Monthly Archives: November 2014

Recuperation through Riding

This entry was posted in Racing on by .

Okay, another 3 hour night.  I got done working and packing around 3 am and had to get moving to go to the airport at 6am, so that is a total of about 9 or 10 hours of total sleep in three days.  I’m not sure why I’m not sick yet.

I’m laying over in Las Vegas, on my way to Orange County airport.  I didn’t even know where I was flying through and couldn’t understand why so many people were drinking at 8 am this morning past security.  And the plane, man, was it loud.   Everyone was really looking forward to hanging in Las Vegas.   I was so glad to be going on.

Rumor has it that Lance is doing the Mike Nosco ride on Monday.   At least according to Facebook.  I’ll hold off on commenting on this until after it’s over.  It’s not my ride.

Anyway, my body is wasted.  I’m pitifully weak, so the construction was frustrating at best.  I am moving so slow, everything was taking way too long.  So it is a good thing that I get a few days off and recuperate.  And there is no better recuperation than riding .  At least that feels mildly normal still.  I’m slow, but it feels good.

I’m missing The Beer Mile tonight being held in Topeka by all my buddies.  It’s probably a good thing I’m missing it.  Not too good for a gimpy guy like me.  But, everyone is invited, so come on over.

Okay, I need to get to the next gate.

I'm not going to be missin' these guys much.

I’m not going to be missin‘ these guys much.

My fingers are so wasted.  Mainly from thinset I'd guess.

My fingers are so wasted. Mainly from thinset I’d guess.

 

Man, Las Vegas from the air is amazing.

Man, Las Vegas from the air is amazing.

 

Not as amazing as this, though.

Not as amazing as this, though.

Mike Nosco ride Facebook page.

Mike Nosco ride Facebook page.

IMG_3628.PNGI thought this was a good boarding number.

Mike Nosco Ride this Morning

This entry was posted in Racing on by .

My computer died, so this is gonna be a bit short. This morning I’m doing the Mike Nosco Benefit arise north of LA in Newbury Park. I wonder if Lance is really gonna show?

Sue picked me up in Orange County and we did the drive up to Somis to stay with Jimmy Mac. We stopped at Venice Beach to get some lunch. Man, is that place a show.

We got up to Mac’s in time to do a short ride. Mac is great.

Anyway, below are some photos from yesterday. I can’t caption them because I posted them on my computer and now I’m using my phone and I can’t identify which is which.

We have a 20 minute drive over to the start. I hope LA traffic treats me nice today.

IMG_3508 IMG_3630 IMG_3646 IMG_3634 IMG_3659

 

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On the Move

This entry was posted in Just Life on by .

I’m at the airport waiting for a flight to a Seattle. I’m heading up there for a few days to hang with Keith and Catherine. I haven’t been there since last October.

The Mile Nosco ride yesterday was awesome. I’m way short of time, so I’ll have to post about it later.

The plane is boarding. Here are some pictures from yesterday.

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It wasn’t that warm, maybe the lower 80’s, but it seemed really hot climbing.

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Pretty scenic riding along the coast.

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Lance did show. More on that later.

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Pretty great turnout.

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My zipper broke on my bag this morning. I “fixed” it with a paper clip. I’m stressed a mess is going to show up at baggage claim in Seattle.

Mike Nosco Benefit Ride

This entry was posted in Comments about Cycling on by .

Okay, I’m settled in at the Walberg’s new apartment in Seattle.    Super nice place.  I slept 9 hours, which seemed short, so I probably need more.  I’m still a little tweeked from the past couple weeks.

I am surprised I’m not more wasted from the 80 miles I did on Monday at the Mike Nosco ride.  During the ride, I felt pretty bad the first hour or so, and predicted, to myself, that it was going to end up a cramp-fest, but that never materialized.

This is the 5th year I’ve done this ride and it has grown tremendously.  It is great for the ride that the numbers are up, but it has switched up the feel of the event.   Somehow, the last couple years, the ride has nearly turned into a psuedo-race at the front.  More of a Gran Fondo pace that that of a bunch of bike racers riding a benefit ride.  At least this is the case at the front of the ride.  The great thing about it, you don’t have to participate in the fray and can’t just ride with friends.

The day was perfect, mid 70’s by the coast, maybe 10 degrees hotter in the canyons.  They moved the start a couple miles up the road, which kind of threw Sue and I off.  We drove to the old start and had to hightail it over to the different start area.

I got suited up and realized that there was a ton more team support, etc. at the ride than the previous years.  I got over to the start and said hi to a few of my friends I don’t really see unless I come out there to ride.  Sort of a once a year get together.  I talked to my ex-teammate, Roy Knickman, for a bit, and then we were off.

The ride starts down a couple mile descent that the Campy car controls at less than 20mph.  It is a little hairy going that slow downhill, but it seemed to be pretty safe.  We stopped at the accident site where Mike Nosco was killed while riding and his brother Jack, gave his annual inspirational talk.  It was short, but heartfelt.  Then it was off.

And it did go off.  It was windy and pretty soon we were cruising along at over 30mph  to the coast, in crosswinds.  It is the fastest I’ve ridden in months.  It wasn’t that hard if I stayed in the draft, but it really strung the whole group out.

The ride really just rides along the coast,  on the PCH, and goes up and down three big climbs.  The first climb is Deer Creek, which is the hardest.  It is just a couple miles long, but it is really steep.  It got going pretty quick before the Deer Creek turnoff and didn’t slow much once we turned.

I realized about 100 meters into the climb, that this wasn’t for me.  It was going to be a full-on race at the front.  I didn’t have the mindset or form to participate, so I just rode up the climb at my pace, which was good enough.

I was mildly surprised to get to the top not that far back.  I didn’t fill my bottle or carry any food, knowing that there were multiple stops along the route.  But, no one was stopping at the food stop at the top of Deer Creek.

I wanted to ride along the coast with a group, so I just rode by it too.  I got in a small group descending, then rotated  a couple times and caught back up to a large chase group heading up Mullholland.   We started up this climb pretty quick too and guys started getting shelled.  I felt much better and we were pretty much climbing my pace.  I saw guys at the top of the road saying they would be feeding past the food stop.  I had a hard time believing that guys had people feeding them on a benefit ride.  But, the “race” was way up the road by then.  I could see a small group of guys way above us, minutes ahead.

I knew I was going to stop at the top and get some food and water.  When we got to the top of this climb, most of “my” group pulled over.  But, they all just grabbed something and bolted.  I ate some watermelon, got some cold water and headed off.  I figured I could get back to my group on the descent.  The problem is that I flatted on the descent.

That was really a godsend.  I wasn’t having that much fun riding with these psuedo-racers.  It was nice, of course, checking out my form a little, but that really wasn’t the reason I came to the ride.   I put in a tube and got going again.  The problem was that there really wasn’t anyone around to ride with.  The front group had gone so fast the first 50 miles that there were only a few stragglers staggered along the road.

I got down to the coast highway and there really wasn’t anyone there.  A couple guys rode up from behind and we headed down the coast towards Malibu.  Pretty soon, my guys were hammering.  There is a small, but sort of steep rise on the road, somewhere in Malibu and the guy pulling didn’t really slow much and shelled the three of us sitting on.  I sat up early, not willing to ride at race pace.

I rolled up to a stop light and there was a girl wearing a Canadian Nationals Team jersey stopped.  I said hi and she asked if I was on an organized ride.   I explained the ride and asked where she was riding.  She said she was on the Canadian Track team and was heading to a World Cup in Mexico on Tuesday.  I asked here what time they rode for 4K and I think she said 4:21.  That is pretty quick.  She said that she had to do another interval, so she put in her earbuds and took off.

I was at the Latigo Canyon turnoff anyway, so I stopped and got some more water, thinking I’d just wait for Sue and ride the rest of the ride with her.  But at the stop, I saw a friend of Sue’s, Bob, who was doing support on a moto, and he said I’d have to wait at least 45 minutes, so I took off.

Latigo has a Strava award segment on it for this ride.   So, I was just cruising up the climb, with a few guys blowing by me doing the Strava challenge.   I rolled up to Rich Meeker and told him that we still needed to have a conversation about his doping positive.

Just then, a big group comes up and it was “Lance’s” group.  I’d already said hi to Lance when we were rolling out.  There were a bunch of guys following Lance up the climb.   Rich dropped back and said something to Lance.  I was thinking, “oh great”.  But, Dave Letteri was riding with Lance, or maybe more accurate, Lance was riding with Dave.  Dave owes Fast Track Bicycles in Santa Barbara and has been doing the ride the last 5 years.  I‘ve known Dave probably since he was a junior and it’s always nice chatting with him.

I talked to Dave a bit, but we were going pretty fast up the climb.  About 2/3’rds the way up, Lance was sitting in 2nd position and pulled off and dropped back.  He asked Dave how far it was to the top.  He seemed to be struggling a little.  The guy pulling, slowed down a bunch and the whole group slowed.  I just kept going and rode to the top.   I pulled over at the food station at the top and the whole group stopped, even though I think I heard Lance say to keep going.

The group just stopped for a short time and took off.  I wasn’t planning on riding anymore with them.  At the stop, I spot Wayne Stetina, my friend from Shimano.  He was riding with Shawn Morelli, a good friend of his.  He introduced her to me as his adopted daughter.  Anyway, I didn’t know Shawn.  She is from Leavenworth, Kansas, which makes it so strange that I didn’t know her.  She is a really good rider, multiple time US National Para Cycling Champion.

I ended up riding the last hour and a half with Wayne and Shawn.  It was great.  She was climbing super good and Wayne was just Wayne.  We got a chance to catch up.  I asked about his brother Dale, that was hurt pretty badly last year in a cycling accident.  Wayne has been riding a tandem with Dale on some Road to Recovery Rides and Dale seems to be doing pretty great, considering.  It was a nice way to finish the ride.  Sue rolled about 15 minutes later, so I guess Bob was wrong.   She had a super good day, even though she was worried that she didn’t have enough miles.

So, the ride turned out great, once again.  I got to hang with some good friends, that I rarely see.  I really need to just come out and hang with Jimmy Mac some, ride some MTB trails with him and see the area more.

You’d think that this ride would be chaos, being nearly in Los Angeles, but it is so surprising that it is pretty much isolated with little traffic.  It is amazing how many guys turned out on Monday for this ride.

Jack Nosco has “made” this tribute for his brother into a celebration.  We’d all be very fortunate to have family like him.

Wayne and Shawn towards the end of the ride.

Wayne and Shawn towards the end of the ride.

The group stopped at th memorial site at the start.

The group stopped at th memorial site at the start.

Roy and I before the ride.

Roy and I before the ride.

 

Roy, John Wordin and Thurlow (Rogers) behind heading out in the sidewind.

Roy, John Wordin and Thurlow (Rogers) behind heading out in the sidewind.

 

This is Thurlow on the left and Rahsaan Bahati on the right, when it started getting pretty quick early.

This is Thurlow on the left and Rahsaan Bahati on the right, when it started getting pretty quick early.

 

This is when I caught back on at the bottom of the Mullholland Climb.  Jimmy Mac is on his motorcycle leap frogging us to shoot pictures.

This is when I caught back on at the bottom of the Mullholland Climb. Jimmy Mac is on his motorcycle leap frogging us to shoot pictures.

 

Lance was on the ride, but it was really a non issue.  I'll think about it a little and probably post about it later.

Lance was on the ride, but it was really a non issue. I’ll think about it a little and probably post about it later.

I ran into Matt Caron in the Oakland airport on the way up to Seattle.

I ran into Matt Caron in the Oakland airport on the way up to Seattle.

 

 

 

Talented or Lucky or Homeless?

This entry was posted in Just Life on by .

I rode around the city of Seattle yesterday, mainly in the rain, and just checked out some of the neighborhoods.  It is pretty hilly, the roads were wet, plus there are a ton of painted lines, crosswalks, and leaves on the ground.  My broken hip was whispering, “be careful, be careful” all day.

Anyway, it was a pretty good day other than I got super cold before I got back.  One thing I noticed was there were a ton of homeless people.  I guess the climate is good enough that they can stay here all year long, because most of the ones I saw seemed like permanent fixtures.

I got thinking about this last week when I went through Venice on the way to the Mike Nosco ride.  There are a bunch of down and out people there too.  It got me thinking about what turns in a person’s life gets them to the point they’re sleeping on the sidewalk.

Some of the people are obviously mentally ill.  At least compared to general society.  So, they can’t function within the normal parameters of our society.  But others seem alright.  It seems like they just had a few unlucky breaks and next thing they knew it started spiraling out of their control.

I watched a street musician in Venice when we were eating lunch.  The guy was super good.  I wish I would have video’d some of his music.  He should have been a super star, a rich artist.  Maybe he was and was just out on the street doing what he enjoyed?   I don’t know.  All I know is that it seemed out of place for a guy that good to be sitting on a step and playing for a few bucks.

But that is the way of life.  People that have the same talent sometimes have vastly different lives.  I know it’s the way of music and acting.  It is sometimes that way in sports.

I’ve run into quite a few cyclists throughout my lifetime that are super talented and possess nearly all the goods to ride at the Pro Tour level.  They just never had the contacts, or maybe just the luck, to get the opportunity to be seen.  So they just do the local stuff while all the guys they race against just shake their heads in disbelief.

There is a saying that is something like, successful people make their own luck, or you make your own luck, something like this.  I don’t agree much with that.  I think some people get super lucky and some people get bad luck.  And when the bad luck comes, it sometimes starts a cascade of events that hardly anyone could overcome.

And then, you end up sleeping on the hard, concrete sidewalk some.

This guy was really great, singing, what seemed like, original music.  Most people, like this guys, just walked by without a glance.  Funny the guy is wearing a cycling t-shirt.

This guy was really great, singing, what seemed like, original music. Most people, like these guys, just walked by without a glance. Funny the guy is wearing a cycling t-shirt.

 

I think there were a couple people sleeping under these blankets near Venice Beach.

I think there were a couple people sleeping under these blankets near Venice Beach.

 

 

 

 

Slippy Seattle

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Riding around Seattle is challenging.  At least the last couple days it has been.  It has been pretty wet all day long, thus slick.  But, it is slicker here than normal.  There is just about every slick thing here that is bad for bikin‘.

For one, it is wet.  At least it has been.  That is the #1 slick problem, water.  I’d say #2 is leaves.  It is officially the time of the year, fall I guess, that all the trees are dropping their leaves.  Wet leaves and bikes don’t like each other much.  #3 is a close tie between road paint and manhole covers.  I’d have to say manhole covers are worse, but it just depends if you’re going straight or turning.  Then, since #4 is road paint, then #5 would be the marking plates going up and down curb cuts.  They have these little yellow plates that signify curb cuts and they are slicker than shit.

So, there are at least 5 things that make cycling here challenging.  That doesn’t count the automobiles or hills.  This town has a bunch of both.  I was barrelling down a hill by Queen Anne yesterday, probably 15% downhill, with a stop sign at the bottom.  All of a sudden, the whole road was covered with wet leaves.  I didn’t panic, but I got a little scared.  It is a fine line between stopping and sliding in that situation.  I didn’t fall, but it was a tense moment.

My hip has been a bit achy here.  There is a ton of barometric pressure changes here and, for sure, my hip tells me when that is occurring.   It also is telling me to corner gingerly when turning left.  Right turns so to be okay, but slick left turns aren’t natural yet.

I wrote slippy on the title because that is word the rest of the world uses for our word slippery.  English speakers, other than Americans, say slippy.  I found this out mtb racing in England.  I didn’t even know it was a word.  I now realize we’re in the minority compared to everyone else, in usage.

Today it is supposed to be pretty nice.  Keith is gonna get off early and go for a ride around Lake Washington with me this afternoon.  I rode with Todd Herriott, a Nebraska native, who used to race pro, but now runs Herriott Sports Performance.    It is a training facility, mainly for cyclists, but also a bike shop.  I stopped by on my way “out of town” and Todd suited up and rode an hour with me.  He was heading off to Colorado Springs for a conference, so didn’t have much time.  Engergentic guy he is.

Tomorrow we’re going to ride up to Kenmore and do the Rocket Ride, which starts at Log Boom Park at nine.  It is 50 miles and 15-20 miles there and back, so it will be a good, longish day.  Long for Keith and Catherine, who don’t do those miles in a week nowadays.

Keith has been cooking up pretty much gourmet dinners the past three nights.  The food here is super fresh and readily available.  They are making the best of that.

Okay, that’s about it from sunny Seattle.  That is true for today, and probably tomorrow, but after that……….

 

This isn't that usual around here.  The bike paths are covered with leaves, but I assume it is just the time of the year.

This isn’t that usual around here. The bike paths are covered with leaves, but I assume it is just the time of the year.

Todd just about ready to go yesterday.

Todd just about ready to go yesterday.

 

One view from Keith and Catherine's 15th floor apartment.

One view from Keith and Catherine’s 15th floor apartment.

 

The view the other way.

The view the other way.

 

Last night, Keith and I installed some bike hangers in their storage area.

Last night, Keith and I installed some bike hangers in their storage area.

 

Some of the dinner's Keith has prepared.

Some of the dinner’s Keith has prepared.

This is apple/bacon, flatbread.  It was great.

This is apple/bacon, flatbread. It was great.

Fish, spicy carrots and couscous.

Fish, spicy carrots and couscous.

Riding in Seattle/Berlin Wall Coming Down

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Yesterday was a good day in Seattle.  I rode about a little and then met Keith and we did a lap of South Lake Washington.  I never would have found or done that ride without him.  It was a little heavy traffic, being Friday afternoon and all, but it was fine for just two of us.

I had walked to the Pike Market in the late morning to just sight see some.  Man is that a tourist area.  So crowded.  Pretty interesting with all the different types of fish and vegetables, etc., but the crowds of people are kind of constricting.

On the ride my cranks started feeling pretty weird.  Sort of wobbly, like my crankarm was loose of something.  Then these loud pops started.  With a titanium frame, the noises are all amplified.  I realized that I was going to be a close to a catastrophic failure at any point.  When we started back West, toward Mercier Island, I told Keith I needed to stop at a bike shop and get a new bottom bracket.  I could feel a ton of play in my cranks, plus the sound was pretty horrible.

Keith’s  team is sponsored by Veloce Velo, a shop just off the bike I-90 bike path, so we stopped there.  They had a Dura Ace English thread bottom bracket.  I just put it in my pocket with only a few miles to ride back into Seattle.

So, we made it back, just about sunset, which is like 4:45 here.  Man, it is dark alot here in the winter I’d guess.

This morning we’re heading out to Kenmore to ride.  The ride mets at 9 a.m., so we’re leaving around 7:30.  Pretty ugly, but it should be a nice ride.  We’re gonna stop at Fremont Coffee Company on the way.  Todd Herriott took me by there a couple days ago.  Super good coffee.

Changing the subject a little, or maybe a lot, tomorrow is the 25th anniversary of the Berlin Wall coming down.  That was such a huge thing for the whole world and now it was a quarter century ago.  I raced in Europe a lot when all those countries were “communist”.  I did a whole stage  race that was only held in West Berlin.  It is amazing how quickly things change, even though they lasted so long.

Okay, I’m off to ride.  Supposed to be nice here in Seattle today, then back to the normal wet weather on Sunday.

berlinwall055-500x333This is a photo from the Tour of Berlin I raced back in 1985.  It is Andy Paulin, Jeff Pierce, Roy Knickman and myself.  I wrote a post a couple years ago explaining a story associated with it.

 

Pike Market, the most famous place in Seattle.

Pike Market, the most famous place in Seattle.

A wall of gum in Post Alley, below Pike Market.

A wall of gum in Post Alley, below Pike Market.

 

It is really sort of creepy.

It is really sort of creepy.

 

Keith riding back on the I-90 bike path along the highway.

Keith riding back on the I-90 bike path along the highway.

 

My bottom bracket when I pulled the cranks off.

My bottom bracket when I pulled the cranks off.

 

And the shell.

And the shell.

 

The new Dura Ace bottom bracket from the store.  You think that these things would last longer.  I only put this bike together at the end of March, so I had maybe 8000 miles on it.  That seems like not enough for failure.

The new Dura Ace bottom bracket from the store. You think that these things would last longer. I only put this bike together at the end of March, so I had maybe 8000 miles on it. That seems like not enough for failure.

 

I took a photo of this pothole in the asphalt.  It's too bad they covered up the bricks.

I took a photo of this pothole in the asphalt. It’s too bad they covered up the bricks.

 

Back in Seattle near sunset.

Back in Seattle near sunset.