Monthly Archives: August 2015

August 1st – Copper Triangle

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I’m leaving at the crack of dawn to ride over to Copper Mountain, from Silverthorne, to ride the Copper Triangle benefit ride.  This year is my year for these benefit rides.  I think I’ve done three now.

This ride happens to benefit the Davis Phinney Foundation, who is a friend of mine.  This ride has raised over $750,000 since 2006, so it is going to a good cause.

And breaking news, as of yesterday, Taylor Phinney, Davis’ son, is racing the Tour of Utah, which starts in a couple days.  This will be his first race back since he destroyed his leg at the US Professional Championships last year.  I hope it works out great for him.  It is also the return race for Peter Stetina, son of Dale Stetina, uncle, Wayne Stetina.  He got pretty smashed up himself this spring, and this will be a good place to get back into the swing of things.

Anyway, Vincent is driving over and I’m doing the hour before and a little less back.  I think, if all goes well, I’ll have around 112 miles total, with close to 8000 feet of climbing.  Pretty long day for me.

I took it easy yesterday, just riding over to Copper Mountain and back slow with Vincent.  It was 34 miles.  My throat feels amazingly better, but my legs have nothing.  Hopefully that won’t be the case today.  There are lots of sag stops, etc., so if I’m having one of those days, I’ll just poke along and enjoy the scenery.

I might be driving to Telluride after the ride, with Vincent, to go look at a puppy he is thinking about getting.  It’s a Wirehaired Pointing Griffon and there are only two puppies available.  I told him just to tell the guy he would take one.  Once you go see a puppy, you are going to get it about no matter what.  It is a 3 1/2 hour drive each way.

I been eating a bunch of eggs and kale for breakfast recently.  It is Vincent’s deal and now it is my deal.  It seems healthy when you make it with coconut oil, but I’m all mixed up with what is healthy for humans nowadays, so I am just hoping it is good for me because it tastes good and seems to stay with me on a long ride.

Okay, it is chilly out right now, 45, I think.  Not supposed to be above 60 until after 9am, 3 hours in.  It only makes you appreciate the warm more I guess.

Custom numbers and wrist bands.  Kind of cool.

Custom numbers and wrist bands. Kind of cool.

Start of breakfast.

Start of breakfast.

I've been feeding the hummingbirds up here in the mountains.  They are very hungry.

I’ve been feeding the hummingbirds up here in the mountains. They are very hungry.

Sunset last night.  It was a blue moon.

Sunset last night. It was a blue moon.

Copper Triangle then to Hotchkiss for Puppies

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Yesterday was a full meal deal.  I got on my bike around 6:30 to meet up with Vincent in Cooper Mountain to do the Cooper Triangle ride.  It was pretty chilly, my Garmin said it was around 37 when I got up to Copper, which is about an hour from Silverthorn, mostly uphill.

I felt pretty cruddy riding over there.  It was a little headwind and I was overfull from breakfast, plus I hardly ever ride that early.  And I’ve been riding a ton and it finally felt like it was catching up with me.

I got up to the start of the ride around 7:40 and nearly everyone had already left for the 78 mile loop.  My hands were pretty cold and we started straight up Freemont Pass.  Vincent told me he planned to ride hard up all the climbs/hills and take it easy on the flatter sections.  I said great, sarcastically.

But, he wasn’t kidding, because within a few minutes, I was riding 350 watts up Freemont Pass.  I sat on for awhile thinking that I should just ride my own pace, but in the back on my mind, I figured that Vincent would poop out some and slow down enough to make it tolerable.   And he did.

But, we keep riding pretty briskly.  At the top, Vincent wanted to stop to get some food, since he didn’t have any in his pockets.  I got a banana and we headed down to Leadville and then back on 24 towards Minturn.

Tennessee Pass is there, but it really isn’t much of a climb.  After that is Red Mountain, which is a pretty hard hill, but it is really a hill and not so much of a climb.  Vincent climbed this off his seat the whole way and I was sort of in pain, once again.

The descent off Red Mountain is great.  Fast and fun.  Then it goes fast thru Minturn, back up threw Vail, up Vail Pass and coasting back on the bike path down to Copper Mountain.  Pretty great loop.

I ended up with 111 mile in 5:42.   Pretty quick pace considering all the climbing.

After the ride, I showered quick and Vincent and I drove over to Hotchkiss, CO to check out some Wirehaired Pointing Griffon puppies.  It was 3 hours and I still don’t know exactly where we drove.  South of Glenwood Springs is all I know.  It was a very pretty drive, interesting area. Where the dogs were was an eclectic place.  Weird metal art, trout ponds, antique cars, huge seashells.  Really interesting.  Vincent got a puppy, but he can’t pick him up until next week.  The puppy is fearless and adorable, as all puppies are.   We got back a little late, so it was a short night.

This morning I’m off early again.  I’m supposed to meet up with my team mate, Brian Jensen, in Leadville at 8 am and ride the Leadville 100 climbs-Powerline and Columbine.  Sounds like it might be pretty hard. Not sure that is what I need to do, but right now it seems okay.  I can always just turn back early.

Climbing up towards Red Mountain.

Climbing up towards Red Mountain.

And starting up Vail Pass.  Pretty much a log jam at the bottom, with a sag stop there.

And starting up Vail Pass. Pretty much a log jam at the bottom, with a sag stop there.

There was a soccer tournament going on in Vail at the Ford Park.

There was a soccer tournament going on in Vail at the Ford Park.

Vincent's new puppy.

Vincent’s new puppy.

This clam shell was maybe a meter across and weighed 210 lbs.  Something from the land of the giants I guess.

This clam shell was maybe a meter across and weighed 210 lbs. Something from the land of the giants I guess.

Tom Danielson Positive for Testosterone – Big Surprise?

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Today, I was woken up super early by my phone with numerous text notifications about Tom Danielson being positive for synthetic testosterone.  For me, I just rolled over and tried to go back to sleep.  It isn’t anything that I didn’t already know.  Well, I didn’t know that he was going to be so stupid to be caught doping, especially with synthetic testosterone, when it is so hard to get caught, but it wasn’t a surprise at all, that he was, and is, currently doping.

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This is one of his tweets from last night.  “Especially after everything I have gone through the last years.”  He is saying that it makes “absolutely no sense” that he would take drugs currently, even though he took drugs to get into the Pro ranks of the sport and was only “caught” after he was subpoenaed to testify concerning Lance.  And even then, it wasn’t public until his team director, Jonathan Vaughters “leaked” it so brilliantly.

I already wrote a pretty long post on my views of Tommy D.  Here is the link.  It pretty much summed up my experiences with him over his “career”.

Anyway, addressing his tweet.  My question is why wouldn’t you “take anything”, especially after what you have gone through.  You’ve been racing on drugs your whole career and have never turned up a positive doping control, so what would be the reason that you wouldn’t dope?  The reason is the small, minute chance that you might get caught.  And that happened.  Dang.  Bad luck.

So, your choices are you dope and feel great, kick ass racing bikes, or you are a piece of shit athlete and you can’t compete and you have to watch from the outside.  You made that choice years ago, I can’t see any reason you would stop.

 

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Tom is so eloquent with his tweets.  This maybe explains one reason he dopes.  But, like most of these guys, he is being super greedy and really doesn’t love the sport.  He loves himself and wants the easy money, fame and such.  If he truly loved the sport, he would quietly disappear into the history books, with a couple of asterisks next to his name.

But, Tom won’t quietly disappear.  He is going to go down kicking and screaming.  Because if his B sample turns up positive, (and it will, it’s synthetic testosterone) then he is going to be facing a lifetime ban, so there is no downside to proclaiming innocence until it really becomes a moot point.  Then Tom becomes minute, so small as to verge on insignificant.  We’ll all forget him, or, maybe NBC Sports will hire him to do commentary.

It is interesting, to me, what Jonathan Vaughters is going to say, or do the next few days, weeks, months.

From the Cyclingnews article on Tom today

In February, Vaughters told Cyclingnews, “It’s true we ask for that [scrutiny] and still in ten years we’ve not had a rider dope on our team. Ever. We’ve lived up to that. That was the initial promise. If that ever is broken then Doug and I are out.”

So far, Jonathan’s response is – “Tom Danielson notified Slipstream Sports that he was informed by USADA that he has returned an adverse analytical A sample using carbon isotope testing. In accordance with Slipstream Sports’ zero tolerance anti-doping policy, he has been suspended from competition, effective immediately. He awaits the results his B sample. Slipstream respects and will adhere to the process of the anti-doping authorities and will not comment further.”

So, Tom is going to be suspended for competition?   And Slipstream “will not comment further”. It is funny, Jonathan usually has a ton to say on these subjects.  Guess he is at loss for words in this situation.

Okay, I’m done with this for today.  I have better things to do, like feeding the hummingbirds.

 

I'm sure he will still be welcomed back at Levis' Granfondo this year.  He is such a crowd pleaser.

I’m sure he will still be welcomed back at Levis’ Granfondo this year. He is such a crowd pleaser.

 

Pre-Riding Leadville 100

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On Sunday, I drove over to Leadville to meet up with Brian and Trent Newcomer, a friend from Fort Collins, to pre-ride the first half of the Leadville 100 race.   Trent is the vet that initially treated Bromont.  Both Brian and Trent are racing Leadville next weekend, so they wanted to get a big day riding.

I’d never ridden any of the course, so was completely oblivious to what was in store.  I had ridden nearly six hours the day before, so I was a little worried that I was going to be too beat to really enjoy the pre-ride.

Brian was planning on ridding the first 60 miles of the race, which was going to take 4-5 hours. There was a worry that it was going to start raining around noon and we started riding at 8 am.

Leadville is an out and back course.  52 miles out and then back on the same course.  It seems a little screwy without having seen the actual race, but I guess it works.

The race starts out on pavement, mainly downhill a little, then it starts climbing.  The first climb, which is less than 10 miles out is pretty hard.  At least it seemed hard on Sunday.  I was feeling a little flat and it hurt.  But, it isn’t that long, maybe 10 minutes.  Then you descend on a double track and finally a big descent on a road.

A few miles later you climb up the backside of the Powerline climb.  The backside is tame, nothing really to worry about.  You get a beautiful view of Turquoise Lake.  The descent down Powerline is very tricky.  Super steep and rutted.  Lots of places to really get into trouble. I have a very hard time believing that everyone that is racing/riding Leadville can get down this descent on their bikes.

We stopped at the bottom and climbed back up the steep part at the bottom.  This is the place that lots of guys dab and have to walk some.  I didn’t have any trouble getting up it, but I didn’t have 75 miles of racing in my legs.  But, it is steep, like first gear, tip of your seat steep.

Then it is fun.  More flat riding, a little climbing, finally some singletrack and then the Columbine Climb.  Columbine wasn’t nearly as hard as I’d anticipated.  It is really tame most of the way up. The last couple miles, maybe 1 1/2 miles, it is once again steep.  Granny gear steep, you have to pick your line or you can get into trouble.  This is nearly a 3000 foot climb and I think it takes over an hour.  The top bit on Strava took me around 16 minutes, so under 6 miles an hour.  This tops out over 12000 feet, maybe a few hundred feet higher.

You get to the top and then descend a few hundred meters to a turn around and then climb back up the couple hundred meters and then the long descent down to 9500 feet again.

The first two miles is fast and technical.  Then it is just open road.  But the problem is, during the race, is that you’re going down against traffic, the whole way down.  I tried to ride on the right side of the road the whole descent, but sometimes it wasn’t good.  Lots of times I was going close to 40 mph, so going against a bunch of oxygen starved riders is probably going to be sort of scary.  I wonder if they have ever had some serious collisions on Columbine?

We just rode to the bottom of Columbine and Michelle, Brian’s wife was there with their car. We’d done over 60 miles and it was just starting to rain.

Overall, when I was done, we had averaged right at 13 mph.  And we’d done 7500 feet of climbing out of the 12000 total of Leadville.  So we were riding around an 8 hour pace.  Todd Wells won last year in 6:16.  Brian was 7th, 39 minutes back, and Bill finished 20th, another 23 minutes back on Brian.  So there are huge time gaps.

I’m hoping to get in around 7 hours.  I’ve never done a race that long, time-wise.  I’m not thinking I have a chance to win the race.  This really isn’t a good race for me.  High altitude, long steady climbs, not very much technical aspect.  But, I think I’m good enough at longer mountain bike races.  At least I have been.  I guess this is a bucket list race now.  It never really was on my bucket list, but I am doing it now.

I headed over to Leadville again yesterday.. I rode the first 24 miles, to the bottom of Powerline again, then back up the whole climb.  The bottom, like I said above, is super steep.  I did it in under 6 minutes, which is probably race pace for me.  I think this was close to a 40 minute climb, but it’s not very long.  Same deal, under 6 miles per hour.  I was sort of done about 2 1/2 hours into the ride.  It took me 3:30 to do 48 miles, but it was super windy on the open sections.  I didn’t have another 50 miles in me yesterday.

I think the more I ride over 10000 feet the better.  My sore throat is pretty much gone.  In the morning, it bothers me some, but after I drink something, I kind of forget about it the rest of the day.  Last week I did end up with over 30 hours of riding, with half of it off-road.  It was less than 500 miles, but 200 miles off-road, climbing slow.  And it was just around 38000 feet of climbing.

I’ve been trying to climb sitting down always.  I historically don’t climb that well seated.  I have made a concerted effort to just sit and climb.  It cramps up my butt, so I have to stand when it levels out when I have a chance.  I have gotten much better, I think.  On the top, steep part of Columbine, Brian and I were only 3 minutes off Todd’s best time on Strava.  And we could have gone faster.  But, again, it was only training, not racing.  I’m sure I am going to be way more gassed during the race.

I am more worried about staying well the next week and a half than the race.  The race will take care of itself.  If anything, I need to be fresh next Saturday.  There is no upside to being tired at the start of this race.

Anyway, it should be fun.  I am having a catch 22 about sitting out here, at altitude, for nearly a month for this race.  I would like to have a good race, but, like I said, it isn’t the best race for my talents. But, maybe my talents have morphed a little the last month, so I might surprise myself. That is one of the best things about the sport.

Brian at the top of Columbine.

Brian at the top of Columbine.

 

Trent and Brian on one of the gravel roads

Trent and Brian on one of the gravel roads

My friend, Laura Peycke was in town for the Copper Triangle ride.  I rode over to Frisco to catch up on Monday.

My friend, Laura Peycke was in town for the Copper Triangle ride. I rode over                               to Frisco to catch up on Monday.

 

Brian and Michelle's puppies patiently waiting for the crew.

Brian and Michelle’s puppies patiently waiting for the crew.

 

Leadville results from last year.

Leadville results from last year.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Jonathan Vaughters – The Team will Continue

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Jonathan Vaughters announced, via tweeter, that this Tom Danielson doping positive won’t derail his program, that he has too many “good people” to support, thus he and Doug will continue with the sport and not abide by this statement – “It’s true we ask for that [scrutiny] and still in ten years we’ve not had a rider dope on our team. Ever. We’ve lived up to that. That was the initial promise. If that ever is broken then Doug and I are out.”

Did anyone really expect anything different?  The initial statement was ludicrous to start with. Anyway, I’ve been mulling over the whole thing and can’t even put it into words, right now, how foreseeable this whole deal was.  But, I will.

Think there is any bad blood between Jonathan and Lance?  How about Lance’s response to Jonathan’s tweet announcement.

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Age is sort of Irrelevant?

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I saw an article which Chris Horner is talking about being 44 and that the field at Tour of Utah won’t ride with him, implying they are scared of him.   That doesn’t surprise me much, as it shouldn’t Chris, since he was the one saying that since Tom Danielson isn’t racing, he is the race favorite.  If he thinks he is the favorite, and verbalizes it, then most likely the rest of the field sort of thinks the same way.  He might be talking a little too much again.

Anyway, this isn’t about Chris Horner, other than his age.  I think Chris is implying that he’s old, at least old for racing bikes.  I could tell Chris, by my experience, that at 44, I think I was probably in the best shape for bike racing of my whole career.  Honestly, if I could be feeling at only one age forever, to race bicycles, it would be somewhere in my early 40’s.

I had the knowledge to race efficiently, both on the road and off-road, plus the endurance for longer, harder events, and I hadn’t lost much snap for sprinting.   But, everyone is different.

The first asset, the knowledge is key to being a good all-around cyclist.  It takes a really long time to gather the skill set to be able to handle most conditions.   When I switched over to MTB racing from the road, I’d say it took a good 8-10 years before I felt confident in racing in all conditions.  That is a pretty long time considering.  Same for cyclocross.

Now, being 10 years older, it is a completely different deal.  The knowledge is there, but the physical is more hit or miss.

This morning I started thinking about this because I woke up feeling sort of beat up.  That surprised me, since I just rode an hour and a half around Lake Dillon yesterday on my road bike.  That is the shortest times I’ve spent on my bike in 3 weeks.  I’ve really cut the riding time down the last few days, hoping to be a little more rested.   It seems like I feel better riding, especially up here high in the mountains, when I ride hard the day before.  That is counter intuitive.

Recovery is way less predictable now.   And I believe that aging is the difference here.  I’m not sure taking more rest days is necessarily the answer, but since it is new territory, I probably won’t know the true answer until I can look back and see how it went.

Two years ago I started riding less, by that I mean taking way more complete days off on rest days.  When I did that I felt stale, like I was never attaining any good form.  Then last year, I decided to ride a ton.  I had a couple 100 hour months leading up to Quad Cities at the end of May and I felt like I was riding super good.  Then I broke my hip in a crash and was back to below square one.

So, bigger blocks of training seemed to be paying off.  I’ve been doing that here, trying to ride longer, harder miles.  Riding MTB bikes is always hard.  It is nearly impossible to rest when you are climbing forever with no air.

I’m a little worried that I’m missing the racing.  I’m sort of thinking about going down to Louisville and do a criterium on Sunday.   I could probably use the intensity.   I think hanging out high in the mountains, you end up losing power because you’re muscle aren’t getting enough oxygen so the muscles don’t work that great.

I’ve been wearing a heart rate strap the last few weeks and it surprises me how low my heart rate is.  Check out Christoph Sauser’s Strava recap in the photo below.  Talk about a low heart rate.  That is a crazy fast time and a crazy low heart rate.

Anyway, I can’t say I mind being older and trying to figure out how to negotiate through this process.  It is at least interesting.  And, like I said above, I think it is different for each of us, so what works for one person won’t necessarily work for someone else.

That being said, even though I feel beat, I’m heading over to Leadville again, with Vincent to go ride above 11000 feet. After that we are heading over to Hotchkiss and he is getting his new puppy.  Can’t beat that for a pretty good day.

Logan Owen winning yesterday in Utah.  Pretty great for a young "cyclocrosser'".

Logan Owen winning yesterday in Utah. Pretty great for a young “cyclocrosser'”.

 

Christoph Sauser's Strava from 2013 Leadville.  Max heartrate  of 159 and average of 138?  Crazy.

Christoph Sauser’s Strava from 2013 Leadville. Max heartrate of 159 and average of 138? Crazy.

Don’t Screw with the Irish Meat Industry

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You know when governing bodies are serious about their drug suspensions when they double the penalty, partially because the accused rider was considered lying.  And specifically lying about where he bought his tainted beef.

This is exactly what the Irish Sports Council did, double Ciaran Kelly’s 2 year penalty to 4 years. They did this because they found his conduct as “deceptive”.

The gist of the story is that Ciaran Kelly, no relation to Sean Kelly, tested positive for Clenbutero, remember, Alberto’s problem drug.  Ciaran had lost 10 kg, which translates to around 22 lbs. He said that , just like Alberto and Michael Rogers, that he ate contaminated meat and that it was unintentional.

But, alas, the Irish Sports Council didn’t believe him and got pissed, so they doubled the sanction to 4 years.  They relied on the testimony of “the butcher”, who said that he never used the packaging that Ciaran produced to show he actually bought the meat since he had no receipt.

So, the Irish Spots Council took it upon themselves to protect the entire beef industry of Ireland by doubling the penalty.   (I wonder what penalty Lance would have gotten in Ireland, decapitation?)  Don’t get me wrong, I’m all for it.  Anyway we can keep these little skinny 98 lb weaklings, that can produce 7 watts/kg of power, out of the sport, I’m all for it.

But, losing 22 lbs., that really is pretty amazing.

Here is a link to the story in the Irish Times.

Ciaran back when he was a chubby little lad.

Ciaran , back when he was a chubby  lad.