Monthly Archives: June 2012

Bonking

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I was talking to my friend Rod Lake yesterday and he reminded me of a ride we did a long time ago with a junior, Wayne Gamber. We’d done a fairly long ride and were about 15 miles from town when Wayne called it quits. Wayne stopped and started up a driveway. I asked him what he was doing and he said he was going to the house and asking for some bread. I told him he needed to get on his bike and ride home with us.

I don’t bonk much any more. I actually don’t bonk at all compared to when I was a junior. When I was young, I would bonk and not be able to function as a person. It was probably because I was close to 0 % body fat and had a metabolism of a hummingbird. I was as tall as I am now, 6′ 1″ and weighted 30 lbs less. Now, I just seem to get tired. My body gets tired, but my mind stays mostly cognisant of its surroundings.

My worse bonking episode, by far, was when I was 17 years old. I was racing the Vermillion Stage Race in South Dakota. It was a qualifying race for the Junior Worlds Trials. The race was a 80 mile road race on Sunday morning. I was staying at some dorms a few miles from the race with my brother and a couple other guys. I woke up in the morning and no one was there and it was something like 30 minutes until my race started.

I got dressed and wolfed down a few big spoonfuls of cold oatmeal someone had left and got on my bike and rode over to the start and barely made it. It was cold and sort of drizzling. The Cat. 3’s started before the junior and just after they started, they crashed big time a mile up the road. Big enough they needed a couple ambulances to clear them away. So, we sat there, in the rain, for close to an hour. I didn’t have a car or anywhere to stay dry, so I just hung out shivering.

So, the race started and pretty immediately I was off the front with Mark Frise, one of the best juniors in the country and a future team mate. Just the two of us. Mark’s dad was following us with wheels. About 60 miles into the race, I was started to feel bonky. I had a banana and decided it was the time to eat it. Unlucky for me, Mark looked back for some reason and, as prickish as it seems now, he attacked me when my mouth was full and I was holding the banana. So, I had to spit out the banana and throw the rest away to catch him.

I caught him pretty quickly, but realized it was a huge error. A few miles later I told him I was done and he could win if I could sit on. I managed to sit on for a mile or two before he left me. A couple master riders caught me from behind a couple miles later. I told them I needed some food, but they didn’t have any.

The last thing I remember was sitting behind those guys and thinking that I could make it the last 10 miles to the finish. It was dry, but I felt some road spray on my legs and couldn’t figure out what was going on. I looked down and saw urine running down my leg and off my shoe. That was it. No recollection of anything else from that point on.

I woke up a couple hours later in the dorm room under a down sleeping bag. I had no idea where I was. I got up and looked at my face and was it was covered with chocolate. I got the rest of the story from my friend, Brian Konningsdorf, who I drove up there with.

It turns out I rode to the finish, being nursed on by the master guys. The finish was at the top of a big hill and I was told I started up the hill and didn’t shift into my small ring, did a U-turn about half way up and coasted back down. They turned around after me and got me started back in the right direction and to the finish line. I guess I rode across the line, turned into a driveway and fell over in the yard in the grass. It started drizzling again and a police man came over and covered me up with his rain jacket. I was still attached to my bike at that time.

That is how Brian found me, under a rain coat, on my side, with my feet still clipped into my toe clips. He had finished and missed me crossing the line. So he took me and put my bike to his car and was driving back to the dorms, when he passed a Dairy Queen. He decided the best thing for me would be hot sugar, so he stopped and got me a big cup of hot fudge and made me drink it. Then he took me back and deposited me into my bed under my sleeping bag, where I woke. It turned out I had still finished 2nd in the race, which was a huge surprise. It was ugly.

Back to Wayne’s story, he was limping along when we got into town and saw a guy that rides with us. He had just gone to the grocery store and had the ingredients to make Wayne a sandwich right there on the road. This rejuvenated him nearly instantly and he made it home easily.

Bonking doesn’t occur so much anymore probably because everyone carries food with them all the time on long rides. Back in the day when you maybe carried a banana on a long ride, it was a pretty common occurrence. I don’t miss that aspect of the sport at all.

Dirty Kanza

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The Dirty Kanza is happening right this minute. And for the next 8 hours or more. The Dirty Kanza is a 200 mile gravel road race held in the Flint Hills of Kansas.

A bunch of friends of mine are “racing” today. It might be a race this year. Last year it was just survival. It was in the lower 100’s temperature-wise, then it rained so hard that some of the roads that were true dirt, with no gravel, became mud, so you had to walk in the fields. I was racing a criterium in Wichita last year and, at the time, couldn’t imagine trying to ride 200 miles on gravel. It was epic.

I’ve never been to the event myself. It is sort of strange hearing Gunner Shogren telling me at Masters Cross Worlds that the Dirty Kanza or DK200 registration is open and closed in a matter of hours. I don’t know how many people it is limited to, but it’s just a few hundred at most. I just heard this morning from my friend Dennis Kruse up in Cable, that Tom Schuler is racing it on a tandem today. I’ve observed that Tom has been going senile the last few years and this just confirms it.

Dan Hughes, the owner of Sunflower Bicycle Shop in Lawrence won the event last year. He is unbelievable at these things. I’ve ridden a couple 100 mile rides with him on gravel and he takes no prisoners. He rides Leadville without acclimating. A mutant.

I just got a call from my brother who was at the first check point, 60 miles in. He didn’t know the guy that was winning, but Rebecca Rusch, from Specialized, was the leading woman. Rebecca is the best in the World at these things. Click here to see her results. Rita Robben, his girlfriend, was in 2nd, 4 minutes back. Rita has never ridden anything like this, so it will be a great learning experience for her. She is so good at these long distance rides/races, that Rebecca should keep a eye out behind.

Anyway, below is a video that Keith Walberg made last year of his experience at the DK200. I haven’t seen it for a while. Think I’ll check it out again.

Nothing Ruins a Ride Like……

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breathing in a bug. Or anything that goes down the windpipe. Yesterday I was riding back from Lawrence. It was a near perfect day here in Kansas. Lower 80’s, hardly any wind, no smoke. We’d ridden the 30 miles to Lawrence, had a cup of coffee and were half way back.

That is when I inhaled a huge piece of cotton from a Cottonwood tree. It is weird how when you’re about ready to inhale something, your eyes focus in on it and watch it go right into your mouth. That was the case here, but I couldn’t do anything about it. It got stuck somewhere down in my throat, it didn’t make it to my lungs. So, I spent the next 5 minutes trying to cough and dislodge it. Alternating coughing and sipping water didn’t seem to do the trick.

I eventually came to the sad conclusion that it was just going to have to work its way out itself. I had the same thing happen a few weeks ago in Arkansas racing. A bug this time. Nothing breaks up your mindset during a race more than having to cough and try to dislodge something out of your chest that shouldn’t be there. It is pretty stressful.

I used to didn’t worry about it too much, but a few years ago, Catherine Walberg was feeling crummy and decided that she had a lung infection. She skipped a ride and was ready to go to the doctor. Then, the next day she showed up all good. She said that she was coughing the night before and coughed out a huge bug out of her lungs. She was in the early stages of aspiration pneumonia. That is inflammation of the lungs and airways to the lungs (bronchial tubes) from breathing in foreign material.

Obviously that isn’t a good thing, so whenever I get something foreign in the wrong place, I try to get rid of it as soon as possible. That isn’t always an easy thing to do. And it sometimes ruins what was a very good ride.

This stuff is flying all over the place here now.


Health Update

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Okay, I had some good news on Friday. I did another ultrasound and the DVT/blood clot in my leg is going away. It was 2.5 cm and now it is 1.9 cm. And it was completely clogged before and now there is blood flow through the middle of the vein. Both very good signs. That was only after 10 days.

I’m a little up in the air with what I should be doing right now. The ultra sound doctor said I should take it easy another week, but after that, he didn’t say. I actually never talked to him. But, the technician said that he said I didn’t need any more follow up and was good to go. That sounds a little premature to me, so I’m figuring that it lost about 25% of it’s length in 10 days, so the other 75% should be close to gone in 30 more. I’m not sure that is good science for this problem, but I have no personal knowledge how quickly these things clear up once there is blood flowing through them. But, I’d be more at ease with one more picture of the vein with it completely clear.

I do think I dodged a bullet here by waiting for a 2nd scan before getting aggressive with medicine/anti-coagulation. It is so weird because I got a ton of advise from a lot of doctors, that I respect, and virtually everyone of the told me I needed to get on medicine immediately. But, the guy here said he would wait until he saw a 2nd picture. He was not big at all on blood thinners and thought since this thing was caused by crashing at 50 mph, then there was probably a good chance that it would clear on its own. Which it seems to be doing. If I hadn’t asked to see this guy, I would be taking coumadin for 6 months. Man, what a difference one guy with knowledge can make (In nearly all situations).

So, now I need to think about what I need to do for my shoulder. It is a mess. Not a complete mess, but it isn’t working up to my standards. Not even close And it seems not be getting any better. I think I’m compensating so much for the shoulder that my neck and back are pretty tweeked. My neck was bad ever since the accident, but it seems to be worse, which is making sleeping tough.

I think I’ll just ride for a couple more weeks and see if anything changes. That will be close to 2 months. Man, does time disappear quickly. I’d like to race in Lawrence Kansas at the end of the month. Actually, I’d like to race in Tulsa this weekend, then Tour of Kansas City after that, before Lawrence. This is the best block of racing the whole season close to home. It is going to be a struggle no matter what I decide. At least I have some choices now, I think.

I took this photo when the ultasound tech was showing me the blood flow through my vein.

Sergio Flying in Glencoe

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I saw this photo today on Facebook. This is my buddy, Sergio Hernandez. If you notice, none of the guys have their feet clipped in anymore. That is one of the best things about clipless pedals. You don’t get slammed, head first, onto the pavement when your bike stops. The photo is from Ali Engin. He has a bunch of nice shots on his facebook page found here. He’s a pretty great photographer.