Paul Stockham's Blog
"Life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness"


Just finished an epic bike ride with Brian Ennesser who is raising money for ALS. Brian sadly lost his mother Lois to ALS last year and decided to do something positive to honor his mum and raise money to help others suffering from the same disease.

That was the inspiration for Bike 4 ALS and the ride south! Brian, his family and friends started planning the event and the idea was born, a 400 mile bike ride in 5 days! I first met Brian this winter when he showed up at the Liberty Cycle club rides on saturday mornings. He looked kind of new to riding, but obviously fit and we wondered what his background was? It turns out he was an Army Ranger and served in Iraq and Afghanistan – hence the fitness!

Brian quickly made a lot of good friends at Liberty Cycle, determined, a quick learner, no whining and a great sense of humour! All the traits you need to be a good bike rider! We also started hearing about THE bike ride – 400 miles in 5 days? Pretty ambitious for someone who had been riding less than a year, but hey the guy went through Ranger school and does not have the word quit in his vocabulary, so the smart money was on Brian to do it!

We thought it would be nice to ride with him on some of the stages and give him some moral support, so Paul Acomb (another buddy from Liberty Cycle) and I decided to ride with Brian for the last 3 days. This event was planned like a military campaign – route planning, website, social media, support vehicles, sponsorship and contacting every Police Department on the route!

We met up with Brian, his dad George and brother (also George) in Baltimore on Wednesday night. They made us feel really welcome and we were drafted into “Team Ennesser” for the rest of the ride! We were also handed printed route maps of every mile and every turn, which made the Tour de France stage maps look like a little bike ride with the kids!

The plan was Paul and I would split the stages and ride in front of Brian to keep him out of the wind and give him a draft to ride in.

When we met up with Brian, he had already done 240 miles in 2 days, including Philly to Baltimore, riding 120 miles on his own, with just the support vehicles!

For non cyclists reading this, 120 miles a day is tough, the same as a typical Tour de France stage, but riding alone makes it harder as you don’t get the draft from other riders.

I started writing this on saturday morning, watching the sun come up over the Chesapeake looking forward to the last stage (only 60 miles today!) and wanted to share my thoughts on the ride and more importantly the reason for the ride and what it meant to Brian and his family.

Day 3 Baltimore to Fredericksburg – 89 Miles

We rolled out of Baltimore just after 6.30am with a full police escort clearing us through all the intersections and traffic lights and really appreciated their help in getting us out of the city safely in the early rush hour traffic.

The early miles were tough with traffic and a nagging headwind (more on that later!), but we picked up another Police escort to get us through DC and got to the halfway point without any problems!

We swapped riders for the last 45 miles and I was surprised how much headwind there was! We were hitting some rolling hills and the wind never eased off. I don’t mind admitting it was a tough day and talking with Paul Acomb afterwards he said the same, but knowing Brian had got 240 miles in his legs from the previous 2 days meant we were both very motivated to give him a wheel to follow for the whole ride! On the run into Fredericksburg the wind was even stronger and I felt pretty hammered, but even more impressed with Brian who not once asked us to ease the pace!

Day 4 Fredericksburg to Smithfield Station – 120 Miles

Another early start with a cool morning and a light mist over the trees. Nice country roads today with not much traffic and although the headwind was still blowing Paul A and Brian were clicking off the miles at a good pace and looking good! This is an area with a lot of history, we passed through several Civil War battle sites including the Shrine to Stonewall Jackson. Jackson got his nickname at the 1st Battle of Manassas after his Brigade rallied the crumbling Confederate lines despite heavy casualties and the name stuck.

Apart from a minor detour which was quickly rectified the guys were ahead of schedule and looking good. George Senior and George Junior did a great job for the whole trip looking after the navigation, liasing with all the Police Departments and most importantly keeping us topped up with food and fluids on the ride! Thankyou guys!

We swapped riders and had planned to start the next session at a steady pace and do one more stop before the Ferry crossing at Jamestown. The first few miles were on fast roads and despite the headwind we got into a good rhythm and were riding at a fast pace. Brian was obviously feeling good today and when the car came up to tell us we had a planned stop coming, he wanted to keep going so we kept going to Jamestown with a Police escort for the last few miles. After the Ferry it was only 7 miles to the finish of the stage, but we ended up riding to the Hotel as well to get in a few more miles! 120 miles today at nearly 20 mph average, with a headwind! 

Today was so much better than yesterday, we all felt good and just rattled off the miles! We guessed Brian must be feeling pretty tired now after 450 miles in 4 days, but again no complaints and everytime we asked him if the pace was ok, the answer was “good”! We stayed at a great hotel right on the water and had a couple of beers that night and a great dinner, knowing that we had broken the back of the ride and everyone was in good spirits! We also knicknamed Brian “Stonewall” like the original he doesn’t break!

Day 5 Smithfield Station to Virginia Beach – 60 Miles

The home stretch! Today we had the full team with Brian’s friends coming down from New Jersey to join him on the last day. These guys have all been involved in organising the event and had ridden with Brian on the first day, so it was great that they were there to see him hit the finish! There were rainclouds as we prepared to leave and the inevitable headwind coming in off the Chesapeake Bay, but we all knew that Brian was going to make it now, actually I think we knew that all along!

There was a great atmosphere on the last day, we were all happy and relaxed and as strange as it may sound, I was almost sorry it was over. Tired and glad to see the finish yes, but it really had been an inspirational few days and I didn’t want it to end. I would happily ride myself into the ground for this guy again and in fact have already signed on for the 2011 event!

Both Paul and I finished this ride with huge respect for what Brian had accomplished and we were proud to have played a small part in what he has done. He and his brother George are a credit to their late mother Lois and father George and this event is a great way to honor their mum. Thanks again to everyone who made this happen and run so smoothly!

So far Bike 4ALS has raised $15,000 (50% more than the original target) and if you are as  inspired by Brian as we all are please go to the Bike 4 ALS Website and make a donation NOW!

There are also a lot more pictures from the ride on the Bike 4ALS Facebook along with messages of support. For the record the total ride was over 500 miles not 400, but you have probably realised by now Brian is not the type of individual who is held back by limits!


There is something very satisfying about running a marathon and if you are thinking of doing one, a big city marathon definitely adds to the experience and they don’t get any bigger than the New York City Marathon! Having some loud and enthusiastic support really helps over those last few miles as your legs start to feel the distance and New Yorkers are always vocal!

Getting into these big marathons is tough they are always oversubscribed and a lot of disappointed runners will have had their entries declined – you may be one of them! It’s frustrating, you start your training and get all psyched up to run, only to get denied a start for your big goal!

There is still hope though! Team Continuum or “Team Can”, has been helping cancer patients and their families since 2003. As well as helping cancer patients they are also helping runners who missed out on entries for New York – “Team Can” still have guaranteed entries available! The only condition is that your raise $2,950 for their charity.

Although the marathon isn’t until November, you need to move quickly and register with Team Continuum for an entry by SEPTEMBER 1ST (use the link below).

Team Continuum go well beyond just providing an entry, they will also help you with detailed training programs for all levels provided by Coach John Hirsch (an experienced marathon runner and triathlete).

They also meet for team runs twice a week in New York on Wednesdays at 6.30pm and Saturday at 8.00am. Both runs start from the Columbus Circle entrance to Central Park. Again all levels are catered for; just email “Coach John” in advance, before your first run to let him know you are coming.

So if you’ve ever thought about running a marathon this is your opportunity! Race day is November 7, so you still have time to train and by joining Team Continuum you can tap into top level coaching to prepare yourself for the big day!

Team Continuum also provides race day gear, a physical therapist, and even a private pre-race pasta party! What else do you need? All you have to do is give your energy and commitment! The feeling of accomplishment when you reach the finish line in a marathon is worth all the effort especially knowing you are running on behalf of a great cause. Also check out Team Continuum’s Facebook page for a lot of other useful information, this is a great resource for all runners!

Like a marathon itself you need to take the first step! So register for the race today, join the program and start fundraising! Don’t forget that although the marathon is not until November the DEADLINE TO REGISTER IS SEPTEMBER 1ST


I wanted to share my thoughts with you on the RealRyder Stationary bike which I tried for the first time this winter.

We had a hard winter here in New Jersey and I spent more time going to the gym on days when there was too much ice and snow to ride outside. I normally spend more time in the gym in the winter anyway, but this year my gym was being refurbished and they replaced the old Lemond spin bikes which were getting pretty worn out with new RealRyder spin bikes. I must admit I had never heard of RealRyder when they got them and was curious to try one, as the guys at the gym were saying you could lean them?! When they arrived they definitely looked pretty cool – all black and kind of stealthy looking! When they arrived they definitely looked pretty cool – all black and kind of stealthy looking! You can get more info on RealRyder stationary bike from their blog.

The first ride felt strange! The bike has a leaning frame with some type of damping unit in it and initially it feels unusual while you get used to the way the bike moves, but after a 20 minutes or so it feels fine, similar to a real bike. Riding the RealRyder stationary bike definitely makes you think about riding and pedalling smoothly to stop the bike from swinging around too much. I am a big guy so I wasn’t sure how aggressively you could lean the bike, but again found it to be fine, the bike is very stable and I felt pretty confident on it by the end of the first class!

One other thing I really noticed during that first class was how quickly the hour went by! You are working hard and concentrating on good cycling form, but it was really good fun as well! I must admit I find some spin classes or indoor cycling sessions can get a little boring and I keep checking the clock, but not this one. I spent a lot of hours on the RealRyder stationary bike all through winter including a number of double classes during the worst of the weather and even two hour sessions on consecutive days were still fun and flew by! In fact even when the weather improved I kept going this bike definitely encourages you to train!

The RealRyder is not just more fun than a normal spin bike; you also engage more muscles when you ride one. At the end of a class you can feel your core and upper body have had more of a workout than normal, due to the movement of this bike. I ride a road bike and MTB and it does feel more like riding a real bike and after a class you can feel it in the upper body muscles, similar to an MTB ride where you are moving around much more than on the road or a static spin bike.

I know some real cyclists can be dismissive of spinning classes, feeling they are not really proper cycling, but on this bike they really are a great form of training and as close as you can get to riding outside on a real bike! Apparently Colin Irving the inventor of the RealRyder who is a good level racer himself, wanted to design a stationary bike that felt much more like a real bike than any of the existing designs. From my experience I would say they have succeeded it not only feels like a real bike, but it also makes you ride it like a real bike, focussing on proper cycling form and technique. Overall I would say I am very impressed with this bike and will be spending more time indoor cycling!


We all saw the Floyd Landis revelations about doping in the pro peloton a few months back and allegations of organised doping within the US Postal Team.

As usual these allegations were denied, by most of the parties involved and Lance Armstrong in particular attacked Landis over how his story had changed since being stripped of the 2006 Tour win, therefore people shouldn’t treat him as a credible source.

Well the war of words has escalated in fact it has just gone nuclear!

Like, most I follow the cycling websites and have been reading all the latest Tour news. Amongst all the usual rider updates and interviews about this years race and the key stages, I read an interview with Greg LeMond on Cyclingnews about the art of peaking for the Tour de France.  Nothing unusual about that until at the very end when LeMond gives you his his Lance Armstrong prediction: – “Either he will not start or he will pull out just before the race enters France. I have a feeling that the world of cycling is about to change for the better.”

This immediately made me think a storm was about to break and more revelations were on the way! It is no secret that LeMond and Armstrong are not best buddies and LeMond is one of the few cycling heavyweights to openly support Landis. Sounds more like “Art of War” rather than “Art of Peaking”, “my enemy’s enemy is my friend” to quote Sun Tzu? It also made me think what does Greg know?!

Well the reason for Greg LeMond’s comment became crystal clear after the Wall Street Journal published more revelations from Floyd Landis early Saturday morning! There are detailed allegations of blood transfusions, systematic team doping, bikes being sold to fund the program, treatments from Dr Ferrari and a lot more. Depressing stuff, and if Floyd is making all this up he sure has a vivid imagination! You can read all the details in the two Cyclingnews articles and the Wall Street Journal piece itself.

I have read a lot of speculation about Floyd’s motives and why he initially defended himself and denied doping and then did a complete 180, confessed and named “everyone who knows me” including friends like Dave Zabriskie? To me the explanation is simple. He “won” the Tour de France once and got busted, tried the normal defence of it must be contaminated supplements (beer or whisky!) or the test wasn’t done correctly! That didn’t work and he was stripped of his win and unable to get back into the big league.

So now he has effectively lost everything, his Tour win, his money and his career and if he knew others had won the same way and kept their wins, he probably feels he has been screwed and at that point decided to come clean. You may not agree with how he has handled this, but this at least makes sense to me as an explanation of why he has done this.

Whatever the motives this story is going to blow up this weekend, the French and World press will be like sharks with blood in the water and it has been noticable that Lance Armstrong and Johan Bruyneel have not been doing their normal pre-Tour press conferences. That may have to change!

There is already a federal investigation going on and a lot of people now have even more questions to answer! My only hope is that finally cycling takes the opportunity to clean up its act and adopts a zero tolerance stance to doping and if it takes catching one of the biggest fish in the pool to do this, so be it!


Fabian Cancellara nicknamed “Spartacus” completed an amazing three weeks by winning Paris-Roubaix for the second time on Sunday. When he is fit and healthy like this Cancellara is almost invincible and completely dominated this Hell of the North!

Tom Boonen had said again he would try to stay with Cancellara, but was really caught napping when Fabian rode away from a strong group with nearly 50km still to go! Do you think Boonen is having nightmares about the image of Cancellara disappearing into the distance at the moment?

Boonen had looked strong and motivated to this point and had been riding aggressively to reduce the group. Apparently Saxo boss Bjarne Riis radioed Cancellara to attack when he saw Boonen drift to the back of the break. It looked like Tom didn’t even see Cancellara go!

The problem with marking Cancellara at the moment is he is fast enough to go at 1km and strong enough to go at 50km and once he gets any gap it’s usually game over!

Boonen was unable to get much support from the chase group and was clearly getting more and more frustrated that he had been outsmarted and outridden by Cancellara for the third Sunday in a row in “his races”. To be honest there is no shame in being beaten by Cancellara at the moment – he is clearly on a level above the rest. One other factor here was the headwind and most of the chase group looked too tired to help much with the work.

Whatever the reason Cancellara opened up the gap to 3 minutes just tapping out the watts all the way to Roubaix.

Juan-Antonio Flecha and Thor Hushovd escaped before the finish to complete the podium, with Hushovd getting the better of Flecha in the sprint. The demoralised looking Boonen’s day wasn’t getting any better as he got outsprinted by Roger Hammond for fourth.

So all the talk this week has been can Cancellara win the Tour and beat the Hour Record? Hour record – definitely, maybe with one leg!

The Tour? The theory is drop a few kilos like Wiggins did and become a Tour winner in the style of Miguel Indurain. I’m not so sure about this one, the Tour has moved on since Miguel. Cancellara has a bigger frame than someone like Wiggins who is naturally more skinny, plus he doesn’t look as strong in the TT at the end of a three week Tour as he does at the beginning, so recovery may be an issue.

However, the biggest hurdle will be the same one everyone else has – Alberto Contador! When Contador is fit and healthy he is the best climber, the best TT rider (after 3 weeks of racing!) and has good recovery.

So I think Cancellara can win most events he focuses on, but beating Contador at the Tour, we will have to wait and see!


Chris Horner sealed the biggest stage race win of his career today by winning the final time trial at the Tour of the Basque Country! Horner who is fit and healthy again after his injury prone 2009 has been in contention all week in Spain and started today’s time trial stage just one second behind Alejandro Valverde.

Last year was frustrating for Horner who broke his leg at the Giro d’Italia after looking in great form. He fought his way back and was fit and healthy again by the Tour of Spain, but again crashed out!

The TT today was over a hilly 22km and Valverde and Horner were fairly equal over the first climb, but Horner then gradually opened up the gap on his rival. Valverde rallied on the last climb, but Horner had done enough to win the TT by 8 seconds and the overall by 7 seconds!

Tomorrow we have the Hell of the North, which will probably come down to Cancellara versus Boonen again. Breschel, Flecha and Pozzato (if he is fit and healthy again) will be looking to upset the form book, but realistically they are probably chasing the last place on the podium!


Can anyone stop Cancellara who in this form looks unbeatable? Don’t write off Boonen yet, he has come back from losses at Flanders to win Roubaix both of the last two years!

For most “Classics” fans the Hell of the North (or Enfer du Nord in French) is the best of the cobbled classics. For me it’s hard to choose between Flanders and Roubaix.

Maybe Roubaix is more raw, more of a battle of survival. The winner is invariably the strongest rider, but there are always hard luck stories of race favourites being put out of contention, by crashes or flats at crucial times in the race.

Last year was a great example. A lead group of six favourites Boonen, Thor Hushovd, Leif Hoste, Johan Van Summeren, Juan Antonio Flecha and Filippo Pozzato were working well together until about 20km to go. At that point anyone who wasn’t wearing a St Christopher or carrying several Rabbit’s Feet had some major bad luck!

Boonen and Hushovd had a small gap on the other four coming into the Carrefour de l’Arbre sector of pavé. Flecha, chasing after the two leaders, came into a dusty turn on the entrance to the sector too fast, and went down. Hoste, hit Flecha and went over the bars, Van Summeren, showed cat like reflexes and did a complete “180” to stay up! Pozzato had to brake heavily to avoid the crash and then set off after the two leaders.

Shortly after Hushovd misjudged a turn and he too hit the pavé, leaving Boonen away on his own to solo to the velodrome in Roubaix for the win. He probably would have won anyway, but Lady Luck gave him a big helping hand!

So that was last year – what about this year?

Surprisingly Cancellara has only won Paris-Roubaix once, while Boonen will be going for win number four. Boonen also rides for Quick Step, managed by Patrick Lefevere who has an amazing record here. His teams have won 10 out of the last 15 editions of Paris-Roubaix and even finished 1-2-3 three times in the 90s!

One of his best riders at this race was Franco Ballerini who was sadly killed earlier this year. Ballerini was truly one of the greats on the cobbles. I couldn’t resist putting in a picture of the Man himself going “A Bloc”, covered in dirt and still looking stylish!

For Boonen the tactics seem simple. As he says himself, he has to stay on Cancellara’s wheel, but he couldn’t do it at E3 or on the Mur, where both times Cancellara simply rode away from him!

Quick Step may try to play more of team game, getting numbers up the road was always the strategy in the Mapei days, but Saxo can play this game too with previous winner Stuart O’Grady and the in form Matti Breschel.

So it probably will come down to Cancellara v Boonen at the end, with maybe some of the other favourites like Pozzato and Flecha in the mix. Who wins? I’m going for Boonen, but I really won’t be surprised if I’m proved wrong by Sunday afternoon!

Oh, one last point, if you’re not convinced how hard this race is; take a look at the picture of Pedro Horrillo showering after the race! “A Sunday in Hell”.


What a great day! Cancellara in this form is pretty much unbeatable!

I watched the first few hours of Tour of Flanders on the live Sporza feed on the PC, before our Sunday ride, then watched the finale on Versus in the evening.

Even our ride had a “Flanders feel” to it; bright morning on farm roads with a good wind coming off the fields. The ride was a little shorter than normal so people could get back for Easter family engagements, but it also meant everyone was fresh and wanted to play. Pick up some good Belgian beers and we had the perfect set up to watch the Ronde in the evening!

Even from watching the earlier part of the race it was clear Saxo had a lot of confidence in Cancellara and Breschel. They had all 8 riders on the front before the Oude Kwaremont, the climb where the race normally gets serious. They started ramping up the pace before, to reel in the early break and start the softening up process for their leaders.

There were a few attacks that didn’t get too far. Cancellara then had a mechanical and needed a bike change just before the Molenberg, he passed the whole field on the climb in a matter of minutes he is back at the front and then attacks – amazing!

Tom Boonen is the only one who can go with him and looks like he is suffering a lot more than Fabian as they pull away from the chasers. So the race is really between these two now.

With Boonen the better sprinter he has to stay on Cancellara’s wheel. Easier said than done? We then have the second decisive moment in the race as Cancellara just rode away from the Belgian Champion on the steepest part of the Mur and is gone!

It was deja-vue for Boonen, he now has the impossible task of trying to chase down the best time trialist in the world, just like at E3. Boonen was chasing at 34mph and Cancellara still put over a minute into him in the last 16k! Philippe Gilbert rounded out the podium, but this race was really between the top two.

So Saxo Bank is having a great spring and we still have Paris Roubaix to come!


On Sunday I watched two programs which really highlighted the best and worst of modern society. Two contrasting examples of the role models we give our kids.

The first was a documentary on the 2004 Hawaii Ironman on Universal Sport. Really well made with fantastic filming of this spectacular island and some excellent sub stories about some of the competitors and their motivations and challenges. Two were particularly touching and emotional.

Tracey Richardson a 40 year old mother of four from New Zealand. She was competing to raise money for two of her children who have cystic fibrosis. She spent two years getting fit and healthy and finished in 15 hours and 17 minutes.

The second was Sarah Reinertsen, an amazing athlete who had her left leg amputated at 7 years old due to a condition called proximal femoral focal deficiency (PFFD). She competes with a prosthetic leg in an event which is notoriously hard even if you are fit and healthy. 2.4 mile ocean swim, 112 mile bike ride and 26.2 mile run, plus the lava fields of Hawaii are legendary for their heat, hills and headwinds!

Sarah missed the cut at the end of the bike leg by 15 minutes, and officials wouldn’t let her start the run. I guess rules are rules, but watching it I thought don’t be so petty, let her run! Clearly upset, she handled it well and vowed to come back and try again.

After the program finished I went and Googled Sarah and was pleased to find out she not only came back in 2005, but completed the whole event in 15 hours and 5 minutes!

Reading through her website and blog she describes using a revolutionary “running foot” prosthetic and amazingly she has to use 40% more oxygen and twice the energy of someone with two legs to complete a Triathlon!

Her life and positive attitude is a really uplifting story and she now works as a motivational speaker.

We now get to the second part of the story and I will warn you now this is a bit of a rant! I stumbled upon the inaccurately named – Celebrity Fit Club.

I have to say I am not a big fan of reality or celebrity TV shows and what a motley crew of D (Z?) list celebrities. I honestly have no idea who half these people are!

Anything that encourages people to get fit and healthy is a good thing, but with the exception of Sebastian Bach most of the others whined and moaned about everything they were asked to do and then the hosts and trainers talked up their mediocre efforts! I see plenty of normal people demonstrate more commitment to getting fit or losing weight every day?

Without a doubt the worst offenders were the feckless Kevin Federline. “K-Feck” only seems to be famous as the ex Mr. Britney Spears, before he fell off that gravy train. He looks like he drank most of the gravy before he fell off and gives the term half assed a bad name!

Then we heard Bobby Brown complaining he ran a marathon yesterday and now has to do a triathlon. Sorry Bobby, 3 miles in an hour is not running a marathon; it’s called GOING FOR A WALK!

For the record, a “marathon” is 26.2 miles and named after the legend of a Greek soldier – Pheidippides who ran from Marathon to Athens (26 miles) with news of the defeat of the Persians. According to legend he ran all the way, delivered his message and then died of exhaustion.

After ten minutes of watching this I was ready to turn over/turn off when coincidentally they bring in a special guest to coach the contestants. None other than Sarah Reinertsen! Surely her story and attitude would motivate this bunch of whiners?

To a degree, but not with Mr Brown! A Triathlon has three disciplines, so a short run followed by an incomplete bike ride doesn’t really qualify and getting in an SUV is definitely not the last leg of a Triathlon! His excuse he had a bad leg!

Andy Warhol coined the phrase “15 minutes of fame”, but why do the media now give these people with nothing worthwhile to say a whole series?

What do you want to watch; a Sarah Reinertsen or the Kevin Federlines and Bobby Browns of this world desperately trying to prolong their 15 minutes of fame? I know who gets my vote.


Sunday was a great day for British cycling at the Criterium International in Corsica. Unless it’s Mark Cavendish road wins are a rare thing, but two in one day is unheard of!

Russell Downing won the criterium stage in the morning. This was actually the first win for a British rider on Team Sky! Downing sealed his Sky contract after his win last year in the Tour of Ireland proved he could compete with Pro Tour calibre riders.

David Millar then beat some big names in the TT in the afternoon including a motvated Alberto Contador and Michael Rogers.

Pierrick Fedrigo clinched the overall after surprising the favorites on the opening mountain stage. The big shock was Contador getting dropped, apparently suffering from allergies.