Monthly Archives: January 2012

Albert’s Manager is an Idiot

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I’m not sure why people of authority seem to always want to air their views publicly. A manager is supposed to be media savvy. Niels Albert’s manager isn’t, not even close. And his statement makes his client look like a unappreciative cheapskate. His statement is that Niels shouldn’t split his cross worlds bonus with his team mates. He goes on to say when being asked about the agreement before the race that the bonus would be split, “Who is violating the agreements? Albert or the other Belgians?” He is implying that Nys and Pauwels were chasing Albert, which they were (so what) so they don’t deserve their split.

I’m not sure what to say other than Niels should come out immediately and say his manager is full of shit and that he will of course give his full bonus to his Belgian team mates. It’s not like we’re talking much money here, it’s 22,000 Euro total. Niels will get that back in 2 starts next season.

You can click here to see the whole article. I thought that Christophe Roodhooft, Niels manager, seemed pretty genuine while being interview during the last laps of the race. He was breaking up and crying he was so emotional. Reminded of Tom Cruise in Jerry Maguire. Now he seems more like Michael Douglas’ character of Gordon Gekko in Wall Street.

Belgium National TV even interviews Niels' wife and his manager after the race.

Christophe resembles Gekko more.

Racing Hurt

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I’ve been hurt a bunch racing bikes. Bicycling Magazine did an article on me a few years back with a semi-nude shot and pointing some of the injures I’ve incurred throughout my lifetime racing bikes, along with the attributes of being an athlete. It is kind of weird because I haven’t really been hurt too bad recently. It seems like all the little nicks are turning into lifetime injuries, but that is just age. I haven’t had a broken bone or really bad crash for a few years.

I don’t wear a helmet much training. Okay, here I admit it, I actually never wear a helmet training. And I’ve hit my head a bunch on the pavement. With a hairnet helmet, no helmet, hardshell, whatever, I always seem to get rattled just about the same. It isn’t that I don’t understand that it would be much, much safer wearing a helmet while out on my bike with automobiles, it is that I just hate wearing a helmet period. I actually have a hard time remembering what helmet is mine most of the time. I was talking to Chris Horner a couple months back at a cyclo-x I did in San Diego and he concurred with me on the helmet thing. He told me he packed up and flew to many races and completely forgot his helmet. He’d have to call someone at Giro and have them overnight him a helmet at the race. Boy, if it was just that easy for all of us. It’s all probably just old school, when we didn’t even have to race with helmets if we didn’t want. I don’t know, I just haven’t had a helmet in recent years that I’m attached to much.

Anyway, I am constantly surprised that so many riders, many professional riders, are breaking so many bones nowadays. Especially collarbones. I’ve always attributed the main reason of collarbone fractures to toeclips. Ever since I had clipless pedals, I’ve never broken a collar bone. And before, I broke it all the time. Close to once a season at least. With toeclips, when you go into a pile, your feet stayed connected to the bike, which stopped in the pile, thus throwing you over the front end and on to your head/shoulder. Now with clipless pedals, you are going into the pile, you twist your body to try to miss it by maneuvering your bike, but you’ve release your pedals by this point. So when you hit the pile, your bike stops and you get throw forward, not down on your head. This new superman position launch is good for not breaking bones, but not so good with getting a ton of road rash every where on your body.

I used to race pretty quickly after getting hurt. It all started at a young age when I was an intermediate(junior 13-14). I crashed in Superweek and broken my collarbone on Wednesday. We got in the car and drove back to Kansas and I saw an orthopedic surgeon on Thursday. I now don’t know to think of his decision making process, but I talked him into telling my mom that it would be okay to race the Nationals which were on Saturday. So we jumped back into the car and drove back up to Milwaukee for the Nationals. I crashed in Nationals again, off the front with Jeff Bradley, because my clavicle strap was too tight, cutting the blood flow off to my arms. That doctor was pretty old school himself I think.

I once pretty much destroyed myself hitting a car in the 1985 British Milk Race at 60 mph or so. I broke my collarbone, leg, hand and had a pretty bad concussion. I raced the Coor’s Classic less than 8 weeks later and then the World Road Championships right after that. In those days, it didn’t seem like a big deal to race as soon as your body would allow it. Cycling is very easy on your body as long as you don’t hit the ground too often.

I still wonder why they always operate on collarbones of European riders and here in the US we have to wait it out naturally. Just a couple weeks ago, Sebastien Rosseler, a new addition to the Garmin Team, from RadioShack, broke his collarbone training. They said he was going to be off the bike for a week. That is pretty quick to be back riding. Surgery allows that.

Anyway, riding while hurt has never seemed to prolong a injury. I broke my hip in the mountain bike version of the Tour de France, The VTT. I got back to Topeka in just a few days and asked the doctor when I could ride. He asked me if I was walking up and down stairs. I told him yes. He said, go ahead. His rational was that walking up and down stairs puts a lot more stress on the hip that pedaling a bicycle. I was all for it. From my experience, riding through crashed cased injuries makes the healing process quicker. But, maybe I’ve just been lucky all these years?

The article was a 2 page fold out. You can click twice to enlarge either one.

And this was the car I hit at the British Milk Race. It came out about as bad as I did.

And this was the ticket the police came and gave me in the hospital for riding a bicycle recklessly. I still do.

Belgium Nationals or World Championship?

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I’ve had nearly 24 hours to let the Elite Cyclocross Worlds mull around in my mind and I’m not good with it. Something is amiss here, but I can’t exactly put my finger on it. It most likely started with the “stacked” results by the Belgium team. The results were not good for anyone involved other than Niels Albert and Rob Peeters. But it goes beyond that. It is a multitude of small things that add up to perplexity.

I have to state once more, the course sucked. I know the course was extreme, but it was too extreme for a World Championship. It was nearly singletrack most of the way around. That isn’t my idea of cross. Passing should be much easier. Weather sometimes makes a course less passing friendly, but it was never going to be the case on that course, no matter what the weather was going to be.

The course wasn’t long enough either. With this new 80% rule being enforced, the time to get pulled was really small, making the results look all that more wrong. I’ll state it once more, the rule sucks! When Jeromy Powers, the US National Champion and a rider that has finished top 10 in a World Cup this season, gets pulled with -2 laps, something is drastically wrong. Way over half the field was pulled. Chris Jones, one of the best cross riders in the US got pulled at 5 laps, half the race. It wasn’t a great course for him, but come on. A couple of riders only got to ride 2 out of 10 laps. I stated a couple days ago that I wouldn’t even have bothered to line up if I started more than 3 rows back. I’m sticking with that. Niels Albert had a 0 % chance of winning that race from the 4th row. I understand the line up procedure and the fairness of it, but it is the World Championships and it is its’ own race. Let’s give the other riders that aren’t on the front row a little chance to show themselves if they are having that day.

The results were pretty predictable. The women’s race was too easy to pick the winner. It was a given. And Niels Albert wasn’t really a stretch either. I really don’t follow the Euro cross season super closely, close enough to know each and every guys abilities on each course and I didn’t have much of a problem guessing a couple guys that finished in the front. It was a reach throwing in Rob Peeters in my pre race predictions, but I’ve seen a couple videos of him motoring through the sand recently and thought he might have a stellar day on home turf.

Stybar cracking wasn’t something that I expected. But, it is sport and everyone has good and bad days. Having a good day on a course Koksijde is as much mental as physical. Mentally, losing the gap on Albert so early into the first lap seemed to destroy him. He was never really a part of the mix. Too bad, it would of legitimized the race some if he would have been in contention more.

16 riders at the Belgium National Championships and then they finish 1st through 7th at the World Championships. It seems weird, to say the least. It’s like the Russian Team Time Trial Teams of the 80’s. I remember a story when the Czech National TTT team went to ride the Russian National Championships one year and finshed 19th place. Then a couple weeks later, at the World Championships, the Russian Team won and the Czech Team finished 2nd. That means there were 18 TTT teams in Russian that could have won the World Championships. Viatcheslav Ekimov, who won the Olympics twice on the track, once said it was harder winning the Russian Nationals than the Olympics. That could now be said about cyclocross in Belgium.

I have to be astonished that I didn’t witness one male rider fall in the Elite race. The bike handling skills of those guys in the sand was phenomenal. And it was completely amazing the 61,000 + spectators lining the course. Belgium is crazy for cyclocross, that is for sure. When the King of Belgium is in attendance, that is something special. (I don’t think Obama, or whoever, is going to be in Louisville next January.) I’m sure most of the people there are still shaking heads about the results. As I am. I’m sure I’ll post more about this later when I can get a handle on what I think really happened and try to make more sense of it.

Picture is worth 1000 words.

Cross Worlds- Wow! Season is Over

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There is going to be a lot of talk about that race for a long time. It’s hard to believe that there are 7 riders in Belgium better than the rest of the world. Actually, it’s not that hard to believe considering the amount of time they spent in the sand each lap. Like I have said that last two days, there isn’t a place in the world that you race in those conditions other than Belgium. They grew up riding in it and thrive in it.

I might have to readdress whether Belgium cross is good for the sport. I’m not sure that even the Belgium fans want a 1st through 7th sweep. Pretty unbelievable.

So, that officially marks the end of cyclo-x season. At least for me. I’m taking a rear derailleur off one of my cross bikes and am going to make my road bike functional again. Cross season is officially over. We rode 55 miles yesterday in the wind. I mean wind, like over 30 mph the whole time. We had a 20.6 mph average at the end. I don’t know what that was all about. It wasn’t even that warm, mid 40’s. Today it’s supposed to be warmer, then in the middle 60’s next week. Pretty nice end of January temperatures.

World Cyclocross Championships Results 2012

1 Niels Albert (Belgium)
2 Rob Peeters (Belgium)
3 Kevin Pauwels (Belgium)
4 Tom Meeusen (Belgium)
5 Bart Aernouts (Belgium)
6 Klaas Vantornout (Belgium)
7 Sven Nys (Belgium)

Tell me Niels wasn't completely dedicated and concentrated on the task at hand.

Belgium National TV even interviews Niels' wife and his manager after the race. Could you imagine our television interviewing Kobe Bryant's wife after a game? I don't think so.

U23 Worlds/Bart Wellens/Elite Men Prediction

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I don’t know if you got a chance to watch the U23 Worlds this morning, but if you didn’t you missed a very good bicycle race. I’m still not big on the course. There aren’t that many places in the world where we race 1/4 of a race in sand. The single line in the sand makes the start much too important. But that is cross.

I’ve been looking for the video of the last lap, but haven’t located it yet. The last lap was crazy exciting. 2 Dutch riders and 1 Belgian. From watching on the computer, the Belgium guy, Wietse Bosmans couldn’t have done anything more to lose the race. He didn’t lead into the sand section he was gapping the two Dutch riders on. And then within a stone throw of the finish, when the defending U23 Champion, Lars Van Der Haar, dabbed, Bosmans made the pass when Lars was dismounted and then didn’t attack. He looked back a couple times and sort of waited for Lars to catch back on. He then just let the Dutchman pass him 50 meters before the final corner, less than 200 meters from the finish. He got smoked in the sprint. It was 45 seconds that Wieste is going to remember for a very long time. I feel bad for him.

I wonder how thrilled Bart Wellens is going to be watching the cross worlds tomorrow. He had his house raided looking for drugs last week, but the authorities only took his computer. He’s been under investigation since before his near death experience before the Belgium Nationals a couple weeks ago. He says he’s not stressed about it. The original cause of the liver, heart, kidney failure was “clearly due to a bacterial viral infection” according to his personal doctor, Peter T. Seyen, said after the scare. Now the answer is that he had a tooth ache. I love it when the explanations just keep coming and changing. I’m lucky I didn’t spend a week in intensive care for my tooth the last month. You know those Belgians and their teeth. Sounds pretty plausible to me. If it doesn’t to you, then go with the viral infection explanation.

Tomorrow’s race is going to be great. I assume that Marianne Vos is going to win the women’s race easily. She has made that last few races look like child’s play. The Elite men are a different story. Like I stated above, the start is going to be crucial. I think that it is going to between the 4 guys that have won nearly every race this year. Dah. I am having a hard time choosing between Stybar and Albert. I would like to see Nys win, but he doesn’t have such a good record at the end of January. And Kevin Pauwels just isn’t World Champion material yet. He’ll have a good race, but he doesn’t ride with passion in my opinion. So, I’m going to go with Albert, then Stybar, Nys, then Rob Peters. I think Albert is the best in the sand when he has power. Stybar is going to be motivated, but it is in Belgium. Okay, we’ll see tomorrow. Don’t miss it. is the link. Women at 4 am CST and Men at 8 am CST.

Lars Van Der Haar winning over Wietse Bosmans in U23 Worlds.

My pick for tomorrow, Niels Albert, doing his thing in the sand.

Bart bounced back from this crash but not so fast from a bad tooth. He does have 31% liver function now though.