Since we’re fast approaching Sunday’s Tour of Flanders, I thought I’d post a short video from Michael Barry (Team Sky). He wore a helmet cam on a pre-ride. He claims, and I can attest to it, that the camera doesn’t do the climbs justice on steepness. This next week is my favorite week of bike racing spectating. The music he used is great. It’s the Shout Out Louds, Shut Your Eyes. Not Snow Patrol, Shut Your Eyes.
Trudi sent some more photos from Belgium. No rest for the weary here. Criterium International. Ferry ride to France, 1100 km drive and then the start of the 3 Days of DePanne. Last chance to race on the cobbles before the Tour of Flanders. Here’s some pre-race photos of the race from Cyclingnews.com.
Okay. I’ve received a ton of emails about the crumpled number post. From all ends of the spectrum. I think I need to clarify the point I was trying to get across.
Cycling is way to complex a sport nit pick over over rules that don’t affect the outcome of the race. I don’t know why that rule is in the book. I obviously don’t agree with it. And I don’t think that should have been the main topic at the pre-race officials meeting at a road race.
There a lots of different ways to handle specific situations. In cycling and in general life. An example is signing in before stages at a stage race. At some races, the officials takes down the sign-in exactly 15 minutes before the start and then proceeds to level fines on the guys that missed it. At some races, like Nature Valley, the officials will bring the sign in sheet to the start and announce that certain riders had failed to sign in. Completely opposite enforcements. The rule is there so the officials know who was starting the race and to make the scoring easier. It seems obvious to me which way is best for all involved.
I’ve been to many a pre-race meeting where the head official shouts at the riders. Rants about potential disqualifications. About violations of the yellow line to peeing somewhere. That isn’t how it should go. There should be no shouting or threats. Especially at the start of a PRO-1 race. Or any race for that matter.
The pre-race meeting isn’t the time for a refreshment course on the USAC rulebook. My perfect pre-race speech from a official would go something like this. “Thanks for coming here. You all know the rules. Good luck and ride safe.” That’s it. If there is a dangerous point on the course, it is nice if they point that out. All the other stuff is just stuff.
Somewhere along the way it seems like officials and riders somehow got on different sides of some imaginary line. That shouldn’t be the case. We’re all on the same side. Bike racing. The officials are there for us, the riders. So, let try to concentrate on the important aspects of the sport and let the minor stuff stay minor. We should all be working together to make the sport successful and safe.
Saturday mornings with no racing are kind of perplexing. What to do with all the extra free time? What to accomplish? I usually listen to Car Talk in the morning. But, with all the Live Streaming Video bicycle racing on the internet, Car Talk is fast becoming a podcast. A friend from Minneapolis, Pat Lemieux, drove down to do some Collegiate racing in Manhattan. He’s staying the weekend. So much fun for him. 80 miles in the rain in a collegiate race. He’s a Category 1 and has to qualify to do the Nationals in Madison in May. USAC has to get that down a little better.
I met up with a high school friend for a couple glasses of wine last night. I don’t hang out much with anyone from high school anymore, even though I live in the same city/same house as I did when I went to high school. It was surprisingly nice.
I am still contemplating going down to Austin and race tomorrow. But, the way the morning is going, I very much doubt that is going to materialize. Maybe a criterium in St. Louis. Or just train here. I’m getting kind of nervous I’ve raced so little. I guess I’ll blame the nervousness on the internet and racing so little on the weather.
A lot of people tell me that they think it is strange that I’m from Topeka, Kansas. Or just from Kansas at all. I hadn’t really ever thought about it one way or another. I don’t really think people think much about where they are from. It’s just a fact. I lived in Boulder for a while, San Diego for a bit, but was mainly on the road. I thought that paying rent 365 days a year when I was there 60 seemed like a waste of money. Plus, Kansas has a lot going for it. Kansas is centrally located, the weather is usually conducive for riding and the roads are great and empty. The airport isn’t far and it is super affordable. Pretty good for cycling in general.
But I hear, “you have to live in Kansas”. Or, “oh, you’re from Kansas? I’m sorry.” I have to admit that it is “backwards” in many ways compared to California, Colorado and many other places. I don’t agree with much of the politics. But, I think my biggest personal complaint is the lack of awesome produce/grocery stores and restaurants. But, that is petty really.
I heard a guy a while back say this about Topeka – “You know how they say it is a nice place to visit, but I wouldn’t want to live there? Topeka is a nice place to live, but I wouldn’t want to visit.” I agree completely.
Anyway, where I was trying to go with this is that the City of Topeka officially/unofficially changed its name to Google for the month of March. Google is taking applications from cities to become a test area for super high speed internet access. Something like 100X faster than currently available. I’m all for that. I think that it would be great for the city. Even though Topeka is the capital of Kansas, it doesn’t have a lot going for it to attract economic development. This would help a lot.
I have nothing against Google. I own some of their stock. But, it seems kind of demeaning changing the name of the city to the name of a company. I’m not sure why. When I’m watching the weather/news and they replace the name Topeka with the word Google on the weather maps, it looks ridiculous. Beyond ridiculous. But, I guess if it helps at all getting chosen by Google, then I’ll let it slide. But, if they say that we have to change the name permanently, then I’ll have to put my foot down. Well, unless they provide the service, city wide, for free. Then it just becomes a name, right?
I’ve raced only 5 times this year and I can barely stand the thought of eating another Gu, Cliffshot, PowerGel or bag of Sport Beans. And all the other stuff that you are supposed to consume while racing. I usually don’t get sick of this stuff until mid Summer. I’m not sure what the deal is now. Maybe I’ve just eaten the maximum amount that a person can stomach during a lifetime already. I kind of hope so and hope not at the same time. Whatever the reason, I’m going to start carrying some real food with me during the races.
I remember when Brian Maxwell and his wife would make Powerbars at night during the Coor’s race and bring them to the start of the stages the next morning for us personally. That was service. We were so into it because we didn’t have to carry over ripe bananas, Fig Newtons or bags of grapes anymore. I am partial to Powerbars because of my early experience with them.
I’ve never been much of a guy to drink much while riding. I’m not sure I’ve even finished one water bottle this season training. I truly mean that. I’m pretty sure I haven’t drank one bottle total in 3000 miles of riding this year. I did drink a couple bottles racing in Texas in February though. So, I don’t think I’ve hit my quota on Sports drinks yet. I’m sort of a Gatorade guy. But, that is just out of convenience. But, I really don’t care what is it in a bottle normally. I used to swear by Extran. I guess I still would. I should probably try to track some of it down here in the States.
For sure I’m going to always stick a couple gel packages in my pockets for longer races, but I’m also going to make it a point to eat some real food along the way. So, don’t be a wise-ass when you see me pull out a peanut butter sandwich in the middle of a road race and enjoy some real food.