Category Archives: Fun Stuff

Lowest Wattage Winner

This entry was posted in Comments about Cycling, Fun Stuff on by .

I’ve had this idea ever since it has become commonplace to use power meters on bicycles that there should be a competition during each event for the rider with the lowest average wattage when the event is finished. There would be some sort of formula that takes the rider’s weight, the finishing time/place into account, plus the average wattage the rider put out during the event, and there would be an award for it.

It would be really difficult to do this. It would probably only work for special races and would have to be sponsored by a power meter company with all the units matched. There really is a fair amount of fudge factor when it comes to recording power data.

I think it is strange when guys compare their wattage numbers after an event and brag about how high their wattage is. I want my average wattage to be low. As low as I can possible get it. It’s a bike race, not a training ride. Of course that isn’t the case for races that I’m using to try to get to a different level of fitness, but for a race that I’m keying on and trying to have a result, it is for sure my goal.

Another idea would be to have a battery and small electric motor on your bike and have your drive system connected to an alternator that allows you to store energy into that battery. At the start of the race, each rider would be given a completely discharged battery and then they could store up as much extra energy they could produce, in the battery, and use it whenever they needed.

This would be a strange event also. Guys pedaling like crazy on the downhills trying to store up a bunch of energy for the climbs. One rider could just be riding easy in the field at 25mph and the guy next to him could be producing 450 watts charging his battery. Maybe even have a display on each rider, the back of the seat or somewhere obvious, so the other riders would know exactly how much “charge” each rider has. The race tactics for this event would be wild.

Anyway, it’s just fun ideas. But seriously, if you consistently have a high average wattage at the end of a race and also a high number beside your name on the result sheet, you need to start trying to figure out what you’re doing wrong. There is a saying something like – “Strong like bull, dumb like bull (might be ox).” Try to avoid that description.


Electric bike motor kit.

Electric bike motor kit.

Scam and Swindle

This entry was posted in Fun Stuff, Just Life on by .

I think one of the reasons that our society is having some issues is that we are always worried about getting scammed. Now that the internet is prevalent, we see it much more often. This makes us apprehensive when strangers approach, in real live and /or electronically.

I don’t worry about it too much. I put my name and address, plus phone number on my resume on my website. I’d rather be accessible than worry about the negative consequences of the action.

But saying that, the guys doing the swindling have step up their game. I wrote something last week about things coming in 3. Here it happened again.

The first one was the most perplexing. I’ve been kind of keeping a lookout for an AWD Sienna minivan. I’ve had a couple AWD Caravans, but Toyota is the only company making a minivan AWD now. Anyway, I looked on eBay and there is a 2009 with 40K. It shows a bunch of pictures and then says at the bottom of the description that 13K with buy it today. So I email the guy and ask him where it is and if that is true.

It takes a couple days and the response is that yes, 13K will by it. And he says it is in Topeka. I’m thinking, that is too weird. Then I get the normal letter than the guy is in England and that an eBay agent will meet me with the papers. He says the van in stored in his garage here. So, I knew it is a scam, but, I kept going, just to see what was up. I was getting the guys name on his email, Jeremy Stone. It was a Topeka-like email address, a Southwestern Bell internet address. I ask his address and he gives it to me.

I look the address up on Goggle Maps and can see there is a window in the garage. I decide to drive over there just to see if there is a .0001% chance this could be legit. I get there and the garage door is open. And there is sitting a AWD Toyota minivan. I think, man, this is too weird. There is a guy in the driveway and I ask him if he is Jeremy. He says that Jeremy isn’t there, but his wife is. So, the guy goes into the garage and knocks on the door and a nice woman comes out.

I say hi and explain a little why I’m there. She assures me that her minivan isn’t for sale. I show here my phone with the eBay auction and then the emails from supposedly her husband. She asks me to see the email address and says it isn’t his.

So, the guy on eBay, somehow can track my eBay name back to me living in Topeka, that isn’t such a big deal. But after that, he goes and gets a Topeka email address and then assumes the name of a real person that lives in Topeka that has the same color and model Toyota minivan. I have no idea how he even gets the van’s information. It seems like really a lot of trouble. I’m not sure how much money he planned or did receive. There was a $500 pre payment. Maybe if he had 20 stupid guys on the hook, he ended up with $10,000. But he would have to get 20 different email addresses and then find 20 AWD Toyota Sienna minivans. Seems pretty elaborate.

The next two were just the normal weird emails. One was that I had a up coming trip, but it was sent from Southwest. Maybe Southwest just screwed up, but it looked real. I have a flight from Las Vegas to Columbus Ohio on August 29th. I’d have to get to Las Vegas to make it though.

The last one was from one of our military guys. It’s below. I decided to respond, just for fun. I never heard back, boo.

Anyway, we are all getting bombarded continuously, hearing about these schemes and frauds constantly, it makes us less approachable, less friendly. When my doorbell rings now, I always think it is a weird guy trying to sell some left over meat or something. (All my friends just walk in.) I guess as our world gets smaller, mainly through electronic advances, we’re all going to be subject to more of this. I just hope it doesn’t get too much more sophisticated or guys like me will be in trouble.

From the military guy.

From the military guy.

My response.

My response.

My Southwest confirmation.

My Southwest confirmation.

The van in the garage.

The van in the garage.

I saw this truck after all this.  We are so paranoid that we have big trucks rolling around that shred our paperwork.

I saw this truck after all this. We are so paranoid that we have big trucks rolling around that shred our paperwork.

Two Degrees of Separation from Steve Jobs through Eric Heiden

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I read an article yesterday about Steve Jobs, mastermind behind Apple, whose ex-girlfriend is writing a memoir about her relationship with Mr. Jobs. I guess she doesn’t have a bunch of nice things to say about her ex.

I never had the pleasure to meet Steve Jobs. I don’t think we would have hung in the same circles. But, I do have one Steve Jobs story. Actually, I’m repeating a Steve Jobs story that Eric Heiden told. This isn’t verbatim, so I hope I don’t muck it up too much.

Anyway, Eric Heiden lived up above Palo Alto on Skyline Drive. He went to Stanford Medical School. One day, Eric was home and a woman came walking down his driveway pushing a bicycle. There was a guy with her. It seems like the woman had mis-shifted or something and had screwed up her rear derailluer. For some reason, I think she must have been riding a nice bike because I envisioned it with a screwed up Campy derailluer. Anyway, Eric said something like you just happened upon the perfect place to rip off your rear derailluer because I have a box full of them in my garage. He then introduced himself to the couple. When the guy introduced himself to Eric he said, Steve Jobs.

I don’t exactly remember Eric saying his thoughts were when meeting Steve Jobs. Back then he (Steve Jobs) wasn’t the crazy famous Steve Jobs of today, but he was Steve Jobs of Apple still. Anyway, Eric puts a new Campagnolo rear derailluer and sent them off. Then I thought that Eric was going to say that a couple days later, a new Macitosh showed up at his house or something. But, no, he said he never heard a peep from either of them again.

I thought, wow, a free Campy rear derailluer, installed by a five time Olympic gold medalist and no nothing? What nerve. But, from all I hear, Steve Jobs wasn’t the nicest guy in the world. He did help make some world changing electronics though.


Collegiate MTB Deer Hit Rescue

This entry was posted in Fun Stuff on by .

Yesterday took a bunch of twists. I like days like that, usually. Days you think are going to go one way and they end up going another. I went over to the Walberg’s to finish up the tile floors. I was planning on riding to Lawrence on gravel, but when I went out to leave, my van wouldn’t start. The batteries are toast and I’m trying to wait until after the weekend to change them. It takes a few hours. So, I just got in Catherine’s car and drove home. Both Keith and Catherine are out in Seattle now, so no one was going to miss it.

I get dressed quickly and was just ready when my friend, Ian, showed up to ride. It was a little ugly pedalling. I’ve sort of felt like I’ve had a mild cold or something the last week or two. I think it’s probably just allergies, plus driving 1000+ miles, and standing a ton. Whatever the reasons, my legs were super flat. We had a 20 mph tailwind on gravel riding East towards Lawrence on the River Road. In the back of my mind, I kept thinking how ugly it was going to be riding back West home. Ian had to abandon me to get back to work by 5pm, so I was on my own after 25 miles. I got to Lawrence relatively unscathed, but knew the ride back was going to be much harder. I got a cup of coffee and a donut and headed back.

I was surprised that it didn’t seem that much harder riding back. Maybe the windblock on the gravel was more than I had anticipated. Anyway, I was better than I thought, even though I was dragging. I called Bill and he was riding out to meet me. He had to go and help his Aunt with a roof issue, so he couldn’t start with us. Bill met me about 12 miles out on his road bike. By then I was in steady state, so it was what it was. I got home, not destroyed, but pretty tired.

Tuesday is the easy night, beer ride, for the local guys. I thought I’d go and see if my van would start, come back, get a beer with the guys and then work on my MTB bike. It all went good, van immediately started, met up with the guys before it got too late, and then went over to The Burger Stand to eat. Sometimes when I do longer, 4+ hour rides, eating red meat seems to add recovery. Maybe it’s only psychosomatic, but it really doesn’t matter. I don’t eat much meat in general, so I don’t worry about it.

Anyway, right in the middle of a burger, I get a text from Dave Wiens. I have known Dave forever, we were inducted into the Mountain Bike Hall of Fame together, but it is unusual getting a text from him late at night. He tells me that his guys from Western States, in Gunnison, are driving to Collegiate MTB Nationals in North Carolina and that they hit a deer near Topeka. He wanted to know if I could help out. He said he thought they were towing the van and trailer to the Ford dealer in Topeka and after that, they had no plan.

So, I text Dave back and said I could help. My mind started going over the different options and I figured that the best option would be that I just meet them at the Ford dealer, hook the trailer to my van and send them on their way. Hopefully, next week when they were driving back through, their van would be repaired and they would trade back. I was a little worried about how many of them were in the van, since my van is only a 12 passenger and Dave said they were driving a 16 passenger.

Dave texted me back and said they got their van moving and that there were only 4 in the van. Next thing I know, I get a call from the college guys saying they were pretty much in Topeka and wanted to try to get their headlight up and running. I imagined the worse, so I told them how to get to a Walmart, to get a headlight, and rushed home and grabbed a ton of tools from my garage. I grabbed a couple crow bars, a come along, a few different mallets/hammers, plus wire, Gorilla tape, etc.

The guys from the beer ride wanted to check out the situation, so by the time I got there, it was a small herd of people standing around looking at the damage. It wasn’t bad at all. Pretty much the right side was smashed, but not bad enough to push the fender back into the wheel. The headlight assembly was toast, but other than that, it was fine. I asked about the rumor of towing and they said that when you run into something in a van, there is a turn-off system and they had to flip a switch under the dash to allow the vehicle to run again. I’ve never heard of something like that.

Right then, the kids from Western States came out of the Walmart with a single light bulb. I told them that they needed the whole sealed light, not just a bulb. They were pretty lucky that they were driving a Ford van that doesn’t have a custom headlight and takes just a standard, dual beam, square headlight. We went back in and got the right light assembly. They were also lucky the still had the housing to mount the light. It was a pretty easy “fix”.

I pretty much just wired the light back into place. I had to drill a few holes into the plastic housing, wiring it back together and to attach the light assembly back to its position. It took maybe 20 minutes and they were good to go. I asked them if they wanted to stay, but they had to drive straight through because they were picking up the rest of their team in Asheville today.

We sent them over to an all-night local Mexican restaurant and off they went. I sort of wanted just to drop everything and head off with them. It would have been refreshing hanging with those guys for a few days. They had so much enthusiasm. I texted them this morning, but haven’t heard back from them yet.

I slept until 9:30 this morning. I haven’t slept that late for months. I still have to work on my MTB bike and do all the rest of the stuff I didn’t do yesterday. I decided that I’m going to go over and ride the Berryman Epic MTB race on Saturday. It is 56 miles, virtually all singletrack, South of St. Louis in the Mark Twain National Forest. They added 8 more miles of single track, so it really is nearly all singletrack. I don’t really have the form for a 4 1/2 to 5 hour MTB race on rocky singletrack, but that shouldn’t stop me. I’ve won the race the last couple years, so I don’t have anything to prove, but it is always nice to ride good where you’ve won before. I’m going to rest up, there is no reason to be tired for a long race like this. Brian is doing the race too, so we’re going to drive there early Friday, ride just a little and then race on Saturday. It should be fun.

Hardly a flesh wound.  I expected much worse.

Hardly a flesh wound. I expected much worse.

I just wired it back into position.

I just wired it back into position.

It's a good thing they didn't try to swear to avoid the deer with this setup.

It’s a good thing they didn’t try to swear to avoid the deer with this setup.

The portrait in front of the Walmart sign.

The portrait in front of the Walmart sign.

Finished floor, with a little grout haze.

Finished floor, with a little grout haze.

Double Birkie Day

This entry was posted in Fun Stuff on by .

It’s way too early for me. I don’t very often get up before my body tells me to get up, well, sometimes my mind does, but I don’t like it much when I have to “force” myself to get out of bed. This is one of those few mornings. One thing good, it isn’t close to cold. It is already 25 degrees, with a high of 30. That is almost too hot.

One bad thing is I woke up pretty tweaked. I shovelled Dennis’ roof in the morning and skied for a couple hours in the afternoon. I think the roof thing was the main cause. Dennis doesn’t have enough insulation up there and he gets ice dams. So, we I shoveled down to the ice, then I’m trying to stay on the roof, with limited friction because of the ice. It makes legs wobbly. The skiing just adding the icing. My shoulder is not horrible. It is sore, but that is to be expected. We’ll see after skiing 7 hours today.

The group today is probably going to be pretty big. The early snow here has allowed a ton of people to get a lot of hours on their skis, plus the weather is good, but is going to get ugly tomorrow, so they probably would like to get a bunch of exercise before the deep freeze.

Okay, I have to cut this short. I have only 30 minutes to do an hours worth of stuff. I should probably wax my skis. They were waxed 4 years ago.

The snow is pretty deep on the roof.

The snow is pretty deep on the roof.

I left the snow on the eve so I didn't slip off when using the rake on the steeper parts.

I left the snow on the eve so I didn’t slip off when using the rake on the steeper parts.

Dennis gave Catherine a waxing lesson last night.

Dennis gave Catherine a waxing lesson last night.

Double Birkie Ski

This entry was posted in Fun Stuff on by .

Yesterday was the famous Double Birkie Ski. Tom Schuler started doing this 27 years ago. I started doing it, maybe, the 3rd year, with Greg Lemond and a bunch of other elite cyclists. Lemond went and won the Tour de France that year. I had skied, maybe, 200 kms in my life, so I was pretty worried before hand. But, the last 15-20 kms, all my compatriots fell apart and I ended up dropping them. I was too uncoordinated skiing to be able to get tired. I went on to finish 198th in the Birkie that year, starting from the 3rd wave. I made it into the Elite wave by less than 10 seconds.

Anyway, yesterday went pretty okay for me. The worst I felt was the first 20 kms. And the group was skiing really slow. My shoulder held up pretty good. It is pretty stiff this morning, but no horrible.

There were close to 50 skiers at the start and lots more met us a various points along the trail. I’d bet over 100-150 people participated total.

I ski like a hack. One year, maybe 5 years ago, I skied a fair amount and got a lot better. But, that didn’t really show yesterday. I have no issue getting winded or tired. I have issues with synchronizing my arms and legs. Actually, it’s much more complicated than that.

Anyway, I met up with all my Kansas guys, Stacie and Karl from Louisville, plus Dennis near the turn around. So, I skied with them for a few k’s. Then we had lunch, which was great, a sandwich and hot soup from the Brick House Cafe.

Starting back, I just decided to ski and not stop. I left my guys early and skied straight to OO. I walked across the road and at the warming hut, Tommy Matush was there, ready to go. Tommy told me he was toast and I needed to take it easy. He wasn’t that toast, but he was teetering a few times. About 1/2 way back he said he had to stop for a Coke. He pulled a micro Coke out of his pocket and shared it with me. It was one gulp each. I hadn’t had a Coke for quite a while, it tasted pretty good. Another guy hooked up with us at OO, his name was Tristin. He was skiing pretty well. He said he was a cyclist from Chippewa Falls. It turns out he won the Fire House 50 this year. Tommy stopped a Mosquito Brook, so Tristin and I skied back to Fish Hatchery together. It was nice having someone to finish up with.

I can’t complain too much about yesterday. My back is a little sore, but that is from shoveling the roof. My biggest complaint is a blister on my right foot. Cyclists don’t get blisters. I haven’t had a blister in a decade at least. I was internally whining like a baby the last 10 kms. Plus, when I got back, one of my toe nails had turned blue/black. That isn’t a common occurrence either.

Today the temperature has dropped considerably. It is close to 0 right now. I’m going to go over to OO and do a ski clinic with Yuri Gusev from CXC. I’ve never really had a ski lesson, so I’m sure he’s going to rip my “form” apart. I’m a little worried about standing around too long in the cold. I hate standing around in the cold. That is one of the worst parts of this sport.

Tonight it is supposed to get close to -20. That is pretty cold. It is supposed to stay cold for the next few days. High below 0. Might have to snow shoe a little more and ski a little less.

Double Birkie Ski 2013 from Steve Tilford on Vimeo.

The group heading out from Fish Hatchery.

The group heading out from Fish Hatchery.

Bromont is pretty done every night from romping in the woods.

Bromont is pretty done every night from romping in the woods.