Monthly Archives: September 2015

Gun Control

This entry was posted in Important Society Issues on by .

You know how I’m not too controversial and don’t really say what I think.  Well here is another one.  Gun control.  I know many of you will disagree, but guns in our society aren’t working. Even the police superintendent of Chicago thinks there needs to be more gun control laws.

I’m tired of going out riding and having that worry, in the back of my mind, that if I get into a controversy with someone that there is a very small chance that someone might pull out a gun and escalate the argument into something majorly different.

People used to settle differences with words.  Every once in a while a fist.  Now it escalates into potential death.  It doesn’t do any of us any good.

More American have been killed, in America, by guns, since 1968, than all Americans killed in all wars combined since we have been a nation.  That is an unbelievable fact.  Here is a link to some more charts about the correlation of gun ownership and deaths.

We need to address this eventually and now seems like a good time.  We need to stop the wrong people from randomly, or not so randomly, going around and shooting our children, friends and fellow Americans.  Other countries have addressed this and it is working out great for them, but…..we’re Americans and we believe we are more responsible or something, thus the 2nd amendment exists.  It is wrong, at least our interpretation of the amendment is jacked up, and we need to fix it.  We all need to be more open minded and address this obvious problem of society.

Watch the comic below.  He is making light, kind of, of a very serious situation our society hasn’t been able to handle responsibly, guns.  The guy is pretty raunchy.   From personal experience, guys from Australia and New Zealand have potty mouths.  But that doesn’t mean what he is saying isn’t true.  And it is serious.  I don’t really disagree with anything he says.


These were seized from one individual in California. He bought them from private sellers and bought ammunition on the internet. It ain't hard to find.

These were seized from one individual in California. He bought them from private sellers and bought ammunition on the internet. It ain’t hard to find.

People that carry guns don't think they will be one of the 3 out of 100,000 that die because of guns, but what they don't realize is that they increase that very chance by a huge percentage.

People that carry guns don’t think they will be one of the 3 out of 100,000 that die because of guns, but what they don’t realize is that they increase that very chance by a huge percentage.

Verbal Skills vs. Number’s Guy

This entry was posted in Just Life on by .

I’ve always been a number’s guy.  In school, I was interested in science and math classes and just sat in the english, creative writing courses.  I think the reason was that the verbal skill classes seemed subjective to me.  Someone else judging whether you had a talent versus definitive answers in the science classes.  It makes sense I’d be attracted to that, for various reasons.

It is the same with sport.  I tend to enjoy sports that arent’ subjective.  I like the ones that have a winner, the first guy to cross the line, the fastest time wins.    Judging-type sports aren’t that interesting to me.

Now, looking back, I wish I’d spent a little more effort on subjective subjects.  I can’t really criticize myself for my views back then, but I do have more interest now in communication and verbal subjects than I did when I was younger.

Yesterday is a good example, the gun control subject.  That subject is super divisive.  There are lots of divisive topics in our society, which doesn’t bode well for a happy group of people. Anyway, I read somewhere that there is virtually a zero percent chance of changing someone’s opinion on a topic like this with intellectual conversation.  People already have their opinions and views engrained, thus no amount of casual conversation is going to make them budge one bit.  I find that fascinating.  I wonder why that is?

I don’t think this applies to me.  But, after writing that, I can’t like of one of these subjects, religion, abortion, gun control, etc. that I’d think any amount of conversation would convince me to switch my already established thoughts.  Maybe I’m wrong about this, I hope I am, but right now, I can’t see it.

Numbers have always interested me.  Measurements, distances, formulas all were attractive personally.  I think that being a good teacher would mean that you can convince a student to have interest in subjects that they aren’t normally attractive.  I was pretty single minded in school, so I can’t really blame my teachers for my deficiency.  At that time of my life, I would do what I wanted to do.

I used to have a better memory of numbers.  Before cell phones, I knew hundreds of phone numbers.  Now I have about 10 in my memory.  All old numbers of friends, nothing current.  

When I was a kid, delivering newspapers, I had over 600 addresses memorized.  Plus I could add just about any number in my head.  Now it seems like I can’t remember my own phone number.  

I love numbers, but now that there are more numbers involved in cycling, I find them distracting.  We have so much data at our fingertips, while training and racing, I think it takes away from the personal zen while riding.   Distance, speed, then heartrate, cadence,  and now power is being used to judge how well we are doing at each moment out of the road.  Lots of times I put my Garmin on a map function and try to zone it out, trying to just enjoy my feelings on the road.  I did that yesterday and it was refreshing.  Numbers are important, in the sport, but too many available, at the wrong time, can ruin it somewhat.

Okay, I’m just wandering around here, while watching Tour of Spain.  Today is a big number day there.  Lots of altitude numbers and lots of time loss available too.  It is split up all over the road.  Pretty good bike racing.










Riding Smart, Staying out of the Wind

This entry was posted in Racing on by .

I just finished watching the finish of the Tour of Spain and it never ceases to amaze me how badly guys work in breaks at the Grand Tours.  It is like they have never raced bikes and have no idea how to make a group go faster and ride efficiently.

When I’m in a break, a break that I want to succeed and work smoothly, I do everything in my power to make that happen.  I do that by trying to get the riders into the correct order where everyone is contributing their most for the break to ride smoothly and fast.

And when some guy is pulling through too hard, or we start rotating the wrong direction after turning, I will immediately say something to try to correct the mistakes.  Not directing or anything, just casual conversation saying we need to pull left or if a guy is pulling way too hard for the rest, I’d say something like, “maybe pull a little longer and slow it down a tad”.

This is imperative if you want a group to ride in an efficient manner.  But, watching the break in the “Pro Tour” events, it constantly bewilders me how it doesn’t seem like anyone in the break cares what the other riders are doing.

My first observation is that breaks tend to always want to ride double echelon when they should be riding single.  I’ve posted about this before.   You need more than 4 or 5 riders to do a rotating paceline.  I’d say 7 would be the minimum.  Guys always try to do it with 4.

With 4 guys, you end up being in the wind twice as much as if you were riding a single paceline. 50% of the time compared to 25%.  I don’t know what these guys are thinking?    I’ve been in many races where a small group tries to do a rotating paceline and I put an end to it immediately.  I do this by not participating.  Take one guy out of a 4 riders rotation and it is impossible to do a rotating paceline.  Then I join back in a continue pulling.  It is as easy as that.

Anyway, the break today should have made it to the line.  They did the normal attacking each other with a couple kilometers to go, but if they would have been rotating correctly, they would have been going a couple kilometers an hour faster and the break would have succeeded.

Too many guys train for power nowadays and don’t understand the fundamentals of bicycle racing.  Sometimes it seems like the sport has evolved into a bunch of unbelievably strong robots with no ability to adapt to ever changing conditions.  And that is what cycling is all about-Being able to adapt to your surroundings at all times.

This was with maybe 3 km to go in today's stage of Tour of Spain.

This was with maybe 3 km to go in today’s stage of Tour of Spain.

NCC (National Criterium Calender) Racing – Gateway Cup

This entry was posted in Comments about Cycling on by .

I’m packing up, while doing this and watching Tour of Spain, to head over to St. Louis (5 hour drive) and do the Labor Day races, the Gateway Cup.  All four days are NCC races, which is the way that the UCI and USAC has come up with to allow D2 Pro teams to compete.  In reality, Pro Tour and Pro Continental team riders are not supposed to “mingle” with us mere mortals.  It is such a stupid concept.  But, here in the United States, we have by-passed that silly rule by making our NCC calender somewhat approved by the UCI.

I’ve raced the Gateway Cup a ton of times.  I like it a lot.  I won overall back in the late 90’s, then went on to win the Master’s World MTB Championships.  Criterium racing is great for MTB racing.  Lots of big accelerations and super high intensity for over an hour.

The last day of the series keeps changing around.  The course they use now is super hard. More like a short circuit than a criterium.  It has a lot of tight corners and lots of sidewind, which strings the field out like crazy.  It is supposed to be in the upper 90’s until Monday.  Ouch.

I’m not feeling all that great riding, but well see.  I’m hoping all that riding at altitude will be my saving grace, since I am a slug at accelerating bike now.

There are 120 guys racing in the PRO/1 race.  Then there is a separate 2/3 race, which has a bunch of guys too.  I think they have a 3 race too, plus all the other categories.    I like racing Pro/1 races.  Much safer and better to move around in.

It is only Bill, Catherine and I going.  Trudi left in the BMC team car, heading to the World Tour races in Canada.  Brian decided to stay in Kansas and take a weekend off.  He’s raced a bunch of long MTB and gravel races the last couple months and those aren’t that easy to recover from.

Okay, I’m just living out of the same bag now, even when I’m at home.  I ride in the clothes in my bag, wash them and throw them back into the same bag.  I’m not even sure what is in there. I probably don’t need a long sleeve jersey and such, but you never know.

Okay, we’re leaving a tad early today.  Catherine doesn’t race until 8:15, the the Pro men at 9:30 I think.  The Friday traffic can be a little ugly in St. Louis, especially the Friday before a 4 day weekend.

I like the rotation of night time criterium racing, but it is not consistent this weekend. Tonight is a late race, then it gets earlier, 5:30 tomorrow, then 4:30 on Sunday and 2:30 on Monday.

Okay, I better get back to packing.  We have to go by Lawrence and get Bill some new clothing. We’re meeting Brian at Starbucks.  Should make for a lot of conversation, all caffeinated up.

Trudi leaving for Canada.

Trudi leaving for Canada.

I did a blood test to check to see if the altitude training helped much.  It didn't really.  I'll post the results.

I did a blood test to check to see if the altitude training helped much. It didn’t really. I’ll post the results.

Then I went to a bakery and bought a bunch of shitty food.

Then I went to a bakery and bought a bunch of “bad food”.

I meet up the Tuesday night Club ride, called the Beer ride.  It is a rest day that starts and finishes at PT, which has $3 pints for us on Tuesday.  That is Bob on his skates.  He is usually doing the Duluth Skate Marathon, when I'm doing Chequamegon, but it doesn't sound like he's going this year.

I meet up the Tuesday night Club ride, called the Beer ride. It is a rest day that starts and finishes at PT, which has $3 pints for us on Tuesday. That is Bob on his skates. He is usually doing the Duluth Skate Marathon, when I’m doing Chequamegon, but it doesn’t sound like he’s going this year.





Lafeyette Park Criterium – St. Louis

This entry was posted in Racing on by .

Last night was the first of 4 National Racing Calendar criteriums in St. Louis this weekend.  It went pretty well, considering.

The considering is that I really haven’t been doing any speedwork all year.  And it was the 5th criterium I’ve done this season, the last one nearly a month ago in Colorado.  But, it wasn’t so bad.

The course is one that Mike has used for a long time, but they moved the finish line around the corner so it finishes on a little downhill.  I didn’t think I would like it, but it was fine.  The course is around Lafeyette Park and is pretty much a square, with just a tad of elevation change.  Super wide open, smooth course with left hand corners.

The race started at 9:30 at night, so it was pretty dark.  Like night dark.  The course is lite up most places, so it was just night time criterium racing.  It is always sort of sketchy the first few laps with everyone getting used to the shadows and the pace of the course.

I don’t really have much to say, other than we rode around for an hour and it was a huge field sprint.  I never participated at the front and was hanging out pretty far back in the field, at least for me.

The night was super muggy.  It was only 80 degrees, but it felt way hotter.  I’m a little worried about racing in the sun today.  It is supposed to be 95 today and is already close to 90.  I’m not use to this humidity.

Anyway, with about 9 laps to go, I got up to Bill, who had been riding nearly the whole race in front of me and he told me he didn’t think he was going to finish.  I thought that was nearly impossible, we were doing 2 minute laps, so it was just 18 minutes longer.  But, Bill was right and he stopped with 3 to go.  He said he could have finished, but he was riding at the back of the field and wanted to watch the sprint.

I started moving up with about 5 to go.  UHC had started they stupid riding the inside of the course leadout thing with 9 to go, so the field was on high alert.  But, it wasn’t going to work out well for them because the course was so wide open and there really was no advantage doing a leadout like that.  Those guys are smarter than that I’d hope.

I got into okay position with a couple laps to go and with a lap to go I as good, maybe 15 guys back, on Brad Huff’s (Optum) wheel.  But I got a little out of place and a blob of riders came by me on the 3rd side.  I probably , in retrospect, should have used one of my jumps and moved back into a better position, but I didn’t.

On the 2nd to last side, I passed a few guys and a few more threw the final corner, but was way too far back. I ended up 25th, which wasn’t in the money.    In reality, it is probably just about where I deserved to finish the race.  I didn’t do anything to finish any better, so that is really about right.

I am okay with the race.  Downloading my power to Strava, I was pretty good.  I had a max heartrate of 181, which is a ton higher than Colorado and the highest I’ve seen since I’ve been wearing a heart strap the last couple months.  Plus my max wattage was 1431, which is the highest I’ve had since I broke my hip last year.  The race averaged 30.1 mph and the last lap was 35 mph.  Pretty quick, especially considering it was dark.

Daniel Holloway won, with Brad Huff finishing 2nd.  Brad is here, racing solo, so it was a super result.  The best that UHC could muster was 5th.  Kind of unusual for them.

After the race, Bill, Catherine and I went to a local bar and split a burger and a chicken sandwich, then Catherine and I rode the 10 miles through town back to our hotel in Clayton.  It is my favorite part of racing in St. Louis.  I love exploring St. Louis by bicycle.  Especially at night.

I went down some streets I’d never been on and the houses were huge.  Here is St. Louis, they have blocked off a ton of streets to make whole neighborhoods isolated.  Lots of gates and barriers in the middle of intersections to make streets dead ends.  Some of the homes are unreal.  Like 15,000 sq. ft. limestone unreal.  We rode into a street, Washington, that was just a few blocks long and each and every house was magnificient.   Most of the older homes, nearly all, are either built of stone or brick in St. Louis.  Very interesting architecture.

Today we race at 5:30.  Another square, but this one has just a little more elevation change.  It has had breaks work before, so a field sprint isn’t guaranteed.   I’m going to go for a ride this morning, even though I didn’t get to sleep until after 2:30 am last night.  I’m always way jacked up when racing after 10 at night.  But I like it a lot.

The women's race was pretty quick. I think there were 60 women there, so a pretty good sized field.

The women’s race was pretty quick. I think there were 60 women there, so a pretty good sized field.

This photos at night don't do the houses justice.

This photos at night don’t do the houses justice.

This was a smaller house, in a less affluent neighborhood. It was still incredible.

This was a smaller house, in a less affluent neighborhood. It was still incredible.

Breakfast of champions.

Breakfast of champions.




Day 2 – Gateway Cup

This entry was posted in Racing on by .

Yesterday we rode circles around Francis Park in St. Louis.   The course is very similar to the Friday night race.   It is a big, open course, with just a little bit of up and down.  Fast, but not quite as smooth.  But, it wasn’t dark.  That being said, the riders in the Pro-1 race had problems staying on their bikes.

That was probably my biggest observation.  There were a lot of guys, not a ton by numbers, but quite a few crashes that involved somewhere between 2 and 10 guys.  Maybe 6-10 different crashes that didn’t seem to be at any critical moments.

I’m not sure of the reasons for this.  A couple times, riders hit a manhole cover, on the backstretch, that was recessed into the asphalt.  Daniel Holloway fell pretty hard this way.  But the other crashes were just stupid, random mistakes.

The race wasn’t strung out enough, too blobby, so everyone was tight, thus twitchy.  It never ceases to amaze me how much contact there is nowadays in criteriums.  I’m not saying that was the cause of the crashes yesterday, but I hate it when guys take their hands off the bars to tap someones hip when it reality it is way better just to brake.  The sport has way too much contact, when it would be just so much safer if guys went out of their way to not make contact.  This is a big change that has happened over the years.

Not much happened during the race.  There are too many teams here that are banking on the race coming down to a field sprint, thus it will nearly always be a field sprint.

I nearly went over the bars when I was jumping and my chain slipped.  I’m not really sure what happened.  I jumped and next thing I know I’m on my front wheel with my rear wheel a foot off the ground.  I landed a little crossed up, with one foot unclipped.  I probably should have fallen, but got lucky and didn’t.   That was my adrenaline rush for the day.

Business as usual the last couple laps.  UHC didn’t start until 3, maybe 2 to go.  Everyone swarmed and it was chaos.  I felt pretty great all day and was looking forward to the end.  I was towards the front, but then it went south.  I got caught up on the wrong side of the field and got way shuffled back.  I made a couple big moves, but still was 30 guys back with 1/2 a lap to go.

On the 2nd to last stretch, I jumped by a few more guys and went way wide through the last corner, passing a few more.  The sprint is sort of downhill and I was pretty spun out in an 11. When I have to sit to sprint, then it is all over.  That happened about 50 meters from the finish. I had a max speed of 43, so that is pretty quick.   I thought I was really far back so eased up some and a few guys went by.  That was a mistake.   I finished 22nd and would have been in a more respectable place if I would have just keep at it to the line.  I think I’m not used to being that far back at the finish.  If you would have asked me 50 meters from the line where I was at I would have guessed in the upper 30’s.  Strange.

So, I’m happy that I felt much better, but can’t be happy with the finish.  Today is a much harder race, on the hill in the Italian section of St. Louis.  It is an hour earlier, so it is going to be way hotter.  Catherine raced at 4 yesterday and it was 95 on her Strava and mine said it was 85.  So, 10 degrees hotter an hour earlier.  Yesterday a lot of guys were doing the iced hose (nylons stockings) on their backs yesterday.  Today it will be the same.

I ended up with 80 miles yesterday.  We did a pretty nice ride around St. Louis in the morning, checking out the neighborhoods.  Like I said yesterday, the houses here are incredible.  Then Bill and I rode both to the race and back to the hotel, so another 20 miles.  I guess it will be the same today.

Okay, here are photos of some of the magnificient houses I saw yesterday.  And this is hardly any of them.  There are 1000’s of more.

results (1)














Giro Della Montagna Criterium

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Yesterday was the hardest race, so far, of the weekend here in St. Louis.  The Giro course has been used decades.  It is a great course, up and downhill.  It is pretty hard and it was muggy and hot once again.

The race was strange.    Something was off.  There was a 7 or 8 guy break and no one seemed to be interested in chasing it.  Well, that’s not true.  Two guys were chasing, Brad Huff and Daniel Holloway.  The break had UHC, Stradalli Cycle, and Astellas in it, but the feel of the race was that it seemed like everyone was ganging up on Holloway and not so concerned about racing for first.

Brad, then Holloway kept taking full lap, or two lap pulls.  It was amazing that single riders could take huge chunks out of the 20 second gap.  We were going super fast and it was hard.  Hard sitting 20 guys back, so it must of been amazingly hard pulling.

With just a few laps to go, it seemed like it was caught, but right then, three guys from the break, same three teams, took off and it was done.  UHC went to the front and clogged it up at a couple corners and it was finished.

It was a strange last couple laps.  UHC was trying to slow the field down but also stay at the front to do a leadout the last lap.   It was chaotic, lots of bumping, fence to fence.

Two incidences I participated, or nearly participated in.

One, with less than 10 laps to go, the field was on the left side of the course, heading downhill at 40 mph.  I was on the far left behind a Novo Nordisk rider, I think it was Mehdi Benhamouda. Anyway, the field swung to the right and we were going right towards where they were doing the pit, which was marked by two huge orange cones.  Mehdi, if that is the correct guy, swerved to the left, to the left of the first cone, but they were throwing a rider in, so he tried veer to the right, but hit the second cone straight on and flipped.  I was a little to his right and watched as his face hit the pavement.  Luckily, for me, his bike didn’t come my way, but went back to the left.  I saw him after the race and he looked pretty ripped up.  It was a lousy place for a pit and there is no place on the course for cones between the fences.

The 2nd was with two laps to go we were doing a huge acceleration towards the top of the hill. The field swung to the left and left the right gutter open.  I jumped and was passing guys super fast.  But the field swung back over to the left, but there was still room.  Some guy, (feel free to identify yourself) was coming over to the right, I think to use the same line as I was on.  Anyway, he felt me coming up and stuck his right elbow out, but it was late.  My bars were already past him, but he left his elbow out and it hit my hip.  He must of wobbled some, but then he went into a cussing rant that didn’t stop.  Fuckin’ TIlford, blah, blah, blah.  And he kept it up all the way around the corner.  I very much doubt he did very well the next lap, wasting so much wind yelling.  My suggestion to him would be if he doesn’t want contact then don’t initiate contact. It’s as simple as that.

The last lap, it was bunched up at the finish line.  I got up to the top 15, then on the hill sprinted by a few more guys.  I had a problem with the UHC leadout guy, I think Hilton Clarke.  He “swung off” 20 meters before the 3rd corner and I got caught up behind him.  I lost a bunch of speed and had to sprint to catch back on before the final corner.

The sprint is pretty long, probably 400 meters, downhill.  It is a horrible sprint for me.  I was in my 11 and going nowhere.  I only lost a couple places, probably because Hilton (?) clogged up other guys too.  I ended up finishing 17th, which wasn’t want I had hoped for.  I had pretty good juice at the end and probably should have used some more of it positioning.

But, that race is over and today is the final race at Benton Park.  I think this is the hardest race of the weekend.  It is more like a short circuit race than a criterium.  Lots of tight corners and the field is nearly always single file.   I am looking forward to it.

At the start.

At the start.




Results, click to enlarge.

Results, click to enlarge.