Author Archives: Steve Tilford

Big Gear Climbing

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I have been riding some and have pretty much had to stay seated nearly the whole ride because my left shoulder has been hurting.  That isn’t “my normal” climbing position.  I can climb seated, but tend to stand pretty often.  I think that is to relieve the pressure and to add more power.  It seems like the older I get, the longer I can stand, which seems counterintuitive.

Anyway, I haven’t been climbing all that much, but enough.  And my knees seem to hate me for it.  Both my knees have been a little achy recently and I am sure it is from riding too long seated. Yesterday I couldn’t stand it anymore and started riding some standing up.  I was mildly surprised that my shoulder was somewhat working.

Anyway, any injury worries me now as I age.  Things just take longer to heal.  So I try to be observant and fix the problems before they become chronic.   Cycling is a pretty great sport because it is easy to fix positional and minor issues that arise.

I was thinking about my knees and wondering why they might hurt and then I remembered riding with Eric Heiden when he took a bet to climb Loveland Pass in a 53 x 12.  I wrote a few paragraphs about it a few years ago.   Eric climbed Loveland Pass, doing like 25 rpms and then a couple days later, had to go to Denver, to see a doctor, because his knees hurt.  Eric has unbelievable power, so that doesn’t surprise me so much.  But, I figure if Eric Heiden’s knees can’t stand too much seated climbing, overgeared, then for sure, my knees won’t.

I did a MRI on my shoulder yesterday and the results weren’t a surprise.  I have a screwed up rotator cuff.  It isn’t as bad as the right one I destroyed at cyclocross Nationals in Madison a few years ago, but it isn’t good.  I’ve felt the problem for a few months, but exacerbated it in Moab. Maybe that was a good thing, time will tell.  I wouldn’t have addressed it without making it worse.

I’m going to get a cortisone shot tomorrow and try to do some personal rehab.  Time will tell whether I get it professionally fixed, ie surgery, or just live with it.  The last time I can’t say I was all that happy with how it turned out.  Maybe it would be a good time to swing by Park City and visit Eric?

Eric Heiden leading me at the Coor’s Classic. Alexi is behind me.

 

 

Little Short of Time

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Gotta make this short.  I have a MRI scheduled for 8:45 this morning.  Actually, more accurately, Stacie has a MRI scheduled for me at 8:45.  I was having some trouble doing it all on my own.  I left Moab and drove to California to do it.  I have a few things to do out here all ready, so it wasn’t out of the way, really.

I am pretty sure what the MRI is going to say about my shoulder.  It has been hurting since I hit my head 5 months ago.  Little movement, etc.  It isn’t a bone.  I think I tore my rotator cuff, which isn’t new.

I added to that in Moab, but that is probably a good thing.  I wasn’t going to address it without it being like it is now, which is sort of unusable.

Trudi is back in Belgium after doing a week long stage race with the BMC Development Team. Now she has a day or two, then is heading to Spain for a stage race with the BMC Pro Team. Then back to Belgium/France for Paris-Roubaix, I think.  It took her a while to get used to the time switch this year, but seems all good now.

Okay, like I said, I have to scoot.  It took a lot of phone call and maneuvering to get this scheduled.  I somewhere lost my driver’s license.  I have no idea where.  Guess I’m going to take my little plastic passport card to prove who I am.  I have my insurance card, which is kind of all they really care about usually.

I usually just fall asleep in these things.

 

 

Lovin’ Riding More

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I really like riding my bicycle.  I thought about this after I saw an article quoting Bradley Wiggins where he said, when asked if he missed cycling – No. As much as I love cycling, it’s come full circle and I hate the thing now. I haven’t been on the bike since the Six Days of Gent back in November.

I never was a big Bradley Wiggins fan and this just confirms my overall view of the guy.

I guess he looked at the sport as a job and not as a life choice.  I have thought of cycling as a job, a very few times, when I was suffering miserably and could only try to justify that by saying someone was paying to do it.  But, I can count those times on one hand.

Since I had a TBI last October, cycling has been the biggest part of “the cure”.  I was sleeping less than an hour a night until I started riding indoors after a month. Instantly I started sleeping over 4 hours, which was a game changer.

Since then, always the best I feel is when I’m riding.  I have no idea the reason why, but it somehow makes my body sync better to the current situation.

Plus, I just like riding my bike.  I like riding it with friends, meeting other riders,  or just alone, checking out the surroundings.  There is no better speed to absorb your surrounding than on a bicycle.  Walking is too slow and driving is way too fast normally.

I’m a little tweaked right now.  I’m trying to address the minor stuff that is left over from October.  My shoulders were screwed up from October, but I hurt my left one a bit more in Moab.  Maybe more than a little more, but I’ll find that out soon.

So I’m just sort of riding around, enjoying the scenery.  That is fine.  I’m not really on a agenda.  I’d like to be, but I don’t think I am in control of that currently.  It is a slow process, but at least I can still reap the rewards from the freedom that cycling gives.

Guess I’m gonna pass 3000 miles today for the year.

 

 

 

Making Space Climbing

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The first year I went to Europe, the first race I did on the US National Team was the Tour of Vaucluse.  It was a pretty big pro/am race, with some of the best pros in the world racing mainly again the best guys from the USSR.  I was just there to learn and spectate.

That year, maybe the third stage we were to ride over the Ventoux.  We weren’t finishing at the very top, but were riding up it and then descending and doing another 50 kms or so.

We could see the Ventoux from Avignon.  It was imposing.  Anyway, we started riding and the climb is long. There is a steady grade going up to it, then we did a left hand turn and the pitch got steep.  This is at the bottom.

The field was together, a huge group and we were all riding way too close together, for my liking.  I noticed that guys started standing up, for no apparent reason, and then a space would open around them.

I saw this happen a few times before I tried it.  It worked amazingly.  It wasn’t like anyone was trying to physically open a space, but the whole act of standing takes more room and the riders next to you have to adjust.  So, maybe they were physically trying to open a space.  And it is more a side to side space, not a front to back space.

I stayed in the big peloton for maybe a couple more kilometers until they started racing at the front.  Then I got shelled.  I lost a lot of time that day, along with Jeff Pierce, a US team mate.  Jeff eventually won the final stage of the Tour de France a few years later.

I always liked climbing better in Europe than here in the US.  The gradients are steeping and there are usually way more switchbacks.  It better suited my style.

Anyway,  I did learn an important thing for climbing that day.  Baby steps is what makes a good cyclist.

Not the Tour Vaucluse, but climbing up Mt. Diablo at the Coor’s Devil’s Cup outside Walnut Creek, CA.

Some old results from the Tour Vaucluse that year.

 

Plugging Tires

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I’ve been sort of following the Cape Epic this year.  I know a couple people riding the race, plus I have it in the back of my mind I might do it sometime eventually.

I saw that Christoph Sauser and his team mate, Jaroslav Kulhavy, had some flat tire problems and were using plugs to fix them.  I’m a big proponent of using plug.  I say that, but haven’t really had the bad luck enough, or more accurately, haven’t raced enough, to have to rely on them for fast flat fixing.

Plugging tubeless tires is really the best option for fixing a flat.  When I am racing, or just riding on a course, where flatting tubeless is going to be a concern, putting in a tube is usually just a band-aid for an eventual disaster.   I guess upping the pressure to a nearly unrideable pressure might ease some of the tube flat issues, but that isn’t a great option for racing.  Tire pressure is key.

I’ve ridden plugged tires for a long time.  Not just finishing a race/ride, but for weeks after.  A plug is pretty much a permanent fix for a small slice or pinch in the tire itself.

Sauser says he is using Dynaplug.  I didn’t know about them.  He says that once sealed, it is permanently sealed.  They look like they have a very good product.  I am going to have to try them.   Hopefully I’ll be riding my MTB soon enough again, and it a race situation, where they might come in handy.

Dynaplug repair kit.

Tylenol / Acetaminophen – The Next Tramadol?

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The is an article at Cycling Today about a study at The University of Kent that had results that said that taking acetaminophen decreased times in 10 mile time trials by 30 seconds.  That is a pretty large number.

The results of this study and one other, said that the acetaminophen reduces pain and allows the rider to hold a higher exertion level at higher temperatures.  That is an interesting part.   Higher output at higher temperatures.

I think there needs to be a larger study group.  The first study had only 13 riders and the 2nd, repeat study, had 11.  These guys were riding around a 26 minute time, so they were super great cyclists.  But still, the results were amazing.

I heard a podcast about the effects of over dosing Tylenol/acetaminophen and it is ugly. Especially in children.   Too much and it does severe liver damage.  Not a very good drug to be taking when dehydration is common occurence.

Anyway, it is interesting.  Funny how a normal pain relieve, over the counter, anti-inflammatory can be used as a “doping” product.   Funny, as in strange, not funny as humorous.

 

Fake News??? What to Believe??? – Helmets

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I got an email from “a reader”, which was someone I don’t know, that had some conflicting views about illegal immigration.  He sent me a link to a Fox News story about percentages of serious crimes done by illegal immigrate.

I responded giving a couple links to, what I view as more credible sources, that were pretty much the opposite of the Sean Hannity story.  But, it is a quandary.

All these sources and it is up to us to figure out what is correct.  I don’t think that used to be the situation.   The problem is that most of us don’t have the time, energy, or maybe even the interest, to do our own research to try to decipher the information.

That is the current state of our political system.  Different news outlets presenting conflicting stories.  “Our president”, tweeting incessantly.  Plus all the extraneous stuff.   It is crazy.

I was forwarded a link to a story about helmet use.  It was from The Guardian, a British outlet.  The title was

The big bike helmet debate: ‘You don’t make it safe by forcing cyclists to dress for urban warfare’

Subtitle –

The question of whether cyclists should wear helmets provokes fury – often from those on four wheels. But which has the bigger benefit: increased physical safety, or creating a better environment for people to cycle helmet-free?

Here is a link to the article.  

The article is pretty in-depth, trying to addresses many issues involving helmet usage, other than people whacking their heads on the pavement.

I am interested in this, since I just had a TBI from the very thing.  I wrote in a post that I was in a indefensible position.  I still feel that way.  But, it is way more complicated than what we all think.

According to The Guardian article, so many more things are involved in our safety than just the fact we put a helmet on our heads.  They cite studies that show that automobiles go closer to riders that wear helmets.  Another study that showed when mandatory helmet laws have been passed in different countries, cycling dramatically takes a hit.  And on and on.  You should just click the link and read the article.

Anyway, this kind of fits into the fake news deal.  It is very hard to change someones beliefs in subjects that seem straight forward.  Such as wearing a helmet riding a bike.  Seems pretty straight forward.

But as Chris Boardman states – “I understand why people wish to use them. But these actions seek to deal with an effect. I want to focus the debate on the cause, and campaign for things that will really make cycling safe. That is why I won’t promote high-vis and helmets – I won’t let the debate be drawn on to a topic that isn’t even in the top 10 things that will really keep people who want to cycle safe.”

He thinks he knows what makes cycling safe and says helmet usage isn’t in the top 10 of issues to address.  I have to agree with him somewhat.  Our overall safety has so many obstacles, it does seem that the helmet issue is so overblown and divisive.  I wonder what that is?

From a bicycling article about counterfeit gear.