Monthly Archives: September 2012

Taking a Few Days Off

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I’ve been thinking about this for a while and sort of through circumstance, I haven’t ridden for 4 out of the last 5 days. So, I think I’m going to take 3 or 4 or more days off the bike completely. And, I’m going to try not to be laying on my back on concrete or card board on concrete.

I’ve actually been getting quite a few emails from other riders that suggest I should chill for a little bit. Guys that have sort of had the same experience I have and they were bull headed like me and trained through it. I seems like I have so many chinks in my armor that they aren’t healing while training. I’m hoping a few days is going to be enough.

I haven’t really taken the better part of a week off during the season in years. But, since the season is close to 365 days long now, I think it is my best interest. I’m ging to try to hike a bit. Hopefully the lack of breathing hard will allow my ribs to feel better because right now they hurt worse than they did two week ago.

I hope to catch up on some projects that don’t take a ton of manual labor too, but most of my projects, at least the ones I like, usually involve just that.

I flew out to California late yesterday. I have a few things to do out here, but am really here to hike some up in the mountains. It’s gonna be hot because it is a Santa Anna currently here. I have some new hiking boots, so I’m sure that my feet are going to be destroyed tomorrow.

Lance is out here doing a triathlon. He is competing in the Superfrog Triathlon on Coronado this very moment. The promoter said something like most everyone has made up their minds whether they think Lance doped or not. I wonder if he read this at this morning? You all know how I feel about the whole thing, but it is what it is. I don’t think I’ll mosey down there to watch. I’d much rather walk in the desert mountains.

My new boots. They are really light. I hope to use them a whole bunch this winter.

I saw a ton of turkeys a couple days ago riding. These two were the biggest.

It’s amazing how much insulation and cushion a piece of cardboard gives to you on concrete. No wonder street people are always sleeping on them.

Giro di Lombardia

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Brief Results

1 Joaquím Rodríguez Oliver (Spa) Katusha Team 6:36:27
2 Samuel Sánchez Gonzalez (Spa) Euskaltel-Euskadi 0:00:09
3 Rigoberto Uran (Col) Sky Procycling
4 Mauro Santambrogio (Ita) BMC Racing Team
5 Sergio Henao Montoya (Col) Sky Procycling
6 Ryder Hesjedal (Can) Garmin-Sharp
7 Bauke Mollema (Ned) Rabobank Cycling Team
8 Oliver Zaugg (Swi) Radioshack-Nissan
9 Alberto Contador Velasco (Spa) Saxo Bank – Tinkoff Bank
10 Fredrik Carl Wilhelm Kessiakoff (Swe) Astana

How Important are Noises ???

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Back when there was friction shifting, hearing your bike was super important. You can somewhat feel when you are centered on a cog, but it is really listening that verifies it. I think that riders that started racing before the index shifting came about, all listen to their bikes much more than riders after.

I thought of this as I was working on my car yesterday. A main way to discovery issues with automobiles is through sounds. I can’t believe how many friends I have that pull up in their cars, or I’m getting a ride, and I hear a “bad” noise in their car. 90% of the time they say they can’t hear it.

As a cyclist, I can’t stress how important it is that you know what your bike sounds like when it is working perfectly. That is the sound that you have to know. Then, any other sound that comes from you bike is something that is wrong. It might be just a little, small thing wrong, but it could be something huge. Either way, the odd sound is never good.

I know almost all weird sounds that bikes make. All bikes, steel, ti, carbon, they all make their own sounds when they aren’t happy. I have to admit that the creaks that carbon frames make are sometimes super hard to figure out. I don’t like any weird sounds. I hate it when people race with their valve stem knocking on their carbon rims. I don’t know how people can stand it for the whole race.

Hearing is perhaps more important in MTB racing and cross. I’m constantly listening for disastrous noises, especially when I’m riding through thick mud or brush. Hearing a stick in your wheel might just save your race. I remember racing The 12 Miles of Hell a long time ago, and Megan Long, a cycling phenom, started beside me. She had her iPod on, music blaring. I couldn’t understand how she was going to race a technical MTB race with no ability to hear the noises her bike and the ground were making.

The same think happened a few years later in Redland’s Stage Race. I was riding for the British National MTB team and Liam Killeen was riding great. The stage that finishes up Oak Glen was important. I told Liam I knew the finish well and it was super important to be out of the wind the last few miles before the corner turning up the climb. I told him that I would look after him for those few miles and get him as far up the hill as I could. There were the normal bad crosswind leading up to the climb and we were doing great, in the front echelon, never in the wind. About 1/2 a mile before the left turn up the climb, right when it is critical to hold your position, Liam sits up, riding no handed and pulls his headphones out of his pocket and starts messing with his iPod. We lost a ton of slots by the time he was ready to race again. I got Liam around the corner and rode up the gutter and dropped him off right at the back of the front few guys that already had a gap. Liam went right by them and the last thing I saw was Liam pulling 4 or 5 guys up the climb.

When I got to the top, I was anxious to find out how Liam did. I saw him and he said he finished 2nd or 3rd, was jumped by surprise at the end. He said he didn’t hear them come by. I was thinking, “No shit, you were wearing headphones!” I can’t imagine sprinting at the end of a road race listening to music on headphones. Completely unimaginable. Listening in a sprint is nearly as important as seeing. Actually, hearing all the noises from behind is much like having eyes in the back of your head.

Anyway, if you don’t know your bike’s sound, then learn it. And learn it every time you put on those fancy carbon wheels too. If you know those sounds, then you’ll be able to recognize that something is amiss. You might not know exactly what it is, but you’ll know you need to get it fixed. And then do that too. One of the negatives of riding all this super light, carbon, exotic material, is that you don’t want to be riding it when it is compromised the slightest. And nearly the only way to diagnosis a lot of the potential disasters is though sound.

Here’s list of noises that a bike might make when it is not correct, courtesy of Sheldon Brown.

If you ever raced with these, then you know how important that hearing is during a race. The tactics and importance of shifting at critical times was something that decided many races.

The Less I Ride, the More Chaos Occurs

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I had a pretty weird day yesterday. Actually, now that I think about it, this season hasn’t been “normal”, as if there is anything such as a normal bike racing season. But, yesterday, maybe I was just looking at things differently, but it was definitely not a regular day. It seems like the less I ride, the more strange stuff occurs. The simple life of a cyclist is under appreciated by many.

My day started on my back, cursing under my breath, trying to replace the axles on the front of my Isuzu Trooper. I think if some car company decided that they were going to manufacture a car that was advertised as readily repairable by the layman, they would sell a bunch. Having to remove the front differential to remove a couple circlips, really to just replace a couple cv boots, is insane.

Anyway, I was under the car, when a guy pulls up in a Rescue Mission car. He gets out and goes to the door. I crawl out from under the car, all covered in grease, and yell over to him. He walks over and tells me his story. Which was, he has been going over to that vacant land in central Topeka I own, looking for any homeless people that might be hanging there. I’ve never seen any signs of anyone living there. I only seem to be the recipient of people’s extra stuff, instead of the dump. He said that the cable is still across the entrance, but there is a car parked back in the middle. He asked me if I knew who was there. I told him no. He called the police.

The police had me meet them over at the land. It took them 30 minutes or so. In the meantime, the guys from the Rescue Mission were telling me their stories. One guy had served two tours in Iraq. He said he was shot two weeks after he got there. Now he was a minister. He hardly seemed 30. All of them were good guys. We could use more people like these guys around, helping those who can’t look after themselves.

So, eventually, there were three police cars there. The officers went in and didn’t come out for 15 minutes. It turned out there was a couple people, a guy and a woman, digging in the creek bed, collecting scrap metal. A cop came out and escorted me in and explained the situation. He wanted to know what I wanted to do. I didn’t really understand the question. I told him I didn’t have any intention of getting anyone arrested for trespassing/collecting scrap metal. . He told me that the guy had warrants, so he was going to jail no matter what I decided. I told him that I didn’t want to press charges or anything against the woman.

When I got there, there was this large woman, wearing sweat pants, a t-shirt and tennis shoes. Covered completely with dirt. She called me sir and said that she had no idea that she was breaking the law. I told her it was fine and if she wanted to collect metal, she could go ahead. She told me that scrap steel was going for $180 a ton and that she could make good money collecting it. Digging it out of the ground seems to me to be a very hard way to go about it.

The police said she needed to remove the car or they were going to have to tow it. I told them I would help her collect her tools so they could get out of there. She had brought a pick axe, a wench, pry bar, and other things to dig up steel. I asked her how she found the area. She said she walked the creek. She said during the summer, she brought her kids with her to help. She thanked me a least a dozen times for not having her arrested. She said she had to go pick up her kids at school. I gave her my number and told her anytime she wanted to go there and remove stuff, just call. The whole episode took over 2 hours.

So, I left and went back to the auto repair. Soon, it started raining. I kept working under the car until it was wet there too. Greasy tools and water don’t work that well together.

My ribs are worse than they were a week ago. I know I’m not doing them any favors by doing what I’ve been doing for the past couple days. I haven’t ridden for 3 days. That is longer than anytime this year, excluding when I fell at Joe Martin and jacked my shoulder. I was thinking about running a little last night, but it stopped raining, so I worked again, with lights. All I have left to do if to put the shocks, brakes and wheels back on and I’m done. It shouldn’t take too long tomorrow.

I am trying to not follow cyclo-x now. I can’t race. I am mildly embarrassed to say, but I didn’t even know that there was an UCI race last night in St. Louis. That is normally a race I would hate to miss. But, I’m not looking at any race schedule until I feel better. It would just bum me out too much.

I was pretty tired, probably from not riding, so I just felt like laying around. I don’t watch too much TV. I don’t have that much time. When I do, I usually just watch parts of movies that I’ve already seen. I’m not sure why that is. But, last night I was flipping through the channels. I can’t believe how many reality TV shows there are. How many shows about guys buying up storage lockers. Just about anything. I guess those show must be cheap to make. I ended up watching the end of a show where some ex-fishermen, from Newfoundland, Canada, go out and shoot icebergs, collect up the chunks of ice and then sell it for bottled water or something. Wow, I never would have thunk. We are a weird society.

So, hopefully, I’ll get the car done early in the morning and ride over to Lawrence on gravel. Slow. It’s a good way to wipe the mental slate clean.

Here’s the woman getting her handcuffs removed by the officer.

This was the hole that they were digging, removing some dumped gas tanks or something.

This is back in the car now.

I got this text today. Where do these things originate from?

Here a picture on my TV of the guy shooting a iceberg.

The women’s podium at the Gateway Cup last night. Katie Compton, Nichole Duke and Ashley James, KCCX.

Get away from my Fish

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Back in the 80’s, when I was sponsored by Levi’s, I was walking through Ghirardelli Square in S.F. I was out there with Michael Fatka and Andy Paulin, who lived South was with us too. It was kind of late at night and the square businesses were closed. We were just window shopping and there was a guy walking around, checking to make sure the doors were locked on all the businesses. He was talking on a radio. I noticed that he kept going by this big bag on the ground and messing with it. When he was checking another door, I walked over to where the bag was, and laying there was a huge manta ray fish. I called over to Michael and Andy to come over and look. Right then, the guy comes running over and starts yelling, “Get away from my fish!” I backed up and realized that they guy wasn’t a security guard, but a street person. He was just talking into his fist, acting like he was talking on the radio, making static and all. The guy really didn’t want anyone anywhere near “his fish”.

I’ve been on my back working on the Isuzu for the past two days. It is close to the worst thing I could be doing for hurt ribs. Hurt ribs and concrete are like oil and water. This morning, when I was out in the driveway, I noticed a parked car in front of my house. There wasn’t anyone in it. I was wondering what the car was doing parked in front of my house. And I was mildly perturbed that someone, I didn’t know, was parked there.

I think it is really strange how Americans, or maybe people from other countries too, take such a stance on possession. I don’t really understand why our society has strayed so far from reality when it comes to “our” stuff. I’m guilty here too.

When I was a kid, I lived in a pretty active neighborhood. Lots of kids on my end of the block, older people on the other end. But, other than maybe one house, there wasn’t a yard that I couldn’t go into. There wasn’t a house, that if I hit it with my Frisbee, that I would be worried about the people coming out and yelling at me. I knew them all by name and they knew me.

When I first started riding bikes seriously, there weren’t any other cyclists on the road, other than school kids. No one would ever honk their horns. No one yelled, pissed that I was getting in “their” way, using “their” road. Now, we all know how that is.

Now, I’m not sure why, but it must be through a slow evolution, people tend to be exactly opposite. They don’t want anyone on their property, no matter what.

Kansas has less public land than any other state, I believe. I think it is less than 2% public. Somehow, people in Kansas think that they should own everything where they live. What they don’t realize, is that each and everyone of them/us, are just temporary tenants on the land. That all of the time, the land out lasts us, and most of the time, our houses do.

Unless you live in brand new construction, you are living in someone else’s house. And someone else is going to be living in it eventually, most likely before you die, but nearly for sure after you do.

So, I don’t get why we are so protective of something that we really don’t owe forever. We’re just care takers.

This all came about because I was running Bromont around the block and some guy yelled to me about Bromont cutting the corner through the guys yard. I stopped and talked to the guy and eventually it was alright. But, still, why get all worked up because a medium sized dog runs through your yard. It wasn’t like he stopped and left something there. Bromont was just bending over the guy’s grass, at Mach 5.

I can’t imagine how pissed the guy would have gotten if it would have been a few school kids walking there. Even if that was the case, it’s not like they are doing any damage. It isn’t like the people that live there don’t walk on their own grass. It seems to just be the principle of the action.

Another example is our cars. Cars get dings in them, it is part of the deal of car ownership. And every time that someone, by accident, opens their car’s door and happens to ding mine, it pisses me off a little. But, come on, do I really expect anyone to leave a note and their phone number? I don’t and they shouldn’t. It’s inevitable and just part of life.

Somehow, we all need to change our mindsets about our possessions. We, this generation, has more stuff than any previous generation of Americans. There are more cars, more houses, more of everything than there were just a few years ago. And lots more stuff than there was a generation ago, not even addressing two generations ago. What is hard to understand is why people were less possessive of their stuff two decades ago, when there was less stuff around?

I don’t know how to fix the problem. I guess, for a start, it would be great if everyone tried to meet their neighbors. Maybe even know the names of the all the kids in the block. But, that isn’t going to happen quickly. I, for one, am going to try to be much more tolerate of people. try to not get so worked up about something that is very small in the big picture. I think this is going to have to be a conscious process. Somehow, we’ve all be brainwashed into where we are now. We’re going to have to try to ignore some of our greedy initial reactions and logically think it through. Let’s let other people look at our fish some. It doesn’t hurt anything.