Monthly Archives: May 2013

Nibali – 5.05 Watts per Kilo or 6.4 Watts per Kilo?

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I was reading this article at Velonews about how Vincenzo Nibali was climbing closer to 5 watts per kilo, thus proving that he was racing the Giro clean. This was even after Danilo Di Luca, 2007 Giro winner, tested positive control for EPO, and was getting smeared by Nibali.

Here’s an excerpt from the Velonews article –

La Gazzetta didn’t cite the source of the numbers, but even at face value they provided some telling stats. The last time the Giro climbed Tre Cime, Riccardo Riccò and Di Luca were the main protagonists. Riccò, who has since been banned 12 years for illegal blood transfusions, won the stage while Di Luca cemented his grip on the pink jersey. Di Luca, after tackling three other categorized climbs, climbed the final four kilometers of the Tre Cime climb, with an average grade of 12.26 percent, in 15:30. Nibali, while racing in a snowstorm, was 2:30 slower. Using the measure of VAM (vertical meters climbed per hour), Di Luca hit 1,780 VAM in 2007 up Tre Cime, while Nibali posted 1,533 VAM up Tre Cime with 5.29 watts/kg.

Citing Nibali’s numbers on the other major climbs, La Gazzetta also estimated that he climbed the last 10km of the Montasio climb in 29:49, with 5.05 watts/kg. Those numbers were challenged by none other than Ferrari, who pegged Nibali’s power up the Montasio climb at a whopping 6.4 watts/kg.

Notice the challenge by Michele Ferrari on his website from May 20th. He says Nibali was doing 6.4 watts/kilogram. Ferrari is a proven liar, but according to just about every rider that admitted to doping and those that didn’t, he was the most sought after coach of all time in cycling. I very much doubt that he doesn’t know how to do the formula for climbing power, especially on Italian climbs.

But, why trust him. I’m pretty sure there are some pretty smart fellas out there. And I’m sure that some of you can figure this out. I probably even could, but don’t have the time to do all the research right now. Why doesn’t someone that does these sort of things, figure out the real number and post it here. That would be very interesting. Somebody has probably already done it and we just need to find it. I haven’t been using a power meter very long, but long enough to know that there is a huge difference between 5 and 6.4 watts/per kg. That would be like me riding at 350 watts, which is doable, to 450 watts, which is completely beyond any ability I’ve even dreamed of. The La Gazzetta number seems way low to me for a Grand Tour winner’s move, so both numbers are suspect.

Yesterday it was stormy here in Kansas. It cleared up right after we got the call from the Vet hospital about Bromont. So I went out for a ride. I didn’t have any specific plan. Pretty soon I was way out of town and ended up riding 83 miles. It was super muggy, so I had to stop after 50 miles and get some Gatorade. I rarely just end up riding over 4 hours when I’m not planning on it. It was super nice out, wind around 15 mph, which is calm by Kansas standards and mid 70’s. It was nice to get in some miles.

There are races in Wichita and Oklahoma City this weekend. All criteriums. Plus, the Dirty Kanza 2oo mile gravel road race is on Saturday. I have a bunch of friends coming in to ride that. I don’t have much desire for that right now in my routine, but you never know. It should be a nice day for it, in the mid 70’s and dry. It has rained a bunch out in the Flint Hills the last few days, so some of the roads could be pretty eroded or just plain muddy. Could be interesting.

Last, but not least, storms rolled through again late last night and pummeled our house with pretty huge hail. And it wasn’t for a short duration. I haven’t went out there yet this morning, but I know all the cars and house roof is toast. Man, this is getting old.

There were 1000's of these.

There were 1000’s of these.

It must be global warming.

It must be global warming.

I picked up 3 or 4 turtles today off the road.  It was a turtle slaughter by automobiles the last couple days.  Snakes too.  Whenever it rains a ton, those guys look for high, dry ground, which ends up being the road.  It isn't pretty.

I picked up 3 or 4 turtles today off the road. It was a turtle slaughter by automobiles the last couple days. Snakes too. Whenever it rains a ton, those guys look for high, dry ground, which ends up being the road. It isn’t pretty.

The lady ahead of me in line at Casey's was buying this.  She was a nurse, or at least dressed like a nurse.

The lady ahead of me in line at Casey’s was buying this. She was a nurse, or at least dressed like a nurse.

It's rained so much here that the cattle are standing in belly deep grass.  Should be a good year for cattle.

It’s rained so much here that the cattle are standing in belly deep grass. Should be a good year for cattle.

The storms were just starting up again when I got home.  Got caught in a thunderstorm walking Frankie, the weiner dog ,last night.

The storms were just starting up again when I got home. Got caught in a thunderstorm walking Frankie, the weiner dog ,last night.

Bromont is Out of Surgery

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Just got the call from K-State Vet school that Bromont is out of surgery and everything went good He didn’t have any obstruction in his throat which was a relief. He has to stay at the Vet hospital for a couple more days to make sure he can eat correctly and not aspirate anything into his lungs. Okay, storms are clearing here in Kansas for a couple hours. Gonna go out and ride a bit. Stressful morning.

Bromont and Ken Harkin.  Ken has been very instrumental in taking care of all our sick dogs.  He went to Vet school at Iowa State and used to ride with me back in the early 80's when I rode for Levi's/Raleigh.  It is one of the best relationship happen-stances that has occurred to me from riding bicycles.

Bromont and Ken Harkin. Ken has been very instrumental in taking care of all our sick dogs. He went to Vet school at Iowa State and used to ride with me back in the early 80’s when I rode for Levi’s/Raleigh. It is one of the best relationship happen-stances that has occurred to me from riding bicycles.

Rock Island Recap and Other Misc Stuff

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Okay, back in Topeka. It was a pretty productive weekend last weekend. It was nice getting back into the fray a little. What was really nice was skirting the weather that was pounding Iowa the whole time. Other than racing in the rain on Sunday in Muscatine, the rest of the weekend was dry for the Pro 1/2 races.

Monday’s race in Rock Island was pretty uneventful. The course is a flat, .8 mile course that is a figure 8. It was just a tad wet during our race. Normally the race is very animated, but it was very windy, swirling through the buildings, so that made it hard for a break to get established.

I had no intention of doing anything but follow wheels. That is where I’m at now. That made the race moderately boring for me. A few moves went up the road, but nothing serious. So, to the end.

Texas Roadhouse had a ton of guys in the race. Plus they had the two fastest riders with Colton Barrett and Adam Leibovitz. So with about 5 laps to go they started getting organized at the front. There was a lot of shuffling behind them because they didn’t really start any super quick pace. I hate it when it’s like that. It is so much better for everyone when the team that takes control makes the speed hard enough that the field is stretched out in a line. But, it never got that way until about a half a lap to go.

I was floating about 10-15 guys back the whole time. It was fairly easy staying there. But I made a bad decision, which I’d probably make again if I were in the exact same circumstance. I decided to stay too far back on Cole House, who was following Paul Martin and a Panther team mate.

Cole had gone for the points sprints earlier in the day and he made an incredible move on the last one, coming from 150 meters back and nearly won. He has ridden this race a ton of times and knows the timing of the sprint as well as anyone. Anyway, the setup is that you have to be in position with 3 corners to go. But I wasn’t. I was 10 back sitting on Cole and Texas Roadhouse was going super fast on the front.

I thought that Cole would jump from the corner. Or Paul Martin or Chad Hartley ahead of him would go. But nothing materialized. My jump is pitiful right now and I had no business being in the wind for even a couple seconds. So all I could do was follow, but everyone to follow was just staying in line. So I went around the second to last corner in 11th and lost motivation. A couple guys came through on my inside on the last corner and I ended up 13th. It didn’t matter.

Like I posted yesterday, Adam Leibovitz won the last three days in the Quad Cities. He has pretty incredible form right now. He needs to go to another level and try he talents in some bigger races. We’ll see how he fares down in Tulsa in a couple weeks. Those races are at another level.

Sunday we were watching the Women’s Road Nationals on the Internet. The race was pretty animated. My friend, Amanda Miller made the select front group, so I felt obligated to watch the last hour. I had been planning on riding in the morning. Anyway, Mara Abbott bridged up to the front group on the climb and then went right by them. I’m not sure if she would of won the race, probably not solo at least, but she definitely lost the race when she flatted and had a horrible wheel change.

The wheel change was horrible on so many levels. I think that the blame for her rear derailleur not being attached to her bike after was probably 50% hers and 50% the motorcyle mechanics. Let’s start with her just standing there, straddling her bicycle, looking forward. What’s up with that? When you have a flat tire, someone else is going to be changing it, especially with a rear flat, you need to not be on the bicycle. Whoever is changing the wheel is going to need to pick the bike up off the ground to remove the rear wheel, normally in a race situation by hitting the wheel pretty hard on top. I’m not sure Mara even shifted into a small cog in back.

Anyway, that was mistake #1. Mistake #2 was the mechanic just dropping her bike on the ground, rear derailleur first when he went to get the wheel to put in. He had no idea what he was doing at that point. That is what broke the hanger, the fall from 12 inches to the ground. Mistake #3 was he didn’t know what cog the chain was on when he took the wheel off, so he couldn’t get the wheel back into the frame. He pulled the derailleur back a couple times, just enough to snap off the hanger.

In this article at Cyclingnew.com, Mara says – “I’ve raced for a while, and I’ve had a lot of success. That’s the first time something like that has happened to me where I’ve had luck play into it,” said Abbott about her bittersweet day. “Hopefully this will set me up to have future luck and not dwell on it.”

There was no luck occurring here. She rode into a manhole cover, on her own, flatted, and then had no idea to to act properly to get an fast, efficient wheel change. I guess I have to take the original sentence back, because she did have very bad luck getting “Mr. I don’t know how to change a wheel motorcycle mechanic” as a first responder. It never should have happened, especially at the US National Championships.

How about the Tour of Summerville results. Anyone getting sick of that other than me? Not sure how it all went down, but I’m sure it was just the same as usual. Kind of strange because Sommerville has such a wide open, long finish.

Bromont has to to to K-State in a few minutes for his surgery tomorrow. It is a fairly complicated surgery, so we’re a little stressed. He is such an emotional guy, he’s not going to like being over at the vet hospital for a few days. We’ll go visit. I’m sure it will be alright.

This is the 2nd to last corner at Rock Island.  I'm all the way to the right, behind Cole House, two Panther guys, plus Rob White and Chad Hartley.  It seemed like a good spot to be in 400 meters earlier.

This is the 2nd to last corner at Rock Island. I’m all the way to the right, behind Cole House, two Panther guys, plus Rob White and Chad Hartley. It seemed like a good spot to be in 400 meters earlier.

This is coming out of the corner.  Adam and Colton are nearly into the last corner we're so far behind.

This is coming out of the corner. Adam and Colton are nearly into the last corner we’re so far behind.

The guy is still trying to put the wheel in with the derailleur in his hand.

The guy is still trying to put the wheel in with the derailleur in his hand.


This was a good picture.  Guess she was still waiting for the wheel.

This was a good picture. Guess she was still waiting for the wheel.

The podium at Sommerville.  Same old, same old.

The podium at Sommerville. Same old, same old.

It rained a ton over the weekend.  Davenport was flooding everywhere as I rode to the start of the race.

It rained a ton over the weekend. Davenport was flooding everywhere as I rode to the start of the race.

I love the Midwest.  This is Jeff Bradley's neighborhood.  Full size American flags at every driveway on Memorial Day.

I love the Midwest. This is Jeff Bradley’s neighborhood. Full size American flags at every driveway on Memorial Day.

Bromont looking all fancy in Burlington Iowa last weekend.

Bromont looking all fancy in Burlington Iowa last weekend.

Rock Island Criterium – Quad Cities

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This is going to have to be short. We decided to stop in Des Moines and somehow I lost my phone this morning. I had to finally drive to a McDonalds and get online and go to the Find My Phone App. It turns out it was in Catherine’s bag. I must of had it in my hand when I moved her bag so Bromont could get into the van. It was a frustrating morning so far.

So, we have 3 1/2 hours back, plus I have to go by the airport to get the Honda Insight that Trudi left flying to Pro Natz. I’ll do a write up of the race later. Adam Leibovitz made it a hat trick. That is the first time I can remember one guy winning all three criteriums here. Unreal. Okay, have to get driving.

20130528-095525.jpg
Results. Click to enlarge.

Melon City Criterium – Muscatine Results

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Yesterday was day 3 of a 4 day weekend for me over Memorial Day. Melon City is probably the easiest race out of all 4, even though the course is challenging. It’s a one mile criterium on the side of a shallow hill. Big ring climb for a couple hundred meters, into a U-turn that is 75 meters from the finish line.

It was raining most of the day yesterday. But, luckily, it eased up about an hour before the women’s race, which was at 3. Catherine and I drove over to Muscatine from Davenport and got to ride without getting our chamois all wet before the races. Right about the time the women’s race, it started raining some. That was how it would be for the next couple hours, raining on and off.

The women’s race was a field sprint. Catherine ended up 7th, which was a vast improvement over her Snake Alley results. She has had a pretty slow start to the year after collapsing a lung at Cyclo-x Nationals and not being able to ride for 6 weeks because of it.

The men’s race was wet most all day. We did 40 laps, which is 40 miles. I felt pretty horrible the first 5-10 laps. My left hamstring was super tight and I wasn’t riding uphill worth a shit. Eventually, I got feeling better. I only tried a couple times to get into any moves. I’m not naive enough to think that I have any form to be doing that. A couple guys rode off the front most of the race, only to be caught with 10 to go.

That is about when Adam Leibovitz did a solo move, never to be seen again. He got out of sight pretty quickly and then a few of his Texas Roadhouse team mates got to the front and it was done. That is two in a row for him this weekend. Pretty great bike riding.

I was pretty worried about the field sprint. I wasn’t getting up the hill with any power the whole way. On the last lap, I got into pretty good position going down the hill and went over a speed bump at the bottom of the hill about 8 back. I knew to do well you have to get half way up the hill in good position. I did that, maybe getting close to the lead, but I ran out of juice about 100 meters from the final U-turn. I’d guess about 8 guys passed me, but slowed down for the corner. I kept pedaling and dove the inside, passing maybe 4 or 5. But, I was done. There was a crash in the last U-turn, a few guys behind me, so I knew that I couldn’t lose too many places. I struggled to the line, two riders going by and finished 8th in the sprint, 9th for the day.

That wasn’t what I was looking for, but it was all I could do. It is a good race to get some form. 40 times up a moderately hard hill is just what the doctor ordered. I really can’t complain about how I’m riding. It isn’t anything special, but it could be a whole lot worse.

Today is the Quad Cities Criterium in Rock Island. It is a 8 corner, tight criterium that is pretty sketchy in the rain. I’ve raced it once when it was wet out and you really need to stay in the front to be out of trouble. It isn’t easy.

It has been great staying with Jeff Bradley. No diet here. Pancakes and eggs every morning and steak and rice every night. It isn’t the time to lose weight racing. The race here is sometimes late, so it is going to be a long night, not getting on the road until after 6 or 7pm. It’s 450 miles back to Topeka, so it ain’t going to be early. Okay, maybe the rain will ease up some so I can go out and ride this morning before the race. That would be a nice way to start out Memorial Day.

Results from Melon City, Muscatine Criterium 1/2 race.  Click to enlarge.

Results from Melon City, Muscatine Criterium 1/2 race. Click to enlarge.

Guess riding rollers behind you car is the best way to warm up nowadays before a rainy criterium.

Guess riding rollers behind you car is the best way to warm up nowadays before a rainy criterium.

Catherine on the left leading the women's field.

Catherine on the left leading the women’s field.

Breakfast yesterday morning.

Breakfast yesterday morning.

And dinner.

And dinner.

Bromont making himself at home at Jeff's house.  He gets pretty tired watching bike races.  He's been to over 500 I'd guess.

Bromont making himself at home at Jeff’s house. He gets pretty tired watching bike races. He’s been to over 500 I’d guess.

Turns out my seat was broken.  I'm still way tender down there.

Turns out my seat was broken. I’m still way tender down there.

This is in Burlington Iowa, overlooking the Mississippi River.  Only appropriate since it's Memorial Day.

This is in Burlington Iowa, overlooking the Mississippi River. Only appropriate since it’s Memorial Day.

Snake Alley Criterium

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Like I posted yesterday, Snake Alley is one of my favorite races of the year. This year I didn’t have super big aspirations, but thought I could ride alright. And I did, sort of.

I woke up yesterday morning and my shoulder was aching like crazy. And I could hardly move it. I have no idea what that is all about. It must of been something to do with the cool weather. Even after the race, I was about where I was at 2 months ago in movement.

It had rained most of the day, but cleared about an 1/2 hour before the women’s race, which was right before the 1/2 race.

I got one of the few call-ups to the front, mainly since I’ve won the race a couple times before. I wasn’t planning on starting at any break neck speed, just ride steady. I rode up the hill pretty easy the first few laps. I actually just sat up over the top, realizing that I could coast back up the guys in front of me on the headwind descent.

I felt okay the first 3 laps, then started feeling worse. It was mainly the last couple switchbacks at the top of the climb. I was recovering alright, I just didn’t have the juice to ride the hill the whole way at speed. But after 3 or 4 bad laps, it seemed to be getting better. I was making it further and further up the climb each time good.

Then disaster stuck at 10 to go, which is 1/2 way through the race. I was sprinting onto the bricks on the left side and shifting as I entered the alley. But, I got a little cut off and had to do a stutter coast/pedal thing. When I started pedaling, my chain popped off to the inside. It is the first time that I’ve ever dropped my chain at this race and I’ve raced it a ton of times. It is the first time I’ve dropped my chain riding Di2 also. I think it was the coasting while the shifting was taking place. Whatever the reason, I had to stop and put my chain back on and try to get going on the steep pitch. It was over the second it happened.

I lost 30 seconds on that lap, according to the Strava record to the right. It seemed like a ton more. I kind of gave up, but then decided to just keep going. A guy had ridden up to me when I was messing around and I rode the last 8 laps with him. We actually weren’t going that bad. If you take the 30 seconds I lost the lap I dropped my chain, we lost less than minute to the front group the last 1/2 of the race which was 24 minutes. That isn’t so much, considering.

Texas Road House guys got 1st and 2nd. Adam Leibovitz won the race out of a field sprint of over 20 riders. He won the Collegiate Nationals and is riding pretty good this season so far. For sure I would have been in there. I was riding so much better the 2nd have of the race than the first. I have no idea how it would have turned out, but I’m okay with the way I rode.

I haven’t been riding the power meter very long. I have a average wattage of 340 watts for the race, which is much higher than any training ride I’ve done. I don’t know what the means in comparison to anything else, but once I get some form and race a lot more, than number should be considerably higher I’d think. I knew I was going better towards the end. The last lap up the climb, I rode the 2nd highest wattage of the race at 578 watts and it didn’t seem nearly as hard as most of the previous laps.

It is supposed to rain today for Mellon City and rain tomorrow for the Quad Cities Criterium. Mellow City should be alright in the wet, but Quad Cities will be ugly.

Results.  A little hard to read because of the glare.  You can click twice to enlarge.

Results. A little hard to read because of the glare. You can click twice to enlarge.

I stole this photo off Facebook.

I stole this photo off Facebook.

Here is a picture of some of the climb from about 2/3 the way up.

Here is a picture of some of the climb from about 2/3 the way up.

Kim Epen won the women's race.  She looked super strong.

Kim Epen won the women’s race. She looked super strong.

I have these tires mounted up on some fast wheels for the next two days.

I have these tires mounted up on some fast wheels for the next two days.

Something is the matter with my saddle.  I'm putting a new one on this morning.

Something is the matter with my saddle. I’m putting a new one on this morning.

Jeff Bradley making us some awesome chicken, asparagus risotto for dinner last night.

Jeff Bradley making us some awesome chicken, asparagus risotto for dinner last night.

Most the McDonald's in Iowa and Wisconsin serve real butter with their pancakes.  I like it so much more.

Most the McDonald’s in Iowa and Wisconsin serve real butter with their pancakes. I like it so much more.