Roofing on my Mind

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I went over to the Walberg’s and did some measuring of a porch roof that needs to be redone. It is a super cool porch, with a tongue and groove ceiling and skylights, but has an ancient tar and gravel roof that leaks.   And I happen to know how to adhere rubber roofing, so it is a perfect fit.

I put a huge, well maybe not huge compared to warehouses and giant manufacturing plants, but huge for a few bike racers learning how to roof as we go, rubber roof on.  This roof was on a building my grandmother bought back in the early 50’s.  It had continually leaked and should have been replaced a decade earlier.

This was 7 years ago.  I probably wouldn’t have started the project without Michael Fatka just showing up in Topeka ready to work.  He ended up staying there for over a month, helping out immensely.

It took me nearly 60 days straight of 16-20 hours  days to complete.  I am still amazed that I didn’t really run out of steam with so little sleep.  I owe that to bike racing.  I saved somewhere are 80K I figure.  I spent $16000 and half of that was on insulation.

I only rode 3 miles in two months.  The longest I’d ever taken off the bike since I was in high school.  And it worked out fine.  I felt better that February than I had in years.  Weird.

Anyway, it was the biggest single project that I’ve continuously done.  Normally a whole roofing crew would have been involved.  Roofs usually need to be replaced in a hasty fashion.  We got pretty lucky with the weather.

The Walberg’s roof is much smaller.  I learned a ton, so it should go way quicker.  Micheal still needs a new roof too.  I patched that one together last fall and it has been problematic, so it needs to be completely ripped off and replaced.  I didn’t realize how many flat roofs were out there.

There is a certain comradery working together in manual labor brings.  I didn’t realize it so much until after this project.  It is sort of like a bike racing team.  Pretty rewarding.  Okay, here are some pictures of the project.  I had just started writing web posts and had Google ads back then.  All the ads changed from bike related subjects to roofing advertisements.  That was the sign I needed to finish up the job.

Original roof.

Original roof.

Trudi and Michael removing the rock.

Trudi and Michael removing the rock.

They did things right in the 1800's.

They did things right in the 1800’s.

The back of the building was a mess.

The back of the building was a mess.

We rebuilt the whole thing.

We rebuilt the whole thing.

Catherine and her mom came by to visit.

Catherine and her mom came by to visit. She wrote her initials in the concrete.

She was also working on the weekends.

She was also working on the weekends.

Michael in a skylight.

Michael in a skylight.

Bill carrying roofing felt.

Bill carrying roofing felt.

Busy bees.

Busy bees.

We stripped it down to the sheathing.

We stripped it down to the sheathing.

Insulation.

Insulation and a roll of rubber.

This is what it looks like now finished.

This is what it looks like now finished.

 

 

 

 

Gun Pulled on George Hincapie and his Son

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Okay, I’m out riding and saw the comments on my phone and have to believe that some of you guys researched this enough to confirm it isn’t George that posted this, so this post is complete bullshit.

*Okay, another update now.  I guess it is true.  So weird.  So, disregard the above paragraph.

I saw this Facebook post by George Hincapie that says he had an encounter with a motorist on Paris Mountain and the guy stopped and pulled a gun and him and his 8 year old son.

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I’m not sure what to think about this.  Obviously, my initial impression like everyone else, that it is horrific.  But, there must be something else going on here.  His reaction seems screwy.

If this happened to me, in the exact same circumstances, me, out riding with my 8 year old son, I would have immediately dialed 911 and had a police officer out there as soon as possible. He was with his child.  How did he know the guy wouldn’t come back and do more than threaten him.   The guy had already tried to assault him.  But, it doesn’t seem like George did this.

Instead he posted a photo on Facebook, warning “his” cycling community to be careful incase they run into  this guy.

Plus, the photo has the license plate number of the car the guy was driving.  Do you think he wants one of his Facebook friends to help out in this matter, whatever that might be?

I can’t think of a reason in the world that George wouldn’t have called the police unless something else is going on.  Well, I can.  Maybe he just wants to take matters into his own hands.  Or the hands of his posse or something.  If he wanted to do it himself, he surely wouldn’t have posted the picture on Facebook.

Any other ideas?

Switching Between Bikes

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I’ve been switching between a bunch of bikes recently and they all feel sort of foreign.  I don’t think that is a good sign.

I’ve been riding two different MTB bikes, a rigid Eriksen and then a dual suspension.  They both feel like alright,  a little slow, depending on how low I ride the pressure, but alright.

Then the two cross bikes I rode most of last weekend.  The bikes aren’t exact.  One is Di2 and feels great.  The other is mechanical 10 speed, and it feels a little off.  The reach and seat heights are the same, but maybe the shift levers being different throws me off a little.  Whatever the reason, I need to get them feeling closer to each other.

Then my road bike.  After riding these other 4 bikes the last two weeks, I got on my road bike. The seat felt too low and the reach felt pretty long.  My road bike is my go-to bike and now it feels the most foreign.  I wonder why that is?

It doesn’t take that long to get used to a different bike.  A couple times, at big races, I’ve switched onto bikes that weren’t even close to mine and after not to long, they feel fine.

The first time was at the World Road Championships in Giavera del Montello, Italy.  I was in pretty good form and thought I was prepared.  I had just finished the Coor’s Classic, at altitude, flew to New Bedford, MA and won a big criterium there and then directly to Italy.

My bike was perfect.  I told the USAC mechanics to not touch a thing.  I woke up the morning of the Worlds and went to get my bike.  I realized immediately that everything had been touched.  I asked one of the mechanics and they told me that the Japanese Shimano guys had come in the evening and put all new parts on my bike.  I didn’t understand it at all.

Anyway, I was racing, maybe 50 miles into the race, climbing, when my chain snapped.  I didn’t fall, but stopped, of course.  The Campy car following the race had a whole rack of bikes on their roof, but the mechanic was in no hurry.  He was smoking and just looked at me, trying to figure out the right size.

Luckily for me, an US rider that had done the TTT, was standing a little bit up the road.  His name was Tony Palmer.  Tony had his bike and jumped over the barriers and road it down to me.  Tony was a tall guy, maybe 4 inches taller than me and his seat was much higher.  I got on the bike and started chasing.

Since I was climbing, I just stood.  But when I sat, it was a long stretch.  The seat was so high.  I thought I’d get to the pit and they would have my bike fixed, but when I got there, no bike.  I had caught back on and wasn’t feeling all that comfortable.

I rode another lap, which was maybe 10 miles, and finally my bike.  I switched bikes and instantly thought, “Why did they lower my seat?”  The seat height on my bike felt so low, like it wasn’t even my bike.  I think I got dropped that lap, maybe the next.  If I had to do it all over again, I would have just stayed on Tony’s bike.

Nearly the same thing happened a few years later at the Pro Road Championships in Philly.  I was racing MTB full-time and just flew out there for the one day.  I had a aluminum Prism frame.  I don’t even know where I got that bike now.

About 30 miles into the race, my bike started feeling really weird.  I glanced down and the downtube was cracked all the way around where the shifters were.  I was riding STI levers by then, so the shifter bosses just held the cable routing.

Anyway, I realized it was super dangerous and dropped back into the caravan to get a new bike.  Mavic was the support then and they only had a 52 cm frame that had my pedals.  They did have a MTB seatpost, with quick release, so I could get the seat up.

I caught back on and it felt like I was riding a kids bike.  The reach was so short I’d hit my knees on the bars every time I stood.  Plus, I was having a hard time remembering where to shift.  I first tried the brake levers, then reached for a plug shifter, and finally the downtube shifters.

Eventually I got the shifting down, but I kept hitting my knees into the bars for the next hour or so.

I thought I’d ride maybe another 30 miles or so on the small frame, but I rode the whole 156 miles.  I was in the field at the end and finished somewhere in the top 20, which was okay money back then.

After the race, the bike felt just like it was mine.  So it took maybe 4 hours of racing to get comfortable on a really small frame.

I’m thinking about just riding my cross bike the rest of the fall.  The position is shorter and it feels right now.  I don’t really have any more road racing on the horizon.   It is better for gravel, obviously, plus it just feels better for now.

Stack of bikes in my garage. Everything is always in disarray after returning from a messy cross weekend.

Stack of bikes in my garage. Everything is always in disarray after returning from a messy cross weekend.

Tucker is trying to get me to take him out romping. He is so focused, he doesn't realize that he has a cat stalking him.

Tucker is trying to get me to take him out romping. He is so focused, he doesn’t realize that he has a cat stalking him.

Hey USAC – This is Problem

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The cross season has just started and this stupidness is already happening.  By this stupidness, I mean the scoring of the races.  I was going to try again, to go through the proper channels, ie, contact the USAC, to try to understand why they continually don’t know how to score a cyclocross.  The main problem, in my opinion, is that they don’t know how to apply the bullshit 80% rule.  I’ve already written a rant about this rule.  It is so frustrating for elite and professional riders, but no one seems to address it for the masters and other categories, where it always seems to applied really unfairly.

If you don’t know the 80% rule for cross, here it is –

From the USA Cyling Rulebook-
5G. Finish
5G1. Before the start of a race, it should be announced whether lapped riders will be pulled or remain in the race. If riders are to be pulled, the following applies:
(a) Riders who have been lapped shall continue the lap to a designated location before the finish line and withdraw, under the control of the officials.
(b) The Chief Referee may, after consulting with the organizer, impose the 80% rule. Under this rule, riders whose time gap to the race leader is at least 80% of the race leader’s time for the first lap will be pulled by the officials unless it is the final lap. The number of 80% is merely an approximation based on a typical course; the intent is that all riders should be pulled before they are lapped.
(c) Riders who have been pulled because of lapping or the 80% rule will be listed in the results based on their position when pulled and the number of laps remaining. The results will list the number of laps remaining after the lap on which they were pulled.

Let me go back to January.  I was at Nationals in Asheville and saw that they were pulling riders when they weren’t even close to 80% off the pace.  I sent emails to the officials and then directly to USAC.  No response from the officials and finally a response from Derek Bouchard-Hall. Derek seems concerned about the situation, but said that he was being assured that the rule was being enforced correctly.  That was completely wrong.

But I didn’t post anything on it, thinking that they would work it out, but they didn’t really.

Flash forward to Jinglecross.  They are a ton of masters.  They kept altering the start times to try to get a even amount of riders on the course at the same time, which was good.  I can’t really say that they were doing it exactly right.

They were starting the different age groups so closely together it turned into one giant 200 rider mass of guys walking in the mud a minute into the race.  But I’m assuming their idea was more riders get to finish if you don’t leave big gaps between the groups at the start.  But the leaders of the fields that started after the first group never had an opportunity to race at the start because of catching the back of the group in front of them so quickly.

Anyway, the scoring was horrible at best.  Tons of guys pulled.  Randomly it seems.  Let’s look at the results from the Masters 50-55.

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Lots of scoring errors here.  We’ll start at the back, the riders that were put two laps back.  Jeff Unruh is my friend and happens to be the first rider pulled at two laps at 37 place.  He shouldn’t have been pulled that lap.  or at all really.  If you add his two laps times together, he was at 24:30.  The leader was at 20:17.  So Jeff was 4:13 behind the leader. Closer to 25% off the leader’s time.   If the times stayed consistent Jeff might have been a little over 8 minutes back after 4 laps.  So, no chance of getting lapped, he should have been able to complete the event.

But that isn’t even the worst of it.  Look at the guys in front of Jeff.  When you add their times together, Jeff was ahead of all the riders that were in 28th place.  But they pulled Jeff and then let 8 more riders do another lap.

And that isn’t even the worst of that.  You can’t get pulled with one lap to go.  So all the guys that were 17th to 36th were pulled wrongly.  The reason for this is part b of the 80 rule.

Part (b) states- the intent is that all riders should be pulled before they are lapped.

You can’t get lapped if the leader has finished the race.

I do understand there were other categories racing on the course at the same time.  But you can’t really pull a rider because a rider from another category, that started way ahead of you, might be lapping you.

I could post the results from the 55 + Nationals in Asheville, and it is even worse.  It is here.  One group on the course and they were pulling riders that were less than 5 minutes down on a 9 minute lap.  And there are 26 riders that were pulled with 1 to go.   26 guys that couldn’t get in the leader’s way because he is already finished.  So they pulled them at 50% and then just kept pulling them.

Here’s the deal.  These guys come to race a complete race.  The guys getting pulled most likely never expect to win, but want to compete.  Having guys ride 20 minutes and then get yanked out of the race doesn’t sit well with them.Understandably.  Especially when they are walking behind riders from other categories 1 minute into their event.

This 80% rule is so big races, like World Cups and World Championships, aren’t decided by a lapped rider getting in the way of the race leaders.

But somehow, the officials or USAC is using it as a mechanism to try to keep the races on schedule.  At Nationals, they didn’t schedule enough time for each race, so the decided to just start pulling riders so the races finished quicker.   Those guys deserve their entry back.

If USAC is trying to make its members content, then this isn’t the way to do it.  They are lucky that many of the guys that are getting pulled don’t understand that they are being cheated.  Either way, riders won’t come back to events where they get to race 20 minutes out of 45.  They aren’t having fun and don’t get to race a complete race.

Here my solution.  Just let the race happen.  Let’s go back to the old days when everyone finishes on the same lap.  Leave everyone in the race.  Especially at local races.  How are riders supposed to get better when they are riding less than 1/2 a race? If you good enough to win a cross race, then you should be okay with passing lapped riders.

Passing riders in cyclocross is part of the sport.  It is a part of other sports.  Look at Formula 1. Lapping cars is super important.  And it is way harder passing in that sport than cross.

Cyclocross season is upon us.  It is a participatory event here in the United States.  I think everyone understands that.  Just look at what happened to MTB racing.  When the riders got disgusted, they quit travelling to the National events.  The masses are the ones that pay for the sport.   Let’s not let that happen to cross.

When guys come to bike races they assume that the scoring, ie the results, are going to be reasonably quick and correct.  When they apply this bogus rule, the results are nearly make believe.This 80% rule has no place in any race that isn’t a UCI Elite race, Nationals or above.  Get rid of it for local events.  It is bad for the sport.  Just let them finish.

Tucker realized he couldn't run around with the guys riding in circles, so he put his attention back to butterflies and bees.

Tucker realized he couldn’t run around with the guys riding in circles, so he put his attention back to butterflies and bees.

 

 

 

 

 

Cyclocross is Hard

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I’ll write a longer post on Jingle Cross when I have a little more time.  I usually just get moving after races.  I usually don’t sleep much after hard efforts, so sort of wished we would have driven the 6 hours home after the race last night.  I was up until 3 am anyway.  We would have been back at least an hour before then.

The race yesterday for me was terrible.  I really didn’t have that bad a race considering, but the result was horrible.

I was lined up on the last row, as usual.  I’m not sure why I get so unlucky on the draw at UCI races.  The guy ahead of me missed his pedal when I was already going, so I hesitated some and then we were at the very back.

I passed a bunch of guys hitting the first mud section and then dismounted for the 100 meter off-camber run.  I maybe had 15 guys behind me, but then it went south.  Someone behind me slipped and grabbed my rear wheel to steady themselves.  That pushed my handlebars into the metal fencing and my bars got wedged into a small triangle in the fencing.  By the time I got it out, I was in last by a mile.

I got going and sort of caught the back of the last guys and was gassed.  We had to run up Mt. Krumpet super early in the lap and by the time I got to the top of it, I was hurt.

It is weird in cross, you can ride the speed of your group and if your group is going slow, then that is sort of your speed, especially early season.  I had to get off my bike again and straighten my brake lever on the climb.  It was twisted and was pulling my rear brake on.

Anyway, I rode 4 laps and then got pulled.  I was going about a minute a lap slower than the back of the top ten.  I was doing 9 minute laps and they were doing closer to 8.  That didn’t seem that bad really considering how unprepared I was to do a race of this caliber.  I honestly can’t say the food poisoning deal I had a couple weeks ago was an issue.  I wasn’t riding all that badly, for me, I was just a bit off all around.  My bike handling was super rusty, but got better.

I looked at some of the other categories and compared to all the master’s times, I was good. I was nearly 2 minutes a lap faster than my age group in masters, but that is to be expected.  But really, comparing different races is just make believe.   That being said,  I think I would have finished 5th in the women’s race, so I could have been competitive there, if I were a girl.

Like I said above, I didn’t sleep much.  We’re nearly to Des Moines, so should be back to Kansas by early afternoon.  I am surprised I’m not sore from the 45 minutes I rode.  I would have thought my legs and back would be wasted, but not so, which is nice.

Okay, I’m just rambling.  Tucker is out on the bench seat.   He isn’t used to hanging out all day at a cross race.  He had a blast, but he needs to sleep some during the day. Especially three days in a row.  Me neither it seems. It was a harsh was to start the cross season. It was a mildly embarrassing and enormously humbling day.   I’ll figure it out soon..

Trying to keep some sort of speed going up Mt. Krumpet.

Trying to keep some sort of speed going up Mt. Krumpet.

I got faster descending each lap. I put a little more air in my tires because I didn't like how they felt folding over on this off-camber descent. This is the same corner Stephen Hyde fell on Saturday.

I got faster descending each lap. I put a little more air in my tires because I didn’t like how they felt folding over on this off-camber descent. This is the same corner Stephen Hyde fell on Saturday.

This is Abby Krawczyk and Sven Nys. Abbey won Chequamegon last weekend.

This is Abby Krawczyk and Sven Nys. Abbey won Chequamegon last weekend.

Women's start run.

Women’s start run.

This is the sunset when I was riding back from the venue last night. Pretty great.

This is the sunset when I was riding back from the venue last night. Pretty great.

Big numbers at McDonalds. Crazy.

Big numbers at McDonalds. Crazy.

Tucker is out for the drive.

Tucker is out for the drive.

Stephen Hyde

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LIttle backed up today.  Yesterday was pretty great at the World Cup in Iowa City.  The ride of the day , in my opinion, was by Stephen Hyde.  That guy can ride a cross bike in tough conditions.  I was on the off-camber downhill the first lap and he crashed and lost a ton of time.

Crashing on the first lap of a cross race can sometimes be nearly fatal for your results.  But he kept picking guys off.  With 2 laps to go, it looked like he was stalling out a bit, but then he refocused.  And finished 10th, best American by a mile.  And just a tad off 8th.  Here is his ride in photos.

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This close to 8th. Super effort.

This close to 8th. Super effort.

Friday Night UCI Race Jingle Cross

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Okay, pictures probably sum up my race better than too many words.  I had low expectations, that I was exceeding, but the bike gods weren’t happy with me for some reason.

I picked a lousy start number and only a few guys had worse.  But, no one was really that excited at the back of the field and I rolled up a couple rows to chat with Bjorn Selander since we were lined up so early.

The course was pretty awful.  Like very sticky, clogging mud.  It had been that way most of the day, but was getting worse as it dried out.  Lots of running, even when it was just flat.  I wasn’t at all motivated for that.  I haven’t ran a step since Jinglecross last year really.

But, I didn’t run that badly.  We dismounted about 400 meters into the race and did a 100 meter mud slog and I was alright.  I actually passed a couple guys.  Then we had to go up Mt. Crumpet, which was a surprise to pretty much the whole back row.  It wasn’t marked during the pre-ride, which I didn’t do.  I didn’t get into the mud until about 100 meters into the race.

Anyway, I jogged past a few more guys going up the climb and had moved up close to the top 20, start number 58, skipping some numbers, so I’d passed maybe half the field.  And I wasn’t gassed, which surprised me.

Anyway, going down the descent, into the sandpit, I was seated pedalling and hit a small bump.  I heard my seatpost make a bad noise and realized it broke.  It stayed on a 100 meters and then the seat and seatpost fell off into the mud.  I was thinking how hard it was going to be to ride in this deep mud off my seat.

I only had a few hundred meters to go to the pit, which was lucky.  I got back on my A bike, I’d already switched 1/2 a lap in and was passing guys still.  Be just after the barriers, just a bit after the pit, I heard a horrible noise and my rear derailleur was gone.  I stood there a second, thinking how far I’d have to run to get back to the pit and realized it would be more than a kilometer.

So, I just walked back to a course crossing and made my way back to the pit.  Done.

I don’t know why I had a Easton Carbon post on my bike.  Well, that isn’t true.  I had no seat on my B bike when I was working on it, so I just pulled the seat and seatpost off an old cross bike to put it in the stand.  I meant to put an Eriksen post on, but sort of forgot about it with all the stuff going on.  What a mistake.

The derailleur thing was not that unusual.  I don’t know how many people I’d seen without derailleurs.  Out of the 4 people racing from the Topeka area, 3 of us ripped off rear derailleurs.  There are 100’s gone.  That isn’t an exaggeration.

Okay, the World Cup is this afternoon.  I’ve pieced my bikes back together.  I put the Eriksen ti post on that should have been there originally.  I had a Di2 rear derailleur plus a wire, which was destroyed.  Plus the dropout, which I had.  I didn’t have an 11 speed chain for some reason. Man, do you have to carry around a lot of stuff for cyclocross.  I’m going over to the venue to hopepully get a chain from Shimano.  So, my bikes should be in working order for tomorrow’s C1 race.

There are so many people here.  LIke 10’s of thousands.  The parking is so far away.  It is great.  Maybe better than Worlds in Louisville.  I think the course is going to dry up some before the races later this afternoon.  It should be good to watch.  Alright, need to go for a ride.

Here are some of the pictures that described my race last night.

This one photo might sum up the race the best.

This one photo might sum up the race the best.

Or this. Trudi went back over to the course where The seat broke off and just happened to see a small piece of the seat sticking out of the mud.

Or this. Trudi went back over to the course where The seat broke off and just happened to see a small piece of the seat sticking out of the mud.

Busted rear derailleur and extra dropout.

Busted rear derailleur and extra dropout.

The women's race start. This was the best part of the course. The fastest.

The women’s race start. This was the best part of the course. The fastest.

I put in spikes when I heard we were slogging up the hill. I knew we couldn't ride it.

I put in spikes when I heard we were slogging up the hill. I knew we couldn’t ride it.

Catherine and their dog, Jason, after her race.

Catherine and their dog, Jason, after her race.