Tag Archives: sport

Mt Everest climbing history

I’ve been interested in mountain climbing since reading Jon Krakauer’s epic Into Thin Air tale of the disastrous 1996 Mt. Everest climbs. It’s what got me hiking. This well-done video documentary on YouTube contains footage of Mt. Everest expeditions from 1921 (with George Mallory, dressed in sport coat! ) through 1996 (Rob Hall, Scott Fischer, et al, R.I.P.):

Despite all the mod cons used by today’s climbers, Mt. Everest still kills. (It has killed many, but Pakistan’s K2 is the deadliest Himalayan peak.)

Interval training

When a friend recently asked about my swim workouts,  I told him about interval training.  A swim champ taught me interval training in the 1980s.  It works.  It develops both speed and endurance while allowing you to concentrate on technique.  I use interval training for my swim workouts.  You can use interval training for your favorite sport.

Wikipedia has a simple definition.  About.com has a more complete explanation.

Here’s what I do1:
swimmer 150w blended

I use “fixed” intervals — intervals of a fixed duration.  I swim ten 50-yard laps on one minute thirty second (1:30) intervals.  If I swim hard I can come in on less than 0:55, but then I’m knackered and can’t recover in time for the next interval.  If I swim slowly, and come in on 1:15, I won’t have enough time to rest.  If I swim at about a 1:00 to 1:03 pace (that’s about 70 to 80 percent of full throttle), I can do ten intervals, maybe even 15.  Mind you, I’m gasping for breath by the last few intervals, but that’s a good thing.  Supposedly that’s when your body really benefits.  This ordeal requires about fifteen minutes.

stopwatchI like using a clock for intervals because it gives me an objective measurement of my performance on each lap.  When a 1:30 interval becomes easy, I’ll decrease it to 1:25, then 1:20, and so forth.  Or, I could increase the length of each lap to 75 or 100 yards (which would require me to increase the number of seconds in each interval).

I round out my workout by using a kickboard for alternating hard and easy kicking laps, and a pull buoy for freestyle pulls that strengthen the upper body and allow me to concentrate on breathing.  I don’t swim these against the clock.  I finish with some easy slow laps.

To get started in your sport — any sport — you can monitor your pulse after each interval.  You might see your pulse climb to 140 or more2.  (The younger you are, the higher you can push your pulse.)  Let it drop to 100 or less before beginning the next interval.  This will provide an idea of what sort of fixed interval works for you, for any particular exercise.

(I suppose that variable duration intervals — that is, always resting for thirty seconds regardless of how slowly or fast you swam/ran/whatever — a “fixed rest period”  — would be better than nothing.  I think, though, that fixed duration intervals, when adjusted to suit you, ensure that you always work hard on each lap.)

During the exercise portion of each interval, aim for an effort of about 60 to 80 percent of full throttle.

Once you’ve arrived at an interval that works for you, start with just a few repetitions.  Continue this routine for a few weeks until you can do these pretty easily.  Slowly — very slowly, in small steps — bump the number of repetitions up to ten.  Stick with it for months.  Try this routine at least three or four times a week.  Don’t give up.  You will see results.

  1. My times are pathetic compared to a competitive college swimmer.  He or she might swim ten 50 yard laps on a fifty or sixty second interval.
  2. An easy way to roughly measure your pulse is to feel your heart beats on the inside of your wrist or on your carotid artery on your neck.  Count the number of heart beats in ten seconds.  Multiply by six.  Easier (but less accurate): count number of heart beats in six seconds; multiply by ten.Measuring pulse


Visit my website: http://russbellew.com
© Russ Bellew · Fort Lauderdale, Florida, USA · phone 954 873-4695

Alex Moulton’s remarkable designs

I’ve always admired Englishman Alex Moulton’s innovative solutions to thorny mechanical problems. His compact, lightweight, and simple elastomeric “donut” suspension design allowed the BMC Mini car of 1959-1970 to provide amazingly spacious interior room compared to its tiny exterior dimensions. Then he re-thought the humble bicycle, which resulted in a compact frame with tiny wheels and . . . elastomeric donut suspension.

Moulton BicycleWikipedia’s biography Like most memorable inventors, when searching for solutions, Alex Moulton returned to first principles. Though Dr. Moulton died in 2012, his Moulton Bicycle Company continues to manufacture his unique bikes.

loudspeaker iconHere’s a well-done audio program about Moulton bicycles, including Dr. Moulton’s commentary:

I’ve cycled through Moulton’s lovely canalside town of Bradford on Avon (and its surrounding hills). It’s beautiful country for bicycle touring. That’s why it’s remarkable that Moulton bikes are so maneuverable on crowded city streets.

Brief BBC video biography (1min 42sec)

Obituary, The Telegraph (UK) 2012

Visit my website: http://russbellew.com
© Russ Bellew · Fort Lauderdale, Florida, USA · phone 954 873-4695

Swim stuff online

I like to swim. Even in Fort Lauderdale, finding just the right swim gear can be tough. I’ve found that swimoutlet.com is a reliable source of everything I need to make swimming a joy.

Here are a few of my fave items:


    • AquaSphere Seal swim goggles. Over the decades I’ve tried every brand of goggle. On my face, they all leak, save one. The Seal goggle is the only one that does not leak . . . on my mug, anyway. It also provides a beautiful wide angle view. It probably creates more drag than smaller goggles, but I don’t care. Sports Authority stocks this goggle with smoked lenses.
    • Sporti swimsuits. Sporti is SwimOutlet’s house brand. Sporti mens suits are priced at about 60% of comparable Speedo suits and seem to be of comparable quality.


  • Coppertone Water BABIES sunscreen, in a pink plastic bottle. SPF 50. Contains zinc oxide. Not greasy. Stays on skin throughout an hour’s workout and more.
  • UltraSwim shampoo and conditioner. Chlorine quickly dries out my straight fine hair and turns it to straw. This shampoo seems to break chlorine’s chemical bond to hair. It’s the only shampoo that keeps my hair soft the day after a swim.

Choice of swim gear is highly personal. These items suit me. Your mileage may vary.

Looking for a nearby lap pool?

Swimmers’ Guide maintains a useful database of public accessible pools that are suitable for lap swimming. It’s great for travelers.

Visit my website: http://russbellew.com
© Russ Bellew · Fort Lauderdale, Florida, USA · phone 954 873-4695

Pushing the limits of road bikes

These guys perform tricks that look impossible . . . on a road bike. Fantastic riding from England. The 6-minute video is beautifully photographed and edited.

Youtube videos: Road Bike Party 2. All tricks were performed on one bike: The Making Of Martyn Ashton’s Colnago C59 Disc. Postscript: Martyn broke his back last September when he fell ten feet during a demo. His legs remain paralyzed. His mates helped him finish the video.

Amazon as importer and distributor

Jeff Bezos’ Amazon continues to disrupt traditional commerce models.

Recently I was in the market for a bright LED (light emitting diode) bicycle headlight. Top shelf LED headlights by Niterider and Baja Designs with outputs in the 2000 lumens range sell for $300 to $450. I searched Amazon and found a much cheaper alternative.

SecurityIng® 4 Modes Waterproof 2800 Lumens Cree XM-L U2 LED Bicycle Light
Lamp diameter 0.5 inch
The headlight that I bought is made by China-based Securitying, a company that I’d never heard of. It claimed to produce 2800 lumens, its reviews were favorable, and Amazon sells it for a mere $40. It’s tiny, good and bright, but not perfect. It arrived with no instructions or o-ring mounts, and its low-medium-high-off pushbutton switch isn’t ideal for vehicles. Its output is probably closer to 1200 lumens — not the claimed 2800 lumens. Still, it’s very bright with a nice broad beam.

The interesting part of this is that the Chinese manufacturer seems to have no US-based presence. They’re using Amazon as their importer, American warehouse, distributor, and warranty claims center. I wonder how many other off-shore manufacturers are doing the same?

P.S. I’m so happy with this light that I bought two more: a second to use together with the first one, plus a spare.

Visit my website: http://russbellew.com
© Russ Bellew · Fort Lauderdale, Florida, USA · phone 954 873-4695

Fly like a high-speed Peter Pan

This is a long way from simple parachute jumping. Just the scramble up the mountain would be a challenge.

Click to stream or download video

But is climbing enough entertainment for these adrenalin junkies? Noooo. Sky diving doesn’t interest me, but this video clip adds another dimension and looks like great fun, with no margin for error. Otherwise, these Peter Pans will sing, I can fly. I can fly. I can . . . Splat!

Mandatory computer content: the wingsuit manufacturer employs a CAD/CAM system.

Google Maps for Android bicycle navigation, part 2

Google MapsRecently I wrote an article about using the Google Maps app on my Android phone to guide me on a bicycle ride. On Thursday, I cycled 18 miles to Thanksgiving dinner with friends. I knew the best route to the destination neighborhood, but relied upon my Android phone’s Google Maps app to vector me the last few miles to the exact address.

When I was within a few miles of my destination, I asked the Maps app to speak directions into my earbuds. Although Maps accurately pinpointed the destination, its route included nonsensical detours which would have added miles to my ride. I ignored the nonsense.

I’m impressed with how useful Google Maps for Android is while cycling, but it’s still buggy. Google states clearly that it’s beta. Use it, but, in the words of Richard Nixon, “Trust but verify”.

It receives good reviews.

Visit my website: http://russbellew.com
© Russ Bellew · Fort Lauderdale, Florida, USA · phone 954 873-4695

Cycling with Android GPS navigation

French bicycles allowed sign
My Android phone worked well as a bicycle navigator.

Yesterday I bicycled about ten miles to a new client, using the navigation software and GPS receiver in my Android phone. When I told Google Maps that I planned to ride a bicycle, it found an unusual route along back streets. I stuck in my earbuds, asked Google Maps for Navigation, and shoved off. A good-quality synthesized voice gave spoken instructions at each juncture. On one heavily trafficked road I must have missed an instruction to turn, which resulted in my pedaling an additional three miles or so.

Aside from that miscue, the phone worked well as a navigator. It chewed through the battery’s charge, though. Its distance resolution seems about as good as my TomTom GPS receiver. As usual, I found the user interface, especially the touchscreen keyboard, to be my biggest problem: it wasted many minutes as I tried to copy, paste, and enter destination data.

Visit my website: http://russbellew.com
© Russ Bellew · Fort Lauderdale, Florida, USA · phone 954 873-4695

Croatian water polo giants win gold

Water Polo
photo: Ex13
I give both teams credit: all players survived.


Warning: this article has nothing to do with computers. Since it’s my blog, I figure that I can break its rules once in a while.

Yesterday, I watched the Croatian men’s water polo team defeat the Italian team 8 to 6, to win the Olympic team gold medal. It was a terrific game that matched the cunning Italians against the gigantic Croatian players.

I love to watch water polo, but I suspect that most people don’t. If you’ve ever played it, you appreciate how hard it is just to race up and down the pool, then struggle with your defender. Most of the action happens beneath the surface, where attacker and defender wrestle for control. A good water polo player must be fast, strong, and, like Dan Marino, have a quick release when he takes a shot at the goal.

A game contains four 7-minute quarters, and substitutions are limited. It’s a formula for complete knackerization.

Here’s the Croatian 2012 Olympic men’s water polo team roster. Check out the sizes of these big boys!

Name Pos. Height Weight Date of birth
1 Pavic, JosipJosip Pavić GK 1.95 m (6 ft 5 in) 90 kg (198 lb) 01982-01-1515 January 1982
2 Burić, DamirDamir Burić CB 2.05 m (6 ft 9 in) 115 kg (254 lb) 01980-12-022 December 1980
3 Boskovic, MihoMiho Bošković D 1.96 m (6 ft 5 in) 96 kg (212 lb) 01983-01-1111 January 1983
4 Dobud, NiksaNikša Dobud CF 1.99 m (6 ft 6 in) 118 kg (260 lb) 01985-08-055 August 1985
5 Jokovic, MaroMaro Joković D 2.03 m (6 ft 8 in) 95 kg (209 lb) 01987-10-011 October 1987
6 Muslim, PetarPetar Muslim D 2.00 m (6 ft 7 in) 102 kg (225 lb) 01988-03-2626 March 1988
7 Buljubasic, IvanIvan Buljubašić CB 1.98 m (6 ft 6 in) 108 kg (238 lb) 01987-10-3131 October 1987
8 Buslje, AndroAndro Bušlje CB 2.00 m (6 ft 7 in) 115 kg (254 lb) 01986-01-044 January 1986
9 Sukno, SandroSandro Sukno D 2.00 m (6 ft 7 in) 93 kg (205 lb) 01990-06-3030 June 1990
10 Barac, SamirSamir Barač D 1.87 m (6 ft 2 in) 89 kg (196 lb) 01973-11-022 November 1973
11 Hinic, IgorIgor Hinić CF 2.02 m (6 ft 8 in) 110 kg (243 lb) 01975-12-044 December 1975
12 Obradovic, PauloPaulo Obradović D 1.90 m (6 ft 3 in) 100 kg (220 lb) 01986-03-099 March 1986
13 Vican, FranoFrano Vićan GK 1.92 m (6 ft 4 in) 94 kg (207 lb) 01976-01-2424 January 1976

Table from Wikipedia

Traditionally, the water polo teams from the Mediterranean and Adriatic Sea areas are powerhouses. The Italian and Spanish teams are usually quick and clever. It was fun watching the Italian team give the much larger Croatians a good run for the gold.

Wolf Wigo provided NBC’s expert commentary. He was a key player on the US water polo team in the 1996, 2000, and 2004 Olympic Games. Here’s this article’s local color: Wolf’s father, Bruce, is CEO of the Swimming Hall of Fame, right here in River City.

Visit my website: http://russbellew.com
© Russ Bellew · Fort Lauderdale, Florida, USA · phone 954 873-4695

Bikes on film (or thumb drive)

Here’s what a fast motorbike, GoPro camera, editing, and a good tune can do.

Turbo Hayabusa WMV Movie, 1:32
Click image to download movie clip

Those of a certain age will recall the 1968 Easy Rider scene of Peter Fonda and Dennis Hopper astride their Harley choppers. When Steppenwolf sang “Get your motor running. Head out on the highway”, it turned a cinematic page. It was a break with not just old Hollywood, but with old everything. They used small hand-held cameras to supplement the big old dolly-mounted Mitchell cameras.

For some, Steppenwolf‘s command was an imperative, and we did get our motors running. These days, a Harley panhead motor is pretty sedate, and a giant Mitchell film camera is out of the question. Fast-forward to this century and tiny GoPro cams. When you click on the graphic, you’ll download a brief (1:32) update on the fast bike with accompaniment theme. This time it’s a turbocharged Suzuki Hayabusa on Florida’s US Highway 27, accompanied by Stabbing Westward‘s “Save Yourself”. Its opening lyrics:

I know your life is empty
And you hate to face this world alone.
So you’re searching for an angel —
Someone who can make you whole.
I can not save you.
I can’t even save myself.
So just save yourself.


Yes, the bike hits an indicated speed that seriously exceeds 220 MPH. Here is the raw footage, sans edits and music.

Dress for success, not ridicule.

What was the US Olympic Committee thinking?

U.S. Olympic uniforms

We’re the team representing the Gay Frat Boy Yachting Club, Che Guevara Chapter.
caption by roadkit

I love funny blog articles and their comments. Here are two recent ones:

  • London Olympics: You’re Doing it WrongThis comment by roadkit:Do I think they should burn these uniforms because they were made in China?

    No. I think they should be burned because they look like shit.

  • Worst Olympic Uniforms Ever
    In case you didn’t notice the tastefully subtle logo on the front, these are made by Ralph Lauren. Technically, though, they were made in China. What’s more American than large corporate logos and outsourcing jobs to China? Complaining about it . . .

Why not complete the ensemble with a big red nose and oversize flapping shoes?

I pity the US athletes who are forced to wear this get-up.

Visit my website: http://russbellew.com
© Russ Bellew · Fort Lauderdale, Florida, USA · phone 954 873-4695