Tuesday, January 27, 2009

What is best for you?

"It is the most important function of art and science to awaken this feeling and keep it alive in those who are receptive to it." Einstein

All ski runs are open at our local ski area and the slopes are ice.  So I have been spending time on rock hard snow/ice, many days with cold feet, but the best time to dial a new pair of high end modern ski boots (think of it as cleats for better stable grip) w/ the new modern World Cup skis.  Not a easy thing to do and I can't do it myself.  I can't fit my own boots when they are on my feet.  

At the start of the task I had to trust a pro shop. May I point out that I have about $1,500 into the boots alone and left unable to use them, even use the custom made liners.  Ouch!

I even went a great distance seeking out the pro shop at a major ski area, only to be shell sized wrong, posting the wrong footbed,  foaming the high-end liner wrong.  Now I have a lot of work, another pro shop punching out the shell of the new $1,200 boots for my feet, We even had to change the base of the boot to 2-degrees to get it right, at extra cost of about $400. I could have had about 7 bikes fits for that amount of money. But if I want to have performance and have fun it is a must!

The funny thing, is I know the owner and he pointed out, even with all the high-tech, his major issue is his staff & turnover. Sure the young man's intend at Sun Valley, ID was good and he was a nice guy, but he missed the target.  As he said, he only works by the clock and its not his store, besides he is going some where else in the summer.  It is a bigger issue than you know and I fell right in it.

As in any sport, you want to play at a higher level you have to get your gear right to meet the below list:

1) A natural style
2) Exceptional balance
3) Dynamic motion (no position)
4) Skills
5) Strength
6) Quickness & Agility
7) A small window of relaxation
8) Lateral movements
9) Playfulness and imagination (THINK FUN)

Riding up the chair lift in 8-degree temps, I watched skiers and noted the qualities of each skier. Had you been with me, and I asked, you would not be able to check off the above list. Why? These elements are key for optimum performance.  

Given the vast combination of skills that are evident, you will have one guy saying you need "cross-over" or "cross-under.   Did the person do this or that? Was that a ankle roll, knee, or hip, perhaps it was a spine?   What do you think the percentage of weight was on that outside ski? How high or low was the hip position? How much femur rotation did they use and no, and on.   A very complex task to analyze.

You have to be careful, as you can absorb these strong impressions (images) into your consciousness and the next thing you know there in your head i.e. note the pros on the PGA will sometimes turn away, so as to not see a bad stroke. In other words your moves reflect you skills! True pictures explain this better than words, and that is a real issue.  Who is teaching it might not put things in the correct order. You should be foot conscious when you ski, but you don't want to be "a day late".  The same with learning the pedal stroke, the fundamentals define good strokes at all levels.

So, how can you learn movement? First, be sure you understand the concept.

Let it be know, you don't have to be good at things to have fun.  But the skiers did not have a smile on their face, rather a look of stress from their extremely straight legs on a very hard surface.  Had they taken the time to get their equipment right, they could be enjoying the ice a bit more.  

For the best dynamic motion, you have to be in continuous motion. However static positions seem to be the norm on the hard snow i.e. static bike setup.  What is best, is a full fluid range of motion - extension & contraction, weighting & unweighting on all slopes and conditions (powder, crud, ice, etc...) is an image of the most effective body regardless of its shape and size.

Here is where people get lost!  Is there a certain look and shape and size.  No! Athletic people come and all shape and sizes. Watch the Super Bowl this weekend and note. Are we saying you have to carve all turns? No! But that is what you should strive for. Its just good skiing and it provides more stability and precision and it needs to be mastered! You are not born with it!!!

As in any sport, you display your moves for all to see.  Next time you go for a ride, note the face and see if they have a smile or stress. When you hold the right skills, your game becomes easier than walking or running. Insufficient strength is always limiting. Meaning the strongest can do it easily, plus use the reserve for sustain graceful & relaxed movements.

With the newer skis, you can get stuck on the tails, into a difficult position and that can overwhelm most anyone. On the other side, you can be too far forward.  Both can lock up your legs. The same thing happens with the pedal stroke.  It is just harder to see as you are sitting on a saddle and have your hands on the handlebars.  But if your saddle is not allowing the correct range of motion you can't perform and the stresses are high. Quickness and agility are not enhanced, rather inhibited.

The laws of physics tell us that every action has an equal and opposite reaction. Muscles that are busy doing one task are less efficient at doing others. This is what we see on the slope and on the bike!  The pedal stroke can be off, not getting the maximum response from the minimum effort.  Look at it like this, watch a person swing a golf club, can you tell by the swing how far the ball will travel?  Most can't.  

We ski for fun and we bike for fun, so relaxation is critical to fluid movement. Take someone to play golf and you will note the same thing, if they don't know, they are not having a good time.
The key in sport is allowing the muscles to rest and the bones carry the weight.

Functional skiing should prevail over "pretty" skiing.  There is no "correct form" or "proper position" that all should copy.  A major problem, people who teach often demonstrate "correct positions" which become static model.  Note no two people walk or run or ski or cycle the same. Part of the problem with all the teaching is you see a pic or a video of people being "posed" to show you something?  That sticks in the mind.

Our methods are for cycling fans who are serious about learning. We all know that progress in athletics is seldom easy, but that makes it more rewarding. If you enjoy learning as much as we enjoy teaching, we'll make a difference in your game.

If you already know it all, we view the complacency as being a handicapped athletic person and can't help you! This is a daunting task for people who have many miles under their belt, your mind is both an ally and an enemy in the task of athletic ability.

Cycling technique should be functional and that means it comes from your joints and how they move and rotate in space. You should not use a , plumb line, or laser to force you lower legs into a certain path.

Only when we can over come the complacency of ignorance, can we determine your best alignment - for better or worse. The quest is to transmit forces to our pedals. These forces are sometimes powerful and other times subtle. To make a human function or work as well as possible is a more complex task. You don't just need a bike fitter, but a alignment specialist.
That means they need to be aware of technique. When the whole body is perfectly aligned, athletic skiing & cycling is enhanced. If any part of the system is mis-aligned, performance is diminished.

There are so many different foot shapes, leg shapes, and body builds that every skier must be seen as an individual with special needs. Even with a discriminating eye and some judgement is not enough.  

As in my case, there is a lot of work stacking the bones on the equipment, a lot of skill to get the ski on edge and carve from tip to tail.  The result can even be seen with the track you make. Not so with the pedal stroke and that is why there are so many ideas of what is best for you.

That is why we use the Dartfish to show you your moves out in the real world.  We can track your moves, allowing you to better understand and improve your skills.

Just ask 37 years young Sue Butler or top gun Georgia Gould.   Both are racing w/ Katie Compton at Worlds.  They know how seeing their moves outside has made a difference. 

Lets wish the USA gals good luck. 

Friday, January 23, 2009

It's a Brand New Day! Stay Tune!

We are in the process of some substantial improvements in propelling your cycling movements into a new age, with knowledge, technique, and equipment advancing all levels of greater service and customer experience.  We accept no compromise, providing you with your optimum performance (relaxation, strength, agility, quickness, economy of motion). It is not instinctive. We are sounding the trumpets for all to hear! 

This is a new year, for consumers and we are anxious to bring a much needed means of teaching you how to pedal over subjective ideas.  Anyone who is interested in modern cycling technique should be challenged and take note in this active, energetic and dynamic sport.  It offers constant challenges to improve and will provide a significant contribution for your knowledge and enthusiasm of cycling in real-time.   There are many micro cultures within a community in many sports, leading to certain levels in intellectual achievement collectively for that given area.  Many just don't learn the skills and reach their potential.  We see what their bodies are doing, but wonder what's in their minds or who holds influence their cycling knowledge.   We appreciate how cycling packs are very much like wolves i.e. living and leaning in packs, learning from a local lead dog.  

Many have invested much time, they are trying to learn a type of cycling over another.  A good question is "What will we teach you?  What kind of cycling will I learn?  In sum, athletic cycling.  We feel that riding at certain miles per hour are a lot more fun than those who ride a very slow speeds. It opens up new playful play grounds.  Innovations are what makes things move forward i.e. cell phones, and a sport is no difference with new ground, providing a more precise efficient technique.

We are not a cookie cutting training program. No two bodies are the same; and no two riders should look alike. We are defining the relationships between correct alignment, your efficient technique in continuous motion.  It will change forever the way we think about balance, forces and dynamic cycling.

Our time proven approach has made a difference for many in the last 10 years.  Our knowledge of multi-sport physiology and sports enriches the ability of any athlete and brings broad perspectives to the analysis.

That is why we are the only company the world that holds a contract with Dartfish and now Kurt, who makes trainers for indoor use.  Few books have been published that deal with modern cycling technique and technology.  We have undergone may technical and technological changes.  By teaching you the best movements to all ability levels, we invite you into the fill with delight world of their cycling, a blend of technical and technological features with emphasis on balance as the underlying factor for all movement on a tools that seem to forgo its basics.

We offer unequaled insight into a scientific approach to understand how different adjustments of equipment can influence a rider's performance. We invite you to be part of the global contribution to the sport of cycling world of modern cycling.  

Sunday, January 18, 2009

How does the US rate in Cyclo-Cross?

As in any sport, you have your local level of understanding, then you have a few that make it to the next level and hit the mud circus, so its hard to know just how you stack up to the world. When you talk to people they base their know how on, " I heard the Germans do this, the Aussies do that" and so on, etc...  You can start a war over this kind of stuff! 

Funny how people come out of so many schools of thought?  So, just because you are on a national team, doesn't mean you are the best. Look at guys like Bode Miller, the most successful ski racers the US has ever seen, but will not work with US Ski Team.  He has is own team and that allows him to pick and choose the gear he wants to use.  Perhaps the skis or boots are not part of the ski pool?  

One of my friends, Dane Spencer, a long time member on the US Ski Team knows how that works.  He has had issues with many ski boots in his long term career.  And as Dane puts it, you can have 60 guys have a "outer body experience" and make it in the top 5.  

That seems to be the number of top guns that makes it to a World Cup level event.  So you have about 60 who can pull it off.  Not a easy thing to predict!  But, Katie's win goes, and the fact that some other gals from the US know how they stack against her, the US is going to have an edge this 2009 event.  

So, how good are the US gals in cyclo-cross?  At the elite level they are very good!  With the Cyclo-cross World Championships coming up in about two weeks, we stand a very real chance of getting a US gal on top.

Its too bad, they don't make that much money doing it!  Perhaps they also need a bail out?
It cost to do the sports and where does the money come from?  The industry doesn't put the cash into the events.  Sad!  Its every bit as cool to watch as any other sport!

Katie Compton just made her mark in Roubaix, France.  She took World Cup #8, and uses both the Thomson seatpost and stems.  We have known for years the seatpost/stem are best off road products made.  The stem allows you to grab a hand-full of handlebar and put the medal to the pedal! The seat post allow for less flex i.e. race plug ski race boots "stiffer"  for the needs of racing, and after a life time of understanding those needs suggest that every racer give them a try!

Back to the US gals!  Some of the best in the world, some of the least paid, and they can step up and throw it down!  


1. Katie Compton  (USA)
2. Hanka Kupfernagel (Ger)
3. Daphny Van Den Brand (Ned)

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Mind Body Machine 2009! Your best connection!

Wobble-naught, Myo-facts sEMG/Dartfish, and now Kurt Manufacturing, a company that does over $120 million per year, plus makes the Kinetic line of cycling trainers are working together to bring you yet "higher-tech" in 2009. 

They understand engineering and they know we hold "objective - not influenced personal feelings or opinions" 10 years of data i.e. tens of thousands of precision measurements.  Time proven solutions that have allowed many different shapes and sizes to reach their dreams! Simply put it, they understand  we measure from the inside, not the outside in.

They also are aware that we did not allow our CAD to be used, tested by a university, who would then have rights to it, or allow any person who wants to get a masters, Phd, etc... i.e. a kinesiology department, a orthopaedic biomechanics research lab to learn what we do.  

Perhaps, that is why some wear their degree on their shoulders for marketing their worth? Not to say attending a university is a bad thing, but understand a university is a business!!!  And one of our start up members was a professor, taught at the masters level and held a Phd in Business at a state Idaho State University and knew how the university system works. 

As he use to put it.  There are many a pro without a degree either a masters or Phd i.e. Tiger Woods, Lance Armstrong, Michael Jordon, etc...   We even used Bill Gates as an example of success without a degree.  

To some people, and to some fitting systems the term vertebral column might suggest a rather rigid supporting rod, but this picture is far from the truth.  The vertebral column consists of 24 bones and are connected in such a way as to provide a curved structure.  Of the 24 single bones, the 7 vertebrae of the neck are cervical vertebrae, the next 12 are the thoracic vertebrae, and the 5 supporting the lower back are lumbar vertebrae. When we attended school it was helpful for remembering common mealtimes.  

A good question. What other fitting system looks at abnormal spinal curvatures i.e. scoliosis, kyphosis, lordosis and plugs those constraints into the CAD,  along with your hip shape and size and cleat placement.

We find your best blue-print!  With rare exceptions, every bone in the body is connected to, or forms a joint with, at least one other bone!

7 AM - neck
12 Noon - thoracic vertebrae
5 PM - lower back

Why would anyone care about this info?  The reason, as a person ages, the water content of the discs decreases (as it does in other tissues throughout the body) and the discs become less compressible.  The situation, along with weakening of the ligaments and tendon
s of the vertebral column, predisposed older people to slipped discs.

Sensibility that was achieved not just through years of teaching the subject, but also a continuing effort to facilitate a better solution.   Why would you not stack your bones and displace the weight and forces?  Every muscle of the body is attached to bone (or other connective tissue structures) at two points - the orgin (the stationary, immovable, or in cycling, the less movable attachment) and the insertion (the more 
movable attachment).

When the muscle contracts and its fibers shorten, the insertion moves toward the origin. The type of movement depends on th
e construction of the joint i.e. nonaxial, uniaxial, biaaxial, or multiaxial) and on the placement of the muscle relative to the joint.

Types of movements:
Flexion, Extension, Abduction, Adduction, Rotation, Circumduction, Pronation, Supination, Inversion, Exversion, Dorsiflexion, Plantar flexion.

A lot to deal with, that is why we use CAD, in which looks at the whole body in 3-D.  Its the constraints we capture, then the software does the rest. 
Then  you have to consider the movements of the bike between the legs in concert with the whole body!  You need to know the actions of every muscle in the body. 

What you do in a trainer is not what you do out in the real world of cycling!

We are in the process of changing that!
Stay tune!!!

Thursday, January 08, 2009

Stacking bones Male Comparison to Female

A major constraint that most fitting systems don't concern is the comparison of the male and female pelves.  This is a major constraint, as it attaches to the lower vertebrae column and their can even be abnormal spinal curvatures (scoliosis, kyphosis, lordosis). 

Because most of the stress of the vertebral column occurs in the lumbar region, these are the sturdiest of the vertebrae.  Their size does vary from person to person (male to female). However, a bone that articulates with L5, the sacrum (a 5 fused vertebrae) that lies within pelvic girdle is of great concern.  The sacrum is slightly concave anteriorly and forms the posterior border of the pelvis.  It also has a couple of articular process(s) that lie superior and lateral and allow for movement with the inferior articular process of the next upper vertebrae.

This important antomic landmark articulates with centrum of 5th lumbar.  Why?  The presence of the discs and their construction of the vertebral column prevent shock to the head and allow for flexibility in the movement of the body trunk much needed for balance sports.  Don't measure this complex system or have the wrong saddle shape tilt that is too far forward or backwards or has the wrong tilt and you will cause problems.  And as we know, you don't use the shape of a male hip and turn around and use that info for a female hip.

Although bones of males are usually larger and heavier and have more prominent bone markings, the bones of the male and female skeletons are very similar when looking from the outside only.  But truth is, there are many difference!

The outstanding exception to this often generalization is pelvic structure.  So striking are the differences between male and female pelves that a "trained anatomist" can immediately determine the sex of the skeleton during a casual examination of the pelvis.


                                                      Female                Male

General structure        Tilted forward, shallow,                     
Less tilt, narrow, and deep, for
and functional               broad pelvis                                        males heavier build & stronger mm

Bone thickness             Less, lighter, thiner                          Greater, heavier, thicker

Acetabula                     Smaller; farther apart                           Larger; closer

Pubic angle/arch        Broader (over 90-degree)                     Angle more acute (less than 90)

Anterior view             Mini Mouse look                                     Micky Mouse look

Sacrum                       Wider, shorter, sacral accentuated       Narrow, sacral more ventral

Coccyx                        More movable; straighter                      Less movable; curves ventrally

Lateral view            Coccyx points more posteriorly               Coccyx more tucked

Pelvic inlet              Wider oval side-to-side                              Narrow, heart shaped

Pelvic outlet          Wider; ischial tuberosities shorter,          Narrower; tuberosities longer
                                 father apart, and everted                            sharper, and point more medially

The ability to bear weight is more important here than exceptional mobility and flexibility. The combined weight of the upper body rests on the bony pelvis (specifically, where the hip bones meet the sacrum).

In both sexes, the sacroiliac joint, because of the pressure it must bear, is often a site of lower back problems.  The dimensions of these regions may better be determined by palpation, more accurately.  

The iliac crest terminates in the anterior superior spine ASIS (the origin site of many thigh flexor muscles) and the posterior superior spine, to which many muscles extending the thigh attach.  

The ischium is the "sit-down" bone, forming the most inferior and posterior portion of the coxal bone.  The most outstanding marking on the ischium is the ischial tuberosity, which receives the weight of the body when sitting on a saddle of choice.

Two other anatomical features are the lesser and greater sciatic notches, which allow passage of nerves and blood vessels to and from the leg.

Then you have the thigh.  The femur is the sole bone of the thigh and is the heaviest, strongest bone in the body.  The head of the multi shape thigh articulates with the acetabulum of the hip bone.  The femur inclines medially as it runs downward to the lower leg bones; in most cases: this brings the knees in line with the body's  center of gravity or maximum weight.

I think you get the point.  Without taking true palpations or more costly X-rays measurements of the many landmarks that lie within the body i.e. hip , you are only providing a basic observation of movement.  Think the many muscles that attach here!

Bottom line!  If you don't get the front end of the car aligned by a professional who takes measurements of the hard parts, you are going to wear the tires out faster!!!

Tuesday, January 06, 2009

Basic Biomechanics of Cycling "NAUGHT"

It is common sense or very basic that there should be some bend at the knee with the foot (bottom dead center).  You don't have to be a (ortho) bone professional to know this. Like skiing, you see so many with poor movement skills. Good for the "ill care business", bad for a long active life-style!  

So why is this a hard sell to the many who need it?  It's because many don't understand a deeper level of biomechanics and are informed about it in some basic fashion, or don't provide the bone measurement solution i.e. I have been doing this for 20 years and I know, or we don't have that system here, but we sent a guy to some school for basic training.

A friend who has a degree in sport science, a masters in exercise phys. who has had a very hard time making a living is now headed to PA school.  Why?  In hopes to pay the rent and her school loans!  This person has coached in sport at a very high level.  They see a very real problem at the grass root level. 

Think of the many kids that don't get the help they need when they are young. In their small pond, they learn for better or worst.  Many, by the time they make it to the next level have poor skills.  The damage is already done and it is very hard to change what they learned for (x,y,z).
The adults just say they are young, they don't need it? Mostly its the fact that its not for them, the person who is paying for it.  Most kids don't have a income and someone simply states" that's not going to happen".  

So even with many years in a given sport, you can have poor skills!

The issue in cycling is the heel of the foot is not attached so the person with poor pedaling skills is not aware of that part of the body (poor biofeedback).  They don't know the trajectory needs.  Another issue is the timing of the stroke or firing of the muscles i.e. golf swing, swinging a bat, even fly fishing.  After all, you learned to pedal when you only where hitting the scales at maybe 60 lbs.  Much less weight than you are now!  

Think about weight as wear & tear. Now think of how many times the average person pedals i.e. over 5,000 per hour?  Should you have poor alignment, poor skills, a basic solution,  you will hurt later!  As an adult, the size of your bones, leg mass provide enough weight to cause damage with poor skills.

Below is a very basic understanding of the biomechanics of cycling.  Note:  Between 25 to 30 degrees.  So what is it?  That is the point!   What is it?  You need to take into account your knee size, shape and even the size of the knee cap i.e. Type I, II, III.

What about the size and shape of your hip?  It is a major constraint and it comes in all shapes and sizes. That holds true for your sit bones. We even have a method of measuring your sit bones.  Then we find your true spine shape to assure you don't place the hands in space too far from your sit bones. 

We wish there was a quick fix, but as painful as it is, you have to learn how to pedal.  Even with stacking your bones, you have to think about what you are doing.  You really can have the wrong stroke and not know it!!!  

That is why we use Dartfish!  To help teach you what you might need!
We do not use it to fit you!
YOU CAN'T measure your bones from the outside!

Biomechanics of cycling.  

In cycling, the height of the saddle is commonly associated with the knee joint injuries.  It has been shown that the optimum angle of the knee joint flexion at the maximum reach (dead bottom dead center) is between 25-degrees to 30-degrees.  Saddles that are too high reduce this angle and can result in posterior knee pain.  Saddle that are too low, too far forward can produce anterior knee pain.

Patellar tendinitis is a common injury in cyclists.  The main factors that contribute to this are internal tibial rotation and pronation (which is associated with internal tibial rotation/heel out).  You could be doing this just from where your knees are in space.

Medial knee pain occurs in high mileage cyclists and can be aggravated by a valgus (L shape) knee and internal tibial rotation.  

Once again, if you don't have your cleats correct you can increase/decrease your valgus pressures. 

So, you think a basic fit is going to address your special needs or (knees). Ha!  Next time you see people smiling, think of the many shaped teeth and plug that into the many shapes of bones in the lower legs!

Injuries come from: 1) compression  2) shearing  3) tension.

You can't see any of the above by tracking dots on the outside your your body! You have to measure your bones to reduce the wear & tear that can come from poor alignment!

It seems that "Sizzle Business" sells!  There are a lot of bones in your body and they come in every shape & size.  If you think its about your muscles and how they adapted to your setup, you best rethink it.  Your true (ROM) comes from the joints, not your muscles and just the timing of the pedaling stroke is enough to change the compression, shearing, tension.

Friday, January 02, 2009

Happy New Year! 2009 is a time of change!

If you have lived long enough, you know things do change i.e. bikes, skis, laptops, TV's, phones/pda's if you like it or not, for good or bad.  Time & change never stops, do people? How you handle the new tools is also your choice and greatly depends on your choice of instruction, then skill level.  It seems people don't change regarding learning skills in a given sport.  

I just went skiing for the first time this season "2009 New Year Day".  I had a 2008 pass last year and only went for 3 hours after getting the latest & greatest gear $$$.  The custom fitted boots really hurt my feet and it was made worst by the 2008 cold temps for break-in time, in which I had none. I needed time (days/weeks) and warm temps to break them in.  I didn't find that time, too much work, too cold, so I didn't go!  Then I was off to cycling race camps across the US. So I didn't find time to break them in in the spring.

After a number of years off the slopes, due from working, burn out, old knees after doing it for a living at a professional level i.e. coaching some of the best ski racers in the world, jumping off high cliffs in Jackson Hole, plus I was spoiled from skiing the real (steep & deep) play grounds of CO, UT, WY, I just didn't care to go to the lesser hill or "thrill" that is only 18 miles from where I live.

2009 is a time of change!  I am going to go!  I have heard from the market how things have really changed? How easy it is now and how well humans ski.

After a day of skiing in 8'' new heavy snow, hanging next to trees due to the "white out- more O2",  skiing the fall-line, then riding back up the chair lift over and over watching others attempt to ski the new snow it then, under the present set of conditions (some wind packed, bumps, white out, 8" of heavy new" I was seeing the same old human movements or can I say a lack of!  The skills where so low?  Why?

How can this be, people stopped, standing all over the slopes?  People doing huge zig & zag on their new improved toys wider better (snow boards, skis).  I am skiing in 2009 and people still don't have the needed skills?  But it is said the skis are wider, shorter, snow boarding makes is easy?  After all, that is what everyone claims!  Not true!

Again, the skill level was very low!  It didn't matter how cool the new toys looked or made! They just didn't know how to ski it?  Even the ski school had issues? The same as it was when I made a living in the sport!  People are only as good as the instructions they obtain!

It made me aware of the problem with cycling!  I was just watching two guys on the HD channel who won bikes, trips to France and had been sent to a location in CO to get the latest and greatest.  They both where even fitted. The comment was anything between 25 to 30 something is good, even using the so called "latest & greatest" device to watch their movements.  Even their VO2 was taken.  OK!

The show then showed the guys riding with two top guns Levi & George.  On air, the taller of the two pros said to the larger of the two winners- who where just professionally fitted by the new high-tech fittings system that he should raise his saddle! Wow!

But he was correct, the poor guy had his saddle too low, too far back, plus did not hold the skills to climb hills.  I even saw the lack of skills with my naked eye, that where not addressed in the early part of the show and I watched to see a change in the way this guy rode.  

His lack of pedal stroke skills really taxed him and he was just like the skiers on the slopes.
Not having the skills to get the job done.  Think about that the next time you look for a sliver-bullet. 

Long story short, the guy could not even finish the stages in France he won. 
The new custom make bike didn't help him, nor did the new fit help him?  Ouch!

A good resolution is like an old horse which is often saddled but rarely ridden!

2009 is going to be a good year for those who are willing to put the time into it and learn the correct skills, then change!   Old skills are hard to change!  Saddle up and let it buck!