Category Archives: Comments about Cycling

Radios, Disc Brakes & Lance’s Lawsuit

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I saw a couple weeks ago that USAC ruled that we, as in all Cat. 1/2’s can use radios again in all races.  I hate that.  I don’t like much anything about radios in bike races.  The idea that radios make a race safer is total BS.  It is a way for team directors making their riders robots.  Or plain dumb riders viable.

I’ve written posts about radios before, so I don’t need to dwell on it.  Here is probably the one that explains it the best.  At least from my perspective.  I have a whole box for of radios in a closet.  I’m really not sure where they are.  By whole box full I’m lots.  I guess I’m going to have to pull them out and see if any of them work.  Stupid.

Somewhere else said that the Professional Riders Union was protesting the use of disc brakes in road events.  I don’t know about this.  I don’t much like the idea of mixing disc and rim brakes in races, but that is how it is going to have to be.  My problem with disc brakes in road races is the same as it is in cross.

Actually, worse than cross.  We all have to get a whole garage full of equipment. Bikes and  wheels that go with these bikes.  Most of us that have been in this sport for a while have collected enough equipment that is interchangeable.   Not with disc brakes though.

And the real problem is getting wheel changes in events.  Or just changing wheels between bikes.  It doesn’t seem like anyone has standardized the rear axle width and even if that number ends up being 142 or whatever, getting different discs to line up with you calipers on different wheels is tricky.  Especially on the road when time is important.  Once they get the calipers more usable for wheel changes, then I’ll reconsider my position.

And finally Lance’s deal.   The case is going to trial.  All the judgements have been done and it is happening.  The government says the total is something around $32 million damage, so with the tripling thing going on, the most he’ll owe is $96 million if he loses big time.

It kind of surprises me that he hasn’t settled this.  Maybe it is that time.  But when you read what Lance’s attorney says, maybe not.  “There is no actual evidence of any quantifiable financial harm,” to the Postal Service,  so the government may now proceed to a trial that, as a practical matter, it cannot win.”  Elliot Peters.

I forgot what Floyd gets out of the whole take, but it isn’t the same as before the government took over the case.  For some reason 1/4 the total comes to mind, but don’t quote me on that. But 1/4 of 0 is still zero, so he should probably proceed with his new enterprise in Leadville.

My doctor’s visit went alright on Tuesday.  Yesterday was exactly 4 months since I fractured my skull.  Seems like a really long time to me, but when she asked me how long and I said 4 months, she said it is still super early.  I guess that is a good thing.  Better early than this is the final outcome.

Not that I’m complaining.  It could have been a ton worse.  Like I’m not on the planet Earth anymore worse.

Vincent is down in Arizona doing the 24 Hours of Pueblo with Lance and his old Postal Service gang this weekend.  Vincent isn’t riding on their team or anything, but he’ll be riding around with them in circles for a day.  I make a bet that they aren’t just there to “have fun”, like George said when asked.  I bet they ride pretty fast.  They probably win the 4 person team event would be my guess.  Maybe 2nd, but probably win.

Okay, I didn’t ride for two days, thinking that maybe I would feel better if I didn’t.  That didn’t work, so I am planning on going out today.  It is “only” gonna be 50 degrees today.  I say only because it is going to be in the 70’s the whole next week.  Probably mild for February in Kansas.

Weather the next week.

I worked on my van yesterday. Somehow this got bent. Not exactly sure when or how.

I had to pull the fender off, which involved taking off the front clip with the headlights. I got it pretty straight. Just need some paint now. The whole process got me a little dizzy, but not horribly.

 

 

Busy Weekend, then Busy Monday

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Yesterday I received a text from Brian (Jensen).  Showed him on a podium.  Brian had told him he was going to do a race in Colorado on Sunday, but I had sort of forgotten.  It was from a gravel race in Lyons, called Old Man Winter, I think.  It was really an adventure weekend with a couple bike course, 50 and 100km, then a run.

Anyway, Brian looked like he had a good race, finishing 3rd.  He said that he lost the leader, 1st and 2nd on an icy section and never saw them again.  Still, I rode with Brian just a little over a month ago and he wasn’t in typical Brian shape, so he must have either been training pretty hard the last few weeks or suffered like a dog.  He has both those arrows in his quiver.  I had it was the first, not the later, for his sake.

Seemed like a pretty good field.  I only know the guys that finished behind Brian.  Matt Stephens, the guy whole beat Lance in Texas a couple weeks ago in a 100 mile gravel race was 5th and Alex Howes, a Pro on the Cannondale-Drapac team was 6th. Those places were close, so Brian must have dropped them before the finish.  Or was getting swallowed and barely made it.  Either way, he had a great race.

I wrote that post yesterday about not worrying about not training so early, then I see the results of a race that a team-mate is in and feel badly about not going.  But, I know, I can’t just yet.

I’m heading to Kansas City to go to KU Med today to see my rehab neurologist.  I haven’t seen her in a few weeks, so that will be good.  I am much better, or at least better, than the last time I saw her.  It is an hour there, so it takes most of the day.

On the way, I’m going by Garmin and see if the guys at their “Genius Bar” can help me with my Garmin.  It is a mess and I’m getting a little tired of it.  I plan to leave it there and come back by and pick it up after the doctor’s appointment, if possible.

Plus I have an Apple appointment for my iPhone, so it is going to be a busy afternoon.

I rode 100km yesterday, just not at the pace those guys did in Lyons.  It was only around 50, which felt cold, but I’ve been cold for months.  It was pretty windy, like over 30, so that was the main issue.  We rode on gravel.  A couple friends rode over from Lawrence and we rode them back.   They were going good, like race good.  It was nice seeing how I’m supposed to be riding, even if I can’t.

I had 330 miles last week, so that isn’t too bad for February in Kansas.  Plus, I feel a little better, but am still sick.  Not crazy horrible, but sick, none-the-less.

So this year I’ve ridden 1157 miles. I figure I’ve drafted about 20 of those miles, so the rest has been in the wind.  And the wind is always here this time of the year.  I’m a little beat and haven’t even gotten close to getting race fit.  It might take a while this year.  It would be nice riding in a group and getting in some easier miles.

Okay, I need to get going.  I have so stuff to do before driving.

The podium from Colorado yesterday.

 

When To Start Racing?

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I’ve always liked to race a bunch.  I’m not sure why.  Maybe training becomes mundane or something, but that isn’t it.  I guess I figure that if I’m riding enough, why not test myself through races.  Races are never the same.  Races nearly always create a small life experience. Plus racing has been the only way for me to get to a higher level of form, which is always sort of a goal.

So I’ve raced a lot.  I might be the first guy to really race year round.  Cross Nationals used to be towards the end of December and the first road races would be the end of January or early February, so there wasn’t much time for an off season.  Not that I wanted one.  I like the lifestyle and routine.

That was back when the European pros used to take a few months off over the winter and then try to ride a little before heading to Sicily to race into shape.  And by racing into shape I mean riding long races really slow.  No one showed up in shape, they just rode into form.

We’d used Tour of Texas for the same thing.  I remember heading down to Texas one year with maybe 400 miles on my legs.  I was in no shape to race.  I think that was the first year of “the new” 7-11 team.  Those guys had been down there riding big miles for a few weeks.

They were pretty much in race shape and the rest of us were in off-season form.  It was ugly.  The first road race I got into a break with 5 guys from 7-11, me and Thurlow Rogers.  I was dying in a sidewind, hardly able to pull, but knowing if I didn’t they would just gutter ride me off the back.  There was a final corner, maybe 5 miles from the finish, and then it was going to be strong tailwind.

I had that corner as a goal.  Just make it to the tailwind, where I could rest.  We turned the corner and probably less than a mile later I was dropped, riding by myself. The thing with strong tailwind is that you don’t get much relief from drafting.  And I needed relief.  I couldn’t believe I was dropped in tailwind, but I was young and naive then.

The best thing about Tour of Texas is that Richard Degarmo, the promoter, knew it was a good place to train and the races were set up around the training, sort of.  It sometimes lasted over a month and we’d race on the weekends, sometimes a midweek training criterium, and then train the rest of the week.

After a month in Texas, we’d all be up to race form.  It was really easy to slay riders that didn’t have the ability to flee the weather early season.  It started the season off on a good note.

Now it is way different.  Many, many riders have the ability to flee the weather.  Or they have moved somewhere that has good weather all year round.  Or their teams are doing training camps that allow their riders to get early season form.

I got thinking about this for a couple reasons.  I was riding in Sand Diego with Robin Carpenter, Holowesko/Citadel Cycling Team.   He said that their first race would be at Joe Martin.  That surprised the shit out of me.  We were riding in January and he wasn’t going to be racing until nearly April.  That is pretty late in the season considering guys have been racing since early January.

Plus it got me thinking when I was a junior, I probably didn’t even think of riding outside until the end of February.  That was back when winter was really winter.  For some reason, that is great for riding, horrible for the planet, winter isn’t really winter anymore in Eastern Kansas.  I would first start riding in a down coat, with tennis warm-up bottoms tucked into my socks, so they didn’t catch in my chainrings.

That’s not the case now.  Yesterday it was nearly 70 again.  Today is going to be closer to 50, but still alright.  Early season here the problem is wind.   It can be crazy windy.  That is the cast today.  It is supposed to be blowing over 30 all day.  That isn’t good for lack of form.

We’ve got a gravel ride planned.  That is a way to avoid wind some, since many of the gravel roads, especially east are sheltered some.  Still, it is gonna be ugly.

I was in a race in Iowa, a few years ago, and in a break with my team mate, Bill Stolte and two other guys.  We were going pretty well and after an hour or so, one of the guys asks me if he can sit out a few pulls.  He tells me that it is the first time he has ridden outside that year.   I said to do whatever you need. The other guy says that it is the first time he had ridden in shorts. That amazed me.  It was late April.  Bill and I had already raced at least 10 races, hanging out in Austin for a least a month.  They both were going pretty well, considering.  We did drop them a little while later, but we had better form.

Okay, if you don’t have the ability to ride outside, don’t stress.  Trainers are better and there are races all year round.  Eventually form comes.  Just wait for it.  Don’t let the internet, showing all the results, from throughout the world, freak you out.  Just enjoy.

The women’s race at Tour of Texas had the best women from throughout the World.

 

 

 

Over 1000 miles for the Year

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I know, that isn’t a very impressive title.  A 1000 miles by early February is nothing special.  It is this year, for me, because I am fairly surprised that I’m even riding by now.  A couple months ago I wouldn’t have been surprised if I was still told not to ride my bike outside.  Head trauma isn’t something to mess around with.  I’ve learned that the hard way.

Yesterday, the weather cooperated and a few of us got out for 70 miles.  That is about as far as I can ride now.  I’ve been riding bigger miles, early season, recently, but that isn’t possible as of now.  Plus, I have a chest/head cold thing going on, so it isn’t a great idea pushing it from that perspective

Last night was a trifecta astronomically.  A full moon, a moon eclipse and a comet passing close to the earth.   I guess that is special on a birthday, but I’m not sure what.   I’m into astronomy, so it is cool.

Today it is supposed to be nice too.  In the 60’s.  That isn’t really normal for February in Kansas, but it isn’t that unusual.  It is nice for my working friends to have good weather on the weekends.  This weekend it is exactly that.

Anyway, I’m gonna keep plugging away.  It is a bit frustrating.  Tweaking training isn’t the easiest thing for an older athlete.  I think I’ve done a fairly good job of it my whole life.  But having to change training because of an injury that is super foreign, and quite unknown, is a little more difficult than the normal broken collarbone, etc.

I still hate wearing a helmet.  I guess I need to get a winter helmet and the another one for the warmer weather.  For some reason, unknown to me, when my head gets cold, or just gets hits by cold wind, my head aches.  It sort of feels like it is still fractured, which, I hope, it isn’t.  My helmet is too small to fit even a thin hat under it.   I’m pretty glad it is 1/2 way through winter.  In March, the weather normally gets a lot warmer.

Okay, I’m just babbling.  I feel sorry for all of the cyclists that live in the Northeast.  Big snowfall there that is going to be on the ground for a while.  I guess it is winter still.

This is Amanda Coker. She rides around 1000 miles every four days. She is on schedule to smear the World Record of most miles ridden on a bicycle in one year. Man or woman. Her distance per day and average speeds are incredible.

 

Bruyneel – “Lemond – An Asshole”

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Johan Bruyneel did an interview with a Belgian magazine and in that interview, he has some pretty opinionated views.  He said that the detractors of Lance Armstrong are like a “sect”.  Then he goes on and criticises Greg Lemond about his efforts to try to clean up the peloton with his help with discovering mechanical doping.   I don’t get it why he even has a pedestal to speak? What is wrong with the media over there?

Johan goes on to explain how the peloton of old, felt about Greg.  He gives a few comparisons, then just said that he was “an asshole”.

Anyway, wow, that is pretty extreme.  Considering his background, it seems like pot calling the kettle black situation, even if he really believes what he is saying.  I’d bet a lot of people would use that very term to describe him.  But, he is with Lance and not Greg.

I’ve had the pleasure of spending a lot of time with Greg.  On and off the bike.  Asshole would never come to mind if I was using an adjective to describe him.

Greg could be a very intense person, like nearly every top-level athlete I’ve ever met.  Greg took the sport pretty seriously and was pretty concentrated when on his bike.  But that doesn’t come close to making him an asshole.

I don’t think that I know anyone that knows Greg personally that would call him an asshole publicly, in print.  I know a few that have called him that in person, but that was in jest normally. Maybe a few times being serious, but that is common in a tight-knit group.

Cycling of old wasn’t the cycling of recent.  Most everyone got along alright and the best riders “showed off” with their legs, not by spewing stuff out of their mouths.  Today, it is amazing how badly riders talk about each other through the media.  And how they say how great they are going.  That is a big red flag in my book.  I never knew how well I was going until after the race was over.

I remember talking to Greg about the 1989 World Championships he won, beating Dimitri Konyshev, of Russia and Sean Kelly, of Ireland.  He said he felt like shit the first 4 hours.  Then the rain or something made him feel better and better.  At the end, he felt unbeatable, which he was.  I doubt a Greg Lemond interview before that race would have been anything but modest.

I like Greg.  We’ve always gotten along and he’s always been nice to me.  He tried to help me in the Junior World Trials, when I first started, and has been nice ever since.  He even tried to buy me some hockey skates.  Maybe he should have made that offer to Johan?

Anyway, Bruyneel doesn’t get to play in our sport for a few more years.  I’m not sure where he is on his 10 year ban?  But for the guy to say that mechanical doping doesn’t exist is insane.  Just because the only “caught” competitor is a women, doesn’t mean that it hasn’t occurred on the men’s side.

Then to call out Greg for having issues with Lance.  That is crazy.  He said – “I do not know what’s wrong with LeMond. It is not normal when you’re so obsessed with Armstrong.” 

Lance made Greg and Kathy’s lives miserable for a very long time.  And when you were on Lance’s bad side, he could be a real “asshole”.  Maybe Johan should have mentioned that?

Greg winning the 1989 World Road Championships. A classic photo.

 

 

Another (hidden) Motor Suspicion

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Check out Wout at about 1:44 into the video.  Anyone have a good explanation for his rear wheel’s behavior?

Not sure how Wout can be coasting in this position, then not pedal and still pass Van der Poel.

 

 

Or if you’re tired of this shit, here’s one of a owl going in circles.

Super Bowl Sunday / Bikin’

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I’m back in Kansas.   I’ve been out in California the past week.  Big change waking up this morning to temperatures in the 20’s compared to riding in sleeveless jersey a couple days this past week.

Luckily for me, it is going to be in the 50’s today here in Kansas.  We’re doing two rides today. Actually, just one ride, but checking back in because some can’t make it out by noon, so we’re going to loop back through town and pick them up after a couple hours.

Yesterday, I flew, then went directly to the Apple Store.  I’ve been having electronic problems the past couple days.  And other than a Garmin, the rest of the stuff is Apple.  Phone and computer.

My computer stopped working on Thursday.  The display wasn’t going on, so I couldn’t see the screen.  I tried to get an Apple appointment in California, but the earliest was on Tuesday.  Luckily I got a genius bar appointment at the Plaza a couple hours after I landed.

Anyway, like usual, they both work now.  It is unbelievable how many people are always at an Apple Store.  They have classes going on, selling products, plus fixing stuff.  They called this Macbook Pro a vintage computer.  It was made in 2011.  I don’t think of it as vintage, but in computer time, it is I guess.

I have 765 miles for the year now.  And most of those I’ve done in the past two weeks.  Like 620. I am still having some issues related to whacking my head on the ground, but think the main problem is that I just layed around for 10 weeks.  Most of that time in pain.  It is a little frustrating, but I’m trying to not dwell on that.  I believe patience is a virtue in this regard, but it isn’t my normal pace, so it is out of character for me.

Okay, today should be good.  After the ride, we’re watching the game at our house.  I’m not big on professional football, so I don’t have any favorite.  I’ve seen a couple of the commercials already and the ones I’ve seen seem to be addressing some of the political discourse our country is going through right now.  Seems good to me.  Make your views open to the masses. That is the only way this whole thing works.

I came out of the Apple Store and saw Trudi and Tucker across the street.

By the time I got over, they were inside a shop, Tucker getting a treat. Very nice women.

The Apple Store was packed.