Monthly Archives: February 2014

100 is the New 80

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A cyclocross cardiologist buddy of mine from Louisville, ://www.drjohnm.org/2014/02/100-is-the-new-80-if-you-are-good-to-yourself-and-lucky/”>John Mandrola, from Louisville, sent me a link to a Frenchman, Robert Marchand, who at 102, set a new hour record on the track. He rode 16.7 miles. If I can ride 16 mph on a bike when I’m 102, I’ll be stoked.

Right now about 1 out of every 10,000 of Americans live to 100. That is changing, but not super fast. I doubt many of the 100 year old here ride their bikes much. I’ve never been convinced that racing bikes is very healthy for your body. At least to the extent I do it. I’m sure if I would have done a “toned down” career, it would be beneficial, but that wasn’t happening.

Anyway, chapeau to you Robert. I hope you break your record at 110.

102 year old Robert Marchand after setting the hour record yesterday.

102 year old Robert Marchand after setting the hour record yesterday.

Cyclocross Worlds Unlocked

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The World Cyclocross Championships Elite race is at 9 am EST Sunday morning. It is blocked for our country by the UCI. I saw a way to get around this on Pete Webber’s Facebook page. The key is going to Hola and getting the plugin. If you can’t get that to work, you can always go to Cyclingfans.com and watch it in Dutch. Here is that link. I did it the Hola way and the countdown timer worked great. I’m going out on a limb and pick Sven. Okay, here it is-

Here is where you can watch the CX Worlds tomorrow. 9 am eastern time start for elite men. But the site is geo-restricted so you need an unblocker plugin like Hola. Get yours set up tonight so it is ready in the morning. You’ll know it is working when you can see the countdown timer on the UCI You Tube Cannel at this address. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=T-so-GC7u8g

2014_uci_cyclocross_world_championships_hoogerheide

Back to the Belgium National Championship Jersey for Sven

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Man, if you didn’t have a chance to watch the World Cyclocross Championships that just finished, you need to watch the video. It was pretty great. The last two laps, Sven Nys and Zdenek Stybar were throwing blows at each other constantly. Nys looked like he had it under control, but bobbled a couple times and never got going again. Belgian guys finished 6 in the top ten, including 2-5th. I just hope that Stybar does a cross season this next year. I think it is important for the fans in Belgium to have the current World Champion participating in the sport. Jonathan Page rode a pretty good race finishing 17th, I think. Jeremy Powers was next, maybe around 24th, give or take a slot or two. Tim Johnson got caught up in an early crash and was out of it nearly from the start.

I guess that training in Mallorca Spain is the ticket when it comes to racing cross Worlds, with Sven and Zdenek both spending the last couple weeks there. It was interesting that it was two American bike company’s frames duking it out for the win, with Sven on a Trek and Stybar on a Specialized. So, back to the road season for a few more months. The cross season was pretty good this year.

Stybar will  get a new World Jersey to wear.  That will be 3 for him in cyclocross.

Stybar will get a new World Jersey to wear. That will be 3 for him in cyclocross.

Sven will have to go back to his Belgian National Championship jersey.

Sven will have to go back to his Belgian National Championship jersey.

World Cyclocross Championship Results

1 Zdenek Stybar (Czech Republic) 1:05:30
2 Sven Nys (Belgium) 0:00:12
3 Kevin Pauwels (Belgium) 0:00:40
4 Klaas Vantornout (Belgium) 0:00:58
5 Tom Meeusen (Belgium) 0:01:07
6 Lars van der Haar (Netherlands) 0:01:21
7 Rob Peeters (Belgium) 0:01:42
8 Francis Mourey (France) 0:01:52
9 Radomir Simunek (Czech Republic) 0:02:03
10 Wietse Bosmans (Belgium) 0:02:10

“Just because one of us stopped before the others doesn’t make him a better person.” – George Hincapie

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Note to self George, don’t do interviews about doping. But, he must have missed the memo and decided to go ahead and do an interview with the Detroit Free Press that has some interesting takes on Frankie Andreu and doping in the sport.

One of the reasons that George has stayed pretty immune to the ridicule others have received, is that he has stayed relatively quiet through this whole affair. He gave his testimony to USADA and stayed loyal to Lance. I don’t think it is in his best interest to go on record and slam Frankie Andreu.

Frankie is one of the good guys in this whole mess. He got sick of lying to his friends and family, quit racing in Europe and then came clean publicly, without having to be threatened by legal means to do so, as George was.

So yes George, that does make Frankie a “better person” in this regard.

George suggests that Frankie hasn’t told his wife Betsy about all involved when he said, “A lot of what Frankie did, I don’t know if she (Betsy) even knows.” What was that statement all about. It seems like George is more pissed at Betsy than Frankie.

He states, “I know Frankie was part of the whole system as well. Once he left cycling, he was very opinionated about the system, as was Betsy. For me, it was hard to accept that. It was hard to understand why he was so opinionated about it when he was part of it.”

Okay, he doesn’t think that Frankie should have an opinion about doping in cycling because he was part of the system. That doesn’t make any sense, but I’ll let it go. But, using George’s own logic, Betsy, who wasn’t part of the system, should get to be “opinionated about it”. And she is. Very.

At the end of the article, they actually get a quote from Lance in there. He uses an example of a Dallas cowboy football player that crashed his car that resulted in a death of a team-mate. He implies that Frankie, and Betsy, need to take some responsibility for their actions.

I think that is exactly what Frankie did back in 2006 when he came clean publicly. If Lance and company would have left it alone, it probably wouldn’t have gotten to this unamicable state. Frankie lost his job at Trek, was the recipient of a smear campaign within the professional ranks of the sport and suffered some hard times. Just for telling the truth. The truth about himself. Nothing about Lance, just himself.

These guys need to quit talking so much about each other and just concentrate on their own situations. And George’s situation is that he has a book deal and owns a gazillion dollar hotel, with a world classic restaurant, which he so appropriately named 17, I assume, for his “record” 17 Tour finishes. It seems to me that he is as much in denial, and as arrogant, as when Lance tweeted the photo of hanging out in Austin with his 7 yellow jerseys from the Tour.

These guys just don’t get it at all. If they are pointing fingers, they need to be pointing more back at themselves and like Lance implied, take some responsibility for their own actions.

Frankie and George back in 1996, when they still were friends.

Frankie and George back in 1996, when they still were friends.

Lance just hangin'.

Lance just hangin’.

City Crippled by Predicted Snow

This entry was posted in Just Life on by .

Yesterday it was predicted that it was going to snow up to 10 inches here in Kansas this afternoon and tonight. Now they are saying maybe up to one foot. But, even if the higher number is closer to correct, I don’t understand why the whole city is nearly shut down. All the schools are closed. When the schools are closed, then it starts a cascade of closings of everything. I do understand if people’s kids aren’t at school, then they might need to be home to watch after them, but compared to when I was a kid, this is ridiculous.

I think it comes down to how children get to school. When I was a kid, nearly everyone walked to school. I rode my bike, but on a day like today, my mom wouldn’t have let me ride, even though I most likely would have if she wasn’t involved. Anyway, not nearly all children are taken to school by either buses or parents. So when the roads might get iffy, they just cancel school, thus pretty much close down the rest of the city/economy of the state capital. It doesn’t seem quite right for something as common as a normal snow storm.

Maybe it is because of Atlanta last week when they got shut down by just a couple inches of snow. Kids had to spend the night in their school buses that were stuck in traffic. But cities like Atlanta and Dallas don’t have any means to deal with snow removal. We do.

I heard today how many trucks and plows the city plans to have out today, something like 200. I know there are 1000’s of miles of public streets, but you’d think with that infrastructure already in place, you’d think that we could weather something like this.

I think society needs to re-address how our children get to school. Obviously, it plays a huge part in how our society flows. Most of time it works, but when it doesn’t work, it all comes to a standstill.

I think I’m going to be shoveling a fair amount of snow today for exercise. I only use steel snow shovels. I can’t believe how pitiful the snow shovel selection is nowadays. Plastic snow shovels are nearly valueless for anything but power snow, or maybe if you’re shoveling a wooden deck or something. I have a couple steel shovels that have been around for decades. They just keep getting shorter, but they work great.

I rode a couple hours yesterday and am really not big on indoor training, so I’m not to that point yet. I’ve only ridden 13 times this year, according to Strava. And a couple of those were pitiful, ride around town jaunts, so they don’t really count. Snow shoveling is probably the best thing for my shoulder. It’s been nearly a year and it only works about 70% at best. I’m not sure it is going to get any better, but that is just life I suppose.

Alright, that is about here for the snow bound Midwest. I could use a fat bike right about now.

My favorite snow shovel has a quick release skewer for a handle.  It used to be Campy, but now, for some unknown reason it is a Sachs skewer.

My favorite snow shovel has a quick release skewer for a handle. It used to be Campy, but now, for some unknown reason it is a Sachs skewer.

The blades of the steel shovels are curled and short.

The blades of the steel shovels are curled and short.

These bikes are selling like hotcakes now.  I heard Specialized can't keep them in stock.   If I was skiing on fresh corduroy and these guys were riding on it, I'd be mildly pissed.  I don't know what the etiquette is, but I'm pretty sure they don't belong on the same trails this time of the year.

These bikes are selling like hotcakes now. I heard Specialized can’t keep them in stock.
If I was skiing on fresh corduroy and these guys were riding on it, I’d be mildly pissed. I don’t know what the etiquette is, but I’m pretty sure they don’t belong on the same trails this time of the year.

Predicted snowfall and main post office closing announced on the same day.

Predicted snowfall and main post office closing announced on the same day.

It just started snowing and it is coming down pretty good.

It just started snowing and it is coming down pretty good.

Riding in the Snow/Cross Training for Sand

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Yesterday was a pretty interesting and long day. The snow didn’t materialize until later in the morning. It really didn’t seem like it was going to snow that much, but it just kept snowing steady for over 12 hours. By early afternoon, there was already 8 inches on the ground and it just kept coming down. I had shoveled for a couple hours and then decided that I maybe should just go out for a bike ride. I hate riding inside, it’s always a sweat-fest.

So, I suited up and got on my Eriksen 29’r and rode. It was super sketchy. It was super hard riding on the city streets anywhere a car had driven. Luckily for me, not that many cars were driving around. I rode a mile or so and got on a bike path. The riding got much easier after that. But by easier, I mean 8 or 9 mph in 8 inch snow. It was really hard pedaling, but the guidance of the bicycle wasn’t such a concern. Only where the previous snow had turned to ice was a problem. And I couldn’t see that, just felt it.

It was a super valuable ride. Riding in deep snow, especially snow that is slick underneath, is nearly the same as riding in sand in cyclocross. At least the technique is the same. You just have to keep your legs churning around in circles no matter what. And you don’t steer your bike nearly as much as you shift your body weight back and forth to stay centered over the bike.

It was a super workout. I hardly went 11 miles. I would have gone further, but stopped a couple times to help push and shovel stranded motorists. It is amazing that these guys carry shovels in their cars and don’t have the strength to shovel. And they weren’t all that old.

Anyway, I only fell once. Pretty hard on my right butt cheek. I wouldn’t have hit the ground if I would have had spikes in the front of my shoes. That was the only thing I would have changed. Planting a foot down doesn’t really work if under the snow is solid ice. And it was in many places.

When I got back, there was a KU basketball game on. And it was still snowing. I watched the game and then got back to shoveling. I went back to the building downtown, when I’d already shoveled in the morning. I tried to go in the Insight, but that wasn’t a good idea. The snow was so deep that it was plowing, thus not moving. I got back into the driveway. Kris and I drove the Isuzu and the city was abandoned. Just us, the plows, which there weren’t many of, and a few people that shouldn’t have been out driving.

The snow at the building was deep. It had snowed another 8 inches, plus the wind was blowing and it was drifting. We were about half way done when a pickup truck got stuck about 1/2 a block away. This was on 6th street, which is a really major street near downtown. The city had done nearly nothing and the snow was over a foot deep. I grabbed a different, smaller shovel and went over to tell the guy we would shovel him out. He said that he didn’t have any money to pay us. I thought that was a strange response, but I told him we had gotten stuck earlier and were just paying it forward. It took a while to get him moving. He got moving a couple times, but didn’t know how to not spin his wheels and ended up against the curb. He finally got over a very small rise and waved as he went.

So, we went back and finished shoveling. This morning, I’m surprised that a plow didn’t go by. I’m not sure if it is budget or what. We live at the top of a small hill and the hill is always plowed. There is no way that someone that lives at the bottom can drive, unless they have a 4WD. It is still. I shoveled the last inch of snow this morning and not one car came by in the 15 minutes it took. Looks like another snow/vacation day for the city.

The drifts on the bridges on the bike path were prety deep.

The drifts on the bridges on the bike path were prety deep.

It was a little over my hubs in most places.  I'm not sure a fat bike would have been better.  I wish I would have riden my cross bike, to cut through the snow more easily.

It was a little over my hubs in most places. I’m not sure a fat bike would have been better. I wish I would have riden my cross bike, to cut through the snow more easily.

My friend Joe brought this over for the game.  I hadn't ever heard of it, or tried it.  It was good.

My friend Joe brought this over for the game. I hadn’t ever heard of it, or tried it. It was good.

This is pretty unusual for Topeka.

This is pretty unusual for Topeka.

Hey, This is Lance

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Okay, I got a phone call from Lance Armstrong yesterday. It was sort of out of the blue. By that I mean I wasn’t really expecting Lance to be calling me. I guess I should start from the beginning.

Around Thanksgiving, I got a short email from someone who said he was Lance. It was short. It said something like that he occasionally reads my blog and found it interesting. He thought that we should “chat” to go over some things that would be informative.

I get a lot of strange emails and calls, so sort of blew it off. I blew it off by sending him a back an email that was flippant, saying something like I would be down in Austin pretty soon, which was true, and wondering if he knew a good urologist, which was something I was wondering. He answered back something like saying it was a loaded email, and yes on the urologist. I just let it go.

Flash forward to December and I get a one liner asking me when I would be in Austin. I didn’t reply.

So then a couple of days ago after the post I did about George and Frankie, I get an email saying we “needed” to talk. That my post was “ill-informed”, which I don’t think is true, and sad. Then another email saying he was going to call. It was like 7am, but I was awake. I didn’t have my phone in my pocket, but got another email saying that he just tried to call. I looked at my phone and there was a missed call from the 512 area code, which is Austin.

I thought that this was getting a little weird. Who would be trying to impersonate Lance and go and get a 512 area code just to call me? I blew it off again.

Then yesterday afternoon, my phone rang and it was the same number, so I answered. I was under the impression, nearly positive, that it was going to be some weird dude wanting something/ whatever. I say hello and he said, Hey, this is Lance.

It took maybe 20 seconds before I really considered it was Lance. I was so set in my mind that it wasn’t.

Maybe I should back up a little. I’ve “known” Lance for a long, long time. Not in the sense that we’re great friends or anything. This was the first time, that I can remember, that he has ever called me, so it isn’t a common thing. Back in the early 90’s to mid 90’s, when we raced together a lot, I talked to him pretty often. He made a brief foray into MTB racing around 2000, so I rode with him a few times back then. But, I’m pretty sure I haven’t said a word to him since he dabbled in cross and came to Cross Vegas, 5 or 6 years ago.

I was a little rattled, which isn’t normal for me. It took a good 10 minutes before I felt comfortable.

Anyway, we ended up talking for nearly an hour. I’m still thinking about the reason he called. I’m going to give it a couple days to sink in, then am going to post something on it. The subjects bounced around quite a bit. It was mainly about doping and the current situation. What is just and equitable considering the prevalence of doping in the sport. And how to move forward.

I have to admit, the guy sounds genuine. He always has. I told him, during the call, that was part of his current problem. He sounded so genuine, authentic before, during his whole career, with the denials. He obviously speaks very well. So, now when he sounds genuine, it is hard to know whether it is just the same old, or it is whether it is truly sincere. He sounded sincere to me, but what do I know.

Anyway, I’m gonna let this thing mull around in my brain for a couple days and then try to do it justice.

Lance in Mount Snow.  He had a hard time that day.

Lance in Mount Snow. He had a hard time that day.

And at Cross Vegas.

And at Cross Vegas.