Monthly Archives: February 2014

Eric Heiden – Pretty Incredible Athlete and Person

This entry was posted in Fun Stuff on by .

NBC Sports did an article and listed Eric Heiden as the 9th greatest Winter Olympian. I thought it was bullshit. Then there was a poll they put out there giving us the chance to vote for the greatest Winter Olympian. I thought it was a no-brainer, but polls are polls. I don’t know how that turned out, but it should not have been a contest. The answer is Eric Heiden, hands down. By miles. Even, Bonnie Blair, who is in the video below, and was listed as the greatest Winter Olympian, by NBC, picks Eric.

Anyway, Yahoo Sports did a little thing on Eric. The guy is so humble and grounded. Anyway, if you have a few extra minutes, watch the video below. There is a cameo appearance of a photo, that Trudi took, of me and Eric towards the end. Hope you all get a chance to watch as much of the Olympic Games as you can fit in.

I'm not sure where this photo was taken.  It must have been early when the 7-11 guys were riding Schwinn bikes.  Man, does that bike look old.

I’m not sure where this photo was taken. It must have been early when the 7-11 guys were riding Schwinn bikes. Man, does that bike look old.

Training in “the Cold” in Southern California

This entry was posted in Racing on by .

I baled on the snow and headed out to Southern California a couple days ago. The driving to the airport was slow and treacherous after 14 inches.

I got to San Diego late Wednesday afternoon, just time time to talk to Lance for an hour and then go for a couple hour ride.

On Thursday, I did a little lap of North County. I was hoping to meet up with Gary Hanson, is the in charge of WIRED. Wired stands for – Warrior: Integrating Reconditioning Educating Developing. It’s a program to help wounded and ill service men recover through athletics. I was riding around North County, hoping Gary would show, but ended up getting caught in a storm and had to ride 30 miles back to La Jolla in the rain at 45 degrees. Turns out a new Regiment came back and it was a “circus, non stop”. He seemss like a busy guy.

Last night I got a call from my friend Ann, who lives in Austin. She is out in San Diego for a pathology deal. She didn’t have anything to do so we drove down to San Diego and picked her up and brought her back to La Jolla for dinner. It was cool hooking up with her outside of the city of Austin.

This morning I’m in kind of a rush. I have to be riding in 10 minutes to head to North County for the Swami’s ride. It starts up in Encinitas, which is an hour north at least. I called my old team mate, Thurlow Rogers, and he’s going to do it too, so I thought why not. I’m in pitiful form, but it is always way easier riding 100 miles with a group than on my own.

I heard someone talking in a Starbucks about how unusually cold it is and they can “stand” it for a little while. I was listening to this when I was riding in short sleeve and shorts at 62 degrees. Some people out here sure have a warped perspective on what cold is.

Okay, I need to get going.

My bike leaving Kansas City.

My bike leaving Kansas City.

I really like the view from an airplane.  I look out the window a ton when I fly.

I really like the view from an airplane. I look out the window a ton when I fly.

I thought this was a pretty cool photo from landing in San Diego.

I thought this was a pretty cool photo from landing in San Diego.

I realized that I was probably going to get wet when I looked at my phone and saw this.

I realized that I was probably going to get wet when I looked at my phone and saw this.

We don't have these around Kansas.

We don’t have these around Kansas.

Sue and Ann at dinner last night.  Notice the olive tree inside the restaurant behind them.

Sue and Ann at dinner last night. Notice the olive tree inside the restaurant behind them.

123 Miles for No Particular Reason

This entry was posted in Comments about Cycling on by .

Yesterday I rode pretty much all day. I got up early to meet the Swami’s ride, but somehow got my wires crossed and missed it by 5 minutes. I called Thurlow and he said they were a couple miles ahead of me, but 70 of them, going pretty fast. I knew that I wasn’t catching them. So I pulled a Forest Gump and just rode, for no particular reason, for the next 7 hours.

I didn’t feel that great most of the ride. My left leg, where I had shingles, hasn’t really been working perfectly yet. It sort of feels like it is real tight and pseudo cramping, even though it hasn’t. I was way up by Vista and did my turn around riding up Couser Canyon. Strava link.

It is funny, but the time flew. And I never really got any worse than when I started. I actually got better between 90 and 115 miles. I had hoped to ride a long ride, something over 100, but most of the time in a group. Instead I was in the wind all day by myself. It wasn’t really windy until I got back to the coast in Encinitas. And most of that was tailwind down the coast, which was a pleasant surprise.

This was my longest ride since I started saving rides to Strava. The previous one was 116. I don’t really ride long miles all that much, but this year I’m going to be doing more. I ride better when I’m doing some long rides, I’ve just been lazy recently. It’s not like I don’t truly enjoy riding my bike and it is a toll or anything. But, 126 miles was about 1/4 of all the miles I had for the year, so it wasn’t an insignificant amount.

Tomorrow is my birthday and I doubt I’m going to get to ride. I’m flying back into a foot of snow back home in Topeka, early tomorrow morning. So when I was riding yesterday, I thought maybe I’d make up some formula, like riding twice my age. (And no, I’m not turning 66.) I usually try to just ride my age on my birthday, but when you have the ability, like warm weather and great scenery, there is no reason to pass that up.

It is amazing how many cyclists there are riding around North County on a Saturday morning. I saw at least 10 groups of more than 30 guys. And lots more, dozens, or 5-10 riders. I was riding out a bike path by Highway 78, heading east, and it seemed like a full on race came towards me from the west. The guys were hauling ass. I nearly turned around and rode with them, but by then, already had a mission plan in my head.

I thought I’d be more wasted this morning. I don’t really feel any different than riding 50 miles. Kind of weird. I only ate one Cliffbar and stopped at 90 miles and had a double espresso. I am a little porky and did that on purpose, hoping to loose some weight, which I’m sure I did.

It has been cool, compared to the rest of the “winter” here. Lower 60’s instead of upper 70’s or more. The lower’s 60’s is plenty for me. I think that the temperature allowed me to be relatively unscathed today. At least it helped. I didn’t over heat and riding back south along the coast later in the afternoon, it was in the 50’s, which felt great.

Okay, I’ve spent enough time on the computer when there is real life to get to. Hope everyone has an enjoyable Sunday.

 I ran into Sue and Don's friends, Corky and Lucas out on Lilac, by Vista.  They were on a good ride too, but already heading back.

I ran into Sue and Don’s friends, Corky and Lucas out on Lilac, by Vista. They were on a good ride too, but already heading back.

I rode back through the Eflin Forest and did a little dirt action up Questhaven.

I rode back through the Eflin Forest and did a little dirt action up Questhaven.

My normal photo of the beach ride at the base of Torrey Pines.

My normal photo of the beach ride at the base of Torrey Pines.

Many of the coast towns in North County are becoming real bike friendly and allowing bicycles full use of the right lane.

Many of the coast towns in North County are becoming real bike friendly and allowing bicycles full use of the right lane.

The scenery coming back through La Jolla is unparalleled.

The scenery coming back through La Jolla is unparalleled.

I was pretty much starving when I got back.  I had two of these-croissants covered with peanut butter and blackberries.  They hit the spot.

I was pretty much starving when I got back. I had two of these-croissants covered with peanut butter and blackberries. They hit the spot.

Early Season Training Surprises

This entry was posted in Comments about Cycling, Just Life on by .

I usually don’t get so out of shape over the winter that it is much of an effort to get back into some sort of respectable form early on. Cyclocross has been pretty great for that the last few years. But since I only did two cross races last season, and they were in early November, that form didn’t carry forward much.

Last season was a struggle. Between being hurt at the get go, and then doing rehab and starting weak and late, it made the year pretty challenging and ultimately, unfulfilling. That’s not to say that I want a do over. I think that each one of us has to go through ups and downs during their athletic careers and that these undulations allow us to appreciate different aspects of the sport from within ourselves. Of course it is always nicer to be on the upward side of the curve, than the bottom, but I don’t think we have all that much control over that.

So, this year, I’m at square one. Not square one like when I first started racing. That was when I just hung up your bike when the first snow fell and then maybe rode the rollers a couple times in January before actually going out and riding on the road by March. That is a place I don’t plan on ever going again, but this was as close as I’ve been in recent history. I haven’t raced since the UCI races in Louisville and before that it was two MTB races, Chequamegon and The Berryman Epic, which were Sept and Oct. So four races, going on 6 months. That is about the longest dry spell of racing I have experienced in decades. And I need to race to get to race shape.

Anyway, I’m trying to remember what it is like to get back in shape. I know historically, when I used to take a fair amount of time off, I usually rode pretty great for a week or 10 days. I’d think, man, I stayed in pretty good shape over the winter. Then all of a sudden, one morning I’d wake up and I would be destroyed. I’d be back at ground level and then really have to do some miles to get to form.

I’m a little worried that is where I’m at now. I’ve been feeling alright riding. Nothing to write home about, but nothing to complain about either. I’m just wondering when the wall is going to show up. I know it’s there, I’m just hoping maybe something might be different this year.

One thing I really hate about losing all race form is that when I do start racing, early season, I tend to get crazy stomach aches after long, hard races. It doesn’t happen every year, but more than not. It has always been after a long, hard road race, early on, and when I’m riding pretty okay. Then, a couple hours after the race, I get a super bad stomach ached that might last just a couple hours, but more likely will last really a long time, into the wee hours of the morning. I don’t know why it happens, but it seems like the formula is right for that to happen this year. Something to look forward to I guess.

Okay, I changed my ticket to stay out in sunny California for a few more days. It snowed again back in Kansas and is supposed to be in the upper 70’s, nearly 80, in a couple days out here.

I’m not sure what I’m doing for my “birthday ride”. I’d like to go and repeat Sunday, but I’m not sure I have that in me. Whatever I end up doing, I won’t overlook the fact that I get to do something special, something I love to do, which is just ride my bike.

I'll probably just start up the coast and then see how I feel.

I’ll probably just start up the coast and then see how I feel.

I'll probably ride to to start at the Pannikin in Encinitas.  That is 20 miles from La Jolla, so I'd already have 40 miles RT before I start.

I’ll probably ride to to start at the Pannikin in Encinitas. That is 20 miles from La Jolla, so I’d already have 40 miles RT before I start.

I saw my old team manager, Mike Farrell, from the Schwinn team in La Jolla yesterday morning.  He's out here to ride, but is heading to Borrego Springs to ride today.

I saw my old team manager, Mike Farrell, from the Schwinn team in La Jolla yesterday morning. He’s out here to ride, but is heading to Borrego Springs to ride today.

The birds at the Pannikin in La Jolla sure converge on the left overs a second after the people leave the table.

The birds at the Pannikin in La Jolla sure converge on the left overs a second after the people leave the table.

Dopers, Come Forward, We Offer Treats

This entry was posted in Comments about Cycling on by .

The UCI inquiry commission into doping released a statement “asking” for witnesses to come forward in exchange for, maybe, a reduced punishment. The commission chief, Dick Marty said, “We will treat all witnesses fairly and so I urge anyone in the cycling community with information that can help our investigation to come forward.” Wow, that is some offer to these guys. I bet they come crawling out of the woodwork for that great deal.

It says later on that the commission has the power to propose, “case-by-case” for a reductions in suspensions of anyone currently suspended, although these deals will have to be approved by the original sanctioning body, the UCI, and the World Anti-Doping Agency. All three. Wow again. I think that is such a good offer that Lance probably has already signed up and is ready to spill his guts.

Obviously, this is more than a little disappointing to me. I was hoping that this commission would be the catalyst to get as much of the doping culture and facts exposed and then we can all start at square one with a clean slate. I will be very surprised if any current rider takes them up on their offer.

The offer is so subjective and wishy-washy. I don’t understand why they didn’t come up with something more enticing, and maybe, fair? No one wants to walk in and testify before that commission and then get an offer. It would be like going into a pawn shop to sell something and tell the guy you were going to sell it before he even gave you an offer. Once you spill your guts, you’ve spilled your guts. That is all you have to negotiate with.

If I were a rider, or support staff, that had an issue, I’d hire someone to negotiate for me, anonymously, and work out the deal before I went in. My negotiator wouldn’t tell the commission my name before the deal was done. And if I was currently serving a suspension, there is no way I’d participate before the 3 bodies had approved a reduction of my suspension. It doesn’t make any sense to do it any other way.

Anyway, I very much doubt this is going to work. Maybe if the rumor gets out that they are giving out very lenient deals, then they might get the ball rolling. But I don’t see that happening.

I’m not exactly sure how the UCI came up with this commission, but unless they go back and regroup, come up with a plan that makes a little sense, then it is just going be another 3 guys that fly around the world on a budget, getting nothing accomplished. I hope that isn’t the case, but it seems to be as of now.

freecandy

Psuedo Racing on the Coast

This entry was posted in Comments about Cycling on by .

Today is my last day in California for a while. I’ve ridden around 500 miles this past week and feel pretty good about that. I would have liked to ride more with some groups, but that didn’t seem to materialize, so I did nearly all of it alone.

I’ve been starting and finishing most every ride on the coast highway. It is the best way to get up to North County and pretty much the only way to get back into La Jolla returning over Torrey Pines.

I’ve run into a lot of different people riding on the coast highway this past week. Mainly guys just commuting to work or back home, depending on the time of the time. These commuter guys seems to be pretty friendly, but also competitive. It is amazing how many times I’m being passed by a guy riding a slick tired MTB bike, that has been turned into a winter commuter bike. I’m not sure why you’d need a winter commuter bike in San Diego, because there isn’t winter, thus no winter weather, but a couple guys I’ve spoken to said that they were riding their winter bikes. These guys come blowing by me when I’m already riding over 20 mph, so they are definitely working going faster than that on a 30 lb. bike. I usually catch up to them when they stop for a light and say something pertaining to how well they are moving along on such a heavy bike. They act like it is their normal everyday speed, which is close to impossible or they would be on Pro Tour teams.

Then there are the guys out training. Since I’ve mainly been riding on weekdays, I’m not meeting up with so many racer guys. I see a few dozen throughout the day, but not the hordes I see on the weekend days. The racer guys aren’t so friendly, which is strange to me. They look straight forward and don’t really say hi or anything. I don’t really pass any guys training, I only get passed even though I’m riding at my normal training speed, which is brisk.

It seems like a lot of these guys are just out racing up and down the coast. They can’t always be riding 23-25 mph or more.

Yesterday I rode up and did a small loop in Elfin Forest. It is about a 70 mile ride. The wind was good and blowing from the Northwest, which meant a tailwind coming back, which is nice. I was approaching the Torrey Pines climb, which is kind of the official end of the ride. After that it is about 6 more miles into La Jolla, but all residential and lots of traffic.

About 1/2 a mile from Torrey Pines, this guy comes blowing by me. I was already going maybe 23, so not slow, but the wind was at my back a little. I decided to be one of those guys and follow the guy up the climb, whether he went inside or the outside road up the hill. Torrey Pines is not even 2 miles, but a few hundred feet. The inside the Park road is steep and shorter. The outside is more gradual and longer. I usually ride the inside because it is way more scenic, but this guy stayed on the coast highway, which was outside.

I could tell the guy was riding hard, you could tell by his pedalling. He just stayed on his seat and mashed away on his pedals, keeping pretty much the same speed at the bottom of the hill. I had to accelerate to match his speed. I was riding, maybe 10 bike lengths behind him. I could tell he was wondering if I was still riding behind him, but knew that I was far enough back that he wouldn’t know unless he turned around and looked. And I knew he wanted to look.

I was mildly surprised how long he kept going good. He kept a real good rhythm up at least 2/3’rds of the hill. I was going at least 80% as hard as I could, which was working. But with a couple minutes of the climb left, he sort of petered out. Not super bad, just enough so that he was riding slower up the hill than I normally would have. I decided to just keep going “my pace” and closed down the small gap. He heard me coming up and immediately took off again. He didn’t ever stand up, he just accelerated on his seat.

I had been riding most of the time out of the saddle. For some reason, I’ve been climbing like that a lot more the last couple years. I think it might be because I’m losing either leg muscle or power as I age, but not so much Vo2, so I compensate for it by just using more muscles, which I do by climbing standing. That is just a theory, I really don’t have a definite reason other than it is easier to climb standing, a lot of the time, than sitting.

So anyway, the guy gets to the very top of the hill and slows down a ton, like really coasts. I don’t usually slow down training over the top of a climb, so just kept going by him. He sped up and road up to me and I tell him he was going pretty good up the climb. He answers something like he knew he was going good and then calls me Steve. I’m always surprised when someone I don’t know uses my name like he know me, but that is my deal.

He then asks me why I’m not wearing a helmet. He says he is concerned about my safety. I tell him I don’t usually wear a helmet training, it’s just a personal choice. I think it is kind of strange how strongly someone must feel to say something like that almost the second I meet him. He must have been pretty opinionated about wearing helmets, as most people are, I guess. I’m not very opinionated about it, either you wear one or you don’t. Anyway, that is just a sidebar.

So, we ride just a mile or so together and then he says he was turning, which I was too, but he took off like I as slowing him down, which I wasn’t. He took off doing about 25 or so, his “normal” training pace.

I’m wondering if I was just one of those guys that was kind of racing on the coast. I wasn’t really trying to show off to the dude. I just wanted to see how fast a guy like that was going to climb a hill I’d been climbing solo for a week. But, I guess each and every rider going up and down the coast has his own little reason for riding whatever speed his is going. My reason isn’t any more legitimate than anyone else’s I suppose. It’s kind of fun and frustrating at the same time, which is one of the reason I like the sport so much.

Descending down Torrey Pines into the fog yesterday

Descending down Torrey Pines into the fog yesterday

Starting up the inside road of Torrey Pines.

Starting up the inside road of Torrey Pines.

Gonna Be a Radical Weather Change

This entry was posted in Racing on by .

I’m in transit back to Kansas right now. It is definitely going to be a big change weather-wise. There is still a foot of melting snow on the ground right now at home.

But, not all is lost. On the weekend, it is supposed to be 55 degrees both days. That is only 20 degrees lower than the highs in San Diego for the same two days. Can’t complain much about that.

I got in 91 miles yesterday. I rode about 550 miles the last week. I have good enough form to train, but would suffer like a dog racing. (Where does that saying come from?). Even so, I feel good enough to search out some racing. If I can get up the energy, maybe The Walburg Road Race and Pace Bend next weekend in Austin. I’m kind of kicking around doing the Fat Bike Race on the Birkie course in 3 weeks if I, for one can procure a Fat Bike, and two, do some sustained hard efforts, ie race.

Last night I went up to Carlsbad and did a duel birthday dinner. Don’s birthday is this weekend and mine was Monday. I know a lot of the San Diego gang, so it was super fun. My old Levi’s teammate, Greg Demgen and his wife, Tonya, came by. I usually see “Doughboy” fairly often, but recently he has been hard to catch up with. It was super nice they stopped by.

Okay, they are announcing my flight. Short night on this end, so I’m looking forward to sleeping some on the plane.

20140213-081044.jpg
Greg,Tonya and I.

20140213-081146.jpgThe cake was awesome. Sue got it from a bakery in La Jolla and very yummy.

20140213-081455.jpg
I barely got back before dark last night. Sunset was great. I’d like to be on the water during sunset.

20140213-081615.jpg
The weather looks pretty good back home.