Friday, November 30, 2007

Sirtris drug may fight diseases of age

Champion cyclist Lance Armstrong (center) has more powerful mitochondria, the "power packs of the cell," a Harvard professor says. Sirtris Pharmaceuticals drug molecules could help boost patients' mitochondria. Human testing begins next year.

Scientists at Sirtris Pharmaceuticals Inc. say they have created a drug that mimics the ingredient in red wine linked to longevity and the cell structures that power endurance athletes like cycling champion Lance Armstrong.

The new molecule is 1,000 times more potent than the wine derivative, resveratrol, and could lead to solutions for diseases of aging, including cancer and diabetes, according to authors of a study in today's issue of the journal Nature.

Researchers tested about 500,000 molecules for abilities to activate the immune-system booster SIRT1, the enzyme credited with resveratrol's ability to extend lifespans 30 to 70 percent in organisms from yeast and worms to flies and mice.

Human testing on the most promising ones will begin next year, said David Sinclair, an author of the study.

"These are real drugs. This is not something out of red wine anymore," said Sinclair, a professor of pathology at Harvard Medical School and cofounder of Cambridge-based Sirtris. The study is "proof of a principle that you can put something into the food supply that will ward off and treat the diseases of aging in a single pill."

Sirtris's stock rose 7.8 percent to $18.38 yesterday. The company, which went public in May, had seen its share price climb 71 percent through Tuesday.

Mice and rats given three of the molecules responded like those in other experiments testing extreme calorie-restricting diets, even though the rodents continued to eat and weigh the same. They showed increased insulin sensitivity, lower blood-sugar levels, and more powerful mitochondria, the "power packs of the cell" that diminish with age.

"That's where it gets interesting," Sinclair said.

If you give resveratrol to a normal mouse, it can run twice as far because it has many more mitochondria, he said. Seven-time Tour de France winner Lance Armstrong has extra mitochondria that power his endurance abilities, Sinclair said.

"The goal is not to make Lance Armstrongs of everyone, but you can imagine that it would boost the energy of someone who is frail and weak," Sinclair said.

Sirtris has about 140 patents and patent applications related to the so-called aging gene, and some of the most effective treatments for boosting SIRT1 were discovered after the Nature study was submitted for publication a year ago, Sinclair said. Results from animal studies of those drugs will be released next year, he said.

Sirtris was founded by Sinclair, chairman of its scientific board, and Christoph Westphal, the chief executive, to study activators of SIRT1 and its related class of enzymes. Other treatments for diseases of aging rely on complicated technology that may take years to develop, Westphal said.

The sirtuin gene was first reported by Leonard Guarente, a biology professor at Massachusetts Institute of Technology whose lab also discovered the aging benefits of restricted diets in mice. Sinclair, his post-doctoral student at the time, moved to Harvard in 1999 to develop drugs that could act in the same way. He discovered resveratrol in 2003

Thursday, November 29, 2007

Bjorn Andersson Checks In With

You just finished Ironman World Championship 70,3 in Clearwater with a fantastic bike split! How does it feel to have a raced 90 km in under 2 hours?

I was happy with going under 2h but I would have liked to follow it up with a better run of course.

After the Clearwater race, you wrote on forum ” I went too hard on the bike today at Clearwater 70.3.”. Do you feel that you didn´t make a good race in Clearwater?

The race was a big goal for the year for me and I was in good shape coming in but I had to change my plans early in the bike ride from having good race overall to go for the bike preems once I noticed how hard it was to get away from the packs. It wasn't so much the pace itself during the bike but the sustained changes of pace needed to get away from everyone that killed my race. I jogged in to finish the race and came in quite far down in the field so in that respect it was a pretty bad race. It was a conscious decision I made though so I could at least make some money on the bike when the race turned out the way it did. I know I have no shot at the overall if I can't get a bigger gap before the run.

Your Norseman 2005 race, was probably through the worst weather condition in the Norseman history. Tell us abour your race.

Norseman was a great experience and one of the few races that stand out from the run of the mill ironman races around the world so I really enjoyed that. The race itself was very though and very cold that year which suits me so I had a really good race. One of the better ones I've had overall actually. The last section of 5km up to the race finish on the small trail with the strong wind and snow really put me in a lot of trouble though since my body temp started to drop. I was really happy there was a warm cafe at the top and that I didn't have to walk the whole way down again since I'm not sure I'd have made it then.

Some athletes claim that Norseman Xtreme Triathlon is among the thoughest race in the world. What is your opinion?

There are no easy iron distance races but of course Norseman is one of the most challenging ones. Tthat's also what makes it more interesting than some of the other races and even though I'm by no means a great climber I enjoyed the hilly terrain.

Were you reasonably reckognised for winning Norseman, or was it a waste of energy in terms of publicity?
Publicity is always good when you're trying to make a living off a sport but that’s not the reason I decided to do Norseman. I did it because I thought it was cool race and as a bonus, contrary to what I thought, I actually did end up getting some pretty good press from it. So it was worthwhile in many ways.

Since your Norseman race, you seem to have choosen to race mostly ½ Ironman distance races. Why is this?

I've had problems with Ironman races and haven't really completed a lot of good ones so I decided to do more halfs which I know suits me well. I needed to get some more consistent results so the fact that it's possible to race more of them and that I was better at them made it a natural choice. Ironman is cool but it takes a really long preparation and recovery phase so you only really have a few chances each year to get it right which can get pretty frustrating at times when things go wrong. It's more fun for me to be able to race big races more often.

You are known for your awesome bike skills! Can you tell us how you train this time of year? In the Off-season?

I have about two months in November and December when I don’t really do any kind of structured training. I feel like I need a good break to be able to keep training and racing the rest of the year without getting burned out. Anyway during this time I do some training in each three disciplines but only when I feel like it and usually stuff that I don’t do during the season like going out on my cyclocross bike on gravel roads.

Any good advise for bike training in Scandinavia and northern Europe in the winter time?

The best advice would be to travel someplace warmer.. Seriously though I prefer riding outdoors at all costs compared to being inside on the trainer during winter time. A cyclocross bike is perfectly suited for this and with some studded tires I personally think it’s more worthwhile to ride outside even though road conditions are bad with snow and ice.

What do you have coming up for the next season?

Having just finished this season I’m still not quite sure about my schedule next season. The only thing I know is that I’ll start off by going to New Zeeland in January to host a triathlon camp with Bryan Rhodes. See for more details on that. My first race will probably be California 70.3.

We have noticed you will be racing a new bike next year. Tell us about your sponsors. Bike, Wheels, Sadle etc.

For next season I’m working with Qroo, Hed, R&A cycles, Fuel Belt, Giro, Oakley, Rotor, Fit multisports and possibly a few other ones that are not quite finalized yet.

Wednesday, November 28, 2007


He stood under the Arc de Triomphe—a cyclist’s gateway to celebrations—four months ago. But Alberto Contador still has to hustle to keep up with his social calendar.

Last Friday found him in Chiclana in Cadiz, a place that’s crazy about sports, especially cycling. Alberto visited Chiclana to attend the annual Sports Gala of the Vipren Foundation. The event is the creation of ex-cyclist Federico Bahamontes, the “Eagle of Toledo.”

Bahamontes, 79, can easily identify with Contador. A climbing specialist, he became Spain’s first Tour winner in 1959, going on to claim six KOMs. Contador, the fifth Spaniard to wear yellow, is following the Eagle’s career flight path. He may soar even higher.

Contador was the chief honoree among more than 40 athletes from different disciplines. One of many notables was former Olympic cyclist José Manuel Moreno (gold medal, Barcelona, 1992). The two men together in the same room brought to mind a question. Will Contador seek to follow Moreno’s example in Beijing?

For now, one thing is clear: He’s had enough champagne and caviar. “I’ve got to cut out the galas because it’s time to concentrate, and I’ve already begun to get ready for next season.”

Alberto commented about this and other matters to MARCA.

You haven’t gotten much vacation?

It’s true, I admit that mentally I’ve hardly had a chance to rest, but I’m already feeling the desire to get on the bike and start again.

Have you paid a price for your Tour victory?

It’s not so much that it’s been hard, it’s just different. I’ve had commitments in other years, too, but I never had to turn any of them down. This year, I haven’t had time for myself or my family. But I’ve tried to make the best of it.

When do you to plan to return to training?

I’ve started walking in the mountains a little (I’ve spent a few days hunting…or trying to). Next week I’ll starting going out on the mountain bike and some days I’ll also go to the gym. Soon, little by little, more and more bicycle and less of all the others, although there’s no hurry, because I can reach form very fast and I’m not interested in rushing things.

Have you already designed your training program with Johan Bruyneel for 2008?

No, not yet, but I don’t think there will be any big changes from this year because things have gone so well for me.

Will we see, therefore, a complete winner of the Tour de France fighting for the victory in Paris-Nice?

Yes, why not? I like to go to the important races at a good level and ride to win. The problem, in any case, will be after the Tour, because it’s an Olympic year and if I’m on the Olympic team, I won’t be able to ride in the Vuelta a España so soon after.

About the Olympic Games, it’s been said that you’re not a rider of one-day races.

But that’s a special race, one that only comes along every four years, plus I hear—I don’t know if it’s true—that it’s very difficult because it has a 12 km hill that’s climbed six times. If it’s true, it could work out very well for me, although it wouldn’t bother me to work for Oscar Freire and Alejandro Valverde if the circuit isn’t as demanding as I’ve been told.

Let’s talk about the Tour, your great objective. Are you already feeling pressure?

If so, only a little, although I’m really going to notice it when I go to races and find myself surrounded by the peloton. But I’m conscious that if I feel pressure it’s because I’ve won it, so I tell myself if I’ve won it once, I can win it again. To me, that’s motivating.

Do you have confidence in your possibilites?

Yes, I’ve always believed in myself, but now, after the successes of this year, I know that I can keep winning.

So, do you see yourself winning the Tour again?

I’ve got a lot to do. Before, I dreamed about winning, and now, after winning it once, I dream about going back and winning it again. Before long there’ll be many factors influencing me, but I do sincerely see myself with possibilities. And to do it, I’m counting on the best possible team at my disposal.

Astana is not Discovery.

Hincapie and Popovych are gone, but I’m still counting on Noval, Paulinho, and Vaitkus in the flat stages, Leipheimer and Brajkovic for the tough times. Horner has been a valuable addition, Rubiera has a great deal of experience, Dani Navarro is very young…He won’t need to be babied by the team or the director, because he knows how to handle the race as well as anybody else.

Who will your rivals be?

Evans, my teammate Leipheimer, Klöden…and some young guys like Andy Schleck, or maybe, if he finally catches fire, Thomas Dekker. Without forgetting Valverde, Sastre, Menchov…I don’t see just one especially dangerous rival, there are several.

And the Vuelta?

I’m not forgetting about it. But if I do the Olympics it will be difficult to ride the Vuelta, because when I go to the Vuelta, I want to do it in optimal condition, and I’ll have to wait a year or more for that. I have a huge desire to try to win it, but the conditions must be right. Neither this year nor next year.

Are you ready to say goodbye to the good life?

Good life? The good life is training. I need to have something going on in my head, I need a work routine, a goal…It’s easier for me to train than to be happy rubbing elbows with the whole world.

Has it occurred to you, quietly, that you’re in the same position as Armstrong, your idol?

I still don’t see myself that way. I saw him and he was incredible. However, being here has always been what I loved, my dream. I like it. Hopefully it will be like this for many years.

Translation by Adolfo Cortes, introduction by Rebecca Bell.

Subscriptions to the Alberto Contador Fans Notebook are available by contacting

Monday, November 26, 2007

Alberto Contador Aims For Tour #2 In 2008

Alberto Contador is out to prove his 2007 Tour de France victory was no fluke.

The Spanish climber says he's ready to get back to the business of training and preparing for the 2008 Tour after a busy off-season that's included a seemingly endless stream of publicity appearances.

"With so many commitments I've hardly had time to rest, but I'm ready to get back on the bike and begin again from zero," he told MARCA during a break at an award's ceremony in Spain. "I need to stop these and get back to work."

Besides scores of post-Tour criteriums, Contador's hardly raced since his surprise Tour victory.

That will change in the coming weeks as Astana is set for its first team camp with new team manager Johan Bruyneel.

The reigning Tour champ admits he's already feeling some pressure coming into a new season.

"I'll really feel it when the racing starts and I have all the world watching me," Contador said. "But I am also conscious that if I have the pressure it's because I've won and I tell myself, if I've won it once, I can win it again. That's what motivates me."

Contador has never been lacking of confidence. He was largely hyped as a future Tour winner when he shot out of the blue last year to step calmly into the void left vacant by the controversial departure of race leader Michael Rasmussen.

"I've always had self-confidence, but now, after the year I've had, I know that I can keep winning," he continued. "We'll see how things go. Before, I only dreamed about winning, now, after winning once, I dream of winning again. There are other factors, but I see myself with options."

Contador counted Astana teammate Levi Leipheimer along with Cadel Evans and Andreas Kloden as the most dangerous rivals. He also pointed to Andy Schleck and Thomas Dekker as possible surprises and also listed Alejandro Valverde, Carlos Sastre and Denis Menchov as would-be challengers to his throne.

"There's not just one, there are several," he said.

Contador said he hasn't had a chance to sit down with Bruyneel to plan his 2008 racing schedule, but added it likely wouldn't change too much from this season "considering that things went pretty well this season."

Last year, Contador won Paris-Nice and then built up his fitness through racing some select races leading into July. He also put a question mark on whether he'd race the Vuelta a Espana, which he also skipped this year.

What will change for 2008 are the Summer Olympic Games in Beijing. Although he's no one-day rider, Contador said he'd love to go.

"I've heard the course is very hard, though I don't know for sure, that there's a climb of 12km that's climbed six times," he said. "If it's true, then it could be good for me, though I wouldn't mind working for Freire and Valverde if the course isn't as hard as they say it is."

Jonas Colting Wins 2007 Ultraman

2004 Ultraman winner Jonas Colting of Boras, Sweden led wire-to-wire, finishing with a conservative, third-best 7:16:31 double marathon. His 21:59:57 finish - 16 minutes worse than his near-record 2004 race - left him with the fourth-best Ultraman men's time ever for the 320-mile, three-day triathlon stage race founded in 1983.

"This year was a lot harder than 2004," said Colting. "The first day currents on the swim cost me 14 minutes, and led to nutrition problems and cramps which depleted my strength for the final two days. Still, I'm excited to win here again in a race that stays true to the roots of the sport."

Brazil's 2003 and 2005 Ultraman champion Alexandre Ribeiro of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, overcame a costly off-course excursion on Saturday's 171.4-mile bike, finishing with the second-best men's run of 6:38:53, which left him in second place overall in 23:05:04.

Tim Sheeper, a 44-year-old triathlon coaching executive from Menlo Park, California, and another Ultraman rookie, dropped from second place overall to third on the final day. His final day double marathon of 7:24:17 gave him an overall time 14 minutes behind Ribeiro and a spot on the podium.

Steady Peter Mueller, a 45-year-old Swissair employee from Zurich, stayed steady all three days to finish in 24:29:51. His 4th place against a tough field joined his two previous third place finishes.

Miro Kregar, a 43-year-old telecommunications worker and triathlon coach from Slovenia, came back from a broken crank and slow times on a borrowed bike on Saturday to finish with the fastest run of the day. Kregar's 6:27:58 run advanced him from 9th place to 5th with a finishing time of 24:45:26.

Sunday, November 25, 2007

Colting extends leads on Day Two of Ultraman

Hawi, Hawaii - Sweden's Jonas Colting overcame his Day 1 cramping calves from hell to take a formidable lead after two days in the 23rd Ultraman, while Texas ultra star Shanna Armstrong fought off a determined bike by an Ultra rookie to claim a big lead in her quest to win an unprecedented fourth Ultraman crown.

Colting, a two-time ITU long course world championship medalist pro embracing this purists' race-for-free classic, fell 16 minutes off his own near-record pace while winning the 2004 Ultraman, but his blazing 171.4-mile second day bike increased his overall lead to an imposing 71 minutes at the end of the second day.

Colting rode a third-best ever Ultraman men's second day bike of 7:34:16 to a total elapsed time of 14:42:13 to give him a 71 minutes 35 second margin over second placed Tim Sheeper of Menlo Park, California going into Sunday's 52.4-mile double marathon finale.

"Things are much better today, said Colting. "But I don't even want to think about going for the record any more."

Colting's 3:12 first marathon in 2004 was followed by a 4:12 closing 26.2 miles and the untrained ultra novice missed Holger Speigel's 1998 Ultraman course record by 17 seconds. This year, Colting has to run 6:58:08 to break the 10-year-old Ultraman mark. He ran 7:14 in 2004, closing with a hobbling 4:02 marathon.

His only chance, it seems, will be to try to key off his third place competitor's usual sub-6:50 double marathon pace. Despite an uncharacteristic bonehead off-course excursion that cost him nearly 30 minutes, 2003 and 2005 Ultraman World Champion Alexandre Ribeiro of Brazil still posted an 8:21:58 ride which left him third overall - 1 hour 44 minutes and 58 seconds behind Colting.

"Sometimes I drink too much water and coke and I forget where I am," said Ribeiro. "I missed the turn in Waimea and rode 10 minutes down hill toward the ocean instead of turning toward the Kohalas."

Sheeper, the sleeper in the field, said he finished the day "deep bone tired" and was somewhat bemused and taken aback by being so competitive. "I came here to celebrate the end of my racing as a professional,"said the 44-year-old multisport coaching executive who once upon a time was a top-five contender in the old USTS Olympic distance series. "I didn't come here to race. I just wanted to do it, talk to my crew and have a good time. But then I got caught up in this race by leaderboards and time clocks. I got sucked in and I got mad at myseklf for getting sucked in."

Ultraman is a unique, three-day triathletic circumnavigation of the Big Island of Hawaii held annually on the weekend after Thanksgiving. Friday starts with a 10km swim from Kailua Pier to Keauhou Bay, then evolves into a tough 90-mile bike ride over 8,700-feet of climbing to Volcanoes National Monument. Saturday continues with a 171.4-mile bike ride over 8,600 feet of climbing from Volcanoes to Hawi. And Sunday this band of overdistance gypsies wraps things up with a 52.8-mile double marathon along the Queen K Highway from Hawi to Kona.

Day Two Results

Individual Men
1. Jonas Colting (Swe) Day 1 - 7:08:57 - Day 2 - 7:34:16 TOT 14:43:13
2. Tim Sheeper (USA) Day 1 -7:52:48 - Day 2 - 8:012:58 TOT 15:54:56
3. Alexandre Ribeiro (Bra) D 1 - 8:04:20- Day 2 - 8:21:51 TOT 16:26:11
4. Peter Mueller (Sui) Day 1 - 8:24:30- Day 2 - 8:19:24 TOT 16:43:54
5. Scott Gower (USA) Day 1 - 8:20:24 - Day 2 - 8:31:33 TOT 16:51:57
6. Josef Ajram (Esp) Day 1 - 8:37:37- Day 2- 8:14:29 TOT 16:52:06
7. Trevor King (USA) Day 1 - 8:31:19 - Day 2 - 8:40:13 TOT 17:11:32
8. Gary Wang (USA) Day 1 - 8:55:33 - Day 2 - 8:32:53 TOT 17:28:26
9. Miro Kregar (Slo) Day 1 - 9:12:30 - Day 2 - 9:04:58 TOT 18:17:28
10. Marty Raymond (Can) Day 1 - 8:55:08 - Day 2 - 9:41:xx TOT 18:36:57
11. Jeff Landauer (USA) Day 1 - 10:11:26 -Day 2- 8:30:37 TOT 18:42:03
12. Kari Martens (Swe) Day 1 - 10:20:42 - Day 2 - 8:46:12 TOT 19:06:54

Saturday, November 24, 2007

Colting, Armstrong lead Day One of Ultraman

By: Timothy Carlson

VOLCANOES NATIONAL MONUMENT, Hawaii - The two-time ITU long course World Championship medalist from Sweden lay on the grass in Hawaii's Volcanoes National Park not to celebrate opening a 43-minute lead but to pay the Ultra price.

Jonas Colting winced in pain and tried to hold his throbbing calf after swimming 10km in a race-best 2 hours 26 minutes and biking 90 miles with 8,700 feet of steep climbing in similarly superior 4 hours 42 minutes on the opening day of the three day Ultraman Triathlon World Championship.

His first day total of 7 hours 8 minutes and 57 seconds led Tim Sheeper of Menlo Park, California and two-time Ultraman winner Alexandre Ribeiro of Brazil by nearly an hour. But all Colting could do was stare at his huge calf muscle as it throbbed and contracted like a horror movie.

"I've got the movie monster from Alien inside my legs, trying to get out" said Colting to his support crew. "Give me salt pills!"

Almost precisely two hours later, three-time defending champion Shanna Armstrong of Texas held nasty infected blisters on her neck and back and wondered where she might find some pain pills. "I wore a fastskin suit for the swim to avoid wetsuit chafing and look what I got - infected cuts!" said the 33-year-old ultra star from the Lone Star State.

The woman who shares a domination of her endurance sport and a last name with a world famous Lance was happy about her 44-minute lead over Ultraman rookie Iona McKenzie of Golden, Colorado. And despite fighting a wicked late shoreline current that slowed her 2006 swim by 24 minutes, Armstrong had to feel good about her 3 hours 10 minute swim and 5 hours 58 minute swim.

But there's something about an Ultraman that takes an unholy high pain threshold to get the most out of this unique, three-day triathletic circumnavigation of the Big Island of Hawaii held annually on the weekend after Thanksgiving.

After all, Friday starts with a 10km swim from Kailua Pier to Keauhou Bay, then evolves into a tough 90-mile bike ride over 8,700-feet of climbing to Volcanoes National Monument. Saturday continues with a 171.4-mile bike ride over 8,600 feet of climbing from Volcanoes to Hawi. And Sunday this band of overdistance gypsies wraps things up with a 52.8-mile double marathon along the Queen K Highway from Hawi to Kona.

That is along way to work off a Turkey dinner.

At the end of this first day, Colting's ambition to avenge his 17-second loss of the course record fell 15 minutes behind his torrid 2004 pace.

Ultraman rookie Tim Sheeper of Menlo Park, California hung tough with a second-best 2:38:48 swim and a 5:14:00 bike to finish the day in second place in 7:52:48 and outpace 2005 and 2007 Ultraman World Champion Alexandre Ribeiro of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil by 11 minutes.

While there was no surprise that Armstrong led a strong women's field, 37-year-old Ultraman rookie Iona McKenzie shocked Ultraman veterans with a second best ever first day bike total of 5:48:09 - better than any of Armstrong's first day bikes and topped in Ultraman history only by 1985 Ultraman champion Ardis Bow's ride.

McKenzie, whose only previous notable triumph was her 2006 win against a small field at the inaugural 24 Hours of Triathlon in Boulder, rocketed from 5th woman to 2nd with her an outstanding ride.

Finishing third woman, just 2 minutes 40 seconds back of McKenzie, was another Ultraman rookie, 43-year-old Ann Heaslett of Madison, Wisconsin, whose 3:55:05 swim and very respectable 6:00:53 bike left this notable ultra-runner with hope for Sunday's double marathon. If Heaslett can withstand Saturday's 171.4-mile bike ride, she is then free to unleash a killer run that propelled her to a PR sub-16 hour 100-mile run in 2002. If Armstrong doesn't have more than an hour advantage over Heaslett by the end of the bike, this epic struggle could be barn burner close.

On a sunny, hot, windy day after Thanksgiving, 30 of 31 individual competitors managed to finish within the 12-hour time limit. Only recent Ultraman Canada winner Scott Beasley pulled out with ailments before finishing the bike. Mike Rouse, an accomplished 17-time 100-mile ultra-runner, made the cutoff time with just 46 seconds to spare. Defending champion Jeff Landauer of Roseville California was struck with debilitating cramps on the swim, but managed to struggle to an honorable 10 hour 11 minute finish in 16th place.

23rd Ultraman World Championship
Day One
Kailua-Kona to Volcanoes National Monument, Hawaii
November 23, 2007
S 6.2 mi/ B 90 mi

Day One Results


1. Jonas Colting (Swe) Swim 2:26:21 Bike 4:42:36 TOT 7:08:57
2. Tim Sheeper (Menlo Park CA) Swim 2:38:48 Bike 5:14:00 TOT 7:52:48
3. Alexandre Ribeiro (Bra) Swim 3:07:53 Bike 4:56:27 TOT 8:04:20
4. Scott Gower (Atascadero CA) Swim 2:48:14 Bike 5:32:10 TOT 8:20:24
5. Peter Mueller (Swi) Swim 3:01:48 Bike 5:22:42 TOT 8:24:30
6. Trevor King ( ) Swim 2:54:56 Bike 5:36:234 TOT 8:31:19
7. Jozef Ajram (Esp) Swim 3:34:22 Bike 5:03:15 TOT 8:37:37
8. Marty Raymond (Can) Swim 2:44:54 Bike 6:10:11 TOT 8:55:05
9. Gary Wang (Corte Madera CA) Swim 3:34:12 Bike 5:21:21 TOT 8:55:33
10. Miro Kregar (Slo) Swim 3:27:31 Bike 5:44:59 TOT 9:12:30


1. Shanna Armstrong (Lubbock TX) Swim 3:10:53 Bike 5:58:18 TOT 9:09:11
2. Iona McKenzie (Golden CO) Swim 4:05:07 Bike 5:48:09 TOT 9:53:18
3. Ann Heaslett (Madison WI) Swim 3:55:05 Bike 6:00:53 TOT 9:55:58
4. Venuza Maciel (Bra) Swim 4:00:46 Bike 6:17:33 TOT 10:18:19
5. Suzy Degazon (Glendora CA) Swim 4:18:28 Bike 6:08:15 TOT 10:26:44
6. Michelle Santilhano (Menlo Park CA/ RSA) S 3:44:40 B 6:47:57 TOT 10:32:37
7. Toni Barstis (Niles MI) Swim 4:17:41 Bike 7:00:31 TOT 11:18:12

Thursday, November 22, 2007

Locals Take On Ned Overend

Adding to the excitement of flying bean bag turkeys being tossed for extra series points was the appearance of Ned Overland, the godfather of cross country mountain biking, for the elite men's race. The question of the day was how would "Deadly Nedly" – best known for his UCI Mountain Bike World Championship Gold in 1990 and Bronze in 1991 and six US National Mountain Bike Championship titles 1986, '87, '89, '90, '91, '92 – handle the infamous Entradero Park hill and the new turn with its three log barriers. Overend, racing for Specialized, put the hurt on the younger riders for most of the race but in the end it was Team Bearclaw's Fritz Bottger taking the win ahead of Jason Lowetz and Overend.

Another surprise took place in the Masters 45+ race. The addition of the 'cross friendly triple logs enabled the 'cross specialists to edge out the top mountain biker Eddie Arnet. Masters 45+ series leader Arnet fell behind Jim Pappe and Michael Longmire (who came all the way from Montana) to end up in third. But Arnet retained his series lead over Dave Hnatiuk.

A huge turnout of Shimano Youth racers 12 & under topped the day's attendance at over 150 riders. A random cash giveout by junior Duncan Reid to the elite men's category again entertained the crowd, particularly when Lyle Warner edged out Brandon Gritters for one of the cash grabs.

Urban Cyclocross Series Event #4 will happen at Camp James in Irvine, California on December 16. It will be hosted by Encore Cycling.


Elite men

1 Fritz Bottger
2 Jason Lowetz
3 Ned Overend

Masters 45+ men

1 Jim Pappe
2 Michael Longmire
3 Eddie Arnet

Monday, November 19, 2007

Torres Is Getting Older, but Swimming Faster

Dara Torres, the fastest female swimmer in America, plunged toward the bottom of the pool, like a child scavenging for coins. She came up for a breath, grinning. The lanes next to hers pulsed with swimmers pushing themselves through 100- and 200-meter timed sprints, but Torres was under orders from her coach to rest, the better to let her 40-year-old body recover.

It was a Friday, the end of another unorthodox training week for Torres, a four-time Olympian who is doing less in the water to wring more results out of a swimming career that was supposed to have run dry by now.

Her day had begun just after dawn in the weight room, where she worked her legs until they quivered and her arms until they ached — without pressing a weight or lifting a dumbbell. The 90-minute workout was the first leg of her training triathlon. It was followed by 90 minutes of swimming and 60 minutes of stretching.

Torres’s training is cutting edge so that her personal pharmacy does not have to be. A nine-time Olympic medalist who made her first Olympic team in 1984, Torres is at a short-course meet in Berlin this weekend, representing the United States in the freestyle sprints in her last competition of the year. She has the 2008 Summer Games in her sights after winning the 100 freestyle and setting a United States record in the 50 freestyle at the national championships in August.

In a one-lap race, where personal bests are typically whittled by hundredths of a second, Torres’s progression is astounding. Her age adds to the intrigue. What she is doing would be akin to Roger Clemens’s throwing a fastball harder now, at 45, than he did 20 years ago or goaltender Ed Belfour’s coming out of retirement at 42 to post his career-best save percentage.

“I think what Dara’s doing is fantastic,” said Gary Hall Sr., who was 25 and considered ancient — his teammates nicknamed him the Old Man and the Sea — when he swam in his third Olympics in 1976. “It proves that we really don’t know what the peak age of performance is.”

For every person who marvels at Torres’s motor, there are others who wonder what kind of fuel she is putting in her tank. It is the nature of a sport that lost its squeaky-clean image long ago. Beginning in the late 1960s with East Germany’s state-supported doping program and continuing through the 1990s with a rash of failed drug tests by the Chinese, the pool has turned into a breeding ground for skeptics, suspicion and cynicism.

“Behind my back people are saying I must be using something,” Torres said. “I know it. I hear it.”

She has been tested for performance-enhancing drugs more than half a dozen times this year, and the results have been negative, said Mark Schubert, the national team’s coach and general manager. At Torres’s request, her blood is being drawn regularly so she can be tested for illegal substances like human growth hormone that cannot be detected in urine.

“My attitude is, bring it on,” Torres said. “Do what you have to do to prove I’m clean.”

Torres has ridden the wave of popular opinion from crest to crash. In 1994, she was the first athlete to appear alongside supermodels in Sports Illustrated’s swimsuit issue, her face instantly recognizable as belonging to the golden girl who graced the American 4x100 freestyle relay team that beat the big, bad East Germans at the 1992 Olympics and bettered their world record.

In 2000, when she returned to the sport after a six-year layoff and won five medals at the Sydney Olympics, Torres became the face of innuendo, her success grist for the rumor mill. The rumors troubled Michael Lohberg, the coach at Coral Springs Swim Club in Florida. While working with West German swimmers in the 1980s, Lohberg saw how destructive steroid use could be to the health of the users and the emotional well-being of their pursuers who were clean.

One swimmer he worked with was Birgit Schulz, an individual medley specialist who later became his wife. At the 1986 world championships, Schulz placed sixth in the 200 individual medley. Four of the finishers ahead of her were from Eastern bloc nations where steroid use was considered rampant.

Seeing her frustration crystallized Lohberg’s stance on performance-enhancing drugs: he did not condone them and would not coach anyone who used them.

In late 2005, while pregnant with her first child, Torres began swimming three or four times a week at the Coral Springs Aquatic Complex, where Lohberg’s club is based. After giving birth to her daughter, Tessa Grace, in April 2006, Torres raced in two masters meets and posted times that were competitive with the world’s elite swimmers, emboldening her to try another comeback. She asked Lohberg if he would coach her, and he sat her down to have The Talk.

He asked Torres if she had ever used performance-enhancing drugs. “For myself, I needed to have this clear before we started anything,” Lohberg said.

Torres recalled, “I said, ‘Why do you ask that?’ and he said, ‘Because that’s what everybody was talking about on the deck in Sydney.’”

She assured Lohberg that she would never use drugs. After they began working together, he saw no reason to doubt her.

“Technically, she’s brilliant,” Lohberg said.

“And Dara wants to be perfect,” he added. “She’s very conscientious.”

People who know her say it is ludicrous to suspect Torres of doping. If she is guilty of anything, her friends say, it is of being a compulsive exerciser.

“I don’t think she has ever been out of shape a day in her life,” said Schubert, who coached Torres in the late 1980s. “I think that’s what makes this possible and conceivable.”

At the Olympic trials next June in Omaha, dozens will compete for two berths in Torres’s best events, the 50 and 100 freestyles. When Torres won her 14th and 15th national titles this summer, she became a feel-good story for baby boomers and a bad omen for their freestyle-sprinting progeny.

Rumors that she is doping are hurtful, Torres said, “but in another way it’s sort of a compliment.” It tells her that younger competitors perceive her not as a relic but as a real threat.

Torres works in the water five times a week, down from 10 to 12 water workouts in her teens and 20s.

“My body definitely takes longer to recover,” she said. “I have my good days when I feel like I’m 20, and then I have my days when I can’t lift my arms out of the water.”

The cost of being a middle-age champion can be steep, but she can afford it. Torres enlisted Bloomberg L.P., Toyota and Speedo as sponsors to help defray her training expenses. She estimated that she would spend about $100,000 this year on her support staff.

In addition to Lohberg, Torres employs a sprint coach, Chris Jackson; a strength and conditioning coach, Andy O’Brien, who also oversees her diet; two full-time personal stretchers, Steve Sierra and Anne Tierney; a physical therapist; a masseuse; and a nanny. She also leans heavily on her boyfriend, David Hoffman, an obstetrician who is Tessa’s father.

Most days, Sierra and Tierney are waiting for Torres at her suburban Fort Lauderdale home when she is finished swimming. They twist and pull her torso and limbs in a vigorous resistance stretching routine that eases her body’s recovery by flushing out toxins and lactic acid.

“People can say I’m on drugs or whatever, but they are really my secret weapon,” Torres said, referring to Sierra’s and Tierney’s torturous routine.

O’Brien, who is on the staff of the N.H.L.’s Florida Panthers, said, “Dara’s really gone a step ahead of other athletes in terms of taking care of her body.”

He began working with Torres last November, introducing her to an ever-evolving regimen that encompasses Swiss balls, medicine balls, bands and resistance cables. The goal of her four 90-minute strength sessions each week is to stimulate her nervous system and strengthen her core muscles through a variety of multijoint movements.

The results have been striking. Torres’s muscles have grown longer and leaner, with the exception of those in her back and shoulders, which have thickened. She carries 150 pounds on her 6-foot frame, down from 160 in 2000. Her reaction time off the blocks has improved, and she is more efficient in the water.

“Over all, she got a lot fitter,” Lohberg said, adding, “and she’s more balanced in the water.”

One of O’Brien’s longtime clients is Sidney Crosby, the Pittsburgh Penguins’ star center. For all their differences, the 20-year-old Crosby and Torres are remarkably alike, O’Brien said. Crosby becomes nervous when he is given a new exercise or task to complete because he does not want to fail.

“Dara’s the same way,” O’Brien said as he watched her complete a drill on the Swiss ball. “Even if it’s just her and a Swiss ball, there’s almost a little nervous energy before she tries something new.”

He added, “Dara reminds me of the student who’s worried she’s going to fail the test and then gets a 100.”

Days before leaving for Berlin, Torres asked Lohberg to critique her flip turn. Never mind that she has done hundreds of thousands of turns over the years. In Torres’s mind, there is always room for improvement. Yesterday in Berlin, she twice lowered the United States record in the 50 freestyle on a course that is rarely contested here, venturing further into uncharted waters.

Sunday, November 18, 2007

Healthy Holiday Survival Guide

By: Mark Sisson
"With the holiday seasons coming up, a lot of us are looking at spending time not only on the road, but in the extended company of family, friends and others who haven’t tuned in yet to benefits of a primal diet. This means lots of time in restaurants, but also many meals prepared in people’s homes. Your gas station primer was great, but I’ve still got lingering questions about what to do in situations where my options are even more limited.

While I try to make the best choice out of what’s available in any given situation, sometimes I still get confused about what the best choice actually is. For example, should I go for the maple & brown sugar whole-grain cereal and/or pancakes that have been lovingly prepared by my host, or do I just opt for a cup of tea and later sneak the leftover protein bar in my purse, which is likely to have hydrogenated oils, corn syrup and/or other fake stuff lurking amongst its long laundry list of ingredients?

In a world where it seems like there are so many dietary evils out there, how do you personally rank which options are ‘not quite as evil’? Whole grain + sugar? Processed grain + protein? Low carb + transfats? What’s a girl to do?”

Clear the holiday health hurdles with ease and grace.

1. The lesser of three evils?

What to do when there really isn’t a great choice for those of us on the Primal Health plan? When there are no ideal choices, we do have to make compromises. Though we recognize what is healthy according to our genetic blueprint, living in the modern world, it’s simply not always possible to follow the plan. I personally would not recommend going with the protein bar. While it does potentially have some artificial ingredients and processing, I suppose this is O.K. in a pinch as you won’t drive your blood sugar through the roof. However, the holidays are about renewing friendships and family connections, and you certainly won’t do that if you’re wiping away protein bar crumbs from the corners of your mouth.

2. Portions do matter (and that’s a good thing).

In difficult nutrition situations such as holiday settings, I really believe that portion control is your ultimate weapon. Humans are not meant to consume grain, but eating a small portion of whole-grain, minimally processed and lovingly prepared food will show your appreciation without ruining your diet. Focus on eating according to the Primal Health plan - perhaps being more disciplined than usual at your other meals - so that you can have a small portion of a less-than-ideal food in order to spare feelings. In our modern world we do have to recognize that compromise will be necessary from time to time, and it’s not healthy to stress about this too much.

3. Relationships.

Part of the difficulty - at any time of year - in following a diet that is not in keeping with the standard sugary American fare is that you do not want to inconvenience your host or offend someone you care about. We’ve all been around the lecturing vegetarian or the boorish carnivore. Again, I recommend portion control. For example, Carrie always presents a lavish cake on my birthday, even though neither of us are dessert people. But the celebration is important and so we each enjoy a bite or two of the treat to honor the occasion. You can graciously inform your host - and especially family members - ahead of time as to your dietary preferences. Accept what they prepare. Even Buddhist monks will eat a bite of meat if it is prepared for them (of course, I happen to think they ought to eat more).

4. Informing with grace.

Often, a simple phone call placed or attractive little note sent ahead of time is all that is necessary to make everything pleasing to all involved. Don’t wait until the last minute or the actual event to tell your host or friend that you can’t eat their pumpkin pie and mashed potatoes. Give your friend as much time as possible - preferably a week at minimum. Most importantly, however, make it clear that you do not expect them to rework their meal plans just for you. Grace is really essential. Though health is our most precious gift, if we can’t also enjoy time with those we love in a kind and caring spirit, what’s the point?

5. Offer to make it easier.

One of the easiest ways to alleviate any stress to your host is to offer to help. Don’t be pushy; you don’t want to offend your host by insisting on bringing too many items as this may interfere with the planned menu or theme. But offer to help with alternatives so that you aren’t making an already stressful situation - the planning of a holiday event - more stressful.

6. Put things in perspective.

During the holidays you are bound to come across unhealthy fare. Do your best to choose the most natural, whole, unprocessed, and low-sugar foods that you can, and for everything else, a small sample will please your host without ruining your health or your diet.

7. Turn up the volume on other healthy activities.

Though diet is responsible for 70-80% of the health rewards we can expect, when it is compromised slightly, there are other activities that can help pick up the slack. I think the most important things to do during the holidays are exercise and stress management. The holidays are a whirlwind of activity, parties, commitments, appointments and shopping. It is essential to manage your stress. It’s also important not to forgo your workouts, and in fact, you should probably exercise more during the holidays. The trouble with the busy schedule of the holiday season is that exercise is often the first thing to go. Add in sugary treats and huge portions of gravy, potatoes and other holiday fare, and it’s no wonder we gain weight and suffer mood swings. Find a way to maintain or even increase your exercise time so that the few bites of that whole grain pancake have a limited impact. I like to find ways to make exercise a part of the holiday fun, rather than an additional thing to worry about fitting into the schedule.

Please visit for more health tips

Friday, November 16, 2007

Horner to Astana

The Astana Cycling team announced Friday that its latest signings include American Chris Horner. Horner was named along with former Discovery Channel riders Jose-Luis Rubiera and Vladimir Gusev as the latest to join the newly re-vamped Astana team. The team management was taken over by former Discovery director Johan Bruyneel after Astana's triple doping positives this season threatened the team's future.

Horner will mark his 13th year as a professional under Bruyneel after helping Cadel Evans to his second place in this year's Tour de France, finishing 15th overall in the process. The 36 year-old did not extend his contract with his former team, Predictor-Lotto, where he has ridden since 2006.

Horner was openly critical of his pay at Predictor-Lotto's, saying he was paid one-third of what all the riders of his level in the Tour. He indicated he was looking for a better deal in August, saying, "If one team won't offer you what you are worth then you go somewhere else. There are a bunch of different teams out there where I could be happy."

New manager Bruyneel saw the value in signing Horner. "He will be of extreme value in the mountains for our leaders. Chris is extremely motivated to join our team." Horner will likely ride the Tour de France in support of this year's winner Alberto Contador and third place finisher Levi Leipheimer, both of whom will be a part of the 'new' Astana squad.

Bruyneel also hinted that more announcements would be forthcoming. "We are very ambitious. In the next days, we will announce more details about the Astana Cycling Team 2008."

The team also said that the new organisation will work to fulfil all financial obligations toward the 2007 team and staff. The statement indicated that some staff and riders had not received salaries from the former manager, Marc Biver. The Kazakh Cycling Federation promised to make all payments in the near future, and said that it had "ended collaboration with Zeus due to mismanagement/lack of confidence", and did not rule out legal proceedings against the company or Biver.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Bjorn Andersson Checks In......

The 70.3 World Championships in Clearwater marked the end of the 2007 season for me. After some inconsistent training and racing previously this year I did some pretty good training for this race in September and October so I felt as prepared as I could have been and was excited to race.

I got a good start and was swimming in 2nd for the first couple of hundred meters until I got bunched in a bit and sat at the end of the first group for the reminder of it. Unfortunately I have a tendency to get sea sick when I swim in open water and after finishing the swim I was pretty dizzy and had a slow transition and consequently missed the first pack out on the bike.

There were a bit more than 10 guys in this group and when realizing how hard they were to catch and drop I made the decision to just focus on the bike prime at mile 31 since I would have no shot at making money by racing for the overall with this scenario as at best with my training I figured I could run a 1:16 half marathon while I knew that the others in this pack would be able to run a 1:11. I have no idea how clean this group rode the whole way but considering that the drafting zone is 10m I guess they should have been spread out over about 100m at this point at least. That wasn’t the case when I rode up to them though and that made it really hard to get away. To give you an idea I sat behind the group for about 30 seconds before I tried to pass and it took 150-200 more watts to ride a similar pace alone. Anyway I rode with David Thompson and Terenzo Bozzone for a while off the front before I surged away to make sure I got the prime. Those surges above threshold killed me though and the last 20 miles on the bike was a struggle though I managed to get a lead of just under 3min out on the run.

There’s not much to say about the run really as I just made sure to finish the last race of the season. Riding the way I did I knew I wouldn’t be able to actually race it on the run as well. I’m pretty happy with the season overall though and like to thank Cervelo, R&A Cycles, HED Cycling, Ergomo, Fuelbelt, Blue Seventy, Spiuk, Oakley, InfinIT and FIT Multipsorts for the great support during the year. I am already looking forward to and planning the 2008 season!


Tuesday, November 13, 2007

2008 Amgen Tour of California

Organizers of the Amgen Tour of California released details of the 2008 edition Tuesday, highlighting an eight-day, 650-mile race slated to start with a prologue at Stanford University, in Palo Alto, on February 17 and end a week later in Pasadena.

The 2008 edition of the Tour of California will visit 12 host cities for official stage starts and finishes, including Palo Alto-Stanford University (new in 2008), Sausalito, Santa Rosa, Sacramento, Modesto (new in 2008), San Jose, Seaside, San Luis Obispo, Solvang, Santa Barbara, Santa Clarita and Pasadena (new in 2008).

"The challenging geographical features and picturesque landscape of California provide the perfect combination of elements for a world-class cycling event," said Kristin Bachochin, senior director of AEG Sports, organizer of the race. "For the third year of the Amgen Tour of California, we remain committed to upgrading and enhancing every element of the race experience for the cyclists and spectators by creating an even more challenging and exciting race."

According to organizers, the 2007 Tour attracted more than 1.6 million spectators, surpassing the inaugural year's turnout and setting records in attendance for a single sporting event in California, as well as for any cycling event ever held in the United States.

2008 Amgen Tour of California - February 17-24
Route details

Prologue: Palo Alto-Stanford University (Sunday, February 17, 2008)
(Start time: 1 p.m.) Expected finish times for this flat 2.1-mile prologue are less than five minutes. While short, the route will offer ample opportunity for spectators to watch their favorites power through a course centered on the Stanford University campus. The Stanford Oval will put riders into a full 360-degree loop before they head to the finish line at the intersection of University Avenue and Museum Way on campus.

Stage 1: Sausalito to Santa Rosa (Monday, February 18, 2008)
(Start time: 11 a.m.) This stage is identical to the first stage used in the earlier editions of the Tour of California and will cover nearly 100 miles from Sausalito to Santa Rosa. The stage, sponsored by Herbalife, begins with a climb from Mill Valley up to Mt. Tamalpais State Park before turning toward Muir Beach. The relatively flat route will take the riders north toward Bodega Bay and Coleman Valley Road, a landmark climb in Northern California. Spectators can watch the stage win unfold as the field heads downhill from Occidental for three finishing circuit laps in downtown Santa Rosa. In previous years, the Santa Rosa fans have set the mark for one of the largest and most enthusiastic crowds of the entire race.

Stage 2: Santa Rosa to Sacramento (Tuesday, February 19, 2008)
(Start time: 10 a.m.) Using another established Tour of California route, stage 2 begins with a scenic start through several Sonoma County wineries before reaching one of the most significant climbs of the race as the route heads east toward the the state's capital, Sacramento. Twelve miles from the start, Trinity Road's vertical climbs and treacherous decent into the wineries of Napa Valley will make it one of the most difficult climbs of the entire race, as proven during the 2007 Amgen Tour of California. Continuing east past Lake Berryessa, the peloton will head through the cities of Winters and Davis. With a quick turn to the north, the route will follow the Sacramento River to the Tower Bridge and on to Capitol Mall in Sacramento. The stage concludes with three circuit laps through downtown, finishing on the front steps of California's Capitol building, a perfect viewing location for race spectators.

Stage 3: Modesto to San Jose (Wednesday, February 20, 2008)
(Start time: 10 a.m.) Stage 3 introduces a new course for the Tour of California, beginning with a neutral start of parade laps through Modesto's revitalized downtown area before heading south through California's scenic farmlands. After passing through Patterson, the route takes the peloton through what could be a defining portion of the 2008 edition, a 26-mile section full of twists and turns marked by a series of climbs near Frank Raines Regional Park, leading to a relentless climb over the backside of Mt. Hamilton. With an elevation of 4,360 feet, Mt. Hamilton will be one of the highest elevations ever reached in the Amgen Tour of California. After the descent, the riders will head to Sierra Road, another epic climb. Once the riders crest Sierra Road, the peloton will complete the course with a quick 18-mile run to the finish line in San Jose.

Stage 4: Seaside to San Luis Obispo (Thursday, February 21, 2008)
(Start time: 10 a.m.) Stage 4 is another traditional route, used in both prior editions of the Tour of California. The remarkable views of Stage 4 have made it a race favorite for riders and spectators alike. Beginning in Seaside with a short neutral lap and traveling along a similar route to previous years, the peloton will head south on scenic Highway 1 where sweeping vistas of Big Sur and redwood forests flank the Pacific Ocean. At more than 130 miles and with three KOM spots, this is the longest stage of the race and has proven to be a test for the riders with consistently hilly and technical terrain. The long day will take the riders down the California coastline by Hearst Castle before shifting inland toward the finish line at the intersection of Osos St. and Monterey St. in San Luis Obispo.

Stage 5: Solvang Individual Time Trial (Friday, February 22, 2008)
(Start time: noon) The quaint Danish village of Solvang annually hosts ProTour teams for training camps as well as some of the largest cycling events in the United States. At only 15 miles, slightly longer than the 2007 individual time trial and with the start and finish lines located only one block apart, Stage 5 is an ideal location for spectators to view the race. The route will highlight some of the most beautiful areas of Central California, winding through quaint towns, vineyards, farms, and one short, but steep, climb.

Stage 6: Santa Barbara to Santa Clarita (Saturday, February 23, 2008)
(Start time: 11 a.m.) Stage 6 could be the pivotal stage for the 2008 Amgen Tour of California. The stage is one of the longest at 105 miles, and it is heavy on climbs with four KOMs, three sprints and a demanding finishing circuit in Santa Clarita. With the individual time trial late in the race again this year, there is the potential for several riders to be separated by just a few seconds as they begin the stage. After a start in view of the Santa Barbara shoreline, this stage, sponsored by Health Net, will take the peloton to Highway 192 and through the town of Carpinteria. The route will then take the riders on Highway 150 where they will face two KOMs before passing Lake Casitas and riding into the scenic town of Ojai. The third KOM will be just a few miles outside Ojai, and then the course will head downhill into Santa Paula. The ominous Balcom Canyon will be the final climb of the day, where in 2007 nearly 25,000 fans formed a narrow corridor for the riders. The race ends with three circuit laps in Santa Clarita that finish at McBean Parkway at the Valencia Town Center.

Stage 7: Santa Clarita to Pasadena (Sunday, February 24, 2008)
(Start time: TBD) The final stage of the 2008 Amgen Tour of California represents a change from last year's event, which ended with a circuit race at the Queen Mary in Long Beach. Adding a relatively difficult point-to-point race at the end may put the overall race leader and his team under pressure to protect the jersey. The first 25 miles of Stage 7 include a gradual climb from Santa Clarita to the intersection of Angeles Forest Road. The route continues uphill to the highest elevation ever reached by the Amgen Tour of California on the towering Millcreek Summit (4906 feet). Descending with an eight-mile run to Angeles Crest Highway, the route begins a fast plunge to the Rose Bowl in Pasadena. After more than 60 miles from Santa Clarita to Pasadena, with the mountains and the Rose Bowl serving as the backdrop, the peloton will complete the stage and the race, with six five-mile laps on a tough circuit around the Rose Bowl.

Thursday, November 8, 2007

San Francisco Triathlon at Treasure Island

The five-race series comes to a close at the San Francisco Triathlon at Treasure Island on Saturday, Nov. 10, with 48 elite men and 21 elite women taking to the Olympic distance course (1.5k swim, 40k bike, 10k run).

Professional triathletes from Canada, Venezuela, Mexico, Great Britain, Chile, and Australia will join some of the top triathletes in the United States. Included in the list are Olympians Hunter Kemper (Longwood, Fla. / Colorado Springs, Colo.) and Victor Plata (San Luis Obispo, Calif. / Sacramento, Calif.), one athlete who has already earned a spot on the 2008 U.S. Olympic Team, and a host of others who are still in contention for those final slots for Beijing next August.

The race features a $40,000 prize purse, plus Speedo bonuses for the top-three American finishers in both the men's and women's races. Also on the line are cash awards and Speedo bonuses for the overall men's and women's series winners (details below).

To make things even more interesting, USAT is awarding double points for the race winners, meaning more than a dozen athletes in both the men's and women's races are still in contention for the overall series title.

Leading the competitors for the men is two-time Olympian Kemper, who is aiming for another Olympic berth in 2008. He is joined by last year's series champion Jarrod Shoemaker (Sudbury, Mass. / Maynard, Mass.), who qualified for the 2008 Olympics just six weeks ago. Also in contention are Olympic hopefuls Brian Fleischmann (Jacksonville, Fla. / Colorado Springs, Colo.), Mark Fretta (Portland, Ore. / Colorado Springs, Colo.), Doug Friman (Alameda, Calif. / Tucson, Ariz.), and Matt Reed (Colorado Springs, Colo.).

Also racing are 2007 USA Triathlon Collegiate National Champion Kevin Collington (Gainesville, Fla.), 2007 USA Triathlon U23 National Champion Ethan Brown (Lowell, Mass.), and a newcomer to the elite ranks, 2007 Overall National and World Age Group Champion Ben Collins (Seattle, Wash.).

For the women, six of the top seven point leaders in the series will be racing for the title on Saturday, led by defending series champion and 2007 Pan Ams silver medalist Sarah Haskins (St. Louis, Mo. / Colorado Springs, Colo.). She is joined by 2007 ITU Aquathlon World Champion Sarah Groff (Cooperstown, N.Y. / Boulder, Colo.), 2007 Pan Ams gold medalist Julie Ertel (Irvine, Calif.), National Team member Mary Beth Ellis (Washington, D.C. / Boulder, Colo.), and 2006 USA Triathlon U23 National Champion Sara McLarty (DeLand, Fla. / Colorado Springs, Colo.).

Also on the start list is reigning ITU U23 Worlds silver medalist Jasmine Oeinck (Littleton, Colo. / Colorado Springs, Colo.) and two-time collegiate champion and current U23 National Champion Justine Whipple (Duxbury, Mass. / Colorado Springs, Colo.).

The swim will take place in the in the harbor area of the bay off Treasure Island, followed by the bike leg through the streets of the Island, and an out and back run on the banks of the Island. Race times are noon for the men, followed by the women at 12:05.

Wednesday, November 7, 2007

Tyler Stewart scores fastest women's iron-distance bike split

By: Melaina Juntti

While most of long-course triathlon's elite garage the time-trial and call it a season once the Ironman world championship in Kona is in the books, first-year professional Tyler Stewart saved her best stuff for November. This past Saturday, Stewart had one helluva day in the sun, scoring a third-place finish with a blistering 4:47:59 bike split, which erased the previous Ironman Florida course record by almost 11 minutes. But even more importantly, from what we've discerned after some serious digging, this is the fastest women's bike time ever logged on an iron-distance course. Yes, the Ironman Florida course is flat and traditionally fast and conditions are warm and conducive to racing, but a sub-4:48 anywhere, anytime deserves some serious props. Here's the lofty list of female tri stars that Stewart now tops:

Top Ten Women's Iron-Distance Bike Splits

Tyler Stewart (USA) Ironman Florida 2007 4:47:59
Karin Thürig (SUI) Ironman Switzerland 2005 4:48:08
Paula Newby-Fraser (ZIM) Ironman Hawaii 1993 4:48:30
Robin Roocke (AUS) Almere 1999 4:49:30
Paula Newby-Fraser (ZIM) Ironman Europe 1994 4:49:48
Erin Baker (NZL) Ironman Hawaii 1993 4:50:16
Karin Thürig (SUI) Ironman Hawaii 2005 4:50:16
Karin Thürig (SUI) Ironman Hawaii 2003 4:50:41
Lisbeth Kristensen (DEN) Ironman Western Australia 2006 4:50:49
Yvonne Van Vlerken (NDL) Quelle Challenge Roth 2007 4:51:48

We caught up with the Novato, California-based record-breaker to ask about her big day in Florida, her experiences as a new professional and those mad skills on two wheels.

How did you feel coming into Ironman Florida? Rested? Confident?

Tyler Stewart: Coming into Florida, I was a little worried. I did not taper as much as I had for [Ironman] Lake Placid. But at the same time I felt seriously horrible with the amount of taper I did for Lake Placid. When I got to Florida, I went for a couple of short rides and my legs did not feel great. But this year I have learned that that does not mean I am not ready. It just means I need to get the oven burning a little bit again before I start the race.

The bike course is flat and traditionally fast-how does this suit you?

You know, typically the harder the bike course the better. Of the three sports, I am the strongest on the bike. Since I am a horrible swimmer, the longer time everyone has to spend on the bike, the better chance I have of catching up.

Do you prefer a flat course to a hilly or tricky one?

As I have only been riding a bike for about four years, I am not that technically skilled, so I prefer not to ride a tricky course. As for hilly versus flat, I do prefer hilly just because you get to move around on the bike more. But my last two races have been on flat courses and I am surprised at how much I liked those as well. Both Cancun [Ironman 70.3] and Florida were flat, which I think makes people think they can go even harder. I learned on these last two races that flat means you get no down time. You have to be constantly pedaling. You never get a break. I ride religiously with my Powertap whether I am on a flat or hilly course and I really believe that the ability to monitor my power consistently has taught me to ride all types of courses.

How does Florida's climate affect your racing?

The weather race day was perfect. A couple of days before the race, I was a little nervous because there was a ton of wind as a result of the hurricane in western Florida. But as the week went on, the winds calmed and the temperature stayed around 70 to 75. It could not have been better weather to race in.

Who did you think your biggest competition would be in Florida?

To be honest with you, I thought everyone was my biggest competition. As I am very new to this sport, I am very insecure with my abilities. I have only done about 10 races in my life, so I see myself as my own worst enemy. But on another note, I honestly try not to look at the roster of women competing before the race. What good is it going to do me? I can only do what I can do that day. It doesn't matter who is there, only that I do everything I can do that day.

Who turned out to be your biggest competition?

Everyone. My favorite thing about Ironman-distance races is that you never do know what is going to happen. Anyone can win; anyone can lose.

If your bike split was not the fastest, it's definitely up there. How does it feel to have your name among the best ever?

That gets me excited! I love to ride my bike. So being able to be good at something that I really enjoy doing is a win-win situation.

Can you improve on this time?

I don't know about the time because that can depend on conditions, but I do believe that I can hold a higher power output for the ride without it affecting my run. My coach, Matt Dixon, ran a series of physiological tests going into the race with the last being 10 days before the race. It was, by far, the best test I have ever had and allowed us to pinpoint the wattage I was capable of holding for the course. We decided to be a little conservative on actual race-day watts as I had not run much, but the goal for the next Ironman race will be to hold 15 to 20 watts higher than in Florida, without it damaging run performance.

Do you rely on your awesome bike skills to give you an advantage in a race?

No, I just hope it allows me to get myself back into the race after getting out of the water 10 to15 minutes (typically) behind the leader. Nina Kraft got out of the water almost 14 minutes ahead of me on Saturday [at Ironman Florida]. Yikes!

What bike are you riding? Wheels, saddle, tires, bars, etc.

Right now I am riding a BMC TT02. It's a phenomenal time-trial bike and I really love it. My riding has gotten a lot stronger this year, but I also think that riding such a high-level machine hasn't hurt either. In terms of the other bike accessories, I changed most of it all a week before the race in Florida. I know, I know ... it's what not to do. But working as much as I do at my job, I tend to leave things to the last minute and then do a last-ditch effort to get everything together. I needed a new frame two weeks before the race, and I figured if I was getting a new frame I should upgrade some of my components as well. I borrowed some Zipp 1080Z wheels from my sponsor at Powertap. Super fast! I also just switched my handlebars to the new Zipp Vuka bars. I definitely tried to make a couple of upgrades. I wanted to make my bike more aerodynamic for the flat, fast course.

You've scored some awesome finishes this year-second at Lake Placid, first at Cancun 70.3. Did you think you would/could do so well your first year as a pro?

No way. I honeslty could not be happier with how this year went. More important than results, I was really happy with everything I learned while racing against such strong women this year.

Have you enjoyed yourself since you've turned professional? Any doubts or regrets?

Yeah, it's really no different. I always get nervous and I always used to get nervous. I think my first pro race was a little intimidating but after that first plunge I realized it's really no different. I'm out there to have fun and to stay fit. I have not a single regret in turning pro. You always have to face your fears in order to grow as a person and I did that, so I can have no regret.

Is the training way more intense?

You know, training is maybe a little more intense, but more than anything, it's just smarter. My husband, Johnny, and I still own Wags, our dog walking, grooming and boarding business, and are not planning on changing that anytime soon. I would say I trained the same amount as I did last year but the only things I did differently were take three weeks in the season where I went away with friends to watch them race and I took my bike and trained for the week as they rested and tapered. One hundred percent of that week was about my training. I didn't have to worry about Wags or teaching cycling classes. It was a week about me.

What's the plan for the rest of 2007 and for 2008? What races do you plan on competing in? What are your goals?

My 2007 season is over. I hope to do some fun, different races this winter and early spring; maybe a marathon, maybe some track race or some skate skiing race. As for 2008, my coach Matt and I have not figured out what I will do except that I will take the slot and go to Hawaii for the 2008 Ironman world championship. My goal for my triathlon career is to keep smiling. When it's not fun anymore, I will find some other way of getting out my extra energy.

Tuesday, November 6, 2007

Ryan Hall - On His Way To Beijing Olympics

NEW YORK - Ryan Hall, his blond hair tousled, his fists pumping in the air, thoroughly enjoyed himself the last few miles of the U.S. men's Olympic marathon trials in Central Park Saturday morning.

Hall, of Mammoth Lakes, Calif., pulled away from the pack in the 17th mile and kept going, striding along easily and finishing in 2:09:02, breaking the trials record of 2:10:19 set by Tony Sandoval in 1980.

"When you run a 2:08 in your first marathon and then you run a 2:09 waving at the crowd for 2 miles ... the guy could have run 2:08:30 today," said Alan Culpepper, a 2004 Olympic marathoner who dropped out at Mile 16 Saturday. "It wasn't an easy course. I think it shows he is a medal contender, definitely."

Hall, runner-up Dathan Ritzenhein of Eugene, Ore. (2:11:07), and third-place finisher Brian Sell of Rochester Hills, Mich. (2:11:40), will represent the U.S. Aug. 24 in Beijing in the Olympic marathon.

Antioxidants and oxidative stress

By: Dr Dan Rutherford, GP

What is oxidative stress?

Your body constantly reacts with oxygen as you breathe and your cells produce energy. As a consequence of this activity, highly reactive molecules are produced known as free radicals.

Free radicals interact with other molecules within cells. This can cause oxidative damage to proteins, membranes and genes.

Oxidative damage has been implicated in the cause of many diseases such as cancer and Alzheimer's and has an impact on the body's aging process.

External factors such as pollution, sunlight and smoking also trigger the production of free radicals.


To counteract oxidative stress, the body produces an armoury of antioxidants to defend itself. It's the job of antioxidants to neutralise or 'mop up' free radicals that can harm our cells.

Your body's ability to produce antioxidants (its metabolic process) is controlled by your genetic makeup and influenced by your exposure to environmental factors such as diet and smoking.

Changes in our lifestyles, which include more environmental pollution and less quality in our diets, mean that we are exposed to more free radicals than ever before.

How much do I need?

Your body's internal production of antioxidants is not enough to neutralise all the free radicals.

You can help your body to defend itself by increasing your dietary intake of antioxidants.

Examples of food-based antioxidants-

Antioxidant supplements
Studies have shown that antioxidants supplements do not replicate the action of antioxidants from food.
More research is needed before, say, Vitamin C supplements can be advised to prevent cancer.

Vitamins: vitamin E, vitamin C and beta carotene.

Trace elements that are components of antioxidant enzymes such as selenium, copper, zinc, and manganese.

Non-nutrients such as ubiquinone (coenzyme Q) and phenolic compounds such as phytoestrogens, flavonoids, phenolic acids and butylated hydroxytoluene (BHT), which is used as a food preservative.

Foods and antioxidants-


Tomatoes contain a pigment called lycopene that is responsible for their red colour but is also a powerful antioxidant.

Tomatoes in all their forms are a major source of lycopene, including tomato products like canned tomatoes, tomato soup, tomato juice and even ketchup.

Lycopene is also highly concentrated in watermelon.

Citrus fruits-

Oranges, grapefruit, lemons and limes possess many natural substances that appear to be important in disease protection, such as carotenoids, flavonoids, terpenes, limonoids and coumarins.

Together these phytochemicals act more powerfully than if they were given separately.

It's always better to eat the fruit whole in its natural form, because some of the potency is lost when the juice is extracted.


Black tea, green tea and oolong teas have antioxidant properties. All three varieties come from the plant Camellia sinenis.

Common brands of black tea do contain antioxidants, but by far the most potent source is green tea (jasmine tea) which contains the antioxidant catechin.

Black tea has only 10 per cent as many antioxidants as green tea.

Oolong tea has 40 per cent as many antioxidants as green tea.

This because some of the catechins are destroyed when green tea is processed (baked and fermented) to make black tea.


Beta-carotene is an orange pigment that was isolated from carrots 150 years ago.

It is found concentrated in deep orange and green vegetables (the green chlorophyll covers up the orange pigment).

Monday, November 5, 2007

Armstrong betters marathon time

Photo of Seven-time Tour de France Champion Lance Armstrong and New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg.

Seven-time Tour de France winner Lance Armstrong bettered his 2006 time in the New York City Marathon by over 10 minutes on Sunday. The 36 year-old ex-cyclist from the United States recorded a time of two hours, 46 minutes and 43 seconds.

"I think I came in better prepared," said Armstrong according to Reuters. He competed for 14 years as a professional cyclist, and took up running after retiring following his 2005 Tour victory. Last year, he ran the 42.16-kilometre (26.2 miles) event – his first marathon – in a time of 2:59'36".

"I feel better than I did last year leaving here. Last year it took me about four or five months to actually be able to run again because of my shins. Last year I had no idea what to expect with 26.2 miles (42.16 km), and I paid for it."

"I'll continue to run," continued the Texan, who ran in a yellow jersey. "For me running is the best type of workout right now because with a busy lifestyle and travel, all you need is a pair of running shoes and you can do it in any city in the world."

He finished 698th among 39,085 runners taking part. His time topped that of former cyclist Laurent Jalabert; the Frenchman ran the 2005 event in a time of 2:55'39". However, other former cyclists have gone faster in other marathon events; German Rolf Aldag ran 2:42'57" in Hamburg this April and Spaniard Abraham Olano went 2:39' in the San Sebastián marathon last November.

Sunday, November 4, 2007

Katie Holmes Runs NYC Marathon

While fans along the 26.2 miles of the New York City Marathon path found it hard to spot her, one keen observer on the sidelines knew exactly what runner he was kissing on Sunday morning. Her number: F127.

And her name: Katie Holmes, wearing a dark FDNY baseball cap and purple tank top.

She got a quick, wet one from husband Tom Cruise as she entered the final stretch to the finish line in Central Park.

And Tom wasn't alone for the brief encounter with his running wife. In his arms was the couple's daughter, Suri.

Tom and Suri, as well as his mother and Holmes's parents, were all at the finish line to greet the runner, who seemed anything but exhausted, despite the strenuous day she had just endured.

Right after that first kiss, Holmes still had a way to go after Tom caught up her at 1st Avenue and 96th Street, about 20 blocks from the Cruise's Upper East Side hotel. A path over to and down Manhattan's West Side was still before her.

She made it to the bitter end around 3:30, with a final time of 5:29:58.

Emma And Craig Win The Noosa Triathlon

He was flat, tired and nervous and she was battling a mystery virus, but triathlons super couple Craig Walton and Emma Snowsill defied the odds to claim historic wins in the 25th Noosa Triathlon yesterday.

Walton, at 184cm and almost 80kg one of the big men in world triathlon, broke the road speed barrier as he hit 95km/h on a descent in the bike leg on his way to his record sixth win in the biggest triathlon in the southern hemisphere.

Snowsill, one of the smallest women in the sport at 161cm and 49kg, battled new pain thresholds to become the first female to win the 1.5km swim, 40km cycle and 10km run race four times.

Neither of the pair, dubbed the fittest couple in the world, expected to win after being plagued by injury, illness and mishaps.

Snowsill, a triple world champion, had felt so fatigued before the race she had planned to pull out of the race after the opening swim leg.

"I got caught up in the atmosphere and wanted to finish like everyone else -- exhausted, sunburnt and nearly suffering heat stroke," said Snowsill, who has not recovered from a bug she picked up in Beijing in September and who had the early symptoms of the flu.

"I was fighting with myself whether I should do the race, but it's special to me.

"It has captivated me ever since I came here as a swimmer 11 years ago and watched it."

Walton won his fifth title last year after a two-year battle with glandular fever and this triumph ended the bad luck that has cost him a major win this season.

Walton hit a pothole and broke his bike in the Lifetime Fitness race in Minneapolis mid-year, hit his head on a boat during the swim leg of the Chicago Triathlon and swam an extra 400m after a course miscalculation in the LA Triathlon.

"I wanted to show people Craig Walton has a little left in the tank," the Sydney Olympian said.

He took a 2min 51sec lead into the run leg to win in 1hr 48min 46sec from Queenslanders David Dellow (1:52.19) and Paul Mathews (1:52.26).

Snowsill completed her race in 2:01.09 from Beijing Olympic hopes Felicity Abram (2:02.22) and Annabel Luxford (2:03.13).

In his first race since a bout of food poisoning mid-year, triple world champion Peter Robertson finished behind the women's placegetters, almost 15 minutes behind Walton. "That gives me plenty of motivation (to make Beijing), being beat by the girls," he said.

This Antioxidant Powerhouse Is in Season

Cranberries. We’re not talking about the aluminum can hunk of gel on your grandmother’s Thanksgiving table. We’re talking about fresh cranberries, one of nature’s most powerful antioxidant sources! Fresh, tart cranberries are in season right now and can be found at great prices in many stores.

Cranberries promote urinary tract health, but they are also good for the gastrointestinal tract and the mouth. Recent studies have shown they may play a role in helping to reduce the risk of kidney stones, as well as lower bad (LDL) cholesterol. Not too shabby for this sour little fruit!

Cranberries contain anthocyanadins, potent antioxidants also found in blueberries and pomegranates. As you know, antioxidants fight inflammation and free radical oxidation in your body. Translation: they help prevent aging, disease, and health problems! Cranberries also contain plenty of vitamin C, vitamin K, and manganese. You can stew fresh berries, or pit them and dice them up into salads, or reduce them into a delicious topping for pork, duck, turkey or other meats.

For more great health tips please visit

Contador tops season finale in Caribbean

2007 Tour de France champion Alberto Contador of Discovery Channel is back on top of the podium after winning the Amstel Curaçao Race in the Netherlands Antilles. The 24 year-old Spaniard, recent winner of the ACP championships, took victory after 80 kilometres of race over Dutchman Thomas Dekker (Rabobank) and Luxemburger Andy Schleck (Team CSC).

Dutch mountain biker Bart Brentjens took fourth ahead of 2005 winner Tom Boonen (Quick.Step - Innergetic) and Andy Schleck's older brother, Fränk, also of Team CSC. 160 riders competed in the criterium style race while in Curaçao for an end-of-season vacation.


1 Alberto Contador (Spa) Discovery Channel
2 Thomas Dekker (Ned) Rabobank
3 Andy Schleck (Lux) Team CSC
4 Bart Brentjens (Ned) Team Dolphin
5 Tom Boonen (Bel) Quick.Step - Innergetic
6 Fränk Schleck (Lux) Team CSC
7 Robert Gesink (Ned) Rabobank

Friday, November 2, 2007

Lion King To Roar Again?

Will Mario Cipollini return to the peloton? Despite crashing in the Interbike Industry Cup, the former World Champion seems to be seriously considering the possibility. Cipollini retired abruptly from the peloton in April of 2005, explaining that after 189 victories he decided to give up when he could no longer dominate his rivals.

The news was first leaked by Rock & Republic's Rashaan Bahati on Bicycle Radio that the flamboyant Italian was considering joining the squad sponsored by the designer clothing company. Cyclingnews received confirmation from the team's director, Frankie Andreu, that Cipo is in talks with the team.

"[Rock & Republic owner] Michael Ball talked to Cipollini at Interbike - Cipo did surprisingly well there after being off the bike for so long - if he's actually been off the bike." Andreu was cautiously hopeful that the Lion King would be coming to his team, saying that someone as fashion conscious as Cipollini would be a good fit with his team which is known for being stylish.

Should Cipo return to racing, he would do so at the ripe age of 41.