Monthly Archives: August 2015

Saturday Musings

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Hi, it is a week until Leadville.  I’d don’t think I’ve ever waited around this long to race a race in my life.  I used to train a bunch at altitude for the Coor’s Classic, but that was for a two week stage race and I’d usually break that up by flying somewhere to race on the weekends.  This has been totally different.

I’ve ridden over at Leadville 4 times now.  I have ridden the whole course, but not the whole course both directions, since it’s a out and back.  I’ve been skipping the middle flatish section between the early climbing, Powerline and the turn around climb, Columbine.  I’ve ridden it going out, but not coming back towards Leadville.

Yesterday, I just parked at Hwy 82 and rode the couple miles to Columbine and up it.  I hardly ever feel good riding from the get-go anymore.  It took me 20 minutes of climbing before I felt alright.  I did ride the top portion of the climb pretty well, at least for me and my Strava time gave me confidence that I’m on the right trajectory for next weekend.  Coming down, to Twin Lakes, my time was just a couple minutes off race winning times and I wasn’t killing it on the flat, plus I had to stop twice to open and close cattle gates.

It going to start getting busy here in Colorado.  Catherine is coming out from Kansas, plus Stacie and her family are in Vail this whole week.  Trudi’s sister is going to be in Vail too, so she is coming over after the Tour of Utah a couple days early, and hanging, then helping me at Leadville.  Then she has to scoot over to Steamboat for the start of the Pro Challenge.

Utah has been pretty good so far.  All domestic teams have won each stage.  I was taking to Jonas Carney a couple months ago and he was saying this guy, Michael Woods, from his team, Optum, is the real deal.  And yesterday he proved it by jumping away from the field at the end and winning the race, taking over the race lead.

After that, Chris Horner changed his tune and said that Woods is the full on race favorite now, not him or Frank Schleck.  I’m going to tell you what I’m going to do.  Sunday, after the last stage, I’m going to pick the race favorite and who I “think” is going to win the race.   I thought Chris was the man, but maybe he just forgot Michael when he made his pre-race predictions.

I’m heading down to Arvada later today to hang with Vincent and his new puppy.  Before that, depending on what Catherine wants to do, I might ride over to Vail and back.  Sunday I’m going to ride over to Louisville, a town outside of Boulder and race a criterium.  I could use some intensity, not that climbing 22% grades at 12,000 feet isn’t intense.  Brian is thinking about heading over to Vail tomorrow to hang with Stacie and Karl, I can’t seem to talk him into racing. There are too many places to be and not enough time.

How about Lawson Craddock’s finish yesterday in the Tour of Pologne.  It was the Queen stage and there were 8 Cat. 1 climbs.  He finished third.  Seems like he did a pretty unbelievable job recovering from his crash early this season..  He’s hoping to do the Vuelta, so this had to have been a big boost for that.

Okay, it is supposed to do the normal afternoon shower today, up in Summit County, so I’d better get moving.  Have a good Saturday.

 

Top of Columbine yesterday.  I barely got down before the rain.

Top of Columbine yesterday. I barely got down before the rain.

Vincent's new puppy.  I think his name is Nicholas, but I'm not sure.

Vincent’s new puppy. I think his name is Nicholas, but I’m not sure.

This hummingbird is a little nectar hog.  He sits on top of the feeder and guards it all day.

This hummingbird is a little nectar hog. He sits on top of the feeder and guards it all day.

 

Gwen Jorgensen – US Olympic Team

This entry was posted in Fun Stuff on by .

Since it’s Sunday, here’s some fun and uplifting new.  Gwen Jorgensen won the test even in Rio and is now officially on the US Olympic Team, that is going to be held in Rio next year.  Super new and super result.  Here is a link to her website that  has a recap of the race and  ton of pictures, pre and post.  Congratulations!  And below is a video that Specialized made showing her training in Vitória, Spain, where she is based most of the summer.

 

 

ITU Rio 2015 - Olympic Test Event  Elite Women

ITU Rio 2015 – Olympic Test Event
Elite Women

Tour of Utah Crash, Ouch

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This is a crazy crash from Tour of Utah.  The corner was obviously very difficult, decreasing radius.  I’ve had this issue twice in my life.  Once, during the Coor’s Classic, I hit the La Vie Claire car that was stopped in the middle of a corner on a descent.  The other time in the Tour of Texas, I pegged the Campagnolo motorcycle that had stopped to service Doug Smith, who had crashed on  a corner.  The first time I was relatively unscathed.  The 2nd time I broke my arm.   Anyway, hope these guys are okay.  Link to injuries at Velonews.

Oh, thanks Ed Moore – I was winning the British Milk Race, then hit a car and pretty much destroyed myself.  Another American rider on the National Team, Andy Paulin hit it first, about a second before me.  Here is a link to the article and a picture of the automobile.  It wasn’t a Porsche.

 

 

How about this comment over at Youtube –  People can be incredibly insensitive sometimes.

crash copy

 

Louisville Criterium – Wow

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Well, I decided to go down to low altitude and race a criterium yesterday in Louisville, which is a small town east of Boulder.  I rode over to the start and felt alright, thinking I was going to be good.  Surprise, nope.

I am rarely this surprised when I think I’m feeling okay, which is maybe a bad sign, or not, who knows?  I haven’t really been doing any intensity, other than being perched on the tip of my seat, in my granny gear, at 12000 feet.  Usually when I feel like I’m doing okay riding my MTB bike, then it transfers to the road.  Guess not in this case.

The course was sort of a triangle shaped rectangle, with a small chicane on the back-stretch.   It seemed, before hand, that it was going to be a perfect race to sit on and do as many efforts as I felt like doing.  Hardly.

From the get-go, I felt over my head.  I clipped in and a couple guys took off like it was going to be an one lap race.  The back-stretch was a tad uphill and I looked down and was going 33 mph. I was thinking I was missing something.  I was missing something, which was air and the ability to be able to handle speed changes.

And the race never got better for me.  There were about 60 starters and after just few laps I was riding way back, back where I never ride, where the guys need a bike length in front of them to negotiate corners.  I have no idea how some of these guys finish races, giving up more than a bike length in each and every corner.  They have to work so much harder.  Anyway, because of this, I was experiencing a lot of the slinky effect, having to make up all the distance that each rider gave up in front of me on the corner.

I really didn’t mind actually, because I was there to do a bunch of jumping, but it got a little ridiculous.   I finally got sick of it and moved up to a more respectable place and rested some.

I never participated in the event, other than ride around in circles.  I was amazed that when I felt like I was going hard, someone would attack off the front.  But, when you’re having one of those days, everything surprises you.

Guys keep getting dropped and the field actually slowed down some.  During the race I was hoping it would stay super fast and I would be at my limit more.  But, I was there enough I guess.

Eventually 3 guys got away, two Hincapie riders and another guy.  I think they dropped the other guy with a few laps to go.  It stayed pretty constantly fast until the end.  I moved up, thinking I was going to participate in the sprint.

The sprint was horrible for me, a little downhill and tailwind, plus super long, like 500 meters form the last corner.  I came around the final corner about 8 guys back, thinking that was about right.  We started winding it up and then it went bad.  A couple guys doing a leadout were coming back through the field like rocks, just as a huge group was coming by on my right.  I got jammed, and had to brake and that was it.  Trying to accelerate again was pointless.  I sat up and just rode in.  23rd.

The two Hincapie riders, Joe Lewis and Tom Skujins finished 1st and 2nd, so the top end of the results look good.  Remember, Tom Skujins was the kid that was winning the Tour of California for a while?   He climbs pretty great, but obviously had no issues going fast around in circles either.

I haven’t ridden many criterium this year, but that isn’t a excuse.  I think the excuse is that I haven’t raced in a month, except for a MTB race nearly 4 weeks ago.  There is a huge difference between doing a 7 hour MTB race and an one hour criterium.  At least I’m hoping that is the case.

It felt like I wasn’t acclimatized at all.  I guess I wasn’t, at least to riding over 30mph and jumping so many time.  The average speed of the race was 29 mph, which isn’t ridiculous, but pretty fast considering the course.    I looked at Strava and had a ton of close to 1000 watt efforts.

I’m going to hang out down low for a couple days and try to get rested up some.  The weather for Leadville on Saturday, at least the forecast, isn’t good.  It shows rain and cold.  It would be so strange lining up for a race at 6 am, at 40 degrees, knowing you have 100 miles to ride, off-road in the rain.  It would be a survival event at that point.   It would be pretty horrible until you actually starting racing.

Anyway, I have no control over that.  Plus, they never get the forecast right.  Right?

All smiles at the start.

All smiles at the start.

resultslousiville copy

Click to enlarge.

 

 

Todd and Ned’s Durango Dirt Fondo

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Since I’m sort of getting back into MTB racing a little more, the timing of this is perfect, at least for me.  On the weekend of September 11-12, Ned Overend and Todd Wells are hosting a 25th anniversary celebration of the first UCI World Championships in Durango, 1990 and, thus are doing the Todd and Ned’s Durango Dirt Fondo.  (I’m not sure why Todd’s name is first there.)

I was invited and plan to attend.  Rumor mill has it that John Tomac and Julie Furtado will be there.  Plus, Mike Kloser and other blasts from the past that participated in the early days of organized MTB racing.

Saturday, it is off-road riding, with a 50 mile course and a 30 mile course.   Then Saturday night, there is going to be a party of the 25th Anniversary Celebration of the 1990 UCI World Mountain Bike Championships.  The next morning is an organized breakfast to benefit NICA.

You don’t really need that much of a reason to go to Durango and ride your MTB bike, but here you have the added bonus of riding with some of the past and present stars of the sport.   It should be a very fun time.

Here is a link to their website for details.

 

toddned copy

 

This is a photo from the Cactus Cup in Whistler, about the only time I was on the top step of the podium when Ned was with me.  Looks like Todd is missing some lycra and skin.  It was a very cool course.

This is a photo from the Cactus Cup in Whistler, about the only time I was on the top step of the podium when Ned was with me. Looks like Todd is missing some lycra and skin. It was a very cool course.

Jonathan Vaughters – Credible or Not?

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I’ll start this by saying, in a perfect world, I think, maybe Jonathan Vaughters would be a good benevolent dictator of the sport of cycling.   Notice the words I think and maybe.  Who knows?

I saw this Velonews article that pretty much just said, let’s give Jonathan a chance and “leave him alone for a bit.”   In the article, the author, John Brady wrote, “This team has been racing since 2005, and Danielson is the first doping positive. One in 10 years. Vaughters founded the parent organization in 2003 — when doping was at its peak — with the specific mission of racing clean. Vaughters isn’t the only person fighting drugs in cycling, nor even necessarily the most effective, but I challenge you to point to a current team manager who has been more vocal about cleaning things up.”

I get it, that was Jonathan’s intention, cleaning things up.  But Jonathan had/has to walk a very fine line between trying to adhere to his mission statement and running a successful professional cycling team. In reality, a World Tour team with no results is a team no more.

All this is understandable.  But the deal is that no one forced Jonathan into this role of,  “I’m managing the clean team.”   Somehow he decided that was his destiny.  But the way he has gone about following his declaration is pretty questionable, in my opinion.

Jonathan made this personal mission statement, he’d probably not call it that, but his intention to help rid the sport, and of course, his team of doping.  He did this actively over quite a few years, with lots of different methods.

I think his most credible method was latching onto Travis T. Tygart, CEO of USADA, the man who brought down Lance.   Associating himself with Travis legitimized Jonathan, in the media, as a man against doping.  Good move.

This and many other of his actions made him very popular with the cycling fans.  We were all sick and tired of  all this doping shit detracting from the beauty of the sport.  He was voted Cyclingnews fan favorite, for best non-rider on twitter, three years in a row.

Jonathan talks a great talk, but I don’t think he walks so straight.  I’ll give you my observations how I came up with this.

It probably all started with me writing about Tom Danielson a couple years ago.  This wasn’t good for Jonathan’s PR stance.   When Jonathan “quietly” released Tom’s doping past, he was ready for the deluge.  I think he must have spent 20 hours a day, for a couple of weeks, everywhere on social media, answers questions and leaving comments on tons of different forums.

And a few of these comments were concerning my observations.  He made a statement about how ridiculous and unfair it was for me to imply that Ryder Hesjedal was a doper just because he rode for one season on the Postal Service team.

This bugged me.  I knew Ryder Hesjedal was a doper because I had personally watched him massacre tons of very talented cyclists on his meteoric rise to the top of the sport of MTB racing.  Everyone that was participating in the sport watched, as whole nation of Canadians became superhuman overnight.    It was a joke.

I was a little more bugged when The Twisted Spoke wrote  “A Rebuttal to Steve Tilford hatchet job on Vaughter.”   I don’t think I did “a hatchet” job on Vaughters.  I think I wrote exactly what needed to be said at the time.  They said I was “quibbling” about the numbers Jonathan wrote in his NYT article.  If you’re saying numbers, lets say the correct ones, or at least numbers that truly reflect reality.  (I wonder if he feels the same now?)

Jonathan was using Ryder as an example of how you can win a Grand Tour clean.  I have no idea if Ryder won the Giro clean, but after Michael Rasmussen outed Ryder and a couple of others, Ryder’s Giro win definitely has an asterisk next to it in many people’s minds.    And in my mind, once you dope, you are always a doper.  The residual effects of PED’s have been shown to last a very, very long time.

Anyway, I must have bothered Jonathan enough that he called me and told me I needed to come to watch Tom Danielson and CVV do their pre-Tour testing in Denver.   Jonathan is a good guy and it was enjoyable talking to him.

I flew out to Denver and watched the testing.  And there is nothing I can report about that, other than Tom rode “test record” up to 6.5 watts/kg.  I’m not an exercise physiologist, so I have no idea whether I was watching normally aspirated testing or super charged testing.  The doctor, Iñigo San Millán said for sure, Tom’s results were clean, low hematocrit, etc.

What bothered me is that when I was talking to Tom and Christian, I asked them how often they did this testing and they said virtually never.  Like maybe three years earlier.  I had assumed, that Garmin, being the clean team would be doing internal testing and blood tests all time to keep track of their riders.  Guess not.

So, I got nothing from the observation meeting other than it did nothing to give me any information about the inner workings of “the clean team”.

Jonathan has stated many times that he had/has no problems giving riders with a doping history a 2nd chance.  He did this with many riders, most notable, David Millar.  But also, CVV, Dave Zabriski, Tom of course, Thomas Dekker and Ryder.

He says that the generation was forced into doping, so as long as they come clean when his signs them, that they can still race, now clean.

But, here is a problem that Jonathan has.  He knows that these riders have doped and lies by omission before their issues are known by the general public.

Let’s use Tom Danielson as an example.  Jonathan wrote an article for Cyclingweekly, back in 2009, that says that Tom is 20% Eskimo and has a unique physiological metabolism, he hasn’t used all his abilities.   His direct quote is – Tom Danielson in 20 per cent Eskimo in his heritage, and this probably contributes to what I can only describe as a unique metabolism.

He does this, knowing full well that Tom got to this point in his career by doping.  When Jonathan outed Tom, he wrote, “So, Tommy D… Here’s a guy that has used o2 vector doping, and with some success [Oxygen vector doping refers to increasing oxygen delivery to the muscles via increased hemoglobin, ed.]

Jonathan said he watched Tom’s progression in the sport, as I did.  Jonathan wrote is 2009 – “He was a young, unknown rider who came out of nowhere”.  It was obvious to me, and many, many others, how this occurred, by doping.   But, here is Jonathan, writing that he has a unique metabolism and that it just needed to be tweaked.  He wrote this with the full knowledge that Tom had “some success” with o2 vector doping in the past.

Same with Ryder.  He goes onto forums and tries to discredit my credibility by saying how stupid it was for me to imply Ryder should be considered questionable/doping, when he knows full and well that Ryder took drugs earlier in his career to get to the point of winning the Giro. He has no problem letting the cycling media, and us, use Ryder as an example as how the sport is so clean now, clean enough to win Grand Tours clean, even though his knows it to be false.

I’m not sure it is exactly lying.  It would probably be more accurate described as lying by omission.  Or maybe misdirection.  I’m not exactly sure that is best to describe it other than it was and is wrong.

It you want an example of a clean team, a really clean team, the maybe look at Optum.  Here is an article on them by the Outerline.com.  In this article, Charles Aaron and Jonas Carney give their views and actions concerning doping in the sport.  They walk the walk, not  just talk the talk. (And let’s not get into a Zirbel discussion in the comment section.)  These guys don’t have anywhere near the voice of Jonathan, but they are definitely practicing what they preach.

I do agree with the original Velonews article that the sport is better off with Jonathan around.  I just wish he would be more honest in his actions.  Credibility is defined as the quality of being trusted and believed in.  When you release information, for your benefit, when you chose, for damage control, then the credibility is lessened.  We don’t need the spokesman for clean cycling, worldwide, to lack it.

I got this photo from an employee at Garmin.  He said - It's actually a Team Garmin water bottle from a year or two ago. I work at Garmin. The team rolls through after the Tour of Colorado and rides with us. We all get these cool, but factually incorrect, water bottles and stuff like that.

I got this photo from an employee at Garmin. He said – It’s actually a Team Garmin water bottle from a year or two ago. I work at Garmin. The team rolls through after the Tour of Colorado and rides with us. We all get these cool, but factually incorrect, water bottles and stuff like that.

 

Here's Tom doing some physiological testing before the Tour in 2013.

Here’s Tom doing some physiological testing before the Tour in 2013.

 

And Jonathan testing out the ergometer.

And Jonathan testing out the ergometer.

 

 

 

MTB vs. Road Prep

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Okay, getting reading for a MTB race takes way more energy than preparing for a road race. Like, a ton more.  Especially when you haven’t been doing it constantly and are trying to get back up to speed on a lot of things.

The equipment issues are way more energy intensive.  Sometimes changing MTB tires, tubeless, can take nearly as long as it does to glue on tubular road tire, depending on what wheels and tires you are using.  Plus, you wear out so much more equipment.  I’d forgotten how much equipment you go through racing and training off-road.

Back when I first started, Shimano was just getting into dominating the MTB market.  At every Norba National I went to, they would virtually change all the components on my bike.  It was a little disconcerting, but their mechanics were top-notch and I never had any issues.

For sure, later on, after each and every race, I would change all the cables and housing on my bike.  It pretty much didn’t matter whether it was a super muddy race like Mt. Snow, or a dust cloud such as Mammouth.  The cables got contaminated and the bike didn’t work properly.

This isn’t addressing how much time you have to spend at the venue, trying to know the course. I have only been over to Leadville 4 times since I got to Colorado.  I pretty much know all the climbs and all the technical descents.  But, I’m missing the middle connection between the start and the turn-around.  I road it one direction, so know there isn’t any surprised there, but I have never ridden it all.  I guess that is normally the cause when you go to a 100 mile MTB race.  In Lutsen, I’d only ridden the last few miles at the finish.

Leadville, being at such high altitude makes it hard for low-landers to have a good race.   I think I’m acclimated, but not really to 12000 feet.  I felt pretty good recovering down in Arvada the last few days at 5500 feet.  I’m back in Silverthorne, at 8600 and feel it walking up the stairs.  Still having to hang out somewhere from between a week to a month, for one day of racing takes a lot of time and energy.  But, Leadville is special in this regard.  If it wasn’t such high altitude, then that time would be saved.

Anyway, it is going to start getting busy here today.  I’m heading over to Leadville to register. Kent and Katie hopefully have a couple more parts for me to put on my bike.  Some new brakes. I normally don’t mess around so much with my equipment right before a race, but feel the need to now.  Vincent is letting me use a new Valor carbon front wheel that weighs next to nothing. I’ll ride it the next two days to make sure I’m good.

Trudi showed up last night.  She drove from Park City here late in the afternoon.  She took a couple days off and has to go back to work after the race on Saturday.  Luckily, the start of the Pro Challenge is just an hour and a half away, in Steamboat Springs.  Her sister’s family is in Vail on summer vacation, so she headed over there this morning to go for a hike and hang.

Vincent went to Vail too, to ride motorcycles with Karl, Stacie’s husband.  They are going to be at Leadville, feeding us.  I think they are going to ride from Vail, over Resolution Road and down to Leadville today to check out the best way to get around there.

I assume I’ll end up at Vail eventually today, since that is where everyone else is.  Probably for dinner, I suspect.  It is supposed to rain this afternoon, here in the mountains, so I should probably try to ride earlier than later.

Okay, T-2 days now.  I feel alright, so that’s a good sign.  Check out Alban Lakata’s “training ” ride form last week.  Photo below.  That is nearly a minute faster than he did the race in 2014. He won Leadville in something ridiculous like 6:04 in 2013, so maybe 6:29 is just tempo pace for him.

I took nearly all the parts off my bike last night.  It's back together again though, which makes me happy.

I took nearly all the parts off my bike last night. It’s back together again though, which makes me happy.

Compound from above this morning at 7 am.

Compound from above this morning at 7 am.

BMC got new Acura team cars this year.  I brought Trudi her bike so she could ride some today.

BMC got new Acura team cars this year. I brought Trudi her bike so she could ride some today.

I used Caffélatex in my rear wheel, but ran out, so used Orange Seal in my front.  I have been running super low pressure in my rear wheel, like 18 psi, just messing around and haven't flatted once since I got out here.  I've probably ridden 300 miles off-road, I'd guess.   I've seen a couple wet spots on the tire, but this seems to seal them super good.

I used Caffélatex in my rear wheel, but ran out, so used Orange Seal in my front. I have been running super low pressure in my rear wheel, like 18 psi, just messing around and haven’t flatted once since I got out here. I’ve probably ridden 300 miles off-road, I’d guess. I’ve seen a couple wet spots on the tire, but this seems to seal them super good.

I think you're always bleeding just a little when training and racing MTB.

I think you’re always bleeding just a little when training and racing MTB.

Alban's "training" ride.  He did stop for 4 minutes or so.  Probably to open and close the cattle gates.

Alban’s “training” ride. He did stop for 4 minutes or so. Probably to open and close the cattle gates.