Monthly Archives: December 2012

Last Day of 2012 / Cross Off the Old Year

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I was under the weather yesterday/today. Not sure what’s exactly wrong, kind of the flu with a severe headache. I think the headache is related to my destroyed shoulder. I got a ton of headaches after falling and whenever I slept on it weird, my neck gets all jacked and I get a crazy headache. Needless to say, I skipped racing.

But, that being said, I’m going to try my hand at it today. The race is called Cross Off the Old Year. Appropriate. I’m not much of one to not race when I feel sick. I don’t think that racing hurts you when you’re sick. But, cyclo-x isn’t exactly what the doctor would order in most cases.

Another year is gone. I can’t say that this was my best year on the bike. I fell down hard a couple times too many and didn’t bounce back very quickly. But, I’ve had a lot of experience with these things and don’t let that bother me much in the long run. Day to day it is a drag, but that is life.

Anyway, I wanted to thank you all for stopping by and leaving you thoughts. I still have no idea how this thing started going, but it sort of has a life of it’s own. According to site statistics, around 4000 people a day come by here each day, around 1,400,000 for the year. Sometimes it feels like a chore. I really am trying to spend less time connected to the phone and computer, but this is tugging the other way. I’m not complaining by any means. It is just a yin/yang thing. It is a very interesting part of life, opposite/contrary interconnected forces and how relate to one other.

That is what surprises me here. I would think that most people that read this, have the same political, philosophy, views, but it’s all over the place. It is a true melting pot, which leave less stones unturned. I don’t mind people calling me on stuff, even if I don’t agree. I sometimes don’t spend a lot of time thinking a subject out.

I wrote this a couple years ago on New Years Eve, it still applies, and probably can’t write it any better still –

I don’t really have any deep insight into why I started doing this or how long I’ll stay at it. I do know I get a lot back from it. It is strange how many people are interested in stuff that seems mundane to me. Or, how little interest people have in stuff I’m super interested in.

I live sort of a “free form” lifestyle. Being able to deviate from any given direction at virtually anytime is probably the definition of that. I’ve made some choices/sacrifices throughout my life to have the opportunity/luxury for this freedom of choice. I value that a lot. But a lot of it is just plain luck. I’ve never been one to pass up something that perks up my interests. I feel pretty lucky that I found an occupation/sport/lifestyle in cycling that seems to fulfill most of the requirements to satisfy the way I’m wired.

I wish I’d given a little more attention to the written language in school. I wasn’t big on subjective subjects. I’m not big on subjective sports either. I can barely read an article written about me. And I have much less patience for rereading what I write. I’m trying to change that, but it is a bit like pulling teeth. It is mildly embarrassing having so many typos, but that seems to be the way I tick. I have worse faults.

Okay. Enough of this. Thanks for reading and participating in this. It makes it worthwhile. I hope everyone has a good New Year.

New Year’s Eve mountain bike race on the slopes above the Villars-sur-Ollon resort in the Swiss Alps.

Cross Racing at Night in Diegem

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Results

Men

1. Niels ALBERT (BEL), 1:00:00
2. Kevin PAUWELS (BEL), 1:00:30
3. Zdenek STYBAR (CZE), 1:00:35
4. Klaas VANTORNOUT (BEL), 1:00:39
5. Radomir SIMUNEK (CZE), 1:00:39
6. Rob PEETERS (BEL), 1:00:39
7. Sven NYS (BEL), 1:00:39
8. Marcel MEISEN (GER), 1:00:39
9. Lars VAN DER HAAR (NED), 1:00:39
10. Tom MEEUSEN (BEL), 1:00:43

Women

1. Katerina NASH (CZE), 34:29
2. Sanne CANT (BEL), 34:36
3. Lucie CHAINEL-LEFEVRE (FRA), 34:52
4. Sabrina STULTIENS (NED), 34:59
5. Ellen VAN LOY (BEL), 35:32
6. Gabriella DAY (GBR), 36:08
7. Meredith MILLER (USA), 36:08
8. Annie LAST (GBR), 36:12
9. Amy DOMBROSKI (USA), 36:20
10. Joyce VANDERBEKEN (BEL), 36:50

I’m Tired of all these guys saying…..

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that this is a different era, that was a different generation, the sport is clean now, you can race, and win, without taking drugs. For one thing, a generation in cycling has to be a riders lifetime racing professionally. So, guys like George Hincapie would of had to race through 3 or 4 “generations” of cycling for that term to be used to describe a time frame within the sport.

Since it is nearly a new year, I was thinking back about this past year in the sport. Obviously, the predominate topic has to be “the catching” of all the Americans that took drugs with Lance. Nearly every rider that had good results racing in Europe on the road, the last decade, maybe more, has confessed now. But, they all say the same thing, the sport is different, it’s clean, or at least cleaner.

The only “fact” I’ve heard that confirms this cleaner sport speculation is that the speeds for the Tour, overall, and on the climbs, is slower now. That isn’t enough. I can’t see any reason why it would be any cleaner. One of the biggest negative effects of the USADA investigation was it just showed everyone that the testing is total, complete bullshit and a waste of money. I don’t want to hear anything about the biological passport here, it should be all lumped in together and is all pretty much worthless.

This article was at Cyclingnews.com yesterday. It is of an interview with Benedetto Roberti, an Italian investigating judge who uncovered lots of evidence of drug usage by cyclists, including much evidence on Dr. Michele Ferrari. He is an avid rider, doing Gran Fondos. He says that the sport is still really polluted. That “there are substances in use that can’t be found by anti-doping tests. One is Erythropoietin Z by Retacrit, it’s known as EPO Z. There’s a Chinese EPO that has been released, I don’t know its name but it can’t be found (in tests) and was definitely the queen of the Olympics. There’s also AICAR, that is brought in from the East as a powder and is apparently a kind of genetic doping. In simple terms, it helps reset muscle fibres after huge efforts. It can’t be found in anti-doping tests either.”

I say this explains the current generation more than the riders themselves saying it is clean now. The testing will never be ahead of the usage. That is just a fact. There needs to be much, much stricter internal rules made by, and accepted by the riders themselves. The sanctions need to be very severe, draconian. Nothing is going to rid the sport of this pollution, which has been engrained in the sport for generations, until the penalties outweigh the benefits.

The riders that testified “against” Lance were all team mates. Each and everyone of them easily should be millionaires. And they did it so easily. I know tons of guys that had the talent of these guys. Lots and lots. Sorry, but they aren’t the chosen ones, the special ones. What made them special is that they decided to cheat their friends, and fans, to win bicycle races and steal money and life experiences from others. They all “came clean” and so conveniently decided to quit using drugs in 2006. Now, some will serve their timeouts and will be back racing early next year. Back winning races, such as Tom Danielson did this summer winning $3000 at the Teva games in Vail, an unsanctioned event. Levi said that he’ll race mountain bikes if he doesn’t find a road team. Wow, I’d love to run into him at a technical, Mt.Snow like event. Whatever happens, they’ll be back, racing, and probably winning, since the sport is so clean now.

Jimmy Dugan said, “It’s supposed to be hard. If it wasn’t hard, everyone would do it. The hard… is what makes it great.”

Much within our sport hasn’t been great for quite awhile, because drugs make it too easy. The sport needs a culture change, not by the same guys that benefited from the previous practices. Let’s all try do our best to make it great once again.


Pat McQuaid doing Gangnam Style.

Draco wouldn’t have allowed all this corruption in the sport if he could have been the head of the UCI.

Biggest Cycling Danger-Cell Phones

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A couple days ago a girl passed me when I was riding in Chicago. It was a snowy road and she came by at about 3 inches. That was the distance to her right rear view mirror, not her car, but the mirror would have caused much havoc. I realized by watching her from behind that she had no idea she had even passed a cyclist, let alone hit one. She was looking down into her lap, texting.

I think cell phone usage is the most danger that cyclist face now from drivers. It is unbelievable how many accidents are now “caused” by the introduction of phones in cars.

When states pass laws to ban texting while driving, it actually increases the incidences of accident according to the Highway Loss Data Institute. It makes total sense. Instead of having your phone up on the steering wheel where your eyes can see out the windshield, you have it down in your lap, looking down at your floor board. In California, the accident rate increased by 12% after a texting ban was enacted.

It’s even dangerous just talking on a phone in a car, even hands free. You’d think that isn’t the case, but I heard a Phd guy on the radio explaining the difference between talking on the phone while driving and talking to others in your car. He said the conversation ebbs and flows between occupants of a car depending upon the driving conditions. And actually, accidents decrease the more eyes on the road from occupants in a vehicle. When you’re talking on the phone, the other party has no idea what the driving conditions are, so the conversation distracts the driver. Makes sense.

So, laws are not the answer to the problem. The texting issue is not only a problem for cyclists, of course, but to everyone. It makes driving more dangerous, increases the costs of insurance for all of us, and is generally bad.

I have no idea how to fix the issue. If you can’t “take” assault rifles away from us, I’m pretty positive that people won’t put up with no cell phone usage in their automobiles. I know some phones have apps that you can voluntarily download that makes your phone not receive calls if it is moving faster than 20 mph or some speed. I looked for one for the iPhone, but didn’t see anything.

I’m as guilty as others. I try not to make a habit of texting while driving, but I do it more than occasionally. It’s not something that we’re going to voluntarily stop. So, cell phone companies, along with insurance companies, and of course, our government are going to have to do it for us. And when they do, we should applaud it. Because no matter how much we don’t like it, making the phones unusable in our cars is the best thing for all of us.

Not Sure What I’m Doing

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I spent about 15 hours yesterday laying tile. But, better than that, the tile saw was downstairs in garage and the bathroom was upstairs, so I went up and down the stairs at least 300 times, so it was all inclusive, tiling and training. Here it is at 1:45am and I’m barely clean from all the thinset.

I hadn’t planned on spending that much time, but I figured it is better to get it done earlier, so I don’t have to worry about it later. Plus, my friend Nan wants her bathroom back sooner rather than later.

I thought I might race in Dallas this weekend, but I sort of thought the weather was going to be bad there, but now I don’t know. There are two cross races here on Sunday and Monday in Kansas City. I’m still deciding whether to go up to Chicago and do the UCI races the weekend before Nationals in Madison. I haven’t raced much, but am a little up in the air about everything right now.

Sorry about the lame post, but I didn’t really have a change to do anything all day, so I’m a little out of the loop media-wise. I should be done with this “project” tomorrow and can get back to more ordinary things.

Okay, here are some pictures of yesterday’s progression.

Around 10 am this morning.

I was worried about the wall because it had a big hump in it and was very uneven. It turned out great.

We’re carrying the trim line all the way around the room.

Floor to ceiling tile.

The little soap nook and seat took a lot of cutting. They turned out pretty good too.

Syd and Bobby Lea

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I got back pretty late last night and spent and hour sweating on the ergometer until late, and now have to go tile this morning, so am short of time. But, I couldn’t write anything as good as this article about Syd and Bobby Lea over at Bicycling.. I’ve known Bobby Lea for a long time. Not as long as I’ve known his mom and dad, Tracy and Rob, but still a long time. He’s a very good guy and a very smart bike rider. I’ve never met Syd, as far as I know, but he stays with my friends George and Diane McDiarmid when he goes down to Austin to row. George can’t say enough good things about Syd, and George is very good at judging people. George says that Syd is one of his favorite people on Earth, which is saying a lot. Anyway, it is a nice story of an inspirational family. Enjoy.