Monthly Archives: November 2010

Hollywood to Kansas

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I flew back to Kansas early yesterday morning. It was down pouring rain at 5 am. I love Southwest Airlines. It is so predictable. If you are flying with a bike, then it is a no brainer. $50. I don’t understand why all these other airlines can’t take a look at what Southwest is doing and emulate them.

I was pretty antsy watching the cross race in Griffith Park on Sunday. That is a good thing. I’m pretty sure I am going to retry my hand at racing this weekend. Either in Memphis or locally here in Topeka.

Sunday we went for a 2 hour ride in the Hollywood Hills West of Griffith Park. 2 hours – 19 miles. It is super steep. The roads are alot like Europe, but maybe narrower. The houses vary anywhere from 10000 sq. ft. mansions to 800 sq. ft. shacks. It is pretty weird. But really interesting. I’ll post some photos.

The weather here is nearly better than California right now. But, not for long I assume. I think I’m going to the gym sometime soon. At least that is my intentions right now. I hate the gym with passion.

I’d be remiss if I didn’t congratulate Brian Matter for winning the Iceman last Sunday over Todd Wells, JHK, Brent Bookwalter, and others. I’m always routing for the local midwest guys in these races. There is something to be said of knowing your race course. And your competition. Brian knew both. Before the race I was telling some friends that I thought Todd would probably win, but Brian would be right there. I’m glad I was wrong. I’m sure Tristan played a part in the victory too.

Alright, just riding my bike this week and doing some normal life things. I think I’m allergic to Kansas. That isn’t good.

Photo of the Hollywood sign from afar.

The Griffith Park observatory.

Looking up on one of the thousands of winding streets.

Looking down into one of the canyons.

Kind of a cool house.

Devon Haskell with the lightest cyclocross bike I've seen. 15 lbs.

USAC/UCI Rules

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I think it is strange what rules that the UCI and USAC decide to try to implement and what rules they enforce. I’m one of those guys that think that the riders should enforce the rules. But, a lot of the rules that are currently on the books aren’t being enforced and there are proposed rules and current rules that have no place in the sport.

I’m bringing this up because of the USAC board meeting last weekend that had two proposals to look at that seemed really not thought out. I’m talking about the proposed ban of the helmet cam and the proposed rules concerning juniors riding tubular tires and carbon wheels.

I sent emails to most of the board members I know to voice my disagreement with both of the proposals. Neither of the proposals were well thought out.

The helmet cam rule also applied to anything strapped to a helmet. So, goodbye 24 hour racing that requires helmet lights. Goodbye Professional and Pro want-ta-bees that put their sunglasses up on/in their helmets. That would be banned too. I have not heard of a case where a helmet cam or light caused injury because it compromised the integrity of a helmet. Maybe there is a case out there. I don’t know. But, there are a ton of people riding at night with lights, crashing. They would be crashing way more without their lights.

And the junior thing. Dumb. I just got back from riding a ton in Colorado and then the canyons of the Santa Monica Mts. I hate riding clincher tires in those situations. When you flat a tubular tire, you are still riding on rubber. I’ve ridden a tubular tire a couple hours without even ruining the rim. I rode with Eric Heiden for over an hour in the Coor’s Classic during the Boulder Mt. Road Race. I was having a pretty bad day, obviously, but Eric was doing just fine riding on a front flat. When you flat a clincher tire, you go straight to the rim. Descending on a road bike isn’t possible on a flat front clincher. Riding on the rim isn’t really possible. But, falling is. If I trained in the mountains alot, I would exclusively ride sewups. I would not like to start a criterium on clincher wheels. Tubular tires are just that much safer. In cross, it is way more important if you flat and want to keep riding. Tim Johnson lost the cross nationals in Baltimore mainly because he flatted a clincher and lost so much time getting to the pit.

And, not allowing juniors to ride carbon wheels? Dumb again. I remember way back when everyone started riding carbon wheels in cross. I thought, how dumb. Ruining a good set of carbon wheels in the mud when the areo dynamics are nearly meaningless. But, I soon realized that it is nearly impossible to dent a carbon rim with the low tire pressure everyone is riding. So, a good set of carbon wheels might actually cost less to a junior compared to denting up a bunch of aluminum wheels. I haven’t put a ding in a wheel in years. A good set of used carbon wheels isn’t that much more expensive that the comparable aluminum wheels. And believe me, there are a ton of juniors that will go out and buy the 1000 gram aluminum wheels that cost way more anyway. So, no one is evening the playing field because of cost.

If they are trying to lower the cost for juniors, let’s make them get rid of the $$$$$ carbon frames that explode every time they even think of crashing. Or lets not charge our young riders out the ass every race they enter. Let’s make the entry fee for junior $10 at any event. I’d happily pay a couple dollars extra every race to supplement our young rider’s development. There are lots of ways to make this expensive sport more affordable for all the riders, but limiting important equipment makes zero sense.

So, we’re trying to make more and more rules to govern a sport that doesn’t need that many more rules. This sport has been around for more than a century. I don’t get why we’re always making more and more rules. We need to enforce some of the rules we have. One that nearly ever being enforced is the “taking the hands off the bars” rule. Or, engaging another rider physically rule. This is happening every race I race and not one time has a rider been penalized in a race I’ve done.

We’re too busy putting tire gauges on our cross tires to make sure the tire width isn’t 1 mm too wide. We’ve made virtually all clincher cross tires illegal in UCI races. Obviously from above, I think that sewups have distinct advantages over clinchers in most situations. But, there are places and situations that they work well. I’ve measured a bunch of Hutchinson tires, plus Michelin Mud2’s that have 30mm printed on the sidewall. They are not under the new UCI, 33mm in width rule. So, sealing up the best clincher cross tires at UCI races isn’t really an option anymore. Talk about adding cost to the sport of cycling. Let’s make everyone go out and buy nice expensive tubular cyclocross tires that pinch flat every few races. Including juniors.

BTW-Neither of the proposals passed.

The new UCI tire measurement tool-great!

Let's restrict the pushes to friendly ones.

iPhone Repairman

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There is no place in Topeka that repairs Apple iPhone screens. I break mine pretty often, but I’m usually somewhere that doesn’t have a place to put a new screen in quickly. So, I just cover my screen with packing tape until the opportunity arises. I’ve been thinking about going into the iPhone screen repair service for a few months. It doesn’t take hardly any time and they charge you anywhere from $50-$100. At Apple it is double that last number.

When I was in Colorado, Vincent had a iPhone that his kid, Pascal, had thrown into the bathtub. We were drying it out and it was disassembled. We got it back together and it worked, minus the home button. Vincent gave the phone to Bill, who ordered a new home button and put it in last week. Works fine. And a couple days ago, my phone fell out of my pocket and the screen shattered. The first time that happened I was pretty bummed. This time I barely noticed. My brother’s phone has had “the white screen of death” for a couple months. I came home last night and just took his screen off and used it on my phone. I’ve now ordered a couple of replacement glass from a wholesaler in Tulsa. They are $7. The LCD’s are $23. Pretty cheap fixes for expensive toys.

So, I’ve decided to start an iPhone repair shop. By appointment only. I figure that if I’m around, I can fix a couple a day without it getting too much into the way of my free time. I’m not sure how many people break their phones, but I think the iPhone has about 10% market share of the phone business. So, if Topeka has around 200, 000 people, that is 20,000 iphones. If just 10% of those people drop their phones and break their screens, that is around 6 a day. That is a lot. I’d have to find someone to help. That would jack up my day too much.

If you have any extra broken/dead iPhones laying around that you’ve washed or takin’ swimming with you, feel free to send them my way. There are lots of parts in those phones that are good for someone else’s.

Broken.

Kris's phone apart.

Wink helping.

All fixed.

Coor’s Classic Cycleball Video -1984

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Michael Aisner sent me the link to the video below. I haven’t watched the whole thing, but I already had seen it in person. I was at the event. As the promoter of the Coor’s Classic, and just about everything else he does, Michael Aisner was way ahead of his time. He used to bring guys like this over for every Coor’s Classic. World class jugglers, weird cyclists. He once had David Stead do a 24 hour roller World Record. I went by and said hi and thought, “shit, I’ll never do that”. I actually have the framed, signed poster from the cycleball guys and artistic cyclist on my wall. Pretty cool. Check it out.

Alexi’s Blog

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I guess the end of this week is the of the Coor’s Classic era here, so I guess I should continue it. I got a email from Alexi Grewal yesterday saying that he has started a website and blog. I thought, “wow”, I hope he realizes how much energy that takes. I checked it out. It is okay. You should go to his blog and read the few articles he has written. Click here. You will see what he is up against for this “come back”.

I’m hesitate to judge what chances I see of Alexi making a return to professional cycling. I do know that it is a very hard sport and life endeavor. From his writing and emails, I know he has went through some pretty tough times since he retired. But, to be truly successful at sports, you need to be passionate about it. When you’re passionate about something you do full time, it’s a no loose situation. The results become secondary. The money secondary. Alexi calls cycling, a “project”. I’m pretty sure that he has enough stacked against him to try to come back to the sport and treat it like a project. He needs to try to rekindle the memories and emotions that he once had to be truly successful.

As long as were talking of our “old selves”, here is a link to Richard Degarmo’s facebook page. Richard was the Michael Aisner of Texas in bike race promoting terms. the Czar of Tour of Texas. He’s posting photos of the good old days every day or so it seems. Most are of women, of course.

If you click on the buy stuff link, it takes you to eBay where you can buy an autographed Alexi Grewal long sleeve.

Alexi signing a autograph before. Check out the snow fencing.

Photo Shoot & Cyclocross

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I was torn between racing cross in Memphis at my friends, Joe Royer’s race. It is a super fun weekend in Memphis on the Mississippi River. But then, a reporter called about doing an article on cross here in Kansas and wanted to shoot some photos.

So last night, Catherine and I went to Nathan Ham’s studio, a local photographer that is awesome. I went to high school with Nathan, but had never been to his studio, which is in a old restored limestone building in North Topeka. The photographer that shot us was Colin MacMillan. I’ve done a ton of photo shoots and this was one of the best. Painless. Fun. Short. And he took very good pictures. What else do you need?

So, I’m racing locally tonight here in Topeka. I’ve had a sore throat the past two days and one of my ears is all clogged up, which worries me about my balance. The race is at Heartland Road Racing Park and is under lights at 8pm. Last year when I was roofing, I went over to watch the race and wished I’d brought my bike and just ride around, even if I wouldn’t of been racing up to my standards. This year I’ll probably just be riding around, not up to my standards, but I’m not missing it again. I’ll let you know how it goes.

Collin doing his thing.

Wetting up Catherine before applying the mud.

Dirty look.

Catherine in her 'cross pose.

Restored limestone in North Topeka. Awesome inside.

Here is a video of the race last year.