Monthly Archives: June 2011

Wichita River Festival Criterium

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Yesterday, Bill, Brian and I went down to Wichita to race a criterium in late afternoon. I’ve been doing the River Festival Crit, on and off, since I was a junior. That is a pretty long time. It used to be in a park, by the river, with speedboat races happening at the same time. Recently, it has moved to downtown Wichita, an area of Wichita that I’m not familiar with. It wasn’t 100 degrees at the start, but close. And the wind was blowing.

I rode in the morning and had decided not to hardly take a pedal stroke to warm-up before the start. I rode in the morning before I left, plus I see no reason to get hot before I’m going to be overheated. I remember the Athens Olympics, when the US marathon runners wore ice vests and didn’t warm-up for the marathon. They brought their body temperatures down a few degrees and everyone of them had super good races. I would like one of those suits/vests.

So, I just sat in the underground parking garage until a few minutes before the start. I had two insulated bottles full of ice on my bike and one in my back pocket. Plus, I had panty hose full of ice on the back of my neck. It all seemed to work pretty good. I never felt too hot.

There were around 40 starters. We were planning on not racing hard for the first 20 minutes, but that plan went out the window when guys started attacking from the gun and ones and twos were going up the road. So, I made a on the road decision and started racing offensively, which I prefer anyway. Brian and I took turns and Bill was monitoring counter attacks. After a few big surges, Brian went up the road with a couple guys chasing, one which was Jay Blankenship, Tulsa Tough, who is a friend from Wichita. That was it. Jay is Jason Waddell’s team mate from Tulsa Tough, and Jason was pretty much our only concern.

So, Brian is riding up the road with 3 guys, but not going hard, thinking that Bill or I are going to jump up to him. He sat at around 15 seconds for a long time, but we could never shake Jason and Co. Finally Brian started pulling hard and they disappeared up the road. About the same time, Bill got in a 6 rider group, with a few other guys chasing. I jumped and tagged on the back, along with Jason. So, 10 or us were kind of chasing, but not really. We were more like just riding around. I think everyone was starting to get pretty hot and we still had 30 minutes of the 90 minutes left.

So, long story short, we stayed together. Brian shelled Jay and Co. with 3 laps to go and with 2 to go was about to lap us. The pace car passed us right at the finish line when the lap cards said 2 to go, but the announcer said one to go, bell lap. Bill and I weren’t expecting that and 4 guys took off immediately and got a good gap. I jumped and chased with Bill on my wheel. I never really made contact. With about 500 meters to go I was only a few bike lengths off. I made a final surge to catch them, pretty done. The final corner was only 100 meters from the finish line. Jason Waddell was on Bill and jumped him for the final corner. Bill was still connected, but Jason beat him for 4th.

So, Brian won and Bill was 5th. Not exactly stacking it, but that was the best we were going to do that day.

It is funny, because I got an email yesterday asking me how not to get frustrated by negative methods/tactics. I hate racing defensively. But, I understand the mentality. Especially in local events, it is super hard winning when the whole field is racing against you.

That was Chris Horner’s problem in 2004 at the Olympic Trials in Redlands. Nearly the whole field realized how good he was and realized it was his race to lose. So, Jason McCartney rode away and got the spot on the Olympic Road Team.

The key is to not let it rattle you and get frustrated. The other riders can sense that and it just gets worse. One thing is not to show your cards until you plan to play them. Just do your share. Never flex your muscles until you plan to go full tilt. That way, they don’t have anything to answer with.

Look at this race, virtually the whole field was racing against the 3 guys on my team. So, 40 against 3. But, the 3 of us had no intention to have Jason sprint for 1st, so 3 against 1 there. And Jason wasn’t going to let me go anywhere, so 1 neutralizing 1. So, there are all these little micro games going on within the race itself. When Brian rode away, someone said, “It was going to happen eventually.” No one even chased. That is how it goes.

I like this aspect of the sport. It makes it less predictable and more exciting.

I’ve been trying out salt tablets the last couple weekends. Yesterday, I over loaded with 3 and they didn’t want to stay down about 2 minutes after I swallowed them. One at a time spaced out seems to be the ticket here.

Okay, back in Topeka. Lungs and throat are still bad, but not worse. Going to ride 3 hours in the heat sometime today.

Pockets full of ice and ice water.

Prerace meeting in the parking garage.

Eventually the jersey is unzipped.

Bromont was really hot too.

Nike Precool vest. I wonder if I could get one for Bromont. Anyone have an extra laying around, feel free to send it my way.

WTF is it with all this Training during the Season?

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I want someone to actually explain why these guys are taking a month off during the season, to go to Tenerife or the Swiss or French Alps to train at altitude, without using the word doping in the explanation. These three aren’t the exception. Everyone’s doing it, disappearing for weeks, up to a month during the season for their “rest”.

And how you can have the speed to finish 2nd in the Dauphine TT when you haven’t raced in one month? Must be the weather in Tenerife?

Or maybe, because the more important races, Pro Tour events, with better, stronger fields are easier to win, so you have to rest up for the shitty ones like the Tour of Belgium and such?

The Kazakh finished third overall at the Tour de Romandie, behind Cadel Evans and Tony Martin. He hasn’t raced for a month but went for a training camp in Tenerife with eight other riders from Astana. “The weather was great and the weather was fantastic,” he said.

Boonen, after one month “rest” at altitude-
Former world champion Boonen is not too concerned, though, blaming his poor performances on a recent altitude training and on an inexperienced team.

Gilbert , after one month “rest” at altitude-
Mostly his objective is different, though. “After my break, I was riding a bit slower, before going to work in training. I think my form is not bad, but I only came for preparation here.” He has the Tour de Suisse in mind next, but is also thinking about the Belgian Nationals in Leuven.

“I am a ProTour racer, with races of more importance that suit me better, because they are better organized for the peloton. In these conditions, it is sometimes more difficult to win in a race like the Tour of Belgium.

I think they must be working 2nd jobs and leading bike rides on the Canary Islands to supplement their incomes. That is a valid explanation.


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Yesterday we didn’t go back to Wichita to race. I probably would have gone, but it didn’t seem like Bill or Brian had much desire. It was going to be hot. I’m not sure why 90+ degree days seem so much hotter in June than they do in September. I guess we’re just used to it by then.

I missed the early ride window, so I waited until evening to ride a couple hours. So, I changed the oil in my diesel van. That is a project that isn’t cheap. I think by the time you pay for the synthetic oil and filter it is nearly $140. It takes nearly 15 liters of oil. There is something satisfying about putting new oil into a car. Especially a diesel. The oil from the diesel is so dirty looking when you drain it.

Trudi and I went over to the local university, Washburn, in the afternoon for an outdoor art fair. It was so hot, there weren’t that many people there. I saw Nathan Sheafor’s dad, Doug displaying his blown glass there. Nathan is from Topeka, went to Topeka High, and was a good cyclist. He rode on the 1992 Olympic Team with Lance and Co. Doug asked me if I’d seen my name in the Sunday paper. I said no. Our paper has gotten so sickly thin that I only skim through it nowadays. He said that I was on a list of the top 100 best athletes from Topeka/Shawnee County. Here is the list. ( I hardly know any of the names, so you probably shouldn’t waste you time looking at it.) Anyway, I didn’t think much of being included on the list. But, I thought that is Nathan’s name was on the list and mine wasn’t, it probably would have irked me. Isn’t that strange? Either both of our names or neither is fine. I’m not sure what goes through the human brain to make it think that way.

My brother didn’t finish the Dirty Kanza on Saturday, along with 75% of the field. Dan Hughes, the owner of Sunflower Bicycle Shop in Lawrence was the first solo finisher. Pretty great ride Dan. Keith Walberg started at a casual pace and that paid off. He finished 15th over all in a little over 15 1/2 hours. That was unbelievable. I’m not sure I could have done it. I don’t really have any desire to do it, but that must be wrong because it is so interesting to me. I can’t imagine what it would have been like at 11 hours thinking I have only 4 1/2 hours of hilly gravel roads to ride. My butt would have been toast for sure. Dirty Kanza results.

I think my lungs are better. I’m coughing up way less stuff than two days ago. If I keep on this path, this might be the shortest duration I’ve been sick in recent history, 10 days or so if it clears up before the NRC race, Tulsa Tough this weekend.

Tulsa starts Friday night with a night time criterium. Then another one on Saturday night, finishing up with a really hard, hot race on Sunday afternoon. It has something like $100,000 total prize list between all the catagories. If you can believe it, that is way down from previous years. This hard economic times must be difficult in Oklahoma. I really can’t believe they have been able to put on this incredible event for so many years straight. It is amazing.

I’m not too sure how to train before Tulsa. Probably need to motor pace a day, but I doubt that will happen. Maybe a high altitude training camp would be best?

Not cheap by any means.

Some of the Albo glass stuff.

Keith’s tweet from yesterday. He definitely deserved a beer.

Turtles/Red Necks

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I have a personal rule that I stop for nearly any turtle I come upon when I’m out riding. I stop in my car too if it’s safe. This is about the time of the year when there are turtles galore out on the roads. It’s probably the combination of all the rain and heat. I’m not exactly sure why, but it seems like early June is when it really gets going. Green turtles, snapping turtles, box turtles are all on the move.

Yesterday I ran upon two turtles while out on the group ride. The first one was a medium sized green turtle high tailing it across the road. I stopped, but by the time I had turned around it was nearly to the other side. Three cars were coming and I was waving my arms, pointing down at the turtle. Not one of them even slowed the least bit and the last one missed squishing the turtle by an inch. I couldn’t believe it. The turtle just kept going at full speed and ran right off the road.

So, towards the end of the ride, there was a small snapping turtle in the other lane. I turned around to get it. I’m not big on snapping turtles. They are very primal looking and seem to be pretty mean, like they want to either bite and/or scratch you with their crazy claws at all times.

So, I toss the turtle in the water in the ditch. Right then, a way overweight, Australian Cattle dog comes running towards me from an adjacent house. I have my right foot clipped in and am just getting going. The dog charges me and turns it head like it is going to bite my left leg. I just kick back and whack the dog in the snout. It backs off a little, but still is crazy aggressive.

Right then, I hear someone shouting from the porch to, “Leave my dog alone and get off my property.” I’m taken aback. I see these rednecks on a wood porch, grilling. I say something back about maybe they should call their dog back. It, the dog, is still going crazy. But, the guys keeping yelling something about moving on down the road “off their property.” I was on a state highway. Not even close to their property.

I couldn’t help it, but I ride back to “discuss” the definition of their property. I guess I knew up front that wasn’t going to go anywhere. But, just then, Catherine came riding back to see what’s up. The dog immediately goes for her. I tell her to turn around because the dog is vicious and because she is not great at making good decisions around vicious dogs. The guys yell again from the porch. Catherine yells something like, “hey, come get your dog.” They yell something back with a lot of F@#% you, etc. Then they say something like if we don’t leave, they are going to call the police. Man, these guys were idiots. Catherine is starting to get worked up. I tell her we should just leave and ride off. She followed reluctantly.

I don’t mind the dog guarding its perceived property. But, I am not big on having a fairly vicious dog running loose. And when the “owners” see the dog acting aggressively towards people, they make no attempt to defuse the situation, like call or get their dog.

But then they threaten to call the police. That was a weird “threat” on it’s own, since I was standing in the opposite lane of a state highway, not even in front of their property. Nonetheless, what is this all about not being able to just talk like regular people? At least as regular as these yahoo’s can be. I would of loved the police coming by at the time.

So, we’re riding down the road, trying to catch up with the group, when in a church parking lot a mile down the road, there are two sheriff cars parked, the guys talking. I make a spur of the moment decision, turn in and ask which one of them wants my business.

So, I give them a 30 second description of the altercation. I tell them I have no problem with the dog, just the owners. And that I understand that there isn’t a lease law in the county, but it would have been a pretty scary situation for most people. The sheriffs say they’ll go by and “talk”. I feel weird sicking the sheriff on those guys, but I think that was one of the only ways to convince stupid people, like these guys, to act the least bit like responsible citizens.

Here’s a place you can buy a turtle costume for your dog. What a great idea.

Here's a great photo. A redneck in the back of his pickup truck with a huge snapper. Boy, how proud he must be.

David Millar Quotes

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I don’t really have much of an opinion of David Millar. I don’t really follow him the least bit. Mainly for the reason that once a guy gets caught doping, especially after winning the World Championships, doped, I don’t pay any more attention to him. It really doesn’t matter to me that he confessed all and proclaimed to be the self appointed anti doping spokesperson for the peloton.

But somehow yesterday, I read an interview from Millar about Conador and Lance. For one thing, I’m not sure why anyone gives David a pulpit to speak, even talking into account that he won the final TT of the Giro last Sunday. But, that aside, I don’t understand this guy’s reasoning and observation skills.

He says, “Does anybody out there seriously doubt that Contador was riding clean in the Giro d’Italia that has just finished? You don’t win the biggest races in the world with such clockwork regularity and comparative ease, and in such style, by not being the supreme talent and clean. In my experience the profile of a doper is always much more erratic and unpredictable.”

Win the biggest races in the world with such clockwork regularity and comparative ease? By not being a supreme talent and clean? What I hate the most about the last two decades of cycling is these grand tours are won with regularity and comparative ease. And nearly none of them were won by riders that were “clean”. What doesn’t David get?

In my experience, which is mainly observing, the profile of a doper is always incredible. Day after day of incredible performances. Big riders that can climb with the best, little riders that all of a sudden can time trial with the big guys. It is not erratic. Not unpredictable. It is totally predictable. They do unbelievable feats day after day, season after season.

Earlier in the article he says something about Lance –“I can’t say definitively if Lance doped or not. Yes, there are all the stories and rumors but I certainly never saw him dope with my own eyes. If he did dope, after all he has said and done, it would be unforgivable.”

His view of Lance seems little harsh, considering David’s background. But, I understand what he means.

Here’s a quote of David from the The Telegraph from last December. “How mad is that?” says Millar shaking his head. “You go down the wrong path mainly because you feel it’s the only way you can win the biggest prizes and you get a bit messed up mentally yet all the time you have it within yourself naturally to perform at levels you hadn’t really dreamed of. Honestly? I have never been fitter and riding better than I was at the end of this 2010 season, at the world championships and the Commonwealth Games. No drugs could have got me to that condition.”

So David thinks that he was fitter and riding better that anytime of his life and that drugs couldn’t have ever gotten him to that point? Maybe he wasn’t using the right drugs properly.

I guess maybe I should just read his new book, ‘Racing through the darkness: the fall and rise of David Millar’ and try to get a handle of his thought process. On second thought, I think he participated in a practice of the sport that seems, in his words, unforgivable, so I think I’ll just skip it.

Kind of wish he would have just kept the scuba thing going instead of becoming a stauch advocate against doping if he is going to keep spewing stupid shit.