Monthly Archives: August 2015

Monday Rambling – Cramping Cured?

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Yesterday my guys here in Topeka did a 4 hour ride.  It was super muggy, but not hot by Kansas standards.  Even with the cooler temperatures, my legs were feeling iffy.  They are still a little destroyed from Leadville two weeks ago.  I’m pretty sure that is the longest duration in a race I’ve ever had to deal with cramping issues.  The residual effects are hanging around pretty long.

So, I decided to look around for a remedy.  I found this website, its the nerve, that has given me hope.  It is a product, not on the market, as of yet, that supposedly cures cramping issues.  It is a company co-founded by Rod MacKinnon a, a Nobel Prize-winning neuroscientist. (That sounds pretty promising, a Nobel Prize winning neuroscientist. )  Anyway, I don’t know much about their product other than it claims to “cure” sports related cramping by addressing the nerves that causes them.  I might make it my mission to try to test some of this stuff.  I would be the perfect guy for that.  It is supposed to be commercially available in 2016. Maybe my legs will be recovered by then?

My neighborhood has taken upon itself to start cutting down huge trees, for virtually no reason. My neighbors across the street cut down a 60 year old Oak tree.  Rumor has it that they did it because they were experiencing ants in their pool filter and a tree guy said that the ants lived in the tree, so they just decided to cut it down.  Another guy around the corner cut down a gigantic hickory and from what I can tell, he did it to rough cut the wood for some reason.  Can you imagine cutting down a 100 year old tree, in your front yard, just to use the wood?  People are so short sighted a lot of the times.

On the ride yesterday, there were 5 of us left, sort of coming back on the edge of town, Topeka, when a white pickup decided to pass us up a hill over a solid yellow.  He made the decision way behind us because he came by fast.  The usual thing here was that there was a silver minivan coming down the hill, directly at him.  But, he didn’t blink and the van had to make an abrupt serve off the road into the ditch.  Then the pickup drive pulls into our lane and proceeds to brake and then flips us off, yelling out the window.

Bill went off on the guy.  I just said that I wanted to talk to his girlfriend in the passenger seat. She was yelling at him and even hit is leg, or something  telling him to stop it.

I was planning to tell her that she shouldn’t be sitting in that truck, that she had probably witnessed the guy do 100’s of things like this and it was a waste of her life spending it with such a bad person.  This would have pissed the guy off more than anything I could say to him, plus it was the truth, so maybe it would have helped her.  But, I didn’t get the chance because the guy drove off at high speed.  We don’t encounter that many irate drivers around Topeka, but when we do, sometimes they are way over the line.

The Gateway Cup, in St. Louis this weekend, has an overall omni prize list.  It is $13000 for both me and women.  The women’s prize list is exactly the same as the men’s. Seems like a pretty good prize list for races nowadays.  Maybe I can make expenses back this weekend?

I need to assemble parts for my mountain and cross bikes the next couple days.  I decided that I’m leaving my cross bikes 10 speed, I guess.  I can’t justify riding 11 speed when I have so many 10 speed rear race wheels.  It just doesn’t make sense.  This wheel dilemma is annoying.  10 or 11, disc or rim braking?  Makes for non interchangeable wheels between road and cross.  I hate it.

I was thinking about going to get a blood test today, but maybe missed my window, since I’ve already eaten a bowl of cereal.  I have to drive to Lawrence, that is the nearer LabCorp.  I’m interested in my hematocrit since I spent 6 weeks at altitude.  Plus my cholesterol.  I’ve been eating a ton of eggs and butter.  Maybe tomorrow.

Okay, that enough, I could keep going on and on.  Funny how a mind works.

Neighbor that cut the tree to make it into dimensional lumber.

Neighbor that cut the tree to make it into dimensional lumber.

Trudi dug up a bunch of potatoes yesterday after riding. I though they would all be bigger.

Trudi dug up a bunch of potatoes yesterday after riding. I though they would all be bigger.

The pets tend to migrate to whereever Trudi is at.

The pets tend to migrate to where ever Trudi is at.  She’s still sleeping a bunch.

 

 

These guys should be working a ‘cross pit!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Back in Kansas

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I’ve been back in Kansas for just a full day now.  I seemed to have brought the Colorado weather back with me because it isn’t the “normal” August temperatures here.  It is approaching cool at night, which is great.

The thick air seems just that.  It has been raining on and off and the my nose appreciates the humidity.  I was getting tired of blowing crusty blood out of my nose every morning in Colorado.

I’ve ridden twice since back.  The first time it was about 5 minutes after driving 7 hours and I felt pretty good.  Yesterday I rode 3 hours and didn’t feel that great.  Go figure.  Think I might just need a little decompression.

It never really browned up this year in Kansas.  It has continually been raining, so everything stayed green, which isn’t normal.  It will probably be a great sunflower fall.  Whenever there is a ton of rain, sunflowers always come in droves along fence lines and ditches.  I guess that is why Kansas is called the Sunflower State.

I’m trying to catch up with stuff here.  The van turned over 300K miles, so I changed the oil and filter.  It takes  15 quarts of oil, so using synthetic oil, it costs over $100, with the filter, for a change doing it myself.  Kind of expensive.  Diesel fuel is finally inverted again, in price, compared to gasoline.  It has been a few years since it was cheaper for diesel than gas.  Right now it is about 10-20% less, depending on where you get it.  It should get a little more as the summer goes on, I hope.

I’m not really concerned about training.  I’m riding, of course, but hope to user the Labor Day races in St. Louis, the Gateway Cup, as speed work, and hopefully come out of that with some resemblance of a jump.  I know it sounds weird, 4 days of racing to get a jump, but it can come that fast, normally.

Okay, I like Sundays.  I’m watching the end of Tour of Spain right now and enjoying a cup of tea.  There is a ride from my house at 12:30, so I have a couple leisurely hours ahead.  I’ll probably start a project, but that is fine, what Sunday’s are all about when I’m not racing.

We installed a headset in my new frame at Vincent's before I left Colorado.

We installed a headset in my new frame at Vincent’s before I left Colorado.

There was new asphalt on I-70 in Kansas. Some infant or completely inept person, put the temporary lines on the road. This wasn't even the worst of it. It was like this for miles upon miles.

There was new asphalt on I-70 in Kansas. Some infant or completely inept person, put the temporary lines on the road. This wasn’t even the worst of it. It was like this for miles upon miles.

The van turned over 300,000 miles driving back from Arvada on Friday.

The van turned over 300,000 miles driving back from Arvada on Friday.

An oil change takes 4 gallons of oil. Ouch.

An oil change takes 4 gallons of oil. Ouch.

We've had this green pepper plant for 4 years now. We used to plant it back outside in the garden, but now just leave it in its pot and move it back inside in the winter. It still produces peppers. Weird.

We’ve had this green pepper plant for 4 years now. We used to plant it back outside in the garden, but now just leave it in its pot and move it back inside in the winter. It still produces peppers. Weird.

This volunteer pumpkin plant started underneath the bird feeder and I guess Kris decided to let it grow. It has a few pumkins on it, so it will be fun seeing if there is enough time for them to grow fully.

This volunteer pumpkin plant started underneath the bird feeder and I guess Kris decided to let it grow. It has a few pumkins on it, so it will be fun seeing if there is enough time for them to grow fully.

We walked the two blocks to the Walberg's house to catch up. We'd already eaten, so we just had wine. Trudi brought dessert. Catherine's mom was over, so that is always entertaining.

We walked the two blocks to the Walberg’s house to catch up. We’d already eaten, so we just had wine. Trudi brought dessert. Catherine’s mom was over, so that is always entertaining.

What is going on with hotel prices? I used to be able to get a 3.5 or 4 star room over Labor Day in St. Louis for less than $50. Seems like travel is staying expensive. I read that the average plane ticket this year is $497 roundtrip. Crazy when you add luggage fees, etc.

What is going on with hotel prices? I used to be able to get a 3.5 or 4 star room over Labor Day in St. Louis for less than $50. Seems like travel is staying expensive. I read that the average plane ticket this year is $497 roundtrip. Crazy when you add luggage fees, etc.

 

Burning Man Tomorrow

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Tomorrow is the official start of Burning Man, a week long “art festival” in the middle of the Nevada desert.  I have always been interested in Burning Man, but have never gone past the occasional google search.

If you like people watching, which I do, I believe Burning Man might be the pinnacle of it.  I very much doubt you’ll find a place on the planet that you would be able to find a bigger collection of eclectic people at one time.

I think getting into Burning Man is harder than getting into Leadville.  Plus the preparation might be as energy intensive as what I just did for the last month.

Anyway, I figure that if I went to Burning Man, my stick would be a roving bicycle shop.  Bicycles are the choice transportation at Burning Man and I assume a ton of them break down because of the dust and such, but probably more from the debauchery.

I think it would be an interesting life experience.

The Burning Man city looks incredible from above.

The Burning Man city looks incredible from above.

The space is so big that bicycles are needed to navigate the vast space.

The space is so big that bicycles are needed to navigate the vast space.

A roving vet might be needed there too.

A roving vet might be needed there too.

Heading Home

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Today I’m finally heading back to Kansas for a bit.  I’ve been out in Colorado for a month and a half and it is very easy to get used to it.  It has been super weather and I’ve gotten to ride with tons of friends.  But, reality calls.  Trudi has to head back to work early next week.  She is driving a BMC team car with me back to Topeka this morning, which isn’t optimal.  I don’t think she has caught up on sleep yet from the last month.

It was nice hanging in Steamboat Springs for a few days.   I could have stayed there a while.   Kent Eriksen has so many projects going on that it might be a never ending series of endeavors, which is fine.  It is always nice to have a project to look forward to.

Kent is an amazing athlete.  He took me on a pretty nice ride, right from his house, and it is unbelievable how strong he is, considering he is riding, maybe twice a week, but probably closer to once.  Plus the endless hours he puts in on his feet fabricating frames.

I have a dual suspension frame, I just need to get the parts now.  It should be fine. I probably won’t ride it at Chequamegon, but there are lots of long, technical racers in the midwest that it should be perfect for.  Maybe it will just become my “standard” MTB.  I don’t really know.

I’m looking forward to riding some in Kansas.  It is supposed to be pretty hot there, in the 90’s, all week.  I have only had a couple hot days the last month.  Kind of miss it.  Summer doesn’t seem right if I miss all the hot weather.

Like I posted last week, I am going to head to St. Louis for Labor Day.  There are 4 criteriums there and my jump is non-existent.  Maybe that will “fix” the problem.  Or at least get me on program to try to get some snap.  I really haven’t had a jump since I broke my hip last year.  Cyclo-cross mandates accelerations, so it is about time I do something about it.

Okay, I’d better get moving.  There is a 6 o’clock ride in Topeka tonight.  I’d like to get back in time for that.

Kent being all retro with an Etto helmet.  He left his helmet at the shop, so went down to his basement and this is what he came up with.

Kent being all retro with an Etto helmet. He left his helmet at the shop, so went down to his basement and this is what he came up with.

The trail around Kent's house, up by the hotsprings in Steamboat, is all decomposed granite.  It's pretty loose and tricky.

The trail around Kent’s house, up by the hotsprings in Steamboat, is all decomposed granite. It’s pretty loose and tricky.

We stopped and picked wild raspberries along the trail.

We stopped and picked wild raspberries along the trail.

These guys, Barnum and Bailey, were waiting for us when we got back from riding.

These guys, Barnum and Bailey, were waiting for us when we got back from riding.

Kent just kept the retro look going.

Kent just kept the retro look going.

After a couple beers, I started helping with a small retaining wall.

After a couple beers, I started helping with a small retaining wall.

The drive back to I-70 was pretty nice on 131.  I skipped going through Kremmling because of construction.

The drive back to I-70 was pretty nice on 131. I skipped going through Kremmling because of construction.

Meeting with Derek Bouchard-Hall – CEO of USAC

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Last week during the Pro Challenge, in Colorado, I got a personal invitation from Derek Bouchard-Hall, newly appointed CEO and President of USAC, to meet up and talk for a while. It was a nice idea and I was looking forward to it.

It took a little back and forth, but we finally got together in Breckenridge, before the finish of stage 4 on Thursday.

I hadn’t seen Derek in a long time.  I can’t remember the last time, actually.  I raced against him for a few years, but he was doing a lot of stuff not on my list, track, etc. and I didn’t run into him that often.

I asked him what he had been up to and he said he had spent the last 9 years in England.  That he was running Wiggle, an online cycling store that does amazing business overseas.  Plus, he has a MBA.  Seems like a good choice for the job.

So, he was just doing a fact finding trip.  I was more interested listening to him talk, trying to get a read on his vision.  First of all, he is a super smart guy.  So he understands, at least at this point in his short leadership position, some or maybe even, most of the problems he has to address.

He and I agreed on lots.  He is adamantly against drug use and thinks it needs to seriously be addressed.  He understands that USAC has been negligent in the past, for a lot of reasons, and hopes to regain the trust of all its members.

Velonews did an article about meeting up with him last week.  They cover most of his agenda much better than me.  They must of had a recorder, I was just chatting.  Here is a link.

He didn’t talk to me so much about anti-doping, which the title of the Velonews article is.  He stated his position and we moved on.

In the Velonews article, he says – “We are network of volunteers that put on races, local associations, race promoters, officials, and I’ve just been surprised by how complex the ecosystem really is,” he said. “There are so many different groups, different parties, different entities, all involved in the execution of our sport. Ours is not a cohesive sport that is centrally run, there are a lot of different groups. It’s been surprising to me how many individuals and parties are involved. It’s a complex challenge.”

I thought that was a correct statement that I’d never considered.

Anyway, he wanted my input on MTB racing, realizing that the racing scene, here in the US, has some serious problems.    I told him that I really hadn’t done enough elite racing to know how to fix the problems, but recognized them.  I don’t think that UCI MTB racing works here in the United States.  Short races with pits doesn’t attract many riders and virtually no spectators.

Anyway, Derek seems to be a super reasonable guy with super good intentions.  He said he took the job because he said it was important and that he thought that he could make a difference.

From my short meeting with him, I agree, if he addresses half of what we talked about, he will make a positive difference for our sport.  I think we should all give him a chance to do just that.

Derek Bouchard-Hall at Breckenridge.

Derek Bouchard-Hall in Breckenridge.

I ran into Dave Chauner in the VIP tent.  Dave has started a new track endeavor to  bring track racing to the masses.

I ran into Dave Chauner in the VIP tent. Dave has started a new track endeavor to bring track racing to the masses.  He is always doing innovative things.  Dave is one of those guys that Derek was talking about, an individual that contributes a ton to our sport, but is doing it on his own terms.

 

Steamboat Bound for awhile

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We got to Steamboat Springs a little after noon, just in time for lunch.  Then we hung for a while, then went for a super road ride.  Hung a little more, then dinner on the river.  Pretty great day.

Vincent got his car and decided to come back through Steamboat on his way back, so he drove Hwy 40 from Salt Lake to Steamboat Springs and got here late last night.  He says that his new Honda Pilot steers itself on the highway for over 30 seconds without touching the steering wheel.  It tells you after a while that you should steer, but the car keeps steering itself.  Weird.

I’m going to help Kent do some construction stuff at his house this morning and then hopefully talk him into doing a MTB ride.  Vincent only has his mountain bike with him, so that is the bike of choice.

I’m getting a new dual suspension frame from Kent.  Brad already assembled it ( and designed it), so it’s all ready to assemble.  It should be great for rocky midwest trails.

Okay, this day is going to be busy, so I might as well get it started.

My new dual suspension frame.

My new dual suspension frame.


Brad Bingham, who designed the dual suspension bike, doing his thing, welding a tandem frame. The guy is an artist.

Brad Bingham, who designed the dual suspension bike, doing his thing, welding a tandem frame. The guy is an artist.


Kent holding the tacked tandem frame.

Kent holding the tacked tandem frame.


Kent sitting in Brad's Airstream. We stopped at the end of the ride to check it out. It is beautiful inside.

Kent sitting in Brad’s Airstream. We stopped at the end of the ride to check it out. It is beautiful inside.


Here's an old picture of my Mt. Oread team from when I first started racing. A couple of the guys, Jim May and Cal Melick were hit by cars while riding and killed. Jim when I was younger and Cal last year. Most the other guys in the photo I still know.

Here’s an old picture of my Mt. Oread team from when I first started racing. A couple of the guys, Jim May and Cal Melick were hit by cars, while riding, and killed. Jim when I was younger and Cal last year. Most the other guys in the photo I still know.


  Kent explaining his vision of the project.  

 

 

Still on the Move

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It is funny, even when I’m not racing it feels funny when the race is over.  There is always so much stuff to do after a stage race that it just extends the race.  That was the case yesterday with Trudi.   She had to take some stuff over to Pearl Izumi and got stuck in traffic.  Then she had to wash all the dirty towels and the podium jerseys, which were soaked in Champagne and beer.  By the time she was done, it was late and we only made it up to Silverthorne, not to our destination, which is Steamboat Springs.

So, this morning, I washed all my dirty cycling clothing, filled the hummingbird feeders, and are ready to head over to Steamboat.  I know Kent and Katie are slammed with work, so it is nice that they are up for us coming over.  Trudi left the BMC car she is driving down in Arvada, so we consolidated.

Yesterday for me was simple.  I just got on my bike and rode.  Vincent hasn’t been feeling all that great riding, so he wanted to go challenge himself again and ride Lookout Mountain a couple times.  I wasn’t doing that, so Sue and I rode a scenic loop of the front range.  It was great, ended up at Red Rocks, where they were doing sound checks for an Incubus concert last night.  We ended up meeting Trudi in Golden for a late lunch, early dinner, then rode back to Vincent’s house.  Vincent had already packed up and left, driving to Salt Lake City to pick up a new Honda Pilot for his wife, Lisa.

Anyway, I’m going to be in Colorado a couple more days and then finally make it back to Kansas for a few days.  I’m planning on racing over Labor Day in St. Louis.  I haven’t really looked for a race this weekend.  I need more racing to get some high end form.  Right now I feel like I’m a diesel engine type guy.  That doesn’t thrill me much at all.

Okay, it is still smokey up here in the mountains.  I wonder when this is going to clear?  Seems like it needs a wind change or something to blow it out.  I haven’t really been feeling it too badly in my lungs, not like Kansas in the spring, but it doesn’t look very good.

I ran into an old friend, Daryl Price, in Golden yesterday.  He moved to Evergreeen.  It was nice catching up some.

I ran into an old friend, Daryl Price, in Golden yesterday. He moved to Evergreeen. It was nice catching up some.

Sue riding up to Red Rocks.

Sue riding up to Red Rocks.

The Red Rocks amphitheater.

The Red Rocks amphitheater.

Lisa coming back from a walk with Jack, the puppy Nick, and Petra in the stroller.

Lisa coming back from a walk with Jack, the puppy Nick, and Petra in the stroller.

This rabbit hangs out next to Vincent's house.  He is nearly tame, until Jack comes out, then he runs.

This rabbit hangs out next to Vincent’s house. He is nearly tame, until Jack comes out, then he runs.