dreams of wearing my own yellow jersey
With an empty wallet and biting recession, I am not quite ready to sell my soul to the devil.
There must be a way.
I could contact my benevolent brother Paddy and volunteer to ride as his full time domestique in the greatest traditions of team racing.
He would surely not have me riding a shoeless mule.
What a great idea
Paddy The Scott CR 1 Team would be just the ticket.
Cheers Bros


  1. 40 lbs is a lot of weight to lose by August. I'm looking to lose 25 and that's going to be tough. Keep us informed of your progress.

  2. Losing the weight will be easy Phil & I will do the same.

    As for the Shiny Scott a lifetime of "Domestique Duties" and keeping me inspired will certainly help. Lets see if we can make it happen.

  3. That is an awful lot of Weight,I still think in the Old Imperial Measures when it comes to my Weight 3st bar 2 LBS.

    I have managed to lose 13 Pounds myself from 16st 4 lbs down to 15st 5 lbs. I am finding it hard to lose any more. I lose a Pound or two then put it back on again. If I can get it down to 14 st it would be great.

    I am getting Nervous and Twitchy again I am thinking of going off Touring. This time I would love to go to the Continent. The Recession is Hard going but I am thinking of Splurging on a decent Touring bike and go off to France.

    The last time I lost 40 Pounds was when I was Sick and had an Operation 8 Years ago but put it back on again over two years.

    The best of Luck losing the Weight.

  4. I read this book and I think it is really good...
    it did motivate me...
    Maybe I should get read back to this book again.

  5. It sometimes *is* about the bike, as you know. I just ordered my second bicycle, a folding bike. When I have to run errands, I have to put my huge comfort bike on the bus to travel the 25 miles to the next town (there's virtually nothing here in the tiny town in which I live). With its two large baskets and all the bells and whistles of a bicycle used as a car (I gave my van away because I can make do with just my bike), it's incredibly heavy. So heavy that it's almost impossible for me to lift it onto the rack on the bus and I come home with an arm full of bruises. The folder is 32 pounds...light enough that I can get it onto the rack much more easily, and if there's no room on the rack, I can just fold it, put it in its bag, and bring it on the bus. I haven't told my giant bicycle yet...I think she'll take the news well, though. She knows she's loved. :)


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