Monthly Archives: June 2013

Sick

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I woke up yesterday feeling bad. And it got worse. I finally have to admit that I’m sick. It all started a couple days ago when I was on a longer ride and a bug flew into my ear. I wasn’t exactly positive whether it left. The rest of the ride the thing felt like it was still in there. When I got home, my throat on that side was scratchy and sore-ish. I really didn’t have any way to see if the buy was there. I gently tried to rinse my ear out, but nothing came out. Then, the big storm came through and I wasn’t feeling that well when I woke up at 3 am.

Flash forward to now and I’m totally clogged up. A super head cold, sinus infection or something. It felt like allergies initially, plus the bug, now I have to concede that I’m just sick. It’s a drag.

I was planning on going down to Oklahoma City and racing today and tomorrow. But, I’d think that those races aren’t happening. I don’t know if you watched the weather channel yesterday, but that town got walloped for hours yesterday by a giant thunderstorm. Tornadoes, heavy rain, hail, you name it, they got it. And it kept going for hours. Just heard from Facebook that the OKC Pro-Am is happening. Man, that is impressive.

I did go to the doctor and get some sub lingual drops for allergies. I tried these years ago and they didn’t work, but I’m game for trying just about anything at this point. I’m pretty positive that allergies play a big part on whether I can train and race bikes at my best, so I need to try to keep on top of them.

I thinking about driving to Emporia to watch the finish of the Dirty Kanza 200 mile gravel race. I think someone will ride less than 12 hours this year, so I’d have to leave early afternoon. I know a ton of people riding, many from out of state, so it would be fun. I’ll just have to remember not to shake anyone’s hands.

Riding-wise, I felt like shit yesterday. I’m just going to go out and ride an hour and a half, everyday, easy, until I feel better. It has never worked out that resting or just sitting around helps me feel better any quicker. Hopefully it will pass quick and I can have something for Tulsa Tough next weekend.

Allergy drops for the first couple weeks.  It is diluted and then gets stronger as you use more.

Allergy drops for the first couple weeks. It is diluted and then gets stronger as you use more.

I'd been eating a bunch of honey recently.  I think it is false advertising on the bottom of the container.

I’d been eating a bunch of honey recently. I think it is false advertising on the bottom of the container.

This is the radar over OKC most of the even/night yesterday.

This is the radar over OKC most of the even/night yesterday.

This pile of hail was still in my front yard at noon yesterday.

This pile of hail was still in my front yard at noon yesterday.

I took this photo in Oklahoma,  driving back from Austin a few weeks ago.

I took this photo in Oklahoma, driving back from Austin a few weeks ago.

This was on the Weather Channel last night.  Guess they didn't get out of the way of the tornado.

This was on the Weather Channel last night. Guess they didn’t get out of the way of the tornado.

Dirty Kanza 200

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I rode for a couple hours yesterday and then drove the hour down to the finish of the Dirty Kanza. It has become a famous 200 mile gravel road race, through the Flint Hills of Kansas. We got down there with about an hour to spare before Dan Hughes, the winner, came rolling in. Dan owns Sunflower Bicycle Shop in Lawrence and has won this event 4 times now, I believe.

I was surprised how fresh Dan looked when he got to the finish. Let me tell you, it was super windy, probably more so out on some of those Flint Hills, and after riding a little over 12 hours, I would look like hell I assume.

This race has been going on for over a decade. Jim Cummins and Joel Dyke started it and it has grown ever since. The downtown mainstreet of Emporia Kansas was closed down after 4 pm and then the street party began.

Anyway, I just went down to experience some of the flavor of the event, plus support a great local event. I didn’t hang around long enough to see Tom Schuler and Lindsey finish on the high dollar, carbon, Calfee tandem or Keith Walberg roll in. Plus, many others. I wanted to, but have been feeling pretty shitty for two days now, so headed home to hang with the sicky, Bromont. He is super slow and tired from surgery and all the weird surroundings at the vet school.

I’ve been taking sudafed to keep my sinuses from draining into my lungs. It works, but makes my head all dry and feel weird. I didn’t feel nearly as bad riding yesterday as two days ago, so maybe this will just be a bump.

Here are some photos from the evening.

Dan rolling across the line after 12 hours.

Dan rolling across the line after 12 hours.

Dan, poster boy, after the race finish last year, I guess.  Nice mug shot.

Dan, poster boy, after the race finish last year, I guess. Nice mug shot.

Looking over the map trying to figure out exactly when to go over to the finish.

Looking over the map trying to figure out exactly when to go over to the finish.

This guy rode the short 100 mile gravel race with an arm cast.  He broke it last week.

This guy rode the short 100 mile gravel race with an arm cast. He broke it last week.

Jim Cummins, czar of the DK200, and a blog fan, that nearly ripped my arm off shaking my hand right after he crossed the finish line.

Jim Cummins, czar of the DK200, and a blog fan, that nearly ripped my arm off shaking my hand right after he crossed the finish line.

Bromont and I wandering the venue.

Bromont and I wandering the venue.

Collin, Dan's support, popping the bubbly right after the finish.  Collin was crazy nervous before Dan actually cross the line.

Collin, Dan’s support, popping the bubbly right after the finish. Collin was crazy nervous before Dan actually cross the line.

Dan Hughes after Winning the DK200 from Steve Tilford on Vimeo.

Chatting with Jonathan Vaughters

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I wasn’t going to post anything about this, but then Jonathan tweeted below, so I figured I might as well, since everyone is already asking.
jonathantweet
Anyway, Jonathan called a couple nights ago and we did have a nice longish talk. I really didn’t know what he wanted to talk about initially, we had to do a couple back and forths, but eventually we connected.

The guy is very quick mentally. Of course I know him casually, but I’ve never ridden on a team with him or spent any time with him one on one, so didn’t really expect such a lively conversation.

I think/know the reason I got the call was because of some of previous posts I’ve done here that have rubbed Jonathan the wrong way. He said something towards the end about me being a little “brash”, which I readily accepted. I don’t normally pull many punches in that regard.

We talked a lot about the current situation of doping in the sport and also history of doping in cycling. I listened to his take on it and he listened to me. We are sort of coming from opposite sides. Maybe not so much so, but to me it seems like he is on the inside looking out and maybe I’m on the inside somewhat, looking in, but mainly on the outside looking in.

Jonathan does seem to know a lot about blood values and power numbers. I know very little, mainly what I’ve read.

Whatever, it wasn’t an adversarial conversation at all. I truly enjoyed it. I do understand his concerns and believe that he is trying to address the situation as best he can, considering his position. It is very complicated with so many people, entities involved, that the process seems nearly broken to me.

Anyway, the end result of the whole deal, and mainly the reason Jonathan called, was to invite me to go out to Colorado in a couple weeks and talk to a few of his people that are involved in the physiology and testing of his riders before the Tour. I guess Tommy D. is going to be doing some testing in Denver and I can watch the whole procedure and see what I think. He even offered to test me if I so choose. I’ll probably take him up on it, to just to try to understand the benefits of what they are doing scientifically to try to evaluate and identify what they are specifically looking for during these tests.

There is no downside here. I’m glad Jonathan decided to pick up the phone and call. I’ve got a lot of questions and I’m pretty sure that he has some of the answers.

jvfish

Santambrogio Positive for EPO at the Giro

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Mauro Santambrogio suspended for EPO stage 1 at the Giro.

I guess it never stops. Maybe the tests are getting better? Maybe the riders stupider? This guy definitely changed the direct results of the Giro last month. He was active and participated in many of the decisive days. He rode with Nibali on stage 14, winning the stage and putting good time into Cadel. Why does it take so long to get the test results back? His A sample was positive from Stage 1, but he rides the whole race and then they announce the results? Seems completely wrong. I bet BMC is glad they jettisoned the guy.

Nibali and Santambrogio on stage 14 of the Giro.

Nibali and Santambrogio on stage 14 of the Giro.

Photo: Graham Watson | www.grahamwatson.com

Given the stage by Nibali.

Given the stage by Nibali.

Photo: Graham Watson | www.grahamwatson.com

Dieting

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I’ve been dieting for the past month or so on and off. Mainly on, but I don’t diet while I’m racing. I try to eat as much as I can when I’m racing and worry about restricting calories during the week.

There are a million ways to diet. Nearly all work if you stick to them. That isn’t to say there isn’t one way to do it better than another. I used to diet by just not eating any food after 8 o’clock at night. Most of the food or liquid that I would consume after that time is usually highly caloric. But, that wasn’t doing it this time.

Now I’m doing the normal, just eat less, diet. I’m eating oatmeal for breakfast, a sandwich or something similar for lunch, with fruit and then a normal big dinner. I’m trying to get it all done before 8 pm, but when I go on the after work group rides that leave from our house, Monday, Wednesday, and Friday, then I’m usually not back until after 8:30, so that plan goes out the window.

So far I’m down close to 8 lbs. I lost a couple fasting for two days when I started this. Then it has just been a steady decline. I’m not doing this for any particular reason. Actually, I am. I’d like to be climbing better for the Tour of Lawrence at the end of this month and then I might go up to Madison and do the Elite Road Nationals. The course that Tom Schuler and Co. are using is the Blue Mound course they’ve used before at the Tour of Americas Dairyland race. I did it maybe 5 years ago and Matt Busche, who was riding for ISCorp at the time, spanked all of us pretty well. He went on to ride for Kelly Benefits, then got a contract with RadioShack after that. Anyway, it is a pretty hard course and if you can’t climb, you might as well not start.

Trudi tells me all the guys are the BMC team are super thin. They all wear small or extra small jerseys. Jonathan Vaughters told me the reason that he thinks Ryder got sick during the Giro this year was that he started the race this year at the weight he finished the Giro at last season. He didn’t have much of a stock pile of built up energy, ie fat, to combat the harsh conditions. Tyler Hamilton wrote a lot in his book about how important it was to be super light and have you jersey arms hang.

I know that a power to weight ratio is super important for bike racing. That is only if you’re doing races with a ton of climbing. Most of the races in the US, you don’t need to be so concerned about a little extra weight. I know by previous experience that getting too thin to race ends up being a disaster. I did this weight loss thing two or three times before, training for Master’s MTB Worlds. I would lose up to 10 pounds and it was amazing climbing. It was a whole chainring difference in the front. Middle instead of small, big instead of middle. But the couple time I tried to stay that weight, I always got sick within two or three weeks. It’s a fine line between being super light and sick. I never understood how the Euro Pros could stay at such light weights and do such extreme efforts without getting sick. I always assumed it was something to do with IV’s and drugs.

Anyway, I’ve got another month to lose a few more pounds. It hasn’t been too hard the last few days because I’ve had a head cold/sinus thing going on, so didn’t really feel much like eating. It is supposed to rain a bunch the next couple days and the Tulsa Tough starts on Friday. Even though Tulsa is really just 3 criteriums, they are all hard, more like mini circuit races. Especially Sunday on Crybaby Hill. The first two races aren’t until 9pm, so the daily schedule gets all out of wack, not getting to sleep until 2 or 3 and then trying to sleep in. But, I always ride an hour or two during the day, before the races, so it ends up being pretty good miles and I can eat as much as I want. The schedule itself is a weight loss program. Hopefully I feel better before this weekend.

We have a doctor's scale that is pretty accurate.  Trudi gave it to me for Christmas a long time ago.  Kind of a strange Christmas present.

We have a doctor’s scale that is pretty accurate. Trudi gave it to me for Christmas a long time ago. Kind of a strange Christmas present.


I saw that Dunkin Donuts is making a breakfast sandwich with an egg, bacon, layered by a donut.  I wouldn't be adverse to eating this.  They say it only has 360 calories, less than a blueberry muffin they sell.  Weird.

I saw that Dunkin Donuts is making a breakfast sandwich with an egg, bacon, layered by a donut. I wouldn’t be adverse to eating this. They say it only has 360 calories, less than a blueberry muffin they sell. Weird.

Allergies

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Yesterday I was out in the country and saw something that I’d never witnessed before. I was going by fields of grass and they looked like they were on fire. Or maybe a better description would be that it looked like plumes of dust, like when someone drives by on a gravel road, were coming out of individual spots in the grass fields.

The plumes had to have been pollen from the grasses. I have to admit that the grass is very tall this year, but I’ve lived here most of my life and had never seen this occurrence before. I was with my friend Vincent, he grew up in Topeka too, and he’s never seen it. Vincent went over to the ditch and pulled up a chunk of grass and shook it pretty good, but nothing dust-like came off. It was really weird.

Anyway, I’ve been super stuffed up the past week. Most of the time I get sick this time of the year, it starts out feeling like I’m really stuffy because of allergies. If I can keep the dripping out of my lungs, then I do okay. If not, it lates for a while. I’m doing pretty good with that this time so far. But, it can switch on a dime.

I am allergic, to the maximum, to two different types of local grass, Timothy and Johnson. I have no idea what either of these grasses look like. I thought I would have a allergic reaction if I came in contact with the grass. I didn’t really know that these grasses produce pollen that gets airborne. That isn’t good.

I think that there is something weird going on with allergies nowadays. It seems like on the evening rides, everyone is having nearly the same problems. Some people that have never had any allergies say that they have them now. It has to be an environmental thing. Kind of worrisome.

It's kind of hard to see from these photos, but if you enlarge them you can see the pollen.

It’s kind of hard to see from these photos, but if you enlarge them you can see the pollen.

It was weird, I'd been watching a field and these little plums of pollen would just pop out of nowhere all over.

It was weird, I’d been watching a field and these little plums of pollen would just pop out of nowhere all over.

Allergy tests for grass and trees.

Allergy tests for grass and trees.

After looking at the comments about gnats, it got me wondering.  So, I did a Google search and there are lots of photos like this of blowing grass pollen.

After looking at the comments about gnats, it got me wondering. So, I did a Google search and there are lots of photos like this of blowing grass pollen.

Email this Guy and Tell him He’s an Ass

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The guy that wrote this piece is the executive editor of the Salina Kansas paper. Wow is all I can say. How inappropriate of a time to try to send out his caution. And the title of the piece is so wrong. Like it makes a difference the reason the woman was out on her bike when she was killed by a hit and run driver. She was killed that involved a crime.

Better than emailing Ben and telling him he’s a complete ass, it would probably do better to email his boss, Olaf Frandsen, the editor and publisher of the Salina Journal. Here’s a link to Olaf’s email. It will only take a second to tell him that this is completely inappropriate and that his executive editor, Ben, is an idiot.

assholeeditor copy