Category Archives: Comments about Cycling

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.

MTB Design and Preferences

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I’ll be the first to admit that I’m not at the forefront on knowledge of all the “new designs” of MTB’s.  I only race them a few times a year and most of the races that I do you could get by on a MTB from the 1990’s.  The longer, not mountainous races in the midwest don’t need a big movement full-suspension bike normally.

I saw a few comments on a few posts about how “ancient” my dual suspension bike looks.  “My stem is too long.” “My bars are too narrow.”  “Bar-ends.”  Etc.

There is a real difference between bikes you want to race and bikes that you ride around.  Jimmy Mac told me a long time ago that he thought one of the reasons that MTB racing, at a National Level, was suffering was because the bikes that are fun/great to ride aren’t the same bikes that you would want to race.  I didn’t know enough about it to understand back then, but do now.

The bar width thing is a preference.  I can’t, and don’t want to, ride super wide bars because some, or many of the races that I might go to around Kansas, super wide bars just don’t fit. Plus, I don’t need them.

I was at Ned and Todd’s (Overend and Wells) Grand Fondo last year in Durango and I saw John Tomac.  I hadn’t seen John in a long time and he was telling me about his son and motorcycle racing.  Anyway, he looked at my bike and said, bar-ends, I need to get some of those.

I climb on bar-ends.  I don’t understand how riders get power while standing up without them. I do understand that wider bars give more leverage, but you aren’t using the same muscle group.  I tell you that a road sprinter could not go nearly as fast without the hands and arms being in the position they are.  Flat bars hinder off the seat climbing and accelerating.

I could go on and on.  I love my Eriksen  and might mess around with position a little, but it is never going to look like a enduro bike with a $400 dropper seatpost and a super short stem.  I might get a bike like that, I’ll just never race x-country on it.

On a side note, Vincent is shipping his fork and shock off to DirtLabs in Longmont to get tuned. These are off his tandem.  He’s sending my rear shock too.  I hear those guys are pretty much best in the business.  Guys that focus on one thing usually end up being that way.

From Kent Eriksen website.

 

 

St. George Utah / Porcupine Rim Issues

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That is where I’m at.  Vincent has some computer work to do here this week.  St. George is an interesting town. I’ve only been here once, for a day, so I didn’t get the lay of it much.  But, I’m sure I will now.

We drove here yesterday.  I didn’t drive.  Both Vincent and I had “issues” riding Porcupine Rim Trail on Saturday.  Vincent dislocated his ring finger, like really dislocated it, going over a cattle guard, through a fence, with wet tires.   He did it pretty early, up above the normal Porcupine descent, where there was still snow.   So he was having trouble holding onto the bars.  And still is.

I fell nearly at the bottom, right before the trail turns to singletrack by the river road.  I was following Vincent and went off a small, maybe 1 foot drop, but Vincent’s rear tire moved a loose rock over and I landed on it with my front wheel.  And I got crossed up and high-sided onto my left side.  At least I think that is what happened.

I was going pretty fast and slid on mostly rock.  Incredibly, I didn’t lose too much skin.  The downside is my left shoulder isn’t working too well.  The worse part was having to ride the last 10 miles back to Moab.

I’ve been icing it and taking a bunch of ibuprofen.   I should probably get it looked at, at least a picture of it.

KU advance to the Sweet 16 yesterday fairly easily.  At least the last 6 minutes of the game.  I was reading the score on my phone on the drive.  It was close most of the game and the final score didn’t really show how close it was most the time.  The next round is in Kansas City, a real home court advantage for Kansas.

How about Coryn Rivera winning the Trofeo Binda race last weekend?  Pretty big result for her. I’m going to miss watching her win all the US criteriums this year.  She has been racing forever, but is still young, so should go and experience the European scene, not that she hasn’t dabbled in it some already.

Okay, I’m going to take Tucker out and let him run some.  Then dismantle Vincent’s tandem so he can send the fork and shock off to get repaired.  I probably should figure something out with my rear shock too.  And maybe get my shoulder looked at.  Guess it is a busy day, kind of.

 

Porcupine is pretty technical. I was riding this stuff pretty well. But guess not so good on the more wide open, faster stuff.

There were a bunch of people riding unicycles down the trail. I have no idea what that is about. They have disc brakes. I assume it would take a really long time.

Most of the trail is along the edge of a canyon. Sometimes it is just narrow and off-camber.

Nice views from Porcupine Rim Trail.

A guy rode by with a 50 tooth cog on his rear. I would have just used a smaller front ring.

My elbow is alright even though it didn’t look that good initially. It is really my left shoulder.  This is taken in a mirror.

Tucker exploring a stream in Moab.

Bike wash at a hotel in Moab.

Someone was selling this stuff at a rest stop on I-70 in Utah.

KU box score.

Sunrise this morning in St. George.