Monthly Archives: February 2013

Redlands Revamped

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I was reading this article about the Redlands Classic and how they got an influx of funds and the race is healthy, which is great. I used to go to Redlands, mainly just to train. This year the race is in early April and I have no chance of being able to compete. But, I haven’t done the race the past couple years anyway. I always thought that they did a pretty good job mixing up the stages, even though the Sunset Loop is a very hard race, it doesn’t necessarily make or break the GC results.

This year they changed the time trial to high altitude, Big Bear, and longer, 12.7km. The time trial used to be less than 5 km and uphill. This year they made the time trial a stage, not a prologue. I think this is big mistake.

The problem with them making the time trial a stage is that they will have to enforce the time limit. The race has such a diverse rider ability and it is so early in the season, that it is really unfair to riders from the Northern climates.

I’m not sure why they wanted to lengthen the time trial either. It might not be that much longer in time, but it is still too long for a weekend stage race. And that is pretty much what Redlands is, a long weekend stage race. I don’t think that a 15 minute time trial is right when there are only 3 stages to make up the time.

Not even mentioning the use of time trial bikes. Personally, I think for all NCR stage races in the United States, there should be no time trial bikes allowed. Our country is just too big to cover in an automobile and flying with two bikes to a race is stupid expensive. If they want to allow clip on bars, that would be alright, but having to spend $350 to bring a time trial bike, just for a 7.5 mile time trial is just dumb.

I know all you time trial fanatics are thinking, “Tilford, you’re full of shit. Just because you don’t time trial well, you don’t want us to use all this expensive equipment we have.” That is partially true, but it still doesn’t matter if it is. The amount of expense that it costs all the riders that are participating in the race isn’t justified by the small amount of seconds exchanged. The results will be pretty much the same, no matter what bikes everyone is riding.

Even the Pro Tour Teams are not allowed to race on time trial equipment sometimes when it is very expensive and cost prohibitive to travel with the extra equipment. The Tour of Qatar comes to mind where the guys did a team time trial on their regular road bikes.

Anyway, it is nice to see that the race is healthy. I’m not big on the changes, but it’s their race and I’m sure they had their reasons for the new venue and longer time trial length. We’ll see if it adds to the competition of the race in a little over a month. Man, it is nearly March.

The is Tyler Hamilton from the 2008 Redlands prologue.  Wow, that was 5 year's ago.

The is Tyler Hamilton from the 2008 Redlands prologue. Wow, that was 5 year’s ago.


The 2013 Tour of Qatar Team Time Trial

Kind of Down and Out

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I was going to just skip posting something today, but haven’t done that for ages, so here it is. I’m kind of down and out. I contracted some kind of sinus funk and on top of this shoulder thing, I’m feeling generally blah, or worse. I had thought a couple week ago that if I spend two plus hours in a hospital everyday, that there would be a super high chance that I’d get sick. I wonder why I’m surprised and disappointed that it occurred? If I can keep it from going into my lungs then I’ll call it a success.

I was supposed to be having hand surgery right now in the Vail Surgical Center in Edwards. I went and saw a hand specialist and he said he can fix this chronic problem I’ve been having riding in less than 10 minutes and there would be a 90 something % that it would be successful. Then late yesterday afternoon, the financial people from the surgical center and doctor called and said they were having an issue with my insurance. I’m going to do a whole post, probably more, on the whole thing, but I decided to cancel the operation because of the financial exposure that I might have. Might have is because my insurance won’t say how much they will pay for the procedure until the procedure is completed. And there is a very high probability that my insurance might pay as little as 25% of the cost. I’m wondering and worrying why I didn’t go through any of this for the shoulder thing. Both the doctor and surgical center needed me to pay up front for the procedures and then have me submit the receipts to my insurance. It was going to be over $6000, which I’ll address later too.

The Burton US Open snowboarding competition is starting today in Vail. They have built these unbelievable huge jumps and a half pipe. They have made so much snow for this that my PT, Brooke, said yesterday that the rumor around Vail is that if it gets really warm early this spring, the locals think that the houses below the huge snow structures are going to be flooded. I don’t know about that, but it is massive. I’m going to try to make my way over there the next couple days and catch some of the competition. I don’t know the exact schedule, but I think the half pipe finals are on Saturday.

I’m not sure if I’ll be in Colorado on Saturday. I have my two week follow up appointment with the shoulder surgeon tomorrow and after that I’m hoping that I can get a more aggressive PT routine prescribed and head back to Kansas and do it there.

We’ve been shoveling the driveway here virtually everyday. It seems to snow just a couple inches , usually at night. Not enough for a plow to clear, but enough that it needs to be removed. I like the small amount of exercise, so I like doing it. My left arm is not getting any more coordinated, but the muscles are growing nearly as fast as my right arm is shrinking. The sun is so intense, that if you expose the dark asphalt early, the snow melts super quick and the whole thing is bone dry by mid afternoon. I like that about Colorado.

It has been okay staying here for two weeks, but I’m pretty sure I couldn’t live here all winter. The winter is way too long and constant. And the whole summit county area really is geared completely towards tourism, especially in the winter. That is not my favorite type of industry for a full year living area. It is beautiful and there is a ton to do, if you have use of all your body parts, but the winter is so long here that I’d have to change my lifestyle to accommodate and I’m not to that point as of now.

These photos are taken from driving on I-70, not close at all to the venue.

These photos are taken from driving on I-70, not close at all to the venue.

It is nearly impossible to show how huge the jumps are.

It is nearly impossible to show how huge the jumps are.

Floyd and Company holding Discussion at Yale

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Floyd Landis is going to be doing a panel, that supposedly he got together, to discuss doping in cycling. The panel is going to have Jonathan Vaughters, Garmin, Travis Tygart, USADA, and Thomas Murray, a professor and serves as the Chair of the Ethical Issues Review Panel for the World Anti-Doping Agency. This could be interesting. I haven’t seen a link, but I hope there is some live internet coverage of the event. It would nearly be worth the plane ticket to attend in person, just for entertainment sake.

The quote I agree with the most from the announcement is by Floyd. He says – “All I can talk about is what I know from when I was racing. For me it doesn’t appear that the risk and reward structure has changed. Nor has the management of cycling. There’s not a lot of reason, other than taking people at their word that anything has really changed. We’ve seen where ‘taking people at their word’ leads us.”

All these current riders that got their asses kicked by these guys that were doping keep telling us that was is the past and that isn’t the current generation of riders now. But many, if not most of the guys winning the races currently are from this past generation, so the statements seem illogical at best and most likely just outright fabrication.

Unless some outside source, governing body get into the mix, us, as a sport, are not going to be able to solve this problem. I’ve been writing it here for years, the sanctions have to be super severe. I used the word draconian once to describe how severe. The punishment has to be more severe than the offense. And, personally, I think the offenses are serious on their own merit, so the punishments need to be almost ridiculously severe.

I think that it is interesting that the only way that riders tend to fess up is when they are subpoenaed and have to testify under oath. Athletes don’t like the idea of serving jail time. I doubt that the societies of most modern countries want to throw their idols/athletes, into jail for breaking the rules of sport. But, the harm to and interest of, society is not small. The stakes are very high in many of these sports. The amount of money changing hands, even in cycling is enormous to the average guy. There needs to be a way to “convince” the participates that doping isn’t a viable alternative. I think more legal options need to be considered when addressing the sanctioning of the offenders. Civilly and criminally.

I don’t think that Floyd has an agenda right now. He is just sitting around, maybe trying to race some Nascar, twiddling his fingers while this whistler blower law suit runs its course. He is potentially in line for over 10 million dollars, depending on how the thing plays out. That would very much surprise me if that is the case, but you never know in this day and age.

Anyway, this forum might be interesting, depending how forthcoming all the participates can be. It’s on Thursday at Yale if your nearby.

I thought this was an interesting picture of Floyd.  I'm not sure if the photographer just asked Floyd to pose in this position on a chair or what, but it is very unusual.

I thought this was an interesting picture of Floyd. I’m not sure if the photographer just asked Floyd to pose in this position on a chair or what, but it is very unusual.

This was from July of 2011.

It’s All Starting to Melt Together

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The weekend and the bike show passed quickly. It snowed like crazy in Colorado on Saturday night/Sunday morning. The biggest snow of the year for a lot of the area. It wasn’t a foot most places, but it was pretty deep and wet everywhere I was. It really slowed down the attendance of the handmade bike show on Sunday.

We didn’t stay that long either. Vincent drove us over to the show in his AWD Subaru. It was snowing pretty good when we left and I was pretty sure my van was not moving when we got back. The interstate highways, 70 and 25 were hardly touched by plows mid morning. I thought that was amazing. I ran out of juice, as usually, early afternoon and went back to Vincent’s house. I wanted to get started up to the mountains before it got dark, but wanted to leave the road crews enough time to get most of the snow off the roads.

It worked out pretty good. It only took us an hour and a half to get up to Silverthorne, which was only 30 minutes more than usual.

I have 3 doctor’s appointments in Vail today, so I have to scoot. I’m not sure I’ve ever had 3 doctor’s appointments in one day in my life. It’s really two physical therapy sessions and one doctor’s appointment, but my physical therapists are doctors, so technically it would be seeing 3 doctors at three different times.

Trudi has all her downhill ski stuff in the van and is going to ski all day today. They got a ton of new snow in Vail, I’m sure, so it will be pretty good. She told me last night on the dog walk that she was a little nervous about getting hurt. I thought that was nuts, we ski (nordic) all the time, on pretty technical trails. But she said that she has seen so many hurt people the last 10 days that it got her thinking. I have to admit, if you spend most of everyday at the hospital in Vail, you see a lot of people wearing ski boots and helmets, sitting in wheel chair, waiting for an MRI, X-ray or something. I heard that last Friday, they took 48 people off the slopes on the back board/sled things. That isn’t even counting the people that skied down and got themselves to the hospital. It is a never ending supply of patients for those guys. Anyway, Trudi will be fine, she’s been skiing since she was very young. The lift tickets are $119, so I think she is only planning on skiing one day. That seems extremely high, but I’ve stated it here before, I’m a bit out of touch of how much normal everyday things in life cost.

I have my two week follow-up with my shoulder surgeon on Thursday. Then I’ll know a lot more about when I can start doing more normal everyday life things. I have to admit I am very surprised how slowly this has gone, even though I’ve been told by many people, who’s opinions I respect, that this is a very slow healing injury/process.

The bike show was a good distraction, even though I was low energy all weekend. The guys displaying at this show have a ton of passion for their crafts. The enthusiasm is contagious. The way the cost of all the production, high end bikes have gotten, if I were buying bike, I would have to buy one of these small production, custom/nearly custom bikes. The craftsmanship and care that these guys put into each and every one of their frames is amazing. You would think that there has to be some premium attached to this, but when you really look at the costs, it isn’t all that much difference.

I’m going to keep the list of exhibitors of this show in my van this year, and whenever I go to a city that one of them builds, I’m going to make it a point to stop by to check it out. Maybe even go for a ride. Nearly everyone at this show could easily be a friend of mine in the future.

Okay, my arm has been feeling a little weird the last few days, so I’m eager to talk to someone this morning to put my mind at ease. I’m really looking forward to Thursday. I’m not sure, unless they do another MRI down the road, how they are going to know that this whole thing went as planned. And I don’t think another MRI is in the plans at this point. Maybe it takes a lot bigger hit, twist, or whatever to pull these reattached tendons off the bone, I don’t really know.

Changing the subject, once again, a big congratulations to Brett Crosby and Joseph Schmalz for winning this past weekend in Walburg and Pace Bend respectively, down outside of Austin. I really enjoy those races and they are pretty competitive. Good start to the season from the Elbowz Racing Team.

Okay, below are a bunch of pictures from the last couple days.

This is Kent Eriksen, Vincent and I in front of the Eriksen Cycles booth.

This is Kent Eriksen, Vincent and I in front of the Eriksen Cycles booth.

Kent and I doing an interview after they awarded Kent the Best Titanium Construction Award from the show.

Kent and I doing an interview after they awarded Kent the Best Titanium Construction Award from the show.

And a photo shoot after the interview.

And a photo shoot after the interview.

This is Elaine and Oscar, Andy Hampsten's wife and baby.

This is Elaine and Oscar, Andy Hampsten’s wife and baby.

Doing an interview about the Di2 shifting I used for cross Nationals and Worlds.

Doing an interview about the Di2 shifting I used for cross Nationals and Worlds.

Talking to Rich Gangl.  Rich and I got way back, early 80's maybe.  He builds some beautiful stuff.

Talking to Rich Gangl. Rich and I got way back, early 80’s maybe. He builds some beautiful stuff.

Rich completely rebuild these Monarch ergometers.  Pretty cool.

Rich completely rebuild these Monarch ergometers. Pretty cool.

The little Tradewind Energy corner of the Eriksen booth.

The little Tradewind Energy corner of the Eriksen booth.

Vincent bought 29 pair of Defeet wool socks right when we got to the show.  His rational is that you don't have to spend any time matching up the pairs if all your socks are the same.  Hard to argue with that.

Vincent bought 29 pair of Defeet wool socks right when we got to the show. His rational is that you don’t have to spend any time matching up the pairs if all your socks are the same. Hard to argue with that.

This was the best cross bike of the show from Mosaic Cycles.

This was the best cross bike of the show from Mosaic Cycles.

I liked the headbadge on the bike.

I liked the headbadge on the bike.

Lisa, Vincent's wife, made us cookies after lunch yesterday.

Lisa, Vincent’s wife, made us cookies after lunch yesterday.

Bromont running around in Vincent's backyard before we drove up to the mountains.  It was nearly chest deep for him.

Bromont running around in Vincent’s backyard before we drove up to the mountains. It was nearly chest deep for him.

Just at Floyd Hill, I got stuck behind three plows moving in tandem.

Just at Floyd Hill, I got stuck behind three plows moving in tandem.

The traffic up by the Eisenhower tunnel was not moving coming down on Sunday night.

The traffic up by the Eisenhower tunnel was not moving coming down on Sunday night.

I liked the logo for Speedhound Bicycles.  Nothing wrong with a girl riding a bike with a fit looking dog.

I liked the logo for Speedhound Bicycles. Nothing wrong with a girl riding a bike with a fit looking dog.

Jack made the cut and came back up to Silverthorne with us.  Not sure what he was going for here.

Jack made the cut and came back up to Silverthorne with us. Not sure what he was going for here.

Bike Show/Then Blizzard

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We drove down to Denver for the NAHBS (North American Handmade Bicycle Show). Like I’ve stated here before, you have to put this on your bucket list if you’ve never been to one. The show gets better and better every year.

We didn’t get to the show all that early. I had a mediocre night and we got a late start. So, I didn’t get to see as much as I had hoped. Luckily, I still have most of the day today to see what I missed.

I ran into a bunch of people I knew. Some I haven’t see for years, others, I know pretty well, but it was great catching up some with all of them. I got a little bit tired of explaining my shoulder situation, but that is how it goes.

I did a few interviews, but ran out of juice, just like I had predicted, with still two hours to go. And that was it for yesterday.

Kent Eriksen had an awesome display. I’ll have to post more about the whole show tomorrow. Last night wasn’t my best. I have to get organized for today and then head up back up to the mountains.

It started snowing here about 8 pm last night. It is supposed to snow somewhere between 10-16 inches in Silverthorne. That is going to be slow going back up there. Plus, shoveling is going to be ugly. My left arm is going to hate me.

Monday I have a couple PT appointments and another appointment with a hand surgeon. I figure I might as well take care of as many physical problems as I can while I’m laying low.

Kent won Best Titanium Construction award, which he nearly always does.  His bikes are beautiful.

Kent won Best Titanium Construction award, which he nearly always does. His bikes are beautiful.

I don't get to see my friend Andy Hampsten anywhere nearly as often as I'd like to.

I don’t get to see my friend Andy Hampsten anywhere nearly as often as I’d like to.

The bikes here are works of art.

The bikes here are works of art.