Monthly Archives: January 2016

Random Interactions

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We did the 800 mile drive from Louisville to Cable yesterday.  It seemed long.  I’m not feeling all that good.  My thumb is a .5 on a 1 to 10 scale and my ribs are a 8.  Actually, if I cough or hiccup, it goes to a 15.  I somehow forgot how much ribs hurt.  Plus, the lack of sleep is killing me.  I think I’ll get used to that though.

I’ve had a bunch of time thinking about not racing.  I’m okay with it.  It would have just been a personal life experience, short term.  Wandering around the course on Wednesday, I had a few interactions that were way more memorable than the race ever could have been.

I am always surprised when people approach me and tell me their personal stories.  Real personal.  I’ve gotten much better at this, listening.  It used to make me pretty uncomfortable. And it seems, everyone has a story.  Maybe it’s an age deal, but it seems like a lot of people that are in the 40’s -50’s, have big life tragedies going on.  Parents dying, sick children, broken bones or illnesses.  And these things get them down, which is understandable.

A couple guys came up and thanked me for being so understanding, for personally taking time  to respond to them when they reached out.  That surprised me, how could you not return an email or phone call to “a stranger” that reached out?  And really, none of us, in this small community of cycling are really strangers to each other, even though most of us have never met each other.

I think people do a lot of this to try to cope with the shit that life throws at them.  I’ve found cycling to be very useful for lots of these issues.  Every once in a while, it seems, someone will see one of my public life experiences and relate to them.  For some reason, this eases their stresses, and gives them hope, or a vision to escape the mental turmoil.  It is a good thing.

People give me credit, when in reality, I don’t deserve any credit.  I’m just posting stuff I do, or feel, and some people feel something in common, which helps them deal with their situations. Sometimes I get a personal contact and I just tell them what I’d do or what I’ve done.  Seems to help sometimes, which is great.  Life sometimes throws unsolvable problems at us.  We just need a little time to figure out solutions, or how to deal with them, or just accept them.

Anyway, I ran into multiple guys, people that went out of their way and thank me for helping them out.  It is such a compliment and really is a lot better than racing a master’s race.  So, I’ve made my peace with it.  Kind of strange how it is turned around and these guys helped me deal with a problem that really didn’t have a solution.  Nice.  Thank you.

Plus, I got a chance to catch up with a ton of old friends I don't see often enough. This is Bill Elliston. We have a ton in common, think alike in many regards. Super good guy.

Plus, I got a chance to catch up with a ton of old friends I don’t see often enough. This is Bill Elliston. We have a ton in common, think alike in many regards. Super good guy.

Form – There One Day, Gone the Next

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Yesterday was the worst day so far of the 4 I have spent hurt.  I think it is a cumulation of all the travel, plus, the lack of sleep.  From my personal experience, rotator cuff surgery is the number one sleep inhibitor, with broken ribs coming in 2nd.  It is bad enough, during the day, having to suffer through sneezing, burps, laughing, ect., but trying to position yourself at night is maybe worse.  It has been for me.  I don’t think I have slept more than 30 minutes at a time in 4 days. The last two mornings, I’ve woken up, or have been woken up, by a crazy headache.  Today it was throbbing with my heartbeat.  Luckily for me, my pulse seems to be getting slower and slower as I age.  So it was only painful 35 times a minute instead of 45.

Anyway, I decided to ride the trainer yesterday afternoon, after walking in the woods in the morning.  I still had a headache and could only figure out that maybe lack of endorphins was causing it, so I went through the process of getting the trainer out of my van and hauling it up to the Kansas Garage.  I am moving at half speed, so it took a while.

After the humbling process, I got riding.  It is amazing how pitiful I was.  I really couldn’t leave on my removable cast because it really doesn’t fit on the bars.  (I’ll have to remold that some.)  But, my wattage, it was so low.  Like below 200 watts felt pretty hard.  Amazing.  The only upside was that you really breathe pretty shallow when you ride bikes, so my ribs didn’t really come into play, which was surprising.

I read my friend Seth’s blog this morning and he is going out to do the Donut Ride, his first group ride since cracking his pelvis a month and a half ago.  Here is the link to his post about his apprehension.    We texted back and forth a bit this morning.  I miss that guy, even though I hardly know him.

It is funny how many things go through your mind while you’re injured.  I’ve been hurt enough, throughout the years, that I, generally, take it pretty well, with an optimistic view.  That is long term.  Day by day, it is harder to manage.  The inconveniences injuries cause to daily life are numerous.  Just trying to button my pants is a chore.

Anyway, I’m sure that I must still have okay form, I can’t lose that it less than a week, not being sick.  But I need to  keep reminding myself this, because it sure seems like I’m back at square 1, when intellectually, I know that can’t be the case.

There is plenty of snow up in Cable finally.

There is plenty of snow up in Cable finally.

Breakfast the past couple days.  Pat and Gwen turned me onto this.  They are in Australia, training in the warmth.

Breakfast the past couple days. Pat and Gwen turned me onto this. They are in Australia, training in the warmth.

Morning lake hike with Hawkeye.

Morning lake hike with Hawkeye.

Trainer set up in the Kansas Garage.

Trainer set up in the Kansas Garage.

Trudi and Dennis dressed to head out to ski this morning.

Trudi and Dennis dressed to head out to ski this morning.

 

-15 out here / Live US Elite Cross Nationals Today

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I woke up to pretty cold temperatures this morning in Cable.   -15  The snow is crunchy and the first breath is a shock to the system.   I missed the European cross Nationals because I was answering some important emails.  Disappointing, but I’ll watch them later.

Today is the Elite races for US Nationals.  The live coverage is already going on.  Click here for the stream.  The elite women’s race is at 1:30 CST with the men’s at 2:30.  I have to watch now, the U23 race is one.

Dennis house looks beautiful with the snow.

Dennis house looks beautiful with the snow.

I threw some boiling water in the air.  It is super fun at -15.

I threw some boiling water in the air. It is super fun at -15.

Morning temperatures.

Morning temperatures.

 

Best Descender of Nationals???

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This guy had to have ridden the tricky descent at Cyclocross Nationals faster than nearly any other rider.  If you have video evidence of someone going faster, forward it to me.  I saw a picture of this guy on Instagram, but seemed to you lost it.  He is racing the U23 race, wearing jeans.  He finished on the lead lap.  If someone has that photo, forward it to me so I can give him credit.

***Okay, his name is Andrew Lints.  He was a Cat 3 earlier this season, maybe still is?   Crazy good bike handler.

 

 

 

Here's Andrew after the race.

Here’s Andrew after the race.

Pretty cold this morning when I woke up. It was -29 when Dennis got up a couple hours earlier.

Pretty cold this morning when I woke up. It was -29 when Dennis got up a couple hours earlier.

 

rand perkins / ned overend

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This post is about two guys I’ve met through the sport of cycling, Rand Perkins and Ned Overend.  Two guys that are worth knowing.   I guess the main thing they have in common is that they have both seemed to have drunk from the fountain of youth and have defied the aging process.  At least in comparison to most mere mortals.   They both give me hope that the next few years won’t be so awful athletically.

I’ve know Ned for a long time.  I raced with him in the early 80’s when he was living in San Diego.  He rode the Coor’s Classic on my professional road team, then we were team mates for a spell on the Specialized MTB team.   I know him pretty well.  I miss hanging with the guy.  I really enjoy talking to him, but his schedule now is a little more complicated than when he used to race full-time.  He still works for Specialized, but actually seems to work now.  He has to fly all over the world, which you might think is super, but after a while, it becomes a job.  But, even though he has a hectic schedule, he seems to be able to keep super form.

Rand, is a different story.  I met him when he was already in his mid 40’s.   At the time it seemed like he was really old.  How naïve was I then.  Ned and I had just flown back from Japan and were in Atlanta doing a Cactus Cup MTB stage race.  We were kind of jet lagged and the few days before were rainy.

Anyway, we were pretty confident that we were good enough to win the event.  I’m pretty sure it was during the dirt criterium, which was a mini cross country, that I first noticed Rand.  Ned and I were together in the lead and this guy kept hanging around, just a couple hundred meters back.  We were riding through a swampy field and it took a ton of power.  I thought we were going good enough, but the guy was gaining.  Ned finally told me to leave him, which I did.  I think Ned held on for 2nd, but not by much.

After the race I went over and introduced myself to Rand.  He was 8 years older, mid 40’s and hadn’t really been racing bikes on a National level at all.  I asked around and only heard incredible stories about how he could kill anyone on the East coast in a climbing race.

After that, he was on my radar screen.  Eventually, his wife, Laurie, invited me to the Nob Scorcher race she promoted.   I drove out there because I was going to do a road race the next day in Atlanta.  We stayed with them and every since then I consider them friends.

I tried to stop by whenever I went by.   Rand once took Bill Stolte and I on a super MTB ride “near” the Great Smoky Mountain National Park.  Rand had read something in Bicycling Magazine about how riding bikes affects the parts of your body near the seat.  He must have been having some issues, maybe not,, but for whatever the reason was, he had ridden for a couple months with no seat or seatpost on his bikes.

He took us on a 50 mile MTB ride and stood the whole way.  We actually dropped Bill on the climb.  The descending wasn’t so great for him, without a seat, but that wasn’t his forte anyway.  Bill and I were blown away.  There was absolutely no way we could have done the ride standing.  

After that, he took me paddling.  It was beyond embarrassing.  I was doing a Swanee River paddle and his turnover was like each second.  I could see him for maybe 30 seconds or so before he disappears around the bend.

Now Rand is the guy to beat standup paddling.  He and Laurie spend their winters in Florida and he beats up on just about everyone that competes against him.  He is 63 and has won 12 out of 18 races he did last  year.  Pretty crazy.

Anyway, below are two links to recent stories on both Rand and Ned.  The articles go into depth about each one’s athletic history.  If you have some spare time, check them out.

I am very fortunate to have met both these guys.  I am lucky to be able to call them my friends.

Here’s Ned’s article from Outside Magazine.  

And Rand’s article.

Photo: Dave Lauridsen

Photo: Dave Lauridsen

Photo by  Laurie Perkins.

Photo by Laurie Perkins.

 

 

 

 

Wow, That was a Night

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Last night I was pretty ill.  Like violently ill, for the whole night.  Man, that was an experience.  I have no idea what the deal was.  Trudi made stir fry at 7, then around 9 my stomach started feeling weird.  By 11 pm, I was in incredible pain.

I don’t see how it could have been food poisoning.  5 other people ate and they all feel great. There was no meat in the stir fry.   It was on top of wild rice.  Whatever.

I have never been that sick in my life.  I was deliriously sick.  It would come in waves, maybe 30 minutes apart.  I’d think it was over, but it just kept coming and coming.  I probably threw up 50 times.  The last 10 or so, nothing was coming up and that is when I felt I was doing real damage.

Plus, about 3 or 4 am, I started cramping.  Like all over.  My right foot was cramped up for maybe 2 hours, but that was the least of my issues.  I was getting hamstring cramps, thigh cramps, which I’ve never had, my neck, back, you name it, it cramped.  Trying to hobble to the bathroom all cramped up would have been a sight to see.

Initially I was worried about my broken ribs, but that turned out to be a non-issue.  Sure it felt like someone was stabbing me in the side every time I puked, but the abdominal pain was 100 fold that of the rib pain.

I thought seriously about going to the hospital around 5 am.  It didn’t seem right that I could be that violently ill for so long.  But the hospital is in Hayward, about 30 minutes away, and by the time I’d made a decision to go, the pain had already subsided some, giving me hope it was done.

So, around 7 or 8 am, it just left as it came.  Now I just feel like I got run over by a train.  Pretty much just like the flu, which is a 99% improvement from the night episode.  My legs are twitching like I just rode a 6 hour hot road race.  It is all so strange.  Plus, my stomach is making noises that would perfect for a soundtrack from Jurassic Park.

Sorry to even post this, but you know how it is, I seem to write whatever is on my mind.  And I can’t think of anything else, just now, than replaying the night over and over.   I wouldn’t wish that experience on my worst enemy.  When it rains, it pours.
   

My position for the day.  

stomachful copy

 

Northwoods – It’s a Different Environment

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Once thing I love about going to different places is seeing how the locals have evolved with their environment.   Maybe I’ve had more time to just observe, since I’m sort of out of commission, but this trip it seems like it seems more foreign that usually.

Up in Northern Wisconsin, in the winter, this climate is harsh.  People really need to be ready or it could be deadly.  The temperatures are so much lower than most the rest of the country ever encounters, we don’t even have any idea it even occurs.

I spent a winter in Grand Forks North Dakota, where the winters are harsh.  I remember asking a girl there if all the cars there have plugs for block heaters.  She didn’t know that cars came without them.

A couple New Year’s ago, we were out on the Hemlock Ridge at midnight and the actual temperature was around -35.  I think the high temperature the day was -12 or something silly like that.   Dennis’ ski race is Saturday and they keep changing the forecast.  The high now is supposed to be -2, with a low of -20.  It is lucky there isn’t as much wind in skiing as cycling, but it is still cold.  42 km at -5 would be tough.  But, he’s lucky it isn’t Sunday.  The high temperature is -8 on Sunday.  It is crazy.

Okay, here are some photos from the last few days up here.

Ned's unofficial National Championship jersey from a couple year's ago. I think it is cooler than the real one he won last year in Utah.

Ned’s unofficial National Championship jersey from the Fat Birkie a  couple years ago. I think it is cooler than the real one he won last year in Utah.


Dennis has done a ton to his cabin to insulation. He had blown foam put in last year. But many houses here get crazy ice dams. The weight and damage of the ice and water is incredible.

Dennis has done a ton to his cabin to add insulation. He had blown foam put in last year. But many houses here get crazy ice dams. The weight and damage of the ice and water is incredible.


Dennis put in new v-groove when he blew in the foam. It looks super nice.

Dennis put in new v-groove when he blew in the foam. It looks super nice.


Dennis' bike room switches into a winter sports complex depending on the season.

Dennis’ bike room switches into a winter sports complex depending on the season.


I was worried about my car, so I bought this. It didn't go low enough.

I was worried about my car, so I bought this. It didn’t go low enough.


So, I siphoned close to a gallon out and added pure antifreeze. It is strange when you have to have the antifreeze go down to -40 or below.

So, I siphoned close to a gallon out and added pure antifreeze. It is strange when you have to have the antifreeze go down to -40 or below.


Dennis at the Seeley Ski Club's garage where they keep their snow mobiles.

Dennis at the Seeley Ski Club’s garage where they keep their snow mobiles.


This Gavi, George and Yulyia boy. He eats sour cream on his pancakes. Julyia is from Russia.

This is Gav, George and Yuliya boy. He eats sour cream on his pancakes.Yuliya is from Russia.


Normal WIsconsin truck.

Normal WIsconsin trunk.


Seems like a high percentage of the pickups have plows attached.

Seems like a high percentage of the pickups have plows attached.


You don't often see a $10000 Fatbike parked in front of a bar at noon when it is -10 out.

You don’t often see a $10000 Fatbike parked in front of a bar at noon when it is -10 out.


Ice fishing tents, with deer stands behind.

Ice fishing tents, with deer stands behind.


The trapping isle at the hardware store.

The trapping isle at the hardware store.


And, of course, the ice augers for drilling holes in the lake ice.

And, of course, the ice auger section,  for drilling holes in the lake ice.


Trudi heading out on her first fatbike experience.

Trudi heading out on her first fatbike experience.