Joe Martin Bound

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I had been kind of waffling about what to do this weekend. Brian had too much work to take Thursday and Friday and I really didn’t feel like doing a triangle drive to Hillsboro – Iowa City – Topeka, so was sort at a standstill.

Then yesterday, Heath Blackgrove, out of the blue, called me and said he had an extra slot on his team for the Pro race at Joe Martin. So I emailed Bruce Dunn, the promoter of Joe Martin and made sure it was cool that I registered late. It was all good, so right now I’m driving the 6 hours to the start of the time trial at 1 pm. I’m gonna be a little stiff for the 2 mile hillclimb, but I never seem to have much of a stellar time, I’ve only broken 9 minutes a couple times, so it will be fine.

I need to do more stage racing to get to another level of form, so this is a good place to start. Heath and his guys race hard, very aggressively, I like it. When Heath is in good form, he’s very capable of winning any race he’s in.

I haven’t done Joe Martin for the past two years. 2 years ago, I fell at 47 mph, warming up for the time trial and destroyed my left shoulder. Then last year I had shoulder surgery from crashing at Cyclo-X Nationals, so couldn’t do it.

The first time I did the Joe Martin race was back in 1979. It wasn’t called the Joe Martin race then, Joe was racing it. I was a first year Elite and was 2nd to John Howard in the hillclimb. I was stoked. I’ve never won the race overall. I finished 2nd to Thurlow Rogers one year and 2nd to Jason McCarthy too, but I was racing MTB and was just using the race for training. Kind of wish I would have took it a little more seriously now.

Yesterday, Catherine came back into town for a day one stop, on the way to Florida. I rode to Lawrence with her on gravel. Not the best rest day before a 4 day stage race, but I hadn’t seen her for a while and would rather do a good ride with a friend that worry about being fresh for a race. At least that is what I’m telling myself right now.

Of course it is raining like crazy right now, before 6 am. I think it is going to be a shitty drive.

Today is only 2.5 miles uphill, so it is really a rest day, but very important for the race overall. I’m pretty light right now, but am not thinking I have enough in me to do a real time today. But, you never know until you do it.

From 2 years ago. A little racy. This is how I came back from the hospital. I wasn't too ripped up considering, other than my butt is not good also.

The gravel wasn't all that smooth along the river, but it was still great.  It was pretty warm, 20 degrees warmer than Catherine's Seattle weather, so she was a bit hot.

The gravel wasn’t all that smooth along the river, but it was still great. It was pretty warm, 20 degrees warmer than Catherine’s Seattle weather, so she was a bit hot.

Randy Cox – One Tough Dude

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Monday wasn’t the best day for our local club training ride. We got stopped for long periods at all the busy roads on the way out of town, which is twice, and nothing seemed to be flowing well. By the time we got out West, the wind was blowing pretty good, but there was still a ton of smoke in the air from grass fires. I wasn’t too into it.

Towards the end of the ride, we nearly always ramp up the speed for a few miles. We started rotating and got a pretty good double echelon going. There were only 8 of us, so it was a pretty compact group. We finally got down to just 6 guys rotating, with two sitting on. About a mile out from the stop ahead sign we sprint for, it was going pretty good, 31.8 to be exact (from Strava. The ride was redeeming itself in my mind.

Then disaster struck. Randy Cox, who’d been pulling pretty good initially, but was sitting on the back, overlapped his front wheel with Bob’s rear. I heard a screech and then the nasty sound of someone hitting the road. I was waiting for the sound of more guys crashing, but thankfully, it was only one.

We all did a U-turn and Randy was laying in the middle of the road with his legs crossed. He was a little winded, obviously, but other than that, you wouldn’t have thought much of anything happened to him. He was so cool and collected, I was pretty sure that he just had a big amount of road rash. A couple cars, and a motorcycle stopped to help, which was nice. Randy told Bob that he thought that he needed an ambulance. I asked him if he thought he could move. He replied, “Steve, I’m a pretty tough guy, I’m hurt.”

And that was an understatement. He should of just left the word pretty out of the sentence and he was really hurt.

I drove to the emergency room and the triage nurse said that they were going to take him to surgery for a broken hip. I thought, shit, that’s not good. Getting back to his room, his family was there. He was completely cognizant and mainly worried about his work schedule. He owes a drywall business and is very hands on with the bidding, etc. I guess he’d been on his cell phone and the ambulance ride to the hospital, already making arrangements for the next day’s work. Who does that?

Anyway, Bob had fallen a couple years ago and broke his hip pretty badly, so had personal experience with the issue. I told Randy about Wayne Stetina and his hip replacement. Wayne walked out of the hospital two days afer surgery and was riding within a week.

But when the doctor came to the room, he checked Randy over and said that Randy had broke his femur. Wow, a broken femur. They were going to have to go in and put a rod in, then the bad part, no weight bearing for 3 months. Plus, he had a broken collarbone. The doctor said he might as well go and fix that too.

I was so surprised. Mainly because the stoic way that Randy was handling the pain. You would have thought that he had just skinned up his knees or something. When the EMT’s pulled his cycling shoe off out on the road, he told them that he had surgery on his foot the day before for hammer toe (football) and that it might look bad. He wasn’t supposed to be riding, not sure how he was riding, but he was.

I told Randy that in the short term, the femur is much worse, workwise, than a broken hip, but in the long run, he’ll be pretty happy that his femur broke and he doesn’t have a replacement hip. He didn’t even seemed the least bit worried about the collarbone.

Anyway, man, I’m not sure I’ve been on a ride with someone hurt so badly. And I’m pretty sure I’ve never met someone as tough as Randy Cox. I didn’t know Randy too well before, but learned a lot about him from the experience, but sorry it had to be at Randy’s expense. This is obviously going to be a setback for Randy, but with his mindset, I’m sure he’ll be back spinning his legs in little circles way before summer is over.

This was pretty much the position that Randy was in when we got back to him.

This was pretty much the position that Randy was in when we got back to him.

The paramedics were having the hardest time with his shoes.

The paramedics were having the hardest time with his shoes.

They did a real good job packing him up. He didn’t hardly wince when they were moving him around. The doctor, bearer of bad news. I liked the guy. Seemed down to earth and competent. The ride was much better earlier.

Bruyneel, Mati, and Celaya all Suspended

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Under Article 2.1 of the 2009 version of the WADA Code, with the presence of aggravating circumstances. Therefore, the Panel imposes a period of ineligibility for each Respondent as follows:

(i) Mr. Johann Bruyneel: 10 years, starting from June 12, 2012 and continuing through and including June 11, 2022;

(ii) Dr. Pedro Celaya: 8 years, starting from June 12, 2012 and continuing through and including June 11, 2020; and

(iii) Mr. José Martí Martí: 8 years, starting from June 12, 2012 and continuing through and including June 11, 2020

You can read the whole reasoned decision here. I read it. Nothing much new there. The arbitrators couldn’t use testimony from before June 12, 2004, due to the statute of limitations. But, I guess they had plenty to find them guilty of doping infractions. You can read the whole reasoned decision here.

Johan responded on his blog – “Did the US Postal team really operate ‘the most sophisticated, professional and successful doping program that sport has ever seen?’ This headline-grabber has helped create a staggering industry of books and movies, but reveals only USADA’s talent for self-aggrandizement. The reality is very different. In due course, I will take the time to give a full account of events within my knowledge. In the meantime I would ask you to treat USADA’s partial and self-serving narrative of events with considerable circumspection.”

Seems to me he has “the time” just about now to give his full account of the events. But, I’d bet he would want to add to that “staggering industry” to monopolize on all his “knowledge”.

lanceandjohan Johan may be suspended from the sport, but you can’t take away his memories.

Matrix Challenge Day 2 – Normal Fun Driving Home through Texas

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Yesterday was the 2nd day of the Matrix Challenge. It was held on the same course in Garland, but they switched it up some and made the course even more technical. The longest straight was the start/finish line, which was maybe 150 meters long and other than that, it was very twisty.

Bill and I rode to the race from White Rock Lake. It was only 15 miles, which was shorter than we’d anticipated, so we got there way early. It was pretty hot when the sun came out, but clouds were moving in, so heat really wasn’t an issue.

I felt much better yesterday than I did on Saturday. It was really windy, so the race was continually breaking up. I was trying to hover near the front of the race, but like bike racing goes, sometimes got rotated back. The problem, or a by-product of a parking lot type criterium is that the field tends to be single file a lot more than with a more regular criterium. There is always a short aspect to a corner and the led rider tends to take the shortest line, so the field tends to be really strung out. The wind just added to this.

Anyway, eventually 4 guys rolled away. Stefan Rothe is never happy not hammering off the front, so he was there, of course. Bret Crosby bridged up by himself, so the break was dangerous because Michael Sheehan, from Boneshaker was already there. I knew that Heath Blackgrove wouldn’t be happy with the mix, so I assumed he’d be launching up there. But, I missed it. Stupid Steve. When I was flailing around in front of the field, Tristan Uhl came blowing by and I missed him too. That was it, 6 guys and no one left to chase. I was in a small group of 5, but we were losing ground. Eventually we were reabsorbed by the remainder of the field.

The break just hovered ahead, but their lead was secured. Bill got in a small move with 4 laps to go, but they never really got too far ahead of us. With just 1/4 lap to go, Jason Wadell jumped and I chased. We caught the back of Bill’s group right at the last corner. Jason got past a few guys, but I started at the back. So, Bill finished 11th and I finished 12th, the last two paying places. A little consolation.

I finished much worse than I felt, but that happens all the time in bike racing. The day before, I finished better than I felt, so it’s probably a wash. I am glad that I have some sort of form. I was a little worried I was in a real funk. Now I just think it is a partial slump.

We went by Sue’s mom’s house in Richardson and showered and then started the 500 mile drive back home. Within 30 minutes we were in a heavy thunderstorm with an inch of standing water on the interstate. So, we drove about 60 miles during the first 2 hours. That made us get back closer to 1am than 11pm.

I’m not sure what I’m doing this week. Brian can’t race Joe Martin, so I can’t do the Pro race there. I might do the 1/2 race or maybe go to Hillsboro or maybe even Iowa City. I heard that Hillsboro only had 18 guys preregisterd in the Pro 1/2 race there. 4 women. The field used to fill at 125. Man, our sport knows how to shoot itself in the foot continually. Why can’t they get some sort of scheduling figured out?

Okay, I’m going to try to catch up on sleep some now.

Bill was always following me around yesterday.  He did beat me by .02 seconds.  Team bragging rights.

Bill was always following me around yesterday. He did beat me by .02 seconds. Team bragging rights.

Results. Click to enlarge.

Results. Click to enlarge.

Jimmy Hoyt, czar of Richardson BikeMart.  He doesn't just sit around at the events his guys promote.  He gets down and dirty.

Jimmy Hoyt, czar of Richardson BikeMart. He doesn’t just sit around at the events his guys promote. He gets down and dirty.

We had to drive through this for the first two hours.  Lots of back up and road construction too.

We had to drive through this for the first two hours. Lots of back up and road construction too.

Trudi and Bromont aren't short of sleep today.  They slept most of the way back to Topeka.

Trudi and Bromont aren’t short of sleep today. They slept most of the way back to Topeka.

Matrix Challenge Day 2 – Easter Sunday

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I wrote a post a couple years ago about why there aren’t any bike races on Easter Sunday. Today I get to race a criterium in Garland. And today was Amstel Gold. (Man, Gilbert has that finish down.) I’m a little short of time today. I’m going to ride the 30 miles over to the race. Yesteday I only got in 7 miles of riding before the start and after a 3 hour drive and I was stale, not feeling good to about 5 laps to go, which was good.

Yesterday the race was hard. It is really pretty much a parking lot criterium. Not a typical parking lot crit, the whole course lined with cones, but a partial. And it was windy, so you tended to be hugging the edges more than was comfortable.

I’ll do a play by play tommorrow, since I’m late, but the race was pretty hard and it all split up the last 20 minutes. I can sense that it was going to explode, so I stayed near the front. Bill and I both made the front group of 12 or so, but a few more guys caught on when we started dicking around.

It came down to a field sprint of maybe 20 guys. It was a good finish for me, but I really didn’t ride it properly and didn’t have the kick at the end. I ended up 5th, a few bikes lengths back. Bret Crosby won. I gave up a little too early or maybe could have finished a place better. Whatever, I’m good with it. I really need the speed work. I am really under raced and need to get some top end, which I was lacking the first hour of the race yesterday.

We’re racing and then driving the 500 miles back home tonight. The last time I did that drive, I totalled Isuzu, so I hope to have a pretty day than that.

Okay, we’re staying down by Whiterock Lake with some old friends from Topeka. It is great. I’ll post more tomorrow.

A small group of 5 of us separated on the last small hill during the sprint.

A small group of 5 of us separated on the last small hill during the sprint.

Results.

Results.

The race was pretty strung out the whole day.

The race was pretty strung out the whole day.

These are a couple friends that has relocated to the Dallas area.  Rod Lake on the left and Mark Winkleman and his wife on the right.  It was nice catching up.  I stayed with Rod and went by Mark's house to check out his bike, and car, collect.  It deserves its own post.

These are a couple friends that has relocated to the Dallas area. Rod Lake on the left and Mark Winkleman and his wife on the right. It was nice catching up. I stayed with Rod and went by Mark’s house to check out his bike, and car, collect. It deserves its own post.


This is Charlene Lake.  She out did herself last night and this morning, foodwise.   Plus, her wine pour is more of a cascade.  I had to talk a night time walk last night.

This is Charlene Lake. She out did herself last night and this morning, foodwise. Plus, her wine pour is more of a cascade. I had to talk a night time walk last night.

Breakfast this morning.  I wanted to sleep in, but the smells were too good.

Breakfast this morning. I wanted to sleep in, but the smells were too good.

Leaving Austin – Racing in Dallas/Garland

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We’re driving up to Garland to do the Matrix Challenge this afternoon. I had a great time in Austin this past week and am glad I got to visit so long. Austin is sort of a ying yang thing for me. It has a lot of attraction, but there is the traffic. And it’s bad. Plus the heat that comes and stays pretty soon.

I don’t think I’ve raced in Garland since it really was a different town than Dallas, not just a suburb. I drove down to Garland for a Junior Olympic Developement race when I was 17. I got kicked out of the race, after I’d rode the whole day off the front by myself, for riding hard through a neutral zone of gravel. Of course, I was was already a minute ahead before Tom Boyden came up to the field and told them that the race was neutral. Hopefully this race will be better.

Trudi seems to be getting back on US time. She got up and did crossfit with Ann on Wednesday. 5:30 am exercise with kettle bells. She is past that and sleeping until 7 now. Bromont doesn’t even get out of bed when she gets up, which is very unlike him. She has another couple weeks to herself before she has to take off for the Tour of California.

I can’t believe that Joe Martin, Hillsboro Roubaix and the Iowa City Criterium are all next weekend. Man, is that a jacked schedule. I like all three races and can’t believe that someone wouldn’t take the time to look at the scheduling and figure that out. Seems like such a bad thing for the sport not being able to schedule these races on different weekends.

Just got a picture from the training ride yesterday back home. Looks like the burning is in full gear. Maybe this weekend will be perfect for it and they’ll get a lot of it done before I get back on Sunday night. I doubt it. They have extended the permits all the way into May as far as I can figure. Their thinking, just sort of horrible air for a longer period, not terrible air for a shorter period. Great.

Okay, we need to get moving, it’s 3 hours up to Garland.

Trudi didn't have her shoes or bike with her, so she just used Ann's dual suspension MTB bike for the past few days.

Trudi didn’t have her shoes or bike with her, so she just used Ann’s dual suspension MTB bike for the past few days.

Trudi brought me back a Paris-Roubaix directional sign from the race, for the garage.

Trudi brought me back a Paris-Roubaix directional sign from the race, for the garage.

Bill and I rode a new bike path out by the Driveway race, but it just stopped a few miles north.  It will be pretty great once it is finished.

Bill and I rode a new bike path out by the Driveway race, but it just stopped a few miles north. It will be pretty great once it is finished.

We got these in Dripping Springs.  Everything for $3.75.  Quite a deal.

We got these in Dripping Springs. Everything for $3.75. Quite a deal.

This is some of the best ice cream I've ever had.  I think it is seasonal.

This is some of the best ice cream I’ve ever had. I think it is seasonal.

Bromont is going to miss Ann and Lulu.  (And I know Ann, not your best photo ever.)

Bromont is going to miss Ann and Lulu. (And I know Ann, not your best photo ever.)

This is a nightly deal with Bromont.  He always hogs my side and then acts like he is asleep and won't move when I want to go to bed.

This is a nightly deal with Bromont. He always hogs my side and then acts like he is asleep and won’t move when I want to go to bed.

What I have to look forward to when I get back to Topeka.

What I have to look forward to when I get back to Topeka.