Phil Liggett in the middle
Phil Liggett MBE (born 1943) is a sports journalist and commentator on the Versus (TV channel) and ITV, for the Tour de France and other bike races. He is a former amateur cyclist and received a professional contract in 1967 but instead of turning professional, he saw a future in sports journalism after he wrote a few articles in cycling magazines about races in which he participated.
Liggett initially wrote for Cycling magazine, and moved on to work freelance for The Guardian and The Observer. In 1997 he was appointed Cycle Sport magazine’s international editor. Liggett has also written books on cycle racing.
Between 1972 and 1993 Liggett was technical director of the Milk Race. His involvement with organising cycle racing events led to his becoming vice-president of the Association Internationale Organisateurs des Courses Cycliste.
In 1973, age 30, Liggett became the youngest ever UCI international commissaire.
Since that early start he has reported on ten Olympics and 33 Tours. He is usually teamed with Paul Sherwen. He is known for colorful expressions about riders or racing conditions with often literary overtones. A collection of these “Liggettisms” was published in 2005. Liggett’s home town is Bebington, Wirral. He now lives in Bayford, Hertfordshire, England.
Liggett has covered other sports including triathlons and ski jumping. Combining this other coverage with his Tour de France work has enabled Liggett to become one of the few sports journalist to work for the American Big Three networks: (ABC, CBS, and NBC).
For ten years to January 2007, Liggett was president of the Cyclists’ Touring Club (CTC), Britain’s national cyclists’ organisation. He was succeeded by Jo Snow, presenter of Channel 4 news.
Liggett has had a long time association with Australian network SBS and covers the Tour de France with Mike Tomalaris, as well as covering other Australian events such as the Jacob’s Creek Tour Down Under.
He spends most of his leisure time in South Africa where he has a house in the Southern Cape and a game farm near the Kruger National Park.
Ooops, a red light — but we’re all going through anyway as you do in the Tour de France. The Peloton just keeps rolling on.
His legs will be screaming for him to stop!
He’s dancing on his pedals in a most immodest way!
He climbs like an angel!
He’s wearing the mask of pain.
He’s crazy. He’s always been crazy. And what on EARTH is he doing?
This is a pedigree group of men, they are holding on by the skin of their shorts.
And who is that in the background? That looks like Stephen Roche! IT LOOKS LIKE STEPHEN ROCHE!
His bike actually weighs less than 1 kg. It’s a dream going up the hill, but he’ll be blown away going down it.
We now watch the riders make their way up the mountain road, chosen by the road department as the least arduous path. I can tell you right now these riders would disagree with their choice.
Greg Lemond has literally come back from the dead to lead the Tour de France.
Now if I were an Olympic cycling judge—which as it happens I am—I’d say that was all right.
That is twenty-one miles of pure purgatory.
He’s really having to dig deeply into the suitcase of courage.
These are the great adventurers of the Tour de France, and the spirit of the race for all to see. Go out and see what you can do.
Paul Sherwen, with this attack the chicken skin is about to fall.
These boys are descending like stones.
The yellow jersey makes you ride like two men.
He’s riding like he has four legs.
The big man is in a ‘spot of bother’ on this climb.
On Lance Armstrong during a time trial: “LOOK, LOOK at that infernal cadence”
On Lance Armstrong during his 7th Tour de France : “The dynamite is lit, and we are waiting for the explosion”
Alexander Vinokourov, the man who refuses to die.
There’s Jan Ullrich, turning over those massive gears!
They threw every part of their body at the bike!
New Orleans Mardi Gras Marathon
Marathon, Half-Marathon, 5KSunday, February 1, 2009
I’ve been cycling for a number of years, long enough to have encountered a variety of riding situations and to have matured some of my own group riding skills. I know from experience that riding as a newbie in an experienced group can be intimidating. I also know that inexperienced riders can pose a real safety threat within a group. So… I offer these group riding tips that I’ve picked up along the way, and hope they’ll be helpful to others.
Hold your line
No matter how large the group you’ll tend to fall into single, double, or perhaps even triple-file lines. It is critically important that you recognize the structure of the group and fall into place accordingly. Cyclists who ride “between the lines” will almost invariably be overlapping their wheels with other riders, and any wheel contact will take both riders down. Maintaining your line becomes especially important as you round corners, as you don’t want to cut other riders off in a curve. Perhaps more than anything else, riding safely in a group means riding predictably. If you hear someone behind you yell, “Hold your line!” know that they’re doing you a favor, even if it may not sound like one at the time.
To move safely within a group you must be constantly aware of the riders around you – ahead, behind, to your left and your right. When I ride solo I always ride with a mirror – I want to know what’s coming up behind me. In a group of more than a few riders, however, I find that the mirror only helps on one side, and what I really need to know is who’s immediately around me. In this situation glancing over each shoulder can keep you better informed of who’s where.
You also want to pay close attention to the rider in front of you. If he or she is riding erratically then you may want a larger gap between you than if the rider’s a long-time riding partner.
When you’re in a large pack only the first few riders can see the road. It is more than just a courtesy to point to or call out road hazards such as gravel and potholes. You should also announce when you’re overtaking slower riders and if you’re braking unexpectedly (“Slowing!”). Good group communication keeps everyone riding safely.
I sometimes call out approaching traffic (“Car back!”, or “Car up!”) but do so only when it’s out of the ordinary, such as a car pulling a wide trailer or a dump truck or the like. Announcing every car causes riders to become desensitized to situations which truly warrant their full attention.
Announce your moves
When you’re moving in or out of a line, point to where you’re going so that riders behind you know what to expect. This is part of maintaining awareness of the riders around you and riding predictably.
Maintain your pace
When you’re drafting you gain about 1% efficiency per mph. You can ride in a group at 22-24mph at about the same effort it would take to ride at 20 mph solo. To ride efficiently the group needs to ride at a steady pace and avoid unnecessary slowdowns. Two common bottlenecks are:
If you’re in the front while descending a hill, you need to remember that if you’re coasting then the folks behind you are braking. As you approach the bottom of a hill you should accelerate to maintain your pace as you climb up the other side (otherwise the group will “bunch up” as the faster riders in the back catch up with the slower, climbing riders in front). I’m surprised at how many experienced riders simply don’t know how to attack a hill. It’s actually easier if you can maintain your momentum by accelerating at the bottom, and it keeps the group from compressing.
It’s only natural to slow as you go around a corner, but this can have a cumulative effect with a large group. The trick here is to cut a line through the turn which the group can follow and then accelerate smoothly as you go out the other side.
One other situation to be aware of is when you get out of the saddle for a climb or sprint. It’s easy to slow down slightly as you stand on the pedals, and this can be just enough for the rider behind you to collide with your rear wheel. You should practice accelerating slightly as you come out of the saddle to compensate. Since most riders aren’t aware of this, don’t feel bad about mentioning it when you see another rider do it.
Take your turn at the front
Remember that drafting is much easier than pulling, and it’s common for folks to feel the need to demonstrate their fresh legs when it’s their turn to pull. Pay attention to the pace of the paceline. If the group is maintaining, say, 22mph on the flats, then that’s the pace you should pull when you’re in front. If you do choose to push the pace, try and wait until the prior leader (who’s falling to the back of the line) is in line and back up to speed.
The whole idea of the paceline is to share the load up front. If you have more than a few riders then you should limit your pull to a half-mile or so. Don’t feel bad about taking a shorter pull if you think most of the group is stronger than yourself.
It’s generally considered polite to switch off at the top of a hill. This provides for better visibility to ensure you’re clear of traffic, and it lets the next leader start out in more favorable conditions.
Keep your position
This one’s a bit of a pet peeve of mine, but some riders feel compelled to sprint every hill regardless of the pace of the rest of the group. These same riders will often then catch their breath on the flats, causing the group to ride faster, and then slower than what they’d otherwise choose. I realize that some riders are going to be stronger climbers than others, but if you have extra energy to burn I suggest you take a longer pull at the front. Otherwise, try and maintain your relative position in the paceline.
Be careful with aerobars
I ride with aerobars because I like having the additional hand positions. However, using the aerobars limits my bike handling; I’m less stable and I can’t brake or shift as quickly. When I’m in a group I only use my aerobars if I’m in front pulling the paceline or if I’m in pursuit mode trying to close a gap. There are some folks that feel you should never use aerobars in a group because of the reducing handling.
Recognize when you loose riders off the back
This is especially true when you have a small group. You want to make sure that riders who are dropped don’t end up lost. You also want to ensure that they’re not having mechanical or physical problems.
Recognize a rotating echelon
Occasionally you may notice a situation where the lead rider in a paceline switches off almost immediately after pulling through. That is, almost as soon as the previous leader falls back, the new leader will likewise pull over and start to fall back. As other riders repeat this sequence, you end up with two parallel pacelines, with the outer line going a little more slowly than the inner line (since the riders in the outer line are all falling back). This is called a ‘rotating echelon,’ and it allows a group to move very quickly, since any one rider is pulling the line for only a short time. This seems to work best in groups of 10-14 riders and will quickly break down if anyone is unfamiliar with the protocol. If you’re in a group that starts an echelon, just do what everyone else seems to be doing and enjoy the fast, steady pace.
Keeping you outdoors biking during cold weather is also matter of having the right gear.
It’s not about packing on endless layers, but having gear with the right technology to keep you dry and warm but not over heated.
In the fall season — when temperatures are cooler (40’s and 50’s) but warm up us as the day progresses requires — you’ll need different gear than the cold temperatures (30’s and below) that remain constant during the typical winter day.
Here’s a basic cycling clothing temperature guide to help you determine what to wear.
What athletes most complain about when cycling in winter weather is cold head, hands, and feet. Following is a checklist of cold weather cycling gear you will want to invest in.
Arm and Leg Warmers During the fall and mild winter temperatures, the arm and leg warmers are helpful because you can pull them off when you warm up. For example, you are doing a 40-mile ride. The arm and leg warmers help during the first hour, but then the temps rise and your body heat increases. So you shed the warmers, and stick them in your jersey pocket or in your saddle bag.
The long-sleeve base layer is meant to keep you dry and warm during cold weather cycling training.
Long-Sleeve Jersey Remember, you want your long-sleeve jersey to fit snug so it doesn’t flap in the wind.
Long-Leg Bibs In colder temperatures when warmth is a concern for the duration of your ride, you’ll want to wear cycling bibs with long legs.
The other way to achieve the same effect would be to pull some cold weather tights over bib shorts or cycling shorts.
Vest and Jacket In the fall, wearing a cycling vest to keep your core warm will suffice. As season temperatures drop, you will want to wear a long-sleeve cycling jacket.
Shoe Covers and Booties In the cooler temps of an early morning ride in the fall, you will want to slip shoe covers over the top of your cycling shoes to keep your feet warm. As winter sets in, you will want to begin using shoe booties.
Socks Like your hands, your feet are another extremity of your body that is more susceptible to cold temperatures. Having a good pair of winter cycling socks makes a big difference.
Shop at Precision Bikes to find and buy the proper and affordable winter riding gear.
As always, don’t forget your need for hydration and nutrition during cold weather outdoor cycling.
Heck, you might just get into this outdoor winter training to the extent that you might want to take up the sport of winter cycling/triathlon!
Be aware of the fact when “over dressed” the body will have a hard time getting rid of the heat generated by an elevated heart rate; thus risk of “blowing up” at hand.