Heading Home

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Today I’m finally heading back to Kansas for a bit.  I’ve been out in Colorado for a month and a half and it is very easy to get used to it.  It has been super weather and I’ve gotten to ride with tons of friends.  But, reality calls.  Trudi has to head back to work early next week.  She is driving a BMC team car with me back to Topeka this morning, which isn’t optimal.  I don’t think she has caught up on sleep yet from the last month.

It was nice hanging in Steamboat Springs for a few days.   I could have stayed there a while.   Kent Eriksen has so many projects going on that it might be a never ending series of endeavors, which is fine.  It is always nice to have a project to look forward to.

Kent is an amazing athlete.  He took me on a pretty nice ride, right from his house, and it is unbelievable how strong he is, considering he is riding, maybe twice a week, but probably closer to once.  Plus the endless hours he puts in on his feet fabricating frames.

I have a dual suspension frame, I just need to get the parts now.  It should be fine. I probably won’t ride it at Chequamegon, but there are lots of long, technical racers in the midwest that it should be perfect for.  Maybe it will just become my “standard” MTB.  I don’t really know.

I’m looking forward to riding some in Kansas.  It is supposed to be pretty hot there, in the 90’s, all week.  I have only had a couple hot days the last month.  Kind of miss it.  Summer doesn’t seem right if I miss all the hot weather.

Like I posted last week, I am going to head to St. Louis for Labor Day.  There are 4 criteriums there and my jump is non-existent.  Maybe that will “fix” the problem.  Or at least get me on program to try to get some snap.  I really haven’t had a jump since I broke my hip last year.  Cyclo-cross mandates accelerations, so it is about time I do something about it.

Okay, I’d better get moving.  There is a 6 o’clock ride in Topeka tonight.  I’d like to get back in time for that.

Kent being all retro with an Etto helmet.  He left his helmet at the shop, so went down to his basement and this is what he came up with.

Kent being all retro with an Etto helmet. He left his helmet at the shop, so went down to his basement and this is what he came up with.

The trail around Kent's house, up by the hotsprings in Steamboat, is all decomposed granite.  It's pretty loose and tricky.

The trail around Kent’s house, up by the hotsprings in Steamboat, is all decomposed granite. It’s pretty loose and tricky.

We stopped and picked wild raspberries along the trail.

We stopped and picked wild raspberries along the trail.

These guys, Barnum and Bailey, were waiting for us when we got back from riding.

These guys, Barnum and Bailey, were waiting for us when we got back from riding.

Kent just kept the retro look going.

Kent just kept the retro look going.

After a couple beers, I started helping with a small retaining wall.

After a couple beers, I started helping with a small retaining wall.

The drive back to I-70 was pretty nice on 131.  I skipped going through Kremmling because of construction.

The drive back to I-70 was pretty nice on 131. I skipped going through Kremmling because of construction.

Meeting with Derek Bouchard-Hall – CEO of USAC

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Last week during the Pro Challenge, in Colorado, I got a personal invitation from Derek Bouchard-Hall, newly appointed CEO and President of USAC, to meet up and talk for a while. It was a nice idea and I was looking forward to it.

It took a little back and forth, but we finally got together in Breckenridge, before the finish of stage 4 on Thursday.

I hadn’t seen Derek in a long time.  I can’t remember the last time, actually.  I raced against him for a few years, but he was doing a lot of stuff not on my list, track, etc. and I didn’t run into him that often.

I asked him what he had been up to and he said he had spent the last 9 years in England.  That he was running Wiggle, an online cycling store that does amazing business overseas.  Plus, he has a MBA.  Seems like a good choice for the job.

So, he was just doing a fact finding trip.  I was more interested listening to him talk, trying to get a read on his vision.  First of all, he is a super smart guy.  So he understands, at least at this point in his short leadership position, some or maybe even, most of the problems he has to address.

He and I agreed on lots.  He is adamantly against drug use and thinks it needs to seriously be addressed.  He understands that USAC has been negligent in the past, for a lot of reasons, and hopes to regain the trust of all its members.

Velonews did an article about meeting up with him last week.  They cover most of his agenda much better than me.  They must of had a recorder, I was just chatting.  Here is a link.

He didn’t talk to me so much about anti-doping, which the title of the Velonews article is.  He stated his position and we moved on.

In the Velonews article, he says – “We are network of volunteers that put on races, local associations, race promoters, officials, and I’ve just been surprised by how complex the ecosystem really is,” he said. “There are so many different groups, different parties, different entities, all involved in the execution of our sport. Ours is not a cohesive sport that is centrally run, there are a lot of different groups. It’s been surprising to me how many individuals and parties are involved. It’s a complex challenge.”

I thought that was a correct statement that I’d never considered.

Anyway, he wanted my input on MTB racing, realizing that the racing scene, here in the US, has some serious problems.    I told him that I really hadn’t done enough elite racing to know how to fix the problems, but recognized them.  I don’t think that UCI MTB racing works here in the United States.  Short races with pits doesn’t attract many riders and virtually no spectators.

Anyway, Derek seems to be a super reasonable guy with super good intentions.  He said he took the job because he said it was important and that he thought that he could make a difference.

From my short meeting with him, I agree, if he addresses half of what we talked about, he will make a positive difference for our sport.  I think we should all give him a chance to do just that.

Derek Bouchard-Hall at Breckenridge.

Derek Bouchard-Hall in Breckenridge.

I ran into Dave Chauner in the VIP tent.  Dave has started a new track endeavor to  bring track racing to the masses.

I ran into Dave Chauner in the VIP tent. Dave has started a new track endeavor to bring track racing to the masses.  He is always doing innovative things.  Dave is one of those guys that Derek was talking about, an individual that contributes a ton to our sport, but is doing it on his own terms.

 

Steamboat Bound for awhile

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We got to Steamboat Springs a little after noon, just in time for lunch.  Then we hung for a while, then went for a super road ride.  Hung a little more, then dinner on the river.  Pretty great day.

Vincent got his car and decided to come back through Steamboat on his way back, so he drove Hwy 40 from Salt Lake to Steamboat Springs and got here late last night.  He says that his new Honda Pilot steers itself on the highway for over 30 seconds without touching the steering wheel.  It tells you after a while that you should steer, but the car keeps steering itself.  Weird.

I’m going to help Kent do some construction stuff at his house this morning and then hopefully talk him into doing a MTB ride.  Vincent only has his mountain bike with him, so that is the bike of choice.

I’m getting a new dual suspension frame from Kent.  Brad already assembled it ( and designed it), so it’s all ready to assemble.  It should be great for rocky midwest trails.

Okay, this day is going to be busy, so I might as well get it started.

My new dual suspension frame.

My new dual suspension frame.


Brad Bingham, who designed the dual suspension bike, doing his thing, welding a tandem frame. The guy is an artist.

Brad Bingham, who designed the dual suspension bike, doing his thing, welding a tandem frame. The guy is an artist.


Kent holding the tacked tandem frame.

Kent holding the tacked tandem frame.


Kent sitting in Brad's Airstream. We stopped at the end of the ride to check it out. It is beautiful inside.

Kent sitting in Brad’s Airstream. We stopped at the end of the ride to check it out. It is beautiful inside.


Here's an old picture of my Mt. Oread team from when I first started racing. A couple of the guys, Jim May and Cal Melick were hit by cars while riding and killed. Jim when I was younger and Cal last year. Most the other guys in the photo I still know.

Here’s an old picture of my Mt. Oread team from when I first started racing. A couple of the guys, Jim May and Cal Melick were hit by cars, while riding, and killed. Jim when I was younger and Cal last year. Most the other guys in the photo I still know.


  Kent explaining his vision of the project.  

 

 

Still on the Move

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It is funny, even when I’m not racing it feels funny when the race is over.  There is always so much stuff to do after a stage race that it just extends the race.  That was the case yesterday with Trudi.   She had to take some stuff over to Pearl Izumi and got stuck in traffic.  Then she had to wash all the dirty towels and the podium jerseys, which were soaked in Champagne and beer.  By the time she was done, it was late and we only made it up to Silverthorne, not to our destination, which is Steamboat Springs.

So, this morning, I washed all my dirty cycling clothing, filled the hummingbird feeders, and are ready to head over to Steamboat.  I know Kent and Katie are slammed with work, so it is nice that they are up for us coming over.  Trudi left the BMC car she is driving down in Arvada, so we consolidated.

Yesterday for me was simple.  I just got on my bike and rode.  Vincent hasn’t been feeling all that great riding, so he wanted to go challenge himself again and ride Lookout Mountain a couple times.  I wasn’t doing that, so Sue and I rode a scenic loop of the front range.  It was great, ended up at Red Rocks, where they were doing sound checks for an Incubus concert last night.  We ended up meeting Trudi in Golden for a late lunch, early dinner, then rode back to Vincent’s house.  Vincent had already packed up and left, driving to Salt Lake City to pick up a new Honda Pilot for his wife, Lisa.

Anyway, I’m going to be in Colorado a couple more days and then finally make it back to Kansas for a few days.  I’m planning on racing over Labor Day in St. Louis.  I haven’t really looked for a race this weekend.  I need more racing to get some high end form.  Right now I feel like I’m a diesel engine type guy.  That doesn’t thrill me much at all.

Okay, it is still smokey up here in the mountains.  I wonder when this is going to clear?  Seems like it needs a wind change or something to blow it out.  I haven’t really been feeling it too badly in my lungs, not like Kansas in the spring, but it doesn’t look very good.

I ran into an old friend, Daryl Price, in Golden yesterday.  He moved to Evergreeen.  It was nice catching up some.

I ran into an old friend, Daryl Price, in Golden yesterday. He moved to Evergreeen. It was nice catching up some.

Sue riding up to Red Rocks.

Sue riding up to Red Rocks.

The Red Rocks amphitheater.

The Red Rocks amphitheater.

Lisa coming back from a walk with Jack, the puppy Nick, and Petra in the stroller.

Lisa coming back from a walk with Jack, the puppy Nick, and Petra in the stroller.

This rabbit hangs out next to Vincent's house.  He is nearly tame, until Jack comes out, then he runs.

This rabbit hangs out next to Vincent’s house. He is nearly tame, until Jack comes out, then he runs.

 

 

Crazy Monday

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Wow, how about the stock market this morning.  Makes you think it is all fake money and people are manipulating the average persons life’s saving for their own benefit.  I understand the importance of China to our economy, but question the extreme value fluctuations of US stocks in relation to worry about the future of perceived problems.

Then Nibali getting booted out of the Tour of Spain.  I officially don’t like that guy at all, not that I was any fan before.  He said, “What happened in the Vuelta happens in every race.”   No wonder he wins races.  Then he apologizes and says getting kicked out was too severe.   That guys has lost his mind.  In more than one way.  First, doesn’t he realize that he’s most likely being “filmed” at all times.  2nd, the dude is the current Italian National Champion, plus past Tour de France winner, and that guy doesn’t “get to” hold onto cars to get back up to the front.  Plus, the nerve of him, riding away from a huge group.  Notice how the group just sits up.  I would love to hear what was said when Nibali just disappeared up the road holding on car.  I bet most of them probably were thinking it was all hunky-dory and that the penalty was too severe.  Crazy. Watch the video below and make your own decision.

Yesterday was good.  We rode over to the start to see Trudi and just enjoy the whole race start.  We tried to ride up Lookout Mtn. to watch the field go by, but 30 minutes before the start the authorities were turning spectators back.  That seemed really way too early.  People were really bummed.  I didn’t really care, but races really need to be fan friendly or the fans will cease to come.  That isn’t good.

Then we rode down to Denver and caught the last lap of the circuit.  The finish was good.  We didn’t hang there because there was too much commotion and we wanted to ride.  I went by to visit Trudi at the BMC team dinner/celebration party, but didn’t hang because there were way too many people and, once again, too much commotion.

Trudi is working this morning and might not be done to later this afternoon.  I am going to drive back up to Steamboat Springs to visit the Eriksens for a day or two.  Vincent is driving to Salt Lake City to get a new car and trade in his old one, so it seemed like a good time.   Trudi usually sleeps the next two days anyways, so she might as well be doing that in a beautiful place up in the Aspen trees.

I might ride over to Boulder this morning to check it out.  I was planning on getting breakfast there, but Vincent made his egg special and I can’t turn that down.

Okay, it is a little less smokey here, but it is still visible.  It is very hard to believe all this smoke is from the West coast.  Must be a ton of fires going on.

Joseph was in the early break heading up Lookout.  He is the last guy in line.

Joseph was in the early break heading up Lookout. He is the last guy in line.

Trudi working yesterday morning.

Trudi working yesterday morning.

Here is Huge Walton and Eric Heiden, old friends for a long time.

Here is Huge Walton and Eric Heiden, old friends for a long time.

BMC guys before the race taking a photo.

BMC guys before the race taking a photo.

 

Last Ride in Summit County for Awhile

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Yesterday we did a pretty great ride.  It was the Copper Triangle except instead going down to Minturn and up through Vail to Vail Pass, we rode to Leadville, then Tennessee Pass and when we got down to Red Cliff, we turned and rode gravel up to Shrine Pass, which is just above Vail Pass.  It is shorter than the Copper Triangle by 10 miles, but climbing Shrine Pass from Red Cliff is super scenic and pretty challenging sometimes, especially on road bikes.

In Leadville, I didn’t realize that it was the Leadville 100 Trail Run.  I got sort of excited about seeing the hoopla, but Leadville seemed completely dead.  At least dead compared to the Leadville MTB race last weekend.  It was 9 1/2 hours into the race, so maybe everyone, the support, was out on the course somewhere looking after their people.  I don’t know, but I really didn’t see that many athletic-type people strolling around.

I’m heading down to Arvada to watch the last bit of the Pro Challenge.  The race is less than 5 miles from Vincent’s house, so it is easily accessible.   The women’s race starts in an hour and I’m hoping to catch the tail end of it.

Brian Jensen finished 2nd in the “Gravel World Championships” yesterday.  It was 150 miles and he said fell apart with 7 miles to go.  Neil Shirley won the race.  Brian said the heat, over 90, killed him.  He’d been staying in Colorado a month, so I’m sure it felt extreme.

Okay, here are some photos from yesterday.  I really find the mountain houses interesting, especially in the small towns.

Leadville run finish line yesterday.  Pretty barren.

Leadville run finish line yesterday. Pretty barren.

This house looked super Swiss.  It is in Red Cliff.

This house looked super Swiss. It is in Red Cliff.

A couple more houses in Red Cliff, right where the gravel starts.

A couple more houses in Red Cliff, right where the gravel starts.

Same canyon in Red Cliff.

Same canyon in Red Cliff.

Leadville house.  Some of the houses in Leadville look barely habitable.  I think it is a hard life there in the winter.

Leadville house. Some of the houses in Leadville look barely habitable. I think it is a hard life there in the winter.

 

Finally the Weekend

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The title of this post is sort of a joke because it really seems like since last weekend, which was Leadville (and seems like a month ago), it has been a weekend the whole time.  Nothing like being able to wake up in the mountains every morning and riding your bike, then make your way over to watch the end of a professional bike race.

Yesterday we rode over  Vail Pass and back, then made our way over to Breckenridge to watch some of the time trial.  Like I said yesterday, I’m not so big on watching time trials, but it was alright.  The spectators are so excited that it rubs off some.

There are only two days of the Pro Challenge left.  I’m skipping the race today and riding the Copper Triangle one last time.  I’ve been feeling sort of off this whole week, so have just been toddling around pretty much, even though it feels harder than that.  I finally got some tonic water yesterday, but it is probably too late to do anything about the muscle damage of the cramping I experienced in Leadville.  Man, does that stuff taste bad.  I doubt that it has enough quinine in it to really do much good.  I don’t think they actually sell quinine here in the US.  I think it might be easy to overdose on or something like that.

Brian Jensen obviously isn’t too affected by Leadville because he is racing a 150 mile gravel road race today, The Gravel World Championship.  It isn’t sanctioned of course, but that is the beauty of it.  I wish him luck.  I think I’ll go and look to see what the weather is there today.

Anyway, fall-ish weekends are the best and it’s nearly that time.  Enjoy.

We saw this guys, and friends, on the Copper side of Vail Pass.

We saw this guy, and friends, on the Copper side of Vail Pass.

And then again in the parking lot below on the way back down.

And then again in the parking lot below on the way back down.

There was a whole herd.

There was a whole herd.

Here is Davide Formolo, Garmin, who fell on the 2nd to last corner in the time trial.  He is pretty ripped up and his rear disc is flat.

Here is Davide Formolo, Garmin, who fell on the 2nd to last corner in the time trial. He is pretty ripped up and his rear disc is flat.

And Rohan Dennis in the last corner.  He smeared everyone.

And Rohan Dennis in the last corner. He smeared everyone.

Trudi waiting for her guys after the finish line.

Trudi waiting for her guys after the finish line.

The bouquets piling up at the BMC compound.  Since Rohan is winning just about every category, he receives a ton of flower everyday.

The bouquets piling up at the BMC compound. Since Rohan is winning just about every category, he receives a ton of flower everyday.

I'm a little worried about the hummingbirds when I leave.  They eat nearly a whole feeder a day now.

I’m a little worried about the hummingbirds when I leave. They eat nearly a whole feeder a day now.