Tour is Over / Time for Cross?

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It seems like I’m ripping off my tubular road tires and glueing on cross tires continually. Or vise versa.  Now that the Tour is finally over, it seems like cross season is just around the corner. Especially since the first two World Cups are here in the US the third week of September.  That is less than 2 months away.  Cross Vegas is Cross Vegas, but JingleCross being in September could be a whole different race.

I never really thought of the road season being done after the Tour, but during the last few years, I start hearing people talking about cross just about now.  I’m always thinking, no, it is only July.  But if you want to be going good for cross in September, then you should probably get on it a couple months before?

I really haven’t done anything.  I’m feeling crummy and just trying to get better so I can actually train and not just ride around.  I has been so stinking hot here the past week, that I don’t think anyone could feel normal doing more than a couple hours.  I know that is the situation for me when I start going downhill physically at a steep rate after about 45 miles.

I did get out the cross tires I plan on racing in Iowa.  I got some tires for Nationals last year from BelgianWerkx.  They are FMB, with mud tread.  I wanted to get some with the PRO casing, but they were out for the season.  I don’t think I need the beefier sidewall for JingleCross, since I don’t think it is going to be close to as muddy as it has been recently.  If you’re looking to get some super race tires, you’d better order them soon.  Here is a link to BelgianWerkx, which have a great relationship with Francois (Mr. FMB), thus they have access to a wide variety of tires.  

Jinglecross is just the next weekend after Chequamegon this year, on September 22-24, with CrossVegas being the 21st.  I doubt I’ll go out to Vegas.  I swore that race off quite a while ago. Nothing against the race, it is super fun, but the soccer field where they hold the event is poison to my body.  I think I’ve done the race 3 times and each and everytime I am coughing like crazy after and get a lung infection.

I have to take back that I haven’t been doing nothing for cross.  I’ve been walking Tucker in a big park by my house and have been running up the hill there, barefoot.  Just a couple times every walk.  I am pitiful, but it is at least something.

Okay, just a post to get you thinking about fall and cross.  It comes up so quickly.

The FMB tires that still need to be glued on.

The FMB tires that still need to be glued on.

The FMB sumermud with PRO casing.

The FMB Supermud with PRO casing.

 

Fast Wheels

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Chris Froome one the uphill time trial a couple days ago at the Tour.  He decided to ride a full aero setup, one with a disc wheel and tri-spoke in the front.  Most of the other  top ten guys decided to go for weight.   I was thinking it was a good decision, watching live and that was confirmed at the finish.

I have to assume that the bike he is riding is at the UCI weight limit, so the “extra” weight of the wheels is only going to affect rotating weight.  And as long as he kept his efforts consistent, the changes of speeds would be insignificant compared to the aerodynamic advantages.

The wheels make a huge difference.  Much of the increase in racing speeds during my career is because of much faster wheels.   I’m not sure why the other riders didn’t realize this too? Froome said  – “I think that was a big part of today’s stage, selecting the right equipment,”

In the time trial, Joaquim Rodriguez (Spa) Team Katusha, stopped and did a bike change.  That is a lot of time to give up when the TT was so short.  You’d think that all the main contenders would have been on the same page equipment strategywise?

The fastest wheels I’ve ever ridden are tri-spokes.  I raced them on the road when I was on Specialized.  Then Hed took them over and they are even faster, and lighter.

Guys talk about the weight, but the H3 carbon tubular is around 1500 grams.  The wheels are so fast and that weight is completely within a light road setup.  For sure any time trial situation.

It’s hard to believe that Steve Hed has been gone for two years now.  Time passes so quickly.  I didn’t realize it had been that long until I saw an article from the Minneapolis Star Tribune about Ann Hed, Steve’s wife.

It is a pretty good article about her history and the continuation of their business.  Here is a link.

Ann sponsors Gwen Jorgensen for wheels.  Pat and Gwen live in MSP, so that relationship is local, which is super cool.  Hopefully, Gwen has good luck in a couple weeks and can have a good race in Rio, the focus of the last couple years of competition.

Anyway, my advice is to get the best wheels you can.  A “bad” bike and fast wheels is way faster than a super bike and crummy wheels.   It isn’t brain surgery.

Ann Hed leading their company into the future.

Ann Hed leading their company into the future.

hedtohed2

 

Tucker looking all noble.

Tucker looking all noble.

Fix’in Stuff

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I am a tinkerer.  Not always, but I have an interest in how some things go together.  Not all things, but some things.

It started out as a necessity.  At least with cycling.   When I first started, if you didn’t know how to work on your bike, you didn’t race bikes.  I didn’t know a cyclist that didn’t work on their own equipment.  That isn’t the case anymore.

I bought my first car when I was 17.  It was a 1964 Volkswagen pickup truck.  I still own it.  I drove it just a few months before the engine blew.  We borrowed the Idiot’s manual for VW’s from MIke Hudson and dug in.

We did most of the work at night, down in the basement.  When my grandmother would go to bed, we’d sometimes bring the engine up to the kitchen for better light.  She would have died if she had walked in when we were working on the engine on our kitchen table.  Back then we could rebuild the complete engine for next to nothing,  Even the machining was affordable to poor cyclists.

I still do virtually all my own auto work.  I’ve rebuilt a few engines and can do just about anything.  I’m not too big on working on the engines in my diesel vans.  Those engines are very difficult to get to and when they have issues, it takes a lot of time and energy.

The past couple days I replaced the AC clutch on my AWD van.  I drove Trudi to the airport yesterday and the AC is too cold now.  I also put an exhaust gasket on my Honda InSight.  I had to buy the parts at the dealer.  Two bolts and an exhaust gasket was nearly $60.  That seemed insanely expensive compared to other auto part costs.  I’d replaced the AC clutch in December, so it was under warranty, so it was free.  And it didn’t take any time at all.

Repairing things is pretty rewarding in this throwaway world we live in.  I’ve garbage picked lawn mowers that were left at the curb because the pull cord broke.  It is like a 10 minute job putting a new pull cord on a mower.  What a waste.

Anyway, I’m sitting here watching the Tour and was thinking I don’t really have a small fix-it job to do today.  Most the stuff I have to do are big job.  When it is so stickin’ hot out, long rides aren’t really an option.  We’re meeting at 11 am, after the Tour, before the heat index gets crazy, but still late enough to be stifling hot.

Trudi at the Kansas City airport. She flew out to Santa Rosa to get a team car to drive to Tour of Utah.

Trudi at the Kansas City airport. She flew out to Santa Rosa to get a team car to drive to Tour of Utah.

I'm not sure what happened to this AC clutch, but it melted.

I’m not sure what happened to this AC clutch, but it melted.

I'm not big on working on exhaust. The Insight is in super good shape, no rust anywhere, except the exhaust bolts. Both broke and needed to be cut off.

I’m not big on working on exhaust. The Insight is in super good shape, no rust anywhere, except the exhaust bolts. Both broke and needed to be cut off.

The replacement bolts should have been made out of stainless steel in my opinion.

The replacement bolts should have been made out of stainless steel in my opinion.

Tucker collapses every night.  He is not into heat.

Tucker collapses every night. He is not into heat.

 

Justifying Doping

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One of the symptoms I have from this virus thing I’ve had is not sleeping in the middle of the night.  I like to sleep, so this is a big inconvenience.   I woke up at 2 the other night and didn’t have anything to do.  I made some toast, then opened my computer.  I normally try to stay off the computer at night, realizing it is a waste of time and just makes me more awake.

Anyway, I didn’t abide by my unwritten rule and opened my laptop.  I don’t remember how I got there, but I ended up at a podcast that Lance is doing.  I hadn’t heard about it, but he has done 5 or 6.  The podcast was with Tim Commerford.  He is a famous bass player for the bands Rage Against the Machine, Audioslave, Future User, WAKRAT, and a friend of Lances.

It was interesting listening to a musician talking about his love of cycling, mainly MTB riding.  I guess he did Leadville a couple years ago.  He said he uses Strava and climbed 1,000,000 feet that year.  That is pretty impressive.  He lives in Malibu, so he must just climb on the trails there.  But the number is impressive no matter what.

Anyway, like I said above, Lance and Tim are riding buddies and friends.  It was easy to realize that Tim doesn’t think that Lance did anything wrong, doping-wise.  Lance was making more off-the-cuff remarks about doping than Tim.  Tim was saying he plays angry and that thought that Lance competed angry.

I was thinking how the subject is pretty divisive.  Either you’re with Lance or not.  There isn’t that much gray area.

Then I saw this commentary by Fred Dreier, the executive editor of Velonews.   It is about Washington Post columnist Sally Jenkins views she said on a Sports Illustrated podcast.   Sally co-wrote the two Armstrong autobiographies.  In the interview she implies that what happened in our sport isn’t that bad and that in the future, we’re going to look back up on this as silly and that the doped riders were the victims.

Fred does a great job of addressing her lack of logic.  You should click the link above.   He even throws my name out there, with others, as riders that really suffered from the doping culture.  I am honored.

I understand if you’re not closely tied to the sport, the doping in the sport issue doesn’t move you much.  I don’t think Sally understands that when all the pros are using drugs, they aren’t just cheating the guys they are racing against.  They are cheating everyone involved, the juniors that are aspiring to get to their level, the masters, everyone.  All cyclists compare themselves to the top level.  When that level is make believe, then it ruins the whole bell curve.

Anyway, hopefully, in the future, we will look back upon these times and think something about how different it was back then.  We’ll never know how it goes until that time comes along.  Until then, we just need to stand the moral ground that cheating in sports is unhonorable and dishonest.

Screen-Shot-2014-05-25-at-11.21.51-PM

 

  
Tucker doesn’t much like this 110 degree heat index thing going on here this week. 

 

Sometimes Studies are Bulls#%t

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A couple studies I’ve seen the last couple months are completely out of whack with what reality is that it makes me wonder why the guys spent the money to start with if they were going to screw up the study so badly.

First the study on EPO that said that it didn’t work any better than a placebo.  I can’t comment on how the jacked up their results, but it is obviously  flawed.  Maybe they don’t understand the relationship of red blood cells, oxygen and performance?

Then today I saw a study about positioning on a bicycle.  They used Computation Fluid Dynamics to compare 4 different positions we normally ride.   They said that the normal time trial position is the quickest, followed by descending on you saddle, which is 1% slower, then “the Sagan” top tube position, followed by normal riding position.

I wrote a post about how I hated the position.  Then I realized I needed to try the position.  It isn’t a safe position, I’ll give you that.   I did quite a bit of personal testing, after watching Peter Sagan, lots in Colorado.  And when out on the road, “my testing” shows that it is way, way faster.  Going down Rabbit Ears pass, which descends into Steamboat Springs, I tucked seated, then rode back up and did the same descent tucked on my toptube.  The toptube speed was 5 mph faster, at 55 mph, which is a 10% faster speed.

The tucking is harder on your body, it isn’t a restful position, but it is way faster.  The only thing that these two studies have is that both had dutch guys doing them.  The EPO study was from Holland and the positioning study was Holland and Belgian guys.

I think maybe the EPO study should have used better riders in more controlled surroundings, not riding up a climb in France.  And then the descending study should have taken their Fluid Dynamics study and take it outside and do some real life descending.

Let me tell you, Chris Froome isn’t going to be descending like Peter Sagan if it is slower.  He obviously did it a ton of training before he won a stage on a descent.

Anyway, it goes to show you that you shouldn’t believe everything you read.  I don’t believe some of the stuff here and I’m the one writing it.

I don't think the positioning study used this one.

I don’t think the positioning study used this one.

Chris Froome makes it look less safe than it is. He is way too forward, too much weight on his front wheel.

Chris Froome makes it look less safe than it is. He is way too forward, too much weight on his front wheel.

Peter Sagan this position, in my mind, and he stays further back normally.

Peter Sagan  started this position, in my mind, and he stays further back normally.

Tucker has a ton of positions of his own.

Tucker has a ton of positions of his own.

 

 

 

 

Tuesday’s Training

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I’m not around Topeka all that often.  When I’m riding better, I tend to be somewhere to race that is in line with my form. When I’m not riding so well, then it is best to be home and hang.  It is a nice situation to be in.

We have 3 evening rides that leave from our house.  Monday, Wednesday & Friday.  Tuesdays have turned into a rest day, sort of.  They meet at PT’s Coffeeshop and ride 20 miles on the bike path, then head back for $3 pints of beer.

A couple weeks ago, a small group decided to meet at the Governor’s Mansion and ride trails.  It is a hard time to do that, since it is in the heat of summer and off-road riding is a ton hotter than riding on the road.  It is supposed to be super hot here until the weekend.  There is a heat warning until Saturday night, which means that the heat index is supposed to be close to 110 everyday.

I rode over and did the MTB ride last night.  There were 7 of us, if you count Trudi riding over there and messing around some.   They have been working on the trails, they built a state park there and it is changing a lot, so I am sort of lost all the time.

It was hot, but not insanely hot.  It was only super uncomfortable when we stopped to regroup, etc.  That is when the sweat started pouring out.  I’m not a big sweater, but when it is so humid and hot, everyone drips.

I really enjoyed the ride.  I haven’t really just went and ride with a bunch of guys, in line, not going hard.  It was super fun honing my rusty singletrack skills, getting to learn my dual suspension bike some.  I was, sort of , dreading the ride, before and then it turned out exactly the opposite.  Nicely surprising.

My AWD van is over in Lawrence.  I’m going to ride over there to get it in a little bit, after the Tour finishes. A friend, Marcos, whose day job is fixing cars, looked at it.   I have to replace the AC clutch again.  I replaced it last December, so the clutch is under warranty.  But, there isn’t one here in Topeka, so that is a problem.

I’m not a bad auto mechanic, well that isn’t true. I have a hard time diagnosing non-obvious problems, which is 90% of being a good mechanic.   I don’t have any problems doing the work when I know the problem.

I’m not big on Ilnur Zakarin winning the stage today.  It all is in relationship to doping.  He has already served a 2 year suspension for doping.  Plus the whole Russian doping deal, that is going to be decided this week.   I don’t really have any desire watching him ride the Olympics either.    The race of the GC guys was interesting though.    At least they looking like they were hurting.   I did have to agree with Greg Lemond about his views about modern day racing and improvements.   “Miracles don’t exist.”

Chuch Magerl, the owner of FreeState Brewery, in Lawrence, sent me this photo. It is from 1983, I believe, at Kansas State Championships. My brother Kris is behind me.

Chuck Magerl, the owner of FreeState Brewery, in Lawrence, sent me this photo. It is from 1983, I believe, at Kansas State Championships. My brother Kris is behind me.

Bill and Eric riding through the open fields at the Governor's Mansion. Most of the ride is on great singletrack, on the river bluff.

Bill and Eric riding through the open fields at the Governor’s Mansion. Most of the ride is on great singletrack, on the river bluff.

 

Tucker is doing a good job staying in the shade.

Tucker is doing a good job staying in the shade.

 

 

 

 

Tour de France Scoring Question / Plain Cheating

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I was watching the finish of the Tour yesterday, which finished in Bern Switzerland, after a tricky cobble climb, then a drag race to the line.  Afterward, I was glancing at the results and they placed 59 riders with the leaders time.

I had watched the finish and knew the group was way smaller than that, so I went back and watched the finish again and there were somewhere around 30 guys sprinting.  A couple got dropped right at the finish, but whatever the number, it wasn’t 59.

I was wondering if there was a crash or something within the last 3 km where they would give everyone the same time.  I didn’t remember seeing a crash, or hearing the commentators mention one either.  So, I went back and watched the race from 5 km out.

I didn’t see anyone fall in the in the end, just guys getting popped.

My question, did they score the race somewhere out on the course and then let the leaders sprint for the placings?   I know they do that on the final stage in Paris, but I’ve never heard about them doing that in other stages much.

It seems like the guys in the groups behind were still riding hard to the line.  If there was a place where the officials said they assigned times 3 km out or something, then everyone would have just rolled in.  Let’s just use Ramunas Navardauskas (Lithuania) CANNONDALE-DRAPAC.  He attacks in the final, maybe 2 km out, then blows.  He is scored at the same time as the winner, when he rolls across the line 30 seconds back in the video below.  Weird.

It is sometimes strange what the officials at the Tour address, and what they don’t.  I’ve noticed that on all the finish climbs, team support from Sky, etc. are standing in the crowds, clandestinely, then the step out and hand out “illegal feeds”.  Then they disappear back into the spectators.   It seems weird.  They can get bottles from cars, at the feed zone, etc.  I’m not sure why they need to break the rules to get some liquid so late in the race?

How about Fabian Aru getting his sticky bottles a couple stages ago.  He didn’t even take a bottle, then when he did, he held on, what seemed like forever, then tossed the bottle off without drinking out of it.  Come on, it is towing.  Getting back on, after a problem, is hard sometimes, but he could have been drafting his team car easier than holding on.

There is no way that there are enough officials at a Tour stage to police the whole race. Obviously, the riders don’t police themselves.  I think the officials should use the TV footage, anytime they see fit, and levy penalties if guys are spotted breaking the rules.  I know this isn’t the answer to all the problems, but at least it would make teams think twice before, pretty much, blatantly/pre-planning,  breaking the rules.

 

*** Okay, I had the official Tour results forwarded to me from Sean Weide and it seems that they did split the field correctly.  It is weird that Velonews would post the results incorrectly for some reason.  I wonder if they had some preliminary results and never got around changing them.  I just looked this morning and they were still wrong.  Now I checked and they changed them.  I wonder if this had anything to do with that?  Anyway, real results below, which seem all correct to me.   Still doesn’t address the sticky bottle/sneaky bottle deals.

The group around 30 seconds from the finish.

The group around 30 seconds from the finish.

This picture shows the gap to the next group.

This picture shows the gap to the next group.

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Tucker was pretty done coming back from the airport last night.

Tucker was pretty done coming back from the airport last night.