Saturday, February 18, 2012

Immune system: engage?

I once read about the differences between British and American advertsing for over-the-counter cold-relief remedies; Nyquill powders and the like.  The British adverts promised some relief from your symptoms whilst the American ones promised nothing but a complete resolution.  So a British advert would conclude with the unlucky sufferer still at home in their pajamas and dressing gown with a stuffy nose but with a smile on their face whilst the American ones would conclude with the erstwhile sufferer playing tennis, cycling or climbing Mount Everest.

These thoughts come to me as I am feeling distinctly m'eh and under the weather today and thinking of reaching for such a product. If I could curl up into a ball, slip underneath a blanket and not surface until Lent, that would be a good thing. Somehow, somewhere I picked up a cold that just won't quit; blocked sinus, cough, sore throat and that general m'eh feeling.  Worryingly, perhaps, there is a strange, almost solvent-like taste in the back of my throat, like my lungs are outgassing something banned under the Geneva Conventions.  As John Travolta once said "I've got chills, they're multiplying, and I'm losing control". In fact, I'm starting to wonder if I don't have the actual flu. Not that miraculously self-limiting one-day "flu" people often get, but your real neuramidase/haemagglutinin mediated bastard.

One of the funny, as in funny-peculiar not funny-ha-ha, things about this time is living with a carded member of the health profession. As someone who sees the worst that life can throw at life, la belle's general level of m'eh at seeing me sick is equalled only by my own. I wonder exactly what it would take to get her excited, medically speaking? A dramatic collapse perhaps?  Childbirth maybe.  I'll have to see what I can do.  My old man, also an MD, was the same. Rather than having a mobile ER at home, he limited his out-of-office medical skills to stopping the bleeding and letting you carry on. You didn't lose a leg, after all.

Maybe there's something there about compassion fatigue. There's only so much empathy one can have and if you leave it all on the wards, there's nothing left for home. 

Keep calm and carry on.

Speaking of keeping calm and carrying on, it is the first race of the triathlon season tomorrow, Nova Scotia's first winter triathlon. La belle is the RD. Yours truely will set the bike-course in the morning and be the bike official. We raided Cyclesmith's race-room today and took the bike-racks, flags, trail-tape and stakes.  I'll be up early tomorrow (lungs notwithstanding) to stake the course out.

Speaking of that course: it was funny (funny-ha-ha not funny-peculiar) to see Halifax Triathlon Club (HTC) advertise a bike-course familiarization last Monday seeing as la belle only got final city permission to use the Common, and what parts of the Common were on- and off-limits, yesterday lunchtime! We sat down last night and pencilled in a course, then I went out and rode it to make sure it was doable. So technically the course was only set last night (Friday) and for now it still only exists in my head. Perhaps I should have gone to the HTC training night the previous Monday and saved ourselves the bother!

Part of my m'eh feeling, apart from my WMD sanction-busting lungs, is having to work with TNS tomorrow; the first time since they gave me the big heave-ho last autumn. To be honest, not being privy to the minutes any more, I am unsure whether it was a board-decision or just one person. One thing I am certain of is that I'm pretty sure the rank-and-file membership are as of yet still uninformed. I haven't seen anything announcing my departure and the 2012 AGM hasn't happened yet.

Tomorrow, I will turn up, do my job professionally and leave. Part of me is really looking forward to getting back in harness again, but I'm sure you'll allow me a bit of latitude if I'm not 100% enthused about getting up at 04:30 to do it!  There's something about reaching to the officiating box in the storage room where all the bits and pieces of the trade are kept! The last time I opened that box of tricks was for Gijon. Maybe I'll wear some of my FETri stuff tomorrow to remind me of warm times. One thing is for certain; the food-packages at Tri The Oval won't be half as good!


Saturday, February 11, 2012

Contre le dopage

What a week for doping.  What can one say that has already been said, and surely more eloquently than I ever could?

The big surprise, perhaps was Benjamin Martel, a Quebec amateur, popped for testosterone last yearLa belle says the francophone blogs have been abuzz with this news and whilst most are condemning him, he has his share of supporters, many trotting out the "his bidon was spiked" defence. 

Really?  Spiked bidons?  Really?  What is this?  1975?  Speaking of 1975, testosterone is so 70s!  I thought the use of the big T as a doping agent went out with flares and disco!  Testosterone and spiked bidons, haven't we come any further than this in 35 years?  What's next?  The Jack Daniels and dehydration defence?  The phantom twin defence?  Or maybe the spiked steak defence? 

What?  Too soon?

I never thought that they'd ding Contador.  Personally, my view was that it should have been a slam-dunk but given the stakes I was sure that it wouldn't happen, to the extent when I read the news it was an almost visceral shock!  Armstrong?  Well, if I have to tell another fanboy all it means is federal laws regarding the use of federal money for the purchase of illegal substances were not broken, well you get my drift.  It's SCA all over again.  As for Ullrich, well hey, he has as much as admitted playing with the heavy water.  I always said he had class and once more, it shows.  Armstrong and Contador have tied themselvs in linguistic and legal knots, straining credulity to prove their innocence whereas der Kaiser has 'fessed up, faced his fate and taken his punishment like a true campione.  Class.  The two year ban may seem strange, but it if he were still involved in cycling it would stop him from being in team management, a DS or the like.  There are way too many former dopers running teams.  Riis, for one.  I sense a certain poetic justice if Saxo were to be demoted to Pro Conti after this.  Oh, and a certain Erik Lyman.  Who?  Benjamin Martel's manager, who himself served one, if not two, doping suspensions.  See what I mean?

How's this for unintended consequences following Contador's ban?  He is stricken from the Tour de San Luis top-three, promoting a certain Stephan Schumacher to the podium.  F#%k!

That notwithstanding, this may have been a bad week for cycling on the surface, but maybe not for the future.  Maybe the good news is that the "authorities" have finally grown themselves a collective pair and are not afraid to bust riders for doping, regardless of who they are.  No longer, perhaps, are the days when a Grand Tour gave immunity from prosecution.

Le cyclisme est mort, vive le cyclisme!


Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Pumped Up Kicks

Apologies for the obligatory Foster The People reference, but you understand it had to be done!  I picked up my new kicks yesterday at work, Pearl Izumi's Isotransition.  As a triathlon shoe it's definitely not a pumped up kick per se, more like a racing flat.  So light, so slim in fact, you can see right through the sole without taking the insole out!  As for the Sock Snob bit, well they have a sock-liner meaning no socks, but hey, if you stop to put socks on in T2 you might as well take the extra five minutes to do your hair and face so you look good for the finishers' photo!

It fits a bit small, I usually rock a 43 but I'm in a 44 here.  It was comfy doing drills around the shop yesterday and I'll put them through their paces at the Halifax Running Club track-meet on Saturday afternoon.  Look out for a longer review on Cyclesmith's new blog Chain 'n Gears in a few weeks.

Looks like a Creamsicle though.  Hmmmm, ice-cream.....