Monthly Archives: June 2013

ToL Mt. Oread Circuit Race, KU Campus, Kansas State Road Championships

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Okay, I have to make this somewhat short. I don’t have much time and a ton of stuff to do before racing this afternoon at 1pm. I’m hoping to ride the 30 miles over to Lawrence before the race, but I don’t know if I have enough time.

Yesterday, we raced 14 laps of a real hard course on the KU campus. It was essentially climbing up to the campus twice each lap with no flat in between. I think there was close to 500 feet of climbing every 3.5 miles or so. That is a lot of climbing.

Anyway, the race started off pretty fast. I’d ridden 20 miles in the morning and knew I wasn’t good, but no sure I was bad. I tried to cover as much stuff as I could the first few laps, for Brian. It turns out the first laps destroyed the 75 rider field. After 4 or 5 laps there were less than 20 guys left. It was mainly the course. It is very technical, lots of corner, sort of a long criterium, but also there was a ton of wind. The wind was mainly on the descents and it made chasing back on after you got split off, from a climb or a corner, very hard.

Eventually Brian rode off the front with 3 other guys. No Joseph or Brad Huff. I was good with that. Joseph shortly just jumped on a hill and bridged up very easily. Brad on the other hand had to work his butt off to get up there. His normal plan for this is ride the descents and corners at super high pace and then soft pedal the climbs. He had to do this lap after lap, but eventually it worked out good for him. I dropped my chain and then he jumped and bridged. I was pissed at myself for letting that happen.

So, I ended up riding around in a group of 8, 30 seconds behind a group of 9, for most of the next hour. This guy from Colorado Springs, I think his name is Clayton Feldman, pretty much pulled our group around for the majority o f the 8 laps. He was going pretty great. I told him that he didn’t belong with us and that he should have been riding up in the front. He said he was trying to do just that. One time we got close enough so I could have maybe bridged up, but I waited just a second too long and Brian attacked the group and they rode away. I was a little pissed at myself and somewhat at Brian, but he didn’t have a reason to look bad. I’d told him before the race to completely dis-regard me, so he was doing just that.

Anyway, eventually, with 3 or so laps to go, Joseph rode away on a descent. Like I said, the descents were super hard because they were headwind. He got a good gap on Brian, Brad Huff and the junior, Nick Torraca, Elbowz. That was all she wrote. Brian jumped away from the other two on the last climb and finished 2nd. Brad 3rd and Nick 4th.

We ended up catching a couple guys that had been dropped from the break, Colton Jarish, who had a mechanical, and Matt Stephens, who I’m not sure what happened to him. I felt pretty good the last couple laps and thought that I could ride away from these guys, but no. I got away, but the group caught me and then Colton jumped away from us before the last climb. I followed Clayton up the climb and thought I had won the sprint 200 meter hill sprint, but Matt Stephens came by me right before the line. It really didn’t matter, 9th or 10th.

I felt better than I had thought. Nothing great, but better. That is always a good sign. I had stomach issues the whole race and that was my major complaint. But, it really didn’t slow me down all that much as it turned out.

The race was designated the Kansas State Road Championships, so Joseph won. Brian who finished 2nd, was 2nd and then I was 3rd, finishing 10th. Lot of slots between 2nd and 10th there, huh?

Today is the Kansas State Criterium Championships. The race is in downtown Lawrence on Mass. St. It is a great venue. I hope to have more power, but I didn’t get all that much sleep. We’ll see. Last year I finished 3rd in the race, Brad Huff won. The way this weekend usually goes is Joseph wins the circuit race and Brad wins the criteriums. So far this year, it is keeping to plan.

Jospeh riding away alone, getting a hose full of ice.

Jospeh riding away alone, getting a hose full of ice.

Trying to bridge up to Colton and Matt on my own.

Trying to bridge up to Colton and Matt on my own.

Brian and Brad Huff riding together.

Brian and Brad Huff riding together.

Bromont licking the sweat off me after the race.

Bromont licking the sweat off me after the race.

I went to a party afterwards at Matt Gilhausen's house, which is right on the course.  Here I'm talking to Joseph.

I went to a party afterwards at Matt Gilhausen’s house, which is right on the course. Here I’m talking to Joseph.

Click to enlarge.

Click to enlarge.

Street Sprints ToL

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The Tour of Lawrence Street Sprints were last night in Lawrence. It’s not something that I’m very good at. Especially right now. Don’t get me wrong, I sprint okay, just, but starting from a standing start with a screwed up shoulder, under the weather doesn’t make for a stellar showing. That’s okay, even when I’m going good I suck at it pretty much.

So, I rode a few rounds and out. I rode the first two times against Brian Jensen, my TradeWind Energy team mate. We didn’t really race, but didn’t completely sandbag it. I thought it was really weird because Brian beat me by about a wheel the first time and he had a max wattage of nearly 1400 and I was at 868. It must of been the initial pedal strokes.

It was good seeing a bunch of guys from out of town. Brad Huff, Jelly Belly, won the event over Colton Jarish, Think, and my old team mate, Ben Stover, Velotek. Those three take the event semi-seriously, so it is good they all made it to the podium. The points for the overall are pretty even, weighed more heavily for the circuit race and a little less for the criterium, so it should be tight. Brad can climb when he wants to, but you never know.

The circuit race tomorrow is going to be harder than usual. Just pretty much up and down Mt. Oread. They took all the middle flattish section out of the race because of road construction. It is going to be an enormous amount of climbing in 50 miles. I’m guessing 8000 feet. That might be too high, but not by much.

I have no idea how I’m going to race. I felt better yesterday on my 11 mile morning ride. I did eat a full dinner in Lawrence after the sprints and it stayed down, which was a positive sign. I’m not usually a guy that just pops right back from sickness quickly, but I can always hope.

The Tour de France starts today. Live video already up. I hate guessing winners on stage races, before the race. They are so unpredictable, which make predicting them so hard and mainly lucky. Froome is obviously the favorite, but I guess I’m going with Cadel. It is really hard picking Cadel after he rode the Giro, but I’m doing it anyway. He is like a diesel engine and stays out of trouble. Foome is so frail that if he has the least bit of bad luck I think he’ll break. And there always seems to be bad luck in the Tour these days.

Okay, enjoy the day and the Tour stage. I don’t race until 4:30 this afternoon, so I have another half a day to recover some.

Catching up before the start with Nick 	Torraca, Joseph Schmalz, and Coltan Jarish (in the pink leaders jersey).

Catching up before the start with Nick Torraca, Joseph Schmalz, and Coltan Jarish (in the pink leaders jersey).

Brian and I in the 1st round.  He cheated and was riding on his drops.

Brian and I in the 1st round. He cheated and was riding on his drops.

About ready to get put out by Colton, in the pink.

About ready to get put out by Colton, in the pink.

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Off Track Once Again

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I would like to be writing something more fun here, but am not able to. I woke up yesterday morning with crazy diarrhea. It came out of nowhere. The only thing I can think is maybe it was the antibiotic injection, plus the oral antibiotics I took for my “farm injury” to my knuckle or maybe a few slices of beets I had on a salad the night before. I was searching around the internet and found this about antibiotic induced colitis. The symptoms seem right, but it’s just one of a zillion things it could be. Maybe the tetanus shot. All guesses, I doubt I’ll ever figure it out.

Whatever the reason, I spent the majority of the day in the bathroom or in bed. I managed to get out on my bike for 5 miles and had to go home because of a splitting headache. I never took my temperature, but I didn’t feel well. I went to bed around 9 pm last night and that is pretty much the day.

It wouldn’t have worked out for the heat training because, one, I didn’t ride and two, the heat never came. The high yesterday was 81 or so.

I think the deluge has sort of subsided now, but I am super weak. The Tour of Lawrence starts tonight with the downtown street sprints. I’m just going to go over there and ride the 200 meters once and out. Hopefully another day and a half will be enough to get some strength back. We don’t race until 4:30 Saturday afternoon for the circuit race.

Sorry for being so boring and such here the last few days, but this week didn’t really go to script. Actually, this year has really went to script, but I’m trying not to dwell on that too much right now.

I’m going to try to lay around in bed all day today until later. If I feel any better, I’ll go out for a short ride. That is really the only way I really get back on track after being down and out. Sometimes it isn’t so good for the mentality, but physically, it definitely puts me back on track. Usually. I hope I feel better for the weekend. I always look forward to this weekend and it’s been such a roller coaster recently, I hate to think I’m just going to be spectating. Okay, that’s it for now.

Lawrence Street Sprints from a couple years ago.

Tour of Lawrence, Street Sprints 2011 from Gizmo Pictures on Vimeo.

Lucked Out, Sort of

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Yesterday was long. First I went and used my chainsaw and cleared the rest of the trees that I left when I ripped open my hand with the chainsaw. I figured that I wouldn’t be able to use it for a few weeks, so I’d better finish the job. It was already 90+ degrees by noon and I pretty much sweated through every piece of clothing I was wearing. I had hoped on riding to Kansas City, but by the time we had loaded the trailer and dumped it at the vegetation dump, it was nearly time to drive to Overland Park.

I got to the Dr. office barely on time. It was a plastic surgery center and man, did it look like something out of Housewives of Beverly Hills/Orange County or something. I have really never watched one of those shows, but I’d bet they have places like this in them. Very modern, pretty receptionists, espresso machine, blah, blah, blah. Anyway, they were all very nice, professional, and prompt, which pretty much is all I could hope for.

The doctor came in, messed a bit with my hand and then told me that the index finger has two tendons. And that by my movement, I only severed one. He said that he sometimes “steals” my severed tendon in surgeries that he needs an extra one. So, he told me that if he were in my place, that he would just leave it alone and let it all heal on its own. Sounded prefect to me. So, we drove back to Topeka just in time to make the group ride.

It was only in the 90’s riding, but 90% humidity too. I find when I’m not ready for heat, I tend to breathe more from my belly, well, above the diaphragm, and it makes me feel weird. That was the case yesterday. We rode mildly hard and towards the end, when we were going faster, I could ride steady state around 27/28, but any harder and I started panting like crazy. I do have another day to train for it, today. So, instead of my original plan of riding all week in the heat, I’m going to do one good ride in the heat. I’ll wait until noon and then got out for 4 hours or so. It is then going to cool off here after tomorrow. Boo.

So, when I got the clean bill of health, I entered road Nationals in Madison next weekend. The road race is closed with 200 riders entered. I think there are a couple spots for the 150 field limit in the criterium. The race predictor has me finishing 176th in the road race, but 16th in the criterium. Travis McCabe, from the Elbowz Team, is predicted to win both events. What pressure! Seriously, 200 guys riding around on the Blue Mound Loop is going to be huge. I did the race the first year they held The Tour of Americas Dairyland. The course is super hard and some of the roads are super narrow. Matt Busche, who was riding for ISCorp, schooled us pretty good that day. He was riding for Discovery a couple months later. I finished 7th I think. The finish climb is really hard, even after only 140km. Should be interesting. I have never gotten any real form this season yet, but I never know. I came back from the ride yesterday at 149 pounds, which is a decade record low, minus the stomach illness I had in January before Masters Cross Worlds. That doesn’t really count. I am actually in the mid 150’s adding the water back in, which is pretty light for me. I haven’t gotten sick yet, so far, so good.

The last few days I’ve been sort of in limbo, not really knowing what the next couple months would be like. Now I’m a little mentally exhausted. That is weird how that can happen. I’m going to head up to Dennis’ house in Cable after Madison. Trudi has to work Nationals for the BMC U-23 guys, then has a couple of days and has to fly out to Bend for Cascade. Then Utah, Colorado, Alberta, World Cups in Canada, and then done, I guess. Pretty busy summer for her.

Okay, guess I should get ready to lose 10+ pounds in water weight. I have this weird deal when I really sweat a ton, my ears clog up with water. Riding inside for a long time always does it. Riding outside when it is super muggy, plus hot, does it too. I must have a sweat gland or something behind my eardrum.

Weightwise, it really doesn’t matter how much I drink on days like today, there is no way to stop and consume enough liquid to keep up. I’m going to carry two big bottles and probably stop once, but that definitely won’t do it. There are lots of studies that show the benefits of training in the heat and also dehydration. Heat training increases blood plasma. Here’s a link to a general article on the benefits. I don’t really have enough time to do it properly, so I’m just going to go for a nice, long, easy ride in the middle of the day. Maybe I’ll get a little extra plasma, maybe not.

My hand is healing up pretty quickly.  I'm supposed to leave the sutures in for two more weeks.  That seems like a long time.  It is over a joint though.

My hand is healing up pretty quickly. I’m supposed to leave the sutures in for two more weeks. That seems like a long time. It is over a joint though.

Lobby of the swanky plastic surgery center in Overland Park.  I drank two cappuccinos.

Lobby of the swanky plastic surgery center in Overland Park. I drank two cappuccinos.

Tour of Lawrence

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The Tour of Lawrence is this weekend, starting Friday night with street sprints in downtown Lawrence. The pre-registration closes tomorrow morning, but you can register on site, of course. If you don’t have any plans, or if you even do have plans, this race is one not to be missed. It is very rare to get the venues as special as these to race bikes on nowadays. The KU Campus Circuit race on Saturday is an unbelievable course, threading up and down Mt. Oread, through the KU campus. It is super hard. Then racing in downtown, on Mass. St. on Sunday is about as good as it gets for racing here in Kansas. Lawrence is a very cool place just to hang, so like I said above, if you can make it, you should. Click here for more information.

The Tour of Lawrence Flyer for 2013.

The Tour of Lawrence Flyer for 2013.

Riding West

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I really like riding my bike. Not so much when I’m firing all wrong, but that still is alright. I think that either you are passionately hooked on bike riding or you aren’t. There might be an in between. I feel sorry for those people though. I remember reading a quote by Jens Voight saying that his bike is going to be sitting in the corner, gathering cobwebs when he retires, maybe riding twice a year. I felt so sorry for him. Cycling as a job, without passion, isn’t something that I’d wish for even an enemy. It is much to hard of an endeavor for that.

Anyway, I don’t have that issue because I love doing it. I went out for a couple hours yesterday. I was supposed to keep my hand elevated, iced, but I thought maybe this might be the last couple days I get to ride outside for a bit, so I should make the best use of it.

I rode out West of Topeka to Dover. The Flint Hills start right after Dover. At least it gets hilly there, I’m not sure it that is technically the Flint Hills. Anyway, it is beautiful. Beautiful even when it is 90 something degress, super muggy and the wind blowing close to 30 mph, which it was doing yesterday. I didn’t feel stellar, but I wasn’t close to bad. I was riding alright into the 30 mph headwind, which is a good sign.

I like riding out West. K-4, the road that goes from Topeka to Dover is about the only road near Topeka that actually isn’t on a grid pattern. It flows somewhat and doesn’t adhere to the corner ever mile deal that the rest of the county does. It rained a lot yesterday morning and then just heated up. You could cut the air with a knife. It has rained enough that everything is super green around Topeka. It’s going to be a banner year for hay. I don’t really follow hay prices, but I know last year that I saw a bunch being shipped out to Colorado on flatbeds, so it must have been expensive. I guess that is what drought does to things.

Anyway, I plan to ride to Kansas City today to go to the surgery appointment. It is at 3:15. It’s around 80 miles there, so that is a little over 4 hours. Maybe more because of the heat and wind. I’m not sure exactly what is going to happen. I guess they are going to cut back open the wound and look in to see the damage. Seems sort of archaic to me. Seems like there should have been someone in the city of Topeka that could have come in to the hospital and fixed my hand before they sewed it up originally. I guess hand surgeons are a rare find around here. I’m still thinking that the tendon isn’t as bad as I was told. I am typing right now with hardly an issue. That doesn’t seem possible if I severed the tendon to my index finger. I guess we’ll see.

Okay, I’m going to try to finish up cutting the trees this morning before I ride over to Kansas City. It might be the last time for a little while that my left hand is going to work better than my right. I’ll post how it goes later.

I took the splint off to ride yesterday.  It was making my fingers turn blue.

I took the splint off to ride yesterday. It was making my fingers turn blue.

There is a guy in Dover that doesn't much like cyclists.  He made this piece and it is sitting on the crossroads in Dover.

There is a guy in Dover that doesn’t much like cyclists. He made this piece and it is sitting on the crossroads in Dover.

It was so humid yesterday, that I was still pouring sweat when I got home back into the air conditioning.

It was so humid yesterday, that I was still pouring sweat when I got home back into the air conditioning.

Here are just some shots of West of Topeka. It is very green this year.

Like I said above, there is a lot of hay around here this year.

Like I said above, there is a lot of hay around here this year.

This was my mom's favorite corner when we drove out K-4 when I was a child.

This was my mom’s favorite corner when we drove out K-4 when I was a child.

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I Screwed Up – Severed a Tendon

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2013 hasn’t been my year. At least so far. It started out pretty well, for a couple weeks, and then it just went haywire. Yesterday I was using a chainsaw and it went bad. It could have went a lot worse, so that is the up side. But, it went bad enough that I spent the afternoon in the emergency room

It all started out nice and normal. I drove over to physical therapy for my shoulder, only to find out that I wasn’t scheduled. So, I got some coffee and decided to go for a long ride. Somewhere getting ready to ride, I thought that I would just do the 6 o’clock ride at my house and go over to this property I own and cut some trees along a fence line that the city has red flagged. So, I hooked up a trailer, filled it with the necessary tools, including a chainsaw, and drove over there.

Trudi thought that we could just use pruning loppers, but I knew better. Most of these trees, were a couple inches around and my shoulder would be valueless in that scenario. Anyway, I started cutting the saplings. Just a couple of minutes into the job, the day took a bad turn. I was cutting one and didn’t want it to fall towards me, pinching the saw chain, so I was using my right hand on the saw and holding the tree with my left. It was only 8 feet tall or so. Anyway, I cut through the tree and it didn’t fall because it was held up by a vine. I was holding the tree with my left arm and put the saw on the ground, but right then, the vine broke and all the weight of the tree was in my left hand and it went down into the saw, with the chain still moving, the brake wasn’t on.

My left knuckle went into the chain and that was it. In that match up, skin tissue vs. chainsaw, tissue always lose. I had gloves on, but gloves lose too. I pulled my hand back pretty quickly, but the damage, some damage, was done. I could see my tendons and knuckle bone before the blood started pouring out. It wasn’t good.

I calmly told Trudi that I was hurt and she sort of panic-ed, but not horribly. I wrapped my hand up in a Gatorade towel I got at Cross Nationals in Madison and drove home. I looked at the wound again and realized it was out of my league in trying to do a home repair. So, I headed down to the hospital.

The doctor came in and irrigated the wound pretty good and did a couple of strength tests. She said that I just needed some sutures, which was a relief. Then she said I was going to have to take a bunch of antibiotics, since it was a “farm injury”. I wasn’t big on that at all, since I don’t do well with antibiotics, athletically. I figured I could just get the prescription and then decide about eating them later.

Then the day got worse. When she was looking closely at the wound, she realized that the tendon was severed. She said it so nonchalant that it didn’t seem like a big deal. But, I was soon to learn that wasn’t the case.

I called my friend Stacie, in Louisville, who is over-seeing my shoulder healing deal now, and talked to her some. Stacie then talked to the doctor at the ER room. It seems there is a shortage of hand surgeons in Topeka and that I need to go to Kansas City to have surgery. I guess they need to do the surgery within 7 days, or the chances of the finger working correctly is much less.

The short of it is that I need to get the tendon put back together and it is anywhere from 4 to 8 weeks of non-use to allow it to heal. WTF? I’ve had a lot of non-use, downtime already this year and can hardly comprehend 2 months more. I’m in a little bit of denial right now, thinking that this all might work out. My finger sort of seems to work some, so I don’t really see how the tendon can be completely severed. If that was the case, then the finger shouldn’t work at all.

So, on Wednesday, I am going to Kansas City to see a hand surgeon, and they are going to open up the wound to check out the situation. And I’m hoping that I am going to have some choices at that point. But, right now it seems like they are going to have to fix it and then immobilize my finger/hand/wrist for a while.

I hate to say it, but maybe, just maybe I was starting to finally feel like I had some form. I know my results from last weekend didn’t reflect it, but I went out and rode 20 miles on the evening ride, after the whole deal at the ER, and felt a ton better than I have in weeks. Plus, when I got home I did situps, 75 straight, without straining the least bit. That is sort of a test I do. If I can do over 50 situps with ease, then my riding usually starts going good. I know it sounds screwy, but it is always the case.

Okay, the day could have been worse. I could have cut my finger off completely. Or my hand, so that is the upside. But, shit, this wasn’t what I needed just right now. My right arm is working so pitifully, I’ve become pretty reliant on my left arm. I’m nearly ambidextrous at this point. Now, I’m back at square one it seems. I can’t put on my socks, or reach into my jersey pocket or a million other common things.

I know I shouldn’t mess around much with this. My finger and using it is much more important than a few bike races. I had a huge antibiotic injection into my butt and am eating more for the next week. So, I assume I’m going to be riding like hell pretty soon. Not that I was riding much better before. Maybe I’d better be shopping for a new pair of hiking boots for this summer. It looks right now like bike racing might be just wishful thinking for a while.

Trying to get a good look at the wound was an issue with all the blood.

Trying to get a good look at the wound was an issue with all the blood.

After repair, it started swelling up pretty big.

After repair, it started swelling up pretty big.

It's such a little baby saw, but it packs a big bite.

It’s such a little baby saw, but it packs a big bite.

I turned around after 12 miles riding because my hand started throbbing to my heart beat.

I turned around after 12 miles riding because my hand started throbbing to my heart beat.

So, I rode over to PT's/The Flying Monkey and drank some beer.

So, I rode over to PT’s/The Flying Monkey and drank some beer.

It was nice that the Blackhawks won the Stanley Cup though.  Pretty crazy finish, with 2 goals in 17 seconds at then end.

It was nice that the Blackhawks won the Stanley Cup though. Pretty crazy finish, with 2 goals in 17 seconds at then end.