Category Archives: Comments about Cycling

Head Injuries – It’s Kind of a State of Mind Somewhat

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This head injury is foreign grounds for me.  I have never experienced something like this and now that I am, I’m not too big on the whole thing.  It’s a slow process that makes a lot of unexpected turns.  I’ve been hurt a fair amount racing bikes.  Maybe more than other people, I’m not sure.  For sure I’ve been doing it a lot longer than most, so maybe dividing duration by age, I’m still okay.  I know the last 3 or 4 years haven’t been all that great.

Anyway, I was looking for a picture to post about getting bit by a dog and then I found the post below.  It seemed kind of like what I was going to say in the dog bite story, so I decided to just post it.

I Don’t Bounce So Well Now

I’m not actually sure if I don’t bounce so well or I have less patience to deal with the hit, but whatever the reason, I seem to be struggling mentally a little more with this injury (broken hip) than I have historically. It is so stupid to have a preconceived idea of a time frame I should be on when it is sort of completely made up by me. But, that is the way I’ve done it over the years, so it’s hard to change it now. I’ve written a post before about this subject, racing hurt, or maybe more appropriately called getting hurt racing or recovering from injury.

When I was an intermediate, junior 13-14, I went up to Milwaukee to race Superweek. It was my first race trip out of Kansas. I did pretty well the first couple races, but fell during my 3rd race and broke my collarbone. We loaded up and went back home. I saw an orthopedic surgeon back in Kansas and he said everything looked good. I asked him if I could still race if I could stand the pain and he said he didn’t see any reason I shouldn’t. So, we loaded back up and drove back up to Milwaukee and I raced the National Championships just a few days later, with a clavical strap cinched down super tight. During the race, I was off the front with Jeff Bradley and my arms fell asleep. I crashed and Jeff went on to win the race. It was a different era of medical advise back in those days it seems.

We’ve been downloading a bunch of old cycling pictures and media to digital form the last few days. It is sort of strange seeing the photos and not thinking it was that long ago. It really wasn’t compared to a universal time frame, but compared to a human’s lifetime, it is a big percentage. I found a photo from the British Milk Race, after I’d hit a stationary car at 100 km/hr. I was pretty broken up. I remember being super disappointed not being able to finish the race, but don’t remember having this withdrawal mindset two weeks later.

That time, after returning back to the US, I went to altitude to acclimate, so when I could ride, I could train effectively at altitude because the Coor’s Classic was less than 2 months away. I had a broken collarbone, leg and hand, plus a wicked concussion. Right now, looking back it seems virtually impossible that I could get back to a resemblance of race form in that short of time, considering I needed nearly the whole time to heal up. But, I did ride the Coor’s race, pitifully at first, but came around the 2nd week and finished up alright.

I know I’m older and heal slower now and I know that I don’t really have any real need to rush anything. The season now is nearly 365 days a year now, so I can just start whenever I fell up to it. It would be nice to have a goal, a race, to have a realistic time frame for reentry.

I’ve been getting a few emails and comments here about whether it is time that I just hang it up, the sport. It didn’t even cross my mind. Cyclingnews did an article with Taylor Phinney, who broke his leg the same day as I broke my hip. I’m not injured nearly as bad as Taylor and of course, am not in the same situation in cycling as he is either, but we do have the same mindset somewhat. He says, “I’m in physiotherapy and I’m way ahead of schedule, in fact they’re forcing me to chill out,” Phinney said. “There isn’t much for me to do except for rehabilitation.”

So, I’m antsy to get moving more. I’ve been riding this handcycle the last couple days. It is way slow and much harder than riding a bicycle, but it is super nice getting out under my own power. I’m sort of surprised I’m not walking yet without crutches. It seems nearly impossible, but I am getting better. It is way easier putting my pants on and getting up and down out of a chair.

Benjamin Franklin said, “Happiness depends more on the inward disposition of mind than on outward circumstances.” It is so true, I really don’t have much to complain about.

Laid up in a hospital in Whitby England after hitting the car below.

Laid up in a hospital in Whitby England after hitting the car below.

And this was the car I hit at the British Milk Race. It came out about as bad as I did.

This photo was taken the morning before the two pictures above. Both Andy Paulin and I, behind me in the National Team jersey, hit the car at warp speed.

This photo was taken the morning before the two pictures above. Both Andy Paulin and I, behind me in the National Team jersey, hit the car at warp speed.

Photo from a newspaper article of me riding rollers with a broken collarbone before Nationals.

Photo from a newspaper article of me riding rollers with a broken collarbone before Nationals.

Does Anyone Understand this Operation Puerto Thing?

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Operation Puerto, does anyone understand it at all?   Yesterday an article at Velonews says that WADA had tested some of the blood bags that were released last summer and that they have 30 more names to add to the list.  20 of those are cyclists.  Is that a surprise?

I don’t get the whole thing.  It was such a big deal 10 years ago.  Jan Ulrich left the Tour and was suspended by T-Mobile.   Lots of riders were named, then their names were withdrawn.  I can’t name it exactly, but did 2 guys serve suspensions?  I can’t really name anyone other than Ivan Basso and Alejandro Valverde.  There have been other guys that were named, and they for sure, had blood bags hanging with the other 200+ bags, but I don’t remember any serving a suspension.   Jörge Jaksche?   The can’t even do anything to the doctor that drew the blood.

Now it has been over 10 years and most of the guys, most likely, have retired.  But I’d bet a few haven’t.  Maybe more than a few.   But, they don’t have anything to worry about because the 8 year statute of limitations for doping violations has passed.  What is up with that?  Why is there a statute of limitation on cheating in sports?  If it takes 10 years in courts to get the names, then the statute of limitation is way too short.

The Velonews story says that sports  governing bodies are trying to figure out whether if they actually have the legal authority to release the names.  Is that jacked up or what?    That is a joke.

The got the blood released, DNA tested the blood, and now have the identities.  Release the names.  It is simple.

Isn’t it interesting how much of thies doping stuff happens in the winter around the holidays.   It is kind of a weird way to end the year.  But, the show must go on.

 

Will 60 Minutes Expose it as Real – Mechanical Doping

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There is an article over at Cyclingnews that says that CBS’s 60 Minutes is going to air a segment on mechanical doping on January 28.  That is exactly a month.  Do you think that if 60 Minutes makes a valid argument, or even better yet, exposes the use of mechanical doping for the past decade, it would change the way us Americans think about it?

I’ve usually always agreed with what 60 Minutes covers.  It all seem pertinent.  It is the Sunday evening program, after the football games, that seems to try to expose unfairness throughout society.  They call themselves a “newsmagazine”, which is appropriate, I guess.   They started in 1968, so nearly 50 years ago.  That is crazy.

60 Minutes has already done a ton of stuff on Lance and his issue.  They did an exclusive segment with Tyler Hamilton that was revealing, sort of.  This is going to different.

If 60 minutes is going to air a segment on mechanical doping in the sport of cycling, then there have to be some riders that are shitting themselves right about now.  I assume they will name a rider, or multiple riders, that have had the advantage of this.  Since they “caught” Femke Van den Driessche, the only person, as far as I know, of potential trying to use mechanical doping in cyclocross, obviously it does exist.

Greg (Lemond) has been talking about it for sometime now.  He says it exists and has been used in the peloton.  I have no reason to doubt him.

I think a 60 Minutes show on it will go way more in depth that anything the cycling media has covered on the subject.  They have rarely made mistakes in their reporting and thus, hardly ever have to retract something that isn’t true.  I assume they did their research during the covering of this subject.

So, we have a month to wait.  I did a post about the revealing of mechanical doping a couple weeks ago and in that article, the “inventor” of mechanical doping, Istvan Varjas, said that a major television show was going to cover it.  I’d alway thought it would be a European television show. Never did I think it might be 60 Minutes.  This should be interesting.

 

I Ate Horse Meat

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I don’t eat much red meat.  It isn’t that I’m all that against it, it is just that I’m not that into it usually.  I was a vegetarian when I first started racing.

There was a guy in Kansas City that was really good, Bill Nickelson.  He pretty much beat up on all the guys when I was 14.  He was a vegetarian, so my brother Kris and I decided to emulate him.  We asked him exactly how he ate and he told us.  He also suggested a ton of vitamins to take.  Calcium, Magnesium Zinc, Vitamin E, Pantothenic Acid, Niacin etc.  I can’t even remember them all.

I did this for a long time, pretty much until the first time I got to go to Europe to race.  Salad bars and options were always available here in the states, so I didn’t really think much about eating before I fly to Europe.

The first race we did was the Tour of Vaucluse in Southern France.  I wrote a post sort of about it.  It was a Pro-AM race with lot of great professionals, plus the Russian and Eastern European amatuer teams.

The race fed us and I realized pretty much the first day that it was going to be nearly impossible to not eat meat.  That was nearly all they served for meals after breakfast.

So maybe the 2nd day, I decided to quit being a vegetarian and eat a steak.  I figured it was the only way to survive the trip.

So I walked over the food line and got a steak.  I really had no desire to switch up my diet, but there was no other way.

I was sitting there and started eating and it wasn’t good.  It was super chewy and hard to swallow.  I was thinking that I really hadn’t been missing out on anything all those years, but knew I needed to finish the meat to get through the stage that day.

While this was all going on, a French rider, maybe even Laurent Fignon, I’m not sure who it exactly was, came over, kind of started laughing and pointed at the steak.  He then did a couple neighs.

I didn’t know what he was doing, then thought a second and realized that he was mimicking a horse and implying that it was horse meat.  I pretty much dropped my fork and stopped chewing.  I was nearly sick.  I couldn’t believe I was eating horse.

That was it for the meat that race.  I wasn’t going to “risk” consuming horse again.  When that stage race finished, we raced the next few weeks in Italy and didn’t have that problem.

Anyway, I’m not proud of consuming horse meat. I never it attend to do it consciously again.  They still eat it over in France.  I’m not sure what that is all about.   Maybe it is one of the reasons I’m not that into red meat in general, I don’t really know.

I have no idea how people eat these guys. It doesn't sit well with me.

I have no idea how people eat these guys. It doesn’t sit well with me.

 

Mechanical Doping Revelations

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SInce I posted about the possible good uses for an electric bike yesterday, I was surprised to see an article at Cyclingnews saying that the guy that is credited with “inventing” mechanical doping for racing did a TV program, that is going to be aired in France in January, says it has been widespread in the Pro ranks and is going to have potentially, a “bigger impact” than the Festina doping affair from the 90’s.

It really doesn’t surprise me that much.  When guys want to cheat, it doesn’t really matter how they do it.  I’d assume that athletes would rather just put mechanical assistance on their bikes than take drugs, but they are probably doing both.

There is also an article at Cyclingnews interviewing Floyd Landis.  Floyd says that the dopers will always be one step ahead of the authorities, so the whole process is flawed.  I couldn’t argue with that either.  That is how doping in sports work.  The current system isn’t going to cure the problems.

Anyway, I’m sort of  looking forward to the show next month, in a weird sort of way.  It is funny, but when I talk to people a little about motors for racing, they seem more upset with that prospect than of actually doping to win.  I’m not sure what that is all about.  Maybe they believe the Lance story of everyone is doing it, so they are just trying to level the playing field.  That wouldn’t be the case with a power assisted bikes I guess.

I don’t really see the difference much.

Anyway, last weekend before Christmas.  Much of the country is cold, like really cold.  Guess it is time to ride inside again?

dampf-fahrrad2

 

Electric Bike Encounter

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Yesterday Vincent had to take his van to the Mercedes dealer to get a new emissions sensor or something installed, so we just loaded up our bikes, dropped the van off and rode out to a trail head to meet a friend of Vincent’s from Denver.

As it turned out, it was over 15 miles of road riding to get to the trail.  I was pretty done from the nearly 60 miles from the day before, but it was supposed to be nearly 80 degrees and I was just tired.

Anyway, we met up with Dave, Vincent’s friend and headed out riding.  I was pretty toasted, like I said above, but we weren’t going all that fast, so it was alright.  I looked behind me and a guy was catching us from behind.  The rider was wearing a gear bag, had knee pads on and didn’t look like he should be riding our speeds.

We got up to a split in the trail and we stopped.  The guy passed us and I was thinking to myself that I was in pitiful shape.  Worse than I had imagined.  The guy was using plastic toeclips that didn’t have straps and rode by pretty quickly.

We kept going and ended up climbing a fair amount, too much for me.  Then a while later, we were stopped, trying to figure out how to get back and the guy comes riding back.  He stopped and said hi.

I looked at his bike and saw it had a battery on it.  I realized it was electric.  The guy’s name was Steve also, and he was super nice.  He explained that he was an old enduro motorcycle racer and had switched to bikes.  Then a couple years ago, he got hit by a woman in a car that was messing with her cell phone and was pretty jacked up.  Broken hip, knee, etc.

So he decided to try to get back into shape and picked an electric MTB to start.  He showed us how the bike worked and the different speeds it had.  I believe it had 4 settings and he said that when it was on the highest, it produced something like 250 watts.

He encouraged us to take it for a spin, so we all did.  It was crazy, like amazingly crazy.

It was a Bosch drive that only engaged when you pedaled.  But man, it engaged.  Like it was so fast and so easy to ride.  I was climbing a hill that would have been killing me just a little earlier and what was slowing me down was not being able to handle the bike because of too much speed, not effort.

Steve wasn’t too familiar with off-road riding, so he had a ton of pressure in his tires and the bike was set up a little strange, but all of us did that initially.

I didn’t really have any contact with this before yesterday.  My buddy, Jimmy Mac, had left being the guy in charge of MTB Action because he refused to add electric bikes to the publication.  It was an incredible stance to take.  I applaude him for it. I wrote a post about that and pretty much agreed with Mac at the time.  But now, I’m not so sure.

Steve needed an electric bike to get back to a point where he could ride “a real” bicycle.  It was allowing him the ability to get in some off-road miles while he was regaining strength from the car accident.

We went by McDowel Mountain Cycles and they had a couple electric bikes there.  But only for the road.  The trails in Fountain Hills don’t allow them.  So, the guys at the shop decided not to sell them when it goes against the rules of the trails.  I understand that completely.

But, I think there need to be some trails where guys like Steve can ride.  He was super nice, wasn’t tearing up the trail, super courteous to hikers and wasn’t doing anything different from what I was doing.  Just riding, enjoying the trails and the day.

But let me tell you, what an extra 250 watts can do for your speed on a mountain bike.

Steve explaining his path to riding an electric bike.

Steve explaining his path to riding an electric bike.

Vincent's artsy photo of me about ready to take Steve's bike out for a test ride.

Vincent’s artsy photo of me about ready to take Steve’s bike out for a test ride.

Dave, Vincent and I climbing up by the cactus.

Dave, Vincent and I climbing up by the cactus.

This sign was a little scary. The hot season seems a little long.

This sign was a little scary. The hot season seems a little long.

Vincent riding back to the car dealership. They really protect their water down here.

Vincent riding back to the car dealership. They really protect their water down here.

This is a 2016 Rolls Royce. The car dealership was incredible. Every exotic car you can name was sold here. In mass quantities. And the price for this beauty..........

This is a 2016 Rolls Royce. The car dealership was incredible. Every exotic car you can name was sold here. In mass quantities. And the price for this beauty……….

Little out of my price range.

Little out of my price range.