1000 Athletes Involved in Doping According to the McLaren Report

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Man, I think I just need to throw in the towel on this doping in sports thing.  I understand that people will take risks to acquire goals, but this whole thing is getting ridiculous.   I don’t think that cycling necessarily started the mass doping situation that sports are in currently, but for sure, cycling brought the status to a new level.

And the current level is insane.  The McLaren Report states that as many as 1000 Russian athletes participated in state sponsored cheating.  The depth of the cheating is crazy.

From swapping urine samples to coming up with their own steroids that are not detectable, it was very advanced.

It’s up to the UCI to investigate the cycling part of the report.  The president of the UCI, Brian Cookson has said earlier

“Whether or not a laboratory in Russia is tampered with doesn’t really have that big an impact on our sport when cyclists are competing all over the world and being tested all over the world.

“The independent processes we’ve put in place, I believe, wouldn’t allow me – even if I wanted to, which I don’t – to sweep anything under the carpet.”

That doesn’t look too good for the home team.  I guess he missed the undetectable steroids and such.  And, I have no idea what the last statement is all about.  I’m not sure why he would have even said it.

I hope this thing doesn’t just disappear with Operation Puerto did.  It has been 10 years since then and the 211 blood bags were released nearly a year ago, but as far as I know, not one case has been brought against any athlete.  That seems crazy.  Cycling has blood samples of nearly every guy that might be involved.  It wouldn’t take much to match them up.  I guess no one is still interested much.

Anyway, there are some cyclocross races on now, so I think I’ll watch and try to just forget this nasty part of sport.  Unless the sanctions get way more severe, and that might not even help, the story is just going to be getting longer.

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8 Weeks Post Crash

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Today is exactly 8 weeks since I crashed and fractured my skull.  Of course, to celebrate, I woke up with a crazy headache after sleeping less than 4 hours.  I’ve been sleeping over 7 hours for the past couple weeks, so this isn’t the norm.   The upside to this is that I’m not too dizzy this morning, which isn’t the norm either recently.

I guess I’m doing pretty well.  At least compared to what I’m reading about.  This is the first bad headache I’ve had for a “long” time, so I had sort of checked that off my symptom list.  Guess I was being premature.

My biggest issue for awhile is this vertigo I’ve had.  I’m pretty sure it is ear related.  And all the doctors that I’ve talked to thing the same. I guess I have BPPV, which is an abbreviation for Benign Paroxysmal Positional Vertigo.  It gets way worse, or better, when I do something to try to realign the otoconia, which are  inner-ear crystals.

I guess that is the biggest issue, right now.  The next problem is I have is that I can’t smell and taste anything.  That isn’t exactly true.  I didn’t have any smell or taste for a long time and now I sometimes can taste things.  Yesterday I definitely tasted some cranberries and lime.  I’m not sure if this is my tongue doing it or I’m actually getting taste back.

Let me tell you, eating isn’t nearly as enjoyable without being able to taste the food.  It is worrying, of course, but it either comes back on its own or it doesn’t.  There isn’t much doctoring to be done to fix the problem.  At least from what I’ve read and been told.  It could take up to a year.

I’ve been riding indoors most every day.  I feel so much better after I ride than before.  I don’t know if it is the extra blood flow or the endorphins or what, but almost all the symptoms, minus the smell issue, are gone when I’m done.   I usually do it a couple times a day just because of this.

All and all I’m doing okay.  It is way too slow for me, but I’m learning this is a slow process.  For sure I could be riding my bike outside now.  The balance issues I’m having aren’t bad enough to make that dangerous. I’m not sure that it would even affect riding.   But, I decided a while ago that I wasn’t going to even think about it until January 1.  I thought that was a long time, but now I’m not so sure.

Anyway, days are pretty longish now.  I’m doing physical therapy 3 times a week, which for some reason, my insurance hasn’t been paying.  It helps, the therapy.   I don’t have another neurology appointment for a couple more weeks.  I have a bunch of questions, but figured I just wait.   I’m thinking about going to another ENT doctor that specializes in BPPV.  If that was fixed, I would feel pretty “cured”.

Okay, that is the, nearly, 2 month update.  I’m going to try to not dwell on all this so much here. It isn’t that interesting, to anyone other than myself, I assume.   It is getting better.  A little slower than before, but that is how this thing goes.

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10 gram Power Meter???

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There is a company that says that they have invented a power meter that weighs 10 grams.  The company is Arofly and it says that it is going to sell, in February 2017, a power meter that is the smallest and measures power, cadence and speed.  Pretty good,  it seems.

The thing that is hard to understand is that the power meter is just a valve cover cap.  Yep, a small thing you screw to the top of you tire inner tube valve.   It is hard to grasp how that could possible measure the power that a rider is putting into their pedals, right?

I don’t get it.  But I’m not smart enough to say that it is impossible.  There are lots of inventions that didn’t seem possible initially that become reality.

According to Arofly’s website, their technology is “a patented air pressure differential technology based on the pitottube design, from the F-117 combat aircraft.”  

I have no idea what the pitot tube design is.  I’m going to look it up right after finishing this. Okay, I lied, I looked it up.  And I still don’t know what it is.  It might take a little more time.  I think it is a little complicated.

The power meter, if you pre-order, costs $129.  And, for that price, it comes with a holder for your phone.  That is very fair and, by far, the least expensive power meter on the market today.  So, it will be the smallest, lightest and cheapest.  Appealing.

Like I said above, just because it seems doubtful that this might work, doesn’t mean it won’t.  I remember when Jim Gentes walked up to me at Interbike and showed me a styrofoam prototype helmet. He asked me if I would be interested in wearing one.  I said sure, thinking to myself that there is now way that piece of styrofoam would meet the standards to qualify to be a safe helmet.

Jim made the helmet and that is when Giro helmets was founded.  Pretty incredible for 31 years ago.  Revolutionary advance.

Anyway, it will be interesting to see if this works.  I’d love to get my hands on one.  I hope to be riding outside pretty soon and would be happy to test one and give a real review.  Until then, we’ll just hope.

It's the little valve cap below the boxes.

It’s the little woven valve cap below the boxes.

Shipping Stuff is Fickle

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One thing that has really changed in my lifetime is the cost and speediness of shipping stuff.  And I don’t really understand it very well.

I remember one of the first times I was in Europe, I sent a lot of letters to friends and family.  My grandmother got the letter more than a month after I was home.  I shipped a box of extra stuff home from an Italian post office.  It took something like 3 months.

Then a couple years ago, I bought some VIttoria tubular tires from eBay.   They were from Italy. I emailed the seller and he said it would be $50 to ship them to me.  There were 25 tires and they were super cheap, so I figured $2 a tire was okay.  That was on a Monday, late.  Wednesday morning there was a box sitting on my front porch with the tires.   The tires got there nearly faster than I could have gotten home.

Now, if you buy a bike part from one of those British bike shops, the shipping is free and the stuff gets to your house super fast, like less than a week.  I have no idea how much it would cost me to ship a box to England, but I’d think it would seem like a lot.  And they include free shipping on bike parts that are less than 50% the cost here in the US.  Strange.

Getting you bike around is crazy now too.  For the first 15 years I raced, bike flew free, just counted as luggage.  Then they went up to $25.  Now, it is nuts.  Some airlines charge $200 each way.  I try to fly Southwest as often as possible because it is “only” $75 each way.  That, and that you can cancel your flight and still have use of the money you paid to fly later.

I’d heard a ton of good things about BikeFlights.  I just used it a couple days ago, but not for a bike.  I shipped a box of stuff to LA.  It was super reasonable and really easy to navigate.   I think a bike usually costs less than $40, at least that is what I’ve heard.  Pretty good deal if you’re flying on one of those airlines that make you bend over if you happen to be travelling with a bike.  They use FedEx.

So, stuff costs a lot to ship around the country.  I say that, but online shopping is at an all time record.  Two day shipping with Amazon is “free” if you belong to Prime.  But, Amazon Prime costs $99 a year,  so you have to add that in.

It seems like businesses and people that ship a ton get a better deal than us that just take our stuff to UPS or the post office.  I remember Keith Walberg used to be able to ship a bike from where he worked for about 1/2 the price than what it would cost me to take it directly to UPS.

What got me thinking about this is yesterday I received a ton of boxes from Amazon.  I’d ordered some Nite Ize dog lights and they were back ordered or something.  They were on sale for $1.56 when they normally are $5-8.  Yesterday, something like 8 boxes showed up. Each one, other than one, had one light in it.  These lights are miniature and weigh nothing. I didn’t get it.  They all came from the same place and all were shipped at the same time.  It had to have cost more for the boxes and shipping than it did for the lights.

And the batteries for the lights.  I can order them on eBay from China for $5 for 100 when they cost $3.95 each here.  That includes shipping, which is sometimes pretty quick.  I don’t understand how they can even ship them here for that price?

Maybe I just need to learn more about the cost to ship packages.  I use USPS, UPS and Fed Ex. Like I said above, BikeFlights ships all size packages.  RIght now, I might just use them a few more times and compare costs.

Each box had one light ,except one, with 6. Weird.

Each box had one light ,except one, with 6. Weird.

 A pile of Nite Ize lights. The pink ones were the cheapest, but they really aren't that pink. Tucker can somehow chew them off his collar when he is bored. He goes through a lot of them if I am forgetful and don't take them off after he walks.

A pile of Nite Ize lights. The pink ones were the cheapest, but they really aren’t that pink. Tucker can somehow chew them off his collar when he is bored. He goes through a lot of them if I am forgetful and don’t take them off after he walks.

 

 

 

Racing Dehydrated/Lighter

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I am finally reading my emails and got one last night from my friend, Jimmy Mac, that had a link to a Cyclingnews article.  The article was on “functional dehydration” relating to Chris Froome’s ability to climb faster at the Tour de France.  Jimmy Mac said I did an interview with him at Mountain Bike Action, over 10 years ago, with me saying the same thing.  I don’t remember that interview, but I’ve always had that view.

I think it is a personal thing how much water you need to consume while riding, or racing. Some guys need to drink constantly, others hardly at all.   I’ve read a bunch of articles stating how quickly an athlete’s performance declines with a small amount of dehydration.  I don’t have that problem.

Here is my example.  I raced the Pro Road Championships in Philadelphia multiple times.   The race was always in June and many times the temperature and humidity were close to awful.

One year, we were staying at a nice hotel, pretty much on the course.  The hotel had a scale in the bathroom.  I weighed myself right before I got dressed to ride to the start.  The race was hot, in the lower 90’s, with the humidity close to matching.  I took a bottle nearly time I went by the feed zone, but that was over 10 miles I think.

As usual, the race got faster at the end and I was feeling better and better.  There was a big split on the Manayunk Wall, which I made easily.  The finish laps were faster than any other time of the race, and I was riding faster, I felt better.  I don’t remember how I finished, but good.  I probably drank a beer and then rode back to the hotel.

When I got to the hotel, I striped down to shower and saw the scale.  I weighed myself and was 13 lbs. lighter than when I left.  That surprised me.  That was after drinking close to 15 bottles and a beer the previous 7 hours.  I was riding much better than last hour of a 6 hour race, having lost over 13 lbs, mainly through water loss.  That would have been close to a gallon and a half of water, by weight.

I started thinking about this for MTB racing.  I had heard that a few guys, had been taking diuretics before the races, which was completely illegal.  That they were shedding 8 lbs or so before the start.  We were talking about it and most the guys thought that it would be insane to be that dehydrated that much before a race.   I think that is wrong.  Here is a link to a abstract that says 3% weight loss through dehydration doesn’t affect performance.

I disagreed.  We’d done a study with the USOC, Olympic Training Center, getting weighed and hematocrit tested, before and after the races.  In a 2 1/2 race, most the guys lost somewhere around 6 pounds, which was on par with what I lost in Philadelphia, considering the time. Here’s a link to an abstract that says that being 3% light, through dehydration, doesn’t affect performance.

If I would have started the race 6 pounds lighter, because of dehydration, then I would have lost the 6 pounds and been close to the weight I finished Pro Nationals.  And I had ridden good at that weight, that dehydrated, on the road.

If I was climbing on a MTB that light, over 10 lbs., it is nearly a chainring difference, half the weight of my bike.  I’ve done this through dieting, but it only works for one race.  I have tried staying that light and always got sick after a couple weeks.

I typically don’t drink much training.  I think this season, early, I didn’t touch a water bottle the first couple months I rode.  Kansas isn’t that hot, but can be pretty hot sometimes.  I’ve ridden, many times, where I drink as much water as I can on a ride.  I fill up my bottles a couple times on a 5 hour ride.  Usually stopping and buying something ice cold about 1/2 way in.  Even so, I can come back 8-12 pounds lighter after a 5-6 hour ride.  (I’m really don’t sweat that much, like I don’t drip sweat all the time.) That is with consuming as much liquid I can find.  (I don’t use a Camelback.)

Anyway,  a Sky doctor saying that Froome being 2 kgs. lighter, through water loss, would aid in his ability to climb, wouldn’t surprise me at all.

I've done a fair amount of testing, most times, sweating a ton. My wattage historically has stayed constant.

I’ve done a fair amount of testing, most times, sweating a ton. My wattage historically has stayed constant.

 

Phil Gaimon’s Strava KOM Cleansing

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I saw a few days ago, on multiple internet sites, articles about Phil Gaimon riding around LA and taking Strava KOM’s from Nick Brandt-Sorenson, aka, Thorfinn-Sassquatch.   Nick had a doping sanction issue and has a time-out from racing for the rest of his life.  That didn’t stop Nick from setting Strava KOM’s all over Los Angeles.

So Phil, who lives in the area, decided to allocate a month of his soon-to-be retirement and take most, if not all of Thorfinn’s records.  I got a lot of emails, and comments here, about this.  I was going to post on it when I first saw it last week, but didn’t have the energy.  Maybe still don’t.

Although, I think it was my original idea, which was a April Fools post this year, I applaud Phil for doing this.  I wish I hadn’t been out of commission for the full month of November and I would have ridden a few of those climbs with Phil.  I was heading out to LA to ride the Mike Nosco Memorial Ride in early November and was hoping to do Phil’s Grand Fondo a couple days later. (He has lots of cookies for rest stops.)  Maybe he’ll leave a couple for the rest of us.

Phil only went up Latigo around 9 minutes faster than me.  I’ve only ridden it a few times, and have always stopped before the top to eat some watermelon, so he probably only beat me by 4 minutes or so.   I think I need a shorter, steeper climb anyway.

Here is the link to Cyclingtips for Phil’s own description of his quest.  It isn’t a bad way to get the lay of the land out in LA, huh?

Phil and my buddy, Brad Huff, showing off the guns.

Phil and my buddy, Brad Huff, showing off the guns.

 

 

Lawrence Christmas Horse Parade

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Yesterday I went over to Lawrence and watched the annual Christmas Parade.  I normally ride the 30 miles over there, but that wasn’t an option this year, but it was still super fun.  I think they have over 120 different groups of horses that come to downtown to celebrate the holidays.  Anyway, here are some photos from yesterday.

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Cleaning up the poop at the end.

Cleaning up the poop at the end.