Monthly Archives: October 2014

Beth Heiden Wins Hillclimb

This entry was posted in Comments about Cycling on by .

I haven’t kept up with Beth Heiden (Elizabeth Reid).  I talk to her brother, Eric, fairly often, but only know about Beth through Eric.  I had no idea she was racing bikes some.  I knew she nordic skied some, but didn’t know she competed on the bike still.  Then Bill said he saw on Facebook that she won a hillclimb in California.   Here is a link to the results.

She set a new course record.  Man, her and Eric are physiological freaks.  Check out the photo from the race below.  55+  Pretty incredible.

 

bethheidenBeth Reid crushes the 19-year-old Low-Key Montebello record , sleeveless and all.

(Alexander Komlik

 

 

Back to Physical Therapy

This entry was posted in Just Life on by .

Yesterday, Bill, Trudi and I packed up and made the 10 hour drive from Cable back to Topeka.  Bill had spent over a month up there and it was just time to get moving.  I texted my guy Burt, at Rebound Physical Therapy and he got me in at 7:45 for an appointment this morning, he’s taking off for a physical therapy conference in Las Vegas this afternoon.  It was a little harsh considering how late we got back last night.

Burt took a few measurements, etc. and then showed me some exercises to do.  He said that he could get rid of my limp in probably 6 weeks.  Huh?  I figured it would be 6 days.  Sometimes I hardly limp at all.  Anyway, I’m going to try to stick to the regiment and do exactly as he says.

I know that I’m just 16 weeks out from surgery for a broken hip and that I shouldn’t be so much in a rush, but it seems like this thing is just dragging on and on.  I guess I could just be like Andy Schleck and quit racing.  Not likely.

I don’t have the exact numbers, but as of yesterday morning, something like 140 people had already filled out the survey for a broken hip from cycling.  That is out of 4500 people who went to my website on Tuesday.  That is an unbelievable number, something like 3% of the people who visited.  Doesn’t that seem insane?  I knew that breaking hips in cycling was prevalent, because of the number of emails I received after I broke mine, but nothing as high as 3% of people coming here.   Add collarbones to that and it seems like a pretty dangerous sport.

It is supposed to rain for the next three days here in Topeka, so I’m going to try to catch up with all the stuff I haven’t done the past month or two.  I have no idea whether I’m going to be able to even participate in cyclocross this season, so I can’t really plan that far ahead.

The leaves are still green here and it seems so much more like summer here than up in Northern Wisconsin.  A little reprieve.   I never really experienced a true summer, so having a real fall will be nice.  Anyone see the total eclipse of the moon yesterday morning?  Pretty cool.

 

The lunar eclipse.

The lunar eclipse.

Back to Rebound Therapy.

Back to Rebound Therapy.

I love the place, but the paper work involved in all medical care is just plain stupid.

I love the place, but the paper work involved in all medical care is just plain stupid.

Using Water to Make Fuel for Our Cars

This entry was posted in Important Society Issues on by .

I got up pretty early, at least early for me, this morning and have been listening to NPR as I’ve been trying to wake up.  I just heard a segment about the Ogallala Aquifer and how it is going to be irreversibly drained in the next 50 years if we don’t slow down pulling water out of it at the rates we are.

The Ogallala Aquifer supplies 30% of the ground water used for irrigation in the United States.  But the tap isn’t going to run forever.

And one of the main reasons that we are using some much water is to grow corn  in Western Kansas to use to make ethanol.  I guess the federal government mandates ethanol in our gasoline, probably to support corn prices, but whatever the reason, we grow it where we don’t have enough rain.

So, instead of growing wheat, which doesn’t need 14 inches of water per season to grow like corn, our farmers are planting corn and using lots of water.

This whole thing is very short-sighted.  It reminds me of the draining of Lake Travis, outside Austin, to sell water to rice farmers downstream.  Growing rice in drought stricken Texas is just stupid.  I remember reading that the city of Wichita Falls, Texas, is going to start using toilet water to drink.  Here is a link to that.

But, the Ogallala Aquifer is  a lot more important than one lake in Texas.  It supplies water to pretty much the whole central US.  Water for crops and water for the cities.   There are some places where the Aquifer is empty.  It says here that is will take  6000 years to naturally refill it with rainfall.  That is pretty long.

I know our farmers have been using water for a long time.  But, it is time that they get up to speed and start growing crops that can grow on their own, with the rainfall where the crops are planted.

We don’t have the luxury to be pumping water out of the ground so we can drive our automobiles with less emissions.

This water thing is going to be a huge problem worldwide in our lifetimes.  I think that wars will be fought over it.  It seems like this is something, we as a society, have our government to watch out for us.  It doesn’t seem like they are doing a very good job.  I really don’t understand politics.

 

hho-gas-water-fuel

 

locationmap

How Long Would it Take?

This entry was posted in Important Society Issues on by .

Yesterday I saw something that has bothered me ever since.

Trudi and I were out driving around doing errands, in the rain, and we approached a super busy intersection.  Maybe the busiest intersection in the city, I don’t know.  Anyway, approaching the intersection, I could see that the was a car in the left lane that wasn’t moving, looked like it was stalled.

The light turned red and people were going by the car on both sides, either just moving into the right lane or going into the turn lane and then back into the left lane.  I was in the right lane and stopped a car length or so behind the stalled car.

The was still a couple car spaces ahead of the non-moving vehicle and the guy behind him went into the left lane and went back into the left lane, but wasn’t completely straight, still at an angle.

The stalled car didn’t have its emergency blinkers on.  I noticed that the car had exhaust coming out its tailpipe.

I told Trudi that I thought that the person in the car had an issue, but I couldn’t see into the car since I was a car length back in the adjacent lane.

I realized the light was about to turn green and wasn’t sure if I should just get out of my car to check on the person or call 911.  Just then, the brake lights of the stalled car went off and the guy just rolled at a walking pace, straight into the car in front of him, hitting him, at an angle, right between the passenger’s front and rear door.

The guy that got hit got out of his car and I told him that I think the guy in the car was either sick or drunk.  I was stopped in the right lane and called 911 to report the problem.  Right then, the guy behind me, in a huge pickup, just started laying on his horn.  Like continuous.  I sat there for a second and then started moving forward to let the guy by, but by the time I was past the accident enough to let the guy pass, I was in the intersection.

I was still on the phone with 911 and past the intersection.  She told me that the emergency responders were nearly there, so I gave her my number and kept moving.

I don’t have an end to the story.  I don’t know if the person in the car was sick, drunk, asleep, etc.  What I was wondering is how long they had sat there “stalled”?

It was at least through one cycle of lights.  No one seemed the least bit interested in the car, except for getting past it.  I guess it could have sat there for lots of cycles of stop lights.  I wonder if the car could have been there for an hour?   I’ll never know.

I am still wondering what is the matter with our society that no one stopped and checked on the guy.  All everyone was interested in doing was getting past the car.  Why had no one just glanced over and realize that the person needed attention?   It was fairly obvious to me.  If I would have just been one car length further forward, or gotten to the light a little earlier, I would have known for sure and acted, I hope, appropriately.

And once the accident occurred, all everyone was interested in, once again, was getting past the situation before the emergency guys showed up.  Man, that is a sorry example of our state of current human nature.

I know we live in a society that is constantly on the move, always short of time, especially right around noon on a Friday, but we all need to have it ingrained in our brains that we have to stop and render help once we recognize someone needs help.   That isn’t our normal reaction, so it needs to be taught, I guess.  And we must be doing a bad job of teaching it, since it doesn’t occur unless the situation is tragic.

I don’t know how to fix the problem, but I at least recognize the problem.  I guess we should all try to stick to the saying to treat others as you’d expect to be treated.  We all get in situations where we might need some help from strangers.  Let’s just hope that when that happens, the strangers around us are morally grounded, show a little humanity  and are not in a rush.

Click here to see some real life heroes.

 

humannature

 

 

 

Hedge Apple Time

This entry was posted in Just Life on by .

I rode alone to Lawrence yesterday on gravel.   Trudi had taken a few things down to the swap meet held before the Octoginta Tour, which is today.  I haven’t ridden much in Northeastern Kansas the last couple months.  When I got back early this week, it seemed like summer.  Now it seems like fall.

One thing that sets off fall here is the hedge apple trees.  We have a ton around here and the hedge balls are laying everywhere.  I love it.

Another thing is the congregating of black birds.  This time of the year, all the birds get together to go somewhere.  I’m not sure where they end up, but know they do like to get together to migrate.

I’ve been out of sorts recently, physically.  Lots of small problems, and a few big.  I’m just going to take it as it comes and not worry about it.  Well, I’m a little worried about it, but that is normal I think.

Fall is the end of the baseball season too.  The KC Royals are doing amazingly well.  They have won 6 playoff games straight.  I have to admit, I am a fair-weather baseball fan.  I’ve only been watching the games recently.  4 of the games have gone into extra innings.   But even the couple that didn’t, have been over 4 hours.  I thought a normal baseball game was supposed to be 3 hours.  These are too long.  My butt gets sore sitting there that long.

I’m going to ride my bike over to Stull right now, a small town about an hour’s ride from Topeka, to look at a minivan.  My diesel van is really hurt.  I think there are two problems.  The biggest is that the EGR cooler is dead.  Lots of water seeping out the exhaust.  Plus, I think it might have warped heads, but that isn’t  a fact.  Whatever the problems, it is going to take a while for me to fix it or super expensive to pay someone else.  Either way, it’s not getting done anytime soon, so I’m looking for another car.  Have a nice Sunday.

 

Hedge apples are everywhere around Northeastern Kansas.

Hedge apples are everywhere around Northeastern Kansas.

Long shadows and harvested fields seem very fall like.

Long shadows and harvested fields seem very fall like.

This is my favorite corner around Topeka.

This is my favorite corner around Topeka.

 

The birds are gathering to migrate.

The birds are gathering to migrate.

 

Water pouring out my exhaust yesterday.

Water pouring out my exhaust yesterday.

 

Back to trapping cats again.  This one I'd already caught and fixed.  It's ear was clipped.  I was relieved since it was Saturday night.

Back to trapping cats again. This one I’d already caught and fixed. It’s ear was clipped. I was relieved since it was Saturday night.

 

 

 

Racing in Polluted Air

This entry was posted in Comments about Cycling on by .

I’ve had the “pleasure” to race in pretty polluted air a few times.  I thought of this after reading Phil Gaimon’s interview about him supporting the shortening of stage 2 of the Tour of China a couple days ago.

Like I said above, I’d done it.  I’d say the worse air I’ve ever raced in was in China also.  It was about 6 years ago when I went over and did a stage race in Shanghai.   The air was horrible.  I think they burn coal to cook, even in the major cities.  Whatever the reason, the air was off the charts horrible.  After the first stage, which probably was less than 100 miles, I was hurt so badly that I curled up in a ball and coughed for a couple hours.  And that is not that long ago.  It doesn’t look that it has improved too much.

Back in the 80’s the air in LA, and sometimes on the east coast too, was pretty horrible.  One race around the Rose Bowl in Pasadena, the air was bad.  I got lucky and got a bee in my skinsuit and had to peel it off, during the race.  I then quit.  The guys that finished looked like raccoons, the only white on their faces was their eyes.  And they were coughing and coughing.

Same with Somerville, New Jersey  a couple times.  I’ve found that when you’re racing, it isn’t that bad.  I think it is because, in cycling, we tend to take a bunch of shallow breaths, we don’t feel the effects of the pollution until we try to breathe normally after the race.

Anyway, the air in LA and Somerville has improved dramatically over the years.  The air in the US is much better since the early 80’s.  It probably has a lot to do with using unleaded gasoline and the better emissions on automobiles.

We should all feel privileged that we live in a country where, in general, we tend to have pretty pollution free air.  At least compared to the past.  And we have people addressing the situation.  That isn’t the case in many places around the world.  China for one.  (They make mandatory vacation day for workers to try to lessen the pollution.)  

We shouldn’t take it for granted, because it isn’t.

 

 

When I rode for Wheaties/Schwinn, the German guys that raced 6 days in the winter, said the air in the velodromes was horrible, with all the spectators smoking.

When I rode for Wheaties/Schwinn, the German guys that raced 6 days in the winter, said the air in the velodromes was horrible, with all the spectators smoking.

The classic, smoking while racing photo.

The classic, smoking while racing photo.

Robotic – That is What is Wrong with Cycling – IMHO (in my humble opinion)

This entry was posted in Comments about Cycling on by .

I was reading a few of David Millar’s retirement interviews recently and started thinking about some of his observations.  I don’t often agree with what David has said historically.  I think I take this stance because I am bitter about him doping-the way he “confessed” and then his almighty preaching about racing clean.  All of it seemed like damage control by him, or maybe JV, I don’t know.

But, he isn’t a super dumb guy.  He is just a guy that felt the need to explain getting caught cheating.  It’s what he came up with.  But, I do relate to this quote below.

“The team has become an identity for a rider; before, a rider would transcend the team. It’s become robotic. I liked the dysfunctionality, the cult-ness, the randomness.”

He went on to say-

“Obviously that led to the criminal aspect, the corruption, the madness, but I didn’t know that when I fell in love with it.”

I don’t really have any idea what he means in the 2nd quote, but really agree with what he says initially.

For most of my “career”, cycling was mostly, 1st, an individual sport, then 2nd, a team sport.  In modern cycling, it is opposite.  This has disillusioned me quite a bit.

Don’t get me wrong, I don’t hate the team aspect of the sport.  I just don’t agree with how the professional teams have molded the sport into, as David says, “robotic”.

I guess we can blame Lance, once again, for this.  Lance’s building of teams, that only worked for him, really escalated the sport to where we are today.

It’s not really fair to completely blame Lance.  There are tons of reasons that the sport has morphed into a robotic state.

One is the team directors, sitting in their cars, felt like they were doing menial labor and needed an outlet to feel somewhat important.  Thus, the TV’s in the team cars and the radios.  You can’t have robots without a mechanism to sense,  control the action, and  to coordinate the robots.

Obviously, another is the doping.  With doping, one rider, or a group of riders, can stay good, nearly the whole year, better than everyone else, so the team can rely on them to perform at a super high level.   This isn’t the case when drugs aren’t prevalent in sport.

And I’m sure we could come up with tons of more reasons.  But, whatever the reasons, the end result is that it makes the sport boring.  Teams sitting at the front of the race, for hours, setting tempo, just to have a field sprint or race the last climb.  Sacrificing  a rider to just go back to a car and fetch water bottles.  Crazy.

It is worse with criterium  racing here in the United States.   Especially during stage racing, but it happens at all big criteriums.  One team of 8 riders, goes to the front and rides tempo for 90 minutes.  That is pretty boring-ass bike racing.  It isn’t going to garner new fans to the sport or keep the current ones.

One of the best things about the sport, previously, was the randomness to it.  Our sport is special because the best athletes don’t always win.  Drafting is pretty specific to cycling.  There are so many more aspects to it that just being a great athlete, doesn’t ensure success.   A great cyclist has to possess more than just good genetics.

I think that the UCI, and probably USAC, want our sport to have its heroes.  They think that each country, and/or team, having one rider, for the fans to cheer for, make the sport more popular.  And popularity is what brings in money.   It’s all about money.

What they don’t realize is that the sport can be successful, as it was, random.  The sport is beautiful because it is a visual sport.  A colorful field of cyclists is gorgeous on its own.  It is almost irrelevant who wins any given day.

I know you’re thinking, Tilford, you’re full of shit.  Sure, it matters who wins.  But it really doesn’t.

Look at the results from the 2014 Worlds a couple weeks ago.  Michal Kwiatkowski, Poland, made a beautiful move and took some calculated risks to win the race.  It was great to watch.  It was a beautiful move that paid off big.  Poland, that big cycling country, has the jersey for the next year.

Back in 1985, at the World Championships in Italy, a 39 year old rider,  who was thought to be well past his prime, Joop Zoetemelk, Holland, snuck away from a field of favorites, including Greg Lemond, to steal the victory.  It was a great move and memorable.

Someone wins each race.  The better riders will win more, but the sport is exciting when just about anyone wins.

We have a segment of the sport that allows the best cyclists shine.  It is stage racing.  Stage racing is the aspect of the sport that supposedly sorts out the best all around riders in the sport. But the whole sport isn’t only about stage racing, even though the powers at be, would like to make us all think so.

The sport is unique, and so great, because any size athlete can excel at some aspect of it.  You don’t have to be an American athlete, 6′ 3″ +, and 250 lbs., to compete.    (But when the same scrawny little climbers start winning the flat time trials, then we have issues.)   Any body style has a place in the sport, whether on the road, track, MTB or cross.  It is a very diverse sport in that regard.

I don’t know how to “fix” this.  It took a couple decades to get here and that is all that most people knowo f the sport.  Since television and the internet, all the sport most of us has seen is the current way.  They didn’t get to observe and compete when it was much more random.

I think that if they had a chance to see racing of old, they would realize that it is much better for the sport and is way more exciting

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