Man, did November come fast. I was up at 4:45 to put together a cross bike and then pack my road bike to fly to California. The cross bike took the longest. I actually was riding gravel on it, so needed to switch the crankset to smaller rings. I found some wheels that had pretty good tires glues on good. I’m planning on racing in Louisville next weekend. That is going to be ugly. Okay, have to go. Go Royals!
Yesterday wasn’t exactly stress free. Getting all my stuff together for the next two weeks and then catching a flight was difficult. I think I’m more beat up from the Iowa roofing experience than I had anticipated. I wasn’t working crazy hours. At least not crazy hours for me. But I was doing manual labor for 14 hours a day for 3 full days. I wasn’t used to it. I did feel better waking up on Saturday morning than I did on Wednesday, so at least I was getting used to it.
I got to watch most of the World Series game last night, which I didn’t expect. I was surprised that the Royals won, coming back again in the 9th inning to tie the game. Seems like that is their modus operandi. Anyway, it was big celebrations going on in Kansas City and the surrounding areas. Lots of fireworks, etc. There is going to be a big parade, which seems kind of strange, but that is the way cities do that nowadays. I guess always. They haven’t won in 30 years, so it is sort of a big deal.
The Mike Nosco Memorial Ride is tomorrow morning in Newbury Park, Ca. I’ve done the ride for the past 5 or so years. I love the route, riding along the ocean then zigzagging up and down canyons. It is wonderful. Plus, seeing old and new friends, getting to ride with them is super. The ride was created by Jack Nosco, Mike’s brother and it is a beautiful tribute to him.
I’m heading up to Jimmy Mac’s house this afternoon. I don’t see Mac anywhere nearly enough. He has been travelling the country the last month, so he is probably travelled out. Mac is in the Levis team photo from a couple days ago. I’ve know Mac nearly a quarter century and like I said above, don’t get to hang with him near enough. It is supposed to rain later today, in SoCal, so I hope it doesn’t screw up our one day of riding a year we have.
Okay, that is about it from LA so far. I think I’ll go stick my feet in the ocean before I head up to Somis.
It is always too early waking up for this ride. Last night we hung out with Jimmy Mac and his wife Gale. I love those two. We went to our standard Italian restaurant, but it was closed on a Monday. Go figure.
Anyway, I am a bit underslept and chilled. I guess it has been super hot all fall here in Somis and the weather just broke. It is a damp 45 now, which is California terms is -10 degrees.
I’m not exactly sure how far the ride is today. 80 something miles, but with tons of climbing. Long sustained climbs. I’m not sure how I’m going to feel, so I’ll just play it by ear. There are over 1000 people riding, so there is always someone wanting to go my speed.
Okay, this is a super way to spend a Tuesday, riding the canyons of the Santa Monica Mountains. I can’t really think of anything else I’d rather be doing, which I don’t take for granted.
Yesterday was a blast like usual. The Mike Nosco ride is one of my favorite days of the year always. Riding bikes for a good cause with a ton of friends and potential friends is pretty hard to beat.
I had a sort of weird day, but it turned out fine. Jack, Mike’s brother and the organizer of the ride, made a speech at the start and we took off. The rides goes 10 or so miles down the road to an intersection close to where his brother was killed in a traffic accident. Then the real ride begins.
This year the group didn’t spend much time there. But while I was at the corner, I looked down and had a zillion goat heads in my tires. I thought, shit, I flatted for sure. I got off my bike and pull each one out and put some spit on the hole. I had to dig a few out of the rubber that were deep. I pulled them all out and thought maybe I just lucked out.
There were about 50 people there putting in new tubes. I was riding sewups and only had one spare tire. Anyway, we take off and the ride starts riding to the coast. A couple miles later, my front tire is flat. Shit. So, I pull over and change the tire. I was so cool seeing so many people ride by.
I get back on my bike and start down the coast towards the Deer Creek climb. It was wicked tailwind and I was going close to 30 most of the way.
I catch a bunch of guys and then turn up Deer Creek. Deer Creek is just 3 miles long, but super steep. I rode it pretty steady and realized I wasn’t going that great. I wasn’t going bad, just couldn’t get into sync. My legs felt sort of weird.
I kept going pretty steady back down the coast and then the next climb is Mulholland. I tried to ride it steady too, but a little harder. I got passed by one guy and he was going pretty good. He got about 100 meters ahead of me and then we seemed to be going about the same speed. I was just looking for a group, or someone I knew to ride with, but I was too far back in the group of 1000 riders still I kept going by hoards of riders.
About 2/3’s the way up I got up to the one guy that was going pretty good. There was a strave climbing section of the ride there and he was obviously going for it. So I pulled by him and started pulling pretty hard. It was fun. He came through a couple times, but I was going better at this point. Near the top we came upon Sue. I told her I’d wait at the top of the climb. We keep going hard and he sprinted the KOM finish sign. Then he introduced himself and another ride memory had been created for both of us.
The top of Mulholland is about 1/2 way through the ride. We still had to descend back to the coast highway, then climb Latigo and ride back to Newbury Park. I rode with Sue the last couple hours, sometimes with other guys in a group, sometimes not. It was super.
It was a super day on the bike, but I didn’t have a super day physically. Early on I had to take my gloves off because my thumb was killing me. Then I never really got going. I don’t know if taking 4 days off is the reason, being a little stale.
Whatever the reason, last night my left hip started aching. And now this morning I’m limping pretty good. It must be a muscle deal, but I don’t know what I did different to bring that on.
Luckily, I’m flying to Louisville for the Derby Cup, and staying with my friend Stacy who is an orthopedic surgeon, so I can get both my thumb and hip checked out.
I entered the Louisville UCI cyclocross last night and the race predictor has me predicted to finish last in both races. It shouldn’t be that hard to beat that prediction I’d hope. Maybe it is because I haven’t done a cross race the last three seasons?
And it was sort of weird, I entered the racing at the USA Cycling website and then when I went to see the race predictor, I was entered twice. So I went to my credit card bill and it was charged twice. I’m not sure what that was all about, but I hope someone catches it and it isn’t a hassle.
The day was great, but I can’t skip the LA traffic bit. LA traffic sucks. Like really sucks. I don’t understand how people can live in a place where they don’t know whether it is ging to take them 2 hours or 6 to get somewhere? Maybe, being from Kansas, I just don’t know the super secret ways of avoiding it, but it is a real downside to this place.
Anyway, there was virtually no traffic on the ride. Especially on the climbs. Jimmy Mac came out on his motorcycle and I saw him a few times taking pictures. One is below. The scenery was amazing. It continually amazes me each year.
I had a bunch of time to ride by myself on the Nosco ride and think about things that have been mulling around my brain. I was thinking how much I enjoyed the last two times I’ve been in Southern California. And it wasn’t only for the riding, which was great, but also for the interactions.
A couple weeks ago I flew out here for the South Bay Wheelmen team banquet. Here I made a new friend, Seth Davidson. This guy is the real deal. I instantly liked him.
I’m really not sure what Seth’s background is in cycling. And I really don’t understand him enough to know what drives him. But his is a very important cog in cycling in LA.
Seth asked me to come and speak for a bit at the banquet. I thought it would be a “normal” bike club season finale. But, no, nothing Seth does is normal. He had the new Strand Brewery reserved and ready to house the 100’s of people that were there.
Seth was dressed in a tuxedo and was very at ease in the roll of master of ceremonies. Seth gave out a ton of “wacky awards” to lots of different folks involved in South Bay cycling. He knew them all personally.
Anyway, when I was preparing to talk, I had scribbled a bunch of notes down on a piece of paper, but when I got up to the stage, I decided to just wing it. That was mainly because of the day I’d experienced and Seth.
See, Seth had told me this story about a girl on the Donut ride, a girl I had noticed and asked about. She was dressed in knickers and a black jersey, with her seat a few centimeters too high. She seemed out of place compared to the rest of us. But she was hanging tough, riding much better than “her looks” would predict.
Seth told me he was out riding around Palos Verdes early one morning, like 5 am early, and came upon this girl who was out riding with no lights, dressed in all black. And she was going pretty good. He told her she needed to show up at the Donut Ride on Saturdays to learn the sport. And she did, and has. She had shown up for the past two months and was going better and better.
This got me thinking about my meeting with Derek Bouchard-Hall, the CEO of USAC. He is a smart guy and said the most surprising discovery of his personal fact finding mission was that our sport, cycling, was really just a huge collection of volunteers. Guys like Seth who make the sport what it is.
And Derek is right. Our sport isn’t the Tour de France. It is a eclectic collection of people that have a passion for cycling. And many don’t have anything to do with racing. Guys that are building the new Danky Dank trail up in Cable Wisconsin. Or the guys grooming the single track for fat bike riding in the winter. Or 1000’s upon 1000’s of other people that are doing their small part to make the sport better for all of us.
These are guys like Seth. Here is a guy that uses his own money to throw a banquet for his cycling friends, just because he thinks it is important. And a guy that will go out of his way to bring a new rider into his tribe, because he thinks it will benefit them. Not him, but them.
We are so lucky to have so many Seth Davidsons in our sport. It would survive without them.
PS – I didn’t realize this, but Seth has his own cycling blog. I just found it. He actually wrote a super nice write up about me on it a couple days ago. I’m going to have to go back and read all of what he writes. Here is a link, check it out.
It rained all night here in Louisville. Well, I’m not sure it was actually all night, but it rained hard when I was aware of it. I haven’t had a chance to get to the course yet, but I’m assuming it is going to be muddy for the pre-ride this afternoon.
I haven’t raced a cyclocross for 2 years. I’m actually thinking the last cross race I did was two years ago here in Louisville. But, that might be wrong. I know I haven’t done Nationals for the past two seasons, so it has been a while since I’m raced cross.
I haven’t even tried any cross technique. I’m hoping that the limestone rock stairs at the Eva Bandman Cyclocross Park aren’t wet or muddy when I’m racing tomorrow night at 6. My broken hip still isn’t up to speed when my foot slips on stuff. Especially when I’m under pressure. That is my biggest worry. My hip has ached some the past week, but I’m going to have Stacie look at it today.
Tonight there is a “gathering” at Stacie’s house. It is a party for…..I’m not really sure. Here is a link to the announcement. Katie Compton, Ryan Trebon and a bunch of other riders are going to be there. Actually, there are going to be close to 100 people here, so it is going to be a bit chaotic. I’m going to try not to be too stressed for this weekend. Baby steps.
I say that and I am already sort of stressed because I only have one bike with me. And that one might be a little suspect. Suspect because I haven’t really ridden it at all since making it back into a cyclocross bike from gravel road bike. I’m hesitant to go over to the park and ride today when it is probably going to be completely different tomorrow, especially tomorrow night at 6 after all the other races have changed the course up.
Okay. I need to get going. I’m hoping to sneak in and get an x-ray of my thumb. It has been nearly a month now since I squished it and it still is super tender. I’m not really sure why I want to know because it is very doubtful that I’ll do anything about it even if it is diagnosed as being jacked up. I know it is jacked up.
I’ll post some photos of the race course if I drive by there soon.
Last night my friend Stacie organized a Pro party for youth cyclocross here in Louisville. It is amazing the schedule that woman keeps. I had a little glimpse of some of her day yesterday and it was crazy.
I went to her office mid day to get a x-ray of my thumb. Her office was a zoo. An organized zoo, crazy busy, but manageable, I guess.
Turns out my thumb is broken. But, I knew that already. It still hurts pretty much, but nothing like it did 2 weeks ago. Plus, there is nothing that I have to do differently, so that is great.
I came back to her house to get ready to ride. I was thinking I had all this time, but I didn’t realize that I hadn’t reset my watch from Chicago and it was off an hour. So all of a sudden 2:30 became 3:30. And the get together was starting at 6.
I hurried and rode down the RIver Road over to the course. It had rained over an inch I hear, so expected it to be pretty soupy. At the bike wash, most of the bikes were pretty muddy, but not clogged up. But they were riding the whole course. I just rode the top section that serpentines up and down the hill. It was slick, but not muddy. I really didn’t put any effort into getting the lines down because it was going to be so much different today at 6.
Anyway, I hightail it back to Prospect, which is 11 miles, and just get back in time to shower and get ready for the party.
There were close to 100 people here. Lots of good food, wine, beer, etc. There were so many kids. And the U of Louisville cycling team had representation.
There were a lot of really good riders that were on the panel for questions. Katie Compton, Ryan Trebon, Gage Hecht, Kaitlin Antonneau, Gavin Haley, Dan Timmerman, Jake Wells, Ally Stacher and a few others.
It was super knowledgable group and there was a lot of information that was exchanged. Every race should have a meet and greet party like this.
Today is going to be done in a blink. It is already late morning, I’m still on California time, and it is T-7 hours to race time. I’m going to suit up and do the 30 minute ride over to the course and do a couple laps between races.
I have no illusions on how I’m going to do here. I very much doubt I’ll survive the 80% rule, which I think is bullshit. I haven’t seen the sandpit and am hoping it doesn’t jack up my drivetrain too much. Mike Crum left a comment yesterday about being unprepared for all the racing I’ve done. He is absolutely correct this time. I am super unprepared. I haven’t dismounted or mounted a cyclocross bike in two years and didn’t have enough time to get the correct equipment together for my liking. But I felt that I need to get back into the race scene and this was the first opportunity. I’ll be better in a month or so.