Monthly Archives: January 2017

60 Minutes Investigation of Mechanical Doping

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I watched the 60 Minutes segment on mechanical doping on Sunday and was a bit disappointed.  All they did was tell us something that we already knew.  We already knew that they existed.  Saying that they possibly have been used in the Pro peloton seems silly.

The biggest change, I guess, was a guy from the French doping authority said that 12 riders used the devices in the 2015 Tour de France.  I’m not sure how he came up with that exact number.  And if it is correct, then I am really not sure what we don’t have at least one name of someone that did it.

CBS said that the UCI wouldn’t allow French investigators access to bikes during the Tour to test for the motors.  I find that worrisome.  I’m have no idea why that would be?  Must be something to do with legality.

Then the show said that the motors weigh 800 grams and that the only team that had bikes that weighed that extra 800 grams was Team Sky.  Implying that Team Sky’s bikes, mainly their TTT bikes, had the motors.  I think that is sort of a stretch.

I say that, but don’t know the reason that their TTT bikes would be nearly 2 pounds heavier than UCI standards.  Seems like these bikes are so light that they are always adding weight to get up to the 6.8kg weight limit.

I was hoping for more.  Other than Michele Ferrari (Lance’s doping doctor) being named as a buyer of the bikes recently, nothing else of substance really came out of the segment.  You’d think there are lots of people with knowledge of this, if true.  Guess they staying quiet as of now.

Motor inventor and 60 Minutes reporter.

It goes in the seat tube.

Cyclocross Worlds

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The results from cyclocross worlds last weekend are a bit surprising, really.  I picked Vos and Wout a week ago.  I was close, with Vos losing in the spring.  But cross is a great sport because the conditions dictate the results.

The conditions were so important, as always.  The frozen ground turned to slick, sloppy mud for the men’s race on Sunday.  Mechanicals plus flat tires were an important factor in the results for both men and women.  That is cross too.

If you look at the results for the men yesterday, only one rider in the top 8 is not from either Belgium or the Netherlands.  Belgium had 4 riders in the top 8, and the Netherlands 3.  Pretty stellar results, as normal.

Less than half of the 60 rider men’s field finished the race on the lead lap.  Stephen Hyde was 18th, nearly 6 minutes back.  Probably not the result he was hoping for, but still a good race.

I think that tire selection and pressure played a huge role in the results.  I still don’t understand how some of those guys ride such low pressure.

It seems like they are taking such risk of flatting.  Both Wout and Van de Poel flatted.  It had to be from low pressure.  Van de Poel’s flat cost him a chance at winning.  I guess he knew the risk reward and made a decision.  Maybe it was just terrible luck?

Wout was riding some Dugast tires with Michelin green mud tread on them.  I think that setup is the best I’ve ever ridden in those conditions.  But that tread hasn’t been made since 2002.  But lots of riders and squirreled away some for days like this.  It mattered.

I have a bunch of FMB tires with that same tread pattern on it.  New and waiting.  Not the same as what Van Aert was riding, but for the very same reasons.

Anyway, another season in the books.  Pretty good rivalry going on now.  And Americans are slowly getting in the mix.  At least getting to the point of racing towards the front, on their days. I’m sure most of those guys and gals can hardly wait until next season.

It was super difficult just getting up the climbs, let alone getting down them.

Both FMB casing. The right is a custom tires with a Micheliin mud tread. Wout’s were green, but these are nearly as good.

 

Another Texas Rider Killed

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  • I suppose by now many of you have read about the death of another cyclist in Texas.  This time in Georgetown, a little North of Austin.

Last Monday, Tommy Ketterhagen went out for a ride and didn’t return.  His parents reported him missing and the next morning, his mother found him dead in a ditch.  It was a hit and run.

They have the person that did it.  It is all screwed up.  A witness said they saw the whole event, but said they saw the bicycle flying in the air, but didn’t know whether a person was hit too? At best, that guy must be an idiot.

Anyway, another tragedy.

I never had the pleasure to ride with Tommy, But I have a ton of friends in Austin that did and have to be feeling terrible now.

Tomorrow, there is a ride to honor Tommy.  It starts at his high school, where he graduated last year.  East Valley High School at 10 am.   I wish I was down in Texas and could do the ride to honor Tommy with his friends.

Okay, guess we all need to be careful out there.

Tommy’s friends have sent up a GoFundme page for Tommy’s family.  If you feel so inclined, here is a link.

Tommy is in the middle.

Life Memories

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I have written heard a lot about chasing life memories.  I think that is what most people are doing.  They might not realize that is their desire or destiny, but that is what I think is going on. And each person has their own memories that is only theirs.

You don’t necessary have control of these memories or then you get them.  They can be monumental things, huge accomplishments, or can be a simple as laying on your back, watching a flock of geese fly over.  They are very personal.

I thought of this yesterday, when my friend Jacob Dickinson, was speaking at his mother’s funeral.  He told a very eloquent story about a memory of being young, on a beach at Puget Sound, in Seattle, with his mother, collecting ocean worn glass.   His story explained the experience of his mother explaining to him how the glass transformed from a sharp, dangerous object to something of beauty.  He said that experience changed his views of object, thus people, throughout his life.  It was a very truthful and touching prose.

I have tons of life memories, as each of us do.  Like I said, many of my life memories I didn’t dictate.  They just came.  At many different times, many unexpected.  I have life memories from the last 3 months, after fracturing my skull.  None that would mean much to someone else, but many that are important to me.

After the funeral yesterday, at Grace Cathedral, I went down to the basement, to a small chapel, where the is a columbarium. My dad’s ashes are there.  I’m not exactly sure why that is.  It isn’t one of my life memories.  But, he is there, at least part of him is.

I haven’t been there for a couple years.  I felt a little sad about that for some reason.  I’m really not of the belief that my dad is there.

I was thinking that if there is the slightest chance, like even 1 out of 1,000,000 chance that someone’s soul stays near where their bodies, or ashes, are, then I need to jailbreak him.  I wouldn’t want to be left there and think it is a very lonely place.  Not where you want to spend “eternity”.

I didn’t break him out, but I did reminisce a bit of my life memories with my father.  It was good and a nice way to transition from a funeral back to something closer to normal life.  I think I just had another life unexpected life memory.  That is how they come.

My dad’s plack.

Inside Grace Cathedral.

My father used to play the organ some.

Going to a Funeral Service

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I’m heading to the Grace Cathedral church in a couple hours for a funeral service for the mother of one of a good friend.  I’ve known her mother since I was in junior high and have stayed with her throughout my life, travelling to race my bike.

I have to say I’m not big going to funerals.  I guess I should say I’m not big on going to funerals in the US.  I’ve only been to one service out of the country.

A couple of the guys that were on my original cycling team have been hit by automobiles and killed while riding their bikes.  First Jim May, then just a couple years ago, Cal Melick.  I went to both of their services.  I didn’t like it.  I don’t like seeing my other friends sad.  Who would?

When I was riding for Specialized, I was hanging over in Europe, mainly racing on the road, when I got a call from Kris Burchard, who was in charge of the marketing department of Specialized.  She said that my team mate, Jason McRoy, had been killed while riding his motorcycle.

She asked if I could fly over to England and go to the funeral service with her.  I wasn’t big on it, knowing my dislike of funerals, but I felt an obligation, so I flew there.  It turned out to be a great life experience.

Jason’s dad planned a super service.  Rock music in the church.  Lot of drinking and Jason stories after, at a pub.  It was more what I think a wake would be like.  I haven’t been to a wake. But even though the people were very sad about Jason’s loss, they bonded deeper and celebrated Jason’s life.  It was a very surprising experience for me.

This is different.  I’ve known this family since I was really young.  My friend was my girlfriend in junior high, then high school and into college.  I’ve had a ton of great experiences with her brother and sister.  Really a whole family. There are lots of sad people here.  Including myself.

Anyway, I guess funerals are for a purpose.  Bonding of the living I think is as important as saying goodbye to the dead.  At least that is what I’m going with now.

Jason.

 

Mt. Oread Cycling Team. Jim is knelling, 2nd from the left. Cal if directly behind him.

 

 

Being a “Smart” Racer

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I have been able to ride the last few days outside.  It has been warmish, even though it seems a little windy.  Let me tell you, wind isn’t your friend when you’re at my fitness level.  I’ve always liked the wind, but when you’re out of shape, it sucks.

I was thinking yesterday about riding smart.  Cycling is a sport that rewards, sometimes, the riders that pay attention and ride intelligently.  It is a weird sport because you can ride the smartest race and still get killed.

I was thinking about a race I did in Tyler Texas, back in the 90’s.  It was called Beauty and Beast. There was a road race and a criterium the next day.  I had just started racing MTB full time and wasn’t currently sponsored.  It was a pretty big weekend and lots of the best road riders in the country came.

I did the race a couple times and don’t exactly remember the whole race.  I do know that before the race I rode out the course, backwards and checked out the finish.  It started and finished in Tyler and there was a fairly steep hill coming up to the final corner.

Coor’s Light was the dominate team.  They were controlling the race and were setting tempo at the front.  I knew most all the guys on their team, ridden on the same teams as many of them.

I don’t know if I was daydreaming or what, but I was pretty far back in the field, maybe 20-30 riders and it was pretty much stretched out in line.  We were going down a slight hill and starting up another one, in town, when I noticed Roy Knickman, a team mate from the Levis days, swing off and sit up.  I was thinking to myself that it was weird for Roy to be just sitting so far out.

I looked up the hill and suddenly realized that it was the final hill before the last corner, which was only 200 meters from the finish.  I immediately panicked and jumped in my biggest gear.  I got a good jump on the guys ahead of me, right when the Coor’s Light guys were accelerating at the front.

By then, the field was splitting.  I was coming up the inside pretty quickly, but moved to the outside towards the top.  I was passing guys super fast, like I was going maybe 5 mph faster than everyone else.

Towards the top, Davis Phinney was leading out Greg Oravetz.   Both of those guys were faster than me, normally, but I had momentum.  By the top of the hill, I was on the far left and came by Davis, then over the top of Greg, right before the final corner.  I had a lot more speed and won the race by a pretty huge margin, considering.

I was thinking yesterday that if I had been my normal observate self, I would have been in “a better position “, at the back of the Coor’s Light train, and started the sprint behind them, maybe finishing 2-5th at best.  But since I was completely out of position, I was grasping at straws and ended up winning the race.  In the end, it was good I started so far back.

Plus, if I wouldn’t have seen Roy pull off and sit up, I would have never known that we were on the final hill, at the finish.  I was lucky, once again, maybe not just lucky.  I was observatory that Roy was doing something out of character unless he was spent and done doing a leadout. I wouldn’t have won without seeing that.

So, I’m not sure this is a post about lack of racing smart and getting a good result or using race smarts to get a good result.  I guess a little of both.  But like I said initially above, the sport is weird and the results don’t always reflect how smart you race.

On a side note, and I’ll try to find the article, Velonews put a big picture in of me winning the race and the article had a part about since I won such a big early season race, would it give me more options for sponsorship.  I answers that absolutely not, but in the article, it I said that for sure it would help.   I thought that was funny.

Since I haven’t found the Velonews article, here is a picture of the start of the Flint Hills, looking west from Topeka.

And Tucker, who was the reason to be out there. He always swims if he can find some water, so he is a bit wet.

Charlie Craig – Such a Tragedy

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Nick Craig’s son, Charlie, died in his sleep last Friday night.  It is a terrible loss for Nick and his family.

I’ve known Nick for a long time.  Probably since I first started travelling internationally for MTB racing.  Nick is an all around good guy and a great athlete.  He still is very active in cycling, both on and off the bike, over in England.

Charlie was following his father’s footsteps.  Charlie was 15, and won this season’s National Trophy Cyclocross Series, U16, in Britain.   Like father, like son.  Nick has won the British National Cyclocross Championships many times.  They were doing it as a family.

I sent Nick a short message, yesterday.  He responded heart felt.  I never met Charlie.  But his father said “He loved his bike, but loved life too.  He only ever saw good in people, adult or children.” 

Nick went on to say sometime about the Iron Otter, from Sea Otter.  That was an overall competition for doing both the road stage race and MTB stage race.  About finding my wheel at the end of the Fatboy criterium in Santa Cruz.  He called it, so nicely, “the golden wheel”.

Death of friends is so hard.  But death of family members is always unmatched.  I feel so bad for Nick and his family and wish them the best dealing with their terrible loss.

Charlie Craig, out training. Photo from British Pro, Rob Hayles.

Charlie winning.

Charlie and Nick.

This is the only photo I could find of Nick and I. From the Santa Cruz Fatboy at Sea Otter. Nick is to my right, in the picture.