Monthly Archives: July 2016

Shootings

This entry was posted in Important Society Issues on by .

Okay, I know this is a divisive subject, but I would be negligent if I didn’t address, once again, violence here in the United States and guns.  This is so sad, ridiculously stupid and it isn’t going to improve without our legal system addressing it.  And the only way it is going to be addressed is because of our outcry.  And we should, outcry.

Here is the deal.  People are very tired of being in danger.  No one likes to be scared.  People that don’t own guns are scared because of the prevalence of guns.  And people that have guns are so scared that they think they need protection.  It is a closed circle that only makes both sides more and more scared.

The two men that were shot recently in Minneapolis and Baton Rouge set off outrage.  I’m outraged.  The regular media, ie. newspapers with investigative reporting departments, have been replaced by social media.  Each person has an ability to report current news.  And one of the by-products of this is the reporting of police, over and over again, abusing their power.

You couldn’t pay me enough money to be a black man here in the United States.  Talk about being scared.  If I were born black, I would most likely be dead by now.  For sure I would be in jail.  Do you think guns are helping this situation?

I’m not assigning any blame to the victims here, but both the men killed were carrying guns. And, after watching the videos,  it seems that the knowledge of the existence of the weapons,by the police, added to the escalation of stress and ultimately to the shooting of both of these men.

Then to Dallas, nothing has really be released through normal media, but this has to have something to do with the other shootings.   Individuals, or a group, decided they were fed up with the injustices, so they took matters into their own hands.  So they got some rifles and shot 12 police officers, plus a couple by-standers too.   Of course, I can’t understand their final decision, but I do understand the thought process.

The 2nd amendment, which the NRA, and many others, believe give the people “the right” to possession of all nearly unlimited guns.   These people are obsessed with the notion that they must fight against any and all attempts by the government to infringe upon their right to keep and bear arms.  They believe if there is any legislation addressing this, then it loses all relevant meaning.  I don’t think they understand the meaning of an amendment.   And obviously they aren’t concerned about our society.

This amendment has been spun so many different ways.  I hear people say it is a way for the people to protect themselves from the government, if the government runs amuck.  I know, for sure, that many of our fellow citizens think the police, ie, government, has indeed, run amuck.

So some guys in Dallas decided to use “their right” to purchase sniper rifles and then execute police officers, in a different city, who had nothing, absolutely nothing, to do with the previous shootings.

We all have to face it, unless we do something about all this, it is going to get worse.  On July 4th, just 4 days ago, in Chicago, over 60 people were shot.  That is in one day.  Does that outrage you?  Probably not.  You’re thinking it is just bad people shooting bad people.  That is not the case.  There are children involved in these shootings.

If the Shandyhook school shooting didn’t cause enough outrage to change our society’s rules, then I’m worried nothing will.  20 elementary school children and 6 teachers killed by one guy. And it is just the same old status quo now.

The NRA spun it as a mental health issue, not a gun issue.  Maybe they are right, it is a mental health issue.  If so, there are a lot of folks here in the US that have these very issues and they nearly all have the ability to get an assault rifle and a glock.  Plus unlimited rounds of ammunition. That is the way the NRA wants it, guns for all.

They are even against a law that prohibits people that are on the no-fly list from purchasing guns.   They are worried, like I said above, that if there is legislation to limit any gun ownership, then the 2nd amendment becomes irrelevant.

I was in the hardware store here in Hayward and they sell 50 caliber rifles.  This rifle has an effective range of 2000 yards.  A variant of this rifle has a range of 4400 yards.  This is a sniper rifle. But, I can go down to the Ace Hardward and purchase it.  Then I can sell it to anyone I want, and it disappears from being traced.  Does anyone think that is correct?  Should it be allowed?  Not me.

Most other countries in the world have gun control laws.  And after passing this laws, their homicide rates have dropped dramatically.   And the well-being of the citizens of those countries have increased.

Like I initially said, we, as a society are scared.  We are scared of each other.  We are scared because we think that another person has the ability to kill them, very easily and impersonally.

That is the deal with guns, they are impersonal.  I very much doubt the guys that shot those kids in Chicago last Monday would have taken a hammer and smashed them on their heads.  Or slit their throats with a knife.  The distance a bullet allows, the space between the people is enough to allow the confrontation to occur many times.

We’re close to a tipping point.  Many of our citizens have had enough.  This is only going to get worse.  It is going to take a dramatic shift, one way or another., If we don’t shift it towards safety, the only other direction is to violence. Serious violence, like what is currently going on isn’t serious.  This isn’t going to be an quick or easy process, either way.

It is pretty ironic that citizens from the US are using their 2nd amendment right to buy weapons to actively create a climate where our quality of life with diminish more dramatically or the amendment needs to be addressed.

To wrap this up, we all need to participate in the change.  It is going to happen, change that is. I’ve travelled all over the world and let me tell you, the countries with rampant violence aren’t close to as good of a place to live as those with civil happiness.  And most, nearly all that have safe societies are those that have gun laws.  It is an undisputable fact.

 

Think an average US citizen has a use for this, a 50 caliber rifle? I think not.

Think an average US citizen has an use for this, a 50 caliber rifle? I think not.

 

 

Flyover Series Bound

This entry was posted in Comments about Cycling on by .

This morning we’re packing up and heading to Clear Lake Iowa to race tonight.  There is a criterium at the Flyover Race in Clear Lake at 7 pm tonight.  It is a short course with 8 corners. Sounds fun.

This race is the final race of the Flyover Series.  It is a super group of races and it is starting to have a pretty big following in the Pro 1/2 category.  I think there are nearly 70 guys pre-registered for the race tonight, which is pretty huge for a regional midwest field.

It is hard leaving Cable.  I have mainly been resting, hoping to feel a little better after last week in Louisville.  I have no idea how that went.  Yesterday it was raining most of the morning, so I rode my MTB with Tucker in the woods, then went swimming with him.  The dog loves water.  But it dried up a little later and it cleared enough to road ride a little.   It was a good idea to ride, but not great for my mentality.  I felt pretty sluggish, never really loosening up.  But, today is a different day.

It is about 5 hours from Cable to Clear Lake, so leaving late morning is fine.

Last night we finally got over to the Rivers Eatery for dinner.  Those guys have been super busy every time I’ve stopped by to say hi.  Tuesday’s, Wednesday’s are like Friday nights now.  We were sitting outside and we had to move in because it was too cold.  I think it was in the mid 50’s by then, a little more than 1/2 the high temperatures in Kansas now.  It is going to be a big change once again.

The Tour of Lawrence is next weekend in Lawrence Kansas.  If you don’t have anything scheduled, you should try to make it.  The city itself is super fun to hang out at, plus the races are fun.  The criterium on Sunday is in downtown Lawrence, with is really healthy and jammed with spectators.  Super prizes for all categories and good racing.  Hard to beat that.

Trudi is flying back to Europe on Sunday morning out of Kansas City.  She is only back in Europe for 10 days this time, so it isn’t a long stint.  She has a couple days off, then has to head off to get ready for the Tour of Utah.  She has been pretty busy the past couple months.

Okay, I guess I need to pack up again.  It is great having the Tour on every morning.

Beth, me Dennis and Mick last night at the Rivers Eatery.

Beth, me Dennis and Mick last night at the Rivers Eatery.

Bromont paying-it-forward to Dennis.  Dennis says he's never going to redeem it, so it stays on the board.

Bromont paying-it-forward to Dennis. Dennis says he’s never going to redeem it, so it stays on the board.

Tucker is going to miss his play buddy, Hawkeye.

Tucker is going to miss his play buddy, Hawkeye.

Tucker even like to swim by himself.

Tucker even like to swim by himself.

 

BBBQ Criterium

This entry was posted in Comments about Cycling, Racing on by .

Yesterday was very hard for me.  I’m not good.  I guess I’m sick, but it is a weird sickness.

I did the 5 hour drive from Cable to Clear Lake Iowa to race at 7 pm.  On my way, I called my friend Shadd Smith to see if he was coming to the race.  Shadd races for the Olathe Subaru Team and I hang with them most of the time since I haven’t had any team mates around most this year.

Anyway Shadd tells me he has been pretty sick every since Louisville.  And that 3 of their guys aren’t coming to the race because they were sick.  I woke up after the criterium, last week, with a super sore throat and crazy headache.  I had never had a sore throat when I was taking antibiotics, unless I was taking the antibiotics for my throat.  Anyway, after a day or so the headache went away, but my throat has been sore since.  Shadd has the exact some symptoms.

Then Stacie, who I was staying with at Louisville got really sick.   She did the 800 mile drive up to Cable, spend one day, and then curled up in the back of their truck and they drove home.  She was bad.

I’ve just been feeling weird.  Sometimes I was okay, but when I wasn’t riding or moving, I was super achy and lethargic.   I’ve been doing that sinus rinse thing, and  wasn’t really that concerned.

Anyway, last night I thought I was okay.  I rode nearly an hour before the race and felt alright.  I was optimistic.  But right when I clipped in, it was not good.

The course was hard.  It was short, .7 miles, with 8 corners.  It had a small rise on the backstretch, which really strung the field out.  Anyway, it was in a long line and I was never comfortable.  I was doing my best to being pack filler.  The whole race my sinus’ were dripping into my lungs and I was hacking constantly.

Towards the end of the race, it got ugly.   There was a small break away and the last 5 laps, it got going harder.  This put a lot of guys to their limit.  Lots of riders were sitting up and others were falling.  I guess the efforts were making them worse bike handlers or something, but individuals were falling randomly in corners, splitting the field.

I kept getting caught behind splits and barely made it back each time.  I finally just put my mind to it and said all I need to do is finish in the field.  And I just did, barely. The last lap I was last guy on, and barely stayed there.  I can’t remember a time I rode like this.  I have to admit, it took a lot of perseverance.  Looking back at the numbers, I sucked.  And I was hurting.  I had an average heartrate of 169 and a maximum of 189.  So much for that low heart rate deal.  I guess I can only get my heart rate up is when I am struggling.

So, today I’m not racing.  No one is.  The race has been cancelled.  That wouldn’t have made any difference, I wasn’t starting anyway.  I woke up early, at 5:30, with Trudi, who drove to Kansas City to fly to Switzerland.  Just a little while later, I heard thunder.  It has been raining pretty constantly since.

This season has been pretty challenging, mentally for me.  I’m not sure if it is just bad luck or what, but I have been out of sorts most of the last couple months.  I don’t really feel that bad, but yesterday was awful.  Man, if bike racing was always that hard, I’d consider a different lifestyle.

I have a week before Tour of Lawrence next weekend.  I’m heading home and will try to feel better by then.  I guess I need to rest some, but I feel better when I’m riding.  Weird.

I was never comfortable all day.

I was never comfortable all day.

I warm up by here. This is the last place that Buddy Holly played before he died in a plane crash.

I warm up by here. This is the last place that Buddy Holly played before he died in a plane crash.

Even at this criterium, they have barriers without legs sticking out into the course. Maybe the Tour de France could take notice.

Even at this criterium, they have barriers without legs sticking out into the course. Maybe the Tour de France could take notice.

Tucker was thirsty after I finished.

Tucker was thirsty after I finished.

Curent radar.

Curent radar.

 

Good Events / Help Needed

This entry was posted in Comments about Cycling on by .

There are two upcoming events in July that I’ve historically attended.  The first one is next week at the Tour of Lawrence.  It is usually closer to July 4th, but they moved to the 3rd weekend to avoid scheduling conflicts.  It is a super fun weekend, with super prizes for all categories.   There are street sprints on Friday night in downtown Lawrence, Kansas, then two criteriums, with Sunday racing on Mass. St. in downtown.  A great course with lots of spectators.

They still looking for some race volunteers to help out with the race.  Here is a link to the volunteer page.  It has a chart showing the times when they are most in need of help.  You get food and a cool Tour of Lawrence shirt for helping out.   It is a really fun weekend, so if you happen to have a little extra time on your hands, maybe considering coming over to help.

Also, in two weeks is the Tour de Steamboat, in Steamboat Springs, Colorado.  Last year Catherine, Bill and I rode the long ride and it is beautiful.  If you can’t make it out to the event, our team sponsor, Kent Eriksen is raffling off a complete Shimano Kent Eriksen titanium bicycle. The proceeds go to charity, everything is non-profit, so it is good for everyone.  The tickets are $50 each and it is limited to 400, which they haven’t sold out of, so the odds are pretty good. Not a bad way to get a dream titanium bike.  Here is the link to the Eriksen Bicycle page to get a ticket.

These two guys make the best titanium bicycle frames in the world.

These two guys make the best titanium bicycle frames in the world.

 

Marianne Martin – First Tour de France Women’s Winner

This entry was posted in Comments about Cycling on by .

The Guardian has a nice article on Marianne Martin, the first women’s winner of the Tour de France.  It was interesting to me because I had never heard a lot of what was in the article.  Of course I was following it as it was happening.  I was hanging in Boulder and the Daily Camera had daily articles on the race.

I’m not exactly sure when I first met Marianne.  It must have been when she first started racing. She was on the US National Team and thus we did a few training camps together, plus all the other various stuff.  We sort of shared an alley apartment in Boulder, which we had a little squabble about, but it was nothing.   She moved out to Santa Monica California for a bit and I used to ride from La Jolla up to her apartment one day, then back to La Jolla the next when I was training early season.

Anyway, It was a big deal when Marianne won the inaugural women’s TDF.  It really put women’s cycling, in Europe, on the big stage.

Marianne mentions me in the article.  I remember loaning her some money because it was such a last minute deal.  I think it might have been $400.  But even after she won, it wasn’t all that lucrative to race bicycles.   My brother Kris travelled a bit with her around Europe.  I don’t remember if that was right after this race or another time.

Anyway, click on the link above.  It is great cycling history and a good story about a super person.

 

Both of these photos were taken by Grahm Watson, a great cycling photgrapher.  He has an awesome website that has current Tour photos, plus music to accompany them.  

Marianne and Patty Peoples. I know them both still.

Marianne and Patty Peoples. I know them both still.

 

Fignon and Marianne. The first race I did in Europe on US National Team, I raced with Fignon virtually the whole trip. In France, then in Italy. I was surprised when he signed professional for Greg Lemond's team. Renault-Elf was very dominate for quite a while.

Fignon and Marianne. The first race I did in Europe on US National Team, I raced with Fignon virtually the whole trip. In France, then in Italy. I was surprised when he signed professional for Greg Lemond’s team. Renault-Elf was very dominate for quite a while.

Tucker starting his "creepy walk", coming up on a bird, or butterfly.

Tucker starting his “creepy walk”, coming up on a bird, or butterfly.

Thorfinn-Sassquatch Done for Life ++++

This entry was posted in Comments about Cycling on by .

USADA announced a couple days ago that Thorfinn-Sassquatch, aka. Nick Brandt-Sorenson, has accepted a lifetime ban for his 2nd and 3rd doping infractions in the sport of cycling.   It is too bad it takes so much time and money to deal with such a douche.  Think about how many better ways there are to spend that money.  Cyclingtips did a pretty good article on Nick.  I’ve even been threatened with litigation from posting on him.   I’ve had my fun with this whole thing, so I’ll just leave it at that, except, Adios dickhead.

2nd, do you think that the speed that are being reported at the Tour de France are accurate? They are always showing the sprints at 75 kph.  Then a couple days ago, when Steve Cummings won, the descending speeds recorded were off the charts.  Multiple riders were over 120 kph. Marcus Burghardt’s, BMC,  Strava file said that his max speed was 130.7 kph.  For those who use mile per hour, that is 81.213.  That doesn’t seem possible?    There is a huge difference between 50 mph and 65 mph.  I’ve never come close to 80, especially at a place like the Tour where there are so many other riders, plus spectators, obstacles, etc.

Lastly, it rained 10 inches up near Cable a couple nights ago.  I was just there on Saturday and now it is completely underwater.  I talked to Dennis last night and he said that he is nearly land locked by flooded rivers and streams.  Can you imagine how much water that would be.

One inch of water over a square mile is just about 17.4 million gallons of water.  So 10 inches would be 174,000,000 gallons of water per square mile.  Multiple that by 100’s of square miles the storm covered and it is unbelievable.  Man, the weather sure has been changing recently.

Big wind day at the Tour.  Looks sketchy.  Should make for an exciting racing the next couple hours.

Marcus descending fast.

Marcus descending fast.  I have to assume he isn’t going over 80 in this position.

Strava summary.

Strava summary.

This is a road less than 2 miles from Dennis'.

This is a road less than 2 miles from Dennis’.

This road is pretty much toast.

This road is pretty much toast.

Topeka is about ready to see some weather this morning too.

Topeka is about ready to see some weather this morning too.

Tucker keeping an eye on me through a Starbucks window.

Tucker keeping an eye on me through a Starbucks window.

 

 

I’m Beginning to Like Chris Froome

This entry was posted in Comments about Cycling on by .

If you get past Chris Froome’s unattractive riding style, then add-on to it his cheeky moves during this year’s Tour, then he might just be winning over a lot more fans.

First, when he won that stage and took over yellow on a descent.  How unexpected was that?  I was never very much impressed with his descending abilities and then that.  Obviously, he had pre-ridden that descent a bunch of times.  But the way he did it in the race was very impressive.

When he was doing the Peter Sagan, top-tube pedalling deal, it didn’t look nearly as bad as you’d think for a lanky guy like Froome.  I would love to see his power file from that race.  I’d bet anything he was putting in way more than the 200 watts that Sagan once said he adds in that position.  He looked like he was really pedalling hard.

Then yesterday when he took off with Sagan with 12 km to go in a sidewind.  After the fact, I’m not sure it was the best move for a rider trying to win the overall in the Tour, especially since today is finishing on the Ventoux.  But you have to respect the effort.

This Tour, he has broken the status quo mold of Grand Tour racing and actually attacking  off the front.  The sit in, boring ass, bike racing has become just that.  Both of those stages would have been more of the same old shit if he didn’t shake it up and take those risks. And he is taking risks.  But I believe his risks are good for him personally and good for the sport. People are tired of seeing robots day after day.

I’m beginning to like Chris Froome.  For sure his aggressiveness.  Bike racing is way more exciting and tactical than the way it has been done the past 15 years or so.  He has, at least, cracked the mold a little, maybe not broken it, but hopefully other guys will notice and it has the chance to return to the more unpredictable sport it really is.  That is part of what makes it so interesting.

chris-froome-descending_0 copy