Monthly Archives: June 2014

Short Post

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I had kind of a bad night last night, not much sleep, so here are just a couple pictures and thoughts. Just pulling into Madison. Looking forward to trying to get some sleep.

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Trudi loaded the car while I tried to sleep this morning. She didn’t fit her bike inside.

20140630-123442.jpgEven so, Bromont didn’t get much room.

20140630-123648.jpgI listened to the BBC from 2am to 7. Lots of stories about this boat of refugees. They are 650 people on it, with 30 reported asphyxiated in the hull. I nearly cried listening to the accounts.

20140630-124150.jpgOn a brighter note, I took a picture of a bumblebee yesterday. I like them. They look too big to fly.

Heading to Madison

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Today is the last day in Chicago. We came up here for Trudi’s mom’s 80th birthday celebration. It was a long haul yesterday for me. From 3 to 11. Man, it is amazing how destroyed I am from just doing normal daily life activities.

The party was a huge success. Trudi’s mom invited friends from all facets of her life, her old time German friends, her current work friends, plus family, etc. And everyone seemed to thoroughly enjoy themselves. The food was catered, and great, and it only rained for a few moments, which just added to the evening.

I didn’t have the energy to get to downtown for the triathlon. Gwen Jorgensen won the race, which is awesome. She has won the last 3 races and has now won more ITU events than any other woman in history. She came off the bike 66 seconds down and ran the leaders down with just 2 km to go and solo’d in for a win. She seemed super happy, which she should. All her friends and family were at the race. It was also the US National Championships, so she is US National Champion, and is going to be the venue for next years World Championships, so it is important in a lot of respects. Pat and Gwen were having a party last night, but we were here for Trudi’s mom, so we didn’t make it. That would have been super fun, but you can only be one place at a time.

We finished up roofing Truid’s mom’s shed. It turned out pretty good. More work than I’d hoped, but that is always the case. But, it is done, so I am going to try to go out for a ride today. I haven’t ridden in two days and am pretty sore, in general, from the last two days, so we’ll see how that goes. The flat pedal comments make good sense. I have my pedal tension set so loose that my foot comes out pretty well, but flat pedals would be better. I’m back using crutches today. I’ve been trying to use a walking stick/cane, but it doesn’t take enough pressure off my hip. But the crutches are doing havoc on my right shoulder, which I had put back together last year, so it is a trade-off. Always a trade-off.

We might drive up to Milwaukee and watch the last day of the Tour of America’s Dairyland race tonight. It starts at 7:30. Trudi has to be in Madison tomorrow afternoon to pick up riders from the BMC Development team that are going to be doing the National Time Trial and Road Race. I like Madison, but don’t really like hanging out at a bike race I would like to be riding. Always a trade-off.

Trudi, her mom, and a good friend, Tom Franklin.

Trudi, her mom, and a good friend, Tom Franklin.

The party was at Trudi's brother's house.

The party was at Trudi’s brother’s house.

Gwen coming to the finish yesterday.

Gwen coming to the finish yesterday.

The transition area was kind of a cluster.

The transition area was kind of a cluster.

Gwen won the race, is US National Champion and is leading the World ITU standing.  Not a bad day.

Gwen won the race, is US National Champion and is leading the World ITU standing. Not a bad day.

Original 40 year old shingles.

Original 40 year old shingles.

Finished.  I put a little accent in for fun.

Finished. I put a little accent in for fun.

First Project

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Man, moving around is much more of a toil than I had imagined at this time of my hip healing. I don’t think I’m “walking” any better than I was a couple weeks ago. It my muscles not wanting to do what they previously did. And when I try to make them do it, they rebel with anger and I pay for it. That is doing anything but riding. Riding, I can’t produce any power, but my muscles are super sore and unusable afterward.

But today they are. Yesterday, I started a project to put a new roof on Trudi’s mom’s garden shed. Trudi said it needed new shingles and a little plywood, but the whole roof was toast. It had been leaking for a while and it was completely rotten. So, once it started, it got more and more energy intensive, as most repair projects are.

So, I ripped off all the old roof, by hobbling around with a sledge hammer, while Trudi and her sister went to Home Depot and bought materials. It didn’t take too long to get it down to the rafters. I had Trudi get the guys at Home Depot to cut the plywood to correct measurements. There was some other wood that needed to be replaced, but it wasn’t a but deal. But leaning over to cut wood, or trying to climb up a ladder is nearly impossible.

It all went together as good as a garden shed should go together. I only brought a roofing nailer, so there was a lot of hand nailing. We got covered with felt yesterday and Trudi is going to get shingles right now. It shouldn’t take too long. I’m thinking about putting a pattern in the shingles, something a little more decorative. We’ll see.

Trudi’s mom’s 80th birthday party is this afternoon. I’m not going to make it to the triathlon. I texted Pat and am going to try to meet up with him and Gwen tonight later. I hope to watch the triathlon live this afternoon, but haven’t looked for a website yet.

Okay, I better get back to work. Back to painkillers this morning. That is probably a sign I overdid it a little?

Original 40 year old shingles.

Original 40 year old shingles.

Old shingles removed.  You can see the mold on the rafters.

Old shingles removed. You can see the mold on the rafters.

New sheathing and some other wood.

New sheathing and some other wood.

Trudi and her brother, Bob, nailing on the felt.

Trudi and her brother, Bob, nailing on the felt.

We drank some of this last night.  I haven't had much of a stomach for wine the last month.  I didn't know baseball teams had their own wine lables.

We drank some of this last night. I haven’t had much of a stomach for wine the last month. I didn’t know baseball teams had their own wine lables.

How about this Restoration Hardward catalog?  It is like three Topeka phonebooks.  I heard that their rational for it being so big is that it is actually less waste to just send out one, huge catalog, than do mutiple ones throughout the year.

How about this Restoration Hardward catalog? It is like three Topeka phonebooks. I heard that their rational for it being so big is that it is actually less waste to just send out one, huge catalog, than do mutiple ones throughout the year.

Chicago Drive

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Yesterday, we drove up to Chicago, via Iowa City. I stopped in at the University of Iowa hospital to see my surgeon, Dr. Karam and couldn’t believe how crowded that place was. They have 4 parking structures at the hospital and if every other one was a crammed full of cars on #4, then there are thousands of people inside the structure. It was a fair amount of “walking” to get to the ortho clinic area.

But after I got there, man was it fast. I was at the reception desk for maybe 30 seconds. The woman handed me a ribbon of stickers with my name on it to take to the x-ray dept. I went down the hall to x-ray and there were a group of people there just standing and telling funny stories. I might have been at x-ray for 4 minutes total. Right into the room, on the table, x-ray, x-ray and out. From there I walked down to clinic B. They knew I was coming, actually a nurse had my paper work in her hand and she led me to an examination room. Dr. Karam doesn’t work there on Thursday, so they were going to page him and I was to wait. I waited about 3 minutes.

So, Dr. Karam showed me my x-ray and said that everything was good. That the bone was healing properly, etc. I really didn’t have much to ask him. I told him I’d ridden outside twice, 15 miles the day before, and he seems surprised. He said that it was fine, but I shouldn’t fall. I told him I was having a fair amount of pain in other parts of my leg. The IT band, above my knee, lower calf. He said it was from attrification and lack of use, which makes total sense.

What I didn’t like to hear was that it was going to be 2-4 months before it is “fixed”. I thought I was on a 6 week accelerated program. But, realistically, 6 weeks is in just two weeks, and I can barely walk right now, so unless something changes dramatically in the near future, I’m gonna be hobbling around for longer than I anticipated.

Dr. Karam did a triathlon the weekend after he operated on me. He sent me a picture of his bike and I told him that he needed some clipless pedals, he had toe clips. I was surprised to hear that he went to a local shop and bought some. I asked him how he sent up his cleats and he said that the guy at the shop did it for him. Man, am I so far removed from that. I couldn’t imagine someone else positioning my cleats. I gave him a short tutorial about how to properly set cleat position. I hope he does it. Just having cleats mounted by a bike shop guy, without doing a fit, could be disastrous. As an orthopedic surgeon, I assume he realizes that.

So, we were in Iowa City for hardly an hour. We started driving east and I was wiped out and fell asleep. Next thing I know, Trudi is exiting to get gas. She says we should stop at the American Pickers shop in LeClaire, Iowa, on the Mississippi. It was just a couple miles up the road.

I watch the show sometimes. Mike, one of the picker guys, used to own a bike shop in Davenport, Iowa, right where I fell and broke my hip a few weeks ago. I don’t know him, but Jeff Bradley, friend, old 7-11 rider, knows him pretty well. Plus, he drives an old VW pickup truck, which was my first car (I still own), so we have that in common.

It had rained some, but was not raining when we pulled up in front of the shop. It was nearly 6 and they closed at 6. I got out, all stiff, and did a lap of the area. There are two building, with lots of interesting stuff in it. Since Mike is a bike guy, there are lots of old bicycles, frames, etc. around. Plus a ton of old motorcycle stuff. The bike stuff wasn’t as interesting as the motorcycle stuff.

Right when we were going to leave, it started raining like crazy. And it didn’t stop for the next 30 minutes. It was nearly impossible to see out the windshield with the at full speed. I fell back asleep, and no, I’m don’t have narcolepsy​. I’ve been sleepy poorly for a while and not feeling all around so well, so I think it was just catching up with me.

Finally it dried up when we were on I-88, a toll road that heads NE to Chicago. The speed limit is now 70 in Illinois. It’s about time. We stopped at Trudi’s sister’s house, in a Southwestern suburb and ate dinner with her. Parker, Trudi’s nephew, goes to college, but works at a Performance Bike Shop in the summer. It’s his 2nd season for that. Brett, Trudi’s brother-in-law, just got a new Niner, gravel road bike for his birthday, so I had to check that out.

We left and still have 30 minutes further to Mt. Prospect, where Trudi’s mom lives. I was pretty much done and went to bed nearly immediately. I slept 9 hours, pretty much straight through, which is a post-op record for me. I feel much better today, but not stellar. I brought along my MTB bike and am planning on trying to ride an hour or so later.

Riding isn’t the challenge, it is the predicting the stops. I can’t really swing my leg over my bike and unclipping is really hard, so I need to try to predict when I’m going to have to come to a complete stop and then find a curb or something higher to lean over onto. There are lots of stops riding around the Chicago suburbs, so I’m not so sure it is going to work out all that well.

Tomorrow afternoon is Trudi’s mom’s party. I don’t think I can get down to the ITU race in Chicago. It’s not that I don’t have time, it is that I can’t really move around much. Walking is only a real option using crutches, and even with those, more than a block or so, is really a long ways. I’ll think about it some. It’s not like Pat and Gwen aren’t going to be swamped by the event and others. I got an email from Adam Bergman saying he is going to fly in to visit. It is the only ITU race in North American this year, so it is not like they are going to be around much before the season is over. Gwen is leading the series at the half way point, so that is great.

Okay, enough of this. I gathered some tools to maybe put a new roof on Trudi’s mom’s shed. I haven’t looked at it, but I think it needs to be re-sheathed too. I’m not sure how that would work exactly. It is super small, but that doesn’t really matter. I’ll see how it goes.

I’ll post a couple more photos of the x-ray, etc., when I get back to Trudi’s mom’s house.

At the American Picker place, this was pretty cool, at flat VW engine mounted in a motorcycle.

At the American Picker place, this was pretty cool, at flat VW engine mounted in a motorcycle.

The outside and Sprinter van.

The outside and Sprinter van.

The U of Iowa hospital is huge and they are still adding on.  It seems like even hospital in the country is constantly under construction.

The U of Iowa hospital is huge and they are still adding on. It seems like even hospital in the country is constantly under construction.

This storm system moved along with us for a while.  I have had the worse luck driving this year weatherwise.

This storm system moved along with us for a while. I have had the worse luck driving this year weatherwise.

I'm doing this post at a Starbucks across the street from Trudi's mom's house.  This guy must be from Brazil or somewhere.  He asked for more sugar, after he had already put an enormous amount of sugar in his coffee.  I took this photo after they had refilled the sugar container and he had let it flow into his coffee for at least 15 more seconds.  Right after this, he tasted the coffee, unscrewed the top of the sugar container and dumped at least an 1/8 or a cup more into his cup.  Unbelievable.

I’m doing this post at a Starbucks across the street from Trudi’s mom’s house. This guy must be from Brazil or somewhere. He asked for more sugar, after he had already put an enormous amount of sugar in his coffee. I took this photo after they had refilled the sugar container and he had let it flow into his coffee for at least 15 more seconds. Right after this, he tasted the coffee, unscrewed the top of the sugar container and dumped at least an 1/8 or a cup more into his cup. Unbelievable.

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It doesn’t look so healed when I see it here.

First Post Operation Check-Up

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I’m heading up to Iowa City right now to see the surgeon that operated on my hip. Doing an x-ray and then, hopefully, a check-up. My guy, Matt Karam, is a busy doctor and is fitting my schedule into his. Super nice of him.

We’re listening to USA vs. Germany right now, so that makes the trip seem quicker. It’s a 6 hour drive.

Tomorrow, Trudi’s mom is having a 80th birthday celebration, so we’re gonna keep driving to Chicago tonight.

Hopefully, tomorrow morning, I’m going to be able to go over and watch Gwen Jorgensen race the ITU triathlon in downtown Chicago. Here’s a link to a video of Gwen’s average training day. Guest star, Pat (Patrick) Lemieux as chief.

Okay, I’m not sure this is going to post. Bad cell service in Southern Iowa. World Cup score is pretty good for Team USA at the half.

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Bromont wanting to be in the front seat.

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Moved some stuff so he could relax a little.

Spanish Gran Fondo Polices Doping

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I saw an article over at Velonews that says that the organization of a Gran Fondo, the Quebrantahuesos, called the police when an ex-doper was racing their event. The police came and eventually stopped the rider, Ángel Vázquez, and took him to jail. I guess Ángel got a little feisty with the police and they must not like that anymore over there than they do here. Plus, he was probably all jacked up for the race, so wasn’t in the right state of mind to just ride off the course when asked.

Anyway, I have to applaud the organizers for their actions. It is the biggest Gran Fondo in Spain, and they didn’t want a rider that had been found positive for doping to win their event.

That is completely the opposite mindset that we have here in the United States for our ex-doping riders. They put on their own Gran Fondos, that thousands pay to ride, that dozens of American Bicycle Corporations flock to sponsor. If you have time and want to read a good rant on this, click here to read Crankpunks post on Levis Gran Fondo.

Not only that, there are other Gran Fondos that go out of their way and pay ex-doping riders to participate. That is exactly what The First Gran Fondo in Paradise is doing this year. So, if you have nothing to do in October, you can pay $100, or whatever, to clip in and ride with Lance’s number #1 rival, Jan Ullrich.

So, obviously, we, as American participants of cycling, seem to imply, by voting with our feet, we don’t give a shit about doping in the sport. We enter the events these ex-doping riders promote and our promoters pay ex-doping riders to participate. Pretty different from what happened in Spain last week.

I wrote a post late last year – It Pays to Cheat. It pretty much addresses this same subject. Why do we go to these camps and pay these guys that doped, money, just to ride with them? It seems to me that this condones the original actions, doping in the sport. ‘Cause, let me tell you, without doping in cycling, you wouldn’t even know the names of Levi Leipheimer, George Hincapie, or Lance Armstrong, for that matter.

That gives me a great idea. Lance should do his own Gran Fondo. It would be sort of a resurrection of the Ride for the Roses. But, he could do it in Aspen Colorado now, since he hangs there some. Then Andrew Talansky could have a 2nd stop on his Gran Fondo tour, after going to Levis. How many of you would pay $100 to ride Lance’s Gran Fondo?

Guys, let me tell you, there are thousands of events held throughout the country that have nothing to do with doping. Exactly the opposite. These events are put on by true cycling supporters that have an honest passion for our sport. When we support events that publicize the riders that have cheated their way to the top, then we’re just adding to the problem. We’re saying that it’s okay to cheat in sport, because when you get caught, after you’ve won all your races, made all your money and lived other athlete’s life experiences, we still support you and will still keep you on your embezzled pedestals. Pretty great message, huh?

pedestal

Andrew and Levi hangin' before the start of Levi's Gran Fondo last year.

Andrew and Levi hangin’ before the start of Levi’s Gran Fondo last year.

First Ride/Bromont’s Real Birthday/Eli (Michael’s dog) RIP

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Sort of short of time and my thoughts are all over the place. First, Michael (Fatka) just called and said that Eli, his dog, is no longer around. He was 15 years old and had an extraordinary good life, living out in the country and travelling all over the country. But, that doesn’t make Michael morn less. We all feel the same when our friends go. So many the last couple years. Hopefully, they are all hangin’ out together in doggie heaven.

On a more positive note, I rode outside for the first time yesterday. I was itching to get outside and was super tired of sweating to death on an ergometer, so I just did it. I loosened up my pedal, so I could upclip, and just went. I ended up doing 17 miles. It was pitiful. It was probably too far. I’m a little hurt today, but that is how it is going to be. Hills are nearly as bad on a bike as the handcycle. I was riding my MTB because the upright position seems to be better for my hip angle. My knee is the worst today. I’ve been sent a bunch of emails about how bad the knee gets after this. I didn’t think I had a problem, but now realize I do. Anyway, it is just shy of one month since surgery, so I can’t really complain too much.

Today, the vet called and left a message wishing Bromont a happy birthday. We celebrated that a couple weeks ago. But, no, it is today. Trudi made Bromont a birthday cake and he loves it. He doesn’t mind if we celebrate his birthday every week I assume.

We’re driving up to Chicago for in a couple days for Trudi’s mom’s 80th birthday celebration, which will be great, but I have a ton of stuff to do before then, and I move pretty, really slow, so it takes awhile.

A Michael Fatka sighting out of the state of Iowa.  Eli and Bromont accompaning.

A Michael Fatka sighting out of the state of Iowa. Eli and Bromont accompaning.

This is Michael, with Eli and Bromont back at cyclocross Nationals in Kansas City.

Bromont's birthday cake.

Bromont’s birthday cake.

firstride

Trying to get my foot into the pedal.  And yes, I'm pretty fat.

Trying to get my foot into the pedal. And yes, I’m pretty fat.