I was planning on racing these races this weekend, but am broken, so am going to just watch it on the Internet some. Here is a link to the Velonews link for the live streaming for the Tulsa Tough today and tomorrow. Most of the 1/2, Women’s 1/2, and Pro 1 races are later tonight. Then tomorrow afternoon again. Here is a link for the complete Tulsa Tough schedule.
There is a good interview with my team mate, Brian Jensen, TradeWind Energy/Eriksen Bicycles, at CX Magazine. Click here for the interview. It goes through the day and gives a short play by play of his race. Brian had a pretty good day and also had good luck without any major mechanical disasters.
Brian is in Denmark right now, for a couple weeks, on his annual visit to see his family there. Nothing like doing a 200 mile, gravel road race, then jump on a plane and fly to Denmark. Bet his legs didn’t feel so great getting off that plane. Anyway, enjoy.
It is exactly two weeks since I broke my hip. I can’t say I’m very productive yet. I pretty much watched every race the last couple days at Tulsa Tough, I didn’t only watch the Pro 1 and women’s races. I was watching the Cat 4 men, Cat 3 women, juniors, all of them. And today, I can’t really say it was a waste of time. I know those courses so well and really enjoyed watching dynamic races, not just the predictable, controlled Pro races.
I was a little surprised how south the races went Sunday for the United Healthcare men’s and women’s teams. Maybe you wouldn’t call the women’s race all that bad for them, since they did win the race, but they went from stacking the overall and daily podium to just having the top step on both. And maybe you wouldn’t consider the men’s race that bad either. Brad White, UHC, won the race. But all the GC contenders of their team, 4 of them, fell with just over 2 laps to go and didn’t finish. It is strange seeing a crash that close to the finish and only riders on one team fall. That final corner must have been super slick. The Pro men got super unlucky with the rain starting just so close to the finish of the race.
My leg isn’t working too well yet. If anything, it is worse. Today I’m feeling a little better and am going to take a hand cycle out and try it out. I think that I’m going to have really sore arms and shoulders tomorrow.
Trudi, Vincent, and Stacie have been scanning all the newspaper articles, and slides, to digital format, the last couple days. I haven’t looked at any of the stuff. I’ve been sleeping so badly that I sort of walk around all day in a haze. Hopefully I turned the corner on that and I can be a little more, or a lot more, productive from now on.
Being on Colorado time, the Dauphine is already over by the time I get up from my 2nd attempt at sleep. I’m usually up from 2-6, and get another 1 or 2 in from 6 am on. Seems like Froome is on his normal rage. 2 for 2 there.
Okay, thinking about going over to Golden and just sit there somewhere, maybe at a coffeeshop. I’ve had two cups of coffee the last two weeks. Can’t say I miss it much. But, I like the routine of getting it. Maybe I’ll have them just plop me down by the stream that runs through Golden. There is always something interesting when you’re next to fast, flowing water. There are worse things I could be doing today.
Today is Bromont’s birthday. He is 11 years old. Man, that seems so wrong that number. Anyway, Trudi cooked him up some bacon to put on his kibbles (she usually cooks him a doggie birthday cake) and he seemed very pleased with it.
I’m not improving as quickly as I had hoped, but I guess I never do. I am mildly surprised that I am still walking around on crutches, but right now, can’t imagine being able to get around without them. My muscles aren’t even close to being able to support my full weight.
Yesterday, Vincent went and got a hand cycle from a friend of his. I adjusted the reach, at least I moved it to where I thought it should be. It is probably off a ton from where real hand cyclists would have it. I rode about 10 miles, mainly on bike paths around Vincent’s neighborhood. I was lucky I had a couple 6 year olds with me, or I would have been the slowest guy by miles. It is amazing how little power I have on hills. You can not miss a shift at the bottom of a hill or you lose all your momentum and come to a standstill. And after that, it is nearly impossible to get started again.
I’m going to go out and ride it again today. The steering is screwy too. I’m not sure if you steer by using your feet, arms, leaning or a combination of all three. All I know is that descending fast on a bike path, I don’t feel very confident in my ability to turn.
Stacie, Karla and Adam took off today. Guess we’re gonna hang here a day or two longer. I don’t really have an agenda, so it really doesn’t matter. Vincent has a super nice scanner for the print memorabilia, plus a scanner that does slides. We did a slide show last night of old racing photos. Most of it was from the mid to late 80’s. Lots of pictures from the Coor’s Classic, Worlds, etc.
It is surprising, looking at those photos, thinking it was nearly 30 years ago. It really doesn’t seem that long ago. But, Bromont doesn’t seem to me to be 11, so I guess it is just the way I perceive time.
I’m not actually sure if I don’t bounce so well or I have less patience to deal with the hit, but whatever the reason, I seem to be struggling mentally a little more with this injury than I have historically. It is so stupid to have a preconceived idea of a time frame I should be on when it is sort of completely made up by me. But, that is the way I’ve done it over the years, so it’s hard to change it now. I’ve written a post before about this subject, racing hurt, or maybe more appropriately called getting hurt racing or recovering from injury.
When I was an intermediate, junior 13-14, I went up to Milwaukee to race Superweek. It was my first race trip out of Kansas. I did pretty well the first couple races, but fell during my 3rd race and broke my collarbone. We loaded up and went back home. I saw an orthopedic surgeon back in Kansas and he said everything looked good. I asked him if I could still race if I could stand the pain and he said he didn’t see any reason I shouldn’t. So, we loaded back up and drove back up to Milwaukee and I raced the National Championships just a few days later, with a clavical strap cinched down super tight. During the race, I was off the front with Jeff Bradley and my arms fell asleep. I crashed and Jeff went on to win the race. It was a different era of medical advise back in those days it seems.
We’ve been downloading a bunch of old cycling pictures and media to digital form the last few days. It is sort of strange seeing the photos and not thinking it was that long ago. It really wasn’t compared to a universal time frame, but compared to a human’s lifetime, it is a big percentage. I found a photo from the British Milk Race, after I’d hit a stationary car at 100 km/hr. I was pretty broken up. I remember being super disappointed not being able to finish the race, but don’t remember having this withdrawal mindset two weeks later.
That time, after returning back to the US, I went to altitude to acclimate, so when I could ride, I could train effectively at altitude because the Coor’s Classic was less than 2 months away. I had a broken collarbone, leg and hand, plus a wicked concussion. Right now, looking back it seems virtually impossible that I could get back to a resemblance of race form in that short of time, considering I needed nearly the whole time to heal up. But, I did ride the Coor’s race, pitifully at first, but came around the 2nd week and finished up alright.
I know I’m older and heal slower now and I know that I don’t really have any real need to rush anything. The season now is nearly 365 days a year now, so I can just start whenever I fell up to it. It would be nice to have a goal, a race, to have a realistic time frame for reentry.
I’ve been getting a few emails and comments here about whether it is time that I just hang it up, the sport. It didn’t even cross my mind. Cyclingnews did an article with Taylor Phinney, who broke his leg the same day as I broke my hip. I’m not injured nearly as bad as Taylor and of course, am not in the same situation in cycling as he is either, but we do have the same mindset somewhat. He says, “I’m in physiotherapy and I’m way ahead of schedule, in fact they’re forcing me to chill out,” Phinney said. “There isn’t much for me to do except for rehabilitation.”
So, I’m antsy to get moving more. I’ve been riding this handcycle the last couple days. It is way slow and much harder than riding a bicycle, but it is super nice getting out under my own power. I’m sort of surprised I’m not walking yet without crutches. It seems nearly impossible, but I am getting better. It is way easier putting my pants on and getting up and down out of a chair.
Benjamin Franklin said, “Happiness depends more on the inward disposition of mind than on outward circumstances.” It is so true, I really don’t have much to complain about.
We’re heading back to Topeka today. Not that I didn’t like hanging out here in the mountains. It is nice being around other people and not just sitting around, moping. I am a little bit more mobile and can get around better than when I left Kansas a week ago.
I’ve been riding a hand cycle the past 4 days. Getting out in the fresh air is something I appreciate more than I had anticipated. But, using my arms to propel myself is a humbling deal. A couple days ago I went pretty hard and could hardly average 11 mph. It is any rise that kills the speed. I looked up the winning time of the NYC marathon and the fastest is 1:31. That is over 17 mph. Amazing. I’m sort of surprised that my arms haven’t been destroyed every morning after doing it. It is pretty much a continuous workout for an hour. I didn’t know I had that in me. I know I can’t swim for an hour straight, so I’m not sure why I can pedal a hand cycle for that long. It must be the short rests I get on the descents. I’m going to ride it once more this morning before we drive.
Trudi, Vincent and I went over to Boulder yesterday and ate at Chautauqua for breakfast. It was drizzling in the morning and we were the only table sitting outside. I haven’t been there for a couple years. Boulder has sure grown up crazy. I didn’t spend much time there last year during Cyclo-X Nationals. Especially out by 28th street. We went to an Apple Store on 29th street. I’d never been to that outside mall. It’s incredible how quickly things change.
Vincent is doing a 100 mile MTB race on Saturday. I would stay around and help out, but there is really nothing I can do. I was pretty wasted after the trip to Boulder. I can’t really see moving around for 7 hours, trying to catch up with him at the check points. I’m not sure why a broken bone and a little cut up muscle take so much energy to heal. It seems like it wouldn’t really be that big a deal, but obviously I’m wrong.
I did get on an ergometer for 22 minutes yesterday. It started off pretty slowly, but after 10 minutes or so, it felt a little better. It is nearly impossible going over 80 rpms. And I feel better not leaning over the bars, but sitting more upright. It was hard doing over 100 watts initially, but I kind of settled in at 160 or so. I quit when I thought I might be over doing it, which was probably a few minutes too long. But, I don’t seem to be any worse for wear this morning, so that is a good sign.
The North Star Race, (Nature Valley) is going on right now in Minnesota. Another race I was focusing on this year. It looks like the yesterdays road race was a gutter ride, with a ton of side wind deciding the break. Heath Blackgrove, my temporary team mate from Joe Martin made the split with the Optum and Jamis guys. He finished 3rd. Being from New Zealand, Heath knows very well where to be positioned in hard cross winds. I like those types of races myself. But, there is always next year.
I’ve been getting up around 4 am the past week. Once I wake up, my leg is throbbing and I can’t get back to sleep. The Dauphine doesn’t start until 5:30am Colorado time, so I have over an hour to blow. Waking up that early makes the day really long. Last night I slept until after 5:30, which was a dramatic improvement. That extra hour and a half is huge. I feel much better this morning.
Okay, sorry about the same old health update posts. Hopefully, with more sleep coming slowly, I can get back up to a broader thinking mode soon.