Tag Archive: Beryl Burton

Normal Sperm in the BBC

Sore Testicles

Why Cyclists Should Wear Black Shorts

Why Cyclists Should Wear Black Shorts

“Oh dear!”, I thought, when I read this article on the BBC news today….

Elite cyclists ‘risk infertility’

Read the article.  Apparently…

“The Spanish study of top triathletes found those who cover more than 186 miles (300km) a week on their bikes have less than 4% normal looking sperm.”

Well I do a bit less than that, so naturally, I thought,

What is the normal amount of good sperms in my jism?

…..as you do, if you’re a bloke, which I am….

A Sperm

A Sperm

Fortunately, the article tells you, a bit lower down.  And it’s at this point, that you become shockingly aware of the piss-poor science and piss-poor interpretive reporting going on….

How so?

Quite simple, really.  They’ve completely buggered up any normal definition of the word,

NORMAL

What the article says is that if you are really fit, your good jism count goes down to ~5%.  This means 1 in 20 sperms are duff!  So for an elite cyclist, normally, most of their sperms are bad.

Come, Come.  You Can’t be Serious!

However, if you are a “normal” bloke, the “normal” amount of fit and healthy sperms is…wait for it… it’s coming…here it is…aaaahhhhh!

15-20%

So in other words, most men’s sperm is 80% duff.  Only 1 in 5 are good!  So for a non-cyclist, normally, most of their sperms are bad.  Exactly the same.

What Is Normal?

Born in 1972 in Uccle, Belgium, Axel is the son of five-time Tour de France champion Eddy Merckx.

Born in 1972 in Uccle, Belgium, Axel is the son of five-time Tour de France champion Eddy Merckx.

This is my point.  It’s normal to have most of my sperm completely incapable of fulfilling their duty.  A fit, elite,  cyclist, by definition, is continuously stressing their body beyond it’s limits, and when the body is stressed it’s secondary functions are put into standby.  It’s the same for women.

The point is the poor use of words.  In the article, the phrase abnormal sperm is used to describe poor viability sperm.  However, most sperm has poor viability!

So poor quality sperm is not abnormal – it’s normal!  It’s the good sperm that’s abnormal, so please get it right!

As an aside, we’ve evolved to have a proponderence of ‘inferior’ sperm.  They are actually necessary to our survival.  Their function is manifold – from the physical one of blocking the passage of later sperm to promote the success of the first individual’s mating, to providing the correct chemical environment for the passge of the more viable sperms.  There is a chemical and biological arms race going on at the microscopic level, about which we are only now just becoming aware.  It’s been happening for a billion years and no doubt will continue for a lot longer…

Research

Chris Boardman and his Son

Chris Boardman and his Son

The Spanish team has just looked at the jism.  They intend to do further research.  Might I suggest they do a statistical analysis of the fecundity of former professional cyclists as a starting point.  Start with “The Animal”, Eddy Merckx and his son Axel.  Then go and chat to Chris Boardman and his son and Bernard Hinault and his.  Go and see the cycling daughter of Britain’s greatest ever cyclist, Beryl Burton.

These people were at the very, very, top of their sport for years and had children.  There are many more like them.  Nuff said.

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So Far Ahead – Beryl Burton

Strangely post on January 16th, 2009
Posted in Cycling Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Beryl Burton at Speed

Beryl Burton at Speed

Following GB cycling’s successes at the recent 2008 olympics and world championships, I was reminded about the accomplishments of Beryl Burton who died early over 10 years ago.
It seems that in any sphere of human endeavour there is always one person who is head and shoulders better than anyone else.  We had the domination in tennis, say, of Navratilova, Sampras, Federer;  in motorsport of Fangio, Senna, Schumacher.

This year and for the past few, GB has had Chris Hoy, who has changed sport several times, and become champion at all of them.

But for longevity, and as an amateur, Beryl Burton’s exploits bring tears to my eyes for sheer determination.  In the big tours, like the Tour de France, the time-trial is called “the race of truth”, because everyone can watch you, all the way.  There’s no hiding, no competitor.  You ride against the clock and against all the negativity produced by your body.

In this Beryl Burton excelled.  For two years, at one distance (the 12hr), she was faster than any man in the world.  Indeed, when she broke the record she passed a man (Mike McNamara) who was in the process of setting the Men’s record! As she passed him, she is reputed to have given him a Liquorice Allsort – which he ate!

Beryl Burton didn’t start to ride until late – 18.  But then for 25 years she won medals and set records in nearly every single year.  Maybe she burnt out? (She died of heart failure on a training ride aged 59).  Who knows – but what a legacy?

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