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J. D. Moffatt
- Veröffentlicht auf Amazon.com
I'm not sure who the target audience is for this book: the fitness rider, or someone out to win races. For either group, this book isn't detailed enough, but what is there is excellent. I think that more experienced athletes won't buy it after a quick browse in the bookstore because there is too much really basic information between the nuggets.
The advice about cornering (weighting the outside pedal and shifting your weight, etc.) is something I haven't seen in print before, and I found it to be an awesome technique, having learned about it only at a criterium racing clinic a long time ago (the instructor adapted it from motorcycle racing). Also, the emergency turn advice is a great technique I learned at the same clinic, and it saved me from a few crashes in races. These explanantions, however, could have been aided by a bit more detail, and maybe some useful diagrams and photos. The dramatic and counter-intuitive emergency turn technique is poorly explained, and needs an explanation in terms of the angular momentum of the wheel (you have to take your front wheel off, spin it, and hold it in your hands to understand the technique).
The nutrition section encouraged me to be more rigorous in counting calories, which I've never done. That section didn't really tell me anything I didn't know already, but it was a good kick in the seat of the cycling shorts to shape up. On the negative side, the book makes a common mistake in recommending the amount of protein and carbohydrate by percentage. It may be ok for Lance to take in 10-15% protein, but given the total number of calories he needs to take in, he's probably still getting well over 120 grams a day (I need about 130 a day to be healthy at my comparitively modest activity level). But if your caloric requirements are much lower, then be careful - your protein levels must be kept up or you'll get ill. Joe Friel and Loren Cordain both have important things to say about this in their books, who recommend more like 0.8 or 0.9 grams per lbs of lean body mass for athletes (corresponding to about 25%-30% in most diets), as well as the "Protein Power" book by Eades and Eades. The bottom line is: beware of protein/carb/fat ratios.
I think James McCullagh's 1984 book "The Complete Bicycle Fitness Book" was a better book for newby riders, though it would be out of date in some areas now and is also out of print, unfortunately. It very nearly lived up to its title and was jammed with information. It's got some cool sections that Armstrong's book should have, like calorie output (and horsepower) vs. bicycle speed, and much more detailed suggestions on a variety of areas. Carmichael measures this stuff (see the Armstrong website for data about Armstrong's scary figures) so why isn't it in his Armstrong book? The Carmichael/Armstrong book therefore comes off as somewhat watered down: what's there is good, but they are only answering some of the common questions. I raced on and off road about ten years ago, and took up running after that (o.k. but far from elite results - a sub 17 minute 5k and a sub 3 hr marathon), so a lot of the training principles are old hat, and I know a lot that isn't in this book, too.
But what about the people who can't fill in the spaces? For example, in the climbing techniques section they mention that Armstrong "breathes out through his mouth and nose" and not in, and that he "concentrates on breathing deeply and regularly". This isn't sufficient information to really help someone: What they also need to know is you have to breathe from your diaphragm instead of your upper chest like most people, and that you only exchange 80% of your lung capacity in the first second when exhaling,so you need to increase your Peak Flow; there are abdominal exercises for helping with breathing, plus martial arts techniques, and respiratory devices (eg. The Breather) for strengthening your diaphragm to nearly double the peak flow in some cases, etc. This is what I mean by it not going far enough to be useful for the uninitiated, and it gets frustrating after awhile. In another section they refer to ab workouts and reference the excellent "Stronger Abs and Back" book, but all they show are lousy abdominal crunches, which are painful and difficult for some people, and a very incomplete recommendation as they only isolate one area (and they don't even mention specific ab exercises for helping with breathing). Why talk about it at all if they aren't going to do it right? That doesn't seem to be Armstrong's approach to his racing, so we expect the highest standard from his book.
The Armstrong training book is better than the old Lemond book, however, for new riders. I sort of get the impression that both the Lemond and Armstrong books coast a bit on the names, and that's unfortunate. Being a big Lemond fan, I was really disappointed with his book (should have been either stories or advice), as it seemed like something that was rushed out, and I get a similar impression with this one. I'm a bit more surprised at Carmichael than Armstrong, as Carmichael is in the business of training people. Is he trying to keep some of his really good advice proprietary so he can stimulate people to sign up for his coaching programs? Not a nice thought, but surely he knows more than this. I hope that future editions of the Armstrong/Carmichael book take a unblinking look at what's already published, and how usable some of their advice is, and try to do better. But hey, I gave it four stars because what's there is a good start.