Monthly Archives: July 2009

One upside to crashing-New Frame

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SInce I sheared my fork off and cracked my frame last Friday, I obviously needed a new frame. I called Scott Daubert at Trek and within 10 minutes it was all set. I drove the hour from where I’m staying in Delavan to Waterloo, home of Trek. I’ll post more about the visit later, but I have to get to the bike first. Scott somehow got me the new 2010 Madone. Not too many of these around. Plus, two experts to put it together in about 20 minutes. I only got to ride it a couple hours yesterday, but that was enough. Scott told me I’d notice a bigger difference than the last upgrade they did 3 years ago. I was skeptical. But, way off. This frame is so, so stiff. In a great way. It is the biggest ride difference I’ve ever experienced riding a new bike. And I’ve ridden a million. Plus, they took somewhere close to 200 grams off the weight. It is silly light. And it goes forward fast. Okay. Below are the photos.

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Alot of the stiffness is in the super wide bottom bracket shell.

Alot of the stiffness is in the super wide bottom bracket shell.

All internal cable routing.   Mountings for new Shimano Di2 and most wireless computers.

All internal cable routing. Mountings for new Shimano Di2 and most wireless computers.

Mid-Week Musings

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I’ve spent a fair amount of the past three days at the hospital. For about 30 minutes of treatment it took hours upon hours. Long story short, from the crash in Kenosha, I have a 3rd degree separation of my right shoulder and a couple cracked ribs. I’ve experienced both before. The ribs are way more painful. My shoulder doesn’t seem to be working that much worse than it did before, other than it hurts a lot to move it. Supposedly the shoulder should be operated on to fix. I’ll give it some time. Below is the only way I can move around the urgent care/emergency room. The bump on my right shoulder wasn’t there previously. The guy pushing me around rides a Gary Fisher MTB bike, but is thinking of trading it in on a road bike. It seems so weird to think that someone would actually trade in a bike. It turned out he was also the X-ray technician. Maybe the only efficiency at the place.

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There is a ton of weird stuff in this world. Seems like somebody has come up with about anything that could be thought up. And then there is a never ending supply of new weird stuff.

Below is a photo from the Superweek race expo. It is a Go Girl booth. It is a devise that allows women to pee standing up (or sitting down in a car). Their catch phrase is “don’t take life sitting down”.
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Here is a photo of vending machine that sells live bait. It has minnows, night crawlers, and even leeches. I’ve seen them all over Wisconsin. Maybe there should be a vending machine pet store that sells mice, guppies and other small pets. It kind of seems wrong.

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Below is a photo of a machine that cruises around Lake Delavan all summer to skim algae off the top. They have 4 of these machines that work full time. I guess there is so much algae because of the fertilizer runoff from the surrounding fields. I wonder where these machines are made and how many they sell a year?

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Chicago Criterium- NRC

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Still up in Wisconsin. After Friday night’s disaster, I didn’t race Saturday at Great Downer’s at Superweek. Friday, I fell on the next to last lap. I haven’t fallen at Superweek in a really, really long time. I think the last time was when I was a young junior in 1975. Wow. I could be wrong. It was just a normal crash. James Stemper, Team Geargrinder, got crossed up with Victor Ayala, Kahala La-Grange. When James fell I think his bars got lodged into my front wheel. I flipped over and landed on the curb chest first. The problem was that there was a tree about a meter away. I hit the tree with my shoulder going real fast. Anyway, I spent the majority of the night at the emergency room. With no treatment. I won’t rant here about that, but needless to say, our medical system needs some attention.

So, I sat out the Great Downer’s race on Saturday. I had arranged a bike with Jose from SRAM for the Sunday NRC race in Chicago. Watching Great Downer’s was good. I so very rarely watch a race that it seems nearly as exciting for me as racing. It seems so fast.

I woke up Sunday worse than the day before. I thought about not even bringing my kit down to the race. But, threw it in the van and drove down to Chicago. The criterium is at an awesome venue. Michigan Avenue by Grant Park. Crazy wonderful backdrop. The traffic to get to the race was at a standstill because of the blocked off roads. The traffic “cops” were valueless. I eventually got there.

I went over to SRAM and got a bike. It fit alright. A little long, but beggers can’t be choosers. I rode one lap, 1.1 miles and called it a warm up. I felt shitty. My shoulder is not good and I have a rib issue. For some reason, they called me to the line. It didn’t really matter. The course is wide open with plenty of room to move up. It surprised me that the race wasn’t hard. Last year, it was hard. I think maybe the wind on the start stretch neutralized the speeds. I’m not sure. Anyway, I just sat 40 guys back the whole race. There were nearly 200 starters. My only problem was the roads aren’t that great. And every crack bothered my ribs. And it got worse and worse. I never came close to getting winded once. Too much mass breaking the wind. Kelley Benefits was the only team with a full squad. They took control from 8 laps out. As it turned out, way too early.

With one to go, I was in good position. That is when I had bad luck. I hit a manhole cover right after the start line. It had a couple inch drop because of asphalt buildup. My bars dropped about 3 inches. My brakes levers were almost unusable. I tried to yank the bars back up, but they wouldn’t budge. In the mean time, I lost 30 places, at least. Finally, I decided just to go with it. I jumped on the 2nd side up the gutter. As it happened, Brad Huff jumped at the same time. He got around the front of the what remained of the lead out and kept going. I wasn’t on him, so just slotted in a few guys back. I stayed there until the next to last corner. Then my 2nd piece of bad luck. It got pretty jammed in that corner and I had to “tap” my brakes. But, since my bars had went down, the cables had tightened and I had no modulation. I ended up grabbing a bunch of brake and lost 10 places in a blink. I was sunk. I passed 4 or 5 guys the last 300 meters and ended up 14th. Brad won by himself. There wasn’t a team left to control the front. Hilton Clark was 2nd and Karl Menzies was 3rd. Sprints have a lot of dynamics, but they usually don’t go too well when a lot of problems occur. That was the case here. The money was good all the way down, so I can’t complain. The result wasn’t what was desired for the amount of pain I went through to get to the end. Bike racing.

Anyway, Monday now. Going back to the Urgent Care Clinic. Then I’m going to try to round up a new frame. And then play with my dog.

Kelly Benefits doing the leadout right at Great Downer's.

Kelly Benefits doing the leadout right at Great Downer's.


Borrowed SRAM bike and forkless Trek.

Borrowed SRAM bike and forkless Trek.

Tumbler's at the Expo.  Unbelievable!

Tumbler's at the Expo. Unbelievable!

Buckingham Fountain.  One of my favorite fountains in the world.

Buckingham Fountain. One of my favorite fountains in the world.

Haleakala National Park Climb – Maui, Hawaii 10023 ft. vertical

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Today was awesome. I am rarely stunned from scenery, but this is one of those rare cases. I spend most of the day on my bike, climbing the Haleakala Volcano. The top 4000 ft. is a National Park. The lower sections is privately held, with homes, sugar cane fields, etc. I met Donnie Arnoult and his crew at Maui Cyclery. They were leading a private tour up the climb. He supplies the bikes, the sag vehicle (only up to the park entrance at 6500 ft.) and anything else that someone might need to get up to the top of this crazy long climb. 36 miles. 10023 feet elevation change. That works out to be about 5.3 % grade the whole way. But, some of it is nearly flat, so that means there are some pretty steep pitches.

Ryder Hesjedal has the unofficial/unofficial record taken from Jonathan Vaughters of 2:32:51. Here’s a link to the garmin site with the statistics.

Anyway, the day had to be among the top ten rides I’ve ever done. There is really only up to go. Up and up. For a long time. It is amazing the different weather patterns and temperatures that occur. I was told at the start to expect about a 3 degree drop in temperature every 1000ft. I knew that in the back of my head, but didn’t really expect it for some reason. Donnie has done the climb over 300 times. I figure that is nearly 600 miles vertical. 600 miles up. That is into outer space. I wonder who on the planet has the record for the most lifetime, vertical climbing on a bike and how much?

It got pretty breezy the last hour or so. We’d shelled everyone else. I wasn’t sure that was the best thing for a ride leader to be doing, but he seemed okay with it. And as it turned out, it was fine.

Anyway, it was dry at the top. Out of the 300 times Donnie has been to the top, he said the weather was in the top 5 of being the best. It was great, I guess. Cold and windy, but dry. There is an observatory at the top. A big crater/depression that the New York City can fit in on the other side. And you can see forever if there aren’t any clouds in the way.

Only one paying client made it to the top that day. Two ride leaders. And me and Trudi. She had started just to go for a ride, but I knew that she wasn’t going to turn around once she started up. And she didn’t.

It got pretty cold after a while up there. I took a few photos and headed down. I was wondering what it was going to be like descending for over an hour. The road is near perfect. Smooth asphalt. Banked switchbacks. Perfect. I thought I was going to have to wait up for Donnie. Little did I know. The guy knows the descent like the back of his hand. And can descend like a banshee.

I can normally descend with about anyone on a road bike, but I had a little issue with speed wobble about 3 miles down. I haven’t experienced speed wobble on a bike in a very long time. I didn’t bring my own bike to Hawaii, but was riding a very good “borrowed” bike. At first I thought that my steering column had broken. Or my frame. But, when I pulled my brakes and the wobble got much more extreme, I knew the problem. I stopped anyway and checked the bike over. From then on, I wasn’t that confident in my equipment. I don’t even know what causes speed wobble. Frame geometry? Fork rake? Whatever. But, it scared the shit out of me for a few seconds. That being said, it was still a blast. More than a blast. Coasting 50 + mph for long stretches and then flying around banked switchbacks and accelerating by up to 50 in a matter of seconds. For an hour.

We got back down to the 85 degree normal temperatures. It was nice to be warm again. If you ever have a chance to come to Maui, you should make it a priority to ride up and down this thing. It is something you won’t forget.

Start at the shop.

Start at the shop.

Climbing at the start when there was still vegetation.

Climbing at the start when there was still vegetation.

Donnie was only on his phone about half the day.

Donnie was only on his phone about half the day.

Andy Hampsten calls Donnie Arnoult the Mayor of Maui.  I'd say the King of Haleakala would be more appropriate.

Andy Hampsten calls Donnie Arnoult the Mayor of Maui. I'd say the King of Haleakala would be more appropriate.

Climbing above the clouds.

Climbing above the clouds.

Shot from the top toward the "crater".
Dressed for riding in Hawaii in July!

Dressed for riding in Hawaii in July!

Haleakala National Park Climb – Tomorrow

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Tomorrow I’m meeting the guys from Maui Cyclery to ride up the 10000+ foot climb to the top of the Haleakala volcano. I’m not sure there is a longer paved road with that much elevation gain anywhere in the world. Anyone know of one? Anyway, I didn’t plan too well for cold weather. I guess it is approximately 3 degrees colder for every 1000 ft. altitude gain. So, over 30 degrees colder at the top. And 70% chance of rain the last few thousand feet. By the time I ride back to where I am staying it should be an even 100. Should be a memorable day. I had some really good coffee today. Photo below. I rode 3 1/2 hours around the perimeter of the Western volcano of Maui today. It was so, so hot up against the lava on the road cuts. Crazy hot. I rarely drink when I’m riding. I stopped and drank two 32 ounce Gatorade’s and a Red Bull. And I could have drank more. Okay. I’ll let you know how the climb goes.

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