Monthly Archives: April 2012

The Criterium was a Blur

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I’m hurt. That describes my general feelings right now. I probably shouldn’t have stayed around the whole weekend in Fayetteville and just came home to lay around at least one day before the week begins. But, logistically, that wouldn’t have worked out well.

I seemed to be functioning pretty well on pain killers, coffee and wine, but today I think I’m going to pay for it. Like I posted yesterday, it seems like I was in more demand not racing than racing for some inexplicable reason. I should have just turned my phone off and it would have made my life so much easier. It wasn’t like I was doing that much, just having to use my brain too much when it wasn’t working that great to begin with.

The highlight of the day was running into the EMT guy driving the truck that came down the hill after I crashed. For the life of me, I don’t remember his name once again. That isn’t good. Anyway, he has a different recollection of our conversation after I fell. I have to go with mine still, but I can’t completely disregard his. According to him I was saying yes and no to about any question he asked me. I can sort of see that because I was still trying to absorb what happened and exactly what I thought about my injuries. I don’t think I was as mixed up as he described. Anyway, he was a super nice guy and I’m glad I ran into him.

I didn’t even go over to the announcing stage to “volunteer” to do some commentary. I was pretty done and just took Bromont’s blanket and a couple pillows over to the finish hill and layed it down in the grass, under a tree. I watched most of the Pro race while dozing on and off multiply times. The Competitive Cyclist Team of Mancebo rode tempo at the front and kept it together for a field sprint. It looked like if the field was just a bit better, Competitive Cyclist would have more than had their hands full, but they did an okay job. Eric Young, Bissell, and current Professional Criterium Champion, won the stage over Eric Marcotte, Elbowz.

The 1/2’s didn’t race until after the Pros. It was a better race to watch for me because it was way less predictable and more aggressive. But, it came down to a, whittled down, field sprint too. Jake Langsley, Soundpony from Tulsa, outsprinted the Tulsa Tough tandem of Jason Waddell and Chad Cagle. I approached Jake this past winter about riding with our Team this year, but kind of dropped the ball on it. He is going pretty great, winning the Mt. Gaylor stage and then the criterium on Sunday. He is in form for sure.

Bill drove nearly the whole way back while I laid in the backseat and “rested”. It rained like crazy for a hour or so just before Kansas City. I love spring time because of the weather. I have a doctor’s appointment in Kansas City this afternoon. I have no energy or desire to do that, but am going to drag my butt down there anyway. I have pretty much decided, after all the input and reading, that I am going to just wait it out and see how good my arm works on its own. I’m not big on doing operations that have just a so/so chance of making it better. Maybe the Royal’s guy will convince me otherwise. I doubt it.

Trudi is flying back from Switzerland tonight. She is going to be beat. I guess she ate something bad just before she got onto the flight, so isn’t feeling very good. That must be miserable. Okay, I have to go and unpack the van before I completely run out of juice.

Me, looking a little wild, and the guy that first came upon my crash scene.

The Competitive Cyclists guys setting tempo all day.

My view of the criterium from the blanket. I love this tree.

Somehow I lost my blanket to my Kansas gang sometime during the 1/2 race.

I listened to this guy sing a while on the backside of the course. His dog looked happy, so I assumed he was a good guy.

Synergistic

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My day was long yesterday. For some reason I seem to be needed more when I’m not racing than when I am actually competing. I tried to get back to the hotel to nap, but my phone kept ringing all afternoon, so that was a bust. Bromont seemed to sleep right through it though.

One of the things I like about Joe Martin is that there are all categories racing all day during the weekend. So at the road race, there are Master Women mixed Cat 4 men, mixed with Pro men, etc. all at the start area together. I know that isn’t unique to this race only, but it seems more cohesive here, camaraderie at it’s best. I half expect a chorus of Kumbaya to break out at anytime.

I tried to make it out to the finish for most of my friend’s races. It was pretty good. Catherine won the Master women’s Road Race. Chad Cagle won the 1/2 race. Then Eric Marcotte won the Pro race with Joseph Schmaltz finishing 3rd. So the Elbowz guys finished 1 and 3 with all these “Professional” teams at the race. Pretty good showing. Joseph is winning the best young rider category once again after winning it at San Dimas the last two years and Nature Valley Gran Prix last season.

It is impossible to not run into someone who wants talk about my shoulder here. It is nice, but a little old now. But, I really have to thank everyone for going out of their way to give me some of their personal experiences and advise. I really appreciate it. I really do. I hope to know more about the whole situation by Monday afternoon. ’til then, I’m just trying to survive.

I don’t really mind watching the finishes to the races. I don’t have any thoughts at all about doing them. Today is going to be different watching the criterium. I hope to go find a nice shaded area that is not around many people and just hang and watch with Bromont. Bill and the other guys aren’t racing until 3:30 pm. I hope the Pro race isn’t a tempo session. That makes it so boring. I haven’t talked to many guys racing it, so don’t have any of the details of the races thus far. But, both road races have been field sprints, so nothing new there once again.

We’re not getting back until late tonight, since we’re not leaving here until 5 or 6 pm. Tomorrow I have to go to Kansas City to see the doctor and then pick up Trudi who is flying back from Tour of Romandie. She has a week to stay in Kansas before heading out West for Tour of California. Kind of a short turn around, but I’m sure she is going to appreciate the time, no matter how short it is.

Catherine, after winning, getting congratulations from Julie Carter.

And here is Chad Cagle, with Matt Ankney, after schooling the 1/2 field by a couple bike lengths in the field sprint of the road race today.

Eric Marcotte is so far ahead, he isn't in the picture at 40 meters to go. Joseph is in the white young riders jersey and finished 3rd.

This is how the road looked after the finish of the Masters Womens finish. Ugly.

Bromont could be the best sleeper in the world.

I was at a coffeeshop today and there was a couple next to me excitedly talking about travelling to Europe. I couldn't believe the title to the book. When I first went to Europe, the title was "Europe From $5 a Day". It made me feel super old.

See, I told ya.

Hangin’ at Joe Martin

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I’m not sure it was the best thing to do hangin’ around the race this weekend. I feel more exhausted than I would have been if I would have raced I’m sure. I’ve separated shoulders before, but nothing to this extent or pain level. It wasn’t good all day. I’ve been eating Perocets by the handful, so most of my conversations that I had yesterday are a distant memory.

People were saying strange things to me all day. I’m not sure if it was because I hit my head or what, be some things just stood out as seeming extremely weird. One of the nurses at the hospital told me that the scriptures say “That life is just a vapor.” I didn’t try to figure out where that is from, but it kind of struck me. And then the waitress at waffle house said, “I’m your butter temptress.” I could have gone my whole life without someone saying that to me I think.

I got a call from the hospital yesterday asking about my care. I’m pretty sure someone I know called them to complain about their lack of service, especially addressing a head/neck injury. I can’t think of any other reason that they would call me to talk to me about their service. I told them what I thought. I hope they do something with it that will make it better for the next guy.

The races yesterday were crazy hard. I think mainly because of the wind and mild heat. It was blowing over 35 mph most of the time. The 1/2 race split into bits. The Pro race was more controlled and most likely easier. They came in as a big field. I forgot to mention that my friend, Amanda Miller, won the women’s TT on Thursday. That was a great result, again.

I got a million emails from people from all over the country about my shoulder. Seems like about everyone that reads this has separated their shoulder one time or another. The ones that interested me most were from doctors. I got, maybe, 5 or 6 from ortho guys that had separated theirs. It seems it is pretty split down the middle whether to surgically fix it or just wait it out and see. I have an appointment on Monday with the ortho doctor that does all the pitchers shoulders of the Kansas City Royals. I have to assume that guy know shoulders better than just about anyone, so I’m going to listen to him intently. Then I’m going to talk to Eric Heiden, the team ortho from BMC and listen to him intently. And then probably wait it out for awhile to see if it works at all. At least that is the plan now.

I was asked to announce during the criterium on Sunday during the PRO race. I’ll see what my Perocet consumption rate is tomorrow before I make that decision. I was planning to not take any today, but just a minute ago I realized that wasn’t going to fly, so I thought I might as well start earlier than later. I’m breaking them in half and taking them twice as often.

I’ve got friends racing all times of the day today. Catherine had to get up and do the TT this morning early and is racing a road race now. My team isn’t starting the road race until 3:30. It’s all over the place. Okay, once again, I think I’ll take a nap. Sleeping isn’t really working out that well just yet.

Wandering around has its upside too. I got my enjoyable annual meeting of Nancy Martin. This is her daughter and sister.

I haven't met up with Thomas Craven, a friend and ex-Wheatie/Schwinn team mate since he took aver the reins of the BMC Developement team.

Bill's last bottle for the top of Mt. Gaylor. Red Bull and Coke.

Sometimes I'm remiss on wearing my helmet, but can't complain about having it on in this instance.

We've been eating at Waffle House for breakfast. I thought this was so appropriate to find in the men's restroom there.

Crashing at 47.1mph – Pretty Bad Luck

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Yesterday wasn’t a great day for me. I crashed descending the TT course at Joe Martin and separated my shoulder pretty good. It was shitty luck.

It is funny, I was sitting at the car 30 minutes after I fell, getting patched up by a park ranger, and thought about how strange your mind deals with things such as stress and pain. One minute, I wasn’t really looking forward to riding, yet alone racing, up the 2.5 mile climb and the next minute, when I can’t race, I am thinking how nice it would be to race up the 2.5 mile climb. I have no idea why that is.

The day didn’t start out so bad. We got to the course a couple hours early. There was a break in the schedule before the PRO women went, so I got dressed quickly and headed up the hill. The course was slower than some of the previous years I’ve done it, with it being headwind towards the top. I rode the TT, with no warmup, but a little faster than training pace in 10:13, according my Strava download. That gave me some confidence, knowing I was going to take a significant amount of time off that racing.

Anyway, I rode 10 miles out past the TT finish and turned around. When I got to the TT course, it is all downhill to the car. The women were racing, but the course is open to descend. I just kept going downhill. It is pretty fast, somewhere in the upper 40’s without totally railing the descent. About 2/3 the way down, I was tucked, with my hands by the stem and I started into a left hand corner. I was going pretty fast.

I knew something wasn’t right immediately. My mind registered that I was at the wrong angle. I realized I was falling, but didn’t have a clue why. Somehow, I got my left foot out of the pedal and was tripoding for a bit. I was pretty proud of myself for what seemed like a few seconds, but probably was more like a fraction of a second. Then, I was tumbling down the road and ended up in the outside ditch.

I had just passed a woman that had finished the TT and she stopped and asked me if I was okay. I was pretty dazed. I told her I was fine, but didn’t really know. I’d hit my head pretty good, but remember about everything. Soon, a truck comes down the road and some guy gets out and said he was up around the corner and heard the crash. I think he was wearing an uniform, but I’m not sure about that. He asked me what happened and I reply that a squirrel ran out in front of me and I swerved and fell. I have no idea where that came from.

He says that he should give me a ride down the hill and I tell him I’m okay. But, at that point, I knew that wasn’t true. My left shoulder was handing about an inch low and was started to throb.

I was checking my wheels to make sure I could get down and my front tire was virtually flat. It had about 10 psi in it. So that explained it. It made me feel better, but not much. If I would have been riding my race wheels with tubulars, I bet I wouldn’t have fell. You can corner pretty well on a flat sewup, but not at all on a clincher. Anyway, what are the chances that would happen at the fastest section of the ride when I don’t have my hands in good postion? I’ve never flatted before in a corner on a descent. Guess it is about time.

Anyway, I got back to the van and told Bill. He wanted me to head off to the hospital, but I told him I was in no rush. They weren’t going to do anything anyway.

So, after the race finished, I went to the hospital. It was a slow and frustrating process as always. I’d give the hospital staff a rating of 3.5 on a 1 to 10 scale for competency and efficiency. I really didn’t ever know what person the doctor was. He never introduced himself and never got with in 5 feet of me. I told him a few times that my shoulder hurt and that my neck was tweeked, but when it was all said and done, they never even addressed my neck. And never cleaned anything. It was pretty much, put in a IV, inject a pain killer, take an x-ray and out.

I have a cat 4 separation of my left shoulder. I haven’t had time to read up on it much, but the guy (doctor) said it was separated 2.5 centimeters and won’t heal itself and needs surgery. I don’t know about that.

I spent an hour in the tub trying to scrub my wounds. That wasn’t a fun experience. I’m usually pretty against other people dealing with road rash, but in this instance, I would have appreciated them just doing it at the hospital. I think that maybe the staff there thought I didn’t have insurance or something, even though I told them at check-in I did. I’m not sure why it was such bad care because the place was pretty empty.

Anyway, that private jet flight from Dallas to La Jolla this afternoon is looking pretty good right now. Too bad I don’t have the energy to do the 300 mile drive to get down there. I think I’m going to just hang here for the weekend. I don’t have much else to do right now. I did get an prescription for Perocet. I wouldn’t have slept a minute last night without that.

I’m usually don’t stress much about these things. It is all part of the sport. But I would have rather just broken my collarbone if I had a choice. These shoulder things are a drag. Plus, for some reason, this one is incredible painful. Okay, I think I’ll go back to bed and try to add to the 3 hours of sleep I got last night.

I took this picture off the computer monitor. I'm not sure what I'm to look for that is important here, but it doesn't look so good.

A little racy. This is how I came back from the hospital. I wasn't too ripped up considering, other than my butt is not good also.

I grabbed this off my Strava download. I was going 47.1 mph when it drops to 0 mph. Pretty shitty luck.

Joe Martin Stage Race

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Today I’m driving down to Fayetteville to start the Joe Martin Stage race with a Hillclimb TT this afternoon. I usually go the night before, since it is over a 300 mile drive, but I had too much stuff to do, so will have to make due. Last time I drove down the day of the race I crawled up the hill. Hopefully it won’t be that bad today.

I’ve been doing the race for decades. I don’t think I did it the first year it was held, 1978, but I did it the first year I rode Senior (now Elite) in 1979. I was a first year senior and finished 2nd to John Howard in the hillclimb. That was still when Joe Martin was racing the event. I’m not sure where I finished overall that first year, but I’m pretty positive I’ve never won it. I finished 2nd to Thurlow Rogers when I was racing MTB primarily. Thurlow was collecting NRC points, which I had no idea what they were, so he few out to get some. Frank McCormick was racing the event, but missed our move in the road race, so was out of contention. I finished 2nd overall to Jason McCartney once too. I’ve won a bunch of stages, but not the GC.

I’m racing the 1/2 race with my team. This will be the first time I’ve done that. Normally I wouldn’t be too interesting not riding the Pro race, but the other 4 guys on the TradeWind Energy team want to do the 1/2 race and I haven’t really raced with them all season, so that is how we’ll do it. I have to admit that the Pro race would be better for me at this point. I am pretty lacking any resemblance of form. Most likely the 1/2 race will be harder. The Pro race is usually really controlled right from the start, after the TT. Usually, every stage is a field sprint. Last year it broke up a little, but that was the first time in years. I could use some sitting in miles, but that isn’t to be. It looks to rain at least one day the next four. I don’t know which day would be best. I’ve ridden the criterium in the rain and it is ugly since it has some much verticle gain per lap.

The time trial is in Devil’s Den State Park and goes uphill for 2.5 miles. My time is going to suck, but I hope to ride into some form by Sunday if possible. Hopefully some of my team mates are going to have a good ride and give me some more purpose for the race. It is always better that way.

Okay, I’d better get driving. I ride at 4:15 this afternoon, so am not going to have much time to warm up. It really doesn’t matter.

Here’s where you can go
to get the results all weekend long.

Here's an old picture of Joe (on the left) with Eddy Merckx, middle.

Short Turnaround

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I left Dallas a little bit later than I would have liked yesterday. By the time I got back to Topeka and unloaded all the tools and such it was already late. I only have today here before Joe Martin Stage Race starts tomorrow, so it is going to be a little rushed obviously.

I like driving across the country. Especially South to North, or vise versa, during the spring. I like the different vegetation blooming at different temperatures. I remember one year eating Mulberries in Austin, then again a couple weeks later in Arkansas. When I got back to Topeka, I was eating them again here, then the next week again in Iowa and finally up in Minneapolis a month and a half after starting in Texas. I love that. It applies to the trees, flowers, everything growing. Anyway, I was so surprised how much has changed here in Topeka in two short weeks.

I have a ton of stuff to do today. Clean the van out, wash clothes, get my bike in order, ride some, etc. It is strange how time seems to get away from you when originally you thought you had a bunch to spare. It seems that way often now. I remember when I was so surprised that it was April and now it is almost May. I seem really rushed but, I need to start getting back into racing form and a stage race is a good, yet painful, way to do that.

Okay, I’d better get cracking or the day is going to disappear.

I fixed up this gas lamp by the alley when I was down in Dallas.

Not counting getting the glass, it only took about a 1/2 hour to clean it up, paint it to make it look nearly new.

This was a shocker, again. I had super tailwind up from the South and got 22 mpg, which is great considering how fast I was driving.

My van is going to turn over to 300,000 miles on this trip probably. It is diesel, so that's not all that many really.

There wasn't a bloom on the roses in front when left and now they are all out.

I planted a bunch of lettuce, chard, spinach, etc. right before I left and it is up now.

And the strawberries have fruit already.