Hi. I raced in the snow and then hung with some good friends in Lawrence until the wee hours of today. I’m feeling a little beat, kind of under the weather, but not enough so that I didn’t want to get out and participate in the activities yesterday. But, I’m going to bed, so I’ll use the morning to post something more substantial. It snowed a few inches here and is supposed to be cold, so it’s not going anywhere very quickly. Hope everyone the best in this New Year.
1 Kevin Pauwels (Bel) Sunweb-Napoleon Games 1:01:00
2 Zdenek Stybar (Cze) Omega Pharma-Quickstep 0:01:09
3 Niels Albert (Bel) BKCP – Powerplus 0:01:20
4 Rob Peeters (Bel) Telenet – Fidea 0:01:29
5 Klaas Vantornout (Bel) Sunweb-Napoleon Games 0:01:35
6 Thijs van Amerongen (Ned) AA Drink Cyclocross Team 0:01:44
7 Bart Wellens (Bel) Telenet – Fidea 0:02:24
8 Bart Aernouts (Bel) AA Drink Cyclocross Team 0:02:28
9 Jonathan Page (USA) 0:02:35
10 Radomir Simunek (Cze) BKCP – Powerplus 0:02:42
1 Katerina Nash (Cze) Luna Pro Team 0:42:27
2 Nikki Harris (GBr) Young Telenet-Fidea Cycling Team 0:00:35
3 Sanne Cant (Bel) Veldritacademie Enertherm – BKCP 0:01:18
4 Helen Wyman (GBr) Kona Factory Team 0:02:16
5 Annie Last (GBr) 0:03:06
6 Anna van der Breggen 0:03:39
7 Meredith Miller (USA) Cal Giant Berry Farms/Specialized 0:03:49
8 Pavla Havlikova (Cze) Young Telenet-Fidea Cycling Team 0:03:53
9 Ellen Van Loy (Bel) Melbotech Prorace CT 0:04:33
10 Githa Michiels (Bel) Trek-KMC Trade Team 0:05:04
What I like most about watching the Belgian crosses on the internet is appreciating that there is virtually no indecision ever by any of the leaders. Indecision in cyclocross costs you time. They’ve all raced so, so many cross races that they innately know how to go the fastest under ever changing conditions.
I’m pretty good with this, I have to admit. I’m a little under raced, mildly rusty, so my decisions might be a tad slow. But, under normal circumstances, I think I have the ability to ride fast in most conditions in cross. I’m not too good on sand, but sometimes I surprise myself.
Monday’s race in Kansas City was slick and tight. I’m a little sick, ear ache, headaches, etc., but am surprised that it hasn’t gotten any worse, which is a very good sign. So, the course being less fitness, and more skill related ability, suited me fine. I was so bummed I couldn’t race on Sunday after hearing the course was slick with a fine layer of mud. Monday, there was the same mud, but covered by a couple inches of new snow.
I can’t really complain about my race. I rode pretty well for all but a few costly corners. I got a good start and got into the lead after a couple turns. I slowly got up to about 10 seconds ahead of a trio of friends, good cross riders, Joseph Schmalz, Shadd Smith and Aaron Elwell. And that is how it stayed most of the race. I rode pretty flawless the first 40 minutes. Aaron rode up to me after 3 or 4 laps, but got gassed and dropped back to Shadd and Joseph. Finally, with a couple laps to go, I got up to 15 or 20 seconds ahead.
But, I was having a terrible time getting my feet back into the pedals after dismounting. It is only the second time I can remember that I’ve had any issue with Shimano SPD pedals. Sometimes on the pavement, after the barriers, it would take me a couple hundred meters to clip in. I know the guys riding Crankbrothers pedals were having some problems, but nothing like I was. It rattled me.
Joseph made a big effort to shell those guys and try to bridge up to me with two laps to go. I made a very costly mistake sliding out on a corner before a short climb. I knew I wouldn’t be able to clip back in, so I ran the hill. Joseph made up a ton of time on me here. So, with a lap and a half to go, we were together. I was okay with that, the 2nd half of the course, before the finish, suited me better. But, I never got there. Joseph gapped me, riding away on the concrete. I came back on early, but slid out again and finally fell doing a U-turn on the pavement. I pulled the plug there. Shadd and Aaron raced to the line, with Shadd nipping Aaron in the end.
I think it would be so cool if I could get everyone’s take on what they did wrong, or right, during this race. I only fell once, but it was at the completely wrong time. I know that Shadd and Aaron each fell at least once. Joseph, maybe twice, but I’m not sure.
My issue for not winning wasn’t a lack of ability. The fitness part didn’t come so much into play. I started getting frustrated by not being able to get my shoes attached to the pedals. I never had that big of a lead, so I didn’t think that I had much time to clean the bottom of my shoes after each dismount. That was a mistake. So, I tried to go faster through the corners and started making other mistakes. Each time I slid out, I’d plant my inside foot on the ground and it would get clogged full of icy mud, so I’d lose more time.
I’m sure that Joseph, Shadd and Aaron all have their own thoughts on why they went fast or not. I’m normally a lot better in those conditions than I was on Monday. But, I’m super stoked that I got to race a slick race so close to Madison Nationals. I can’t image that it is not going to be a technical affair up in Wisconsin next week. Last report I heard was that there was 22 inches of snow in Verona and they had plowed the whole course, but were having issues with blowing snow.
It is bad weather here in Kansas now. High’s under 20 yesterday and slushy roads. I rode inside. I’m trying to decide whether to race a local race here in Kansas on Saturday, and then head up to Madison, or go up to Chicago and race the UCI race on Sunday and just stay. There are only 25 guys registered in Chicago as of now. I was hoping for a much bigger field.
I forgot to mention that on Monday, the last day of 2012, when I was picking Bill up to go to the race, I backed out of his driveway and into the back of a Honda Accord that was parked on the street. I have no excuse. It was snowing, but I didn’t see the car at all.
Anyway, I jumped out of my van, went up to the door, left my name and number with the girlfriend of the car’s owner and drove off to the race. The guy called and I asked him if he would just go get an estimate and if it wasn’t too much, I’d just pay him. He said that would be fine.
I’ve had four accidents in my life. 2 times now, I’ve hit a parked car. The first time I was a teenager, and was delivering newspapers. I was folding and throwing papers simultaneous and clipped a parked car. And now this one. I’ve had two other accidents, not my fault. Both times were driving team vans. One time in Dallas, I was on US 75 and got rear ended when there was a big slowing of traffic. The other time, I was driving the Schwinn van up in Canada and the same thing. A slowing of traffic and the guy behind me smashed into me.
Anyway, the picture below is of the “destruction” of the vehicle. The guy called and it is nearly a 2 grand estimate. That is nuts. It’s absolutely the best place on the car I could have hit. One small rear quarter panel. I couldn’t believe it. And this was just pulling out the dent and fixing it, no parts.
If you earn the minimum wage here in Kansas, that is 35 days of work, 8 hours a day, at $7.25 an hour. I have no idea what this body shop is charging, but even if it takes the guy 20 hours, that is nearly $100 an hour. It doesn’t seem right. Anyway, I’m just going to turn it into my insurance. I’ve never made a claim, so I’ll cross my fingers on my rates skyrocketing.
I’m not sure why everything seems so expensive nowadays. A plumber, car mechanic, dentist, even razor blades, everything seems out of proportion to what a normal person earns. They all want to vacation in the Mediterranean I guess. People can’t be without their cars, and their cars have to look nice, so I guess that explains it somewhat. It’s stupid.
I am having a hard time getting motivated for the Madison trip for Cyclocross Nationals. Maybe I’m just looking at the pessimistic side, but it looks like it’s going to be a mess weather-wise, for the majority of the week. Yesterday,I posted a couple photos of the snow removal process going on currently. It is so hard promoting a bike race, especially in a Northern climate in January. But, the weather is going to change for the worse or better, depending on how you view it.
Starting Monday in Madison, the highs are supposed to be above freezing. Worse than that, it is supposed to be sunny for the first three days. Then on Thursday, when I’m doing my first race, it is supposed to be in the upper 30’s and raining. I don’t rely on forecasts a week out normally, but if this is anywhere near correct, then there is going to be a ton of walking/not riding on the course. I really don’t see how they can change the course to remove the climbs, which were pretty hard to climb last year without anywhere near as much snow/water on the course.
I made some spikes to put in my shoes in case it is was going to be icy in Madison. Maybe I’ll use them for the weekend, when the temperatures are supposed to drop back down into single digits.
I made a pie last night too. I actually only made the crust, Trudi mixed up the innards, which was mainly apples and cranberries.
I have decided to drive up to Chicago on Saturday and race the UCI race there on Sunday. I’m not going great, but I haven’t had a opportunity to ride against Jonathan, Tim Johnson, Powers, etc., so I can’t think of any reason not to go. I don’t think I’m going to get any fitter training down here in Kansas and it is nice getting the drive over.
Okay, I had to get up early to go to the doctor this morning and am tired. I guess I have a mild infection in my right ear, but the guy pulled a big pile of something, I’m not sure what, out of it. Discharge? Whatever, it is nice knowing that my ear is clean and might feel better. I told him I wasn’t big on taking antibiotics and he said he could cut and drain it if I had any more problems, without taking any antibiotics.
So, I’m going to post this tonight and just go to sleep and sleep in.
Madison Extended Forecast
Velonews published an article last night that said that someone from the NY Times said that Lance is considering coming clean, supposedly so he can be suspended for a shorter period, than life, and resume competing in endurance sports.
I don’t know what to think about the whole thing. The article quotes Jonathan Vaughters as saying that it would do a great deal of healing for the sport. I don’t really understand that. All it would do would be make all the people that say Lance didn’t do it start saying, “Who cares if he did it or not?” I think the whole thing seems really bizarre. I can understand the attraction of a lesser penalty, I understand the “tug” of competition, but admitting that you’ve been a lying sack of shit, and I’m not using that term lightly, for close to two decades, is a pretty big pill to swallow just to be able to do some athletic competitions a couple years down the road.
Honestly, I’d say that a lifetime ban suits his rule breaking episode. The guy supposedly took drugs to win 7 Tour de Frances, a World Championship, and a even a few domestic events. He amassed a net wealth of reportedly 125 million dollars. Plus, he sued people, calling ex-team mates liars (this is what really irks me), and making them pay him money, when in fact it was the other way around. Why should he get to compete in athletics with all of us? Sorry, it’s a privilege, not a right, and he abused that privilege to such an extent, in my opinion, he should lose it. I don’t think admitting to the crime should allow him any special exemption. Plus, he abandoning his wing man, Johan. Why not go down with the ship?
But, I’m sure Travis Tygart, USADA, and David Howman, WADA, will love to work a deal with Lance so they are proven “right”, that the system is just, and this wasn’t just a witch hunt. Whatever, maybe I’ll still be around when Lance comes back and we can “compete” against each other again. Leadville 100, 2015?
I spent way too much time yesterday standing around getting ready to go today, like all day. It’s less than 10 hours up to Chicago, so it’s not that bad. I’m going to be a little stale for the UCI race on Sunday, but I’m stale anyway, so a little extra staleness will probably not hurt.
I think it’s going to be energy zapping spending nearly a week in Madison. It’s going to be so messy I can’t see it being anything but that. I’m trying to go fast in nearly a month, not this week, so I’m not so stressed. Last year, there was less than a week between Nationals and Worlds, so it was a different situation.
Okay, I’d better pack up the van and get on the road. I like the drive.