Monthly Archives: July 2015

Little Tweaked

This entry was posted in Comments about Cycling on by .

Okay, I’d like to write something about something pertinent in the sport, like something to do with the Tour, that starts on the 4th, or the new Garmin 520 that does live Strava segments (Ned needs one of these), like the iWatch, or dozens of other things.  But, I’m too beat to think.

This 100 mile MTB racing kind of tweaks you.  I felt pretty great the day after, on Sunday, pretty okay on Monday, then yesterday I was worse and today I woke up beat.

I think it has something to do with not being able to ride after the race because my knee was hurting and I decided it needed rest and ice instead of continued rotation.   In the long run, it is probably a good decision, but I think the best recovery is active recovery, which is riding my bike.

I think it is really strange that I can ride 7200 miles this year, 421 hours, and my knee hurts the last two hours doing the exact same thing that I’d been doing the previous 420 hours.  What is that all about?  I must of done something just a little different.  I didn’t hit it, which can be a cause of this prepatellar bursitis.

Yesterday riding, it felt like it was actually patella tendonitis, which I’ve had before.  None of this is really a big deal, I hope.  I’ve went through all of this before.  Just as I age, some of these things can become chronic, and I’m not big on having chronic injuries.  One thing great about cycling is that it is hard to have repetitive use injuries because it is so easy on your body. Cycling is what the tell you to do when you have an injury.

I’m planning on trying again today, riding my road bike.  I rode singletrack yesterday and that was a little too much.  Maybe not too much for my knee, but I was sort of out of juice, so it got kind of long.  Riding MTB bikes is a lot more energy intensive that cruising around on my road bike.

I don’t have any plans on racing this weekend.  July 4th up in Cable is fun.  They do a little downtown parade, which a lot of my friends up here participate in, plus everyone is up here, so it is a good time to reconnect with friends that are drawn to the Northwoods.

I’m planning on going out to Colorado after this and do some altitude training.  I’m sort of kicking around doing Leadville, which is not a good race for me, but something I’m feeling I need to do.  Brian is doing it again, after finishing 7th last year.  He is going to be out in Colorado for most of July.   I’m sure Vincent has some fun stuff to do there, probably local MTB races.

Okay, maybe I’ll wander down to the lake and swim some this morning.  I know, what a hard life.

 

If I do Leadville, this is what I'd anticipate my view would be for much of the event.

If I do Leadville, this is what I’d anticipate my view would be for much of the event.

 

Professional Promoters Have Killed the Journeyman Bike Racer

This entry was posted in Comments about Cycling on by .

Let’s face it, our sport has really be taken over by professional promoters.  Not all promoters and all races have this issue, but many races that I consider doing has this issue.  And by this issue I mean that they are charging pretty unbelievable entry fees for really shitty prize lists.   And by shitty I mean sometimes nothing.

I know, I’m going to hear all the complaints that it takes a ton of money to put on a bike race. But I’ve promoted a few races and was alright charging $15 to race.

Let’s use the Intellegentsiacup as an example.  This is kind of a replacement of the old Superweek, but not really.  For the PRO 1/2 races, it is $53 to race for a $1750 prize list.  So, if there are 35 guys at the race, it pays for the prize list.  Some bingo huh?   The hook to the riders is that  there is one NCC race during the 7 day race that has a $13500 prize list.

Let’s compare this to Tulsa Tough that is $50 to race for $10000 a day, or $42500 total for the weekend.   At the Intellegentsiacup, you pay two and half times the entry for 1/2 the prize list.

When I started racing, entry fees were really nothing.  Nearly always under $5.  And you’d win pretty great prizes and trophies.  Then it slowly turned to cash.  And this was great.

Cash prize lists allowed many guys like me, who were trying to make cycling a lifestyle, to go from race to race and live.  There were lots of guys that were living off the prize money they were winning each weekend.  It was a minimal existence, but it was enough to get by.  Enough to pay for gas, motels, food and entries.  There is no way that is the case nowadays.

There is no journeyman bike racer anymore.  There is no way that you can come close to living off prize money now.  Everything is way more expensive, but the entry fees have really gotten out of control.

What kind of irks me even more is that many of these “professional promoters” are ex-racers that wouldn’t have considered going to the races that they are currently promoting now.  These are guys that made their livings by hitting big money races and wouldn’t even thought of racing for “peanuts”.

Let’s use Dennis’ Seeley Hill Ski Race as an example.  He charges $40 for entry and has a $3000 prize list, which is nearly unheard of in cross country skiing.  Plus when you enter you get a $25 Swix Ski hat,  a bowl of hot soup and unlimited cookies.

I know it isn’t fair comparing a ski race to a bike race.  The average ski racer doesn’t do anywhere near as many races as a bike racer.  Bike racers compete in way, way more events than nearly any other sport.

Let’s use another example.  How about the US National Mountainbike Championships in Mammouth in a couple weeks.  Here’s a link to the entry.   If I wanted to enter the x-country, the short track and the enduro there, it would cost me a total of $340 now.  And that is for $0 prize list.

When I went to the first Nationals I did, which happen to be in Milwaukee, when I got there, I was paid, yes they handed me a check for travel money to come to the event.  I was the Kansas State Champion and the USCF (USAC) wanted to help me come to the race.  Here is the organization that we fund to promote our National Championships and they are making a pretty big pay day promoting an event that is part of the reason they are in existence.

I know some races have a reduced entry for juniors.  I think that all junior’s entries should be almost nothing.  Maybe $5 to cover the insurance.  The race is already happening.  We don’t need to be making money off a bunch of teenagers.  We need to be encouraging them to race as often as possible.

I’m not sure how to fix this problem.  It used to be a rule that each cycling team had to promote one event a year to stay in good standings.  That isn’t the case anymore.  Maybe if they went back to this rule, then there would be more races with less expense for the riders.  Because if we don’t get this under control, we are going to price ourselves out of existence.

Affordable transportation between races?

Affordable transportation between races?

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Tour France or Tour de Crash?

This entry was posted in Comments about Cycling on by .

I read a good article that Bauke Mollema wrote about the Tour and riders safety.  It is spot on. And since the Tour starts tomorrow, in Holland, where it could be crosswinds, this is a good time to address the elephant in the room.  The riders and the team managers need to address the issues with all the crashes that have historically happened early in the race because when you really look at the situation closely, they themselves have escalated the danger of the race.

I don’t disagree with anything that Bauke mentions.  He is correct on all observations.  The danger exists because there is not enough space for all riders at the front.  And the team directors are on the radios telling all their riders to be at the front, which again, is impossible.

The peloton needs to be more concerned with safety.  Trying to stay in line, on a team mate’s wheel, in the middle of the pack is just plain stupid.  Fighting for position in the middle of the peloton is just plain stupid, early in the race.  It does nothing but endanger all the riders around you.

When I went out to Colorado three years ago and “witnessed” some pre-race testing of the Garmin team, from Jonathan Vaughters’ invite, a lot of what Tom Danielson and Christian Vande Velde talked about was being scared shitless about the first week of the Tour.  Could they survive the carnage that was going to for sure happen?  I never remember, ever having these thoughts in any race I started.

Everyone recognizes the problem, just no one or no team wants to say uncle and change the way they ride.  Everyone has to change their tactics.  Most places during of the race, or coming into technical sections, there isn’t enough room on the road for all 200 guys.  So a lot of them end up on the ground and out of the race.  This is a relatively new phenomenon.  Definitely since the inclusion of the race radio.  The GC riders, and their teams, need to back off at the finish of the races. There isn’t enough space for all the sprinters, plus their leadout trains, and all the CG riders teams.  It is physically impossible.

Get rid of the radios and let the riders figure out how to stay safe on the course.  A big part of bike racing is being able to read the race as it happens.  That part is fast becoming history in this new age of electronics.  To the riders detriment.   The team directors need to quit playing Russian roulette with their riders.  The sport is dangerous enough on its own.

Here is a link to Bauke Mollema’s article at Cyclingnews.  I agree with it nearly 100%.  I’m not quite sure about moving the 3K rule out to 10K, but other than that, it is spot on.

There is obviously only so much road for the peloton to use.

There is obviously only so much road for the peloton to use.

 

 

 

 

 

 

July 4th, Cable Wisconsin

This entry was posted in Just Life on by .

Everyone should make it a point to spend the 4th of July in a small town, just about anywhere in American.  Small towns on the 4th are what the holiday is all about.  I’m up in Cable, Wisconsin and this is definitely the case.  This morning there was a 5-10k run at 8am, followed by a pancake feed, then the 4th of July parade at 11 and finally a 4th of July picnic at the local park. The picnic is corn on the cob, homemade pies, ect.

I’m sitting at the Rivers Eatery, having coffee and a homemade cinnamon roll from the local bakery, watching the TT at the Tour.  Pretty great way to start the day.

Hope you have a great 4th too!

 

 

My friend David Gilmer finishing 3rd in the Cable 5k.

My friend David Gilmer finishing 3rd in the Cable 5k.

Watching the Tour at the Rivers Eatery.

Watching the Tour at the Rivers Eatery.

 

 

 

 

 

Weekend

This entry was posted in Just Life on by .

I am pretty surprised how beat I am, a week after doing a 100 mile MTB race.  I was starting to feel rundown before the race, so maybe I was already going to be feeling mediocre even if I didn’t do a 5+ hour MTB race.  I do have all the symptoms of allergies and everything is covered with a layer of green pine pollen up here in the Northwoods.

Anyway, I’m still plodding away, trying to ride easy for as long as I can physically stand it.  I rode 70 miles a couple days ago and 50 yesterday.  I’ve been cramping some at night, in my sleep, but I’m sort of in denial, so I dismiss this as a issue.

The 4th yesterday was great here in Cable.  Like I wrote yesterday, lots of holiday festivities.  I participated, mainly by watching, a ton of them.  I watched the run early, then the parade, ate the picnic lunch, then rode, and finally the fireworks at 10 pm.

Cable has a pretty unbelievable fireworks display for a town of 800.  It was pretty constant for 20 minutes, with a great finale.  There were a lot of mosquitos trying to suck our blood, but we had some Avon Skin-So-Soft with us, so we didn’t get too destroyed.

I’m watching the Tour now.  Seems like a pretty hard day for the first road stage of the Tour. Side winds and rain in Holland isn’t a real surprise.  Seems like some GC guys are going to lose time today, but there is still an hour left.  Not sure about BMC leaving the yellow jersey to fend for himself.

I’m going to go for a ride this afternoon, the to an outside concert of Molly and the Danger Band.  I’ve seen Molly play quite a few times now and it is always super.

Okay, the Tour is getting interesting, so I’m going to watch now.  Enjoy.

This little girl was great.  This is during the Star Spangle Banner before the parade.

This little girl was great. This is during the Star Spangle Banner before the parade.

Rivers Eatery entry into the parade.

Rivers Eatery entry into the parade.

Nice firework display.

Nice firework display.

My calf has become a little infected after a crash before the Lutsen race last weekend.  Maybe this is why I'm feeling under the weather.

My calf has become a little infected after a crash before the Lutsen race last weekend. Maybe this is why I’m feeling under the weather.

 

Crashfest, oh, forget it

This entry was posted in Fun Stuff on by .

I am sitting in Cable, eating pancakes with blackberries, watching the Tour de France and told Dennis, who was making the pancakes, that very soon, there is going to be carnage.  It was so obvious that…….

Okay, I wrote the whole post and it completely disappeared into cyberspace.  The paragraph above is all that was left.   I don’t have the mental tenacity to rewrite the same thing again.  I was done with it before I did it the first time.

Needless to say, the Tour was strange.  Neutralized by the organizers after a crash.  Never heard of that before.  Not sure I agree with that.

So, change of subjects completely.

It is down pouring rain in the Northwoods.  It is supposed to rain almost 2 inches today.

Yesterday was super.  Bill, Karl and I rode the Firehouse 50 course and ended up at the Rookery, a nice restaurant with an outside venue for music.  Molly and the Danger Band was playing.  Below, there is a short video of a new instrumental she is recording this fall.

I love listening to her sing.  She is so talented.  She played at Pat and Gwen’s wedding and makes beautiful music, plays the violin, mandolin, guitar, and many other instruments incredible. I could listen to her play all day.

But, we had to ride back and get back to the Rivers Eatery and watch the women’s world cup finals.  By the time I got there, the game was pretty much over.  Nice.

We moved outside and Beth told me there are a bunch of stray kittens, small cats at a house that is most likely going to be demolished soon.  So she grabbed a bunch of cooked chicken they didn’t use on pizzas and we walked over.

Two of the kittens were together, checking us out.  They are not quite feral, but close.  They will approach and I could touch a couple of them on their heads.  They don’t stand much of a chance up here, with all the predators lurking about.  Plus, the harsh winter.  Anyone need a new cat?  They are very cute.  I could catch and deliver.

Okay, better watch the end of the race.  The finish is going to be exciting.

Carnage at the Tour.

Carnage at the Tour.


Talking to Molly while she was taking a break.

Talking to Molly while she was taking a break. Dennis is looking concentrated.


Trudi soaking up some sun.

Trudi soaking up some sun.

 

Kittens.  Think there might be as many as 8.

Kittens. Think there might be as many as 8.

Lawyer Tabs or Not

This entry was posted in Comments about Cycling on by .

I was watching the Tour yesterday and was interested in how quick guys were getting front wheel changes when they had a flat.  Some teams seem to do it pretty quickly, but for sure, there are others that have serious “lawyer tabs” on their forks, so their mechanics have to spin the front quick release quite awhile before their secure the wheel.

I pretty much hate the tabs on the forks that “prevent” your wheel from coming off, in case you forget how to properly use a quick release.  They are just a hassle.

I have ground dozens of them off of different forks I own.  Road, cross and front forks on my MTB bike.   For racing there is no place for lawyer tabs.

The rule that makes this all pertinent is the UCI rule – Article 1.3.002, which states,, “A license holder is not authorized to modify, in any way, the equipment given by the manufacturer used in competition.”

I would have thought by now there would be a fork manufacture that would produce a race fork without the tabs, but maybe that is against government law?

I’ve left my tabs on both my road and MTB bikes.  I don’t have any tabs on my cross bikes, which is strange, because those are the races where I have the highest chance of having my bike checked by the UCI.  I have ridden some UCI MTB races and no one looked at my bike there.

Throwing out the problems of removing the front wheel quickly for a wheel change or repair, the hassle of putting a bike on and off a roof rack, especially and older roof rack, is a real problem.  Spinning a quick release on a roof rack is sometimes problem, so taking a bike on and off the top of a van, ect., can really turn into a task.  That is probably what I hate most about the tabs on a fork.

Anyway, just a little short rant about a bothersome rule that really has no place in the sport. These tabs don’t add any safety to bike racing.  If anything, they add additional stress, which most likely detracts from a riders safety.

I understand the rule, I just don’t think the UCI should be enforcing it in this instance.

If I had my way, this would be the best way to deal with all lawyer tabs on forks.

If I had my way, this would be the best way to deal with all lawyer tabs on forks.