Monthly Archives: November 2015

Louisville Day 1

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Lucky for me/and maybe you too, my computer won’t boot up and I refuse to do a whole race recap on this iPhone, so you don’t have to sit through the whining.  Even though I might not have whined too much.  

Yesterday could have been much better, but also worse.  I “finished” 44th, but got pulled.  I knew that was going to happen from the 2nd lap on. I did get better doing so things.  My buckle on my right shoe was torn off on the first lap, so I was having issues trying to keep my shoe on, especially off my bike going uphill.  

Anyway, I hope to do better today.  I don’t feel too wasted from the 47 minutes I rode yesterday. My left hamstring is a tad tight, but that could be worse too. 

Hopefully Vincent will figure out how to get my computer restarted sometime today. He is the Apple genius of our group. Plus, it is really his computer.   

Here are some pictures in no particular order.  It’s hard posting pictures on my phone.  The women’s race start was carnage. 


Louisville Slugger

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That is what I felt was used on me yesterday. I’m posting again on my phone since my computer seems to be kaput. I’m driving now and my AWD van is having issues now. It’s only 600 miles, so hopefully it won’t get worse. 
I’m going to make this short. Yesterday’s race was interesting. Bad interesting for me, but still interesting. 

I’ll do the blow by blow when I get to a bigger keyboard. Short story was that I started at the back again. About 1/2 a lap in, I dismounted to run up some stairs and my leg foot got tangled/inserted into Jacob Lasley’s front wheel, who was behind me.  I tripped and ended up falling backwards, my leg still connected to his bike.  My leg was twisted pretty good and Jacob was super not yanking his bike.  It took a bit to get separated.  I just layed there and Jacob stayed.  I eventually told him that we should probably start riding around in circles, so he took off. I got going a bit later.  One of the weirdest crashes I’ve ever experienced.  

Needless to say, I didn’t finish very well.  I got to ride nearly 50 minutes of the race and felt alright.  It was hard getting very motivated being in last by a mile.  I passed a few guys and then a few other guys quit.  

Today I’m limping around.  My left knee is sore and swollen some.  My hip seems okay though. 

Stephen Hyde had a breakout weekend, winning both days.  Katie Compton did the same in the women’s races.  

Overall I’m glad this weekend is done.  There is nowhere to go in cross but up from here.  Cyclocross can be very humbling sometimes.  Below are some pictures from yesterday.  



Post Cross Doldrums

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Driving 10 hours yesterday I had a bunch of time to think about last weekend in Louisville.  I decided I probably should have started my return to cyclocross racing at a local event rather than racing against the best guys in the country, starting at the back.  It is not good for my mental health getting throttled that badly two days in a row.

The carnage at the back of the fields in those races is crazy.  It isn’t really anyone’s particular fault.  There are just a lot of riders and not that much space.  The Saturday night race was stupid the first couple hundred meters on the grass.  A pile up in the first corner, then again just a bit later in the dark mud pit.  I kind of missed all that, other than losing a buckle on one of my shoes, but still, the distance you lose there is terrible.

My running stinks.  I wouldn’t even call it running.  But, two out of three run ups on the course were pretty steep, with big steps, and that is the worst for my broken hip.  I am pleasantly surprised that my hip seems good from the weekend, even though it was twisted around on Sunday when my foot got stuck in Jacob’s front wheel.

I wasn’t riding that badly.  I wasn’t going great, but I wasn’t gasping for air or anything like that.  My bike handling skills were subpar though.  Those will get better.

I can’t believe how many guys were riding disc brakes.  I guess that is the direction the sport has gone and it isn’t reversing.  It seems like a hassle to me, but I’m old school in a lot of ways of the sport.  Removing rotors to fly, or just to pack wheels into the back of a car is going to suck.  Or just having cross specific wheels, training and race, is a big issue to most riders.

Anyway, I felt okay yesterday.  My right knee got pretty twisted on Sunday and it is aching some, but nothing serious.  I got back a little after 5 pm, and my brother had organized a gravel night time ride at 5:30, so I had to rush.  I only had to put bottle cages and light on my cross bike and was in business.

Riding at night, especially on narrow trails, (we started on a bike path), seems super fast.  It was way colder than I had expected.  It was in the lower 60’s when I got back, but was in the lower 50’s as soon as the sun set.  I had bare legs and never really got warm.

I sort of felt like riding harder, maybe pent-up frustration from the weekend, I don’t know, but whatever the reason, I ended up pulling most the whole way.  It seemed so late, but even after a couple mechanicals and riding two hours we got back before 8.  Man, it sure is dark then.

Anyway, I’m not sure what I’m doing now.  I have to work on my van some.  I’m thinking I need a new fuel pump and the transmission is okay.  At least that is my thoughts now.  The problem with this is that auto repair involves use of thumbs, which I am short of one.  My right one, which is worse.  I can probably get by, but we’ll see.

The sensations of riding at night are great.

The sensations of riding at night are great.

They were harvesting a lot last night.  I didn't realize how much stuff goes into the air when they do this.  Probably why the great sunsets.

They were harvesting a lot last night. I didn’t realize how much stuff goes into the air when they do this. Probably the reason for the great fall sunsets.

Getting Sick

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I’m constantly worried about getting sick.  I don’t think I’m a hypochondriac or anything, I’m just an athlete and one of the biggest concerns of an athlete is staying healthy.

Fall is one of those times that have been tough for me.  I’ve historically been a sickly guy.  I’m not sure is it is because I don’t have a spleen, which filters blood, allergies, or what, but I’ve had some doozy illnesses over the years.

I used to always get sick early season.  And stay sick for at least a month.  I’d go through a couple rounds of antibiotics, coughing yellow and brown stuff for weeks.  Nothing seemed to help until the weather turned dry.

I think this was just really bad allergies.  But I don’t see the difference between allergies and illness.  Your body and energy level is the same, so I just call it sick.

I’ve been healthier recently.  Maybe since I did sinus surgery a while back.  I think breathing through your nose when you sleep is important. Especially in the winter when the heater is running.  Whatever the reason, I don’t get quite so many lung infections as I used to.

But I’ve been replacing those long term lung infections with stomach issues.  At least a couple times a year, the last few years, I’ve had a stomach bout.  Again, I have no idea why this has started, but I’m okay with it somewhat.  It doesn’t last anywhere nearly as long as lung issues and my fitness level doesn’t drop to the bottom of the scale.

Trudi is exactly the opposite of me.  She hardly ever gets sick.  And if she does, she gets well in no time.  Like she can be sick for a day or two and call it terrible.

Trudi is sick now, which means I’m am sick, or am going to get sick.  As soon as Trudi gets sick, virtually every time, I’m sick within a day or two.  And I stay sick forever, while she is well almost immediately.

We got flu shots yesterday, but she told me she was feeling under the weather before that.  She seems like she has a head cold, but I feel more generally rundown.

Catherine turned me onto Colostum.   Her mom uses it for nearly every illness imaginable.  The stuff she gets is at Akins.  I realized it is most likely placebo effect, but I’ve stayed well a few times when I was sure I was going to be ill, so it worked somehow.

Anyway, the changing of seasons is a tricky time for athletes.  There is so much more stuff in the air in the fall and we are all just starting to get cooped up together, so the chances of spreading sickness is much higher.  And once we get sick, it is so much harder to regain the fitness losses because of weather, shorter days and such.

Hopefully, I’ll avoid Trudi’s sickness this time, but I’m not holding my breath on it.

Sick dog facing camera on white background


Floor Pumps

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I have gone through a ton of pumps in my lifetime.  And each and everyone initially seems like it is “the pump”, then it just becomes another one that is eventually going to fail me at a very inopportune time.  And anytime is inopportune when you need to pump up your tires.

I’m talking mainly about floor pumps.  I really don’t put too much emphasis on hand pumps any more.  I’d have to just state categorically that there isn’t a good hand pump available nowadays. Silca hand pumps were cheap plastic, but worked great.  When I rode for Schwinn, our frame pumps were painted the same as our bikes.  That was pretty cool. But, since then, I have never had an adequate frame pump.

I think anyone my age started their career with an orange Silica floor pump.  These were the pumps of choice for years.  They were serviceable, with replacement leather washers readily available, plus replacement rubber washer for the pump head too.  They were pretty bomb proof.

The pressure gauge never seemed to fail and with the availability of the two parts that wore out, the pumps would last forever.

But, the industry started coming up with newer, “better” pumps.  Pumps that were dual action, putting air in on the downstroke and upstroke.  Huge volume pumps.  Ones that would take 5 strokes to fill a tire.  But these pumps, all of them, never aged appropriately.  They would wear out so quickly, that you soon forgot how well they initially worked.

I went through a huge amount of Blackburn pumps.  I had a slew of them, think I won them or something, but they were substantial and seemed like they were going to be great.  But no, they failed big time.  I actually saved all of them and have been meaning to send them back to Blackburn and say that they should be ashamed to have produced such a product.  One that woos the consumer with beauty and function, only to fail dismally.

When I was riding for Specialized, I had a bunch of their floor pumps.  They worked adequately, but eventually their feet would break off.  I think they were made of the same aluminum as their frames were and they were too brittle to last, just like their frames.

Recently, I had a nice Park pump.  It was holding up great and the chuck would grab ahold of just about any valve stem, no matter how short.  But alas, right when I need it the most, the night before Berryman, it sprung a leak.

Bill Woodul was a pump snob.  He was a snob concerning a lot of things.  He used to search for old floor pumps out of Rolls Royces.  They came in the trunk and were beautiful.  I’m not sure if they worked very well, but they looked cooler than shit.  I think they were dual action too, taking 9 or so pumps to get to 115 psi.

I don’t really throw away my old floor pumps.  I’m not sure why that is.  I think I have the intention of fixing them, but very rarely do that anymore.  I’m not even sure if these pumps have parts that are replaceable.  Most don’t I’d assume.

I have never had the opportunity to use the new Silca $$$$ pump.  Josh Poertner, previously of Zipp, bought the rights to Silca and produced a Rolls Royce type of pump.  Here’s a link to that story.   Maybe it is the one?

So the quest for the elusive perfect floor pump continues.  But, it isn’t that active.  Unless I happen to win the pump or happen upon it, I doubt that it will be successful.   But that is the thing with quests, you don’t have to ever complete them to enjoy the adventure.

The go to pump, the original Silca. It eventually came in a bunch of different colors, black, even pink, but orange was the most common.

The go-to pump, the original Silca. It eventually came in a bunch of different colors, black, even pink, but orange was the most common.

I'm using this pump now. I won it at Chequamegon. I didn't take the packaging off because I had no intention of using it much, but that hasn't panned out.

I’m using this pump now. I won it at Chequamegon. I didn’t take the packaging off because I had no intention of using it much, but that hasn’t panned out.

Fix for the Specialized pump.

Fix for the Specialized pump.

A couple pumps the had potential, but didn't work out.

A couple pumps that had potential, but didn’t work out.

The Rolls Royce pump.

The Rolls Royce pump.

The new Silca floor pump. Just maybe?

The new Silca floor pump. Just maybe?

  Home Depot pumps today.  



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I’m a pretty okay cyclocross racer. I’ve won the Elite Nationals twice, the Pro Nationals twice, plus Masters a few times. That being said, I don’t feel much like a cyclocross racer.  And it is a little hard figuring out what to do about it.  

I hadn’t raced cross for two years until last weekend. And last weekend was pretty much a bust.  I didn’t have good luck, but I’ve done well at races with horrible luck.  You can make your own luck sometimes racing bikes.  Starting at the back of the field in a cross race usually only invites bad luck.  

I know I have to pay my dues in cross.  There is no free ride.  But now that cross is so popular, even regional races have over 50 guys in them and I’ll be lining up DFL each race until I get a USAC ranking that gives me an okay start position.  And that is going to take a few weekends.   

I have no patience for it.  It is bad enough getting smeared by the best riders in the country.  It is going to be hard getting beat by a bunch of guys that aren’t normally on my radar screen.  But, I understand the situation.  

The real problem is if I’m really ready to race cross at a level I’ll be happy with.  I think I’ve done an alright job getting back to race fitness on the road and MTB. But cyclocross takes a different skill set. And some of those skills are a stretch for me right now.  

Specifically, dismounting to run up steep pitches or stairs is difficult.  Plus, lifting my bike with my right arm isn’t so good either.  Long runs would be close to impossible.  And I’m not so sure, no matter what I do the next couple months, I’ll get better enough at those things to be competitive.  At least competitive at a level I’ll be happy with. 

Yesterday, I was repairing the doors of my house in Central Topeka.  It deserves a post on its own.  Some guy threw a brick through a window and had been “living” there.  He stole all the heater covers and door knobs for recycling dollars.  

Anyway, I was making sure the garage was secure, climbed a 6 foot fence to check.  When I jumped off the fence, my right knee, good leg, hurt instantly at the patella tendon.  This morning it aches still. I guess I can’t be jumping off fences anymore.  At least until I’m trained for it.  

This is just another thing that might or might not be a factor.  There are a bunch of good cross races in the Midwest the next month or so.  I guess I’ll just play it by ear and see how things pan out.  

That isn’t how I normally do things, but I’m sort of in new territory here, so it is going to be a learning process.  

  Back when running, and riding in mud didn’t worry me. 

Keeping Up

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There is a house across the street from my high school that has been under construction/renovation since I went to high school.  That was a long time ago. 

It is a super cool house and deserves the attention the owner gives it.  But the problem is that it is a never ending project and it is going backwards.   The repairs are coming faster than the renovations.  

I feel for the guy.  He sets up scaffolding and does one section, but his speed isn’t fast enough to off set the weather, etc.  

This is sort of the way with life.  We all have these things we need/want to accomplish.  And then we have these other things that are mandatory for life.  And we juggle between the two.  

And sometimes things get overwhelming and we can’t keep up with the weather. 

I think the key is to recognize the situation before the “roof starts leaking”.  I think it takes a few drops of experience to become familiar with the situation, but after that, try to address the issues before it gets to tipping point. 

Many decisions made under duress aren’t the best decisions.  

We all think that life gets more complicated, but in reality we somewhat control how complicated it is personally.  

Declutter if the edge is near.  Life is too short to be worried about how the weather is going to ruin your day.