Confused Elites

Observations from an unnamed conference, probably something like Davos, where the elites are left wondering where it all went wrong.

The industrial elites have lost their way. In every major profession and institution, they once commanded vast, widely-admired projects that filled their lives with meaning and endowed the entire class with an unconquerable confidence. But the twentieth century couldn’t be preserved forever, like a bug in amber. The elites now face a radically transformed environment – and they are maladapted and demoralized. An inability to listen, an impulse to spew jargon in broadcast mode, a demand for social distance as the reward for professional success: such habits, which in the past placed them above and beyond the mob’s reach, now drag them down to contempt and mockery in the information sphere. Among the public, trust has curdled into loathing. The elites are horribly aware of their fall from grace – hence the conference – but being deaf to the public’s voice, they are clueless about how to respond.

Hoist by their own petard perhaps? Business leaders, politicians and the like have made an art form of speaking in coherent sentences which impart no information and imply no commitments. When confronted with facts they don’t like, they go to great lengths to manufacture alternatives or attack the messenger, so is anyone surprised when people no longer trust them?

Personal Nuclear Reactor

An oldie, reprinted from a 1998 issue of Harper’s, recounting how a boy attempted to build his own nuclear breeder reactor, including the great quote “I don’t believe I took more than five years off of my life.” 😆

David was awarded his Atomic Energy merit badge on May 10, 1991, five months shy of his fifteenth birthday. To earn it he made a drawing showing how nuclear fission occurs, visited a hospital radiology unit to learn about the medical uses of radioisotopes and built a model reactor using a juice can, coat hangers, soda straws, kitchen matches, and rubber bands. By now, though, David had far grander ambitions. As Auito’s wife and troop treasurer, Barbara, recalls: “The typical kid [working on the merit badge] would have gone to a doctor’s office and asked about the X-ray machine. Dave had to go out and try to build a reactor.”

Third de France Wrap Up

Well the full Tour is done and dusted, so how did I fare in the end.

Out of 21 stages…

  • I rode 16 as intended
  • I missed one stage due to being away for the weekend
  • I missed one and a half stages due to fatigue
  • I missed half a stage due to a mechanical
  • I missed half a stage due to illness

I completed 17.5 stages out of a possible 21, or really 19.5 given that I can’t do anything about a mechanical and was always going to miss a stage while away for the the weekend.

The fatigue/illness part of things was almost certainly due to starting this whole thing with a very low level of fitness. I started with a CTL of 29 so the fatigue piled up pretty quickly in the first week, as can been seen with the yellow line below.

Third de France CTL Graph

All my missed or shortened stages came in the second week which took the pressure off a bit (yellow line rises slightly) and then allowed me to get a clean, uninterrupted third week. Having said that, the fact that the French weather resulted in shortened Stages 19 & 20 also helped by reducing the workload towards the end.

In summary, my totals over the course of the event were 30h 43m of riding, covering 869km and a total workload of 1711 TSS, resulting in a CTL increase from 29.2 to 48.0. I’m happy enough with that. I’ve taken a couple of days rest and will get a few days riding in before heading off on holidays to Malaysia and Singapore for ten days - not an ideal followup to a fitness gain, but by the time I’m back I’ll still be fitter than I was when I started this Third de France :)

Third de France, Stage 21

Pros: Rambouillet > Paris Champs-Élysées, 128km - Flat

Me: 42km

All done! The pros had an easy ride into Paris and I had an easy ride out and back to Wellington Point. I’d say they got the better deal, although they did deserve it after the last three weeks. I thought about getting Jacqui to drive alongside me and hand up a glass of champagne but I guess it’s only the winner who does that and I definitely wasn’t doing the same efforts as Egan Bernal. Still, it’s been a solid three weeks and I’m looking forward to a couple of days off the bike now.

Me: 44.5km, 1h 53m, 942 calories, 84 TSS.

Pro: No idea. No-one has uploaded to Strava yet - too busy partying 🤣

Weight: 92.2kg - CTL: 44.8 - TSB: -18.9

Third de France, Stages 19 & 20

Pros: Saint-Jean-de-Maurienne to Col de l’Iseran, 90km - Mountains, and Albertville to Val Thorens, 59.5km - Mountains

Me: 5m @ 100%, 10m @ 90%, 5m @ 90%, 20m @ 75%, 20m @ 85%

Well it’s been quite the weekend at the Tour de France! Friday’s stage didn’t get off to a great start with Thibaut Pinot, France’s great hope, retiring early with a knee injury sustained a few days prior. He had been in great shape in the Pyrenees and looked ready to shake up the race to Paris.

Mother Nature had other plans for the race anyway and dropped lots of snow and rain on the descent from Col de l’Iseran. So much in fact that water and ice started flowing over the road less than 10km from where the riders were racing the descent at 70km/h plus. In the end, the race organisers had no choice but to cancel the remainder of the stage, especially as video started emerging of mudslides blocking part of the route as well.

Saturday’s stage was also affected, with mudslides blocking the road down from Cormet de Roselend, leading to that being cut from the stage and a short 60km being all that was left. 25km on the flat to warm-up, then the 33km ascent up to the finish at Val Thorens.

As for me, well I got sidetracked on Saturday and didn’t leave myself enough time to ride my version of Stage 19, so I took advantage of the real life Tour chaos and just added an extra interval to make a combined Stage 19 & 20, riding that today instead.

Most of the riders aren’t going full gas on the longer climbs as they are out of overall contention, so my final intervals weren’t as intense as they might have been. It’s probably just as well, as Friday’s interval session gave my legs a good going over.

All the hard work is now done, and all that remains is an easy ride tomorrow to finish Stage 21.

Me: 55.5km, 1h 38m, 1034 calories, 102 TSS.

Pro: 175.1km, 5j 38m, 6195 calories, 405 TSS

Weight: 92.2kg - CTL: 47.1 - TSB: -15.1