Sunday, October 26, 2008

1% gains

So I finished the book on the track cycling revolution of the Great Britain side. It actually ends before the Olympics with the director of "The Squirrel Club" [their development center] saying that the best was yet to come, this after sweeping the worlds with nine medals. well they definitely did that in the Olympics and more.
The book also touched on a subject that is rather tender to the cycling nervous system at the moment. Not a week goes by without us hearing of some doping related story, either someone being busted or a new procedure to catch the cheaters. After reading the book though i gained a new insight into the doping scene.
How much of an advantage to you have doping? Firstly you'll be looking over your shoulder all the time, that knock on the door in the later afternoon will startle any doper not wishing to be caught. You would be on your nerves and this would effect your sleeping, seeing as recovery plays such an important part in training how do these chaps get a descent nights sleep in. I've also read that in earlier days the blood would thicken therefore you would see the riders with their bikes attached to rollers and a alarm would wake them in the night time so they could circulate that heavy blood around. No doubt you would gain over the non dopers but all the cloak and dagger needed to keep the secret would keep any conscientious rider on his nerves. You would also not focus so much on the smaller things that aggregate to making you a better rider but rather rely solely on the drugs flowing through your veins. An advantage? Maybe not so much.
Brailsford mentions something that makes me smile and realize that the correct way is through hard work. He calls it performance by the aggregation of marginal gains. Basically it boiled down to making small percentage gains in all areas that then add up to big advantages. Improve your climbing skills by 1%, get fitted to your bike and add another 1% of power, new wheels that are lighter and stiffer add a little more speed with less effort. You get the picture that in the end you're left with a much better all round rider. This is how I'm going into the new season, 1% gains.
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