Monthly Archives: January 2014

Cross Natz-Day 2

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I pretty much only watched the Master’s 40+ race yesterday. My friend Vincent was starting in the smoking section (way back), but at least he towed the line. He ended up finishing 52nd, which was awesome. 132 starters and he had some issues. Check out his first lap.

Anyway, I’m bummed I missed the U23 race. Looks like a near Cal-Giant sweep for the top 5. Pretty good results for them.

Heading to the course today at 10, to watch a team mate, Ben Stover, race for KU. It should be good.

Then staying the rest of the day. A lot of standing, but that is what I signed up for this weekend.

Okay, some interesting photos below.

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My friend Andy Hampsten, with
his Tour de Swiss cow bell.

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And I mean Tour de Swiss and the ultimate cowbell. First place from the 1987 Tour de Swiss, custom cast with his name.

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Andy and my ex- team mate, Hugh Walton meeting Bromont.

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Peter Weber leading Mark Savery, early in the Master’s 40+ race. They finished 1 and 2. Brandon Dwight, Peter’s teammate, crashed early on, but rode back up to an amazing 3rd place.

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Shad Smith riding good.

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Vincent riding the “odd line”.

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Ben Berden leading the Peter Weber fan club.

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Pretty good results for California Giant in the U23 race.

Boulder Cross Natz-Day 1 (for me)

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Yesterday was long. I didn’t sleep worth a shit. I’m not sure if it was the passing of Ollie or altitude. Either way, it didn’t happen.

Vincent and I went to Boulder and met up with Andy Hampsten. We ended up hanging at the coffeeshop a couple hours. I was crazy jittery when we left.

We went by the VW dealer to get Vincent’s number. I ran into Russell Stevenson there. He is racing the Master’s race today and then the Elite race on Sunday. He got number 40 for the Elite race. I asked if they were lining them up by numbers and the official there said yes. Russell said he didn’t have any UCI points.

Anyway, the officials were listening to our conversation and said only 30 guys with UCI points were racing. That is low. I don’t know how many Elite riders have UCI points from the US, but it is double that at least. I guess the race is too late in the season for even those guys. Or maybe the altitude scared them off. Either way it is quite a few less than the previous years.

We rode just one lap on the course, right after the junior 13-14 race. There were a ton of them. Way over 50. Maybe way more than that. They only did two laps, less than 20 minutes. That seemed too short.

The course is awesome. I saw Peter Weber and told him so. It is super technical and switches up during the days as it warms. Lots of off-camber sections. A big hill. Pretty cool. It makes me want to enter tomorrow.

I might have to retract my not awarding Nationals to Boulder post. It’s close. The venue and course is so cool, it nearly offsets the altitude issue. Almost.

Anyway, I ran into a bunch of friends already. Vincent races at 9 am this morning. Too early for my liking, but that is the deal. It is going to be frozen and super bumpy. Vincent starts at the very back, so it should been interesting watching him move up. He has a new Garmin video camera to capture some of the action.

Okay, have to scoot.

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Peter Weber and Dave Toll.

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Vincent talking to Ned Overend, as a guy is taking our picture.

20140110-181314.jpgAndy and his son , Oscar. Andy is starting him early on espresso.

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Here is Dag Selander, Bjorne’s dad. I have known him forever. He brought some Minnesota guys out to get some experience.

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Bill Marshall, working for WD-40, cleaning my bike. Thanks.

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The view from the top of the hill.

ollie

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Our cat, Ollie, was killed yesterday evening. He was hit by a car in front of our house. Kris heard it and rushed him to an emergency vet, but she said that there wasn’t anything to be done about it. Kris took him home, to let the other pets see, then buried him in his favorite place.

I try to not get too emotional when pets pass. I think that we take pretty good care of our pets/friends. And it is sometimes a choice between quality of life and quantity of life. We all try to balance it as well as we can. But, life is harsh sometimes.

Ollie was a great cat. He was a very good boy. We still have two of his siblings, Fran and Kukla. I’m sure they will miss him too. The closest I get to religion is when a pet dies. I’d like to think that there is a heaven for all pets. And if there is a heaven, then I think all pets go there. There can’t be a hell for pets. Their souls are too pure.

I’m sad.

Anyway, I wasn’t in Topeka when it happened. I was driving out to Colorado for Cross Nationals. I have a few “important” things to do out here. First and foremost is watching Sunday’s racing. This morning I’m going to drive over to Boulder with Vincent to pre-ride the course. He’s racing tomorrow. I’m going to meet my friend, Andy Hampsten, on Pearl St., for a cup of coffee first. He told me that he is bar tending tonight at the Rocky Mount Party*. That should be fun.

Okay, kind of a yin-yang post, but that is how I feel today.

Ollie.

Ollie.

This is a photo from right before I left.  He liked to sleep in weird positions.

This is a photo from right before I left. He liked to sleep in weird positions.

*JANUARY 10th – Rocky Mounts Valmont Bike Park Fundraiser
Where: Rocky Mounts, 2055 26th St, 6:30pm
What; Rocky Mounts official product launch and Valmont Bike Park fundraiser party with special guest bartenders including Andy Hampsten Winner of the 1988 Giro d’Italia
See more at: http://www.bouldercyclesport.com/2014-cyclocross-nationals-social-event-calendar/#sthash.QuMgF7NF.dpuf

Cycling is my Sport

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I officially did my first real ride for the year yesterday. It wasn’t optimal weather. It was in the mid 20’s, but worse than that, the wind was blowing 20 something mph. I didn’t really feel that bad. I wasn’t good by any means, but it could have been a ton worse.

I thought I was going to take a bunch of time off. I guess I sort of did. But I think I “need” to ride every once in a while for mental stability. I don’t think a little bike riding ruins a rest type situation. I hope not.

I didn’t realize how much I need to ride. Right when I initially clipped in, I loved the feel. I love the position. I love the movement. Even with sloppy, salty spray coming off my tires, I was nearly in heaven.

I was a little worried that I was not missing my bike enough. That wasn’t the case. The case was I had forgotten, in such a short period, how great the feeling is.

When I got home, I relished the glow I had from riding in the cold. I don’t get the same feeling from running or nordic skiing. Cycling is the only sport that makes me feel that way. I’m not sure if it is the endorphins or what, but it feels great.

Cycling is my sport. I chose it way back. Now it is engrained in my soul. I wouldn’t have it any other way.

soul

Cross Nationals at Altitude ?

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I read a tweet a couple days ago that said something like wasn’t it about time that Steve Tilford did a rant about cyclocross nationals. I admit I rant some, but not for unnecessary reasons usually. I don’t have a rant here. I do have an issue. I didn’t like the decision to award The Cyclocross Nationals Championship to Boulder. Don’t get me wrong, I think the promoters, venue and setting are great. Here’s link to a Q & A article from Velonews with Pete Weber, course designer. My one complaint, before the race, is that the race is at altitude.

Most of you haven’t raced at altitude much. I have. A ton. More than a ton. And let me tell you, it affects each rider differently. I know some of you are going to say that the race isn’t that high, at only mile, 5280 feet. Believe me, that is enough to really change up your ability to perform.

I have to applaud USA Cycling for keeping the Cyclocross Nationals all at in the same city, on the same weekend. I really think that should be the way for all the National Championships. But since all categories race in Boulder, it seems a little unfair to some of the other classes, but not to the Elites. Elite racers should have the ability to schedule a couple weeks and prepare properly, to get used to the thin air. Not the case for juniors or Master’s. And since cyclocross in the US is a participatory sport, and the majority of competitors at Nationals aren’t Elite riders, then I have to question putting the event on at altitude. But, playing devil’s advocate, I guess putting the race on in Madison, where it was pretty much guaranteed to be icy and slick, or for that matter, in Austin next year, where most likely it will be dry and somewhat warm, if not hot, is a disadvantage for the majority of riders too. But, altitude is something that is a little different. At least to me.

So, if you’re planning on going out there and compete, and you are putting more of an emphasis on race placing than overall experience, my suggestion to you is that you is get out there as late as possible, like the day before. And ride super easy the day before. Then don’t start too crazy hard. Once you get redlined at altitude, it takes so long to get composed again.

When Nationals were at the Colorado School of Mines, in Golden, in the 90’s, I drove out to Colorado the day before. I rode two laps of the course, super easy, then went to Boulder to stay with my friend, Roy Knickman. I had a horrendous start, getting a pedal jammed into my front wheel at the first dismount, then having to hobble to the first pit. So, redlined at the start. I ended up finishing 2nd, but was awarded the Professional National Championship Jersey, which was the reason I was there, so it was all good.

My pick for Sunday is bases exclusively on who I think prepared best. And the most important preparation, I believe, is getting used to the thin air. So I’m picking Jeremy Powers. As far as I can tell, he’s the only one of the top contenders that has been training high. I might be wrong here, though. I’m not sure if Jonathan Page flew back to the US and has been training at altitude in Utah. If he has, then I get him as a discretionary pick. I read that Ryan Trebon has been training in Southern California. He says he is flying in on Thursday. That is nearly the worst day for me. I’m usually the worst on the 5th day and it will only be the 4th for Ryan. Tim Johnson has been riding the canyons North of LA too. Unless he flew to Boulder right after his last ride on Strava, in my opinion, he’s getting there too late.

So, the Nationals are officially on as of today. If you live anywhere near (or just Priceline a ticket) and haven’t seen a big cyclocross, you should go out of your way to attend. Watching at altitude is not really an issue. And the watching in Boulder should be fantastic.

bouldercx

thomasletterI was looking for a photo from the Nationals in Golden and saw this letter from Thomas Frischknecht. I didn’t remember it. I remember once talking to Thomas and Henrik Djernis once about cross and Thomas said something like I did more cyclocross races before I was 10 than you’ll do in your whole life. That might still be true. Thomas’ father was an awesome cross racer. He finished 2nd in the World Champhionships something like 5 times. Thomas’ career followed his father’s, with a ton of 2nd place finishes at the Worlds. Then he figured out how to win kept doing just that. (You can click on the letter to enlarge.)

Taking the letter out of the scanner, I noticed this drawing Thomas did.  I didn't really know he was such an artist.

Taking the letter out of the scanner, I noticed this drawing Thomas did. I didn’t really know he was such an artist.

Scarponi Needs to Watch – The Reason they Tell You NEVER to talk to a Cop

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I watched a video the other day from a law professor and also a police officer, saying that under no circumstances, should you open your mouth when being questioned by the police. I wouldn’t have thought that it would be any harm if I had nothing to hide, but now I think I am wrong on that.

Michele Scarponi probably should have watched the video and applied it to the press. I just saw this article over at Cyclingnews.com where the in the interview, Michele can’t really get his story right and contradicts himself. That isn’t a very good thing if he would like the readers to believe what he’s saying.

When repling to questions about using Dr. Michele Ferrair, Lance’s guy, he says“…I only saw him once for a test. To say that I ‘frequented’ him is a bit much. I was given a suspension, I accepted it and basta. It ended there.”

Then just a little later on he says, “You’re still asking these questions and it’s something from the past. I repeat: my story was blown out of proportion and I suffered the consequences. For this reason, I don’t even like talking about it. I saw him once, if that, and I paid for it with a three-month suspension.”

If that? Either it was once or more or not at all. It can’t be once, if that. If that, would mean, he didn’t see him at all. Or just saw him when he was riding by and didn’t have any relationship with him. But he has already admitted to meeting up with Dr. Michele Ferrair, a doctor that had been banned by the Italian Federation since 2002, for a two-day test on the Monzuno climb, near Bologna.

Cyclingnews did go and ask the guy why, after already serving a suspension for blood doping, relating to Dr. Fuentes, would he use Michele Ferrai for anything. His response was, “I understand the question. Do I have to answer this? I’m thinking about how to respond. I never thought that going to see him one time would have brought all of this on top of me. I didn’t think I’d done such a serious thing. Clearly if I could go back, I wouldn’t do it.”

He probably should have asked the first three lines in that paragraph to himself, early on in the interview, and then walked. Or better yet, never do interviews.

Vinokourov, Nibali and Astana threw Scarponi a bone. It’s such a joke. I don’t understand why these guys get their 2nd, 3rd, whatever chances. They aren’t smart enough to quit doping. Or maybe they are and just know that they were super unlucky getting caught in the first place. If you use him as an example, the only way he ever served a timeout was when got nabbed with his doctors. It’s not from testing.

Anyway, I doubt these guys are going to get much smarter and are going to keep doing these interviews, thus piss me off. I don’t think he should be racing at all, let alone finishing 4th in the Giro or riding the Worlds last year. I guess that pisses me off more. The whole thing stinks.

police

Limping South-ish

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Been pretty busy the last couple days waiting out the weather. But, I couldn’t wait long enough. Last night it got to close to -30. The high today is supposed to be -13. I’m thinking/hoping it is a good day to head back to Kansas.

I am pretty positive that I’ve figured out the problem with my van. It is a EGR cooler problem. I wasn’t really familiar with an EGR cooler, but am pretty familiar now. It’s a small radiator type devise that that cools the exhaust gas. It has a small hole in it so when it leaks pressure into the cooling system, it pressurizes it and blows the coolant out the radiator cap, since it only holds 16psi. Anyway, it isn’t a great problem. If it completely fails, then all my coolant is going to go into the cylinders and spit out the exhaust. Needless to say, the van won’t drive very far that way. The is a small chance it could actually be a head gasket, but I’ve pretty much ruled that out. Either way, I’m crossing my fingers it has 700 miles left in it.

I skied 30 km two days ago. It was cold, but slow. We shovelled Dennis’ back porch, which was nearly 4 feet deep with roof snow. Then we installed new lights in the wax/bike room and then some more upstairs in the loft. Bromont is loving it here in the cold. It seems to be no problem for him to do his hour or hour and a half stints in the deep snow, hardly ever sticking to the beaten path. He is a total muscle man now. Plus he’s eating twice his normal amount of food. He has been in heavy training. I’m a little jealous.

Trudi flew out of Duluth on Saturday morning, heading to California for a BMC training camp in Solvang. She flew into San Fransisco to get a team car to drive down. But here luggage never showed. She had to wait until late last night for her bag, so had to drive until the wee hours this morning. What a bad way to start out a hard week of work.

Okay, sorry this is a short one, but I got to get moving. I’m not sure if driving slower is better. Or if driving on pretty much the coldest day of the year is smart. I had thought about driving last night, but when it is this cold, I had no desire to be in a broken down car. I know that big turbo boost is not a good thing. I have a couple gallons of antifreeze, plus a couple more of water. If I go through that much, it is going to be a pretty ugly drive. Wish me luck.

The Namekagon river is still flowing with a week or temperatures way below zero.

The Namekagon river is still flowing with a week or temperatures way below zero.

Dennis' porch before.....

Dennis’ porch before…..

And after.

And after.

New lights in the waxing room.

New lights in the waxing room.

Dennis cleaning up the loft after installing new cannister lights.

Dennis cleaning up the loft after installing new cannister lights.

Trudi getting a little exercise, trail blazing, before she left.

Trudi getting a little exercise, trail blazing, before she left.

Went over to my friend George's property to take a sauna at -15.  This is a little out building he built to retreat to when he needs a little space.

Went over to my friend George’s property to take a sauna at -15. This is a little out building he built to retreat to when he needs a little space.

The sauna is a few hundred meters away.  It is wood heated.  It was super hot, like over 200 degree +++  hot.  It was great going out into the snow after roasting.   It was pretty strange, standing nude in the woods at close to -20 degrees and feeling pretty warm.

The sauna is a few hundred meters away. It is wood heated. It was super hot, like over 200 degree +++ hot. It was great going out into the snow after roasting. It was pretty strange, standing nude in the woods at close to -20 degrees and feeling pretty warm.

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Update-One hour in. -24. Full of coolant still.

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He’s not stressed the least.