Monthly Archives: April 2014

Like a Chicken With My Head Cut Off

This entry was posted in Just Life on by .

I remember reading somewhere about why Lance said he decided to come back to racing. It was something like the life of a cyclist is very regimented and the normal life distractions seem less important when you’re 100% committed to the bike. I obviously disagree with some of Lance’s views, but this one I have to agree with.

When I’m on the road, life usually seems relatively simple. Living out of one bag (two, in my case) and only having Bromont as a present responsibility, feels freeing.

The last few days, that hasn’t been the case. I’ve been trying to round up the last few parts to finally get the new Eriksen together. Scrambling to try to get on a team of Redlands, plus trying to put some fires out back home.

I received a code services notice for the Isuzu, which I parked behind the building. Plus another one for the vacant land I own in Central Topeka. I guess someone has used it as their personal trash dump once again and the city doesn’t like that much.

A friend, Phil Gronniger, originally for KC, now from Denver, is in town on vacation. He’s riding down from Carlbad to La Jolla to meet me right now. It is raining here in San Diego. Phil is planning on doing 4-5 hours today. If I don’t hear back from anyone about racing tomorrow before Phil arrives, I’m just going to suit up and ride with Phil and forget about Redlands. It was only for training, and I’m doing a pretty good job at training already, so no big loss.

I really don’t feel like riding 5 hours in the rain, but after I get a cup of coffee in me and suited up, I’ll be good. It is nice to ride with old friends in new places. I look forward to showing him some of the cool roads I’ve found out here. It’s not all about racing always.

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Being a Tourist – Not Much of a Rest Day

This entry was posted in Fun Stuff on by .

Yesterday I decided I needed a rest. I woke up feeling pretty beat. I’ve been averaging something like 440 miles a week for the last month. I have more hours so far this year than I had by June 1st of last year. So, I guess I’m tired. I started riding North, just to ride up the coast, but when I got to the top of Torrey Pines, it looked all cloudy and cold North. So I did a U-turn and headed back South. I thought I’d ride the bike path along I-5 and head to Mission Bay.

But, before I knew it, I was way past Mission Bay, through downtown and in Chula Vista. By then, it was just better to go all the way to Imperial Beach, head back up to Coronado Island and take the ferry back to downtown San Diego. It was an all day adventure. Only a little over 60 miles, but it took forever. I was trying to ride easy, but when I was out on Imperial Beach, the wind was blowing hard.

I got to the ferry and one wasn’t coming for 40 minutes, so I rode back into town and had a egg and cheese sandwich and a cup of hot chocolate. I was cold by then. It is only less than 10 miles from the ferry stop in downtown back to the top of Mt. Soladad in La Jolla, so it isn’t too bad. Pretty fun day all around.

This morning I’m heading out with Don and Sue and meeting some guys at the Panikin in Encinitas. A friend of my from Denver, Phil Gronniger, is here and hopefully he’s gonna meet up too. Phil and I rode 90 miles on Tuesday and it was fun catching up.

I guess I’m going to go up and ride the Redlands 1/2 criterium on Sunday. I’d rather be doing something more epic, but that is all that is going on around here this weekend. Big Head Todd is playing at the Belly Up tonight in Solana Beach and we have tickets. Part of my New Year’s list was to watch more live music, so this is a late start to that.

Okay, below are some pictures of my day yesterday.

Kind of meandered my way around San Diego.

Kind of meandered my way around San Diego.

View from Mt. Solada in La Jolla looking North.

View from Mt. Solada in La Jolla looking North.

I rode by the glider port on Torrey Pines at the start.

I rode by the glider port on Torrey Pines at the start.

I didn't realize there was a wind tunnel in San Diego.

I didn’t realize there was a wind tunnel in San Diego.

Lots of cool old ships in the harbor.

Lots of cool old ships in the harbor.

This guy was pretty awesome down by the aircraft carrier.

This guy was pretty awesome down by the aircraft carrier.

Downtown San Diego has lots of new buildings.

Downtown San Diego has lots of new buildings.

Was a little off track when I came into Chula Vista the back way.

Was a little off track when I came into Chula Vista the back way.

But, downtown Chula Vista was nice.

But, downtown Chula Vista was nice.

I came upon this guy on the road up Imperial Beach.  I haven't seen one of these jerseys for a while.  It was real windy and he sat on me for a few miles.

I came upon this guy on the road up Imperial Beach. I haven’t seen one of these jerseys for a while. It was real windy and he sat on me for a few miles.

The Hotel Del on Coronado.

The Hotel Del on Coronado.

My bike on the ferry back to San Diego.  Still no bar tape.  I don't have the levers positioned right, or the sprint shifters either.

My bike on the ferry back to San Diego. Still no bar tape. I don’t have the levers positioned right, or the sprint shifters either.

The aircraft carrier from the ferry.  It is huge.

The aircraft carrier from the ferry. It is huge.

Dog walking last night up on Soladad.

Dog walking last night up on Soladad.

Bromont was pooped last night.

Bromont was pooped last night.

Phil Gronniger is renting a small house up in Carlsbad for a week.  He is riding pretty good this year already.

Phil Gronniger is renting a small house up in Carlsbad for a week. He is riding pretty good this year already.

Getting Enough Sleep

This entry was posted in Comments about Cycling on by .

Two out of the last three days I’ve been short on sleep, but not of miles. I’ve ridden nearly 300 miles so far this week and I can really tell a difference, from a recovery standpoint, from just missing a few hours of sleep. Especially this morning, after riding 103 miles yesterday and going to a music concert. I’m not sure if the lack of sleep or being bombarded by loud music, for hours, is worse for recovery.

I wrote a list of things I wanted to do this year and #10 was sleep more. I haven’t been consciously trying to sleep more, but I’ve been trying not to have as many short nights as in the past. That is the main problem with all the rides that start at 7 am out here. Especially on Saturday mornings. You have to go to bed by 8:30 pm if you want to get up early enough to make the ride. I’d rather just sleep later, ride later, when it is warmer.

Anyway, I read a few studies on the internet last couple days and didn’t realize how important good sleep is. I read one where they deprived athletes of 2 hours of sleep a night for a little over a week. Their performances decreased an incredible amount. Nearly 9% on an endurance run. That is a lot.

I guess you produce growth hormone when you are sleeping. Growth hormone is obviously good for athletic performance. It helps repair/build muscle and aids in recovery.

So, I guess I’m probably not telling you anything that you don’t already know, but try to get as much quality sleep as you can. And don’t worry about missing the night before the competition. From personal experience, I’ve slept to nothing the night before a race and it really doesn’t affect the results. Sometimes I ride much better. Studies show the same conclusion. But, don’t try it two or three days in a row. That is a receipe for disappointment.

Even Lance needed a little extra growth hormone, back in the day.

Even Lance needed a little extra growth hormone, back in the day.

The Big Head Todd concert last night was worth losing a little sleep over.

The Big Head Todd concert last night was worth losing a little sleep over.

Orange County

This entry was posted in Comments about Cycling on by .

I drove up to Orange County and meet up with Mr. Donkey Label, Paul Krumrich. He is out here visiting an ex-college roomroommated riding a bit. I know Paul from Minneapolis/St. Paul. Hollywood has his shop in a building that Paul owes. Paul is just playing around, more than playing around, with making some cool cycling clothing and embrocation-type products. He’s one of those inventive types.

I met him at the Starbucks in Laguna this morning for a ride and rode up to Newport Beach. Man, once again, there is no place on the planet that has as many high end automobiles as Orange County. 100K+ cars everywhere. It is amazing. We met up with some of his friends at Sidecar Donuts up there. There was a line out the door. I never got in. Paul’s friends has already ran 17 miles and had a bunch of donuts already. I had a piece of a maple/bacon donut and a few others. Man, hot donuts are awesome.

Laguna is jammed right now. It is a tourist destination for sure. Great people watching. Between the people that really live here and the visitors, it is pretty strange. At least to a guy from Kansas. The beaches and ocean is unpaarelleled though. Super beautiful.

Trudi has been hangin in Sicily, on Mt. Etna, doing a high altitude training camp with the BMC guys that are doing the Giro. She had been there a week and last night took an all night ferry back to Italy, mainland, and is driving up to France for a stage race. Then she is doing Paris-Roubaix and she is done with her stint over in Europe. She stopped in Genoa to visit my friend Sara and her daughter, Yo. She had a very good time.

I’m driving over to Redlands this afternoon and watching the stage today there, then racing the criterium tomorrow. It is supposed to be in the upper 80’s, so that is going to be a shock to the system. Plus, I haven’t been doing any intensity for 3 weeks, so to might take a little to get used to. It should be fun though.

My, Paul and his kid at Sidecar donuts.

My, Paul and his kid at Sidecar donuts.

The runners eating donuts.

The runners eating donuts.

The Garmin of choice for running.

The Garmin of choice for running.

Trudi up on the volcano in Sicily.

Trudi up on the volcano in Sicily.

Photo from the ferry.

Photo from the ferry.

Sara, Yo and Trudi in Genoa.

Sara, Yo and Trudi in Genoa.

Yo, being very cute, as she is.

Yo, being very cute, as she is.

Bromont hanging in Laguna Beach.

Bromont hanging in Laguna Beach.

Bromont watching the beach volleyball guys, while the Hare Krishna singers stroll by.

Bromont watching the beach volleyball guys, while the Hare Krishna singers stroll by.

Made it to Redlands

This entry was posted in Comments about Cycling on by .

The drive from Laguna to Redlands took a while yesterday. It was only 60 miles and it took close 2 1/2 hours. I have a hard time dealing with traffic. Especially non-moving traffic. I got to Redlands just for the start of the criterium. It wasn’t much to see. A break got away, more guys bridged up, then the team of the leading rider, Travis McCabe, Smart Stop, went to the front and did a TTT for the next 90 minutes. The break eventually split up in front, but Smart Stop had no intention of chasing them down because of the time bonuses. I finally left with 20 minutes to go. US Criterium racing in stage racing is boring-ass spectating.

I didn’t see Flanders this morning. It is recorded back in La Jolla, I hope, so I’ll get to see it completely tonight. I’m going out for a ride now and then racing the 1/2 race at 3:30, while the stage race is doing the Sunset circuit up in the hills. A friend, Ian, from Topeka took the train out here yesterday and is going to be racing. We’re meeting up in a little while. Okay, that’s it for now.

This was pretty much the race.  Team Smart Stop doing a TTT.

This was pretty much the race. Team Smart Stop doing a TTT.

Another view from on top.

Another view from on top.

A view of the sunset from the Sunset Loop last evening.

A view of the sunset from the Sunset Loop last evening.

This red areas on the iPhone were to be avoided yesterday.  They weren't moving.

This red areas on the iPhone were to be avoided yesterday. They weren’t moving.

Redlands 1/2 Criterium / Final Day for the Stage Race

This entry was posted in Racing on by .

Yesterday was the first day I’ve raced for 3 weekends. It wasn’t my first choice of races, a short criterium, but it was the only race around. I normally like the Redlands criterium course pretty well. It flows pretty well, is pretty technical and has a few places where you really need to accelerate to stay in position.

That wasn’t the case yesterday in the Pro 1/2 race. And the cause was the wind. It was super windy, by Southern California standards, and it was swirling, making riding off the front really negative. That being said, a break did sprint for the win.

I rode a couple times in the morning. First time I started out, I just did a small loop and ended back at the van. For some reason, I felt the need to nap. I’m not sure if it was it was already getting hot or I have allergies when I get up there, but I just never felt right. So, I crawled in to the back of the van a slept pretty hard, with Bromont, for over an hour, when my phone rang and it was Trudi calling from France.

I talked with Trudi for a while and by then, it was just a couple hours before the race. I drove over to the course and met up with my friend Ian, from Kansas and we got our numbers and I took him up to the Sunset Loop where the circuit race was going on. It is an awesome ride going through the old neighborhoods of Redlands up to the top of the ridge. Ian has never been to California, so he was super into it.

We got up to the Sunset Loop right about when “the field” was coming by. 3 laps into a 12 lap, 90 something mile race. It was blown to pieces. There were less than 30 guys in the front group and they all looked like they were hurting. My friend, Joseph Schmalz, who rides for Hincapie Development Team was just getting popped. He looked over when I yelled and I could see he wasn’t having a good day at all. I felt for him. The climb was somewhat tailwind, which makes it that much harder, plus it was in the upper 80’s.

Anyway, Ian and I went back to downtown to race around in circles for an hour. I got a double espresso 15 minutes before the start. I was debating whether to. Sometimes, espresso and heat aren’t a good combination, but I went ahead anyway. In retrospect, it was a mistake.

Anyway, the race started out and it was really slow. And it never got much faster. The headwind sections made it super hard at the front and really easy sitting in. I only knew a handful of guys racing. A few extra Jelly Belly guys were racing and a handful of other Pros. There are a lot of 1/2 teams in Southern California that have green and black jerseys. It’s really hard telling them apart.

The race was mildly aggressive, but groups never seemed to get very far up the road. Finally, 6 guys escaped and got a pretty good gap. It seemed like there were a bunch of individuals that didn’t like the move, but nothing got organized to chase.

I hardly tried to do anything. I didn’t feel right from the the start. I felt jittery, from the coffee I think. Plus, I wasn’t breathing that well and didn’t have a ton of snap, which I’ve had for over a month. Like I said above, I’d had issues with real bad allergies out in Redlands. That explains the breathing and scratchy eyes I had. Whatever the reason, it was way too easy sitting in and way too hard, for me, to ride off the front, so I hardly participated.

The break stayed away and we were sprinting for 7th. I got pretty swamped on the last lap, but I’ve done the race so many times, I have the sprint down pretty well. Not well enough, because didn’t get into the last 3 corners where I had planned. I was planning on leading, but two guys got in front of me. I passed one with two corners to go, but still went into the last corner in 2nd. I made a huge mistake and shifted into a harder gear coming out of the corner. I was over geared and the guy in front of me rode away, and one guy passed me, so I ended up 3rd in the field sprint, 9th in the race.

It didn’t really matter, it wasn’t like we were sprinting for 1st, but it is always nice to finish the race correctly.

The stage raced finished an hour later. I thought the Smart Stop guys were going to have a hard time controlling the race. And they did. But just barely. Travis McCabe rode a great race and just came up a little short. Two riders got away coming into the criterium finish, Joseph Rosskopf (Hincapie Sportswear Development) and James Oram (Bissell Development Team). They held off a destroyed field of 25 guys or so. I was surprised that the Optum/Kelly Benefit guys weren’t fulling more at the front, since Travis had no one left at the end. They lost 2nd and 3rd overall because of the two off the front. It came down to a sprint between the leaders and Rosskopf won the race and the overall because of the time bonuses. Pretty cool end to the weekend. Click here for overall results. Look how many DNF’s and how far most of the riders finished down.

Anyway, I was a little more wasted than I’d hoped from just racing an hour. Like I said, I wasn’t firing on all cylinders. I’m back in San Diego. Don and I are going out for a long ride today. It is going to be hot again. Don is sort of training for the Spy Belgium Waffle Ride at the end of the moth. I just want to ride easy and just enjoy the area for a few more days.

Results from the Pro 1/2 criterium.  Click to enlarge.

Results from the Pro 1/2 criterium. Click to enlarge.

I lined up next to Rahsaan Bahati.   He took a couple good pulls during the race.

I lined up next to Rahsaan Bahati. He took a couple good pulls during the race.

Here he is doing a half lap effort, me following.  The only problem was he shifted into his 11 about half way down the start finish stretch and it got jammed between the 11 and his frame.  I just about ran into him from behind.  I was leaning the wrong way, overlapped.  I was lucky to stay upright.

Here he is doing a half lap effort, me following. The only problem was he shifted into his 11 about half way down the start finish stretch and it got jammed between the 11 and his frame. I just about ran into him from behind. I was leaning the wrong way, overlapped. I was lucky to stay upright.

The riders up on the Sunset Loop early in the race.  It was already blown apart.

The riders up on the Sunset Loop early in the race. It was already blown apart.

Joseph Rosskopf  passing 	James Oram in the final corner to take the stage and overall race.

Joseph Rosskopf passing James Oram in the final corner to take the stage and overall race.

My friend, Ian and Cate, from Topeka.  They took the train out to LA.

My friend, Ian and Cate, from Topeka. They took the train out to LA.

Ian and Jospeh before the start.

Ian and Jospeh before the start.

I saw this in a store in La Jolla last night.  It's made mainly of spoons and silverware.

I saw this in a store in La Jolla last night. It’s made mainly of spoons and silverware.