Monthly Archives: January 2016

Watch Elite Cross Worlds minus the Belgians?

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I know the title has nothing to do with reality, but that is what I think the race should be/have been today if we lived in a perfect world.  Plus, that really is the UCI rule that they enacted last year to address the use of motors on bikes in racing.  And that is exactly what happened at the World Cyclo-X Championships yesterday.

A Belgian U-23 woman, Femke van den Driessche , was “caught” with a motor on her bicycle. She is the current U23 Belgian and European cyclocross champion.    Here is the link to a Velonews article on the incident.

The UCI rule states  the penalty –

Any technological fraud shall be sanctioned as follows:

1. Rider: disqualification, suspension of a minimum of six months and a fine of between CHF 20’000 and CHF 200’000.

2. Team: disqualification, suspension of a minimum of six months and a fine of between CHF 100’000 and CHF 1’000’000.

Belgian national team coach Rudy De Bie said that “I feel really terrible,. This is a disgrace. I never imagined something like this would happen to our team.”  So he says that Femke was a team member, thus the disqualification of the whole team would be the sanction.

The rule states that the rider, plus the team will be suspended for a minimum of 6 months.  And I agree with Rudy De Bie that her team is the Belgian National Team this weekend.

I know this sounds far fetched, but the recourse for an infraction like this needs to be super severe.  There is no jacking around with trying to screw with this blatant cheating.  The woman was caught red handed with a motor concealed within her frame.

But, do you think that this will occur today.  I bet not.  No way.

The UCI has this moment, this very first time that this has been discovered, to draw a very serious line in the sand.  They aren’t going to do it.

I wrote a post about this early last year about mechanical doping.  Here is the link.    I say zero tolerance.   It has been happening, they have sold 1000’s of this motors, by now, and for sure this isn’t the first time it has been used in international competition.  It is just the first time it has been caught.

Her dad did an interview and this is a quote from that interview – “The bike was in the pit but it is [belonging to] someone from her entourage, who sometimes trains with her. But it was never the intention that it would be raced.”

So it sounds like she/they knew of the bike, but that she didn’t have “the intention” of racing it.   So they just put it in the pit for………?  Isn’t the pit for a bike exchanges?  At the World Cyclocross Championships?  The guy sounds desperate.

Anyway, this is a sad day for the sport of cycling.  Cyclocross is such a beautiful sport.  Nothing like someone cheating in such a black and white way, to tarnish it.

If you still want to watch the race this morning, here is maybe the best way –

Cyclocross Worlds LIVE 7:50am, 8am start  CST  (3pm in Zolder, Belgium)

Use Firefox browser with Hola extension selecting “Switzerland” as country, then go to YouTube and select “ucichannel” and the event “LIVE Elite Men’s Race | 2016 Cyclo-cross World”.

<https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IPY41hSd2pQ>

Think she won this race fair and square?

Think she won this race fair and square?

 

 

 

 

 

 

Armadillo Ride

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People say that it really isn’t getting any warmer around, but that isn’t the case in the state of Kansas.  I’ve lived here virtually my whole life and the weather isn’t close to the same as it was when I was a kid.  I used to ice skate and sled often during the winter back then.  Now it rarely gets cold enough to have thick enough ice to skate.  It still snows, but not like it did.  It is supposed to be in the mid 60’s the next two days.

Anyway, a couple days ago, I was riding in shorts.  It was nearly 60.  We were out by a little town, Harveyville, and over in the ditch, by a dormant corn field, there was an armadillo.  I’ve seen a few armadillo road kill around Northeastern Kansas, but have never spotted a live one.

When I see an armadillo I automatically think of  Texas.  I used to think that armadillos were only in Texas and Oklahoma.  But, not now.

It was a fearless little guy.  It was so intense on rooting around that it didn’t even notice us.  We got within a couple feet of it before it raised its head.  It still wasn’t too scared.  It finally hopped off into the corn field.

It is always fun seeing new wildlife out on a ride.  Especially new wildlife that hasn’t really been indigenous in the area.  It really made the ride.

 

Kind of creepy looking creatures.

Kind of creepy looking creatures.

Here’s a video my brother Kris took.

Otto Wenz

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I’ve known Otto Wenz pretty much since I started racing bicycles.  I went to Superweek and broke my collarbone after just a few races.   I drove home, then back to the National Championships a few days later, which were at the Lakefront.  Otto promoted both events.  I remember him handing me an expense check, courtesy of the USCF, as I was the Kansas Intermediate State Champion and thus earned travel expenses to the race.

That was the very first time I met him.  Over the years I got to know him.  Otto is a doer.  He did so much for sport of cycling, it amazed me.  He promoted the entire Superweek stage race for year after year.  Sometimes it seems he pretty much sponsored it completely himself.  He served as president of the USCF (USAC) for a few years during the late 70’s and really contributed to the growth of the sport.

Otto helped bring the Junior World Championships to the US in 1978 and the World Road Championships to Colorado Springs in 1986.  He had the vision.  Deservingly, Otto is in the Bicycling Hall of Fame.

I started travelling  to bike out of state bike races at Otto’s events.  He helped me so much over the years.  When I was a junior, I was pretty much living hand to mouth.  Otto would let me race his events and if I won prize money, he would deduct the entry out of my prizes and then give me the rest.  I think he did this for a lot of guys.  There is no way that I would have been able to race these events without his generosity.

His races were the best competitions of the year.  Everyone, I mean everyone, that raced bicycles, at the time, raced events that Otto Wenz promoted.  Virtually the whole National and Olympic teams attended year after year.  He did it right and gave the United States a very good foothold for growth.

Otto has been ill recently.  He was in hospice and has son Michael was posting updates on Facebook. Late last night, Otto passed away.

We could use more Ottos, but there is and will only be one.  I personally wish him peace and want to thank him for his selfless contributions to his friends and to the sport of cycling. He will be missed by many.

Otto in his racing days.

Otto in his racing days.

Otto and Eddy.

Otto and Eddy.

I was fortunate to win a few stages of Superweek over my lifetime. I'm in yellow. Gag (Roberto) is being interviewed by Eddy. Otto obscured.

I was fortunate to win a few stages of Superweek over my lifetime. I’m in yellow. Gag (Roberto) is being interviewed by Eddy. Otto obscured on the left.

Otto, Trudi and Bromont at Cyclcross Nationals in Madison.

Otto, Trudi and Bromont at Cyclcross Nationals in Madison.

 

Windy

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Yesterday I was riding with my brother and Bill and it was pretty windy.  Not really windy, just pretty windy.  It was probably less than 20mph, but not by much.  Bill was saying that he didn’t think that he’d done a ride in January with wind less than 15 and most of the time it was more.  I agreed.  He was sort of complaining about it.  He said he would appreciate a calm day that he could just go out and do a long ride and not have to fight the wind.

I told him I thought the wind was great.  I give the wind credit for the reason that many times, riders from around here beat up the competition pretty seriously at the regional races in early season.  There is no easy riding when the wind is blowing over 20 most of the time.

I’ve always liked the wind.  I’m not that big on straight tailwind (because of my lack of power), but I do like wind to help make the plan at the start of the ride.

Early season, I’m not big riding into straight headwind off the bat.  When it is super windy, we tend to try to do more crosswinds on the ride.  I’ll usually try to convince everyone that we generally head out against crosswind, slowly jogging into headwind every once in a while, thus storing up the potential tailwind for the ride home.   It doesn’t really do anyone any good by having to struggle into a 20 mph headwind, while the rest of us are sitting on going way too easy sitting on.

I’ve raced in some pretty windy places.  The windiest has to be in Southern New Zealand.  The Tour of Southland is a windy mess.  And by windy, I mean 50+ mph windy.  I did that race 3 or 4 times and it was always the same.  One year there, they stopped a stage at the top of a climb because the officials had deemed the descent too windy to race.  I wasn’t into that at the time, but now looking back upon it, that was a good decision.

Races in windy conditions interest me.  I like the dynamics of fighting for positions.  Riders with more experience will nearly always excel in these conditions.  I wrote a post about racing in New Zealand a few years ago.  It shows how being smart in big wind can work out well.  Here is a link.

Anyway, don’t let the wind scare you off when considering whether you’re going to be riding inside or outside this winter/spring.  And never skip a windy race.  Racing in the wind is the absolute best way to get good at racing in the wind.

Historically, it has been pretty windy racing in the Middle East.

Historically, it has been pretty windy racing in the Middle East. I think the beauty of cycling exposes itself with windy echelons.

 

Left Leg Only

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Yesterday my 2016 luck just continued.  And that isn’t a good thing.  I decided to go outside and brave the drizzle, wind and cold and ride.  I thought I’d just go for an hour or so, but I felt pretty good and decided to just ride into headwind until I felt like turning around.  The wind was mainly from the west, but a little north.

Pretty soon I was on a real ride.  I felt pretty great, at least for January, and my power was super.  So I rode about an hour out against a 30 mph headwind and started back.  My average wattage was approaching 300, but I knew that would go down with tailwind.

Fast forward a few miles and I am about 8 miles from home.  One hill left.  I decided I’d sprint the hill and call it a day.  I’m not too big right now hauling through town, mainly because of all the sand on the roads, but also since I really can’t use my left hand, which is my rear brake on my cyclocross bike.

Anyway, I am at the bottom of the hill and get off my seat to sprint and next thing I know I’m going over my bars.  I was using the Bar Mitts, so my hands were essentially stuck on my brake levers.  That was a pretty weird feeling.  Kind of like toeclips for your hands.  Before I hit the ground, I realized that my right pedal had broken.  But, I was wrong.  My right crank arm broke at the pedal spindle.

On Strava, it said I was only going 23.8, but I hit pretty hard.  I got up slow, cursing the whole time.  I was standing in the middle of the road and a Highway Patrol car pulled up with his lights on.  He said he was going at me from the other direction and saw the whole thing.  He asked if I was alright and I told him yes, not really knowing if that was true.

He told me he would give me a ride home, but I told him I was okay.  I told him my crank arm broke and needed to find my pedal. I thought it should be connected to my shoe, but it wasn’t. The officer got out and helped me look, but it wasn’t around.   I thanked him again and he took off.

I decided to call Trudi, but she didn’t answer.  She was out riding.  I looked for the pedal and piece of crank arm again, but no luck.  I had fallen on a bridge and it must have just went off the edge.  I walked down the rock pile they had put for erosion, but soon realized I would be frozen by the time I might find it.

So I got on my bike and rode home, left leg only.  The first hill I was only climbing about 7 mph and I knew I had 8 miles, so thought it was going to take a while.  But I was riding mainly tailwind and when I got on the flats, I was cruising mid 20’s.   So, I got home fine.  For sure this is the furthest I’ve ever ridden with one leg.  It wasn’t so bad.  I averaged 186 watts.  Maybe I should try it more often?

My bike was a mess.  My cranks, obviously, were ruined.  The arms had a Quarq power meter attached, so that isn’t good.  Plus I destroyed my Bar Mitts and did a number on my Dura-Ace Di2 carbon levers. Plus, lost my right pedal.

Clothing, I destroyed my booties, gloves and thermal jersey.  My hat and tights made it out unscathed.

My body could have been worse, but it isn’t great.  Of course, I re-injured my thumb.  That is a given.  But I also broke the ring finger on my same hand, (left).  I’m going to head over and get an x-ray this morning to see if it is displaced.  Plus another one of my thumb.  My left hand is a mess.  Plus I tweaked my neck, hitting the ground somewhat headfirst.  That will get better I think.

The good part is that I was going pretty well.  Was thinking about searching for a race to do.  I better put that on the back burner until I figure this all out.

Later yesterday, I drove back over to the crash site and searched for my pedal and crank arm piece for about 30 minutes.  It is super bad luck it happened there.  I think it went off the bridge and went down between a bunch of rocks.  I’m really not that interested in looking anymore.

What are the chances of my crank arm breaking? I guess it happens sometimes.   Okay, maybe that is it for the year?  I can only hope.

Search area. Bad luck it happened here.

Search area. Bad luck it happened here.

Bar Mitt. I only had them a month.

Bar Mitt. I only had them a month.

Bad finger.

Bad finger.

Culprit. By the color of the aluminum, it looks like it had been cracked before it broke.

Culprit. By the color of the aluminum, it looks like it had been cracked before it broke.

 

 

Phil Liggett on Lance – “I built him up.”

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Phil Liggett is announcing down in Australia and is heading over to New Zealand to announce at the Legends of Cycling gala, so the New Zealand Herald thought they would do an interview with him.  Man, can Phil put his foot in his mouth nowadays.

I’ve known Phil for a very long time.  He was the promoter of the British Milk race the first year I went there over 30 years ago.  He is a nice guy and pretty knowledgeable about the sport.

But somewhere he took a 90 degree turn and lost his way.  I understand what he thinks his job is and how he feels he needs to place, or align himself, to do that job.  But come on.

I believe he would do better for himself if he’d just stick to announcing and quit injecting personal opinions into the mix.  He has been pretty adamant about his support of Lance over the years.  I guess that is commendable, in some regard, but when you are on the wrong side of the truth, it doesn’t go so well publicly.

To the Herald, Phil said, “I built him up. I created him into a great cyclist, and he was, even though he took drugs.”

This statement is crazy.  I’m not sure that a race announcer “can create a great cyclist”. Whoever wins the Tour de France, who previously had already won the World Road Championships, in my view, has already established his abilities.  I think just about anyone announcing the Tours, those 7 that Lance won, would have to acknowledge that Lance was better than everyone else. I don’t think any specific person announcing could really take credit for having “built ” Lance up.

It is like Phil is taking credit for making Lance famous or something.  I think that Lance did that pretty good himself.  On and off the bike.

In my opinion, Phil has stuck by Lance, even when the obvious was obvious.  They have a common background and rumors have it that they were in business together.  Phil admitted he’d “MC’d his gigs around the world”.

So, he has his loyalty.  But Phil, said this now – “I wanted absolute proof before I spoke against him and, despite what they say, they never got the proof.”  They never “got the proof”?  Where has Phil been the past few years?  It is really embarrassing for him.

Anyway, like I said above, I’ve known Phil a long time.  He was super nice to me early in my cycling life. When MTB racing was taking off, he flew over to Hawaii and announced the World Cup finals. I helped him out a little getting him up to speed on this aspect of the sport.  But then Lance came along and started winning the Tour and then the media jumped on board the road scene.

So, really looking back on it, maybe Lance was the one that built Phil up?  Maybe Phil just got mixed up on what he was trying to say and he meant that?  I hope so.

I just figured it out. I bet it was mixed up in translation. Phil was getting interviewed by a New Zealand newspaper and he is British.

lanceandphil

 

This video is from 2012.  The part about Lance starts around 2 minutes in.  Phil is still sticking with his 2012 views it seems.

 

Zwift

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I went down to Lawrence with Bill and Trudi last night to eat with my team mates and have a couple beers.  We hadn’t gotten together this year and it was nice to catch up some. We were waiting at Freestate Brewery, but it was going to be over an hour so we ended up down the street eating Mexican food.

Anyway, after dinner we were all talking about how hard it was to train since there has been ice and snow on the roads for the last couple weeks.  Eventually, my two young team mates, Benn Stover and Garrick Valverde started talking about riding Zwift.  A couple days ago, a few guys left comments that I should try Zwift to help shorten the perceived trainer times.

Zwift is a 3D cycling app that allows a rider to participate with other riders on the internet.  It has different courses and you can race or just ride different places.

I’ve known about Zwift for quite a while.  My friend, Mike McCarthy sent me an email a couple years ago about trying it out  Mike was World Champions in pursuit and is in the Bicycling Hall of Fame.  It was in the prototype phase then and since I didn’t really think I’d ride a trainer that much, I just skipped it completely.

Now I’m sitting at a team dinner and listening to Garrick say that he was riding along the coast and a group of 60 guys blew by him and he had to chase them all day.  It was funnier than shit. Benn said the same thing, he was “riding” along with one other guy and the guy jumped him.  It is so weird listening to them talk like it was really happening when in reality, it is an interactive video game.

Anyway, I think I might have to try it out some, just to keep up to speed with current trends.  It would be like not knowing about Strava as a cyclist, so it is nearly mandatory to at least get up to speed with it.  It you go to the Zwift website, you can get a couple weeks free.  I think if you’re a Strava premium member, that expands to two months.  That would get you most of the way through the winter, unless you live on the Canadian border.

Anyway, I’ll let you know when, or if, I try it out.  I rode outside yesterday for a couple hours and have a scheduled ride again today at 12:30.  It is supposed to be nearly 40 today, but windy once again.

zwift copy