Monthly Archives: July 2014

Heading Back to Colorado

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Kind of in a rush here. I have a 5 pm appointment in Ft. Collins for Bromont with Trent Newcomer. Bromont is now in an arthritis study for the next month, so he’s gonna have to be doing periodical visits there. He doesn’t have super bad arthritis, but I want to make sure he’s doing as well as possible. He’s 11 now.

It is about time to get the hell out of Dodge. It is super hot here in Kansas. I’m not sure what the official high was yesterday here in Topeka, but my Garmin was reading up to 107 when I rode yesterday afternoon.

And yesterday afternoon, I pulled “a Catherine” and completely fell apart. I rode 20 something miles feeling alright, but when I got back to Topeka, the last three miles, I could only ride about 13mph. It was super ugly.

I finally made it to town and went by a local hospital to visit Dennis Weinbeck, a local that crashed last week and broke himself up pretty good. 8 broken ribs, collapsed lung, and broken scapula or something like that. He was doing alright until a couple days ago when he had to check back with blood clots in his lungs. I have no idea why they didn’t give him blood thinner when he was brought in so smashed? Anyway, Dennis was doing way better and it was a good visit.

Trudi is flying into Denver this afternoon, so she’ll be at Vincent’s tonight. Bill is driving later and picking her up at the airport, since Bromont’s appointment is at the same time she lands.

Okay, I need to get going.

Dennis feeling a lot better in the hospital.

Dennis feeling a lot better in the hospital.

Pretty crazy hot yesterday here in Kansas.

Pretty crazy hot yesterday here in Kansas.

Bromont likes to find the shade on his "walks".

Bromont likes to find the shade on his “walks”.

Real Heat Issues

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Yesterday was the normal Monday night group ride from our house. I think there were about 10 people. It was the first real group ride I’ve went on since breaking my hip. I am not good at changing pace. I don’t have any ability to do it, for one, and it hurts to make the transition from sitting to standing. And in reality, every hill is a change of pace if the speed stays constant.

Anyway, this isn’t about me and my very slow road to recovery. It is about riding in the heat. I’ve written about how I don’t like heat. I’ve been having some luck dealing with it the last couple years, but going out and mid-day and riding super slow in it for hours. But, when the needle is above 95 or so, I need to pay special attention to it for sure.

Catherine (Walberg) came back to Topeka over the weekend, so she was on the ride. She is living on Bainbridge Island, in Washington, where the high temperatures, until just very recently, are in the mid 60’s, at best. So, yesterday, when it was nearly 100 degrees, she was worried about it. And rightfully so. It was 40 degrees, or more, than any temperature she has trained in this year.

We started out and she took just a couple pulls and then sat on. She said that her legs and lungs felt fine, she was just super hot and her heart rate was really high. She wore a heart rate monitor and her heart rate was off the charts for how hard we were going. I really couldn’t believe it until she downloaded her Garmin to Strava. She spent 66% of the ride at thershold or above. And 92% at tempo or above. I don’t wear a heart rate strap, but those numbers are off the charts, considering how hard we were going.

I think I’m going to try to dig up my heart rate strap for my Garmin and wear it the next few days and see if mine is as high proportionally as her’s is. I know that dissipating heat takes a lot of energy. It surprised me it takes that much.

I think aging has something to do with it too. Older athletes tend to complain and have a harder time dealing with heat than younger ones. I’m not sure the reason for that? I wonder what a human “looses” as it ages to make it have a harder time compensating for big temperature swings? I’m interested in that.

Anyway, it is going to be over 100 today. I guess I should go out and ride mid-afternoon. The only problem with that is, I only have a couple hours in me before I’m done nowadays. I don’t think that is enough time to reap the benefits or start the acclimation process. Maybe I’m wrong, I’ve been known to be occasionally.

Catherine's numbers from the ride.

Catherine’s numbers from the ride.

It is super nice around Northeastern Kansas right now.  It seems like we got a lot of hay this year.

It is super nice around Northeastern Kansas right now. It seems like we got a lot of hay this year.

Trudi went by the Marin Museum of Bicycling yesterday on her way back from Bend to Santa Rosa.  It houses the MTB Hall of Fame.  It isn't open yet.

Trudi went by the Marin Museum of Bicycling yesterday on her way back from Bend to Santa Rosa. It houses the MTB Hall of Fame. It isn’t open yet.

Jimmy (Mac) McIlvain

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Since it a rest day at the Tour, we should get back to important stuff, one which is getting Jimmy Mac into the Mountain Bike Hall of Fame. I nominated Jimmy for the MTBHOF a couple months ago. Now he is a nominee under the journalism category. Here is a link to my nomination.

Jimmy Mac has been a total supporter of mountain biking for decades. He accompanied Roy Knickman and myself to the first MTB Nationals Championships back in 1983. Since then he has been fully immersed. He has been a bigger supporter of the sport, not just the racing, but the pure enjoyment of riding a bicycle off-road, than anyone I’m met.

Mac became editor of MTB Action years ago. The equipment changed and Mac went with it. He once told me that he thought the main reason that racing MTB isn’t so popular now is because the bikes that are fun to ride, the big movement front and rear, aren’t the bikes that you race. It made total sense.

Last week, Mac put in his resignation to MTB Action. I saw this on Facebook – End of an era for me. I’m leaving Mountain Bike Action. The publisher is expanding the magazine’s coverage to motorized mountain bikes and I just can’t go along with his logic. Mountain biking is a human-powered activity. No hard feelings. It has been a great ride. I’m going out on good terms. Gail and I are going to load up Big Red and hit the road in August. If you live in the Pacific Northwest, watch out!

So the guy goes and quits a job, he loves, for principles. And Mac is a motorcycle guy. But he doesn’t think that motorized mountain bikes belong in a bicycle magazine. He deserves to be in the Mountain Bike Hall of Fame just for that!!! He has 165 comments under his post, which goes to show how much he means to many of us.

Like I’ve said above, Jimmy Mac has been a part of the MTB scene nearly since it started. He has supported the sport, through his writing, and his lifestyle for over 30 years. He deserves to be in the Mountain Bike Hall of Fame more than nearly anyone I know. So, if you are a voting member, click here to vote. If you’re not and just like Mac so much, join the MTB Hall of Fame and cast a vote. They moved it to Marin County and could use some support.

Anyway, Mac is one of the good guys. He has supported MTB riding and racing through thick and thin. Voting for him is a no-brainer.

Mac31Jimmy Mac

Extreme Exercise and the Heart

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I got a link to this New Yorker article from my friend Stacie, from Louisville. It addresses the exact same concerns I had when I did this post on extreme exercise and heart conditions. The New Yorker Article has quotes from both Dr. James O’Keefe and Dr. John Mandrola, both who I now know personally. These guys are avid athletes and have both personally experienced the results of their beliefs. Both have heart issues and are heart doctors, plus very good athletes. So, they are really the messengers of bad news, even if we don’t want to hear it.

If you read the New Yorker article, it says that every doctor that the author, who also is a cardiologist, interviewed for her article, said “every cardiologist I spoke to who studies this issue is a current or former endurance athlete.” I found that interesting. So, these guys are just like us. They would like exercise to be the fountain of youth that its been touted to be, but for a small minority of us, it is a poison.

And small minority is the key, I hope. It says that doing extreme exercise will up your chances of atrial fibrillation 5 fold, from .3% chance to 1.5%. That is still pretty low. But it’s enough that if you think you have any issues, you should get checked out.

I did. I actually called Dr. O’Keefe and went over to Kansas City and he did a scan of my heart. That was nearly two years ago. I don’t have any plan to change my lifestyle, but am cognizant of the potential issues that could arise.

I think all the doctors that are involved in this controversial topic are trying to do the best they can for their patients. It seems like many of the studies have been done on runners, not so much on cyclists. Eventually, this heart issue vs. extreme exercise is going to be a very hot topic for general health. There are a lot of us that would be perfect test subjects for the studies. Athletes that have been exercising continually since they were teenagers.

Anyway, this wasn’t meant to be a scare post. It is just a heads up for something that we all need to be aware of. There is no downside for looking out for the symptoms of something, no matter how small the percentage is, that could be a life threatening issue.

Here is a video that Dr. O’Keefe did a couple years ago. It explains some of his ideas.

Strange Day – First Day on a Road Bike

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Yesterday was a weird day. First, my van started driving like shit. It has 360,000 miles on it, but I’ve kept it in pretty good shape. Plus, it is diesel. But yesterday, when I started it, I think the EGR valve is stuck and it would barely get up to speed. I’m going to mess with it today and see if I can fix it some.

I decided it was about time to try to ride again. I hadn’t ridden in two days and my hip was feeling alright, so I decided to go out and do the 6 o’clock club ride. They were riding out to the start of the Kansas State Games Time Trial, in Auburn, which is a 30 mile ride. I started out and pretty instantly, my rear tire was flat. So, I turned around and went back to the house to fix it. It is tubeless and there was latex spraying out the sidewall, so I just took a small amount of the bead off, used some brake clean to get the latex off the rubber and patched the tire. It took a total of maybe 4 minutes.

So, I was behind. I didn’t mind because I didn’t have any idea what speed I was going to be able to ride. Especially uphill. I didn’t feel that bad. It was headwind heading south and I was riding alright. The transitions between sitting and standing is pretty painful, but I’m not going with pain now. I’m just doing it. I am 7 weeks out and the bone is supposed to be pretty healed at 8 weeks, so that is close enough.

I was maybe only 20 minutes from my house and all of a sudden, it felt like someone grabbed my hair. It was so strange. I whipped my neck around and saw nothing. I stopped and looked around. The only thing I saw was a bird up on a wire. He seemed too far away to be the culprit, but there wasn’t another explanation. So, I turned around to see the bird. All of a sudden the bird took off and dived bombed me again, grabbing at my head, then back to the telephone wire.

I took out my phone and put it on camera, to try to get a picture of the bird. It looked sort of like a owl, at least it had an owl’s face, but it didn’t have owl ears. The rest of the bird was sort of gray/blue. The beak was definitely hooked like a Predatorial bird. Anyway, I rode back and forth three or four more times and each time, when I least expected it, the bird would dive and grab at me. I took some burst pictures on my camera, but never got a great one of the bird right there. The bird was very mean. Like scary mean.

I eventually, after about 10 minutes, thought I should get going. It was super interesting playing with the bird, but I wanted to get to the time trial before it was all done.

I rode out there and it was finished. The official said something about me not wearing a helmet. I told him the bird story and it never would have happened if I were wearing a helmet. See, there are some other upsides of going helmet-less, attracting birds to attack you.

Steve Watke, a local that does the club rides, won the race. I didn’t feel like hanging out there much, so left pretty quick. Bill, who’d met at my house, rode back with me. By the time I was half way back, my leg was pretty done. Actually, I was done. I was finally able to go hard enough to be winded. And I was, winded. Climbing was a challenge. My weighted wattage was 219, so it wasn’t that bad.It is amazing how quickly any type of form leaves when I takes so long to attain.

It did feel pretty great getting on a road bike. So much quicker and lighter than my MTB bike. I couldn’t have leaned over enough before, so it was the right time to switch over. I’m happy to feel the wind again.

My legs were wasted, so I used a new foam roller that just showed up in the mail when I got home. It is from Christian Hon, he invented it. It’s called a Muscle Knead and it worked super well on my IT band. It has handles so I didn’t have to roll on the floor on it. Plus it had different surfaces, so I could pick how aggressive I wanted to be. I rarely get surprises in the mail and this was a good one. Here’s a link to their website.

I’m going to try to ride again today on the road. I woke up this morning pretty sore, but I have pretty much for the last 7 weeks, so that is nothing new. I was more cycling sore though, which is a good thing. It’s gonna be baby steps for a while.

The bird attacking me.

The bird attacking me.

Best photo I got of it.  You can click to enlarge.  Any idea what kind?

Best photo I got of it. You can click to enlarge. Any idea what kind?

The Muscle Knead roller.

The Muscle Knead roller.

Jeff Unruh, the promoter of all Kansas State Games Cycling events in Kansas, doing his thing.

Jeff Unruh, the promoter of all Kansas State Games Cycling events in Kansas, doing his thing.

Doping News During the Tour, Let Lance Keep his Titles??, Levi Follow-up

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I think it is more than a little strange that the UCI always waits until the Tour to start releasing the positive doping tests that have been going on for years. It seems like they are trying to let all the media attention from the Tour, hopefully, hide the bad publicity of doping positives for cycling.

Today they released the doping positive of Sky rider Jonathan Tiernan-Locke. A British rider that was wined and dined by both Sky and Garmin. Here is a guy that has a blood profile screwy enough to be suspended, and the two “clean” teams of the Pro peleton are fighting over him. It goes to show you that these teams don’t do shit for testing or checking out the guys that they hire. It’s all smoke and mirrors.

Just last week, the UCI published another list of doping positives and buried on the bottom of the list, Dennis Menchov’s name was listed, and he was suspended for two years for adverse biological passport findings. That guy had been associated with doping his whole career and they snag him for a messed up biological passport for the previous 5 years, after he retired. Great. Plus, they leave him win the 2009 Giro win, even though they boot him out of the 2009 Tour. Go figure that.

Three other guys were on the July 10th release, Leonardo Bertagnoli, Carlos Barredo and Leif Hoste. They disappeared with little fanfare it seems.

How about the poll of past Tour riders that said that 12 of the past 25 Tour de France winners say that Lance should keep his 7 Tour titles? It is very suprising because you’d think that it would be politically incorrect to state that publicly. The most interesting yes, in my opinion, was Andy Schleck. Man, that guy is an idiot. At least Contador and Eddy Merckx are bright enough to not answer the question.

I know that Lance thinks that he “deserves” his titles. I understand his argument. My problem with it is that he knew, at the time he was doping, that if he was caught, he would be stripped of the wins. That was part of the deal. And he was “caught”, so disqualifying him from the race seems natural. His argument about a lifetime ban seems much more valid than the Tour title question.

It’s very hard not to think that every past Tour winner that says Lance should keep his titles was not doping themselves to win the race. I have to assume that is true. I can’t think of another reason to have that view. Cycling has always been polluted this way.

Levi racing last weekend got a lot of people riled. I had a lot of comments on my post, but over at his Strava page of the race, there is a lot of banter. A couple Pro riders, including Jamey Driscoll, who finished 2nd to Levi on Saturday, in the Crusher in the Tushar, pipes in. You know my views, I hate the guy is racing still. Here is a answer that Levi himself addressed after a comment about him racing – I actually agree with your sentiment and it wouldn’t make sense for me to show up to national level races and compete. But please understand that the Crusher is a timed, mass-participation event with all ages and levels of ability, and it’s all about pushing yourself in a spirit of fun. It’s an event unlike the races that Jamie, for example, gets paid to do.

I’m not sure what 1st place was, but I read it was $2500. Maybe it was only $1000. Plus he won $250 for “winning” the KOM. So he might of won $2750. Even if he donates his prize money to charity, the prize money didn’t go to Jamey Driscoll. Let me tell you, in this day and age of sucky prize money, $2750 is nothing to sneeze over. Maybe to Levi it is a race to “push yourself in the spirit of fun”, but to a lot of the other guys, it was a straight on bike race.

I got a email from another Pro rider who decided to talk to Levi about his feeling – Hey Steve, I read your post on Levi and thought I would share a story with you. Last year at a local race I told Levi that I am angry at him and that I wanted to bury the hatchet because I did not think it was fair to single him out. His response was “Why are you angry?” When I told him that he acted unfairly and cheated he flatly denied that he cheated anyone and went on to say that he never doped for the domestic races that he won. Either this man is disillusional or stupider than he looks. All I wanted was a little apology or “I can see how you feel that way.” Fuck him

These guys don’t have remorse. These are pissed they were caught and that is the only thing that bothers them. They think that everyone was doing it and it was just business as usual. I was racing this whole time and I can categorically state that no, everyone wasn’t doing it. Guys that Lance and Levi beat up at Leadville weren’t doing it. Guys that Lance, Levi and Chris Horner pounded at Nevada City weren’t doping. But, according them, they weren’t doping during that time either, or according to Levi, at any domestic races. I guess he forgot he was disqualified from the Criterium Nationals back in 1996. That race seems pretty domestic to me. But, maybe he was just riding it in the “spirit of fun”.

I clipped this photo from Facebook.  Here Levis is leading a line of riders.  I guess the guy at 2nd isn't happy with Levi's weekend fun ride pace.  What a great photo.

I clipped this photo from Facebook. Here Levis is leading a line of riders. I guess the guy at 2nd isn’t happy with Levi’s weekend fun ride pace. What a great photo.

Tour Rest Day Catch Up Stuff

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Since yesterday was a rest day in the Tour, the morning was clear to do whatever. I got a late start and didn’t head out to ride until after 11 am. I have the go ahead, sort of, from a person that has a Dr. before their name or MD after, to go ahead and ride as hard as I want, regardless of pain. So, I did that for an hour yesterday, and the pain wasn’t “regardless”. I rode with Bill and Vincent over to Golden, got some coffee, and then back. They pussed of out and didn’t ride much further.

I had to hightail it back to drive to Fort Collins to see Trent Newcomer, DVM, who happens to ride on our team. Bromont has been a little down and out for a little while and I was just getting worried. Man, the traffic on I-25 from Denver to Ft. Collins is insane. More insane the way back. I got there just in time for my appointment.

Trent rode the Silver Rush last Saturday and qualified for Leadville. We talked a little about the race and then he did a super checkup. He said that he thought that Bromont had some arthritis in back by his tail, plus some in the hips. A few other things, but the arthritis was the big thing. Trent knew of a study that a drug company is doing on it, so I enrolled him in the study. He had x-rays and is going to get some blood tests, etc. It means that I have to drive back out here the middle of next week, the two weeks later and a week after that again. That is a lot of driving, 8 hours each way, but I doubt I’m going to be putting in huge miles by then and I love Bromont to death, so I don’t mind at all. And, there are worse places to hang out that Colorado in August.

I stopped at an Apple Store on the way back to Arvada. My phone’s battery has been draining super fast. The said my battery was dead and charged me $75 to replace it. I didn’t know if that seemed fair or not at the time. I know it doesn’t now because the battery is still draining crazy fast. It was after I did the software update last week. I thought it was because I was up in Vail and Leadville and my battery was draining because it was searching for cell service, but no. If anyone has any ideas out there, feel free to let me know.

I have to admit that my hip isn’t much sorer than when I just try to pedal 80% with my right leg and 20% with the left. It does stiffen up a ton when I sit, even just for a bit. I think I’ll be able to ride a lot more pretty soon, but like I’ve posted here before, I have pretty much given up an optimistic time frame.

Bromont pretty much hates all vet offices.

Bromont pretty much hates all vet offices.

Trent explaining Bromont's hip issues.

Trent explaining Bromont’s hip issues.

Trent took Bromont outside and watched his gait.

Trent took Bromont outside and watched his gait.