Tour of Flanders Media

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I like to hear the rider’s views on their specific form and thoughts about upcoming races, but the new way that these guys talk seems a little weird to me.  There seems to be way more confidence exuded when maybe there should be a little more modesty during the interviews.  I don’t know exactly, but I do know only one guy wins the race and the other 199 guys lose.

I think it is fine for someone to feel confident.  But cycling isn’t the sport where the strongest guy wins the race.  There are so many things going on that saying that you are the outright favorite is a little naive.

Take Greg Van Avermaet’s interview about the Tour of Flanders.  He has had a pretty stellar early season, winning 3 very important races.   He is so happy that he says – “I don’t think I can say anymore that I’m not the favourite.”   At least he doesn’t exactly say that he is the favorite, but it is really the same thing.

Then there is the DS of Quick-Step talking about Peter Sagan and their tactics.He said, “We try to win… but if we don’t win then he loses,”     I get the tactic, but being public with that tactic is just wrong.  Sagan, in my opinion, is the “race favorite” and of course, a team would be remiss if they didn’t take him into consideration when it comes to tactics.  But to outright say that if we don’t win, then he doesn’t win, is bullshit.  They must be really scared of him way more than GvA.  Again, in my opinion.

Anyway, Flanders is a beautiful race.  Better than Paris-Roubaix because much of the bad luck doesn’t exist.  It should be a exciting race, since so many guys seem to think they are going well enough to win the race.  Even Phillipe Gilbert is coming onto form now.

Maybe some of the riders, and directors, can just tone it down a notch and act a little more modest or civil, considering?   And just let the race on Sunday decide who is the best on the day.

 

 

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.

 

 

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.