Monthly Archives: April 2015

Gonna Try Running Now

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It has been pretty much exactly 10 months since I crashed and broke my hip.  It has been a slow process getting back up to speed.  Last week I rode a little over 400 miles and it only bothered me a little.  Anyway, I’ve been thinking about the dangers involved in the sport and I’ve decided that I’m going to put cycling on the back burner and give running a try.  Competitive running.

I met a guy in Del Mar, California last year and he knew a lot of numbers.  He was telling me that Floyd Landis holds the Strava record up Torrey Pines.  He went on to say that he was really a competitive runner and that he specialized in the mile.  He knew all the mile world record times, for each age group.

He went on to tell me the times and said that I would “only” have to run a 4:35 to hold the world record for the mile in my age group.

That got me thinking.  I haven’t run a mile for a few years, but I used to run one a year, on the track, just to make sure I could run under 5 minutes.  It wasn’t a jog, but I could pretty easily run under 5 minutes without any training.  I know that wouldn’t be the case now though.

I got the thought that the reason the time is so slow is by the time most good runners are in the 50’s, they have destroyed their knees and joints enough that they can’t run.  So it makes sense that there aren’t too many guys around that can run super fast that have a running background.  So, a cyclist would be the perfect athlete to run, because we haven’t destroyed our legs.

After breaking my hip, I could barely walk, yet alone run.  But walking Bromont the last couple weeks, I’ve ran up  a hill by my house and think I can manage it.

So, today I’m planning on running to Lawrence on the River Road.  I know, 35 miles might be too big  a chunk of mileage to start off with, but I’ve ridden the road pretty much every day the past week and know it like the back of my hand.

So, I’m going to put in some earbuds and just go for it.  I only have some hiking boots, not leather, but light, so I figure that they will give me some stability, which I’ll need.

I just want to get enough of a base to start track workouts.  I figure the longer I run, the higher chance that I’ll have to injure myself, so I’m going to limit my workouts to the track.

I plan to do the  Mile World Record Attempt  by Memorial Day, the 12 month anniversary of my hip fracture.   Nice way to come back from an injury.


Obviously my running form is stellar, so at least I have that going for me.

Obviously my running form is stellar, so at least I have that going for me.

Ten Months in – Broken Hip

This entry was posted in Important Life Stories on by .

Like I posted yesterday, it has been pretty much exactly 10 months since I fell in Quad Cites and broke my hip.  I have to admit that I am pretty surprised about how this last 10 months have went.

Historically, with injuries, I can usually jump the “doctor’s gun” and get back at it in about 1/2 the time that I’ve been told.  But, this has been different.

This has been a learning experience.  It’s not the bone that was/is the issue.  It is all the soft tissue they  cut through to get to the bone.  Having a 12 inch incision completely through my IT band wasn’t anything I had experienced before.  I’m not even sure what an IT band is, but whatever it is, it is an important part of leg function.  And that is the problem.

It was really slow going initially.  I have a very hard time believing that I raced the Chequamegon MTB race a little over 3 months after surgery.  That seems nearly impossible 7 months later.

I’ve only done two races since the break.  Chequamegon and then a team member of a 24 hour MTB race in February.  Looking back now, I am much better than I was in February.

The last two months, I‘ve had a lot of improvement.  I get pain when I ride, but only when I do an abrupt movement.  Something like my rear wheel slides out on sand and I have to do a quick response to stay upright.

Standing on one leg to put my jeans on has been impossible.  The last couple months, I’ve been doing one legged squats, while standing in the shower, and I think that has helped a ton.  I can now balance well enough to dress standing up, which is more important than you’d think.

And, yes, I plan to start running some.  Just for life.  I want to be able to do everything I did before breaking my hip.  Riding a bicycle is important, but it isn’t everything.  Running is something that has to be available to do when I don’t have a bike or just don’t feel like riding.  It might be a bit before I can go out and do a 5 minute mile again.

I plan to get back to racing pretty soon.  I was sick a lot the last month and missed all the early season training races around here.  This weekend is Easter, so there isn’t much racing going on.

Last night, on the evening ride, everyone seemed pretty animated.   I’ve been riding gravel the last week and it was really nice getting back on my road bike.  The lack of resistance was a pleasure.

The ride was fast.  And pretty hard.  The wind was blowing from the Southeast at about 25 mph.  That isn’t that usual for Kansas in early spring, but it still was a 25 mph cross/headwind going out.

Anyway, my brother Kris, started going hard maybe 10 miles from “the sprint”.  And it really didn’t slow down from there.  I was trying to keep a few guys on, that were getting dropped on hills, etc., so I was in the wind a lot.  I was surprised how out of shape I am for going fast.

I’m not sure why that surprised me so much.  I haven’t raced and don’t really do intervals, so what wouldn’t I be out of shape for riding over 30 mph.  Acutally, I was okay pulling, just the changing of speed when rotating to the back was hurting me.

So, I think I’m fit enough to race some.  There is a 100 mile gravel road race in Lawrence next Sunday, that I think I might do.  I might look around to see if there are any other races around that might suit me better.  I don’t need to be doing criteriums.  I need a hilly road race or circuit race.

Anyway, I think I am 80% of the way recovered from this whole broken hip thing.  I have to thank all the people that helped me.  All the doctors, plus friends.  But really all the emails and contacts from other riders that have had this same problem.  I got so much valuable information from other cyclists.  It kept me focused and gave me insight to what to expect, realistically.

I was told, many times, that it would be 12 months, or more, before it would feel natural.  That seems to be timeframe I’m on.  Wonder what I’ll be doing Memorial Day Weekend this year?

Lots of guys have had the hardward taken out.  I have no idea how you make that decision.  Hopefully it won't be one I have to figure out.

Lots of guys have had the hardward taken out. I have no idea how you make that decision. Hopefully it won’t be one I have to figure out.

The soft tissue trauma was the real issue.

The soft tissue trauma was the real issue.

My doctor from University of Iowa, Dr. Karam.  He is a very good orthopedic surgeon.

My doctor from University of Iowa, Dr. Karam. He is a very good orthopedic surgeon.I was very lucky crashing near him.



“Astana is a symbol of clean and honest sport” – Vincenzo Nibali

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I hate being a total copycat, but I can’t think of a better title of this post than the exact same title that an article at Velonews  today.

According the article, Vincenzo sent his own personal letter to the UCI to voice his opinion, and support, of his team.

In the letter, he says, “The team must continue to participate in all competitions. It is in the best interests of cycling, of sport and of justice.”

Of sport and of justice?  Well then, by all means, let’s welcome them with open arms and forget the past.  Bygones should be bygones.

Maybe Vincenzo should have sent them his earlier opinion.  In December, 2014, he said, “The problems in this team are also in many others. I don’t think our team is the worst because in other teams there are worse people than there are here, I won’t name names.”

I guess things changed in the last 3 months.  Problems of last December have cleared, and now, “Astana is a symbol of clean and honest sport”.

Maybe Vincenzo should have testified to CIRC and named names.  Seems he thinks he knows names.  At least he implied that in December.

Nibali also wrote about the Padua investigation dossier that states that Astana was working with Dr. Ferrari for two years.  Not the whole team, just the team director, Alexandre Vinokourov, plus 17 of their riders.

About this, he says, “The dossier can’t be used.  The documents still have not been presented in the court, and so can’t be considered credible.”

I’m sure that the prosecutors that did this investigation probably just made up the 550 pages they gathered and that they really did no work and are just picking on Astana because they are Kazakh team, messin‘ around in their sport, bicycle racing.  Bicycle racing is an Italian sport, not an Eastern European sport.  They stole our rising star, so we’ll get back at them and make up a bunch of shit so they can’t race.  Makes total sense to me.  Completely not credible.

Vincenzo is sitting in Tenerife now, a very credible place to train, according to CIRC and Chris Froome.  It is the same place that Alexandre Vinokourov and Maxim Iglinskiy used to train for their respective wins at Liège–Bastogne–Liège.  Too bad Maxim and his brother both tested positive for EPO last season, while racing for Astana.

I don’t really appreciate, Vincenzo Nibali, supposedly a model rider and spokesman for “clean sport“, to spew silliness for his own benefit.  If Vincenzo is truly interested in competing  in a clean and fair sport, he needs to acknowledge and confirm what he knows to be truth and then behave accordingly.  If he decided to race for a team, such as Astana, then he needs to understand the potential pitfalls that decision had.

And one, which seems imminent, is that his team won’t be racing as a PRO Tour team.  Only seems right.

This is probably the UCI dope control that is sitting at the summit of the  3,718 meter volcano on Tennerife.  I'm sure Vincenzo is being tested on a daily basis, even though it has been shown to be a "dope testing free" area.

This is probably the UCI dope control that is sitting at the summit of the 3,718 meter volcano on Tennerife. I’m sure Vincenzo is being tested on a daily basis, even though it has been shown to be a “drug testing free” area.

Where is Chris Horner?

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I was riding back and forth from Topeka to Lawrence last week and was thinking about Redlands and, specifically, Chris Horner.  For so long, Chris was dominate at the race.  He wasn’t dominate in a boring-ass way, he was dominate in an aggressive way.  When he rode for Webcor, he took a bunch of “no-name” riders and made them into a force to be reckoned with.

It was fun racing Redlands, even when Chris was killing the field, because the racing was still really hard, aggressive, and not that predictable.

Anyway, Redland’s starts in a few days and I was thinking about if I thought it seemed early in the season or late, or what.  Sometimes before Redlands I’ve already raced 10-20 races.  This year, zero.

Then two days ago, I saw this article at Velonews that said that Chris and he new domestic Pro team, Safeway-Airgas, are starting the season at Azerbaidjan.  Man, what a start to the season.  May before racing once.  That seemed really strange since I remember seeing an interview with Chris, after his team had been denied entry into Tour of California and he said that he was planning on killing it at Redlands and the NRC.

So I looked back and found an article at Cyclingnews.  Here is a quote from that article

I own Redlands. Everybody knows that. I’ve won it four times. That’s my race. Basically they should just call it Redlands-Horner (laughs). OK, so I know it’s not the same profile. It used to be seven-eight days when I was winning it. You’d do the hillclimb up Oak Glen and all that stuff. I grew up sharpening my teeth there at Redlands, so I’d like to go back there and win it. That’s a big objective. For me, I think I can ride there 100 percent. The course isn’t as hard as it used to be, it’s fewer days, but they put in a good deal of good climbs.

The NRC is big. I’ve won it four times in my career. I won it in ’96, then I came back and won it multiple times in the early 2000s. It really sets the precedent of which rider in the US is the best domestically or whatever you want to call it. So that’s a big objective.

And honestly, there are only six or seven events, so you only need to focus on six or seven. When I won it back in the day it was from February to October, and all the events in that calendar were part of the NRC. Now it’s more specific and streamlined. So it’s not as difficult to focus. I don’t have to be good for the whole season.

I got curious and thought, Chris really likes to race, why would he skip Redlands and start racing in May, when he already said that he is going to win Redlands.  And when he says he is going to win, he usually does.

So, I found an article about the field at Redlands and low and behold, Chris Horner is racing.  So, I guess the Velonews article titled Horner to start 2015 season in Azerbaidjan  didn’t think that Redland’s counted or maybe they just made a mistake.

Whatever the reason, he is planning on racing Redlands.  I wish I was racing.  It would be interesting seeing how the racing there goes.  I’m sure that Chris and his team are going to dictate the pace of the race.

The finish at Oak Glenn, a 6 mile climb, has returned, which should open the race up some.  You can’t go and rest on your laurels after the time trial in Big Bear.

It is funny how domestic racing has really disappeared off the media’s radar screen.  Tour of Flanders is tomorrow.  The Paris-Roubaix.  But Redlands, is just another local race.  Seems wrong.

Anyway, this really isn’t going anywhere.  I was just curious about where Chris Horner was and what he’s been up to.  He career has really been odd since he won the Tour of Spain.  I’m not so sure that worked out so well for him.  He is a bike racer and it seems that win just restricted that.   I wonder if he had a do-over, whether he might play that a little different a second time around?

It's interesting that the presenting sponsor for this year's Redlands Classis is a Indian casino.

It’s interesting that the presenting sponsor for this year’s Redlands Classis is a Indian casino.


Riding Gravel in Smoke

This entry was posted in Just Life on by .

The title pretty much says what I‘ve been doing the last week.  I think I’ve only ridden my road bike once in the past 10 days.  I’m not exactly sure why I’ve been doing this.  Probably a few reasons.

One is that I’m trying to get in some miles and it is a minimum of 60 miles back and forth, so I’ve had a couple 400 + mile weeks, even though I’m not feeling that good riding.  Two is that it is “they” are doing a ton of burning west of town and south of Topeka, like the whole state, so I have a much higher chance of breathing better air if I’m riding east toward Lawrence and Kansas City.

That wasn’t the case on Saturday.  Brian rode the 30+ miles over to Topeka and Bill and I met up with him.  Then we headed back east and eventually south.  We could see plumes of smoke just about everywhere we looked.  We did a serpentine route, trying to avoid riding directly into any smoke.

It worked out pretty good most of the way, until we got back to Lawrence for some coffee, but riding back to Topeka, it was pretty bad.  We were just slowly riding back into a deep haze of shit.

I’m driving Bromont over to Manhattan this morning, for a three week check-up, and I’m interested to see how much of the actually grasslands they have burned.  It is pretty much Flint Hills most of the way from Topeka to Manhattan, so it will be a good gauge of what percentage of grass has been burned.

I have been a little better this year than some of the past.  Well, that’s not really right, because recently, I’ve just left the state for the majority of the burning season.  I don’t think it is very good for my health to be exercising 4 plus hours in these conditions.  But, this year, I have to stay around for Bromont, so it is what it is.

Dennis is having his one week check-up tomorrow and he’s hoping to get a good report and head back north up to Wisconsin.  He’s actually supposed to be flying over to Siberia for a World Loppet meeting, but I don’t think he is up to that.   I think/know he’s a little bored just waiting around, kind of lame, with not much to do.  He might be driving back into Siberia, sort of, because it snowed overnight up in Cable.   At least the National Championship NCAA game is tonight.

I woke up early yesterday for Tour of Flanders.  That was a pretty good last hour and a half.  I don’t really understand some of the tatics used by some teams, but it is way easier to criticize bad tactics after the fact.  For the first hour I watched the race, it was Team Sky, with Wiggins, sitting at the front pulling the remaining of the field along.  Then at the end, they didn’t have anyone in contention, or anyone left to help even.

I don’t see how anyone could have beaten Alexander Kristoff (Katusha) yesterday.  He seemed like he could have shelled just about everyone, which he did, and if that didn’t work out, he has it in his arsenal to outsprint them.

Trudi made Easter dinner and we had Catherine’s mom over, plus a couple other people,  Eventually, Keith, who flew back from Seattle and had dinner in Kansas City with his family, came by with some other friends.  It was nice.

Anyway, I have to get going.  I need to be at K-State by 9:30.  Dennis has never been to Manhattan, so he’s taggin‘ along.

They were smoke plumes nearly everywhere we looked on Saturday.

They were smoke plumes nearly everywhere we looked on Saturday.

The riding did have a few real primitive sections.

The riding did have a few real primitive sections.

Topeka was the epicenter of burning, of the whole US, on Saturday.

This is a burn map and Topeka was the epicenter of burning, of the whole US, on Saturday.

Eating dinner last night before everyone else showed up.

Eating dinner last night before everyone else showed up.

Dennis has been taking a mid-day nap ever since he shattered his elbow.  Doesn't seem extreme.

Dennis has been taking a mid-day nap ever since he shattered his elbow. Doesn’t seem extreme.


Climbing Trees

This entry was posted in Just Life on by .

I used to climb trees all the time.  Like, all the time.  Most of the summer when I was in elementary school, I’d be up in some tree a large part of the day.

All my friends climbed trees.  Sometimes at night, we’d all just climb up in a tree and talk.  There would be 5-10 kids sitting on different levels, just messing around and talking.

I knew all the trees in my neighborhood.  I could get from the ground to the top in a flash.

I fell out of a few trees too.  I started early, falling out of a huge Cottonwood tree in my front yard, when I was 6.  I ruptured my spleen and had to have emergency surgery to have it removed.  When I was 12, I fell out of the top of another tree in my yard.  At old rope that we had a pulley on broke and I fell.  I shattered my heel then and had to wear a cast for 3 months.

The biggest fall I had was one day when I was staying home from school when I was sick.  I was probably 10.  I went outside, when my mom was doing something else and climbed to the very top of a big Maple tree in our yard.  I was above the top pitch of the roof of our house, which was two stories, then an attic.

The branches at the top of the tree are all small, mostly new.  That means they aren’t very strong.  A small branch broke under my foot and I didn’t have a good hold, so I fell.  I knew I was jacked.  I fell the whole height of the tree and, luckily for me, landed on my back on a big branch 10 feet from the ground.  This pretty much stopped all my speed before I hit the ground.

I remember jumping up, scared my mom had seen me fall.  I was amazed I didn’t break anything or get hurt.  It was my biggest fall, but by pure luck, I was fine.  It was probably a 40 foot fall.

I don’t see kids every climbing trees anymore.  The last time I saw a kid in a tree was in Lake GeneavaGeneva, Wisconsin, probably 6 years ago.  He was outside a Starbucks and looked just like I did when I was a kid.  Sinewy, with ribs protruding everywhere.  (Bromont would be a good tree climber if he was a human.)  I don’t see many of those kids around much.

I don’t climb trees much either.  I haven’t climbed a tree since I had shoulder surgery two years ago.  It is amazing how different the planet looks from a tree.  And how many different sounds you hear while sitting high upon a limb.  You can hear the wind, not just feel it.  Climbing trees is good for your mind.  It is freeing, uplifting, plus connects you to nature.

As adults, most think that climbing trees is for kids.  I think too many adults restrict their experiences because of imaginary lines they draw for themselves.

I think I need to rectify my absence of tree climbing.  It will be good for my soul.

I happen to have a couple good climbing trees in my front yard.  My grandmother planted these Oaks back in 1964.  They grew up pretty good.

I happen to have a couple good climbing trees in my front yard. My grandmother planted these Oaks back in 1964. They grew up pretty good.

Modern Cycling Socks

This entry was posted in Comments about Cycling on by .

I wrote this post a couple years ago and watching the Basque Country race this morning, I was noticing the different socks the teams were wearing.  The sock height is a tad shorter than it was in 2013, but it is still much higher than when I started racing.  Fashion trends in cycling usually have a functional purpose.  The number of different materials in jerseys is mind boogling.  But, the amount of material in socks is perplexing.  Having a bunch of skin covered on you legs, in the summer heat, makes no sense.  And having a bunch of material down by your ankles when it rains, makes for a bunch of water weight rotating 10000’s times during a race.  It does make a difference.  Anyway, here is my sock post from 2013 –


I was watching the Tour of California on the Internet yesterday and Paul Sherwin said something about Philip Gilbert dropping back and changing his socks during the race. I didn’t see it, but that seemed super strange to me. I’ve never even thought about doing something like that. Paul said something about maybe Philp was putting on some special “ice socks” or something. I’ve never heard of ice socks. Socks with pockets for ice. I couldn’t imagine wanting to cool my body enough to ride with wet feet. Then Paul said something like, “Maybe as the reining world champion, he just wants to look good?” Right Paul, that is it.

Anyway, I was looking through my sock draw yesterday, looking for some light socks to wear at 94 degrees (not with slots of ice) and found the original pair of DeFeet socks that I got from Jacque Boyer. I believe he gave them to me at Sea Otter, somewhere in the 90’s. I have worn this very pair of socks, 100’s of times and they still don’t have a hole in the toes. I don’t quite understand that. Either, DeFeet made the socks much higher quality, or…. well, I don’t have another explanation.

Cycling socks are so interesting to a racing cyclist. They are an easy way for a “real racer” to identify a novice. Over the years, it is strange how the style or trends have changed.

Back when I first went to Europe, back in the 80’s, all the Pros and Western Europeans worn wool socks from Italy. I only had a couple pairs. I mainly wore super thin nylon socks I got at K Mart, which cost about 1/10 the price. It was sort of a status symbol by then having a bunch of Italian wool socks, at least to a poor kid like me. I remember going up to LaCrosse, Wis., to stay with Mark Frise before the Tour de l’Abitibi, a prestigious junior stage race. We were getting dressed to ride the first day and Mark opened a draw that was just stuffed with Italian wool socks. It dumb struck me. I was so jealous. Mark went on to be the first American to win the race.

When all the Pros were wearing short wool socks, the Russians would be wearing these mid calf socks made in Russia, I guess. It looked so weird. All the Eastern Europeans wore the same mid calf socks. We could never understand why they couldn’t get with the program and dress stylish.

When I was riding for Levis, we hired Jiri Manus, newly to the US, via Czechoslovakia, to help coach our team. Jiri had a stellar resume. He was on the podium in the Olympics and World Championships. He won the British Milk Race and the Peace Race, the two best amateur races in the world. But, he hadn’t westernized enough for our team. Roy (Knickman), kept trying to help Jiri catch up with modern ways. Jiri would pour a bunch of oil into a pan and fry bacon in the morning. Then he would crack a few eggs into the pool of grease and dump it all over toast. We, as cyclists, were avoiding most fat completely. Plus, Jiri would only wear, mid calf, white socks. That was the deal breaker. Jiri was let go. He went on to be the National Coaching Director for USAC for the next 20 years, so it was probably for the best.

When I started racing MTB, every good rider wore road cycling socks. All good riders except Dave Wiens. Dave would wear hightop black socks. Man, did it seem so out of place at the time. He took a lot of flak over the years, but he was the “inventor” of mid calf black socks for MTB racing.

Socks were short, now mid calf. It is sort of like watching the shorts that basketball players wear. Watching Magic Johnson and Co. back in the day, it seems that they are wearing hot pants compared to the knee length shorts the current generation likes.

DeFeet was the company that changed the cycling sock industry. Socks with logos. Man, was that a game changer. Socks that matched the kits. It was nearly as big a change for cycling as t-shirts with words on them were, in the 70’s, for the general public. We never looked back after that. Soon, there were a lot of copy cat companies of DeFeet, but they were the original custom sock people. Shane Cooper is the founder of DeFeet. He is a eclectic guy. His business card says something like chief sockologist on it. Pretty great title. Greg Demgen, a team mate of mine forever, worked with Shane at DeFeet for a long while. I’m sure that there were plenty of young riders jealous of my collection of socks at that time.

My original pair of DeFeet socks from Boyer.

My original pair of DeFeet socks from Boyer.

Toes of kevlar or something.

Toes of kevlar or something.

This is my sock drawer. I’d bet there are way over 100 pair in there. It’s nearly impossible to close.

Soukho winning the Olympic Games in 1980 with his high socks of the times.

Soukho winning the Olympic Games in 1980,with his high socks of the time.

Dave is still at it, with his tread setting, black socks.

Dave is still at it, with his trend setting, black socks.