Monthly Archives: May 2011


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1st crash of the year. I didn’t really see it coming and it probably cost me some skin and equipment. It is funny because even though crashes come suddenly, usually when you least expect it, somehow time seems to slow down and a lot of times you end up doing exceptional things because of this time shift. But, no time shift here. It was full speed, in real time, actually and mentally.

Other than that, the Old Capitol Criterium went pretty good. I made a couple mistakes that I normally wouldn’t have. One thing that is super important in this sport is that you have to ride to your fitness level. It is very easy getting caught up in the action and getting over your head because of it. I’m normally pretty good at monitoring my ability and feelings, and using the appropriate amount of energy. I got over my head a few times early for no reason at all. That is just stupid bike racing.

The criterium is on a 1.3 km course with a 100 meter hill on it. It is mildly technical. A very good course. It was super windy/gusty. Positioning is pretty important on this course. It gets strung out single file at quite a few places each lap, so it is nearly impossible to participate in the moves if you don’t stay near the front.

The race stayed together most of the race. Brian and I were both off the front a few times early. The field was attentive. Finally with 15 laps to go, Brian got away with Zach Reed, who was with us Saturday in the road race. Brian was doing the majority of the work. They got about 20 seconds ahead. Dale Sedgewick, Grand Performance, from MSP, came to the front with Adam Bergman, Texas Roadhouse. I got on Adam as Dale did a full lap in chase. At the bottom of the hill is when I made a costly mistake.

I took my eye off the ball for just a blink. Adam jumped when I wasn’t quite ready and got a pretty good gap on me going up the hill. I jumped, but missed it by a fraction. When Adam got to the top, he accelerated and put 10 bike lengths on me. I ended up having to chase him 3/4 a lap and was hurt. The next lap up the climb, he dropped me again and I had to chase back. He was catching Brian and Zach fast. I got back on Adam for the descent and got to sit for a couple hundred meters. Brian hadn’t been going full out and when Adam got on at the base of the climb, he attacked. That shelled me. I yelled to Brian and he sat up. I got on, but was way over my head. We rode a pretty slow lap. I tried to take a pull, but it was pitiful. The next time up the hill, Adam attacked and Zach and I got spit out the back.

We tried to work, but both of us were pretty done. Me more than Zach. I never should have let Adam get that gap on me. If I would have been on him initially, the results would have been very much different. I wasn’t riding that bad. I wasn’t going good, but I wasn’t horrible. Actually, towards the end of the race I was going okay.

Zach and I got caught with maybe 8 laps to go. Bill was at the front trying to slow the field. I slotted in a few guys back and recovered pretty quickly. It wasn’t a done deal until 3 laps to go. At that point they had over 15 seconds and there wasn’t anyone left that could bring that back. I told Bill to quit jumping on moves and to rest up for the sprint.

I know the last lap well. You have to be at the front climbing the hill because there are 4 corners in the last 500 meters. I was climbing the hill behind Pat Lemieux, Kenda, when Ryan Nenninger, Mercy/Specialized came charging by on the right. I got on him pretty easily and knew no one else was going to be able to get on easily. The sprint was over. Ryan was going to go hard all the way to the line.

The problem is that Ryan never made it past the first corner he came to. He was way far on the inside of the corner, but the road was wide and was negotiable. I didn’t expect him to fall since it wasn’t a tricky corner. I was turning at a different angle than Ryan, on his outside. The reason I got so jacked up from the fall was because I thought I could make it around the outside as he was sliding, so didn’t pull my brakes until my front wheel was hitting his back. I flipped over at a pretty good clip and slid into the outside curb. No one else fell because the corner was so wide and we had a pretty good lead going into it.

My steering column snap off at the top of the headset, so my fork fell off and my headset bearings were laying on the street. That was pretty depressing.

Brian, in the meantime, knew he didn’t want to be with Adam at the finish. We’d talked about it before the race. But, he’d won both races the day before and was going to win the overall by finishing 2nd, so he rode to the finish. But Adam won the sprint. Brian ended up 2nd and Bill finished 3rd in the field sprint, so 5th on the day.

The results were good. Winning 2 of 3 races and the overall was great. With only 3 riders at a race, with the whole field keying off of them, the racing is hard to control. We had a great situation when I bridged up to to the Brian with Adam, but I didn’t have it when I needed it. It was the first real criterium I’ve raced this year, but I should be better than this at the start of May.

Catherine Walberg won the women’s race again, so that was 2 out of 2 for her for the weekend. She rode away from the field on hill, which is a nice way to win.

I didn’t sleep much last night, hardly any at all. I didn’t lose that much skin, but my left collarboneg/shoulder area is not that great. I’ll give it a couple days and then decide about starting Joe Martin NRC on Thursday.

This is the last photo of this long sleeve skinsuit. It isn't happy now.

Walking back to the van talking over the race with Brian.

The winning break. The two best riders of the day.

Brian's overall trophy. Pretty nice.

Catherine with her winning flowers on May Day.

Makes you wonder.

A photo of Nick trying to dry his shorts on the drive to Iowa City.

Stealing internet in Jeff's backyard with Bromont and Hawkeye.

Won’t Someone Just Sue Floyd?

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Why can’t someone sue Floyd and prove he is the lying, sack of shit, that a few people say he is? There are lots of folks out there saying that Floyd is lying, mental, whatever. And he’s made a lot of pretty extreme and damaging accusations against these very people. I think it is time that someone steps up and makes Floyd pay for all the lies he’s spreading.

I was hoping that Lance would be the one. But, no, that is going to be pretty difficult because, apparently, the statue of limitations date has passed, which makes it mighty hard to file a suit. Michael Ball might have trouble too because, Floyd was wired by the Feds while conversing with Michael. Shoot.

That leaves Pat McQuiad and the UCI. They have a open threat, written, on the table. 15 days or we’ll sue. But, that was 3 months ago. Dang, seems like they are a bit tardy and their filings are too. They probably just haven’t gotten around to it yet. They’ve been super busy with this race radio thing and most likely don’t have any time to tell their attorneys to file a legal action to protect their word and respectability. Maybe when their desks clear a little, they’ll do it.

People love to hate guys like Floyd. Greg too. It really doesn’t matter if what either of them was saying is true. They come across as bitter. But, I think they have reasons to be “bitter”. A lot more than bitter. I hope there are more Floyds out there with more “lies” to spread. And that they have the guts to put it all out in the open. That is the only way that this whole thing is going to end. Or at least become way less prevalent. It has to end abruptly. Not this, “let’s throw a cup of water on the bonfire” way. It’s not working.

Skipped SpeedWeek

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I normally would be all over going to Speed Week. But, I vowed to never go again. The last time I went to Speed Week was 4 years ago, I think. I crashed 4 times in the first two races and vowed I wouldn’t go back. On Sunday, in Roswell, Ga, the race had to be stopped while they cleaned the carnage off the road. I haven’t talked to anyone about the race, so have no first hand knowledge of the extent of the damage, but I have been in very few races they stop because of a race, so I suspect it was a bad crash.

I’m not sure why a race series seems to have the same “issues” over and over. The Twilight course is kind of sketchy, being so short and at night, but most of the other races are just normal criteriums. Kind of tight, but okay courses. I think it might have a lot to do with the quality of the fields. There is a big diversity in the riders ability, even though it is a NRC race and a PRO-1 field. I’ll never understand the USAC’s inability to recognize that having 8 riders from a pro team in a criterium is not good for the sport. Not for the spectators and definitely not good for the riders.

Yesterday in Roswell, the report said that UnitedHealthCare started the leadout with 5 laps to go and ended up 1st and 2nd. Jake Keough said, “We had eight guys on the front and anytime there were any kind of moves or anything we had guys there.” That is so wrong. It’s hard enough trying to ride at the front of a tight criterium without having 8 numbskulls on the same team putting you out into the wind because they feel it is their place to be on their team mates wheel. So, people fall down.

I don’t mind falling. Actually, I don’t like to fall, but it’s just part of bike racing. I definitely don’t “get up” as quick as I used to. But, it isn’t a big deal usually. That being said, I’m not going to go out of my way to go to races that historically, statistically, you have a high chance to fall. In Athens Twlight, I’m over 50% crash ratio. That is just not right, thus, I most likely won’t ride the race again. It’s too bad, because it is one of the best criteriums in the country. Funny how that is.

I can fall in Iowa City when there is only one guy ahead of me, so it can happen anywhere.

Forgive and Forget

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This isn’t a post on drug usage in the sport. This is me wondering why people sometimes/a lot of times forgive their heroes and at other times turn their backs on them completely. And why people give them the benefit of the doubt that they could have/would have, had similar results without the aid of drugs. And why people sometimes think that the lying is a worse “crime” than the actual drug usage.

A couple times this week, conversations about this very thing has come up. On a ride the other day, the discussion was about why Francisco Mancebo was even racing in the US domestically. Here’s a guy that has finished 8 times in the top 10 of Grand Tours and stood on the podium twice at the Tour of Spain. And now he’s cherry picking stage races and leading the NRC in the US. He retired immediately when the Operation Puerto list was released, only to return to racing in the US with Rock Racing. And we all know that story.

You’d think that no one, and not a team, in their right minds, would hire the guy, but that isn’t the case. What amazed me about the conversation was the statement that he doesn’t have to be using drugs racing over here because he is that much better than everyone already, so he doesn’t need to. I asked, “how would you have any idea how good Mancebo rides with drugs”, or without drugs, for that matter. I’m not sure there is a rider in the US that rode with Francisco before he was beating up the European Pros. It was the general consensus that he already is a great athlete and is still good without drugs. I don’t get it.

Then there is the Mantova doping investigation. A couple guys from BMC are caught up in the situation. This is from before they were riding for BMC. Anyway, Allessandro Ballan is the “big fish” named. Probably because he is a former World Road Champion. Anyway, the pharmacist that was supplying, administering the drugs stated, “Without chemicals Ballan would never have made it.” I don’t know exactly what he meant by that, but it is obvious, at least to me, that drugs make riders tons better, not just a smidgen.

So, Ballan will serve a couple year time out and return because he is young. He is a nice guy, I’ve met him. I’m sure he’ll be accepted back like Ivan Basso, David Millar and others that don’t seem to have much negative fallout from their suspensions.

Compare this to Milli Vanilli, the lip-synching musicians. When musicians are “caught cheating”, they virtually never get a get out of jail card when they try to resurface. They are shunned forever. People assume since they had to have someone else record their songs, that they never had the ability to do it in the first place. Milli Vanilli tried to record again using their own voices with no luck.

I don’t see that much difference between the cyclists and Milli Vanilli. When a guy tests positive for a drug test, I have no idea when he started using drugs to race. But to assume that he is a great athlete already is stupid and wrong. I assume he is a mediocre athlete that became a great athlete by using drugs. I understand that isn’t the norm.

Anyway, I doubt I’m ever going to think main stream. I just hate it when the main stream thought process isn’t something that I’m aware of.

Landfills – Joe Martin

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Yesterday was a long day. I’d pretty much decided not to race Joe Martin and emailed Brian and Bill that very thing. So, I thought that it was time to remove the stuff from the “rental house”. I’d driven over to Lawrence and borrowed a dump trailer from my friend Matt, who is the czar of TradeWind Energy. I’d just put a Class IV hitch on my diesel van and it wasn’t exactly perfect for the trailer, so it took some reconfiguring.

Anyway, Bill said they weren’t leaving for Fayetteville until Friday morning. That got me rethinking the race. So, I thought that if I got all the trailer stuff done, I’d go. I asked Bill if he had anything that he needed taken to the dump and he said a sliding glass door that we’d replaced last year. I took the trailer by to get it and Bill ended up helping Trudi and I move the stuff from the rental house, to the trailer.

I’m apprehensive about calling this a rental house. That was never the intention. And it really isn’t a rental now. The reason for that is that there are lots of people that will live there, they just won’t pay rent. And anyone that could afford to pay rent, won’t live there. It is a house with no potential for the rental market as far as I can tell.

It is weird messing with other people’s stuff. The guy had moved about 3/4 of his belongings, but there was still a lot left. It wasn’t like it was dirty stuff. It just wasn’t mine and I didn’t like touching it. Anyway, it ended up being nearly too much for a huge trailer. We filled it to the top and I took Trudi and Bill home before I heading to the landfill.

If you’ve never been to a landfill/dump, you should go. I have a friend in Lawrence, Bill Anderson, that runs a scout troop. He says he takes the scouts to the Lawrence landfill, on a field trip, nearly every year. It is important for kids to know where stuff goes when you throw it away.

Anyway, with the dump trailer, I had to drive up into the dump where the trash trucks unload. It is something out of a sci-fi movie. The machines, the smell, the birds, everything. The wind was blowing pretty good and I was on the top of the trash heap. I didn’t want to back up to the pile as far as the guy in the smasher machine liked. I didn’t want to be walking or driving on trash.

So, I took the tarp off the top and was dumping the stuff, when I stepped on a board that had a huge nail sticking up. I immediately knew the feeling. I had steel toed boots on. Guess I needed steel shanks too. So, the board is stuck to the bottom of my boot and the nail is in my foot. It took a little while to pull the board and nail off my boot. The pain wasn’t too bad, so I just went ahead with the dumping.

I went home to look at my foot, then decided that I’m not going to race, so just left my boot on. I figured that the pressure on the bottom of my boot was sufficient enough to stop any bleeding. I ended up cutting a 30 foot tall hedge for the next 5 hours, until dark. The trailer is full again and my arms are completely done. Toast. It is amazing how shitty I can be, doing just about anything, during racing season. Even riding a bike.

Last photo of Smudge.

Smudge's new family, my friend Teddy and his daughter Isabella adopted him.

Last photo of the cat family all together. There are still two kittens unclaimed. Plus, the mother who might be okay, I'm not sure yet. She hasn't bitten me and I pet her a few times a day, but she doesn't like it.

From another planet.

I hated throwing it all away, but really didn't want to touch it or see it anymore.

Master’s Cyclo-X World Start Positions

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Yesterday, it was printed in lots of places the proposed start and call-up procedures for the Master’s World Cyclo-X Championships in Louisville this winter. I’m still smarting from my fiasco in Belgium in January, so the subject is probably a bit closer to home for me than some of you. But, that being said, I think that it is an insult to Master riders throughout the World to say that a random start order is fair.

The random start order is going to be used only if the field size is less than 80 riders. If it is more than 80 riders, then they are going to run a qualification race. I pray for more than 80 guys in my race in Louisville this winter. I doubt any of the women’s fields will have that number, so they are going to get jacked in the process, no matter what.

Here’s a quote at from Philipe Marien. I’m not sure if Phillipe has no respect for Masters riders or is just ignorant, but here it is-

L W: This past year the promoters for our nationals used a time trial to seed riders for the starting grid. Have you had problems / complaints in the past with the way you’ve seeded riders at your event? Do you have any thoughts on other approaches to seeding riders? Should it simple be a lottery system?

Phillipe Marien: We always have used the lottery system, this is the fairest way to draw the starting order. In this particular category it is very difficult to gather an official national team or to check who is national champion or not. Each year there were some complaints from riders but that’s normal.

So, he says that the fairest way to make the starting grid is to randomly pick it. And that the UCI has no method to check to see who is a National Champion. Both these statements are so stupid that he shouldn’t be involved in the processs, ATMO.

In cyclocross, the start is so important. That is a given. The start order in the Master’s division is more important, if anything. There is so much diversity in ability levels that the race is chaos already. Throughout the year, Pro/Elite riders travel throughout the world collecting points that make their starting positions better. It happens here in the United States for the starting position at the National Championships and every UCI race, including the World Championships, the start is decided by points you’ve gathered throughout the season. But, according to Phillipe, this isn’t fair? He says the fairest way is to “randomly pick it”. Bullshit.

The problem here is that this group of consultants/promoters/cyclo-x “experts” have no respect for Masters. So, they put no thought process into the issue. Show me another Cyclo-X Championship that is lined up in this radom order. The reason for the random order is because the Worlds in Belgium was a local event. You couldn’t even pre-register. So, let’s leave the status the same because the last promoter was lazy?

I understand that it is very difficult to rank Master riders on a worldwide basis. But, it is important to make an effort to do so. Here’s some of the things they need to do.

A certain number of riders need to have preferred call up positions. The top riders from the previous years World Championships for one. You pick the number. I don’t know how we can attract any of the best riders from Europe to travel to the US for this event without throwing the riders that competed last year a bone. I talked to quite a few guys in Mol last year and not one said they would come to the US to race.

Current National Champions too. There won’t be that many and anyone that goes to the trouble to win their Nationals and then travel to the US to race the World Championships, isn’t a bad rider and deserves a call-up.

Then a time trial to seed riders, like we did in Bend last year. This isn’t perfect, but it will at least get riders close to where they need to start. But, that takes effort. A qualifying race is just dumb. There are way too many things that can go wrong in a qualifying race. If you have a problem during that race, they are saying you’ll get to race again to get back in through a Consolation race. And line up at the very back of the Worlds once again. Wrong again.

Kevin Hines was lined up at the back of our race in Belgium. The very back. I was only 1/2 way back. Kevin barely made it to the top ten and he was going good. He’d finished 2nd to me at Nationals and 2nd at the Worlds the year before in Mol. And had to start at the very back of the race the next year? Stupid. Insulting. Amateur.

If the US is going to promote this event, then they can’t let important issues like this go unaddressed. And, if they address them, they can’t come up with solutions that aren’t solutions at all. It is an insult to all of us.