Here’s a photo Greg Demgen sent me of him winning the 1984 Nevada City Classic. I’m the other guy. This race was the day before the start of the 1984 Olympic Trials in Spokane. The first day of the Olympic Trials was the individual time trail, so Greg, Andy Hampsten and myself decided to go the mercenary route and double up with Nevada City and the Olympic Trials. We weren’t the only ones though. Alexi Grewal (Olympic Gold Medalist-Road Race), Dale Stetina (Coor’s Classic Winner, etc.), Jeff Pierce (Stage winner Tour de France) and a bunch of others were there too. I’ll post the story of the race sometime, but the three of us won a ton of $$$. The first place medal was handmade of 24K gold and was worth nearly a grand on it’s own. Anyway, pretty cool photo.
Just got back from a fun weekend up near Des Moines. Update tomorrow.
Obviously everyone by now has heard about KU winning the NCAA National Championships. It is a big deal here in Kansas. I had to go to Lawrence to experience the moment with 40,000 of my closest friends. That is how many people they estimated were on Mass. Ave. after the game, until wee hours of the morning. Below is a little photo expose’.
OK. I know I haven’t written about the two road races up in Iowa last weekend. I will. I’ve been building Brian Jensen (actually Brian & Michelle’s dog, Jasmine) a fence for their new house, as a house-warming gift. It’s been raining, of course. It’s muddy and messy.
Anyway, a couple of days ago, Catherine Walberg brought some shoes over to get some cleats mounted. She has a million different kinds of shoes. Seems to have an issue with getting the cleat forward enough or something. I was amazed at how many different kinds of shoes she has. Specialized, Sedi, Carnac, Nike, Shimano. It was mind boggling.
She did have a point about having trouble getting the ball of her foot over her pedal spindle. The new Shimano shoes, we were putting the cleats on, will hopefully solve that problem.
I’ve ridden Shimano shoes most of my adult life. Ever since they started making them. I rode Nike shoes some back in the Schwinn days. That was mainly a $$ thing. The shoes sucked. Shimano came out with pretty great shoes as soon as they released them for production. It always amazed me a shoe company, like Nike, couldn’t make a decent cycling shoe when they were a shoe company. And, a bike equipment company could.
I have never been much of a fan of movement cleats. I don’t understand them. I never have ridden them unless mine were so worn out that they became movement cleats. I was completely stoked when the new Shimano pedals came out with the fixed red cleats. That is the leg to pedal connection every pedal manufacturer should try to attain. Enough about pedals.
A couple of us went up to Iowa last weekend for two road race. The Big Creek Road Race and Altoona Road Race. Saturday it was just Bill and I. Sunday Shad came up to join us.
Saturday the course was rolling hills and pretty windy. 80 + miles. But, the main problem for me was the burning they were doing around the course. We left Kansas because of the burning they are doing of the fields around here. But, a few of the farmers were clearing the underbrush from the fence lines or something, There was smoke on most of the sides of the course. I’d bet it didn’t even bother most of the riders, but it kills me. Completely shuts my lungs down afterwards.
Anyway, the race on Saturday went picture perfect. After 30 or so miles, Bill and I went up a hill in the sidewind and got it down to 5. This group rotated until one guy flatted. We were planning to wait, but he got the slowest wheel change ever.
Then it was down to two Kaos Nebraska guys and us. I could tell they were kind of wasted. Bill said he knew it was over when they said something like how much they hated trainers. Like, they’d been riding trainers as recently as the day before. We’d all been pulling consistently, so I felt obligated to ask them if they wanted to concede. They might not of understood, but it sounded like they wanted to race. It hardly took an attack to loose them. I’d won the last couple weekends, so it was Bill’s turn. We felt pretty good about the riding. It was a good long day. Until, one of the Nebraska guys came up and said that today had been the first ride he had done in a group this year. Not to mention, first race. They rode crazy good for that scenario.
Sunday was cold and blustery. 5 mile loop. No hills. After a lap I realized the course wasn’t hard enough to do much damage to anybody. It is kind of weird showing up at a race and being disappointed that the course or the conditions don’t allow natural selection to happen. That was going to be the case here.
The problem for us was that the hard gutter riding section was on the side with the wind from the right. That meant echeloning to the centerline. And we all know how that goes. Here’s a website ( link-Big Creek ) that probably explains the situation better than I can. I’m not too big on the centerline rule. Personally, most of the races that I do that enforce the centerline don’t need to enforce it. This one probably did because this section went up a blind hill.
Anyway, after the race during into a interval session with us attacking and everyone else chasing, I finally got off the front with Sean Walker. He was going pretty good for April and the cruddy winter Iowa has experienced. We pulled pretty evenly for the last 15 miles, but I had more juice at the end and won. He said that he was concentrating on collecting Iowa Series points. I’m not sure what that entails, but hopefully he can cash them in and get a stuffed animal or something at the end of the series. I’d go to more NRC Calender races if they had that incentive.
Bill and I spent the majority of the week building a fence. In the mud. And not riding much. There were going to be a couple hilly road races down in Tulsa, but one got flooded, so it was canceled. It ws 7pm Friday and I was wasted. But, I’d bought a Honda Elite Scooter on the internet and it was in St. Louis. I decided to drive there a pick it up. And there was a local criterium there Saturday. I thought it was on a hilly course. Wrong.
It was the same stupid course I’d done a couple years ago. Less than a mile loop. And I mean loop. Not one corner. And, of course, flat. Very unchallenging. It was cold enough that people had wood fires burning to stay warm. With the smoke blowing across the course. I almost didn’t start.
I knew it wasn’t going to be good for me. It was going to be a everyone-against-Steve race. That is fine. But, I have to fault myself for not being patient enough. I was patient for the first half of the race. Rode 30 guys or so back and never showed my face. But, the last half, I blew it. And when the attacks started going for real the last 15 minutes, I lost my composure and everything went south.
There is no place in cycling, especially when your at a local race on your own, to get rattled, frustrated, etc. Cycling is a very cool sport for the very reason that the best riders don’t always win. Sometimes the best athlete might not ever win. So, in the end, I was probably not going to win that race. I didn’t. I was 3rd. Brian Dziewa, THF and Zach Reed, Mercy-Specialized, eventually rode away individually and stayed off the front. I won the field sprint for 3rd.
The scooter is in my garage now. Another project it might take awhile to get to. The garage is becoming a scooter stable. Three, to be exact. One in perfect running order. Two that are close to being road worthy. I’ll post photos.
turned around on a training ride because of the air quality being so bad that I thought it would be detrimental to my health to continue. This burning stuff in Kansas has become a very discouraging happening. I’m not sure what the deal is. Something about the EPA not wanting the air quality in Kansas City to go over some limit, but the time frame for burning has expanded from a couple weeks to over a month. And everyone seems to be getting in on it. Anyone that has any extra grass in a ditch next to their house. Maybe they have some extra wood laying around. It should be permitted only to those that are using their land for cattle grazing. That isn’t the case. Today was horrible. We met and rode out less than 10 miles before I cried “uncle”. I still have a head ache. It is not isolated. It is everywhere. It encompasses all the surrounding counties. The air is like it would of been in England in the 1700’s when they burnt coal for heating and cooking. The only thing I can compare it to is racing around the Rose Bowl in the mid 80’s during a red smog alert. Or it also kind of feels like when I was racing in China last year. But, there you couldn’t see the smoke so much, but felt the burning in your lungs. But, this isn’t a race and I don’t have to ride in this. So I’m not gonna.
See for yourself below.