Monthly Archives: January 2016

New Year’s

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It’s nice that New Year’s Day is Friday so this is a long weekend for most.  I sometimes get mixed up on what day of the week it is.  That happened yesterday.  Trudi, Bill and I were driving and we didn’t exactly know whether it was Thursday or Friday.  That was mildly embarrassing.   But, Trudi looked at her iWatch and finalized it as Thursday.  She had been pretty adamant on Friday up to that point, so at least I’m not the only one with day-of-the-week issues.

We went over to some friends house for an early dinner last night, then drove over to Lawrence to hang until midnight at Matt Gilhousen’s house.  Matt is the fearless leader of the TradeWind Cycling team, and TradeWind Energy company, plus a good friend.   Matt usually has these impromptu parties, usually with about a day’s notice.  He always goes big and it is super fun.

I tried to keep it low-key last night.  Did a pretty good job.  Didn’t overeat or drink much.  Got to bed by 2:30.

I rode 50 miles with Bill and Kris in the afternoon and felt just so/so.  We rode pretty hard.  I have pretty good power, just am having trouble accessing it. In reality, I am on the fence about even going to cross nationals.

I’m having a mental tug of war about whether it is what I really want to do.  The Northwoods are drawing on me.  There is snow in Cable, and in all truth, I’d rather just go up to Cable to ski and hang with my friends up there.   I don’t think I am going to get much personal satisfaction out of racing the Master’s race on Wednesday and then just leaving.   And I do have some overall body issues to work out and skiing, snowshoeing and such would help that immensely.  I still have a day or so to decide.

It is supposed to be over 40 again today, so hopefully we’ll get in a good ride again.

2016 is my house address.   Same address I’ve had since I was 14th.  So, I’m looking forward to a good year.  Hoping the same for y’all.

Dinner at Nan and Adam Gatewood's was super.  Nice informal New Year's Eve gathering.

Dinner at Nan and Adam Gatewood’s was super. Nice informal New Year’s Eve gathering.

Matt's house is crazy nice.  He rebuilt an old "farm house" into a super modern creation.

Matt’s house is crazy nice. He rebuilt an old “farm house” into a super modern creation.

His garage is nicer than most houses.

His garage is nicer than most houses.

He had some big fireworks.

He had some big fireworks.

Brought in the New Year by a bonfire in his backyard.  Perfect.

Brought in the New Year by a bonfire in his backyard. Perfect.

 

Heading East

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Okay, I decided after riding yesterday that I should probably just load up and go to Asheville to race Cyclocross Nationals.  And then, pack up right after the race and head up to the Northwoods to nordic ski, snowshoe, ect.

I had a ton of reasons not to go.  But I had one reason that I was having a hard time overcoming.  I’ve been training the last month for what?  So, if I was training to race, I guess I should probably just go race.  I’ve went the last two years just to watch.  And now, the year I go to race, I’m not even gonna stay around to watch.  Kind of strange, don’t you think.

Anyway, we’re heading to Louisville today.  It is less than 9 hours from here, then Asheville is another 5, which we’ll drive on Monday.  I stayed up packing until nearly 1 am, so I’m hoping to get some sleep on the drive.

We’ve had pretty good weather the last few days in Kansas.  I got in 170 miles the last 3 days, which is a bonus the first of January.

I have a ton of stuff to stick into the van.  We’re taking the AWD small van since we’re heading up to snow.  I left the back bench seat home and put in just one bucket seat in case Bill or someone needs a ride back to Kansas from Cable.  Okay, that’s about it for now.

Keith and Catherine flew back from Seattle yesterday and are official moved back now. Now sure what Catherine is doing here?

Keith and Catherine flew back from Seattle yesterday and are official moved back now. Now sure what Catherine is doing here?

 

I glued on a couple 34 mm Dugast tires I had left over.  They aren't UCI legal, but the Master's race isn't a <a href=

UCI race, so the max tire width is 35. I have FMB mud tires on my best wheels, but put these on just in case.” width=”450″ height=”600″ /> I glued on a couple 34 mm Dugast tires I had left over. They aren’t UCI legal, but the Master’s race isn’t a UCI race, so the max tire width is 35. I have FMB mud tires on my best wheels, but put these on just in case.

It is nice when you can get a bike race and ski in the same week.

It is nice when you can get a bike race and ski in the same week.

Lots of equipment to take.  This isn't even the bags.

Lots of equipment to take. This isn’t even the bags.

These are the gloves I'm bringing alone for the next couple weeks. Crazy.

These are the gloves I’m bringing alone for the next couple weeks. Crazy.

Cross Nationals Day 1 Preview

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We left Stacie’s early yesterday and did the 5 hour drive from Louisville.   It is a super pretty drive to Knoxville and then it skirts the Great Smokey Mt. National Park and then to Asheville.

We got here and unpacked at the hotel.  Trudi was pretty nervous about getting her wrist band and figuring out the parking situation, so she took off and I dressed cozy warm and rode over.  Asheville is pretty hilly and I was a little lost trying to get across the river, but meandered my way over to the Biltmore Estates.

I bought the wristband for $16.05 (photo below) and then rode the next 3 miles through the estate to the course.  It was pretty cold, upper 20’s, but the wind was constant.  Trudi got the last parking space at the venue parking and I found the car and striped down a little.

First the course.  It is super cool.  I like it a lot.  It is pretty much on the side of a wooded hill with a couple super steep climbs, run-ups, off-camber descents, technical stuff.  The field section is great too, a couple u-turns, a couple fly-overs, just a fun, hard course to ride.  But it is dry.   If it get wet, then it is going to be beyond technical, really too much.  They probably have a contingency for that, I’d hope, but didn’t see any “rain alternative” course marking.

There is one ride up that is going to be a run-up for most of the racers, until Sunday.  It is super steep and it too hard for a 39 x 28.  I’m looking for some compact cranks for Wednesday.

I have to say I felt pretty great riding over to the course and back.  Like super good.  Not sure if it was from not riding yesterday or what, but I was climbing seated, with plenty of power.  That is the good side.

The bad side was that I fell and hurt myself.  It remains to be seen how badly, but as of now, I can am hurt.  I was going down the steepest descent to a road and my phone rang, I got a little crossed up and launched over the bars.  I landed on my side and have some rib issues.  But I’ve hurt my ribs a ton and can race with that pain.

My real problem is my good thumb.  My left one.  It is hurt.  I’m not exactly sure how bad.  I think it is broken, pretty low, near the wrist, but sometimes I’m wrong.  I called Stacie and we’re on the same page.  See how it is and take appropriate action.   It really doesn’t matter if it is broken or not, it doesn’t work.  I iced it all night, ate half a bottle of ibuprofen and wrapped it tightly in Coban.   I’m going to head over to the course and see if I can hold onto the brake lever this morning.  I couldn’t yesterday.   Sleeping last night was pretty non-existent.   Pretty tweaked.

There is very limited time to ride today.  I can get my thumb, and ribs I guess, x-rayed, and maybe I will today, but not before I go over to the course. I’m pretty sure there is anything to be done in one day.  The course is open from  11:50 – 12:30.

Okay, I still have a day and a half and am not panicked yet, but am close.  I might be after I ride, but not just yet.

George and Yuliya Welk, plus family (from Cable) were at Stacie's when we pulled up yesterday. They are heading to Florida for a couple weeks.

George and Yuliya Welk, plus family (from Cable) were at Stacie’s when we pulled up yesterday. They are heading to Florida for a couple weeks.  It was a pleasant surprise.

This is the hill I went over the bars a while later.

This is the hill I went over the bars a while later. It is pretty steep.

This is the start of the hilly side of the course. It is super riding through the barn.

This is the start of the hilly side of the course. It is super riding through the barn.

And this is just one of the run outs of the descending. Lot of relief in this course.

And this is just one of the run outs of the descending. Lot of relief in this course.

It hard to see, but this thumb is super swollen.

It hard to see, but this thumb is super swollen.

Best I could do for now.

Best I could do as of now.  KU game in the background. Triple overtime.   Man, did that one take my mind off my woes. Rock Chalk.

 

Race Day – Cyclocross Nationals

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This is the day I am supposed to be racing in Asheville.  Actually, all the Master men are racing today.   The course is only getting worse, more chewed up with more sketchy sections.  That will probably continue throughout the week, and only accelerate with forecasted precipitation.

But, alas, I’m not toeing the line today.   I went and got my body checked out, after I pre-rode the course and it was pretty much as I already knew.  My left thumb is broken, way low on the metacarpal (lowest bone in the thumb, towards the wrist).  Plus, I have two bad ribs.

I have been teetering back and forth, ever since leaving the doctor’s office, about racing today.  I have sort of prided myself in racing busted up a little, but this isn’t the right time for that.  I weighed the pros and cons and couldn’t justify it this time.  Plus, I’ve hardly slept for two nights straight.

Yesterday was a yin/yang  day.  I felt super, once again, riding over to the course.  So, I was stoked.  I was having a difficult time holding onto the bars, but it got better as I gripped more.

Once I got to the course, the course was open to pre-ride.  I rode two laps.  I was just barely able to maneuver around the course.  Every once and awhile I would hit a dip or root and it would send a shooting pain through my side.  That isn’t even addressing the problem holding onto the bars, without the ability to brake with my left hand.

So, I went to Blueridege Bone and Joint and got some x-rays.  Pretty much exactly what I thought.  Ribs are just ribs, but the thumb is something special.   It is my “best” thumb, my go to thumb now.  My right one is pretty jacked up permanently.

I called Stacie and she seesawed  back and forth, then finally gave me the go ahead to race.  But after thinking about it, overnight, I decided that it just isn’t worth it

By worth it, I mean I don’t really have anything to prove here.  I’ve been waffling back and forth about this for a while, but now it is pretty clear.   This really isn’t a good time to make a bad critical decision.  I know what I have achieved in the sport and want I hope to achieve. This isn’t really part of that.  Plus, I have plans for my thumb later in my life.

Here’s my regret.  I regret that I don’t get to ride around this course at race speed.  I personally would love to see what this course rides like fast.  I have to admit, I am mildly surprised how well I feel riding my bike the last couple days.  I sort of lucked out, with some planning, to be riding my bike so quickly just now.  So good, I hate to not see what it would be like racing.

The course is perfect for me.  Hard climbing and technical descents.  Plus, heavy field riding.  I couldn’t have designed a better course for my current form.  So, that is just about the only regret.  I made a stupid mistake, so I don’t get the experience.  That isn’t a huge cost, really.

I think the course is great, but in reality, is too hard for the majority of the riders that are racing here.  There are a handful of guys that are talented enough to make use of this course, but for the masses, this course is too challenging.

And like I said yesterday, add precipitation to the course and it will become an epic ordeal.  I can’t imagine a bunch of juniors racing under those conditions this weekend.  There will be much too much off the bike sections to really make it a fair race.  And I think the field sections will become a quagmire too, really difficult.

So, I’m packing up and heading over to the race this morning, to watch my friend Shadd Smith race.  Then I’m getting in my van and driving back to Louisville, hang a night and then on to WIsconsin. I’m not sure whether I can ski or not.  I know I should be able to walk around in the Northwoods on snowshoes and enjoy.  I sure wish Bromont was around.  I miss that dog.

This is Dr. Craig Burnworth. He gave me some good insight about my options. He is a long distance trail runner and knows all about racing hurt. The one thing about getting hurt, recently, is running into super guys like him.

This is Dr. Craig Burnworth. He gave me some good insight about my options. He is a long distance trail runner and knows all about racing hurt. The one thing about getting hurt, recently, is running into super guys like him.

And this is Marshall Gordon, a guy I met at Starbucks after the casting of my thumb. I was drowning my sorrows in hot chocolate and a chocolate croissant. I predict he wins the Master's 75+ today.

And this is Marshall Gordon, a guy I met at Starbucks after the casting of my thumb. I was drowning my sorrows in hot chocolate and a chocolate croissant. I predict he wins the Master’s 75+ today.

Here is my cast. At least it is removable.

Here is my cast. At least it is removable. I formed it a tad so I can hold onto handlebars.

Photo of my x-ray. The dark line at the base of the thumb is the fracture.

Photo of my x-ray. The dark line at the base of the thumb is the fracture.

Here is the whole lap.  6 minutes to 12 minutes is the technical sections.

 

the good, bad and ugly – Cyclocross Nationals

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I managed to make my way over to the venue yesterday to watch a few races before taking off and head to Louisville.  The weather was perfect and the venue was beautiful.

The good is that the race course was awesome.  It is super spectator friendly, easy to get around, beer for sale nearly anywhere you want, just about perfect.  The course still is a bit hard for most of the guys that are racing before Sunday, but most bike racers like challenges, so this is probably a petty concern.  They weren’t hauling people away on stretchers or anything like that.  Parking seemed to be manageable.  I have no idea how many guys were parked over at the satellite parking, but it really wasn’t an issue driving straight to the venue and finding a place.

The bad now, and I think this is terrible.  The officials were pulling riders because the scheduling didn’t allow them to finish.  It is total and complete bullshit.  I wasn’t at the start finish line for all the races yesterday, but I was there for the race I was supposed to be racing.  I was so surprised when the officials started pulling guys and the race leader was hardly half a lap into his final lap.

I made a note to look at the timing clock and they started pulling riders a full 5 minutes before the leader finished.  These are guys that had one lap to go and there was no chance they were going to be lapped.  I would love to hear an explanation from anyone how this is possible.

These guys paid at least $65 to race and they deserved to get to race their complete race.  If USAC didn’t allow enough time for them to do so, all I can say is Shame on them.   The riders from 33 place to 59 were put one lap down and all were still racing for places.  I don’t understand it.  There is no a rule in the USAC rulebook that allows this.  At least not one I know of.  I’m sending out a couple of emails to the officials and powers at USAC to try to get an explanation.  Someone 1/2 a lap down in a cross race, with one lap to go, especially the Nationals Championships, deserves to get to finish the race and not get pulled.

The ugly, well, that is weather dependent.  Like I have written the past couple days, if this course get wet, it is going to be dangerous and there is going to be a ton of running.  It is already a tad muddy from the freeze/thaw cycle, but if it rains, then watch out.  I would love to be watching on Sunday, but just couldn’t stay around.  It was hard enough watching yesterday.

I’m in Louisville Kentucky, heading up to Cable Wisconsin this morning.  I’m pretty beat up.  The main problem is my ribs.  Broken ribs are pretty painful and really get in the way of life.  I didn’t realize how violent a burp or hiccup can be. Or just laughing.  I can’t blow my nose.  And so far, the last two nights, sleep is nearly impossible.  But, I’ve went through this before and know it gets better.  The broken thumb is just inconvenient.  Having use of two hands is something you get used to and only having one is awkward.

Pete Weber and Mark Savery duked it out all day.

Pete Weber and Mark Savery duked it out all day.

Peter finally got the lead and won.

Peter finally got the lead and won.

Mark wasn't far behind.

Mark wasn’t far behind.

This section will be treacherous wet.

This section will be treacherous wet.

Tom Price finished 2nd in the 55 plus after winning last year.  He was technically the best rider on the course, but has had some personal issues recently, so he had a super race.

Tom Price finished 2nd in the 55 plus after winning last year. He was technically the best rider on the course, but has had some personal issues recently, so he had a super race.

This is a pretty cool section of the course.  But, once again, wet, it is going to be a completely different story.

This is a pretty cool section of the course. But, once again, wet, it is going to be a completely different story.