Monday, August 15, 2011

Rouleur Issue #25

I recently did an in depth interview with journalist and book author Richard Moore. A ten page article will be in the current issue or Rouleur (issue #25). Here is an interesting podcast with Guy Andrews and Richard Moore discussing the current issue as well as a brief discussion of my story in the Pro peloton.
Click the link to download the mp3 podcast

Editor Guy Andrews, journalist and author Richard Moore and broadcaster Jack Thurs discuss the latest issue of Rouleur, the world’s finest cycle racing magazine. Topics include this year’s thrilling Tour de France, bicycle manufacturer Trek, 1980s and 1990s soigneur Shelley Verses and the future of Team Sky.

Rouleur is the highly acclaimed bi-monthly cycling magazine. It brings together leading cycling writers and photographers to convey the essence and imagery of road racing. Rouleur features photography and serious writing celebrating the passion and beauty of the sport and has built a dedicated and valuable following from both discerning cycling fans and the most influential bike riders in the world. The magazine appeals to those who, like us, are passionate about the sport, but don’t want to read bike tests and race reports. Instead, the magazine focuses on exquisite photography and writing that really gets under the skin of the great riders and theatres of road racing.

I found some unedited BBC video of me from the Tour de France

Friday, November 26, 2010

"Shovel Down Pasta" Carbo loading for athletes

Athletes are always on the lookout for great recipes. This pasta recipe is one of my favorites. It can be served at room temperature, and goes great with chicken or red meat. I prefer to use bowtie, fusilli, penne, or spaghetti cut in half. I grew up in a Greek family and learned to cook without recipes; I learned by taste! Experiment, use your senses, be a little loose, taste as you go. Have fun with this recipe... Most of my athletes shovel it down!


1 lb. Pasta-Prepare al dente -cool, put in bowl
8 to 12 oz. crumbled feta cheese
pkg. basil chopped (or to taste)
chopped green onions, at least 5 (to taste)
crushed garlic (use fresh, to taste)
dried Italian seasoning
chopped Italian parsley (to taste)
prepared julienned sun-dried tomatoes in oil (to taste)
cherry tomatoes (optional)

Toss ingredients, with large spoon or with your hands. The pasta must be cooled so the feta cheese won't melt. Serve at room temp.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

"Reading the Body of an Athlete"

I began the fine art of formally reading the body of the elite cyclist at the Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs in 1983. Under the watchful eye of veteran soigneur, my first mentor " Famous Amos Ottley", I began a life long quest to observe and treat athletes beginning with the members of the U.S. Cycling Team. These techniques involved not only using my eyes, but all of my senses.

It is a never ending area of fascination and learning for me. I not only find bio mechanics, pre-and post-effort needs, and increasing recovering rate personally enriching information, but knowledge worth sharing.

When I observe an athlete I am intaking everything as a whole, like a head to toe scan as they approach me. How are they walking? Their gait? Posture. Head position. Shoulders; are their shoulders anteriorly rotated? Is one higher than the other? Do they have over-development of particular muscle groups? Obvious discrepancies in size; Arms; right compared to left dominance. Legs; right compared to left quadriceps/ hamstring ratios and gastrocnemious and soleus development discrepancies. Are they over-developed in either tibialis anterior? Feet; do they pronate? Supinate? Wear functional orthotics? Knees; How does their Q-Angle look? Their eyes; are they bloodshot, yellow, dull? Do they have puffiness or dark circles? Mouth; are they in ketosis? Can I smell it? Are they hydrated? Lips cracked, mouth parched, tongue consistency? Are there salt stains on their clothes after an event? Skin; what is the overall 'look',energy coming off of their face?

When you massage athletes like I do, you do not have to even speak their language if you are proficient in body work to 'listen to the tissues'. I had phenomenal teachers from all over the world instruct me in talking to the body. Each person's body should be listened to each individual time they are on your table. Our bodies are not static beings, they are ever changing, always needing different tuning. A dehydrated body feels like beef jerky slabs under the skin. Whereas a hydrated body feels more juicy.

One of the quadricep muscles, the most lateral one called the vastus lateralis might need deeper work in the center of the belly one day, and less at the distal end. Recently, my X-terra runner Kim ran a 50-mile rough terrain course with rocky creek beds and lots of vertical climbing; that same muscle might need more work higher up at the proximal end. I palpated her leg and felt the more contracted areas. I would listen to what she needed by touching the fibers. Were they taut? Swollen? Had I observed that she walked in 'stiff legged'? Was her knee hurting because her pelvis was rotated anteriorly? Was her knee tracking 'off', beginning from her back and causing all the hip flexor and quadriceps muscles to 'pull' everything 'up'? Hmmmm?

On the Pro-Tour we would sometimes have to pull up next to a rider in the peloton who was bonking, while they held onto the car. One soigneur would drive and the other would assess the rider. I remember so many times hanging out of my team car window, pinching the jaw of my rider to open his mouth and squeeze liquid glucose polymer in. I would even rub his throat to initiate swallowing, and when I could see his eyes 'turn on the fire' again, Id know the glucose stores were up....I could read it.

We had to read when to do glucose IV's and when to push the calories in the Grand Tours. We could feel our riders body fat dropping from January training camp to the Tour de France in July from 7% down to 4% or 3%. By the Tour, they would be exhausted from eating, because the demands were so great.

There are so many variables involved in each athlete's training and competition. I find that in my private massage practice the same variables exist in our lives, whether we are athletes or not. We must all be observed and listened to. Not only looked at, and touched, but heard with our hearts. Reading the bodies of professional athletes has helped me to better care for my clientele. After all, we are all champions at something!

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Take an Invigorating Post -Training/Race Wash Down with Dr. Bronner's Pure Castile Peppermint Soap

All athletes should know about Dr. Bronner's Liquid Peppermint Soap and my special pick of synthetic loofahs for their post training and racing shower! Nothing is worse than drying off and finding dirt on a white towel when you think you've cleaned off the road grime, sunscreen, and liniments. The simple solution to this dilemma is to start using Dr. Bronner's Pure Castile Liquid Peppermint Soap. It comes in many other fragrances, but this one is my top pick for many reasons;
refreshing, invigorating, and stimulating to the senses. Over 95% of the athletes that I work with, amateur and professional, prefer the peppermint. However there is a niche for "the blend method", ie blending different scents of Dr. Bronner's like peppermint with lavender, or peppermint with eucalyptus, etc. You can experiment; this soap literally cuts grease and grime away! If you find that this soap is a tad drying, then you can do a quick "chaser" with an organic moisturizing soap before you step out of the shower. Or do a "chaser" of lotion or both. It's up to you.

Exfoliation of the skin is essential. I recommend using a synthetic loofah with Dr.Bronner's. Synthetic loofahs as opposed to "real" loofahs are a healthy choice (synthetics don't get moldy). My favorite types are: loofah gloves, loofah mitts, and loofah wash cloths. The loofah wash cloth is great for hard to reach areas of your back. I recommend purchasing "Bass" synthetic loofahs or as they call them "exfoliation mitts and skin towels".

In order to get a "proper cleanse" with Dr. Bronner's, you want to lather up with the loofah. First, pre-soak the loofah with water, add a spoon size of Bronner's soap and begin vigorously lathering your body in a circular motion. It helps to turn off the shower while doing this to allow the Bronner's to sit for a minute or two and break down the grime. Be careful to not get the suds in your eyes or nose. For the uninitiated, the peppermint oil might be a bit too strong for the face. And of course, with experience and familiarity you can determine if you need to add more or less Bronner's to your liking.

Synthetic loofahs and Dr. Bronner's can be purchased from fine health food stores and online. Dr. Bronner's can also be purchased at Trader Joe's!

Every athlete should travel with a small bottle of Dr. Bronner's and their choice of synthetic loofah tucked nicely into a large ziplock bag. After a long ride or run it always feels good to wash off and feel that tingle of cleanliness that only Dr. Bronner's soap can give. Ahhhh.....

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Recipe for "Light Legs"

Before a long ride or a race, one way to help your legs feel fresh and light is to take two Anacin and sublingual B-12 about one hour prior. Dosage for B-12 can vary from 500 to 2000 mcg. The Anacin contains caffeine and aspirin. These products will "lighten your legs" by the caffeine and aspirin's effect, combined with the nervine tonic of the B-12. Do not try this the day of a race! Try it first on a long training ride. If you like the way you feel, then use it on a race day. These products are meant to be used ultimately for increased recovery and peak performance.

Another great product is Berocca Performance, by Bayer. These are effervescent tablets containing B vitamins with added vitamin C, calcium, magnesium, and zinc. On the Pro-Tour in Europe, the riders took Berocca Performance two times a day; once in the morning, and once after the race. This product is phenomenal! It is not available in the United States and can be purchased on-line. I have found the prices through Bayer New Zealand pharmacies to be fantastic. You will notice an unbelievable feeling of rejuvenation from the B vitamin content in Berocca. Start with just a morning or afternoon dose, but not after 5 p.m. as you could feel a bit "too" rejuvenated! Berocca can be used as a B supplement to your vitamin regime. It is not necessary in the recipe for "Light Legs." Experiment! Good luck!

Monday, December 21, 2009

"So you think it's cold?!" Part 1.

It's winter and many riders find it difficult to bundle up correctly for training, mountain bike, and cyclo-cross racing. This can make it hard to keep motivated and focused. To remain inspired in cold-wet weather for me is the absolute worst! If you can do this, you'd make a great European rider! (Photo: Cor Vos)

Cold and wet was the norm in Europe during winter and spring; cold to the bone. The riders who excel in the spring classics in particular have an indescribable constitution. This category of riders are a category in and amongst themselves...they do not register cold and pain like other riders do.

Australian, Phil Anderson, my boyfriend for six years, is the perfect example of one of these super-human riders. He was considered a "classics rider" and went very well in foul weather. For instance, if a two hundred man field began at Liege-Bastogne-Liege and freezing rain continued throughout the day, there might be only twenty-seven finishers. These would be great conditions for Phil!

One morning when we both on the TVM Team, it was pandemonium at the start of the Tour of Flanders. The press was swarming around our team cars. The mechanics and soigneurs had all we could do to prepare the bikes and the boys and deal with the paparazzi too. It was sub-thirty degrees Fahrenheit and sleeting. On days like this we layered the boys legs with three types of liniment; the top coat, a silicone-like product was derived from the feathers of a duck to repel the water, sleet, and snow.

As one of my riders put his start food and bottles into his pockets and moved aside, a journalist shoved his way into the coveted circle. Phil went ballistic. The journo barraged Phil all at once. Phil agreed to answer one question. "Phil, it's strontweer ( Dutch:'shitty/foul weather'), good day for you." To which Phil replied, "Why do you say this day is any better for me?" And the journo said, " The worse the weather, the better you go. Two-hundred riders are starting, less than thirty will finish in conditions like this...good day for you!"

Phil almost clocked the guy. " I don't go any better, everybody else just rides worse." "Shell, get this guy outta here!"