Monthly Archives: December 2016

Last Day of a Rough Year

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I’m not sure the title of this post is accurate.  It has definitely been a strange year, especially the last couple months, but nothing that is really that far out of sync with what I’ve done my whole life.  I am pretty surprised to still even be alive.  I don’t mean from fracturing my skull, but just from the way I live.  If you would have asked me 20 years ago if I was going to live another 20 years, I would have said probably not.

I’d say the same thing now.  I hope I am wrong, like I was 20 years ago, but in worldly terms, it doesn’t really matter.

Not much good, at least so far, has come from whacking my head a couple months ago.  One thing is I know how many true friends I have.   That isn’t even counting the people I don’t know, but would like to.   I know a bunch of people that really care for me, which is super important.  I think I might have missed this without the injury. I know it now and appreciate it more.

A couple years ago I wrote a list of New Year’s resolutions.  I guess it is just of list of things that I thought I should do to be more like who I’d like to be.  The things on the list still need attention. At least from me.  So I guess I’ll just repost it and hope that this next year I’ll be more mindful and attentive to accomplishing them. Here it is –

 

I’m not much into making resolutions. I try to live life without resolutions and try to solve issues and make decisions on a daily basis, thus no need for making promises to myself on the first day of the year. But, I’m going to try to come up with a list of things anyway, not necessarily promises, but things I’d like to address or do this year that I think will make my life more significant and happy.

1) Try not to be shallow or have preconceived notions about others.

2) Spend less time on a computer or looking at any screen for that matter.

3) Practice mindfulness: state of active, open attention on the present. I think this applies to above.

4) Race new races and travel to new places to race my bike, even though my results will suffer because of it.

5) Try to read more, books, not online.

6) Make a bucket list. (I doubt I’ll do this one, since I like I said above, I live my life in such a way that I cross things off the “imaginary” bucket list before I know I want to put them there.)

7) Ride my bike or walk more to do errands.

8) Address health issues even if it “interferes” with bike racing.

9) Listen to more live music.

10) Sleep more.

Have a safe New Year’s Eve and a Happy New Year!

Brian and I rode to Red Rocks yesterday.

I’m not in very good shape yet. It was pretty windy coming back and I was beat.

Trudi and Parker skiing up in Cable.

Tucker and Hawkeye excited about walking in the woods.

Dennis on his new fatbike.

Head Injuries – It’s Kind of a State of Mind Somewhat

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This head injury is foreign grounds for me.  I have never experienced something like this and now that I am, I’m not too big on the whole thing.  It’s a slow process that makes a lot of unexpected turns.  I’ve been hurt a fair amount racing bikes.  Maybe more than other people, I’m not sure.  For sure I’ve been doing it a lot longer than most, so maybe dividing duration by age, I’m still okay.  I know the last 3 or 4 years haven’t been all that great.

Anyway, I was looking for a picture to post about getting bit by a dog and then I found the post below.  It seemed kind of like what I was going to say in the dog bite story, so I decided to just post it.

I Don’t Bounce So Well Now

I’m not actually sure if I don’t bounce so well or I have less patience to deal with the hit, but whatever the reason, I seem to be struggling mentally a little more with this injury (broken hip) than I have historically. It is so stupid to have a preconceived idea of a time frame I should be on when it is sort of completely made up by me. But, that is the way I’ve done it over the years, so it’s hard to change it now. I’ve written a post before about this subject, racing hurt, or maybe more appropriately called getting hurt racing or recovering from injury.

When I was an intermediate, junior 13-14, I went up to Milwaukee to race Superweek. It was my first race trip out of Kansas. I did pretty well the first couple races, but fell during my 3rd race and broke my collarbone. We loaded up and went back home. I saw an orthopedic surgeon back in Kansas and he said everything looked good. I asked him if I could still race if I could stand the pain and he said he didn’t see any reason I shouldn’t. So, we loaded back up and drove back up to Milwaukee and I raced the National Championships just a few days later, with a clavical strap cinched down super tight. During the race, I was off the front with Jeff Bradley and my arms fell asleep. I crashed and Jeff went on to win the race. It was a different era of medical advise back in those days it seems.

We’ve been downloading a bunch of old cycling pictures and media to digital form the last few days. It is sort of strange seeing the photos and not thinking it was that long ago. It really wasn’t compared to a universal time frame, but compared to a human’s lifetime, it is a big percentage. I found a photo from the British Milk Race, after I’d hit a stationary car at 100 km/hr. I was pretty broken up. I remember being super disappointed not being able to finish the race, but don’t remember having this withdrawal mindset two weeks later.

That time, after returning back to the US, I went to altitude to acclimate, so when I could ride, I could train effectively at altitude because the Coor’s Classic was less than 2 months away. I had a broken collarbone, leg and hand, plus a wicked concussion. Right now, looking back it seems virtually impossible that I could get back to a resemblance of race form in that short of time, considering I needed nearly the whole time to heal up. But, I did ride the Coor’s race, pitifully at first, but came around the 2nd week and finished up alright.

I know I’m older and heal slower now and I know that I don’t really have any real need to rush anything. The season now is nearly 365 days a year now, so I can just start whenever I fell up to it. It would be nice to have a goal, a race, to have a realistic time frame for reentry.

I’ve been getting a few emails and comments here about whether it is time that I just hang it up, the sport. It didn’t even cross my mind. Cyclingnews did an article with Taylor Phinney, who broke his leg the same day as I broke my hip. I’m not injured nearly as bad as Taylor and of course, am not in the same situation in cycling as he is either, but we do have the same mindset somewhat. He says, “I’m in physiotherapy and I’m way ahead of schedule, in fact they’re forcing me to chill out,” Phinney said. “There isn’t much for me to do except for rehabilitation.”

So, I’m antsy to get moving more. I’ve been riding this handcycle the last couple days. It is way slow and much harder than riding a bicycle, but it is super nice getting out under my own power. I’m sort of surprised I’m not walking yet without crutches. It seems nearly impossible, but I am getting better. It is way easier putting my pants on and getting up and down out of a chair.

Benjamin Franklin said, “Happiness depends more on the inward disposition of mind than on outward circumstances.” It is so true, I really don’t have much to complain about.

Laid up in a hospital in Whitby England after hitting the car below.

Laid up in a hospital in Whitby England after hitting the car below.

And this was the car I hit at the British Milk Race. It came out about as bad as I did.

This photo was taken the morning before the two pictures above. Both Andy Paulin and I, behind me in the National Team jersey, hit the car at warp speed.

This photo was taken the morning before the two pictures above. Both Andy Paulin and I, behind me in the National Team jersey, hit the car at warp speed.

Photo from a newspaper article of me riding rollers with a broken collarbone before Nationals.

Photo from a newspaper article of me riding rollers with a broken collarbone before Nationals.

Does Anyone Understand this Operation Puerto Thing?

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Operation Puerto, does anyone understand it at all?   Yesterday an article at Velonews says that WADA had tested some of the blood bags that were released last summer and that they have 30 more names to add to the list.  20 of those are cyclists.  Is that a surprise?

I don’t get the whole thing.  It was such a big deal 10 years ago.  Jan Ulrich left the Tour and was suspended by T-Mobile.   Lots of riders were named, then their names were withdrawn.  I can’t name it exactly, but did 2 guys serve suspensions?  I can’t really name anyone other than Ivan Basso and Alejandro Valverde.  There have been other guys that were named, and they for sure, had blood bags hanging with the other 200+ bags, but I don’t remember any serving a suspension.   Jörge Jaksche?   The can’t even do anything to the doctor that drew the blood.

Now it has been over 10 years and most of the guys, most likely, have retired.  But I’d bet a few haven’t.  Maybe more than a few.   But, they don’t have anything to worry about because the 8 year statute of limitations for doping violations has passed.  What is up with that?  Why is there a statute of limitation on cheating in sports?  If it takes 10 years in courts to get the names, then the statute of limitation is way too short.

The Velonews story says that sports  governing bodies are trying to figure out whether if they actually have the legal authority to release the names.  Is that jacked up or what?    That is a joke.

The got the blood released, DNA tested the blood, and now have the identities.  Release the names.  It is simple.

Isn’t it interesting how much of thies doping stuff happens in the winter around the holidays.   It is kind of a weird way to end the year.  But, the show must go on.

 

Will 60 Minutes Expose it as Real – Mechanical Doping

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There is an article over at Cyclingnews that says that CBS’s 60 Minutes is going to air a segment on mechanical doping on January 29.  That is exactly a month.  Do you think that if 60 Minutes makes a valid argument, or even better yet, exposes the use of mechanical doping for the past decade, it would change the way us Americans think about it?

I’ve usually always agreed with what 60 Minutes covers.  It all seem pertinent.  It is the Sunday evening program, after the football games, that seems to try to expose unfairness throughout society.  They call themselves a “newsmagazine”, which is appropriate, I guess.   They started in 1968, so nearly 50 years ago.  That is crazy.

60 Minutes has already done a ton of stuff on Lance and his issue.  They did an exclusive segment with Tyler Hamilton that was revealing, sort of.  This is going to different.

If 60 minutes is going to air a segment on mechanical doping in the sport of cycling, then there have to be some riders that are shitting themselves right about now.  I assume they will name a rider, or multiple riders, that have had the advantage of this.  Since they “caught” Femke Van den Driessche, the only person, as far as I know, of potential trying to use mechanical doping in cyclocross, obviously it does exist.

Greg (Lemond) has been talking about it for sometime now.  He says it exists and has been used in the peloton.  I have no reason to doubt him.

I think a 60 Minutes show on it will go way more in depth that anything the cycling media has covered on the subject.  They have rarely made mistakes in their reporting and thus, hardly ever have to retract something that isn’t true.  I assume they did their research during the covering of this subject.

So, we have a month to wait.  I did a post about the revealing of mechanical doping a couple weeks ago and in that article, the “inventor” of mechanical doping, Istvan Varjas, said that a major television show was going to cover it.  I’d alway thought it would be a European television show. Never did I think it might be 60 Minutes.  This should be interesting.

 

A Bit of Solitude

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I didn’t do a post yesterday.  That is very unlike me.  Mainly the reason was that I was out of time.  The other reason was that I feel a little mentally exhausted.  That might not be the right description, but it is something like that.

Since I hurt my head, things have been a lot screwy.  Very unfamiliar.  It is really hard to explain, but I think there are layers of issues and when you think you’ve conquered one, another one is just there.  It is like there are layers and you don’t get to see what is underneath except when you peel one back.

First, it was crazy headaches.  That was pretty awful.  That probably only last 5 weeks or so.  I think the lack of sleep was exacerbating that issue.  Or maybe that was the reason for lack of sleep.  It really doesn’t matter because it just was.  I sleep way better now and am trying to make  a point of doing it more and more.

Then the real spinning problems.   I guess it is called vertigo.  That makes for the day after you sleep really good pretty bad.  Once you spin a couple times, then you get sick at your stomach and then that lasts the rest of the day, so that day is gone.  I don’t get them so bad now.  I still spin, but not like before.  I think I just get dizzy now and my eyes don’t go into this weird fluttering, called nystagmus.  Nystagmus leaves you feeling like you were seasick or drank way too much and were about to get sick.  It isn’t good and it doesn’t really happen anymore.  But the dizziness still is around, but just not as severe.

Anyway, recently, I’ve noticed that I get mentally tired after conversing for longer than an hour.  I talked to my doctor and she said it was neurofatigue.   I think she is right.  It isn’t that bad, but it is debilitating.  I didn’t notice it for such a long time.  I think that is because the other stuff was way worse.

I don’t have it as badly as some people that hit their heads.  And I know how to fix it, sort of.  Sleep doesn’t help.  I need to do something else, like walk, or rake leaves or anything that is a “no-brainer”.    This allows me to get back to thinking at a better speed.

My doctor says sometimes this doesn’t get fixed.  That it is around the rest of people’s lives.  I hope that isn’t the case.  I’m just a little over 2 months out and am optimistic about a full recovery.  She also said that she doesn’t think that I’m going to be one of those people, which is good.

Anyway, taking all this into account, I decided to not go up to Cable, as I normally do between Christmas and New Years.  I can’t really ski.  Or snow shoe.  I could probably do both, but I’m trying to be patient, thus slow in this recovery.   Plus, I’m having a hard time staying warm.  I guess your temperature gauge can go a little wonky when you hit your head.  I hope that means I have better heat tolerance this summer.  Then, the neurofatigue thing, which would be pretty bad there at this time of the year.

I’m gonna miss seeing everyone.   Tomorrow is the double birkie ski that I have been doing for over 20 years.   Plus, New Year’s out on the Cedar Ridge.  There is always next year.  I might head up there soon when it has gotten a tad more quiet.  This week is the “most crowded”.

My friend Vincent needed a dog sitter for a week, so I flew out to Denver yesterday and am taking care of Nick and Jack.  I love them both, so it is super easy.   Last night I slept nearly 9 hours.  They needed to go out at 6:30, but just to pee.  They both came back in and slept with me until 8.  If I can get in a few more days like this, maybe I’ll peel back another layer and see what it holds.

I went for a bike ride on Christmas Day. I wasn’t planning on it because I thought the roads were going to be too slick. No so.

Heading out.

This is on Sheridan Drive, North of Evanston.

It was windy and Lake Michigan was uninviting.

Jack, Nick and Tucker this summer.

Nick and Jack at the dog park yesterday evening.

With Trudi’s nieces and newphews Christmas Day. Parker, Alec, Hannah, and Madeline. Park is with Trudi, heading to Cable today.

 

Christmas 2016

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Christmas is a funny holiday.  It is a holiday where people sometimes seem to get stressed out for no specific reason, only to eventually really enjoy themselves.

2016 has been one of those years for me.  Not the whole year, but the last bit for sure.  I say that, but in all truth, I can’t complain.  I understand that I have been very lucky.  Nearly since birth.  It is very easy to look at the  downside of things.  I try to stay optimistic.  Sometimes that is challenging, but overall, it is a better way, for me, to navigate life.

The year is nearly over and a new one begins in just a week.  Funny how quickly it goes now.

Check out the video below if you have a few extra minutes.  The little girl is 10.  She is autistic.  And she is amazing.

I hope you have a very nice Christmas Day.

Tucker’s first grown-up Christmas. He was exhausted.