Strava and athlete training plans

After my ride yesterday with Gavin Blackburn, and looking at the Strava version of the parameters of that ride:


I noticed a suggestion in my Strava feed to “Mix Up Your Training” and improve segment performance through their training plans.

Clicking on the suggestion leads to this Strava blog page:


Following the further link in that page, I came to this more detailed page, and noticed that the plans seemed to be constructed in conjunction with Carmichael Training Systems.


I recalled the name Carmichael from all that I had read about Lance Armstrong and the various coverage – much by David Walsh in his books, but also in the general press – of the history of Armstrong’s performance, and the various allegations that emerged from team members, support staff and others close to Armstrong stating they has seen him taking drugs.

On Googling the name of the Carmichael company, I found this example of coverage about Chris Carmichael’s response to the Armstrong years, and the allegations of Armstrong’s drug- taking over those years.


Has anyone else any thoughts on being asked by Strava to link their training to resources provided by Carmichael Training Systems?

Popular science isn’t so scientific

There has recently been a lot of speculation and unsupported assertions about gravitational waves, cosmic inflation and multiverses (e.g. Then this book “Farewell to Reality” by Jim Baggott turned up! I guess I’ll read the book before commenting in detail, but this review seems interesting, and would suggest my cynicism about the presentation of science, and its resulting popularity, is shared by the author.

We have seen in the past year publications about faster-than-light neutrinos (from CERN to Gran Sasso) and perturbations in the cosmic microwave background (the BICEP2 experiment) being discredited. The scientists involved seem to have been too keen to enhance their reputations, resulting in quite the reverse. It gets science a bad name generally if the scientific method is poorly executed.

There is also a handful of TV and radio broadcasters who similarly seem more interested in becoming famous rather than explaining the uncertainties in the subject matter. Using twitter, with links to programmes and book publishers, these popularisers of science just seem to me to be self-promoters.

Baggott’s book would seem to be an attempt to bring us back to the reality of science, and reminds us that many aspects and potential behaviours of Black Holes, wormholes, multiverses, string theory and all the rest are just theories, without many falsifiable predictions, at least in the foreseeable future – and by that I think we are talking about a VERY long time.

See more about Baggott’s book at


Mallorcan suffering!

Once again Strava has failed to upload to FaceBook (although it should), and Tacx on the iPad won’t upload at all (it’s not designed to). So here are my screenshots of the second, very hilly half of the Tacx Mallorca Ironman course, from Pollensa, up the mountains and down the other side. Max 9% both up and down! 22km in 1 hr 1 min and 15 secs averages about 13.5mph. Another 600 calories spent – allows me a glass of wine this evening! I have to say the Tacx Genius with iPad (can use a laptop too) is a brilliant system to make turbo riding more interesting. Not completely realistic as I go at 50kph downhill round the hairpins…but the 10-15kph up the hills is totally realistic and very hard work! Look along the bottom of the picture for the instantaneous speed, power, cadence, heart rate, calories burnt, slope and all the averages so far.
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Thoughts on Jupiter’s conjunction with the Moon

Jupiter in conjunction, as they say, with the moon on February 3rd, in a totally clear sky here in Scotland! Not great pictures by handheld camera, but just to draw attention to the show in the sky! One picture showing how close an angle they are at in the sky (although separated by hundreds of millions of miles between Earth and Jupiter’s orbits around the sun) and one just of Jupiter without the glare of the moon. Jupiter is about 5 times as far from the sun as we are, and would look – er – 4 or 5 times as big in our sky if it were at the same distance from us. It’s a huge gas planet, and if it were a few times bigger, it would have enough pressure at the centre to turn it into a star. There are more double/multiple stars out there than single stars (…/fun-with-double-and-variable-sta…), and we are lucky Jupiter didn’t make it – whoever promised “I’m gonna make you a star” lied! See for more on Jupiter, with a better picture, complete with red spot, an enduring storm visible on its surface. I suspect that might be Ganymede, at 1 o’clock relative to Jupiter, one of Jupiter’s own moons ( there are 67 of them) which is bigger than the planet Mercury. Is there another at 8 o’clock?!

Jupiter - and Ganymede

Jupiter – and Ganymede?

The Moon and Jupiter 3rd February

The Moon and Jupiter 3rd February