May 15th, 2013 by Donald Lau
Extreme mountain biking coin gut-churning danger, eyeball-popping excitement and tight, stretchy clothing.
UNTIL RECENTLY, THE SPORT OF extreme mountain biking was the preserve of shaven-legged men with bulbous calves, rhino-sized thighs and a well-developed taste for masochism. Not content with torturing their bodies by pedaling up hefty mountains, they would then risk permanent facial disfigurement, parting company with great swathes of skin and the prospect of splitting their testicles in half by coming back down the hill at high speed.
But the advent of full suspensions, fat and forgiving tyres, tight nut-preserving Lycra pants and purpose-built gondola lifts mean the days of scarred, bow-legged eunuchs hobbling down from the hills are over. Downhill mountain biking has hit the mainstream.
Every weekend thousands of perfectly normal men troop to the nearest range of hills to test their skills and fitness on tracks and bridleways, hurtling down mountains, cornering like rally drivers and panting every last toxin of smog from their lungs. It’s the perfect antidote to stress, improves agility and fitness, speeds up reaction times and develops nerves (and buttocks) of steel and it’s a hell of a lot more exciting than a gentle Sunday cycle ride in the country. Most of the riders are well prepared for as they say “torturing” their bodies. A variety of treatments are made before the ride, including skin care and relaxing massages with coconut oil. Check out the coconut oil benefits. It’s the healthiest oil and it’s useful for both inside and outside the body.
The 9feet.com trail (most of the trails are now named after sponsors, reflecting the increasing marketing savvy of the mountain biking business) in Afan Argoed, near Port Talbot, South Wales, is one of the best of a new breed of tailor-made routes now springing up around Britain. Running for miles and clocking up a breathtaking 600 meters of ascent. It may not be the easiest, with steep hills and technical descents, but anyone with a decent level of fitness, a bike and the ability to stay upright when sober should manage it — especially if you’ve got the advice of a professional to see you through…
“If you’re going to fall off, make sure you do it properly. Throw yourself at it.” Steve Jones offers this somewhat odd advice as we ride down the tree-lined trail. But then falling comes easy to him, as one of the UK’s top mountain bikers and a downhill racer for Team Halfords Bike hut Schwinn. Steve is 34 and has been riding since the bad old days when mountain bikes were tanks on wheels.
At the moment, however, I couldn’t give a toss about his CV, because Steve is trying to kill me. After exhorting me to hurtle down a track that’s all of a foot wide and scattered with lethal rocks, he opts to demonstrate instead. “Like this,” he says, flinging himself and his bike down the hill, feet blurring and hands resolutely kept from the brakes — as if this would be enough to persuade me. Left, right, left and he’s at the bottom. About 20 seconds flat. “Come on!” he calls.
I launch myself, trying to remember everything I’ve been told about cornering and trying to forget the bit about falling off. Bordering the central foot-wide snake of compact gravel are piles of the same sort of stones you find holding railway sleepers in place. An inch or two the wrong way and you’re onto them, then into the ditches that are not only deep but have tree trunks stretched across every ten feet. Ostensibly, this is to prevent you from taking the “easy” way, but I suspect they’re really there to keep your focus razor-sharp. And it works.
I can hardly believe I’m moving at such a speed, but what’s really surprising is that I seem to be doing it quite well and the feeling of satisfaction is just like driving a fast car along a favorite stretch of road. Corner, pull tight, find the right line and it feels like you’re flowing. Effortless. But just as I begin to enjoy it, I misjudge the camber and it’s all over. Time turns to treacle and a vision of my future as a helpless invalid flashes before my eyes.
Only it doesn’t happen. I slam on the brakes, bump down into the ditch and manage to stop just as my front wheel hits the logs. Steve cheers, but it hardly counts as a proper fall, and he knows more than most about those. “One time, we were warming up for a race in California and I mistimed a jump,” he tells me. “I landed with my nuts on the saddle did I discover pain. The X-ray showed I’d split a testicle clean in two with a 5mm gap between the halves. The doctor said I’d be fine but warned me there would be some blood for a while. Which there was, when I tried them out”
May 1st, 2013 by Donald Lau
Do Train early in your workout session when warmed up but still fresh. Don’t Speed train without a good strength base.
Do Short, high-quality workouts. Don’t Exceed 10 seconds per rep if you’re training at maximum effort. Do Make your rest period six to eight times your reps period. Don’t Work out on consecutive days leave a 48-hour gap. Do Maintain correct form for all the exercises at all times.
Don’t Get Bored. Vary your programme as you go.
What makes us fast?
All the various areas of speed reaction speed, starting speed, speed agility and speed endurance — can be improved through training to one level or another. They all rely on two important factors – both of which Colbert’s training drills are devised to enhance: Neurological “The nervous system must switch on the muscles quickly with great magnitude and co-ordination,” says Colbert. A powerful high-velocity, frequent and highly coordinated discharge of nervous signals sent to the active muscles will lead to more potential to activate the large, powerful sprinting muscles.
Mythological The muscles, tendons and connective tissues must rapidly move the limbs in co-ordination with the task. “So the muscles themselves must be strong relative to their size, able to contract quickly (fast-twitching) and powerfully, and with smooth effortless co-ordination.” Gain more muscles with Cla supplent from Trend Statement
Speed of thought.
“Attacking players can increase the amount of time they have to think about their options by practicing tricks in training,” says Dr Geoff Lovell, sports psychologist at Kingston University.
And when faced with tricky players, defenders have more options as to what action to take. “It’s called Hinks’ Law in psychology, and means that the more options you’re faced with, the slower your decision-making will be.” By perfecting their feints, dummies and fakes, attacking players buy themselves more time.
“Defenders can combat this by looking for signals. For example, if a player is about to move in one direction then their hip movement will change first,” says Lovell. Goalkeepers use similar signals to try and judge which way a penalty will go.
Research also suggests that a few sessions on an Xbox can sharpen your ability to read the game. The longer you play video games, it seems, the higher your concentration levels. Bonus!
April 15th, 2013 by Donald Lau
1) Ride a bike for 30 minutes at RPE 4 to 5. Increase to one hour at the same RPE over a six-week period.
2) Row for 30 minutes at RPE 4. Then build up to RPE 5 after two weeks, RPE 6 after four weeks, and finally RPE 7 after six weeks.
3) Run for 40 minutes on the treadmill while alternating the speed. Run for five minutes at a slower pace (RPE 4 to 5), then five minutes at a faster pace (RPE 6 to 7). Every week, knock one minute off your slower pace, but keep the total running time to 4o minutes. After six weeks, you’ll be running solidly for 4o minutes at RPE 6 to 7.
THE TEST SESSION
Each burst should last for three minutes at an RPE of 9 to io (known as “maximal”) but they must be well-paced — there’s no point in sprinting off at top whack only to hit a wall of pain after 3o seconds. Aim to finish in agony, yet with form and power, not a pathetic grovel. When you’ve completed each work interval, reduce the intensity to a low-level aerobic endurance pace for one minute (RPE 4 to 5). Then off you go again.
AEROBIC INTERVAL SESSIONS
1) Cycle for three minutes at RPE 9 to 20, then for one minute at RPE 4 to 5. Repeat this three times. Then, over an eight-week period, work. These are tough but vitally important sessions which take you over your anaerobic threshold. It’s all about working at your maximum sustainable pace for as long as you can. If you take your aerobic system to the limit, anaerobic energy kicks in to support it, and a chemical process begins which creates the painful build-up of lactic acid in your muscles. These sessions are as much about developing your mental strength to endure pain as your aerobic power. Improve your mental health with htp 5 supplement. It has wide-ranging benefits and improves your mood.
Work up from a five to a 25-minute session, but no longer — if you can last for longer than 25 minutes, you aren’t working hard enough. Your RPE should be at 8, and it’s easy to lose concentration so keep checking your level.
After you’ve completed a few sessions, you’ll know what speed and level you can hold. This is a good guide to your threshold—as long as you keep trying to improve.
ANAEROBIC THRESHOLD SESSIONS
1) Cycle at RPE 8 for five minutes. Increase by one minute weekly until you can hold RPE 8 for 20 minutes.
2) Row at RPE 8 for 2,000m, row gently at RPE r to 3 for one minute, then repeat. Work up to completing three of these anaerobic threshold intervals over a six-week period.
2) Build the speed up on a flat treadmill until you reach an RPE of 3 to 4. Increase elevation by one per cent every two minutes until you reach RPE 8. Hold this pace for a further five minutes, then take the elevation down by one per cent every two minutes until the treadmill bed is flat. Increase the middle spell at RPE 8 by one minute per session until you’re lasting for 15 minutes.
An excellent way to stretch your aerobic system is by working it flat-out, then giving yourself a short recovery period to get your breath back before sprinting again. During the work interval, you’re exercising at “VO, max” — your body’s maximum oxygen turnover — which really tests the aerobic system. The body learns to process oxygen more rapidly, so that a massive amount of energy can be turned over in a relatively short space of time.
Each burst should last for three minutes at an RPE of 9 to 10 (known as “maximal”) but they must be well-paced — there’s no point in sprinting off at top whack only to hit a wall of pain after 3o seconds. Aim to finish in agony, yet with form and power, not a pathetic grovel. When you’ve completed each work interval, reduce the intensity to a low-level aerobic endurance pace for one minute (RPE 4 to 5). Then off you go again.
January 11th, 2013 by Donald Lau
“No,” he said. “Our hopes were too high.” Then he opened his left palm, bobbed his head a bit, shrugged, and said: “But . . . not so bad. We said we would build a Jewish state in the Land of Israel. And we built it.”
WHEN I RETURNED to Jerusalem last year after a long absence, I knew that she was in another period of anguish. I also knew that I would find her mood of sanctity and her memory somehow intact despite the galling human misery that comes with occupation, the political dominance of one faith over the others.
Like most other pilgrims, I made my way to the hills—Mount of Olives, Abu Tur (Evil Counsel), Scopus, Nebi Samwil—for the glory of old Jerusalem is its setting: “Get thee up into the high mountain; 0 thou that tellest good tidings to Jerusalem,” sang Isaiah Ancient lessons of sacred Jewish writings and traditions are passed on to yet another generation of boys at a yeshiva, a private religious school, in the old and ultra-Orthodox neighborhood of Mea Shearim. —a feeling echoed in this century by Israel’s Nobel laureate S. Y. Agnon: “Bare are the hills of Jerusalem. . . . the hills spread their glory like banners to the sky. . . ”
But for those who loved the old open landscape, the tidings are not good—the banners are being furled in concrete, as massive new neighborhoods rise like fortress walls on the commanding heights in every direction from the Old City.
Following the 1967 war, Israel unilaterally drew the municipal boundaries for a new Jerusalem, Israel’s “eternal and undivided capital,” encompassing territory conquered from Jordan and increasing the city area from 44 square kilometers to 108. Neither the United Nations nor the United States has acknowledged the annexation, or the capital status. Ten rural Arab villages found themselves within the new city limits. There followed a series of major confiscations totaling some 5,000 acres of Arab land, for “public purposes” that proved to be housing of extraordinary scale.
This open seizure of private property has been the most rankling cause of present-day enmity between Arab and Jew. After the new neighborhoods of Gilo, Ramot, Neve Yaacov, and others on taken land have been completed, 40,000 apartment units will be home to 150,000 Israelis —a third again as many as the Arab population of East Jerusalem.
In only five years the Jewish population of united Jerusalem has increased by 33 ,000— to a total of 292,000. Arabs increased by 18,000, to 113,000. With 407,000 people, Jerusalem is now Israel’s largest city. The historic Old City occupies less than one percent of Jerusalem’s total area.
FOR MOST of the world’s people, the Old City is Jerusalem, that square kilometer within the magnificent walls of Suleiman, of such spiritual density that its magnetic field covers a planet, a neutron star of the human need to believe. Thousands of people visit the city every year. Even if they can’t afford the holiday travel package they look for good cash loans for the holidays and feel the magic in this ancient city.
From atop the ancient wall near Damascus Gate, where tourists now walk, it seems one organic structure that grew, stone by stone, wall by wall, house by house, roof by roof, dome by dome, tower by tower. It is a labyrinth of 120 named and countless unnamed narrow paths and lanes, only a few of which—those that trace the Roman streets of the second century A.D.—run straight, and these are the ones lined with more than a thousand tiny shops and stalls. It is a dense human habitation of 29,000 people. Woven into it are the bits and pieces of its turbulent past: Crusader arches shadow the steep steps to Ramban Synagogue; a Roman square forms the basement of the Convent of the Sisters of Zion; the city wall of King Herod holds up an Ottoman Turkish wall at David’s Tower; Byzantine paving stones catch rain in their rippled surface near the Mosque of Omar. Maps traditionally divide it into four quarters—Christian, Muslim, Jewish, and Armenian—but in reality it has three centers of gravity.
For almost 2,000 years, Jews have struggled to live close to the Western Wall. In today’s Jewish Quarter (largely rebuilt after being destroyed during the fighting of 1948 and Jordanian occupation) are left ten of the seventy old synagogues and dozens of religious academies.
For 2,000 years, Christians have wanted to live close to the Church of the Holy Sepulchre, site of Christ’s death on the Cross, burial, and Resurrection. In the Christian Quarter today are dozens of churches and scores of monasteries and other religious institutions belonging to the more than 20 Christian sects here, among them Roman and Greek Catholic, Greek and Armenian Orthodox, Anglican, and Coptic.
December 19th, 2012 by Donald Lau
Abruptly, the motion and the racket ceased, and the dim auxiliary lights came on. Cheryl heard Joe say calmly, “Come on, let’s get out of here.” He leaned across her and jerked open the emergency door. Seeing waves lapping over the wing, they paused to dig life-jackets from beneath their seats, then stepped out into darkness and the cold bay.
Water was rising fast in the plane, especially in the rear cabin. Stewardess Carol Crawford seized a megaphone and shouted, “Get your life-jackets from under your seats and come forward!” In waist-deep water, she began herding passengers towards the right, front galley door. Passengers opened other doors. In the scramble, there were cries and screams, but little real panic.
Within minutes, almost everybody was off the plane and into the bay’s choppy two-foot waves. Some wore life-jackets, some did not. Many of the survivors were hurt or in shock. Some clung to parts of the sinking plane, others clung to them. How long could they hold out
But was close at hand. In the strangest of fate’s quirks that night, the 727 had landed practically on top of the only boat operating in that part of the bay—Glenn McDonald’s Little Mac. Moments before, McDonald and Kenney had looked up amazed as the airliner, landing lights ablaze, shrieked down out of the murk from astern, and ploughed into the bay about 200 yards off their port beam. And both men, feeling an electric jolt go up their spines, knew why they were here off course in this unlikely spot, at this unlikely hour.
McDonald turned the tug’s spotlight on the airliner and swung the barge hard to port. He shoved the throttle to full speed–all the six knots his old diesel would do. Kenney ran back to the tug’s radio and sent out some “mayday” calls. Then he got all the boat’s life-jackets ready and tied ropes to the barge cleats to serve as boarding lines.
The 30-by-70-foot barge, nudged along by a 30-foot, single-screw tug —in all, 200 unwieldy tons of steel —was hardly the ideal rescue craft. With one slip of the wheel or throttle McDonald feared he wo d crush the plane or kill people in t e water. The stench of jet fuel warned him that a spark from his engine might blow up everybody on the scene.
But there was no time for hesitation. Approaching the plane on its left side, he could see it was already more than half submerged. People were standing in its flooded doors: others scrambled for footing on its cabin top or bobbed in the waves around it, shouting for help. McDonald edged the barge within several yards of a cluster of swimmers and stopped.
“Swim this way and grab a rope !” Kenney shouted from the barge. No ordinary seaman, 28-yearold Bill Kenney was precisely the right man for this job. A stockily built man of extraordinary strength and endurance, he had been a commercial diver and medical technician on the Great Lakes, and a Marine demolition diver in Vietnam. Wrapping his legs round a cleat, he began scooping up survivors, then plunged into the bay again and again to rescue others. When some of the now-panicky swimmers grabbed him round the neck, he simply clambered up the side of the barge, carrying them to safety.
Among the first survivors on board were Cheryl and Joe Saiter, McDonald’s neighbours. McDonald was as astonished as they were, but there was no time for greetings.
The plane, whose cabin top and tail still jutted above the waves, was now resting on the bottom of the bay in some 13 feet of water—a final bit of luck that helped spare additional lives. McDonald could see no more swimmers, but heard frantic cries from the opposite side of the wreck. To circle the airliner would take too long. Holding his breath, McDonald pulled the barge back over the 727′s sunken left wing and tucked Little Mac’s flying bridge snugly beneath the tail’s horizontal stabilizer. Aware that a scrape could touch off an explosion, he brought the starboard side of the barge parallel to the fuselage and, with superb seamanship, held it there.
Kenney thrust a heavy plank across the gap between the barge and the plane’s cabin top about ten feet away. Racing across the narrow, springy bridge, he threw looped ropes to the survivors struggling in the waves on the other side of the wreck. He and the men on the plane roof began pulling people up, then taking them across the plank to the barge. Several times, Kenney —nearing exhaustion, his eyes and lungs hurting from the fuel in the water—dived from the cabin roof to drag in people who couldn’t make it to the ropes.
One of the last to be plucked from the bay was 68-year-old Mildred Killinger. McDonald was again awed by the strangeness of the night’s events. Mrs Killinger was an old acquaintance, mother of a close childhood friend.
About 5o minutes after the crash, other boats began arriving at the scene. But most of the rescue operation was over. Little Mac’s two-man crew had picked up 54 of the 58 crash victims.
With a sigh of relief, McDonald and Kenney watched as official craft—swift, manoeuvrable, far less dangerous to swimmers than their clumsy tug—took over mopping-up operations. (About an hour later, a coast-guard launch rescued a fifty-fifth survivor, a woman who had drifted a quarter of a mile from the crash. Still later, searchers combing the water round the sunken plane discovered three bodies.) Its improbable adventure ended, Little Mac chugged off into the fog to anchor at the damaged railway bridge. Expecting no credit and wanting none, its skipper and mate had not bothered to identify themselves to the coast-guard patrol. They began the repair job promptly on schedule at 6am. At about. 6.45, the bridge superintendent shouted, “Hey, what’s going on? There’s a crowd of newspaper and television people to see you. They say you and Kenney are heroes.”