George’s Gran Fondo

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There is plenty of media attention all ready surround George’s Gran Fondo this weekend.  Lots of people commenting on Facebook about Lance’s supposed appearance, along with a bunch of their old USPS team mates.  I was going to wait until next week, after the fact,  when we all see what USADA, USAC and all current pros that are attending, decided to do, before  commenting.

But, once again, Crankpunk once again, wrote a post that mimics most of my thoughts, way more eloquently than I ever could.   He covers pretty  much  everything I am thinking.  Here is the link to his post today. 

There are so many things going on here, that it’s super hard to address it all.  Having Lance in the equation sure focuses a lot of attention on an already controversial deal.   We’ll see how it all plays out.

george'sgranfondo

 

 

Book by its Cover

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Sometimes when I’m just going around town, I’m that guy.  The guy that I’d look at and wonder what he’s up to and how he got there.  The guy that seems sort of down and out, barely scraping by.

I’m always that guy when I’m doing a construction project.  I’m wearing some pretty worn out jeans, a stained shirt and toe bare work boots.   And I’m usually covered with some drywall dust, plaster or something else that just adds to the look.

I thought of this as I was riding over to the beer ride, after working yesterday.  I was riding a 20 year old Mongoose rigid bike, that was just at the building.  It hadn’t had air in the tires for a decade, I’d bet.  I have no idea where it came from, probably garbage picked by my brother.

Anyway, I was dressed exactly as above, super dusty and all.  I was riding the couple miles, mainly through alleys.  I like to ride alleys, it gives me a glimpse into peoples real lives, the place they hide what they don’t what others to readily see.

I was that guy, riding a $20 bike in work boots, going to get a beer.  I thought how if I saw myself, I would think that I’d probably “lost” my license and had to ride a bike for transportation.

It isn’t a very good section of town and there is always lots going on in the alleys.  Mainly people working on their cars, which were nearly all at least 15 years old and beat.  They were just like me, dressed in coveralls, arms greasy, and usually smoking.  But, nearly every person I passed said hi to me.

A little more surprising was how many kids were out playing in the alleys.  I saw at least 3 groups of kids playing.  One group was playing basketball, another some game trying to catch leaves as they fell off the tree, before the hit the ground, and the last group was just hanging out, talking.  Over where I live, I hardly ever see kids playing like that.

Anyway, I felt more comfortable in the attire, the look I had, than if I would have been on my road bike, dressed in cycling clothes.  I fit in much better.  And I think that is what makes us comfortable mostly, being able to fit in.

I’ve been thinking about this for a week or so.  It started right after I had mouth surgery and I was filling a prescription at Walmart.  I could have been in one of those Walmart youtube things.  You know, the people hanging at Walmart.  Weird looking, fat people, dressed crazy.  I had a more than a mouthful of gauze  sticking out and looked beat.  Plus, I had the limp going on. I fit in just fine.j

At the building, guys have been stopping by, asking what I’m doing.  Mainly people looking for a place to live, metal scrap collector types and the odd passer-by.  Metal guys come by everyday.  I try to save a little metal for each guy.  They will take anything, no matter how little, as long as it’s metal.

A guy just came walking up the stairs a couple days ago and asked me if he could look around.  I was busy and really didn’t feel like showing him around.  He said he was interested in old buildings.  He had the look, winter coat when it was 70 out, headphones, unkept.  I told him I was sort of busy and maybe he could come back later.

He said that I must own the building.  I was surprised he said that because I had the look too.  He said that there was only one car parked and that a guy driving a Honda hybrid had to be the owner, not just a worker.  I don’t know if it was  just a lucky guess, but it got my attention.

I got to talking to him and he was super smart.  Knew a lot about everything he said.  Old construction, hybrid vehicles, birds migrating.  Really interesting.   I asked him what he was doing and he said that he’d been “donating” plasma.  He said you initially got $100 a week, but then it went to $50 a week.  $20 on Tuesday, then $30 on Thursday.

I asked him where he was going and he said a place 5 miles away.  I told him I’d be done in 15 minutes and could drive him, it was just a little out of my way.  He said that he had a friend coming in from out of town and was going to get picked up, but if they didn’t come, then he’d take me up on it.  And he walked off.

I was thinking about how I’d judged the guy, as he was walking up the stairs, as just one of those down and out guys.  He wasn’t.  For sure he had some issues and was just getting by, but he was getting by alright, good enough for him.

I was embarrassed for myself for judging him by his look.   I have that look too, sometimes, and don’t really thing much about it.  Now I will.

Selfie at Walmart.

Selfie at Walmart.

Plasma donor guy.

Plasma donor guy.

One of "my" metal collector guys.

One of “my” metal collector guys.

The bike of a street guy.

The bike of a street guy.

 

 

Cross Season

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Yesterday it set in that maybe I’m not going to be able to race cross at all this season.  I’m thinking it now because I rode to watch the Kansas State Championship race yesterday and didn’t have the smallest amount of anxiety that I wasn’t racing.  That means to me that I, even though I haven’t addressed it, my mind knows that I’m not anywhere near to the point to be able to dismount a bicycle and do a cyclocross race.

That is sort of interesting and depressing at the same time.  I have physical therapy in an hour or so, and might ask Burt if he thinks I could try to go and run a little bit and see if it works.  For sure it would be painful, but I’ve found that pain isn’t what necessarily dictates what you should be doing in recovery for injuries sometimes.

Like I said yesterday, I watched both the women’s and men’s World Cups yesterday on the internet live.  I’m not sure about allowing everyone in the top 50 in the UCI rankings to race.  13 Belgians in the race seem a little ridiculous, if we’re really saying this series is by country.  If it is just another race, then, for sure, all the best riders should be at the line.  If that was the case for the Olympics, then there would be country sweeps of the podium lots of years by one country.

So yesterday was all about cross.  I watched the best in the world race in the morning, then road my bike over to watch the best we have around here ride around on grass.  I’ve exclusively ridden back and forth to Lawrence on the Scenic River Road this past week.  Three times to be precise.  It is my favorite ride around Topeka and it is especially great during fall when the trees are turning and the fields are changing.  The farmers are just about done harvesting their crops, so it looks a little barren, but it gets rid of the big trucks, thus dust, hauling the grain away.

The race was good too.  Benn, Brian and Shad Smith were set to duke it out, but Brian had a mechanical and Shad ran out of juice towards the end.   Benn has been riding great and won, with Shad finishing 2nd.  Micah Gordon rounded out the podium.

We had a little impromptu team dinner after the race in Lawrence.  The new  guys that are racing cross for Tradewind, Ben Stover, Austin Elser and Garrick Valverde came and ate burgers and drank beer.  Nice after cyclocross handout.   I miss the after cross camaraderie more than the racing I guess.

Okay, like I said above, I have PT now and then am going to hopefully put in a new floor, plumb and build a new shower base.  Sounds a little ambitious now that I think about it.

 

 

Just heading out of town to get to the River Road.

Just heading out of town to get to the River Road.

The gravel is pretty smooth right now.  I just ride my road bike back and forth.

The gravel is pretty smooth right now. I just ride my road bike back and forth.

 

Benn leading Shad and Brian early on.

Benn leading Shad and Brian early on.

 

Eventually they all got together, but not for long.

Eventually they all got together, but not for long.

Podium, Kansas style.  Bromont is always a photo hound.

Podium, Kansas style. Bromont is always a photo hound.

Benn, Shad and Micah.

Benn, Shad and Micah.

Team dinner photo after the race.

Team dinner photo after the race.

 

 

 

Sunday Morning

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I somehow didn’t sleep much last night so am back in the state of sleep deprived.   I watched both the men and women’s World Cup cross races, so it wasn’t a complete race.  I had to go to Hola and fool the UCI channel into thinking I was watching from England.  The women’s race was in way better resolution than the men’s.  I nodded off for a few minutes and missed Katie Compton charging up from 9th to the lead.  She won handily.  Jeremy Powers finishing 9th was pretty great too for the US.  Sven dropped his chain after about half the race, when he was in 6th, then quit with a lap to go.

Yesterday, I should have done enough to get pretty tired, thus sleep, but that isn’t how it works nowadays.  I rode 60 something miles on gravel over near Lawrence to watch a cross race.  It got sort of cold on the way back, in the 40’s, and I was under dressed.  I worked over at the building for a few hours too, so I’m not sure why I didn’t sleep.

Pretty much the same day today.  Work some, ride to the cross race.  After, doing a team dinner with the guys in Lawrence.  Then maybe work a little more.

Anyway, I hope your day is a little more leisurely.

I moved a ton of snakes off the road yesterday.  Must be that time of the year.

I moved a ton of snakes off the road yesterday. Must be that time of the year.

More than 1/2 had been run over.  Sad.

More than 1/2 had been run over. Sad.

Ben and Brian finished 1st and 2nd in the cross race.  Ben has been riding pretty good and Brian hadn't raced since Leadville.  Painful.

Ben and Brian finished 1st and 2nd in the cross race. Ben has been riding pretty good and Brian hadn’t raced since Leadville. Painful.

 

Nice fall day.  This guy looked great standing by himself in the matching field.

Nice fall day. This guy looked great standing by himself in the matching field.

I had to do a little bush wacking yesterday when the road I was on just turned into a field, then worse, nothing.

I had to do a little bush wacking yesterday when the road I was on just turned into a field, then worse, nothing.

My cassette had a bunch of grass seed in it.

My cassette had a bunch of grass seed in it.

 

Fall picture of the Kansas River from the River Road.

Fall picture of the Kansas River from the River Road.

I like to take picture of train tracks at sunset.

I like to take picture of train tracks at sunset.

 

 

Weekend Already

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I didn’t post yesterday just because of lack of time.  I am putting in a new bathroom in a building I owe and stayed up until nearly 4 am on Thursday night, then had physical therapy at 8, so it was a short night.

When I start a project I tend to just do it until it is done.  That means lots and lots of hours.  This is really a small project, but it is going to take a bunch of time.

I’m hoping to ride over to Lawrence and watch the Pro 1/2 race at Joules Cross.  It’s only a couple hour ride on gravel and it is nice out.  We’ll see how the day goes.

Okay, short update.  Man, the comment section on the Thor post got a little heated there.  People can sure be mean sometimes.

This wallpaper is on the plaster that is buried under some drywall.  My mom and dad lived in this apartment after the got married.  It is strange to think that my mom could have put this wallpaper up over 50  years ago.

This wallpaper is on the plaster that is buried under some drywall. My mom and dad lived in this apartment after they got married. It is strange to think that my mom could have put this wallpaper up over 50 years ago.

There is a ton of demolition to do.

There is a ton of demolition to do.

 

The nails that hold the hardwood flooring down are square.

The nails that hold the hardwood flooring down are square.

Thor Retires and “Writes Outrageous” Book

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Thor retired and what do you know, a book is coming out.  I have no interest in either.  I wrote a post in 2010, just after he won the World Road Championships about what I thought about Thor.  It is probably just easier pasting it below.  In the book, I guess he says he didn’t know anything about drug usage in the sport before 2011.  I don’t believe that a rider can be as successful as he was and be stupid, so he must just be a liar.   There really isn’t any other option to his statements and observations.

When Lance said to Thor that he and everyone else used drugs, Thor though, I presume to himself -
“I wanted to tell him that he was wrong. That it wasn’t at all correct that everyone doped themselves. That I didn’t do it. I should have said that I myself was clean, that I never used dope and would never do it. Because I think Lance believed that I drugged myself too.”

Maybe Thor’s vocal cords just wouldn’t work at the time or maybe he’s just a shy guy.  I am really not sure what stopped him from just saying the statement above?

Anyway, I won’t read the book and don’t really have anything much else to say about it.

Here’s my post from 4 years ago -

Thor

I was pretty glad to see Thor Hushovd win the World Championships. But, now, after this statement, I’m less enthused. Condensed, the statement says that he has never seen drugs in the sport of cycling and that they wouldn’t help him anyway.

That is the statement of a very, very naive person. Or a very stupid person. Or a flat out liar. One of those three explain it. I have a hard time believing it could be one of the first two. A guy that gets the results that he does can’t be dumb or naive. I don’t know him, but I’ve heard he is a likable guy, so it is hard for me to call him a liar. I hate problems with answers that can’t be reasoned.

I’m not sure why the current World Road Race Champion would give an interview and say what he did. It is impossible to be at his level in the sport and not understand the situation with drugs. And to say that it wouldn’t help him since he is a “sprinter”. That is just idiotic. The only thing I can think is that it was taken out of context and that the writer screwed it up somehow. Maybe that kind of explains it.

Below is an interview I did with Mountain Bike Action (MBA) back in 1998. That was 12 years ago. This was before the Festina doping scandal. It was so obvious then, without the all the media attention.

You have to click on the pages to make them readable.

 

mtbaction1

 

mtbaction21