Sport

Popular perception says the devil makes work for idle hands. As it turns out he also makes work for other parts of the body and this he calls exercise.

Because of the supposed endorphins, it’s really easy to get addicted to exercise and you become so fit that you push yourself to ever-greater extremes, one of which is death. Undoubtedly, the benefit of regular exercise is that you develop a superbly toned body, one that everyone would be highly jealous of, were it not for the fact that you stink of chlorine, continually break off to carbo-load with high-energy liquids and have to stretch for fifteen minutes before starting anything. And, in any event, don’t forget that exercise was actually created for those who can’t handle hard liquor and class A drugs!

I’ve done more than my fair share of exercise: I’m still trying to master the game of squash; have run more adventure races, marathons & ultras than I care to recall; discovered I was more rust than iron in triathlon; continually proved that I have no natural talent on two wheels, have swam often in cold water, very cold water; and don’t ever want to do anything like this ever again.

ooo la la

If the gentle accordion tinkling out Kraftwerk’s Tour de France is your mobile ringtone then you, like me, are going to be all excited as next year’s premier worldwide event looks like being a belter! Notwithstanding the retirement and absence of its largest star and an outstanding clenbuterol doping case against the current holder of le maillot jaune, the 2011 Tour de France route really has something special for every participant, either on a cycle or in the armchair. A completely new route, new rules and a slew of super-human challenges have ensured this tour’s going to be hard, really hard. By backing the tougher Alpine climbs into the final week it’s also clear we’re in for another nail-biting finale. […]

stretching the truth

I’m not a stretcher, never have been. I always seem to cut the start time too fine to stretch beforehand and I’m way too keen to get to the bar afterwards for that all-important hydration to worry about it after the event. You’d therefore think I’d be an injury waiting to happen but, as recent studies have shown, you’d be wrong. Stretching has come under quite severe pressure in recent months with all sorts of research proving that performance is inhibited if you stretch beforehand. Whilst it’s easy to imagine a muscle having less elastic power in a stretched, supple state, research by the University of Tampa, found that when athletes stretched before a strenuous workout, they burned, on average, […]

make mine a transfusion, a large one

Having finally gotten into road cycling I am no stranger to the stories around doping. There is no doubt whatsoever in my mind that the Tour de France (not to mention Italy’s and Spain’s equivalent Giro d’Italia and La Vuelta a Espana respectively) are some of the most gruelling sporting escapades taking place in the world today and professional cyclists are undeniably a breed apart. But they’ve always been dopers, and most of them will remain so. Why? Because, as it’s oft been quoted, you can’t expect mere mortals to cycle 300kms a day (at a phenomenal pace) for almost three weeks, over some of the largest mountains Europe can throw at them, on bread and water alone. Once upon […]

the boy’s got balls

You have to give it to Wayne. As many of Manchester’s elderly hostesses can confirm there’s no doubting the boy’s got a pair on him. There he is, playing like a numbskull, his personal live splashed all over our morning red-tops, a corporate ‘brand’ in the gutter, intent on bringing down the house of cards that a modern day football club represents, and yet he has the audacity to put in a wage demand that would double his already more than inflated salary. The boy’s a good ‘un. Priceless. He reckons Manchester United should pay him £200,000 a week. If they don’t then he’ll vote with his feet and ply his dubious trade elsewhere. And this time, rumour has it, […]

go down with dignity

How to take a beating, that is the question. Playing far worse than your opponent will normally get the job done without too much ado but what to do and how to react when such an event happens is a quandary facing us all at some point in time. Even Jhangir had it to face at the hands of Ross Norman following his unbeaten five-year record. In defeat you will face one of three emotions: 1. Calm Acceptance. The best man won, and no surprise, it wasn’t you. 2. Slight disappointment. You though you had a chance, and if another 26 flukey nicks had followed the first then your opponent would have been worried. Perhaps. 3. Rage. How did that […]

all the gear…

…and no idea. I read an interesting article the other day where a wife was berating her husband for wanting to upgrade his current £800 bicycle to a more expensive £2000 one. His perspective was that the old one just wasn’t fast enough; hers that the money would be far better spent on a new kitchen. Now, I’m on thin ice here in that my first road bike was a third-hand Pinarrello that I paid £300 for, and loved monogamously for a year, before spanking over £2000 on an equally lovely but far lighter, better spec’d and more sparkly titanium framed second-hand Sabbath Mondays Child. The Sabbath is fantastic bit of kit, I am undoubtedly faster on it and able […]

'time for bed' said Zebedee

Are you struggling to sleep? The flock of sheep never ending? Is the tossing and turning making each night’s sleep an impossibility? Nightmares? Chance would be a fine thing! Well, luckily for all you insomniacs, researchers from the North-Western Medicine University have uncovered a new drug-free antidote that is all but guaranteed to ensure a solid night’s kip. The study, which is the first to examine the effect of aerobic exercise on middle-aged adults with a history of poor sleep patterns, shows a dramatic improvement in both the quantity and quality of zzzs, when compared to any other non-pharmacological intervention, as well as highlighting a positive effect on mood and vitality. Wahay. Too tired to exercise? Think again. Analysing two […]

flag of convenience

I have a problem with Andy Murray. And it’s the same I had with Greg Rusedski and Kevin Pietersen and Allan Lamb and Tony Greig. Is he Scottish or is he British?  Were they Canadian, South African, Rhodesian or what? And the worst culprit? Undoubtedly squash’s very own Peter Nichol. Top boy that he was and is, how could he do what he did and expect to be taken seriously? Go read up on it if you have no idea what I’m referring to. I just don’t buy the ancestral bit. You are what you are and you can only be from one place, there’s only one home country. Yes, it may certainly bolster our own Nation’s sporting prowess and […]

uk ironman: more rust than metal

To those of a certain generation ‘Ironman’ is a Black Sabbath number from their ‘difficult second album’, Paranoid. To those of another, it’s the film featuring Hollywood’s reformed-bad-boy Robert Downey Junior. But to those of the middle-aged-wanna-be-fit-and-relive-your-lost-childhood generation, Ironman represents a whole different kettle of fish, in fact a whole different world of hate and pain. A world condensed to three disciplines – 2.4 mile swim, 112 mile cycle and 26.2 (never forget the 0.2 as they are the hardest of 0.2 miles) run. I can now personally confirm that everything you’ve heard or envisaged about this event is absolutely true, not a word is a lie and I’d go as far as say not a single word is even […]

c’mon in the water’s lovely

The Loneliness of the Long Distance Swimmer – Saturday 10th July 2010 Forget the World Cup. Don’t even consider the Tour de France. This Saturday saw your intrepid slippery fish take to the water in both his first ever official swim race and first ever attempt at the 3.8k Ironman distance. Surely an event worth noting. Tony-triathlete-Marsh, Grant Wyatt and I were competing in the 3.8km race (57 entrants) with Paul Broomfield taking to the water for the first time this year in the 1.5km one against 53 other participants. 22 degrees potentially made wetsuits unnecessary for the proper swimmers (Paul) but the rest of us were happy to bubble and boil away for the reassurance of the additional buoyancy. […]