Monthly Archives: January 2015

Rainy Seattle Bound

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I didn’t think I’d be really posting this, but I am flying to Seattle today to “cat sit” for a week.  More than a week, until next Sunday.  Keith and Catherine Walberg are taking a vacation and needed a cat sitter, so of course, I was thought of.  I was a little hesitant about doing it, but figured I could multitask when I’m there, so I decided, “Why not?”

I was torn whether to bring my MTB bike or road bike, but decided on road.  My MTB needs some TLC and I can’t really see riding it exclusively for the next 10 days.  The weather in Seattle doesn’t look too great.  Like rain everyday.  But what I learned is that there is nearly always a window, if you have all day, that it clears and you can stay relatively dry if you just wait it out.

Trudi is flying from Minneapolis and hanging until Thursday.  She is leaving Bromont with Dennis.  It’s his favorite place on the planet, so he’ll be good.

I brought a full extra bag for medical bills.  I’m going to finally sort through them all and try to actually figure out what I’m paying for what.  It is so weird getting 5 or more pieces of mail for each and every charge.  And what they deny and approve is beyond my understanding.  I’m sure I’ll understand more in the next few days and will post my observations/ most likely frustrations, here.

The weather in Kansas took a turn.  It was in the upper 70’s a couple days ago and then it was in the upper 30’s yesterday for the ride.  We did a mid afternoon ride yesterday and 7 showed, which was great for a school day.  We rode nearly 50 miles at a 20 mph average.  It seemed so much harder with the cold.  I pulled the whole way.  I’ve had the opportunity to get in way more miles than the guys I ride with at home, so everyone else is in January form.  I was a little blown when we finished.

I got a ride with Catherine to the airport.  It’s nice that I don’t have to leave a car in long term parking, even though it is cheap compared to the rest of the country.  I think it is $7 a day now.  It used to be $3, then $5, now $7.  Midwest prices.  Trudi is going to pick me up on her way back from Wisconsin.

I was a little worried about hauling all my stuff onto the train to get to downtown, but Keith is leaving their car at the airport in Seattle, so it will be super easy.  It would have been a good test for my hip.  I need to start trying to walk carrying some weight.

Okay, guess women’s cross Worlds was good today.  Won’t be a spoiler here if you didn’t get a chance to check out the race.  It’s a close finish.  American junior phenom, Gage Hecht, finished just 3 seconds off the podium in 4th.  Pretty great year he’s had this season.

Alright, it is raining right now as I sit at the airport, turning to snow soon.  I guess I’m getting a little preview what “my weather” is going to be the next 9 days.  I guess should get some practice cornering in the wet. I wonder if the Rocket Ride is going on. I have a week to train.

My suitcase full of medical bills.

My suitcase full of medical bills.

Catherine got random searched at TSA.  She seems pretty okay with it.

Catherine got random searched at TSA. She seems pretty okay with it.

Raining pretty consistent.

Raining pretty consistent.

How about this forecast?  At least I'm not on the East coast.  Just heard Boston is supposed to get another foot of snow soon.

How about this forecast? At least I’m not on the East coast. Just heard Boston is supposed to get another foot of snow soon.

A couple of my cats, the black one, protecting their turf yesterday, from the yellow cat below.  They usually get along pretty good, but yesterday, something must have been going on.

A couple of my cats, the black one, protecting their turf yesterday, from the yellow cat below. They usually get along pretty good, but yesterday, something must have been going on.

Milk for After Workout Rehydration

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There has been a ton of ideas about what is best for athletes nutrition-wise.  It constantly amazes me that we are at this point of scientific enlightenment and we can’t even tell a human what is good for him/her to eat for each and every endeavor they attempt.  You’d think by now, it would be down to the gram, of what or what you shouldn’t eat at all times of your life.  But, no, it’s not even close.

No one knows whether fats are good or bad for you.  Whether carbohydrates are good for exercise or not.  Whether to drink water to hydrate or milk.

Griffith University did a study, not a big one, but a study about rehydrating using milk and they found that it was better than Powerade.  Now Time and others have reported that milk is better at helping an athlete recover than all sports drinks.  I really don’t think that is fair since they only compared milk to Powerade in the study.  But, nevertheless, you are more hydrated 4 hours after exercise when drinking just plain milk than Powerade.

Their words from the study

Milk-based drinks are more effective rehydration options compared with traditional sports drinks. The additional energy, protein, and sodium in a milk-based liquid meal supplement  facilitate superior fluid recovery following exercise.

There already was already the chocolate milk study.   And they used low-fat chocolate milk for hydration post exercise.  What fun is that, low-fat?

A side note-drinking just plain water can add to dehydration by screwing up your sodium levels, thus dehydrating you.

Remember, this is an after exercise study.  They didn’t have athletes consume milk during exercise and see if that kept them more hydrated.  And they were using full cream milk, not 2% or skim.  Bet not many of you have a jug of that in your refrigerator?

 

milk

 

 

1st Race of the Season, a 24 Hour MTB Race

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I never would have thought that my first race this year would be riding a 24 hour MTB race on a team.  But, that is what I’m doing, I guess.  My friend Vincent convinced me to ride The 24 Hours of Old Pueblo on his team.   It was a spontaneous decision that I’m still not sure how it got made.

I’ve heard of the race for years and it looked like a really good time.  The race is down by Tucson Arizona and they advertise it as “The Burning Man of MTB Racing”.  Sounds fun.  I am pretty competitive and usually wouldn’t be going to an event unless I though there was a fair chance to win.  Maybe we do have a chance to win, I really don’t know.  I don’t even know 2 of the other guys I’m riding with, so how would I know?

I’ve done three 24 hour events in my life.  The first one was the Spenco 500, way back when I rode on the Wheaties/Schwinn Pro Road Team.  It was a 500 mile race that you could race solo or on a team.  The race wasn’t really 24 hours, because we averaged way over 21 mph.  We won that event.  It was really good prize money back then, I’m thinking around $7500 to win.

The next two 24 hour races were the 24 Hours of Telemark.  Nordic skiing.  I skied both on a 5 man team and we won both times.  I think one year I skied something around 175 km, which was a lot at the time.  All three of the 24 hour races I‘ve compete in before have created life memories for me.  I’m sure this one will too.

Both on the bike and skiing, I really enjoyed the night laps.  At night it seems like you are going so much faster and it is out of the ordinary, riding, or skiing, at race speed, at that time of the night.

I have no expectations here.  For sure I’m going to try my best to do well.  But I have no experience at all, so it is going to be a learning process.  I just would like to enjoy it and see if it these events are something that suits my abilities.

I’m a little apprehensive about my physical ability to handle the race.  My hip is much better than even a month ago, I think, but the last couple weeks, it has been feeling a little weird.  I actually limped some just last week, which bummed me out.  I hate going backwards in the healing process.  But, it is easy to fall back to the limping stage if you are me.  I have to consciously try to not limp a lot of the time.  Plus, I’m really not in race shape for actually racing bicycles.  But, riding multiple laps, on a MTB bike, in February, might be just the thing?

I’m not too worried about falling down and hurting myself. It is about time I fall and get that over with.  My hip bone is healed.  It is just the muscles that don’t want to function correctly.  I’d like to get over the psychological barrier and just hit the ground hard, maybe not SO hard, be hard enough to know I can still bounce and not stick.  I did it a couple times skiing the Double Birkie after Christmas, but that was snow, not dirt, rock or concrete.

The race is in just two weeks.  I’d better get working on my MTB.  Other than Chequamegon, I haven’t done a MTB bike race in a year and a half.  Might be a little rusty, me and the bike.

All three of the 24 hour races I’ve competed in before have created life memories for me.  I’m sure this one will too.

Michael Vaarten winning the Spenco 500.  Michael rode the first lap, then went back to the hotel and ate, slept all night, then came back and rode the last lap.  He was World Kerin Champion and was pretty much a ringer to win the sprint, even though Chris Huber gave him a good run for his money.

Michael Vaarten winning the Spenco 500. Michael rode the first lap, then went back to the hotel and ate, slept all night, then came back and rode the last lap. He was World Kerin Champion and was pretty much a ringer to win the sprint, even though Chris Huber gave him a good run for his money.

Click to enlarge.  Check out Chris Petty's time.  The guy was unbelievable.  When the group split at 2 am or so, he made the split with me, and Hegg and I'm not sure who else. There were 5 of us.  After a few rotations at 28 mph, he said, "Hey Steve, do you mind if I sit on?  I'm an individual."  He's been riding for 14 hours at the time.  I do him to do whatever he wanted, he was incredible.

Click to enlarge. Check out Chris Petty’s time. The guy was unbelievable. When the group split at 2 am or so, he made the split with me, and Hegg and I’m not sure who else. There were 5 of us. After a few rotations at 28 mph, he said, “Hey Steve, do you mind if I sit on? I’m an individual.” He’d been riding for 14 hours at the time. I told him he could do whatever he wanted, he was incredible.

Limping Home

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I’m in Arvada staying with Vincent.  I really normally like the drive across Nevada, Utah and Colorado, but with a underlying worry that the car I’m driving could break down at any time, it was more stressful than enjoyable.

The people I bought the van from have no intention to “make it right” so I’m weighing my options now.  I need to get back to Topeka before I decide exactly what I’m going to do.  It’s really about principles now. The transmission is now making a low whinning noise and it is obvious that there is an expensive fix coming along soon.  Thanks to all that gave me legal advice.  I didn’t realize how much different laws can be state to state.

Vincent and I went for a pretty good ride yesterday.  Vincent is weird riding with.  He is usually either on or off.  He was off yesterday, which was fine.  I had a wicked headache all day.   Actually, it started the two nights earlier right after I got the check engine code read and then checked into Treasure Island in Las Vegas.  I wasn’t in the mood for any people watching in Vegas and went directly to the room and stayed there.  I still have a remnant a headache.  I’ve never had a headache this long in my life.  It might be from altitude now, but I don’t really know.

Anyway, we rode up Lookout Mtn. super easy and did a lap around Genesse Park.  On the way back, we stopped by Vincent’s new vintage motorcycle repair business, Old World Bikes, which is in a commercial storage condo area.   The Optum Pro Cycling Team has a service course just across from Vincent’s.  The door was open and there were three guys working.

I rode over and there is Bob Gregorio.  He is a mechanic for Optum and was packing up bikesfor the Tour of Qatar, which starts in a little over a week.  I‘ve know Bob for a long time.  He was John Tomac’s personal mechanic when John was smearing all of us racing MTB.  He told me he has been to over 40 countries now, mainly through the sport of cycling.  He was inducted into the Mountain BIke Hall of Fame back in 2006 and is just an all around good guy.  It was good catching up a little.

I‘m think I’m going to limp back to Kansas later today.  Not sure if I’m going to ride first of just start driving.  I’m not looking forward to it.

The drive is super scenic.

The drive is super scenic.

It makes you realize how big this country actually is.

It makes you realize how big this country actually is.

I was just shooting these pictures out the van window my iPhone.

I was just shooting these pictures out the van window my iPhone.

Vincent makes me a crazy great breakfast every morning.

Vincent makes me a crazy great breakfast every morning.

Old World Bikes.

Old World Bikes.

The Optum Service Coure.

The Optum Service Coure.

Bob and Ben packing up bikes.

Bob and Ben packing up bikes.

 

Tour of California – Sans Chris Horner

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I saw a couple days ago that the Tour of California selections were out and Chris Horner’s new domestic team, Airgas/Safeway, was absent.   That really surprised me.  I meant to post about it then, but got caught up in life.  There are a lot of reasons that they should/need to be in the race.  You can see some of these reasons, here, at RKP. 

Anyway, I looked over the list and can’t really see a domestic team that needs to be omitted.  That would only leave not having one of the Pro Tour Teams left out.  I’m not sure the ratio of Pro Tour to domestic teams is mandatory, but I’m sure they have that correct.

I read a couple articles about Chris’ response to being snubbed by the Tour of California.  He is vocal and adamant about the injustice.  He’s not shy about saying his thoughts.

“I don’t know what the promoters are thinking. They’ve obviously done harm to the race by not bringing me. You left the only current rider with a grand-tour résumé who was going to show up, and I’m a past champion there.”

He also said, “I’m the No. 1 rider in the US and certainly the strongest and have the best résumé for stage racing.”

You can go to Peleton and checked out his whole interview if you’re interested.

I’ve written a couple posts on Chris Horner.  I like the guy.  But he has made some career errors and bad decisions.  First and foremost was winning the Tour of Spain.  And calling it before he did it.  That was maybe a short term achievement, but it has caused him more harm than good since.  A Tour of Spain winner riding for a US domestic team is the result.

And, like all the articles about this snub have stated, he has a cloud hanging over his head.  He’s never been officially sanctioned, but his name is always there  and has been associated with doping. I haven’t seen it, but I guess George Hincapie said something about this in his new book.

That really must be there reason for his team being left out of the race.  They are trying to stay away from a potential controversy.  I don’t really blame them.  But, leaving his team out, really is a blow to domestic sponsorship.

Photo: Graham Watson | www.grahamwatson.com

Photo: Graham Watson | www.grahamwatson.com

Chris isn’t smiling so much right about now.

 

 

 

Travelling

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I had a few post ideas, but am kind of shot.  The van I bought had its check engine light go on South of LA.  Just 64 miles after I purchased it.  I went by an Autozone to get the code read, but they don’t do that in California.  So I kept driving last night.

When I got to Las Vegas, around 9 pm, I got the code read.  It was  P0740 and P0700 transmission codes.   They said the code had been reset and it just went back on after 100 than 100 miles.

So, I’ve been in contact with the woman I bought the car from.  She isn’t being very cooperative just yet.  I’ll let you know how it goes.

I’m hoping to return the car to her and just fly home, but we’ll see.  I’ll know very shortly I think.

 

Tour Down Under On Bike Video Footage

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I’ve been thinking about mounting a Shimano camera on my bike full time.  I texted Wayne Stetina, from Shimano, and asked him about using the Di2 shifter buttons to operate the camera and he said pretty soon.  You’ll be able to control your Garmins too.  Anyway, onboard race footage is super cool.  Here is some video from the Tour Down Under a couple days ago.