Monthly Archives: October 2011

Happy Halloween

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Halloween in Southern California seems to be more of a happening than other places. For sure, more than Topeka. People here seem to really want to go out of there way to put on costumes and party. Saturday I went to a Halloween party up near Rancho Santa Fe. It was incredible. The house was on a horse farm, but that aside, they spent a ton of $$$$ and effort to make up the whole ranch. They had a haunted walk, skeletons in their pool, and an awesome band dressed in costumes. Before the party we went into Encinitas for dinner and over half the people there were in costumes. I like Hallowen. A couple dressed as twin Lady Gaga’s won the costume contest at my party. Last time the same couple won for their ass-less chaps ensemble. I’m glad they were dressed as Lady Gaga this year. Anyway, enjoy the evening. Go for a Halloween ride.

Sue and 1/2 the Lady Gaga winner.

Pool with skeletons, band in the background.

Me. It wasn't my idea.

Bromont is going as a St. Bernard this year.

My friends Nan and Adam Gatewood getting ready for trick-or-treaters tonight.

A restaurant in La Jolla I rode by this afternoon.

2 DNF’s

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I’m not sure I’ve ever not finished two races in a row. Maybe on consecutive weekends, with a full 5 days in between, but I can’t remember two races back to back. And that was the case in San Diego this past weekend.

Saturday was probably more mentally frustrating of the two days. I hit my right knee pretty hard last weekend in Berryman. During the desert cross race, a little over 1/2 way, I was riding through a sand pit and wacked the inside of my knee on the top tube. Then, just a few pedals strokes later, I was climbing and my rear wheel lost traction and the same knee hit my bars. I immediately felt a shooting pain upon the next pedal stroke. I did just a couple more and stopped. The knee has been kind of iffy this whole past week and I was more than concerned that it was jacked up more than regular. I sat there for a minute or so and decided to get moving and it hardly hurt at all. It got sort of swollen, but by Sunday that seemed to be gone too. It makes me wonder if I’d just done a few more pedal strokes, it all would of been fine?

Sunday was just a mechanical. The course was the same desert dirt riding, with a tightish grass section on the back. About 1/2 way through, again, I was powering up a short steep climb and bam, my other knee was slamming into the bars and my chain was hanging on the cogs. I have only broke a handful of chains in my life. About equal with Shimano and Sram. But, I’ve ridden Shimano chains maybe 10X the times the duration I’ve ridden Sram, so it probably isn’t a fair comparison. It broke on the pin. I put it together correctly, pretty much, at least in the right direction. Maybe not using a Shimano chain tool is the reason. I don’t know. I think it is super weird that I brought a Park chain tool with me out here. I hardly packed any tools at all and have no idea why I threw a full size chain tool into my bag.

I’ve written here many times, I’d rather be riding good and have a bad result then riding bad and having a good result. That is the case here. But, I really don’t know how good I was riding. I never got to the point of the race where I really had to show my goods. Both races I was in the front. On Saturday there were just 3 of us left and then on Sunday it was a group of 5 or so. Both days I was completely within myself, which is nice since it was a cyclo-x and that is pretty much a luxury.

So, I’m going to ride some big miles this week in Southern California. I raced my training wheels both days, setup with bald Hutchinson Bulldog tubeless tires. I’m finally going to take those tires off today and put road tires back on. I think it was nearly been a month. I bet the road tires feel great. It’s supposed to be in the mid 70’s most of the week, cooler on the coast of course. Should be perfect for riding.

Yesterday afternoon, after fixing my chain, I rode up the coast to Del Mar. I was thinking how great it is that what I do on a normal day is nearly exactly the same as what I’d be doing if I was vacationing. I completely understand how unique that is and that makes me appreciate it just that much more.

This wasn't the actual temperature on Saturday, but it was really hot inland, approaching 90 at least.

Not a track race, the start and finish of Sunday's race was on the Velodrome in Balboa Park.

You had to do a u-turn exiting the track. Cyclo-x in Southern California has become more popular recently.

Leading, early in the race on Saturday.

Sunday's winner, Brandon Gritters, going over the barriers the final time.

And Saturday's winner, Brent Prenslow, finishing 2nd on Sunday.

I got to catch up with Chris Horner a bit. He is still on blood thinners, from his Tour de France crash, but is feeling fine and training like normal.

Brian Jensen, my Tradewind Energy team mate, went up to Iowa and won on Saturday.

How do you Forget your Pedals?

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Yesterday every thing went great. My new favorite airlines is Frontier. Southwest is a close 2nd. Frontier does most everything that Southwest does that I like, not charging for changing tickets, buying one way tickets, etc. But they don’t charge anything for shipping bikes. That is a pretty huge saving, depending on which other airline you might being flying. You even save $100 RT compared to Southwest.

So, I got up to Don and Sue’s house in La Jolla yesterday, and was talking to Don about riding rigid forks when I instantly thought that I didn’t have my XTR pedals to race cross. I never forget stuff. Well, obviously that isn’t true. I usually have a mental check list that it pretty complete and I over prepared if anything. That is probably half the reason I have a full size van to drive around most of the season. But not this time. And it’s a drag.

I’ve never forgot my shoes. Thurlow Rogers once forgot his shoes at a huge stage race in Italy and ended up riding some spectators shoe’s, that didn’t fit him, but he had a great ride and finished 2nd. Bill Stolte, a few years back, forgot his shoes at the hotel for the Burlington Road Race, in Iowa. He used our friends Vincent’s shoes and Speedplay pedals, vs. Shimano, and he also got 2nd on the day. I wonder if that is just a coincidence? I’ve never forgot my shoes. But I have pedals.

Anyway, I was stressed most of yesterday afternoon. I finally got a hold of Mike Olson, the czar of the Trek Stores of San Diego, and he found some pedals up in the Vista, Ca store. I would have went there and got them, but the traffic here is so bad on Friday between 3 and 7 on Friday, that it would have driven me nuts.

So, I’m going to go by the store today on the way to the race and get them. I’m still uneasy about that, but I really have no reason to be. The pedals are at the store and I can get there. But, that’s the curse of being an athlete. You always need to have something to worry about.

Don and Sue's new dog, Kaya. They found her on the way back from Durango a couple months ago, on an Indian reservation. She had been shot in the head with a shot gun and is now missing one eye, but it doesn't seem to slow her down the least.

Flying into Denver yesterday. Winter is here.

Sunset over the ocean yesterday.

California Bound/Bike Bags

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I am getting on a plane in a couple hours and flying out to San Diego. I have a few things I need to do out in Southern California and there are a couple cyclo-x races this weekend in the San Diego area, so I thought I might as well go out there a couple days early.

I’ve packed a bicycle for flying 100’s, if not 1000’s of times. I don’t use a hard case. Hard cases are a hassle. Especially if more than one rider is being picked up or getting in the same rental car.

When I first started racing, there wasn’t such a thing as a hard case. Just thin, nylon bags. The bags got thicker and eventually came with wheels. The first time I went to Europe I was so surprised that the European riders just took off their pedals and turned their handlebars sideways and gave their bikes to the airlines to ship. I thought how easy it would be to always only have to do that. But, in those days, not many riders in Europe flew..

I use old Athalon bags I got when I rode for the Levi’s team. I’ve put new super heavy duty zippers into them and they are nearly bomb proof. Like I said above, I’ve flew tons and have only had my bike dinged maybe twice. A couple wheels out of true, but nothing too major. When you pack the wheels on the outside of the frame, they act as paddling and it seems to work pretty well. I’ve had as many a 3 complete bikes in one bag, still under the 50 lb limit if I stick some pedals and seats in my checked luggage. I commonly fly with two cross bikes, plus extra wheels in one bag. With bike charges going insane, it is mandatory.

Ned was the first guy I ran into that used a hard case. It was such a hassle. In Europe, we had to rent a utility van for Trudi, Moser (mechanic), Ned and I, plus Ned’s fiberglass bike case. It was like having another bike along. A nylon bag folds up and can be used as padding when you pack your bikes into a car. Ned’s case was beyond cumbersome.

So, one early season trip, we were staying outside Madrid, Spain, and Ned had put his hard case out on the balcony. We were staying pretty high in the hotel, probably over 10 stories. So, Moser and I are on the balcony talking about what a hassle Ned’s case is and somehow it is decided that we should just throw it off the balcony onto the pavement of the parking lot below, to help Ned get of the “professional program”. Ned is sitting in the hotel room in full view of us. So, I’m not sure who did it, but one of us picked up the case and tossed it over the railing. Ned was on the balcony looking down before it hit the ground. It didn’t quite explode, but was definitely hurt pretty badly. I don’t remember Ned’s response. I’m not sure I’ve even seen him get crazy upset. But Ned does go down and drag the case back up to the room.

After the race, we were staying a couple more days before heading to Italy or somewhere and we go out shopping. Ned comes back with this sheet of fiberglass and some resin and proceeds to patch his case back together. It was quite a production and super smelly. I was beyond amused watching the process. I bet he still has that case.

I use pipe tubing now just because they seem to throw stuff around a lot more than they used to.

I used to be able to sometimes get out of the bike charge by saying it was a Levi’s display.

Good for Nothin’ but Pedalling

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Yesterday I helped Trudi build a couple cedar planters to put in the front yard to get the strawberries more sunlight. Today my legs are so sore. And that is just after less than two hours of, not even, manual labor.

I’ve always been amazed how bad cyclists are at doing other things with their legs, other than riding their bikes. They aren’t good at standing. They get tired walking too much. While Christmas shopping, I have to “rest” while shopping. It seems nuts. A rider can pedal continuously for 6 hours at a stretch and can’t go shopping for two hours.

I run pretty okay. I ran a 4:16 mile during my one semester of college. But I’ve never been able to run downhill without being destroyed. I’ve run a few 10 km and even a half marathon once. Uphill, I could breathe through my noise, downhill I would be sprinting as hard as I could go as the other runners were nearly talking.

One year after the National Road Championship, 3 of us from Kansas decided to go hiking in the Grand Canyon. We loaded up our packs, the day after the race, and hiked the 9 miles down to the Colorado River. The next day, not one of us could stand up. I had to use a tree to get vertical. We ended up staying not hiking for another 3 days and when we started moving along the plateau, we mostly walked backwards when we went downhill.

The same after hiking Mt. Fuji with Ned and Trudi, after a Cactus Cup in Japan. Uphill, a breeze. Downhill unbelievable hard. Ned couldn’t step off a curb trying to catch a cab to the bikeshow, since he couldn’t walk anymore. Trudi was fine. Not sore the least. I was destroyed.

I remember reading that Zoop Zoetemelk, who won the Tour in 1980, did a Superstars competition and couldn’t do one pull up or dip or something involving his arms. An European road cyclist wouldn’t have done very well in the

I know we’re all trying to get more balanced and most cyclists are doing some core work, etc., but it is nothing compared to the amount of time we spend riding. And, it seems, that is only good for doing that, making our legs go around in circles.

Cutting the wood in my driveway probably was what did in my hamstrings.

Obviously not done. It is going to be around $100 to get enough dirt delivered to fill these. That seems like way too much.

I saw this guy on the way back from riding yesterday. I'm not too much into the commercialization of Halloween, but this guy was great. His head moved back and forth. Pretty scary.