Category Archives: Comments about Cycling

Milan San-Remo Final

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Bicycle racing is a very beautiful sport many times.  Yesterday’s finish of Milan San-Remo was great.  Below is a video that doesn’t show the work that Peter Sagan did the last 5 point something kms.  He “deserved” to win the race.  But, that isn’t the way it always works out. Another great thing about the sport.

Milan San-Remo Today / Pretty Sore

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Milan San-Remo is this morning.  The earliest live video is 7:30 CST.  All the fireworks tend to happen towards the end of the race, so you don’t need to worry about missing something if you can’t watch it early.  Odds say Sagan wins.  I would take the rest of the field over Sagan, but he would be a good pick if you only had one.  Live video links are here.

I’m still out in Moab.  Doing exactly the opposite that of MSR.  Maybe not time wise, but riding-wise.  I road 50 miles yesterday off-road.  It took 4:45 minutes.  Lots of big drop-offs and bumpy riding.  My rear Fox shock isn’t holding air and it is bumming me out.  I’m carrying a shock pump today.  The shock is new-ish, less than a year old and hasn’t been ridden that much.  The bike has remote dual lockouts, front and back, on one lever.  But that is pretty valueless when the rear shock has 40 psi in it.

I’m not sure where we rode yesterday, but the scenery is unreal.  That is if you have the guts to look around while riding.  I am having to concentrate pretty hard, so only get to look around when stopped.  It could be worse.  I’m not complaining.  I thought I would be worse.

I fell once pretty good yesterday.  I was trying to ride up a big rock and didn’t make it and fell off to the side.  I have it on video.  Actually, Vincent has it now, so maybe I can post it soon.  I didn’t get hurt, no blood.  Just sore.

But, I was already sore.   My arms, back and neck are aching.  Today is going to be another 4 plus hours, so we’ll see how that goes.  I had only 12 psi in my tires two days ago.  I put 18 in for yesterday and it felt pretty hard.  They are 2.4’s, so feel harder since they are larger.

Okay, want to try to catch the end of MSR and get ready to spend the day in the sun.  I am pretty burnt (sunburnt) right now.  Early season tan I guess.

Vincent’s Racer X team.

Out riding.

Vincent was riding the tandem again with Lisa yesterday.

Pretty.

Last climb before descending to 191.

Map of ride on Strava.

Tucker making friends.

 

 

 

MTB Riding is a Different Animal

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Yesterday, in Moab, I went out twice with the Racer X guys and did  a couple great rides.  Great, meaning it was super scenic and fun.  But even though it was a blast, I realize I’m pretty out of shape for the rigors of MTB riding on ledges.  My body is a bit hurt today.

I haven’t ridden a real MTB ride in over 6 months.  And during that time, I layed in bed about half of it and atrophied.  I need those muscles to ride a MTB well.  I don’t think I have them just now.

I don’t even know where we rode.  We went by the entrance to Arches National Park and the line to get through the booth was out to the highway.  There are so many people here in Moab right now.

So many cyclists and tons of other people making use of the crazy trails.  Motorcycles, jeeps, you name it, it is here.  Lots of foreigners too.

Having a big movement, dual suspension bike on the rides we did today was a must.  I put on some 2.4 tires and rode low pressure, less than 20 psi.  Even so, it was bumpy.

We doing the whole thing again today.  And tomorrow and Sunday, so I should be real sore by then.

I was a little dizzy the first 20 minutes or so, but eventually my brain, eyes and body got into some sort of arranged sync and the rest of the day was good.  I was riding alright considering.  I’m interested in seeing if I start out today a little off too.  I did tip over once, but that is to be expected and just scratched up my elbow some.

Trudi took off for Europe today.  She had a flight from KC to Toronto, then you Europe.  She is going to be there for 6 weeks.  Some race in Spain, then a few of the spring classics, something else, then back.

Okay, I’d better get ready to head out again.  I think it is another 2 ride deal.  Ride, lunch, then ride.   It is supposed to be 85 here today.  Super nice, but a little too hot for Tucker.  At least that is what he told me.

Some photos –

 

 

Tirreno-Adriatico – UCI blows another Ruling

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The video below is from today’s stage of the Tirreno-Adriatico.  The break makes it through a train crossing and the peloton doesn’t.  But, the UCI has their own ideas.  They stopped the break and made them give up the time that was gained by the peloton stopping.  Guess they didn’t really know their own rules.  Specifically this one-

 

UCI rule 2.3.035

3. If one or more leading riders make it over the crossing before the gates shut and the remainder of the riders are held up, no action shall be taken and the closed level crossing shall be considered a race incident;

 

Raced and Won

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The title to this post is true, but it wasn’t an ordinary race or race victory for me.  I really had to work for it, which is pretty usual.  And, really, I didn’t “deserve” to win the race, which is sometimes how bike racing goes.  I am rarely the best athlete in the races I’ve won.

Let me backtrack.  About 5 months ago, really 5 months ago tomorrow, I crashed and fractured my skull.  That wasn’t the big problem, still isn’t.  The big problem was I injured my brain.  It is called a traumatic brain injury, tbi, which I sort of disregarded initially, but since, feel it is the appropriate name.

I was pretty out of it for a couple months.  That is probably wrong too.  It was more than that.  I am still a little out of it, but not so much I can’t ride my bike.  At least I can ride my bike around 5 mile circuits in the wind.

I didn’t ride for for 2 1/2 months, then started riding a little.  The last 2 months I’ve been riding pretty consistently and have felt pretty okay.  It is sort of hard to explain, but I feel the best, of all the day, when I am riding.  It doesn’t seem to add any to the “issues” I’m still experiencing. And the issues aren’t horrible.

The issues are the “now normal” dizziness, which hasn’t happened riding for a long time.  But it does happen when I move my head up and down quickly, not on the bike.  With the dizziness, then nausea, which I’ve learned is a by-product of dizziness.  I’m not so bad with that so much either.  Oh, with dizziness, nausea, there are headaches.  It is all interrelated.

Then there is the no smell or taste problem.  I don’t feel that I’m going to get the smell back.  I don’t smell anything.  I can taste some things, but if I didn’t know what I’m eating I couldn’t usually tell you.  I went to a doctor that told me the majority of tbi’s he sees lose their taste and the majority of them get it back within a year.  I’m holding out for that.

Okay, this was a race report and it started out not being one.

Anyway, I’ve been riding a lot the last couple weeks and was hoping to race.  There is a local road race training series between Topeka and Lawrence, so that was perfect.  I’ve ridden the race dozens of times.

It is about 23 miles there from my house.  Catherine, my brother Kris and I rode there.  Trudi and Tucker drove.  It wasn’t the best conditions.  It has been super warm for the last month, but it snowed a couple days ago and stayed cold.  Nothing on the road, it was dry, but it was breezy and cold, in the 30’s.

I was surprised how nervous I was.  I was nervous because I have been having off the bike issues the past few days.  I feel pretty fine riding, but when I’m doing normal life it has been a problem, which makes the days odd.  I felt mediocre riding over, but just figured it is what it is.

There were less than 20 guys in the 1/2 race.  It was a small field, but very good riders.   I think they allowed 3’s too, but I don’t think there were many of them.  As usual, my brother rolled off the front as soon as we clipped in.  The race starts at the top of a climb and goes downhill to a long, wind exposed dam.

Early during the first lap, a few more guys rolled away.  Pretty soon there is a 5 rider group up the road 300 meters.  The Olathe-Subaru guys had 2 guys in the break and 4 more in the field, so they didn’t have any interest in chasing.  Joseph Schmalz, Elevate Pro, went to the front and I realized that he wasn’t going to be able to chase it down himself without expending a ton of energy.

So I went up and we chased for the next 20 minutes.  I was feeling bad, but I didn’t care.  I was using the race to try to get some harder efforts in.  Joseph had been doing intervals the whole week and was a little gassed from training so hard.  It wasn’t a perfect match.

Anyway, we eventually caught the break and almost immediately, Hunter Adams jumped away. Hunter is from Topeka and is quick.  He got a huge gap pretty quickly and then Andy Chocha, Olathe-Subaru, jumped trying to bridge.  And the field shut down.  Hunter, with Andy chasing, disappeared up the road.

Finally, a lap later, which is maybe the 3rd out of 7, we started racing again.  I was already hurting every time there was a big acceleration.  Each jump was one more jump than I’ve done in 5 months.

There was a lot of gutter riding because of the strong SSE wind.  Before the climb, maybe the 4th time up, it started going fast and I got strung off the back, along with about 1/2 the field.  We turned the corner to start the 1/2 mile climb and I was hurt.  Garrick Valverde, Olathe-Subaru was driving it up the hill and Joseph was chasing from behind.  I was in no man’s land, along with my friend, Shadd Smith, who happens to ride for Olathe-Subaru too.

We got to the top of the climb and were pretty gapped.  Shadd pedaled down the descent and I lost him tucking.  At the bottom of the descent, there is a long open dam.  Shadd was going so hard, about 200 meters behind a group of 7, who were rotating.  I could do nothing.  I tried to get by Shadd once, but realized it would just slow him down.

About 3/4’s the way across the dam, the front group slowed some.  My contribution to the chase was telling Shadd that they are sitting up.  We rolled back on after about 1/2 a lap.  Then it went into the gutter again and I was barely able to stay on.

We’d caught Andy and were all rotating through and then catch Hunter.  So, two laps to go and groupo compacto.

Coming to the hill for the bell I thought that I’d better be ahead because I didn’t think I could stay with Garrick or Joseph on the climb.  So I jumped and Michael Allison, Subaru again, followed.  Then I immediately went again and Scott Williamson, Olathe-Subaru came along and no one else. His team had about 1/2 off the remaining field and I just put my head down and led the climb.

Scott had been gapped when Shadd and I were chasing, but Scott had spent an extra lap on his own.  It was pretty amazing he had caught back on alone.  I coasted the descent and only had 5 miles to ride.  We had a huge gap and about half way across the dam, Scott took a fast hard pull.  He was way stronger than I on the flats, but I knew he must be tired from the chase.

We kept going and approached the hill with a healthy lead.  I had a game plan of going from the bottom and making the whole climb as hard as possible.  So, after the corner, I accelerated and just kept going.  Scott got on and followed me up the first pitch.  It levels out for a 100 meters and then a steeper, final pitch.  I kept the pressure on and jumped up the steep pitch.  I looked back and had shelled Scott, which was good, because Scott is super fast and can out sprint me easily.

So, I won by myself.  Scott rolled in a few seconds behind me and then, just a few bike lengths behind him were Joseph, who had gapped Garrick.  They both went up the final climb super fast.

Okay, this is getting long.

I was pretty lucky.  I wasn’t close to the best guy there, but that is how bike racing goes sometimes.  I was really just jumping for self-preservation, not for a winning move.  But, again, that is sometime how bike racing goes.

I never would have been in that position without Shadd.  He and I go way back and he is still pretty fit from cross season.  I was lucky he’d just took a big pull before Garrick and gang went or I would have been alone and never caught back on.

I know nearly everyone in the race, so it wasn’t like a normal race.  Most of them had ridden over from Lawrence, so we all were ended up with around 80 miles for the day.  It was just early season racing in the wind.  And I got lucky.

I was thinking about it a couple days ago if I was going to win a race this year.  A 1/2 race. Normally, early season, I’m in pretty good form and can go pretty well, but like I found out, I’m pretty much behind, at least I feel the pain more.  I’ve won a 1/2 race, usually a lot more, every year I’ve raced since I was 15.  That is a long time.  I was thinking this year might break the streak, not that it really is an important one, but it is what it is.  Now I don’t have to think about that again for a while.

It is weird, but my wattage was pretty incredible.  Wind and hills adds big to wattage.  Since I rode the first 10 + miles in the wind and then the last 6, I had pretty crazy wattage numbers.  If it hadn’t eased up for a couple laps, I think they would have been “records”.  I was at 390 NP for the first 20 minutes and 340 watt average.  That is higher than all of 2016 and nearly as high as 2015.  I was over 300 watts for the whole 37 miles, which is high considering.  But, it was way more painful.  Maybe I’m just in shape enough so I’m suffering.  I talked to a couple other guys and they said their wattage was super high too.  Guess it was the wind.  It was slow, but hard.

After the race, Kris, Catherine and I rode home.  Kris ditched us, looking for a work glove he’d seen on the way over, but he couldn’t find it.  We took a gravel shortcut, so saved 4 miles.  It was still windy and cold, so the shorter the better.  It was still 77 miles for the day.

I had 466 miles for the week, so pretty good mileage.  I don’t feel all that tired today, but it is only supposed to be a high of 40.  The first club ride is tonight, since yesterday was the daylight savings time switch.  We’re riding at 5:30 for a couple hours.  I’ll probably just do the club ride. I’m a little up in the air about what my plan should be now.

Okay, sorry about length here.  Kind of just picked things out of my head.  Maybe it is the tbi or probably, more likely, just how I think.

Tucker watching the race early on.

Me following Joseph, with a bunch of the Olathe-Subaru guys following me.

Me trying to stay with Shadd on the hill.

Scott and I with a lap to go.

Was thinking I shouldn’t but put my arms up anyway.

John Borstelmann, fast guy from Lincoln, myself and Joseph.

Power from yesterday compared to all of 2016. Felt hard, but not that hard.

 

 

Midwest Racing Weekend

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I am going to ride over to the a road race in a couple hours and then decide if I am going to race.  I’ve been feeling a little off the last two days.  Nothing new, just new for the last two weeks.  I’m unfamiliar with this whole thing, so maybe it is normal.

The weather has been pretty exceptional the last month.  But that hasn’t worked out so well for the “local” racing.

I forgot, but the Fat Birkie was yesterday.  The “real” Birkie was cancelled because of lack of snow.  I heard that the riding up in Cable was super icy and it was going to be a challenge staying upright.  I saw the results, but haven’t heard first-hand, about the race.

Then there was the Land Run 100 yesterday.  I did hear first-hand and it was a slog.  Lots of mud, rain and cold.  Bad luck once again, considering how nice it has been since early February.

It snowed yesterday here in Topeka.  But the temperatures had been too warm and it didn’t stick on the roads.  So there is snow on the grass and bushes, but the road is clear.  It is only 24 degrees out right now, but is supposed to get up to the 40’s later this afternoon.  The 1/2 race starts at 1 pm, so it is going to be cold riding the 25 miles over there, but warmer to race.

Okay, I have some stuff to do this morning to get ready, so I better get going.  Hope your weekend is going good.

The start of the Fat Birkie last year.

Photo from the Land Run 100 yesterday.

Fat bike winner. Bet he wished he would have been up North.

First page of the results from the Land Run 100. Keith finished 41st in over 8 and 1/2 hours. Wow.

Breakfast.