Monthly Archives: April 2011

Iowa City Road Race

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Iowa City Road Race was this today. It was only 52 miles since they were running a 13 mile TT for an overall omnium an hour after the finish. The conditions were perfect for us. Us, I mean The TradeWind Energy guys, Bill, Brian and me. It was pretty windy. Not super windy by Midwest standards, but probably around 25 mph. So, there was going to be some hard sections. And the main hard section was on the side with the hills.

50 something guys lined up for the start. All the normal regional guys. I haven’t been racing very much, so I had no idea how anyone was going. Since there was wind, the field was pretty twitchy. Everyone was riding attentive. The gutter riding section was after 9 miles or so. We got to the front and rotated for a couple miles. There were maybe 20 guys left. Pretty soon a good group got rotating and it got down to 16. We rode one more 13 mile lap and a do over once again.

This time there were 7 of us. Bill, Brian, Nick and I, plus Adam Bergman, Texas Roadhouse, Zach Reed, Dogfish, and a local Mercy guy. We had 26 miles left and everyone just rode. Everyone was knowledgeable enough to know if they tried to sit on, they would be riding by themselves soon after.

Brian and Bill were riding the TT, so I figured we should just wait until the last stretch, a few miles from the finish to sort it out. Which we did, on a long gradual hill, we put it back into the gutter. Zach and the Mercy guy were shelled and Adam finally worked his way back into the rotation. So, it was the 4 guys in my van, plus Adam.

The finish was a little uneventful, but worked out great for us. I led it out from a ways out, Brian came by with Bill, with Adam right there. And that was the finish. Nick rolled by me for 4th, which was fine since he’s doing the overall omnium. Brian did manage to get one arm up.

Brian rode a 29:10 for the 13 mile TT, which seemed crazy fast to me. It was windy. And no aero equipment. They didn’t hang around for the finish results, but he has to be leading overall.

Catherine won the women’s race in from a group sprint. So, I’m the worst finisher from our van at 5th.

I did get pulled over on the drive from Davenport to the start. 75 in a 70, driving on a Interstate. I think the guy was looking for some drug thing or undocumented workers. I had to go back into the patrol car and answer a ton of questions that were on my driver’s license and registration. And say why I was driving from the East when Kansas is West. Strange. Got a printed warning for the infraction. I must be some sort of cop magnet nowadays.

Tomorrow is the Old Capitol Criterium in downtown Iowa City. It is a great course. Pretty hard climb. 40 laps. It is supposed to be 20 degree cooler tomorrow. I was pretty hot today in the mid 70’s.

It is amazing how important it is to stick with your guys in bike racing. Especially when it is windy. That was the key here. If you just stick to that tactic and you’re moderately strong, the results will be there.

The final break. Everyone was working pretty good, no one sat on much at all.

Adam Bergman and I before the start. I have no idea what I'm saying here. I like the new Texas Roadhouse kits for this season.

Catherine winning the women's race by a big margin.

Brian and Catherine in the van after the race, trying to stay warm. Boy, so they look so happy.

Deb Wood showing Jeff which liquid was for the race and which after. She has beer and Coke in her left had.

Iowa City Bound

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I’m off to Iowa City in a few hours. The weather looks pretty iffy, but I’m alittle iffy, so we’ll match. Bill, Brian and I are all going, along with Catherine and Nick Coil, who now rides for the Mercy Cycling Team. Plus Trudi and Bromont of course. Pretty full van.

We’re driving to Davenport, IA tonight and staying with Jeff Bradley. Jeff started racing again, semi-full time, a couple years ago. Well, really not that much, but he doesn’t do races in the spring and fall. Pro 1-2 races instead of masters. I’ve known Jeff since I was 17. He was the best junior in the country until Greg LeMond came around. And, he could beat Greg every once in a while because he was a little faster and smarter than Greg.

I’m deciding about racing Joe Martin after this weekend. I’ve done so little racing and trained so pitifully, that I can’t make a good decision at this point.

Trudi brought me a bunch of stuff back from Europe. Pictures below.

Junior Worlds Team from 1978. Ron Kiefel, Greg Demgen, Jeff Bradley and Greg LeMond.

This is an undershirt/base layer from a company that one of the team directors from BMC owns. It is impregnated with minerals and stuff that make you ride faster, I guess.

Here's a bracelet that goes with the shirt.

Signs for the garage.

Illy coffee from Italy.

I've been eating a bunch of strawberries recently. Wonder if Anthony picked these?

“Rental House” update – It keeps getting Weirder

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Yesterday I went by that house where my 3 cars went “missing”. Jeff, Desert Storm Vet, that had been “renting” had moved out about 3/4 of his stuff, but there is a ton of it still there. My experience is if you change the locks when someones stuff is inside, you have broken windows down the road. Anyway, it has been a couple months, so I figured that he probably has taken all wants.

So, I drive up to the house and there are a bunch of people on the porch. A tall white guy, a Hispanic woman, a couple small kids and a City of Topeka guy. I drive around the block and park. The City guy is gone, but everyone else is on the porch. I walk up, introduce myself, and ask if I can help them. They say, “no, we’re renting this house.” I tell them I own the property and that it’s not for rent. They tell me that they are renting it from Jeff. I immediately ask them if they gave him money and they say yes. I inform them that they probably “lost” that money. They said that they had already turned the water on and that they were supposed to move in today. I said I have not had any good experiences with the house and I’m not renting it anymore.

So, I leave and go home. Then I start thinking that a couple months ago, I’d drained all the water and left all the faucets on. So, I need to go back and decided it is also good time to change the locks. I gather up my stuff and drive back over there only to be surprised that their car is still parked in front. The woman is walking up the sidewalk as I park. I follow her up the walk and watch her go into the house. I didn’t think they had an ability to get inside. She sees me and slams the door. I go up and knock. No one answers, so I walk in. The woman asks if she can help me? I think I just stare, not quite understanding what she means.

The guy is on the phone in another room. I listen and he’s ordering cable TV. Then he walks to the room I’m in and asks if he can “help” me. I’m stymied. Then he says, “Steve, right?” I’m thinking, “Shit, am I in the Twilight Zone?” I say something back like, “Yeh, Steve, the same Steve that was here 45 minutes ago and said that the house wasn’t for rent.” Then he starts questioning me about my “relationship” with the house. I explain, once again, that I own the property and that I’m not renting it.

Now there are two Hispanic women here and 4 children, plus the guy. The women start talking in Spanish. It sounds kind of mean. The guy is being a little aggressive and no one is acting like they are leaving. I talk a couple more minutes and it is obvious that they don’t plan on leaving. I finally just say something like, “I can prove I own the house, so maybe the best thing is if I just call the police and they can sort it out.” The women encourage me to call the police, but the guy says something like that won’t be necessary.

I tell them to go a find Jeff and try to get their money back. And to have Jeff call me. Yeh, right. As they are leaving, I’m trying to be cordial. I really didn’t want them pissed off at me and later on down the road, one Friday night, and decide to throw a Malotov cocktail at the house. The guy asks me if he can go in and get their stuff. I say of course. He goes in and brings out a baby crib and a bunch of other stuff.

They leave. Kind of pissed. It is amazing that after talking to them earlier, they were still moving in. Obviously, they didn’t have anywhere to live. But, I had no idea, and still don’t, know what they were thinking. Maybe they’ve done it before. Just move into a place and make the people kick them out. I can’t believe how “lucky” I was going by there in the first place. A few hours later there would have been at least 3 adults and 4 children living there.

So, I go back into the house and realize that the front door lock has been removed. So, Jeff must of went over and used his key and then just taken the lock off so they could get in. I’m not sure why he just didn’t leave the door unlocked.

I guess I’m just going to fix the house up some and try to sell it. It is not in a good neighborhood. And it is not rentable. By that I mean that anyone that is going to pay rent, won’t live there, and the people that would live there won’t ever pay rent. It’s too bad, because it is a very nice house. 100 years old. Hardwood floors. Nice. Or it was nice. It’s kind of beaten up right now, but it could be worse. I’m lucky there aren’t dozens of people living there at this very minute.

Last one out. She was very cute.

Racing Now

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I finally rode over to Kansas City and did the training criterium yesterday. I haven’t done a Tuesday night’r this year. We got a little behind, so Bill and I drove over to Lawrence and rode the 35 miles to the race with Joseph Schmalz and Adam Mills.

Here’s the deal. Don’t do intervals on group rides. I’m not going to name who was guilty, but there was an interval session happening. But, in this instance, it was actually fun. 6 minutes on, 1 minute off. Just 300 watts, so it was super easy to sit on. After 20 miles of the ride, we had a 23.5 mph average. We got there pretty early. But as a practice, when people show up on a group ride, individual training, ie intervals, are off the schedule.

The race was good. There was virtually no wind, which is strange for here. So, it was really hard riding off the front and super easy sitting in. Brian rode over 1/2 the race off the front, which is good training. If we had power meters, he would have done twice as much work as me during the 50 minutes.

Bill, Brian and I are going to Iowa City this weekend I think. There are 3 races there, a road race and TT on Saturday and then the Old Capitol Criterium on Sunday. It is supposed to rain on Saturday, but clear up for Sunday. I’m just going mediocre to poor, so we’ll see.

I drove over to Lawrence yesterday morning at 7 am. for the arraignment on the improper backing ticket. I couldn’t believe how small the municipal court building was there. Super small. The judge was great and explained, in basic terms, all the options. He pretty much told everyone to just go and talk to the prosecutor and work something out. Which is exactly what I did.

The prosecutor was young. What surprised me is that he had a printout of a long description that the police officer had written that explained exactly what I did. Then he asked me if that was correct. I told him yes. He said what was the issue then. I pulled out the STO (State Traffic Ordinance) that I’d printed out and asked him what part of it pertained to my actions. He read it and said neither. And dismissed the ticket. It took about 2 minutes. Small communities are so much better in these instances. And Lawrence isn’t that small. The municipal court in Topeka is a zoo. And trying to see a prosecutor is nearly impossible.

So, we’re driving to Iowa City on Friday I guess. I’m going a little stir crazy here in Topeka, so it will be good. I’m apprehensive about the racing aspect, but you have to start somewhere. Baby steps.

My view the first have of the ride over to KC. Oh no, the cat's out of the bag.

Justice was served.

Gilbert-4 in a Row, Big Deal

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My record is 7 races straight. Obviously, those races are not even close to being on the same level as the last 4 Phil won, but it was still winning nearly a month straight, racing Saturday/Sunday, for 4 weeks.

It started in Kansas in the Spring of 1982. I won a couple races in Kansas, which was not out of the norm. Then I went down to Oklahoma and raced the Tour of Talimena. It was a important race that was two very hard, climbing road races. I won both days. They need to resurrect that race. It is unbelievably hard, steep, climbing, in the mountains in Eastern Oklahoma.

The next weekend was up at Iowa City. There was a criterium in a park followed by the Iowa City Criterium around the Old Capitol. The Iowa City Criterium is a Classic. I won both days there during my “streak”. My friend, and then team mate, Paul Biskup was 2nd both days. It is amazing to think that was 30 years ago. I won the same criterium in 2009. It is this weekend. Click here for the flyer.

The final weekend in Minneapolis was the most interesting. It was the most stacked field. There was a lot of money for the weekend. I think LeMond might have been back for it, but don’t know for sure. 7-11 was there for sure. I don’t think Davis made it there until the 2nd day. The first day was in a business district. I don’t remember the exact play by play, but I got away with a few guys and won the sprint. I remember them announcing me to the podium and then saying that I’d won a futon, along with the prize money. I thought, what is a futon. I asked the other guys there and they didn’t know. So, the rest of my team went back to the van and packed up and I went over and got the futon. I remember walking back over to the van, carrying the futon, and everyone was joking about how I won a bed. I ended up sleeping on that futon 100’s of times back at Michael’s Cyclery in Ames. It was rolled up in the back of Michael’s office.

The next day was longer course around a lake. I don’t know what lake. It wasn’t a good course for me. No hills, completely flat, with no corners. Plus, a long finish stretch. I ended up getting in a big pileup about half way through the race. It was a longer loop, so there weren’t any free laps. I got up and chased back on, but it took forever. By then, Davis and a a few other guys were up the road. I raced another 15 minutes or so and the head official, Andy Bohlman, who also was a mechanic for our team, came motoring up and casually asked me if I was missing something. Andy is a really nice guy, but was a hard ass official. I had no idea what he was getting at until he held out his arm and he had my hairnet helmet in his hand. I guess it had come off in the crash and I’d been racing without it the whole time since. Andy just handed me the helmet and didn’t say another word. Pretty nice. Anyway, we never caught the break, so that was the end of it. I think Davis won the race, which he probably would have 9 times out of 10 on that course.

The sport was not nearly as competitive back then. I don’t think that there is a way someone could even cherry pick 7 races and expect to win all of them. That is what makes Phil’s last 10 days so unbelievably impressive.

Paul and I on the hill in Iowa City.

The newspaper clipping for the finish in Iowa City. It is amazing how many spectators were at all races back then.

A photo from the ridge on the Talimena Scenic Drive. The loop that goes nowhere. A wonderful place to ride a bike.

Click here to see a map of the location.