Monthly Archives: February 2012

100 miles – 103K Views

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Yesterday was the 3rd day in a row with the temperatures near record highs here in Kansas. It is such a treat not wearing anything over my knees at the end of January. Yesterday and the day before, the high was nearly 70. Needless to say, I got a fair number of hours in on my bike. I got a new Garmin for Christmas and I have close to 1100 miles on it now. That is with not having it on my bike for the whole time I was in Madison for Cross Nationals, plus Worlds in Louisville, plus the 5 days I took off roofing. So, I have about 20 recorded days on the thing. Today I rode 100 miles and felt pretty good. Great, maybe, for this time of the year. I guess I haven’t really taken any time off, not a block at least, so maybe that’s the explanation. I think I’ll stay fit until the first of March and then rest some in March and April. Those are kind of down months here in the Midwest

Speaking of Garmins, it seems like some of the numbers are just made up. Like the calories. Yesterday it said I expended 6200 calories. I have no idea how it generates that number. It doesn’t even know how windy it is. And it was pretty windy. I think I need to get something that sends power/wattage to the Garmin sometime soon. I was sort of waiting for the pedals that Garmin is making, but I don’t know. I’ve been doing this pretty long without that gadget, but it might be fun to see the numbers. Especially since the Garmin unit separates each legs power.

Yesterday too was a milestone here on my website. It was the first month that I’ve had over 100,000 views. It was 103 thousand and change officially. I don’t have anything to compare that too, but it is a round number, so it caught my attention. So for everyday in January, about once every 25 seconds someone clicked here. That is for 24 hours a day. If we factor in the time people sleep, then it’s one every 17 seconds. It seems like a lot to me, but like I said above, I don’t have anything to compare it to.

Okay, I’m going to ride on gravel today. Hopefully 4 hours or so. I’m looking for a race to do soon. Hopefully this weekend.

Bill and Adam riding South of Lawrence.

I love these stand alone trees that make the cut and mature along the edges of the fields.

We rode gravel for a few miles on the Rver Road, on the way back, to try to get out of the wind some.

Garmin view of my ride yesterday.


Clothing Rules??

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I’m flying to California tomorrow. There is a road race on Saturday, the kick off to the Southern California road season. I was looking at the event flyer and was a little worried about it being a little too hot for me. Sometimes inland in Southern California can be a little toasty. Like in November when I did a cross race at 90 degrees. But, then I saw the event flyer. Here is the rules section-

Rules: Race runs rain or shine. All USCF and NCCA rules apply. Riders must wear helmets at all times. Course is open to
traffic; obey all traffic regulations. Centerline rule is strictly enforced. Littering on the course is prohibited. You will get no
warning—you will be disqualified and fined by the CHP on your first offense. “Appropriate clothing policy”: if a rider does
not have appropriate gear suited to the cold weather, then they will not be allowed to start.

I thought, wow, they must think it is going to be cold and, wow, a clothing rule. I’ve nearly never ran into an “appropriate clothing policy”. Is a policy a rule? Anyway, I’m wondering who decides what appropriate clothing actually is. Is there a cycling official Maitre d’ that makes sure you have the right clothing on? I don’t get it. I don’t really understand it. Maybe they’ve had a problem with all these LA and San Diego guys showing up at 4000 ft. in January and getting caught it a snow storm?

The only other time I’ve been associated with anything near this is at The Tour of Southland, in Invercargill, New Zealand. There was a TTT for the prologue and when we pulled up to start, the UCI commissaire, who was from Japan, told us to take our knee warmers off. This was 1 minute before our start. He didn’t speak English and we didn’t really understand what he was talking about. It was in the 40’s. So, we frantically ripped our knee warmers off and barely made the start.

After the race, I asked our team manager what that was all about. He went and talked to the commissaire and the next day he brought me a printout in English that explained there was a UCI rule that addressed clothing extending below your knees. Mainly concerning aerodynamics. A couple stages later there was a time trial. I had flatted the day before and got a crummy wheel change, so I was pretty much out of GC. So I was going to roll the time trial. It was barely 50, so I had on knee warmers and a long sleeve jersey. Going to the starting ramp, the UCI guy stopped me and told me it wasn’t cold enough to wear knee warmers. In sign language since he didn’t speak any English. So I just took my knee warmer and folded them up over my knees, to abide by the official rule. He didn’t think that was too funny and there was no way he was going to let me start in inappropriate clothing. So, I scrambled once again, not that it really mattered, took off my knee warmers and rode the TT at 20 mph.

Seriously here, I don’t think it is anyone’s business, other than the rider, how much clothing a rider wears when he is racing. If this appropriate clothing rule would be enforce in cross, I wouldn’t have been able to start the last few National Championships in shorts. I usually don’t like anything over my knees. I’ve been training down to around 50 degrees bare legged recently. But, there are tons of guys that wear leg warmers over 60. To each his own. It is ludicrous to think that someone other that the racer themselves should decide on the appropriate clothing.

I don’t think it is going to be an issue on Saturday. The temperature is supposed to be in the mid 70’s in San Diego. I can’t image that it could be that much cooler at 4000 ft. altitude.

Since we’re on the subject of cycling clothing, The Clymb has a bunch of Craft cycling stuff on sale that seems pretty cheap. Here is the link, you have to sign in to view, but it’s not a long procedure.

Pretty wouldn't be able to start in San Diego?

Kevin Pauwels probably couldn't be wearing these in New Zealand.

Packing to Race

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I flew to San Diego yesterday. I was sort of behind schedule all this week from roofing, riding most of the daylight hours and a sundry of other things. I wasn’t flying until after 6 so I had all day to pack and get ready.

I went to the bank and deposited a check and the teller there needed to see my driver’s license and told me that my driver’s license was expiring next week. That threw a whole new twist in the day. I thought I would be at the driver’s license exam place all afternoon. I was pleasantly surprised that all I had to do was look into a scope to do a eye test and then give them $38 and it was done. I was in and out in less than 5 minutes.

So, I called Bill up and went for a couple hour ride. It was pretty windy still, but felt alright. Kind of sore from finishing up the roofing yesterday, but not so sore that I wasn’t pedaling round. I’m a little worried that today I’m going to go through the 2 day effect and feel like shit. Anyway, I got back home and had about an hour to get ready to go.

What amazed me was how easy it is to travel to a road race. I don’t know why, but I’d forgotten how easy racing on the road is. This is from an equipment, planning perspective. All I needed was my road bike, race wheels, bike bag, a couple water bottles.

I have to compare it to how much preparation and work it was to do any cyclo-cross weekend. Not even counting the countless hours in the garage making the bikes work correctly, but just the amount of stuff you need, just in case, is amazing. It is somewhat the same in MTB racing. Tires, extra tubes, quickfills, etc.

Riding for Wheaties Schwinn was the first time that I had a race bike and a training bike. Before then, there wasn’t a luggage fee for bikes, so it wasn’t much of a hassle to travel with a bike. We didn’t take much care in packing the bikes. They got crashed, repainted fairly often. Whenever there was a team van at the race, we wouldn’t have to bring a bike. But, lots of races, all the support flew too. So we had to bring our training bikes.

Our race weekends were pretty in and out. That was to get to the race as late as possible and leave on the first flight after. By the first flight after, I mean if the race finished at 4 pm, I’d get a flight at 5 or so. Back in those days, if I could get to most any airport 15 minutes before the flight, it was all good. That was with a completely assembled bike and a bike bag. I could get my bike into a bag and on its way down the conveyer belt in less than 2 minutes. Rear derailleur off, seat and seat post off, wheels beside the frame and zip. I still don’t quite understand why my bike wasn’t completely destroyed most every time I flew. But it was exactly the opposite. I think I’ve only had my bike dinged maybe twice my whole life. That is out of flying 100’s, if not 1000’s, of flights. Of course I’ve had a few wheels knocked out of true, but that isn’t such a problem usually.

I’ve flown with 3 bicycles in one bike bag. That is my record, 3 bikes and one extra set of race wheels. It was when I flew to a race weekend in Miami that did Coconut Grove and also a Gant MTB race the same weekend. I flew with both my bikes. Trudi raced the MTB race and all I did was lower the seat and that was it. The reach was pretty long, but that was how it went. She won the women’s Gant race and for that they gave her a new Fuji MTB. She’d won a bunch of these already and we didn’t have much of a problem selling them right after the race. This race we did. MTB racing hadn’t picked up in South Florida and the bike was small, so we had to bring it back. It was lucky I had some time to completely disassemble those bikes, because it took a while and it was tight. Plus, it probably weighed 100 lbs or so.

I wrap my tubes with plumber’s pipe wrap now. I don’t do much other than take the rear dropout off, seat/seat post and turn the handlebars under. I use an old Athalon bike bag from the Levis’ days. We put new beefy zipper in them a few years ago and they work great. I have no use for a hard case or soft cast with wheels. It is just too much weight and it takes too much time to pack the things to make it worth the while. I do have cut cardboard on the side to protect it some. You wouldn’t think it does much, but it does.

Anyway, what a refreshing day it was packing to go to a road race. And no, I didn’t forgot my helmet on the first trip of the year.

FInished package all safe and sound in La Jolla.

I don’t understand the Law

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I really don’t understand the law. The Department of Justice finished the Lance Armstrong investigation and closed it without filing any charges. I have no idea whether this was the right decision or not. I guess I need to say I hope so. I obviously have no access to any of the information they used to make the ruling.

Further on in this article from that states that – U.S. Anti-Doping Agency CEO Travis Tygert said in a statement that his organization would pursue documents from the investigation. I don’t understand this.

I thought a grand jury gathered information, in private, and used that information for the purpose of deciding whether to file charges against a person or corporation. I had no idea that the information that the grand jury gathered could be used later on for other purposes, such as by USADA to pursue an anti-doping case against Lance.

I know a few of Lance’s team mates have made statements about his drug usage and that seems fair game. But to use the information that the US government used for a criminal case seems beyond what the whole purpose of the grand jury investigation was originally.

Of course there are others involved too. I think that Levi, George Hincapie and some other current racers were called in to testify before the grand jury. Can USADA use their sworn testimony against them now? The case wasn’t against them to begin with, but if they incriminated themselves testifying, does that mean they are going to be sanctioned? Strange.

Well, it seems that this is going to drag on for a while longer. Great.

Anyway, I’m off to the near the Mexican border, Campo, to road race at noon. 90 miles. Should be an effort.

Boulevard Road Race – Campo California

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The Boulevard Road Race was yesterday, but I didn’t get back until late and then there was the KU game on after, so I’m just going to have to update this a little later after I get some more sleep.

Okay, now I have more sleep, but it is a perfect day in San Diego and it seems like a crime to spend even one more minute on the computer now, so I’m just going to do it tomorrow. Super bowl Sunday and all. Going to breakfast and then for a ride up through Rancho Santa Fe.
Results below.

My view this morning from La Jolla.

Click twice to enlarge.

The start was near Campo, up near a Summit off I-8.

The sunset leaving the race was great.

Contador Ruling – Justice?

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Okay, it’s a little hard to write about a puny little road race in the mountains outside San Diego when the Contador ruling comes out. So, here’s a little of my thoughts on Contador and I’ll post the Boulevard road race later.

Contador’s 2 year ban was really surprising to me. There were tons of things wrong with the whole thing. The main thing wrong was the duration it took to get to this point. I’ve written it before here, the time involves almost is enough to give him a get-out-of-jail-free card. Andy Schleck said it took 566 days. I don’t know if that is actually correct, but whatever it was it is stupid. I don’t know if it was the process or Contador’s lawyers or what that made the process so drawn out, but ultimately the process was flawed.

I remember talking to Chris Horner about Contador’s case at a cross race here in San Diego in November. Chris told him in would nearly guarantee that Contador would get off. He said for sure. And he had some pretty good points backing up his belief. He said something about a whole soccer team in Mexico turning up positive for Clenbuterol. Then he said the the UCI had told the riders that were doing the Pro Tour event, Tour of China, that they shouldn’t ingest the meat at the race because of the risk of a Clenbuterol positive. Chris, in my opinion, is one super smart bike racer. He nearly had me convinced. But, obviously, that wasn’t the case.

Everyone that is speaking out, mainly the other Spanish riders, Andy Schleck and such, seem to still be in Alberto’s camp. It goes to show you that he must be pretty much liked in the inner cycling circles, which is nice, but not really pertinent. What was pertinent was that he had a trace of Clenbuterol in his body during the Tour de France. I have a line draw in the sand with in comes to doping. Sorry, he crossed it, so he needs to serve his time out.

But what kind of time out is it? I don’t understand how his 2 year ban is done on August 5th, before the start of the Vuelta this year. He’s been racing the whole time. Isn’t a two year ban actually 2 years of not racing? Seems like this one is 6 months of actually not racing. Seems weird and wrong.

Whatever the fallout of this whole thing, I can only hope that the process somehow is addressed and is made to seem more believable. This whole procedure was flawed on many levels. So many levels that it seems like they need to maybe start all over again and try to make one that legitimatizes final ruling. This ruling is going to leave a bad taste in a lot of folks mouths, no matter which side you were on originally.

Alberto will have most of the summer to listen to tunes this season, but can get back to racing in the fall.

Back to Boulevard Road Race

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Okay, early season is always hard. I’m not sure what time that is for me anymore since cross season just finished and road season seems to be upon us in a lot of places. It doesn’t feel like early season, but my mind still thinks it is. The first race of the season is always hard. There is always a big question mark hanging over nearly every aspect of your game. That is still the case with me, but not to such extremes. I was racing cross three weeks ago, so I know that I have some type of form hidden away somewhere.

The Boulevard Road Race last Saturday, 60 miles East of San Diego was great. The guys there have an awesome course and everything was run super professionally. The course is 22 miles with nearly half of the course climbing and the other half descending. It is a pretty challenging course. The wind was fairly strong, but from the wrong direction in my opinion, straight headwind climbing and tailwind descending. It was a 4 lap race, putting the distance close to 90 miles.

The race went pretty much like I had predicted, but what I had dreaded. 4 guys went up the road pretty early, then a couple more a few miles later and then again some more after that. Eventually when it all settled, there were 9 riders up the road. And the time gap was over 4 minutes. There were probably 80 riders at the start, but there weren’t really any teams with strong enough guys to ride the break down.

By the 3rd time up the climb, with one lap to go, there were maybe 30 guys left in the field out of around 80 starters. I decided that I needed to get into a small group that would work together if I had any chance to race for first. I took off towards the end of the climb, but no one came. I rode a few miles off the front, but never really got anywhere. I finally sat up because the descent was way too long for me to try to ride away from a big group.

So, the last time up the climb, the speed started increasing. We still couldn’t see the break and weren’t getting any time splits. I jumped a couple times, still hoping to establish a group that would work. Then all of a sudden I could see the follow car ahead with around 6 miles to go. I tried to get away again, but the headwind was really headwind. The official on the motorcycle told me once that we were 40 seconds back. I felt pretty good, but not good enough to shake the remaining 20 guys or so. And everyone seemed content to be racing for 7th, since there were 6 guys left from the original break. With 5 km to go, we were at 50 seconds and I knew it was done.

Eric Marcotte, a new rider for the Elbowz/Yamaha team, had been trying to get a good workout most of the day and had been riding at the front. He put in a couple good digs towards the end, but never really went anywhere, probably because, once again the wind direction. The sprint was from way out and a lot of guys exploded because the last km was pretty much uphill. I guess I ended up 6th in the field, because I finished 12th in the end. I felt a lot better than 12th, but when you’re at a race on your own, it is nearly impossible to cover all the moves. I wasn’t riding well enough the first lap to make one of the groups that eventually formed the break, so I was always going to be counting on other riders to ride to be racing for 1st again. And that didn’t really happen. The results are a couple posts below.

It was a beautiful course out in the high desert. And super challenging. I am pretty happy how I’m riding so far. I’m flying back to Minneapolis on Thursday to ski for a while before heading down to Texas at the end of the month. I still need to eventually get into a gym and try to alleviate a few nagging problems. That probably won’t happen until March. I am on a weird schedule so far this season.

I know this would be way more interesting with power data.