Posts Tagged ‘Untested Theories’

While watching Team Sky do their impressive thing last night during the Teams TT, it became apparent that there was a strange, long, box-like object on Wiggo’s side underneath his Skinsuit.  A crack team of analytical interpretive videographical theoreticians assembled throughout the Twitterverse came up with a list of possibilities.

I leave it to you to decide which is the most likely.


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I have a great mate who has a theory on the relative speed of time passing.

He believes that time should be measured experientially, rather than chronologically (similar to Dunbar in Catch-22, who believes if he does nothing for long enough, time will drag out to the point that he will effectively live forever). I think there’s something to this from the point of view of the brain. It feels like a couple of months ago that we had the prologue up in Rotterdam, and weeks ago that the Roubaix cobbles stage took place, and yet today is only Stage 6.

Yesterday’s stage showed that even with various broken bones and wounds, our boys are still good enough to be rocking and rolling with the best in the world, forming a very nice lead-out train deep in the final couple of km. With a bit of luck going our way, and less injury, I am sure things would have been even better than they were!

If human bodies subscribed to my mate’s (and Dunbar’s) theory of the relativity of time, rather than to the boring old time passes chronologically adage, we also would have scored a better result even without the luck running our way. If you are on the start line you are -in theory – ready to race – but suffice to say that as a physio, watching what our boys did yesterday was above and beyond what I had hoped that they could squeeze out of their bodies.

They’re very good athletes (by definition if you have a number on your back in this race you’re a good athlete), and this week has shown they’re also extremely hard men (which is a completely different question).

We the med team (Serge Niamke our doc, Matt Rabin our chiro and myself) continue to work our butts off so that bodies and minds are once again in synch as to what is possible

Toby Watson, Team Physiotherapist, Garmin Transitions Pro Cycling Team.

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It is a very fortunate thing that the situation that Garmin-Transitions is in during this Tour is a first time for all of us involved.  The fortune I speak of is partly that we’ve never had to deal with nigh on half of our team all being pretty badly wounded on the one descent, and partly that the fretting resulting from this would leave us, the staff, nervous wrecks.

I have made up a totally anecdotal “two day” theory regarding peoples’ responses to injury and trauma.   It’s completely without scientific evidence or backing, but does explain a pattern of behaviour that I have regularly seen over the years.

My theory holds that on the day of the trauma, the shock and adrenaline take you to the finish line.  The first day afterwards sees high pain levels at the spots that you’ve traumatised, but elsewhere you have bearable amounts of pain.  On the second day after the injury however, things start to really stiffen up, but the trauma itself hasn’t really healed, so you’re dealing with both stiffening and trauma, and you just feel rubbish.  This is all anecdotal, mind, but is a bit of a pattern that I’ve seen emerge.

Add Roubaix cobbles on day one of the Two Day Theory, and I’m sure you can imagine how beaten up the boys felt this morning!  Getting on the bike at all was a feat for some of the boys.  And then things slowly improved.

The break of the day snuck away with barely a whimper from the peloton – a good sign that there were a lot of sorry lads following the enormity of the previous two days of racing.  Things were tranquil throughout the day, and slowly the sprinter teams got themselves organised to bring the break back in, and set up for a bunch sprint finish.

I must admit at this point to being “Charlie non-believer” in that I was more interested in the boys not crashing than I was in them getting any results.  It’s an aspect of the job that the med team always deal with.  “How’d you go?” or “How was it today?” is more about “Did you have much pain?  Were you the same, better or worse than yesterday?” than it is about how good were you at whatever your discipline happens to be.

And so with heart in mouth (considering the nine roundabouts in the final 5.5km) I watched the boys shoot for the line.  And then they hit out well, duking it out with the best sprinters in the peloton.  Jules pulled off a second and Robby fifth.  This was a fantastic result that continues the Garmin-Transitions run of top-class performances when on the bike, regardless of the pain and problems that may have struck prior to this.

Absolute class from all of the boys today, long may it continue.

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The Mock.  Some would say that this is the most powerful force in the universe, and yet it has never been quantified.  I for one am a firm believer in the Mock, and think that CERN should be turning their attention to investigating the power of the Mock, rather than the trivialities of the God particle, Higgs boson and what-all else you want to talk about.

What (or who) is the Mock?  Some call it the Mozz, but they are merely fools trying to divert the attention of the Mock with more positively connoted names.  The Mock can not be fooled.  The Mock is an entity (for want of a better word) that thwarts the plans of mortals, usually in the most frustrating, painful way possible.  Argentina ignominiously crashing out of the World Cup of Football (yes, there is another sporting event going on – less cool, but nonetheless, another sporting event) is directly related to their coach Diego Maradona suddenly talking up the chances of Argentina winning the whole thing.  I guarantee that had he  kept his mouth shut, the Germans would currently be on their way home, rather than celebrating a 4-0 shellacking of the Argies.

Today was a prime example of the Mock for Team Garmin-Transitions.  I took a photo of Millar in the green jersey, and captioned it “Millar keeping the green jersey warm for Ty.”  If ever there was a clear case of bringing the Mock’s attention upon oneself, this would be it.  So I apologise now to the team, and to all of the fans of Garmin-Transitions, and Tyler Farrar for bringing the wrath of the Mock upon us.

The day started normally enough.  There were nerves in the team as we fell over each other a little with the first day of transferring to a different hotel (we’re now in Brussels, not Rotterdam), and also the first day on the road, but all was smoothed relatively incident free, and the boys rode off with high hopes.

The team controlled the day beautifully, with a bit of help from a few other sprinter teams, and things were looking very nice for a head to head shot between Tyler and Mark Cavendish, from HTC-Columbia.  There was a point when both the white and green jerseys were both side by side on the front of the peloton pulling for their respective sprinters.  A very weird, but cool sight as Millar and Tony Martin went head to head (Millar smoking it up and Garmin Transitions’ train sitting beautifully on the front).  The Hope in our hearts rose.

Then all hell broke loose as the Mock intervened.  Firstly, Cavendish lost control on a tight corner and wobbled out of the race, along with another of Ty’s main rivals Freire.  The Hope rose in the on looking team as it looked like Ty was really only a couple of corners and ten other riders away from taking the show.  There was a second enormous pile-up about a kilometre from the finish where basically the whole peloton were stopped other than a small bunch of blokes on the front.  The Hope rose another notch.  And then the Mock took control.

As the final 200-300m approached, and the remaining sprinters rose from their seats to launch their attacks, Tyler was looming ominously.  Suddenly, his foot kicked out of his pedal as his bike was rammed by another rider.  It is ridiculous that he didn’t crash ( he was travelling somewhere around 60-65km/hr, wearing lycra, so serious damage gets done when guys crash at that speed).  This is a big testament to Ty’s bike handling skills and body strength (he went from being on two wheels, to just his front wheel, to having an anchor on the back of his bike clattering about).  As the dust settled, Ty’s bike was completely entangled with the other bloke’s machine, and Tyler eventually walked across the line carrying his busted up bicycle.  It was an absolute nightmare, but to his eternal credit, Ty kept his cool, and is already looking at his next chance to feature on the finish line.

There will be no predictions, and we are holding none of the Hope.  We just give our best efforts to get him to the sprint point as safely as can be, and let him do his thing.  Always fear and respect the Mock, people.

(Thankfully no one from our team hit the deck badly, which is an important thing to be grateful for on this day!)

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We have all been faced with, and stumped by, the eternal question when hosting a gathering: how many pizzas to order?

Until last night, I had thought the complex equation drafted by my good mate (and mathematical genius) BA in the mid 90s that he dubbed “The Pizza Matrix” covered all situations. For those unfortunates who don’t know the details, I shall go through the equation now. Concentrate.

P = Number of pizzas required
n = Number of people at party

P = n-1

This brilliant equation had held me in good stead for years and (for those astute enough to have noticed) stopped me from ordering pizza for one – a very sad situation to be in, which is to be avoided at all costs.

Last night, however, we celebrated St Joan’s Day in Girona, and had a couple of people over.  I’m not sure what St Joan did, but I assume it had something to do with blowing stuff up.  That’s certainly what the celebration is all about!  It’s an equivalent of the UK’s Guy Fawkes Night, where you go dow

n to your local incendiaryaria, get as many of the biggest, coolest, blowy-uppiest looking firecrackers as your budget can justify, and then get your mates around and set them off.

Tyler was surprised at how little the Aussies in the group knew about fireworks, and I had to explain to him that we’ve not been able to buy them for individual use for about 25yrs,

Good Grief!
The couple that blows stuff up together sticks together

so understandably we’re a little out of the loop.  He asked why, and I just pointed at the cluster of Australians who were already trying to work out how to make the crackers we had blow up more ridiculously dangerously with physio tape, spit and know-how.  Enough said.

Obviously it was a cracking (boom tish) night.  I’m still touch typing, and thus have all ten fingers, as did all of my guests upon departure.  The only flaw is that today I have a huge pile of untouched pizza in the fridge.  “HAH!  That’s a flaw??” I can imagine the bloke readers scoff – indeed there is nothing better than pizza from the fridge – but when you’re talking enough to still be eating it in August, it begs the question of what went wrong with the Matrix?

My theory is that the Matrix is exclusive of pro cyclists.  A couple of the guys have this little race called the Tour de France starting in nine days, and those who didn’t wanted to make sure that they were in super shape for their next race.  Lame excuses or what?  Thus most of the blokes at the party only had one or two slices.  Whitey and I tried valiantly to cover for not only the girls not eating their share, but also 80% of the boys, but it was beyond us.  Heroic, but insufficient.  Somewhat like the Socceroos last night against Serbia.

Clearly, like other advanced areas of physics and mathematics, there is not yet a Unified Theory that brings every eventuality under the one umbrella. I look forward to hearing how BA will overcome this hole in his erstwhile robust theory.

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