Monthly Archives: November 2016

Last Day of November

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Today is the last day of November.  That means December is tomorrow.  I think of December as the real start of winter, even though it isn’t official for three more weeks.

I like the 4 seasons.  I like the different temperatures.  I like the trees growing leaves and growing them.  I like the leaves falling off and the wind blowing them around the neighborhood.

I’m not too big on it getting dark around 5.  And I’m not too big on the traffic.  Seems like everyone is just drives a car in the winter, no matter if it is a nice day out.

It hasn’t been too cold in Topeka yet.  The lows have been in the 30’s and high now are in the 50’s.  We haven’t even turned on our furnace yet.  Seems like our house is staying in the upper 60’s without any help.   I’m not sure what that is all about. Maybe all the pets?  Or cooking?  I don’t have any other explanations.

I won’t be able to ride outdoors at all this winter.  At least where there is any snow or a situation where I might fall and whack my head.  I would like to ride my bike outside as soon as I can.  It is sort of up to me now.  I guess it always was.  I’ve been reading a bunch about this TBI thing and the risk/reward deal.  And I’m going to be cautious, which isn’t my normal style.

I’ve been riding the ergometer inside for a while now.  I got my bike back from the Walberg’s house a couple days ago.  I have no idea what happened to it.  The rear wheels is bent over like I’ve never done before.   Luckily, for a Lemond trainer, you don’t need a rear wheel.

The Lemond trainer is super smooth and having wattage, like exact wattage is nice.  I feel okay ride, nothing special.  I have to sometimes not ride much because of headaches, dizziness and such.

Today I’m heading to do a balance test at the ENT place.  It takes a couple hours and they put goggles on me and measure my eye movements.  I’ve heard they put warm water in my ears. I’m not sure what that is about, but I’m interested in the results.

I’m pretty sure the majority of my dizziness, being off-balance, is ear related.  And that is fixable. I’ve tried  a couple times, with pretty good results, but I’m not 100% cured.  I think that I can get that fixed in the next week or so.  At least I hope so.

Okay, I haven’t been able to have any caffeine the last couple days.  That really isn’t a big deal.  I haven’t been having much recently anyway.

I have to be done eating in the next 10 minutes, so I’d better do finish up and eat something.

My bike was fairly unscathed in the crash.  I'm not sure what happened to this wheel.  Even though I was riding with 4 other guys, no one really saw what happened.

My bike was fairly unscathed in the crash. I’m not sure what happened to this wheel. Even though I was riding with 4 other guys, no one really saw what happened.

I can't remember bending a wheel like this before.  Especially from just flipping over the bars.

I can’t remember bending a wheel like this before. Especially from just flipping over the bars.

 

 

Taking Baths

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I’ve always liked taking baths.  I liked it when I was a little kid and I still like it now.  Maybe it was because when I was small, we didn’t have a shower, I don’t know.  All I know is that a hot bath is sometimes is the difference between getting by and suffering.

I’m been taking a bunch of baths since I crashed.  I am having a little trouble controlling my thermostat.  I’ve been getting really cold, even if I’m dressed right, so the only way I can figure out how to get back warm is to take a hot bath.  The first couple weeks I was taking maybe 10 a day.  I know that sounds weird, and it is, but it worked.  Now it is down to a couple.

I’ve had a few odd bathing situations over the years racing.  When I was first going to Europe, many times it was hard getting hot water.  Even when I was living in Switzerland, racing cross, my super nice apartment in Aigle had a small insulated water storage tank and every morning around 6, it would fill full of hot water.  That is the water I had for the day, which wasn’t really enough to wash dishes, clothes and shower.  I definitely needed to prioritize.

The first time I went to Europe, we were racing a stage race that started in Rome and finished in San Marino.  The weather was sort of bad early in the race and I got dropped by myself.  It was raining pretty hard and I was worried I was going to miss a turn and get lost.  I was riding through a small Italian village, going up short steep climb, and this big man, without a shirt on, smoking a cigarette, is standing on the sideway yelling die (sp), which I was, but he was cheering.

When I came by, the guy, shirtless and barefoot, steps into the road and starts running behind me, pushing..  Man, that guy was talented.  He pushed me at least 50 meters up that hill and then promptly, stopped and fell on his stomach, laying in the road as water streamed down it.  I didn’t realized how passionate Italian cycling fans were until then.

Anyway, I could see the finish town and I was wondering if there was going to be hot water at the hotel, it was that sort of day. The previous hotels didn’t have hot water.  I was the last American to finish and made my way to the hotel.  When I got there, I was a mess.  Sort of bonked, soaked and covered in road grit.  It turned out we didn’t have a hotel, but an apartment.

The other guys were already clean.  I walked in and they said they had some good news, and bad.  The good news was there was hot water.  The bad was that there wasn’t much, so they had filled the tub and had all cleaned up.  I walked into the bathroom and the tub was full of, what looked, like muddy pond water.  I reached down and it was semi hot.  So I just took off my cycling shoes, left my shorts and jersey on, shut my eyes, and got into the tub.  I was so cold and it was great.  I thought about how much better muddy hot water is than cold clean water, in certain circumstances.  This was one of those circumstances.

A couple years later, I was racing the British Milk Race.  Phil Liggett was the promoter and there was a lot of riding in wet conditions.  I had a gotten a cold on the flight over and wasn’t feeling that great.  The first stage was hilly and I was dropped towards the end of the race again.  It was raining hard, windy and cold.  I finished, pretty blown again,  and was told to ride to the local gym to shower.  I rode over there and virtually the whole race was there.  Bikes stacked everywhere and when I went inside the whole peloton in the showers.  I was freezing and it was going to take forever for a shower to open up.

I wandered to another room, opened a door and in that room was an antique bathtub, free standing in the middle of the room.  This tub was huge, maybe 7 feet long and a couple feet deep.  It had a cutout on the back where you could put your neck and relax.

I turned on the water and it came out super hot. I was stoked.  I stripped down and got in.  It was heaven. And that was it.

A while later, the coaches were asking where I was.  They went to the gym and my bike was the only one there.  So a coach checked around and saw some water coming out from under a door.  He opened the door and there I was, floating in this huge tub, nude, with water running over the edges.  He thought I was dead.  He came over and shook me and I woke up.  It scared the shit out of me.  He was mad.  And I was embarrassed.

I had been there for over 30 minutes.  It was weird, but I felt pretty good, quite warm, so I can’t say that I regret it.  Just another bike race/life memory.  I’d like to have that tub.

This photo was on the front of the sports page of the Topeka Capital Journal when I was much younger.

This photo was on the front of the sports page of the Topeka Capital Journal when I was much younger.

Concussions from Crashing

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I’ve had a few concussions through my lifetime from crashing.  This is the first time while out training.  The others were all at races.  Each and every time, they came fast and unexpected.  Of course they would be unexpected.  If they were expected, I wouldn’t have been where I was.

This is the first time I’ve fractured my skull.  And hopefully the last.  It is way worse than simply whacking your head and waking up a while later in a hospital room or somewhere else.   Hopefully all these head hits have been spaced out far enough that I won’t be any more forgetful, etc. than I already am.

Three times I’ve crashed during races and have gotten knocked out, then woke up later and kept riding.  I doubt that is a good thing, but I think it would have been hard to talk me out of it at the time.

The first time was at the Coor’s Classic.  We were racing from Denver to Vail Pass.  We were riding up the I-70, on the shoulder, up to the Loveland Pass exit.  It wasn’t far into the race. We’d just done the first real steep pitch on I-70 and were descending along the shoulder.  I was stoked to be in the front group, which was pretty big.  We’re going pretty quick, coming up to a place on the highway they had blasted a bunch of rock and we were riding next to a rock cliff.

Next thing I know, I’m seeing the road, but from 45 degrees.  I’m thinking to myself, I wonder why I’m leaning so far over.  That was it.  Out.

I woke up just a couple minutes later.  There were a lot of guys standing around me and our team mechanic was there looking distraught.  There was a doctor shining a light into my eyes asking me questions.  I think I was answering all of them alright.  I could hear the highway patrol saying that he was calling an ambulance and a guy from the race said that they already had one coming.

I looked over at my bike and my front wheel was collapsed.  I guess I’d hit a basketball sized rock and it broke the rim.  Anyway, I was just laying there by myself then and told my mechanic to put a new wheel on my bike.  He looked at me like I was crazy and wouldn’t do it.

All these people had no intention of letting me get up.  Finally my mechanic put the wheel on my bike, just as the last group on the road came by.  I realized if I didn’t get going, I was never going to be able to make the next 70 miles alone. I had been laying there for over ten minutes already.   So I jumped up, grabbed my bike and took off.

I caught the back of the group, which was maybe 15 riders, and was relieved.  They were crawling which was perfect for me.  Just then, a highway patrol car came up from behind and said something like “Ride number 78(?), please stop and retire from the race.”  Everyone in the group kind of turned around and looked back.  At me.

I rode up to a guy I knew in the group and asked him if I looked bad.  He said I had a ton of blood on my face, but couldn’t see a cut.   I just kept riding and the highway patrol kept asking me to quit.

Finally, after a bit, he just stopped.  The day was long and there were lots of great stories the rest of the day.  I finished, none the less for wear.  It turned out I had a pretty deep puncture wound on my scalp and you know how head wounds bleed.  It did.

Nearly the same thing happened on my first stage of the RCN.  It was the national tour in Colombia, South American.  I was riding for La Vie Claire.  They really just wanted Bernard Hinault, who had won the Tour the prior year, but he needed a team.

The first stage was a crazy circuit race in Medellín.  It is the 2nd largest city in Colombia.  There were so many spectators and it was so out of control, that it would have been really hard not to have crashed.

Hinault fell pretty early in the race and hit his head pretty good.  I stopped and waited for him and rode him back up to the field.   Quite a bit later on, I saw a few guys to my left fall, not too worried about it, but then next thing I know, the guy in front of me flips over his bars.  I hit him and that is all I remember.

Next thing I know, my mechanic is straying some sports drink in my eyes.  Ron Hayman, who was on La Vie Claire too, was standing there waiting.  My bike was okay, so I jump up and got on it.

I took off and start riding pretty hard.  So hard, I pretty much left Ron behind.  I was pretty focused on getting back to the field.  Then I realize I’d left Ron, so I sat up and waited for him. The course was sort of tricky there and you couldn’t see very far.  We did a descent and we came out on a super wide, long road.  I couldn’t see anyone on it and you could see a long ways.

I turned around and asked Ron where the race was.  He said I’d been laying there a few minutes and it was long gone.  I just shifted into an easy gear and we rode side by side to the finish.

At dinner than night, our team was a mess.  Bernard had a bunch of cotton gauze wrapped around his head.  Greg Demgen, was on a descent and someone threw a bucket of water on him, but they release the bucket and knocked him off his bike.  He was torn up.

The front page of the paper the next day had a photo of Greg sitting on the ground on his butt and it said something like this is how the gringos race bikes.  I don’t have that picture, maybe Greg does and he’ll send me a photo of it.

Of course, I wasn’t good either, but it was just the start.  I finished the rest of the stage race alright, normally riding the long days with Hinault, which was fun.  He won the final time trial in Bogota.   TIme trialing wasn’t my forte, but I’d thought I’d hauled ass, riding something like 55 minutes for 40 km, on a regular bike with 32 spoke wheels. Hinault rode 48 minutes something. Like incredible fast.  I wonder how fast he would have gone on a modern day time trial bike?

Anyway,  I’ve hit my head a few more time too, but I think I’m okay, not that I know.  It’s not like I’m a pro football player and ringing my bell constantly.  Just once every few years to keep me on the straight and narrow.

This is me, Thurlow Rogers and Bernard at one of the starts. Don't we look happy.

This is me, Thurlow Rogers and Bernard at one of the starts. Don’t we look happy.

Bernard usually pulled our group. I pulled sometimes, but I think he was training for the Tour of something, because he switched up the speed always.

Bernard usually pulled our group. I pulled sometimes, but I think he was training for the Tour of something, because he switched up the speed always.  He didn’t speak english back then.

This is Greg and I riding back to a hotel. We usually had a bike group of fans riding with us.

This is Greg and I riding back to a hotel. We usually had a bike group of fans riding with us.  We probably couldn’t have gotten to the hotel without them.

 

 

Early Morning Training

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I’ve never been into training early.  I have done it before, but my mind and body are always protesting.  It’s alright after an hour or two, and it is nice being done riding early morning, but that isn’t enough for me to sign off on it.  Plus, I read somewhere that the majority of heart attacks during exercise are before 7 am.  Not that I’m worried about that.

I remember a long time ago, when I was living in Boulder, a friend, Jon Neff, and I decided we were going to hike up Longs Peak.  You’re supposed to start early, like in the dark, to miss the afternoon storms, but we got a late start.  We were driving down through Lyons a little before 6am and this line of triathletes comes riding by.  There are something like 20 riders on aero bars training.  I was thinking that they had to have left before 5 to be out there.  I didn’t understand it at all.

Anyway, this morning I started riding before 6am.  My friends from Louisville were hoping to start driving home by a little after 7 and Stacie wanted to ride an hour before they left, so I told her to come by before 6 and we could do it.

It is dark here until 7.  I put the trainers out on the back porch.  It was around 50 out, so pretty good trainer temperature.  Stacie put on some music and we rode.  The hour went pretty quick. I was sweating and a little cold at the same time.  Anyway, done riding by 7am, right when the sun was rising.  That is very unusual for me.

I can’t say that I feel that happy about being done.  I’ve been getting up pretty early, like way before 6, the past 6 weeks, so it really isn’t that early for me.  But I’d rather ride later.  I’ll ride again tonight.  My head seems to feel better if I ride the trainer maybe an hour or so before I go to bed.  I’m not sure what that is all about, but whatever makes it feel better is something I am going to do.

It is supposed to rain all day today.  Kind of a fall day.  My riding gang went out and rode gravel on the Flint Hills west of Topeka.  Pretty primitive roads for Eastern Kansas.  So Karl got in close to 100 miles the last two days.  All on gravel.  I would like to be doing that, but I have to ride inside for a few more weeks most likely.  I can’t really complain.

Okay, back to watching cross.  I didn’t expect November to be like this.  Seems like the month took forever.  But, like I said above, I can’t really complain.

Stacie and I before.

Stacie and I before.

Getting ready to ride.

Getting ready to ride.

Riding in the dark.

Riding in the dark.

 

 

I Like Pie

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Historically, I like pie.  It might be close to my favorite food.  I say that, but when I think about food, I like most.  Anyway, pie would be high on my list.

When I was a kid, we had a pie cherry tree.  Most of the kids in the neighborhood would get together and pick and pit all the cherries and my mom would make each a pie.  Lots of sugar on the bottom of the crust that solidified after being refrigerated.  It was great.

I don’t make that many cherry pies.  Mainly pumpkin and apple.  I think that is because the ingredients are easily accessible.   I like cherry pie a lot. Peach too.  I guess I need to expand my horizons.

Recently, since whacking my head, I’ve had a little smell/taste issue, so food isn’t as interesting. Hopefully that figures itself out.  That didn’t stop me from making a few pies for Thanksgiving. Pumpkin only.

Did you know that canned pumpkin isn’t normally the pumpkins we use at Halloween.  It is a variety of squash.     I use Libby’s pumpkin which is sort of pumpkin.

Anyway, I hope you all got a chance to eat some pie the last couple days.  If not, you should soon.

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2016 UCI Cyclocross World Cup Zeven Live

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The women’s race just finished a bit ago.  Katie Compton finished 2nd and Ellen Noble was 10th.  The men’s race starts at 8am CST / 9 am EST.  Should be pretty good after the cancellation of last weeks event because of storms.  Here is a link to Cyclingfans.  Only the Dutch Play Sports is free without subscription.  Enjoy.

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