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Old 11-22-09, 02:36 PM   #1
ridethecliche
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It is insanity that drives us

This article, albeit old, is one that bears repeating.

Wow...

http://www.nytimes.com/2006/02/05/sp...ewanted=1&_r=1
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Old 11-22-09, 03:24 PM   #2
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I see absolutely no correlation between ultra endurance athletes and what my friends and I do.
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Old 11-22-09, 07:26 PM   #3
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I see absolutely no correlation between ultra endurance athletes and what my friends and I do.
you mean, besides the insanity?
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Old 11-22-09, 07:31 PM   #4
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Yup.

Thought it'd be worth a read.

They mention lance in the article. I guess that's why it connects...
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Old 11-22-09, 07:33 PM   #5
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Lance!? Where? Where's the Lance?

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Old 11-22-09, 10:07 PM   #6
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I'm with EDR. I'm not that kind of crazy. The ultra-endurance stuff is just way beyond me. I like a good long ride now and then, but I think a three-hour road race is about the limit for me. I could race that hard, probably do okay on good form, but racing for longer than that might exhaust my mental reserves. I love the idea of an epic, long race, but physiologically and mentally, I'm better suited to circuit and crit racing. Explosive racing is more my bag. I'll be honest, it doesn't take the same kind of raw mental strength, but I'm okay with that. I do this for fun. I like to compete; I like to win. I don't need to compete; I don't need to win.
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Old 11-22-09, 10:35 PM   #7
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Dudes, I just wanted to share the article.

Hell, we're all some sort of crazy. Just look at us. Seeing how the ultra endurance blokes go is just insane. Literally.
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Old 11-23-09, 06:56 AM   #8
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meh. I'd like to ride RAIN once, just for doing it, and I did see a bunch of guys crossing through Monument Valley in the 2005 RAAM (I was on a motorcycle camping trip to Moab, they were suffering like dogs in heat). That's about the extent of ultra-endurance crap I'd be interested in..

And while I've got several friends who have qualified for, and competed in PBP, including one guy who set the third fastest time on BMB with a broken rear derailer cable (option A: 39x12, option B 53x12), I just don't get it.
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Old 11-23-09, 08:00 AM   #9
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The article's author, Daniel Coyle, has a wonderful gift for writing. I recall reading this article 2 years ago and being shocked at his natural fluency of prose.

He also wrote "Lance's War".

Endurance riding does have a certain draw to it for me. I love touring, just finished a 7 day tour of SE Asia mountains, mostly 10 hours hard riding a day. The longest stint without my foot touching the ground was 5 hours, mostly up 10% climbs too. I was chuffed. Nothing compared to what Robic et al put themselves through of course.

I think their main motivation is to see what it feels like, and overcoming "impossible" challenges.

You don't have to be insane to enjoy that.
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Old 11-23-09, 08:42 AM   #10
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The reason why I found no correlation is because I did a piece on Pam Reed in 2005. Pam is the only woman to ever win the Badwater Ultramarathon (135mi in Death Valley CA) outright. She runs 5-7 times a day, first run is before dawn the last one is after her kids are in bed and well after dark. She does this every day. She has an admitted eating disorder. She is manic in her training..in a way that make anyone of us seem like a couch potato.
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Old 11-23-09, 09:32 AM   #11
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Yeah, I agree, the ultra endurance stuff holds no excitement for me. I'm beat enough after 3-4 hours on the bike, and I just do the occasional century simply because it's the thing to do. And, there's evidence that ultra-stuff is really really bad for the body. So, I'll stick to the mundane insanity of Tuesday nighters and weekend crits and 60 mile rr's.
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Old 11-23-09, 02:17 PM   #12
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Ultra marathon training or competition has no lure for me either.

However, dealing with demons on the bike does. Looks like this guy is doing exactly that.
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Old 11-24-09, 03:22 AM   #13
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Ultra marathon training or competition has no lure for me either.

However, dealing with demons on the bike does. Looks like this guy is doing exactly that.
Having some unanswered questions as to the structural integrity of my knee and having had three back surgeries I know that some day distance or ultra distance may be all that's left. I'm looking on the bright side, it's the only way 'ludes and bikes mix well.
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Old 11-24-09, 08:24 AM   #14
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I hope I'm not nit-picking here, but I've always felt the need to reject and fight the term "crazy" or "bicycle nut" and other terms of that sort.

The reason is that those are the terms that the couch potatoes impose on us. They must do so, really, because if they don't insist that we're nuts, then they must face up to the question of why they aren't out there with us. Since they don't want to do it they find a sneaky way to deny that they should.

This is an example of something fairly rare; the very small minority is absolutely right and the vast majority are simply wrong.

They are the ones who are crazy.
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Old 11-24-09, 08:47 AM   #15
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Incorrect.
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Old 11-24-09, 11:51 AM   #16
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I think you guys are missing the point. The example in the story is ultracycling, but one of the main take-away points is that at our very limit of performance we are often held back by our minds. This is the kind of information that we can use to make us better racers. Hell, we all know that one guy who's stronger than everyone else, but who never finishes well because he doesn't know how to push himself.

-------------------------------------------------------------------
"In 1999, three physiologists from the University of Cape Town Medical School in South Africa took the next step. They worked a group of cyclists to exhaustion during a 62-mile laboratory ride and measured, via electrodes, the percentage of leg muscles they were using at the fatigue limit. If standard theories were true, they reasoned, the body should recruit more muscle fibers as it approached exhaustion — a natural compensation for tired, weakening muscles.

Instead, the researchers observed the opposite result. As the riders approached complete fatigue, the percentage of active muscle fibers decreased, until they were using only about 30 percent. Even as the athletes felt they were giving their all, the reality was that more of their muscles were at rest. Was the brain purposely holding back the body?"
----------------------------------------------------------------
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Old 11-25-09, 07:02 AM   #17
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...Was the brain purposely holding back the body?"
----------------------------------------------------------------
oh no doubt here, the mind is the thing that wins races or gets us dropped. it's a rare day when any of us gets anywhere close to our true potential ability.
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Old 11-25-09, 07:20 AM   #18
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^
Disagree.
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Old 11-25-09, 01:30 PM   #19
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oh no doubt here, the mind is the thing that wins races or gets us dropped. it's a rare day when any of us gets anywhere close to our true potential ability.
No, absolutely not true. I have no difficulty whatsoever pushing myself to the point of muscle failure. All it takes is a hard enough effort and enough time. It's not my mind that got me dropped in the road races I did this year (Battenkill and Quabbin, if you want to know). It was that my body simply couldn't hack it anymore. Mental strength is important, but it has to work within the parameters set by your body and your tactical intelligence. Guys talk about winning because they "wanted it more than anyone else," but that's just stupid.
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Old 11-25-09, 02:24 PM   #20
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Interesting article - I've dabbled a bit in up to 600km brevets, but doing something like that as a race is just ridiculous. Hell it's ridiculous enough to ride for 35-40 hours, and you still get to experience some sleep deprivation, stomach issues, all that fun stuff Jure goes through. Except without a support crew.

Thinking about doing PBP in 2011, just to say I did; but it's a pretty big commitment. Qualifying is easy, doing it is another thing.

Endurance rides, and the training involved, just take too much time, and there isn't as much fun to be had. The amount of training involved, and of course the events, takes a lot away from your personal life. My GF loves the fact that my "events" are shrinking from 1-2 days to 1-2 hours...

(Road) Racing is a lot more fun, the training is somewhat easier (I think), and people can actually watch you race now and then. I guess you could say I'm a recovering randonneur finding a new fix: road racing. The suffering is still there, just packed into a much shorter time span.
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Old 11-25-09, 02:34 PM   #21
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No, absolutely not true. I have no difficulty whatsoever pushing myself to the point of muscle failure. All it takes is a hard enough effort and enough time. It's not my mind that got me dropped in the road races I did this year (Battenkill and Quabbin, if you want to know). It was that my body simply couldn't hack it anymore. Mental strength is important, but it has to work within the parameters set by your body and your tactical intelligence. Guys talk about winning because they "wanted it more than anyone else," but that's just stupid.
There is a difference between mental strength and racing smart. I have the mental toughness but not the smarts yet..
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Old 11-25-09, 03:03 PM   #22
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I think you guys are missing the point. The example in the story is ultracycling, but one of the main take-away points is that at our very limit of performance we are often held back by our minds. This is the kind of information that we can use to make us better racers. Hell, we all know that one guy who's stronger than everyone else, but who never finishes well because he doesn't know how to push himself.

-------------------------------------------------------------------
"In 1999, three physiologists from the University of Cape Town Medical School in South Africa took the next step. They worked a group of cyclists to exhaustion during a 62-mile laboratory ride and measured, via electrodes, the percentage of leg muscles they were using at the fatigue limit. If standard theories were true, they reasoned, the body should recruit more muscle fibers as it approached exhaustion — a natural compensation for tired, weakening muscles.

Instead, the researchers observed the opposite result. As the riders approached complete fatigue, the percentage of active muscle fibers decreased, until they were using only about 30 percent. Even as the athletes felt they were giving their all, the reality was that more of their muscles were at rest. Was the brain purposely holding back the body?"
----------------------------------------------------------------

Ah yes, Tim Noakes and the central governor theory.

In those cases it’s the nervous system kicking in to shut down exercise before permanent damage occurs. It’s not a problem with the conscious mind -or a lack of motivation- it’s subconscious at the motor neuron level etc.

I know that some people –myself included- suffer from negative thoughts during tough races and have a desire to quit; but overcoming that hurdle won’t make you into a superhuman athlete –you need the “miles” in your legs and metal toughness (or a state of “nomind” aka living in the now )
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Old 11-27-09, 10:05 AM   #23
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There is a difference between mental strength and racing smart. I have the mental toughness but not the smarts yet..
I agree 100%.
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Old 11-27-09, 05:36 PM   #24
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What has this guy won????....
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