Monthly Archives: May 2014

Are Rest Days that Important ?

This entry was posted in Comments about Cycling on by .

Last year I thought that since I’m getting older, I needed to rest more, so I took a lot more days completely off. I’ve never been much of the type to not ride on rest days, but I thought that I’d try something different to experiment. I didn’t notice that I was coming back fresher, with extra energy to train harder to get a higher level of fitness after resting.

This year I’ve been doing the exact opposite. I’ve had two days completely off the bike since February. And both of those days were long travel days where I couldn’t ride. I also took two days off in February, so that is 4 days off since I started training this year. I only rode 18 hours in January and have nearly 300 hours for the year, so I’ve been riding a lot with not much rest.

Like I said above, I’ve never been much into taking days completely off the bike. When I used to fly every weekend, it would always work out that I would miss a day every once in a while. But I only fly once every couple months now, so I need to try to figure out when I shouldn’t ride. I don’t like to rest because of the way I feel during the rest day. I seem to run out of energy half way through the day and feel pretty out of sorts the whole day.

Today is the day I think I’m picking for May. That leaves a lot of riding the rest of the month. But, even writing that, I’m thinking that isn’t really going to happen. I really should, because yesterday my legs felt pretty beat and I’m pretty sure I didn’t really recover from 4 days of racing in Joe Martin last weekend. Even so, I’d bet it is a 50/50 chance I ride some. I could just do a bike path spin.

I decided to race the Velotek Gran Prix this weekend. It is a local stage race with a hillclimb, criterium, then longish road race. There are only 30 guys signed up for the Pro 1/2 race, so it is going to be pretty hard. There won’t be much sitting in, which is fine by me. I was thinking about doing a MTB race 2 hours west of Topeka at Lake Wilson. I’ve wanted to do the race for a few years now, and had an open weekend. I even went to the trouble of putting new tires on my 29’r. But the weather isn’t going to be conducive for MTB racing. It is supposed to be 95 degrees there Sunday. I’ve already tried racing off-road this year over 90 degrees and it doesn’t work without being somewhat used to it. It’s a $1000 to win the race, but I’m worried it might send me into a horrible slump and there is a lot of bike racing to do the next couple months that I don’t want to miss.

Plus, I’m having a saddle sore issue, so riding MTB isn’t the best thing for that at this moment.

I’m already starting to feel a little out of sorts back here in Kansas. It is close to the worst time of the year for me to be here. I’d hoped that they were done burning the fields, but I think not. Plus the allergies are off the charts, so the air isn’t that great for endurance athletics.

Anyway, I have a couple things to do today if I don’t ride. I flatted a tubeless tire on the gravel yesterday, so have to reseal that, plus I never put on a new tubular after flatting the last stage in Joe Martin, so have to do that too. I’m trying to decide if I should glue on a tire on the rear that wears a little better, not a nice Vittoria CX. Continentals wear way better on the rear, but don’t come close to cornering as well. I’ll have to look and see whats cwhat’s up next week and beyond. I only have one 11 speed race wheel, so I don’t really have a choice of what wheels to race. I might check into trying to convert some of my 10 speed freehubs to 11 speed. You don’t have to take too much metal off the back to allow the 11 tooth cog to engage.

I guess I have enough to keep me busy today, so maybe the chances of not riding have went up to 60/40.

Training so far this season.

Training so far this season.

Weather forecast for Lake Wilson Kansas.  Crazy for May.

Weather forecast for Lake Wilson Kansas. Crazy for May.

20140501-113512.jpg
Trudi flew her mom down for a couple days and they’ve been staying in KC, on The Plaza. I met them, with Bromont, last night in Lawrence for dinner.

3 Day Early Weekend

This entry was posted in Comments about Cycling on by .

Today is an early start to a 3 day early weekend. I had to get going super early, at least for me, drive to Lawrence to be Woodlawn Elementary School and do a bike safety day gig with my TradeWind Energy guys. We’ve bought a lot, 237 to be exact,, bicycle helmets and are fitting each kid with a new helmet. Plus, we doing a little bicycle safety lecture, setting up an obsticle course for the kids to ride, etc. I’m all for it, except for the lack of sleep.

After the school deal, we’re going to ride over to the 1st stage of the Velotek Race, a 2 minute hillclimb, and pre-ride the course. Then I’m going to ride the 40 miles home. I don’t think I’ve ever ridden the hill, but what could be there to see? Trudi is going to ride over to Lawrence, after taking a few cats to the vet, then drive the van back to Topeka, while Bill and I ride.

Saturday and Sunday, both the races start at 8 am. And they are 40 minutes from my house. I don’t like racing that early in the morning. I don’t think it is healthy. At least not for me.

I managed to not ride my bike yesterday, but I did stand around on my feet for a few hours, if that counts. I really would have liked to ride, but held firm not to. I felt like I was really clogged up by allergies, and riding somewhat clears that up, but I just stayed stuffy all day and night. We’ll see if it helped or not.

I’m trying to get my Strava form number out of the negatives. (See below.) I’m not really sure what the form number means, but it hasn’t been a positive number in a while. It seems like you would want positive form. I’d better read up on it a little.

Okay, I need to get driving. I’m picking Bill up, getting some coffee and calling it good.

strava copy

20140502-080229.jpg
Helmets.

Pre-Race Day Nerves

This entry was posted in Comments about Cycling on by .

Yesterday was one of those days that just kept on going. We left the house at 6:30, drove over to Bill’s, got him, stopped for coffee, and then headed over to Lawrence for bike day at a local elementary school. It was pretty cool out, mid 40’s and I didn’t bring enough cycling clothes to stay warm. Anyway, the day went so fast I didn’t have enough time to stress the least about the race this weekend, which was a great by-product of being super busy. I hate pre-race nerves, but sometime can use them to get the proper focus.

The school visit was all set up by the time we got there. TradeWind Energy had bought a new Bell helmet for each kid in the school and Dan Hughes, of Sunflower Bike Shop, was there with a gaggle of his employees to help fit the helmets and repair the kid’s bikes.

Brian Jensen, Bill and I were there to do a little talk and let the kids ask questions. My favorite question was really a statement, “Titanium melts.” How true.

So, every kid in the school got a new helmet, most had ridden their bikes to school, so we set up an obstacle course and led them through it.

It took nearly all morning and after, we headed over to Freestate to have an early lunch. I really couldn’t drink a beer at 11 am the day before I was supposed to race at 8 am. So, I ordered hot tea, plus a fruit and cheese plate for lunch.

Brian, Bill and I then rode over to the ride the hillclimb of the first stage of the race today. It is super short, just .7 miles. Uphill to an overlook. It is going to be pretty hard.

Bill and I then rode back to Topeka. It was a stiff headwind the whole way back. Bill was feeling a little sluggish initially, but after he burned off the beer, was riding pretty good.

The field today for the race is small, but pretty good. There are only 30 riders registered for the Pro 1/2 race, but the field is the best regionally. So, it isn’t going to be a ride-around. Lots of time spent in the wind is going to be in store the next two days. Tomorrow we race 3 laps of Lake Perry. It’s nearly 30 miles a lap and pretty hilly. And of course, it is going to be windy. Super training.

So, Bill and I are riding the 40 miles over to the 2 minute time trial this morning. I know it seems a little overkill, but I’d rather be too warmed up than not enough. Last week at Joe Martin, I saw, and felt, what the result will be not warming up enough. My 2 minute maximum on Strava is right around 500 watts. I’m not going to be looking down at my Garmin, but hope to at least match that. We do a 75 minute criterium at 12:40 too. Hopefully we’ll have enough time to go have some breakfast.

Okay, cup of coffee and out the door.

Matt Gilhousen, Czar of TradeWind, walking some little ones through the obstacle course.

Matt Gilhousen, Czar of TradeWind, walking some little ones through the obstacle course.

Dan Hughes, left, waiting for the onslaught of the helmet fittings.

Dan Hughes, left, waiting for the onslaught of the helmet fittings.

Man, there were a ton of department store bikes there.

Man, there were a ton of department store bikes there.

Stack of helmets before they got to their kids head.

Stack of helmets before they got to their kids head.

Class photo.

Class photo.

Bill and Brian riding west of Lawrence Kansas.

Bill and Brian riding west of Lawrence Kansas.

Velotek GP Day 1

This entry was posted in Racing on by .

Yesterday was long. I got up before 5 to head over to Lawrence. Bill and I actually drove half way because we really couldn’t ride the whole way and make it in time for the 8am start for the time trial.

I need to make this short, since I’m short of time once again today. The time trial was a disaster for me. It wasn’t for our TradeWind Team, because Brian Jensen won it. But, I rode the exact same time in the race as I rode pre-riding the course 15 minutes earlier. It is really embarrassing.

Two, maybe three things contributed to the fiasco. One, I was freezing the whole morning. I didn’t dress warm enough to ride to the race and it was in the upper 40’s, but way colder in the valleys, so I froze. Two, I rode way too hard up the hill the first time and kind of burned my lungs. They are burning and the allergy count is off the charts, so I should have realized I can’t do that straight away. And three, I screwed up my shifting. Like, I didn’t know what gear I was in the rear. It is an 18% grade at the top and I thought I was cross chained in a 53 x 25 and it turned out I was in a 23 in the back and didn’t realize I had another gear until about 30 meters from the line. I looked at my Strava report of the “race” and I was doing just about 60 rpms for a good bit before the top. WTF? I have no explanation other than stupidity. Brian was only 11 seconds faster than me, but that was enough time for over 15 guys to be between us.

We really didn’t have a plan for the criterium. It was a pretty good race, even though it might not of looked that great watching. It was moving pretty good all day, with lots of animation. It came down to a field sprint and a lot of people got their wires crossed I think. I was going to lead out Brian, but realized that there was a fair chance he wouldn’t be with me. The sprint was a swervy deal, tailwind. I got kind of buried, but Brian was still on me 2/3 of a lap to go. I knew that the last corner, everyone would drift wide, leaving a chance to move up. Right when I was planning to move up, The Kaos guys from Nebraska, mainly Lee Bumgarner, came up on my inside. I back out and got behind Lee, but he was boxed in, so I just decided to go for it 400 meters out. I was just hoping that Brian was still behind me. But, it wasn’t to be. I led until about 50 meters from the finish and Jacob White, Elbowz, and Lee too, both blew by me. I barely held on for 3rd and a 4 second time bonus. Big deal. I can’t really sprint with a tailwind very well. As soon as I have to sit down, I’m done. I’m much better uphill.

Anyway, I rode the 25 miles back to Topeka and completely fell apart. It got pretty hot out and I didn’t have hardly any water. I had to stop 5 miles out and get a coke and fill my bottle with ice water. Man, temperatures sure play a huge roll in athletics.

Today we’re doing a 90 mile road race around Lake Perry, a reservoir between Topeka and Lawrence, a little north. It’s right around 30 miles a lap and it is fairly hilly. It is going to be pretty hard with only a 30 rider field. I might be carnage. It just depends if it gets windy and how fast it gets up to 90 degrees. The race starts early, so it shouldn’t be that hot before we’re finished. I have no idea how I feel. I was pretty wiped out last night. I had 90 something miles yesterday and, like I said above, fell apart riding back, so that wasn’t good.

I hope to be riding good today, or at least good enough. I should be okay.

Starting the time trial.

Starting the time trial.

Brian starting the time trial.

Brian starting the time trial.

Trudi took this photo at the criterium.

Trudi took this photo at the criterium.

Bill and I got on our bikes right about sun up.

Bill and I got on our bikes right about sun up.

Even though I felt like hell, riding back, mainly on gravel, was wonderful.  I though this sign was pretty unique.

Even though I felt like hell, riding back, mainly on gravel, was wonderful. I though this sign was pretty unique.

The convenience store I stopped at was half convenience store, half bank.  Strange.

The convenience store I stopped at was half convenience store, half bank. Strange.

Results from the criterium.

Results from the criterium.

Velotek Grand Prix Stage Race

This entry was posted in Racing on by .

I rode a local stage race last weekend. Many times, local races are much harder than NRC races. More time in the wind, lots more jumping and such, is usually what occurs in a local race. This was the case last weekend.

The race went fine. Brian Jensen won the hillclimb, I was 3rd in the criterium, Brian was 2nd again yesterday and ended up 2nd overall in GC. It isn’t what we, the TradeWind Team, is usually happy with at a local event, but the field was much better than just a normal, local, 30 rider PRO 1/2 field.

My race was interesting, at least personally. I totally blew the hillclimb, which I might not ever understand. The criterium went just okay. We all rode alright, but knew it was going to come down to the 90 miles road race, which was yesterday.

The race was interesting because I felt so bad yesterday morning. Like I posted yesterday, I rode back from the criterium and fell apart on the way home. I got super overheated and had to stop for 30 minutes at a convenience store, and just drink and rest. I never felt the same that night. My legs muscles were continually firing and I felt sick at the stomach.

I woke up yesterday morning sort of nauseated. I instantly had to go to the bathroom. I didn’t really digest much dinner it seemed. And I kept doing that for the next 2 1/2 hours, over and over again. I got to the race feeling bad. Really weak and a little dizzy. I thought it was most likely caused by overheating. I was pretty worried that it was going to heat up quicker in the morning than it was forecast, which was a high in the mid 80’s.

The race started from the gun. Bob Cummings attacked as soon as we clipped in. I was at 1000 watts 10 seconds into the race. The next 2 hours, it was bad. I tried to fake it pretty well, but was really at my limit. Sometimes, I was barely hanging on. It was only on climbs that I seemed to be recovering some.

I thought I was maybe weak because I didn’t have any nutrition from the day before. I tried to eat and drink as much as I could stomach the during this time. Right about 60 miles in, I started coming around. It was probably a combination of the rest of the guys getting worse while I feeling just a little better. But, I was coming around.

I really did get back completely. Eventually, on the last 30 mile lap, the field split and I missed it. Brian made the split and I could have made it just then, but Jacob White, who was leading the race by 7 seconds was back with me and I didn’t want to drag him up. A few miles later, I jumped on a hill and bridged 80% of the way up to the 11 guys up the road, with Jordan Ross, Team Kaos, but we didn’t quite make it. Anyway, I got feeling better and better, maybe because we were out of contention and riding easier, but whatever the reason, I was going pretty good at the end of the race.

I really love the aspect of the sport that you can ride into a mass start bike race. Drafting allows you to stay in contention while your body is trying to get itself in order. Knowing that your body has an adaptive process and having the patience to wait for it to kick in is something I rely on constantly. I knew, from past experience, that there was a fair chance I’d feel better a few hours later. We’ve all experienced it, but it always surprises me.

Brian, Bill and I rode the 25 miles back to Lawrence after the race. I talked them into riding on gravel, hoping it would be a wind block, but it was just hot. I kept feeling better and better and at the end of the 110 miles, felt just about normal again. Go figure.

Brian grilled us some chicken and had cold beer in the fridge, so all was good.

This morning, I had to get up before 4 am and drive Trudi to the airport. She was flying out to Santa Rosa, CA, for the Tour of California prep. Being under slept is not great for recovery. I drove her the 80 miles to the airport and was back in bed by 6:30 am. I am a little tweaked this morning, but hope that will pass.

It is going to be in the upper 80’s, lower 90’s the next few days. I am going to try to get acclimated to the heat some this week. I figure I’d had heat issues the last few years and it is only going to get hotter. The best way I’ve found to do this is just ride, slow, very slow, during the heat of the day, for hours. I don’t really need the hours, but I need to spend the time in the heat. Hopefully it will work out.

Lee Bumgarner won the race yesterday over Brian.  11 guys started together at the bottom of this hill and it shattered.

Lee Bumgarner won the race yesterday over Brian. 11 guys started together at the bottom of this hill and it shattered.

The podium, Lee in the middle, Brian on the left and Skyler Mackey, 	Think Finance p/b Trek Bike Stores, who moved up to 3rd overall on the final climb.

The podium, Lee in the middle, Brian on the left and Skyler Mackey, Think Finance p/b Trek Bike Stores, who moved up to 3rd overall on the final climb.

I'm pretty skinny right now.  The veins seemed to be coming out with the heat.  Kind of creepy looking.

I’m pretty skinny right now. The veins seemed to be coming out with the heat. Kind of creepy looking.

Brian wasn't so happy I talked him into riding on gravel on the way to Lawrence, he flatted.

Brian wasn’t so happy I talked him into riding on gravel on the way to Lawrence, he flatted.

Brian had a full refrigerator of FreeState Beer.

Brian had a full refrigerator of FreeState Beer.

Patience

This entry was posted in Just Life on by .

Yesterday was one of those days that everything just went a little wrong. Maybe it was because I got up before 4 am to drive Trudi to the airport after a hard, hot day on the bike, I don’t know, but nothing seemed to be working well, especially my mind and body.

Anyway, I thought should change the oil in my diesel van. It takes 15 quarts of synthetic oil and by the time you add the new oil filter, it comes to about $125, that is doing it myself. So, it’s about a 10 minute job normally, but not yesterday.

When I got the van a few years ago, the oil plug was partially rounded. So, everytime I removed it, I pay close attention to get the socket on straight and tight. But, not yesterday. Yesterday I just fuckered it up more. And more. I soon realized that I wasn’t going to be able to use the 19mm anymore and the plug was toast. So I went in the garage and got a 24in Rigid pipe wrench to remove it. I got the jaws of the pipe wrench on the plug pretty good and couldn’t believe it wouldn’t come out. That just rounded it more and more.

I sprayed some rust penetrator stuff on the bolt, since it is a steel pan, steel bolt, sans copper washer, and let it sit. I got the pipe wrench on it again and nothing. So, I go downstairs and get the Dremel tool. I took the Dremel and cut the plug to a the size of a 18 mm socket. I tapped it on with a hammer, had a pretty good feel for it and then, nope, it just spun.

Finally, I just ground the bolt down to the size of a 17mm extractor I had. I’m not sure if it was removing the metal that was rusted to the pan or what, but the extractor removed the plug. I haven’t changed the oil since I drove the van up to Cable over Christmas, and that place is white with salt, but come on, that was ridiculous.

I went to the auto parts store to buy and new plug and couldn’t figure out what size I needed. I think it was a 14 x 1.25 pitch, but it didn’t look right. Anyway, I finally called the Ford dealer and they had a plug for $9, so I just drove there.

I got the plug and had the destroyed one with me and when I went to the cashier woman at the dealership, she knows me, she said something about it looks like I had some trouble getting it out. I told her that is is so weird how a 10 minute job can turn into a 2 hours job. And I got no satisfaction out of it at all. I told her the plug has been screwed up since day one, but I blew it initially.

She said it was patience. That the older we get, the less patience we have. We don’t do things as precisely as we used to because we lack patience. I agreed. Plus, I added I didn’t get much of a sense of accomplishment from solving the problem because I knew that I was going to get the plug out.

20 years ago I would have thought of the whole thing as a learning process and really taken some pride in solving the issue. I wouldn’t have thought of it as a waste of my time. I wasn’t patient from the start and that is what started the whole load of extra work.

Patience applies a lot to bike racing, especially when you’re racing alone. Since an individual rider doesn’t usually have a ton of impact on the whole race, that rider needs to allocate his/her energy very efficiently. I’ve met a ton of very, very talented athletics, that raced bikes, that didn’t have any patience. They never got to the next level because of it. They used all their energy, some of it just nervous energy, but most of it real, expended energy, on stupid moves and early breaks that had little chance for success. I felt bad for them because they didn’t have any ability to rein it in and just let the race play out as it normally would. Their impatience made it nearly impossible to get a result.

Anyway, it seems now like I’m always behind doing things. I’m not sure if it is just a perception or I am really behind. I’d think at this time of my life, I would have less stuff to do. It always seems more stuff to do. Maybe I just want to do more stuff, so there is a longer list, I’m not sure, but whatever the reason, the list just keeps getting longer. And I don’t have the patience, it seems, to just do things half-assed. I think I used to be able to decided what needs to be done perfectly and what just needs to get done. Now, when I do something, I want to do it exactly the right way, even if it doesn’t matter than much. Eventually, I just run out of time and do it mediocre because that is all the time I have left to do it. It is frustrating.

Okay, now that I have all that down, I can take a deep breathe. It didn’t help much that I nearly completely fell apart on the club ride last night. I finally just sat on and when they went hard at the end, I sat up. My legs didn’t feel that bad, I just had no energy. I probably need another rest day, off the bike, but sometimes those don’t really turn out to be rest days. Most my projects involve a big amount of physical activity. And the ones that don’t, I tend to just ignore.

Below are a few pictures of the drain plug, so interesting to me and no one else, plus a few old time photos I got from Jim Safford. He’s been taking photos for a long time and said he would send me some more after the Tour of California. I really should get all my pictures and slides turned into digital sometime.

Screwed up drain plug.

Screwed up drain plug.

Extractor that ended up working.

Extractor that ended up working.

New and old plug.

New and old plug.

This photo is from the Tour of Americans.  It's a team time trial, obviously.  I was winning the race at this point.  I ended up 2nd overall to Davis Phinney.

This photo is from the Tour of Americans. It’s a team time trial, obviously. I was winning the race at this point. I ended up 2nd overall to Davis Phinney.

I guess this is from the Tour of Texas.  That is Chris Carmichael behind me.

I guess this is from the Tour of Texas. That is Chris Carmichael behind me.

This is from Sea Otter, late 90's.  Seem a little muddy.

This is from Sea Otter, late 90’s. Seem a little muddy.

This is from Mammoth, early 90's.  I look a little scared.  This wasn't an easy descent.

This is from Mammoth, early 90’s. I look a little scared. This wasn’t an easy descent.

Pets/Animals

This entry was posted in Important Society Issues on by .

I think maybe you might be able to judge a country on whether it is 1st World or not on how they treat their pets and animals. When people, or the general population of a country, have the luxury to be able to worry about whether the stray dogs and cats have enough food and are healthy, then they have enough food and are healthy.

I was sickened by the reports that they were just shooting/killing big dogs prior to last year’s Winter Olympics in Russia. I was thinking about how cruel it was that humans could care so little to let the situation get that bad to start with. But, those people didn’t have the luxury to be able to deal with the situation. People look after themselves first, then the animals 2nd, if at all.

When I first heard Bob Barker do the spiel about getting your pets neutered or spayed, I thought the guy was a nut. Now thinking back upon it, I am embarrassed about my first impression. I didn’t really think about it, I just judged. He was really doing our society a service. We don’t want or need more cats and dogs running around, or not running around, here. We have enough.

Monday, before 6 am, when I was returning from driving Trudi to the airport, I came upon a fox walking down the street in our neighborhood. Then Monday night, when I was walking Bromont late, I saw another, or the same, fox just standing in a yard. Bromont ran right by him, which should have been mildly embarrassing to him. Then last night, some sirens went off when I was just a couple blocks from the park and a whole pack of coyotes started howling. Like lots that were maybe just 50 meters from me, across a creek. I would have bet you a million dollars that there weren’t 10 coyotes within 100 meters of me right then.

I think it is amazing how wild animals can live in a city with people. Bromont regularly will be out with me running and next thing I know he’s chasing a few deer through the yards. It’s not like I live close to the country, I’m pretty much in the middle of the city. There is a big city park close by, that is left pretty natural, with a creek running through it, so that is where most of the wild animals hang I suppose.

Bromont got an ear infection last weekend. His ear looked pretty gross a couple days ago, but is much better now. I’m not much into cleaning out smelly ear infection stuff, but I’ve been doing it twice a day for him. He knows his ear is bad, so he tolerates it pretty well. I think Bromont gets the ear infections and skin problem every Spring with allergies. He and I seem to mimic each other in that regard.

We’re having all sorts of cat situations. Our long haired cat, Fran, seemed to forget how to clean herself. When I came back from being gone a month, she was completely matted. Trudi took her to our Vet to have her groomed. She came back looking so silly. Sort of like a lion, with a bob on her tail. I think she is embarrassed.

Plus, our cats are rearranging themselves. Wink, the one eyed cat has been pretty much been living in the basement the last three years with the bike stuff. But, a few months ago, during the winter, a feral cat took refuge in the basement and that drove Wink into making a decision. She moved upstairs and now even goes outside. She seems happier.

The feral cat is getting more used to us. It will eat food within 5 feet of me, but there is no way I can touch it. We had this happen once before with Willow, and she became super friendly eventually. This cat is older, so I’m not sure it will be the same. I probably should trap the feral cat and take it to the vet to get fixed, but I don’t want to scare it away. Evenutally.

Okay, just a few things floating around in my brain. There is lots more.

Feral cat living in the basement.

Feral cat living in the basement.

Fran shaved, in the sink.

Fran shaved, in the sink.

Wink lounging in the living room.

Wink lounging in the living room.

The fox in the morning.

The fox in the morning.

Bromont checking out a stuffed racoon at the National Guard recruitment place.

Bromont checking out a stuffed racoon at the National Guard recruitment place.

And Bromont's icky ear.

And Bromont’s icky ear.