Monthly Archives: May 2015

Police Throwing Rocks Back

This entry was posted in Important Society Issues on by .

Okay, these riots in Baltimore the last few days have been pretty crazy.  It really isn’t about the death of Freddy Gray.  That might have been the catalyst to start them, but this has been building for a while, everywhere.

Obviously, a bunch of people aren’t too happy with the Baltimore police after Freddy Gray ended up dead, with a broken back, after entering a police transport vehicle.  But these riots could be going on many places here in the US.  The anger is from the injustice pertaining to socioeconomic status and other huge issues relating to race.

The video footage of all riots are disturbing.  Everything about a riot is screwed up.  No one wins in a riot.  You can’t win a riot.  Everyone and everything loses.  Maybe the looters of CVS, who got a big arm full of diapers sort of won something, but in reality, in riots, everyone loses.

So, lets just take the cause and reasons out of this discussion.  And try to remove race too. This could be a riot after the World Series, or NCAA Basketball Finals, a rock concert, or for any number of reasons, in many different places.  Let’s try to look at this as any random riot and the police were trying to control the outcome.

This riot happened to be in Baltimore.  There are a bunch of videos out there that show police actually throwing rocks back at the protesters.  How stupid is that?  Police have to realize that nearly everything that they do, nowadays, is going to be captured on video.  They can’t do something as stupid as picking up rocks and hurling them back at the guys throwing them.

Here’s the deal.  Throwing rocks and bricks at police is really, really bad.  Someone could get killed.  But the police are there to try to establish order.  To stop the rock and brick throwing. Hopefully, by their presence, but if necessary, by arresting the guys doing it.

But there is never a case that it is okay for the police to actually participate in the rock throwing. They shouldn’t, and can’t get caught up in the escalation of the situation. This wasn’t a joust.  Or tit for tat.  It was a riot.   By them throwing rocks back, they are participating in that riot, not policing it.

Nothing guarantees that a rock that the cop throws is anywhere near accurate.  What if there is an innocent homeowner, standing in their yard, trying to protect their property and a rock, that left a police officers hand, wacks them on the head.  Who do they call?

The police are there to arrest people that are throwing rocks.  There isn’t another level of protection that can go up to the police officer and arrest them for escalating a riot by throwing rocks.

Like I said above, everyone loses in riots.  Property is destroyed, people are hurt and nothing gets figured out.  At least the police didn’t pull their guns out and start shooting.   But, I might understand that more than them picking up rocks and hurling them back.

Being a police officer is a job, a volunteer occupation.  The police can’t lower their, thus our, standards and fight back.  That isn’t their job.  They can’t let their emotions rage out of control and take the law into their own hands.  Their job is to defuse the situation.  By throwing rocks, they were escalating it.

 

A police officer throws an object at protestors.  (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky)

A police officer throws an object at protestors. (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky)

Or a little May Day action in Seattle today?  This is on Capitol Hill.  Not the ghettos of Baltimore.  The one bike cop makes a pretty nice on the fly tackle off his bike.  Wonder what that guy did to piss them off?

Wilson Lake MTB

This entry was posted in Comments about Cycling on by .

Yesterday I decided, sort of spur of the moment, to get my MTB bike and head over to Wilson Lake to ride the trails there.  I was looking for a little mental relief of thinking about Bromont and there is a MTB race there tomorrow.  I’d never been to Wilson Lake, but had heard a ton of good things about it.

The race tomorrow has been going on the last few years, but I have never been around to race it.  I’m sort of on the fence still now.   Doug Chambers, Cameron Chambers‘ father,  promotes the race and is the trail guru of Wilson Lake.  I ran into a man, up in Cable Wisconsin last fall that had quit his job and was traveling the country riding MTB trails.  He said that Wilson Lake was the best trails he had ridden in the whole country.  That is saying something.

And he was right, it didn’t disappoint.  Ultimately, it did disappoint, but that was all human fault.

I picked Bill up and went over to North Topeka to meet up with a couple other friends, Roger Haubold and Eric Wenrich.  Eric owns a couple Dickies BBQ restaurants and we picked him up at his Topeka location, thus great turkey sandwiches for the road.

It is a 175 mile drive to Wilson Lake from Topeka.  That is about 1/3 the way to Boulder.  But, it went pretty quickly and we got there is just a little over 2 hours.  The terrain is very un-Kansas like.  It is almost like riding in Utah or Arizona.

The trail is really technical.  Lots of stair steps of rock, up and down.  It was a shock to the system getting out of the car, directly on the bike, and then being exposed to really technical trail riding.

We picked the wrong trail to ride first.  It was the most technical part of the 25 mile trail and we were all floundering.  Eventually, we started getting into the flow of things.  But that was short lived.

Early on, we were riding a pretty technical descent and Eric’s front tire went low and he got thrown over the bars.  He landed a good ways below where he was, dropping maybe 6-8 feet onto solid rock.  He got up, but was sort of tweaked.  He hurt a wrist that he was already having trouble with.  Plus, he completely pretzelled his front wheel.

Bill and I got on his wheel and got it sort of straight.  That is the best thing about disc brakes, your rim can be toast and you can still ride your bike.  I trued it up and it was usable.  We rode a few more miles and Roger hit a rock and cut a hole through the top of his front tire.  He tried to plug it, but it would seal, so he ended up putting a tube it.

The trail winds along the lake and there are lots of places if you miss a corner, you fall, really fall, a ways down.  But, it is beautiful.

Right about then, I started having trouble with my rear derailleur.  It seemed like it was seizing up somehow, but I couldn’t figure out what was the the problem.  Soon after, I was just riding and snap, my rear derailleur hanger is gone.  I really couldn’t see a problem.  I was going to make it into a single speed, but remembered I had a spare hanger in my jar.

I changed the hanger and it wasn’t working right.  Turns out the lower pulley bearing was loose of the plastic and was allowing the chain to get jammed between the pulley and cage.  I took the bottom pulley out and jammed the bearing back into the center of the pulley.  We were about 5 miles from the car and I didn’t want to walk back.

So, it seemed like everything was good, but we’d done less than 20 miles in 2 + hours.  But, it didn’t last.  Next thing I know, my rear derailleur is hanging again, hanger gone.

I told the other guys to leave and proceeded to make my bike into a single speed.  That never works too well, and it really didn’t.   I did a little hike-a-bike and got to the road, which was just a couple miles from the car.  Pretty soon Bill and Roger were there.

We limped back to the car and Eric was already there, with a front flat and hurt wrist.  And it was nearly dark.

That is one of the things I hate about riding MTB bikes.  Sometimes, there is a lot of stopping, for lots of different reasons, and the day seems like kind of a bust.  I think we all felt that way. Three of us had a bunch of bike work to do and Bill was feeling mediocre physically.

We got back to Topeka around 10:30.  I had to drop everyone off, so it was still later.

Trudi got to spend the day with Bromont.  She was supposed to head to California yesterday, for the Tour of California, but now she is going on Monday morning early.

I’m going to try to fix my bike today, and maybe ride it some.  Bromont is not so great, so I guess it depends on how he is before I decide if I’m going to head back to Wilson Lake and race tomorrow.

Either way, if you’re ever driving through Kansas on I-70, and have a mountain bike, it would be a huge missed opportunity if you didn’t stop and ride the Wilson Lake trails.  It is amazing there.

It is pretty dramatic riding the trail.  I think it is a 22 mile loop.  The race is 30 miles, but we only rode 17 miles yesterday.

It is pretty dramatic riding the trail. I think it is a 22 mile loop. The race is 30 miles, but we only rode 17 miles yesterday.

The best part was riding the relief along the lake.

The best part was riding the relief along the lake.

Glad these hangers broke instead of my rear derailleur and rear wheel.  I guess that is how they are made.

Glad these hangers broke instead of my rear derailleur and rear wheel. I guess that is how they are made.

These lizards were everywhere along the trail.

These lizards were everywhere along the trail.

Some of the BBQ at Eric's place.

Some of the BBQ at Eric’s place.

Eric, at the dinner stop, ice and Ibruprofen.

Eric, at the dinner stop, ice and ibruprofen.

 

Bromont

This entry was posted in Important Life Stories on by .

Bromont died this past weekend.   He was pretty much done with this world.  Trudi is a mess. She loved that dog to death.  I just took her to the Kansas City airport, heading off to the Tour of California.  Hopefully that will be a good distraction for her.

It is so strange how you become so dependent upon being responsible for another.  He shaped my life more than I want to admit.   I think he made many other people’s life’s better too, which isn’t an insignificant thing.

I had a deal with Bromont.  I promised to take care of him as best I could, as long as I could.  We took care of each other.  He was a pure joy to be around and a very good boy.  I’m going to miss him like crazy.

 

DSCN5364

 

bromont.puppy

Everyone wants to say a Soundbite

This entry was posted in Comments about Cycling on by .

It seems like the professional athletes in cycling are always trying to get media attention by saying something extreme to garner it.    What happened to modesty and just letting your accomplishments speak for themselves?

Case in point is an article today on Bradley Wiggins’ hour record attempt.  Bradley, Mr. Modesty himself, says he could break the hour record today and plans to ride a distance that will stand for the next 20 years.  WTF is that all about?

His exact quote is – “I’ve got 55km in my head and I think it’s realistic. And I think if I do it, it will stand for 20 years.”

He is pretty much saying that he is the best athlete in the sport currently, and the best of the next generation too, right?   Man, he thinks a lot of himself.  Maybe he forgot that Chris Boardman, a fellow Brit, rode 56.375 km back in 1996, using the superman position.  He averaged 57.7 km/h the last 6 km, which is nearly 36 mph.  ( I guess that was nearly 20 years ago too.)

I’ve never been too big on “Sir Bradley”.  I don’t understand how he could win the Olympics a couple times at 185 pounds, then win the Tour de France at 150, now currently be racing  at 172.  That is just too weird for me.  Plus, he has a potty mouth and acts out too often for my liking.

Anyway, I assume he’ll smash the hour record next month.  He probably knows his wattage output and what that translates into for an hour on the track.  I really don’t care much.

I wish these guys would just shut up and ride their bikes.  Such boldness, or more like arrogance in this case, makes me think that they know something that we all don’t.  I’ve never known if I was going to be great on any particular day.  I hoped to be, but sometimes I just didn’t show up.  I think that is the way of athletics.  When you have such a supreme confidence, enough to outright just state it, then it sounds screwy.   And in today’s world, screwy in sports doesn’t interest me so much.

 

Back in the Saddle

This entry was posted in Comments about Cycling on by .

It had been 11 months and 10 days since I last rode a criterium.  That is the time since I broke my left hip at a criterium in Davenport Iowa on May 27th of last year.  I went back and read the post and am mildly amused how optimistic I was about that injury.  I said that it wasn’t even going to be 2 months for the recovery.  I was off by a lot.  I could hardly walk at 2 months.

Anyway, it is going on close to a year now and I’m still in the recovery process.  I have to admit, there are some days I don’t even think about it, but most days, something goes a little screwy down there at least once.

Anyway, I finally raced on the road, a training criterium, but was just a criterium.  I drove down to Texas, planning on going to Austin, to race the Driveway Series Criterium last night, but it looked like it was raining in Austin and it wasn’t going to rain further North, so I made the call and did the Fair Park Criterium in Dallas.

And it was the right call.  I have to admit, I was a tad bit worried how I was going to be.  I’m not really riding all that well and haven’t done any speed work in ages.  It was fine.  It was fine because of the course and the field.

The course is at the Fairgrounds and it is a long 4 corner rectangle.  Wide open corners and a really safe race, which is great for a training race.  Ginny King puts on the race and has been asking me for ages to come by and race.  I’m so happy I finally made it.

30 minutes before the start, during the B race, it started raining a little.  But just a little.  I told myself I can’t be selfish and race in the rain.  It wouldn’t make any sense to do that just now.  But, after doing a lap, it was all right hand corners, so my left hip was sort of out of play.

There were close to 80 guys in the A race, which I was happy about.  I thought I needed a lot of places to hide, but I now looking back upon it, I didn’t.  I was planning to just ride around in the group, which is exactly what I did.

I don’t have much to really report.  I kind of just sat in the field and did a ton of accelerations.  I wasn’t as pitiful as I had anticipated and really never got winded.  Brett Crosby rules this race and he put in a few big surges off the front.  It was a great course for a training race.  Easy in the field, extremely hard in the front in the wind.  Perfect.  Lots of guys said they were sorry to hear about Bromont, which was super nice.

They did abruptly ring the bell about 10 minutes before the scheduled finish and called 1 lap to go.  I had seen some lightening and it was looking like it might storm.  There were 8 or so guys just a bit off the front then and some of the guys in the field didn’t really hear that it was one to go.  I just went hard enough to stay at the front and finished somewhere between 10-12th I think. Not that it mattered, but I wasn’t ready for the race to be over.  It was too fun.

Anyway, it was nice knowing that sitting in a field, even though it was just a flat, wide open criterium, wasn’t hard.  I thought I might be a little nervous about the bike handling, but that wasn’t an issue at all.  Weird as that is.  Guess the saying, it’s just like riding a bike applies here.

At the start.

At the start.

 

Training in the Heat

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I’ve been down in Austin the last few days trying to avoid the rain that seems to have overtaken the whole midwest.  And I didn’t do a very good job of the avoidance.  I haven’t actually gotten caught in much rain here, but it is impossible to avoid the heat and humidity, which, the latter, is caused by rain.

It really hasn’t been that hot, in the mid 80’s, but it seems crazy hot when it is close to 100% humidity.  At least I’m not out in Colorado with Vincent.  It is snowing right now in Arvada.   The rain here is badly needed.  I rode by Lake Travis yesterday and there is actually some water in it.  I’m not sure it will ever be full again at this rate.  I heard it rained something like 8 inches here and if that is all the water that stays in Lake Travis, then it is worrisome.

My friend Ann, who I stay with down here, has had a bunch of big life changes.  She got married a few months ago and now is buying a new house.  We went by the new house to check out some of the construction they are doing before moving in.  It is really close to her old house, but in a much quieter neighborhood, on a cul-de-sac.  I like seeing construction in progress, so it was super fun.  We went out to dinner at one of our regular places, Z’Tejas, which was nice.

My Garmin computer has been acting up recently.  It seems to go dead, for no reason. Someone told me I can send it back and get it overhauled, but I hate not having it.  It seems to work sometimes and then not again.   I should read up about it.  Maybe it needs an update or something?

I’m heading back to Kansas soon.  It looks like the rain there is going to be gone after today.  I need to finish painting a house there.  I have it mostly scraped and sanded.  I’m not one to do a mediocre job on something, but I’m not too into this project, so I’ve lowered my standards some.

Okay, I’d better head back out into the humidity.

Ann showing me the kitchen in their new house.

Ann showing me the kitchen in their new house.

Testing for EPO at the Amgen ToC

This entry was posted in Comments about Cycling on by .

The title of this is a little misleading.  They have been testing for EPO at the Tour of California for a long time.  Not since the inception of the race, but for nearly the past decade.

The story here is that the UCI is finally allowing collaboration between the testing agencies and allowing USADA to do testing at the race.  This is a big deal, freeing up more resources for testing, which should allow for better testing and more of it.

They also announced that they are testing for synthetic  testosterone, CERA and hGH.  I’m not sure they should be announcing this before they do the testing, but they did.  Before, like in Floyd Landis’ case, you had to have a skewed TE ratio before they tested for synthetic testosterone.  Now they are just looking for the synthetic testosterone straight out.  Seems better.

I’m not big on testing.  I think that the athletes, or their doctors, are way ahead of the tests.  But, the threat of retroactive testing might be enough of a scare for trying out new products to deter some usage.

Anyway, I never understood why all the anti-doping agencies weren’t in this together and now it seems that Brian Cookson, head of the UCI, is serious and making it happen.  I have to applaud him for this.

Don’t think they can test for Aicar.  This explains a lot of these huge weight fluctuations.   Click the CC to get the English subtitles.