Category Archives: Racing

Things I don’t Like

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I don’t like rust.  It ruins so much nice stuff.  And once it becomes rust, the stuff is horrible for skin.  Working on a car with rust is not very rewarding.

I don’t like ticks.  I actually hate ticks.  Ticks are my least favorite bugs, by a factor of 10.

I don’t like/nearly hate, people that throw trash out of their cars while driving.  I have no understanding of their thought process.  It is like they want to live in a terrible world.

I don’t like sitting in traffic.  Who does?  Sitting in traffic is a complete waste of time and it would be very difficult for me to live somewhere where there is a high chance I’d be in stopped traffic on a daily basis.

I’m not big with laundromats.  I’m not even sure where that word came from.  I’ve spent a fair amount of time washing clothes in these places and most the people that I run into I don’t want to know personally.

I don’t much like eggplant.  I eat just about everything, but eggplant never took.  That and pea soup.  Add to that canned peas.  Fresh peas are fine, but I don’t run into them that often.

I don’t like hearing gunshots when I’m out riding in the country.  I don’t have any idea when way the gun is pointed, so it spooks me, as it should.

On the gun subject, I’m not big on hunting for sport.  Most of the time, the way I see it, there isn’t much sport in hunting.  It is just killing.

I don’t like dressing up for an appointment.  I try to make it a point to limit things I do that require dressing up.

I don’t like walking downhill.  Especially downhill for a long time.  I like hiking, but dread the downhills.

Overeating should be on this list.  I rarely do it, but when I do, I hate it.

On that subject again, I don’t much like buffets.  I can’t stand looking at how much food the majority of patrons tend to heap on their plates.  It is one of the 7 deadly sins.

Waking up from too long of naps is not good.  I am grouchy and more tired than before the nap.

I hate sticking to my jeans after I’ve crashed.  Jeans and sheets.  I came up with using Saran Wrap, back in the day, now Tegadrem is the ticket.  It still occurs some though.

I don’t like waking to a cloudy day when I expect a sunny one.  It sets a bad tone.

I don’t like skipping breakfast.  I nearly can’t function without breakfast.

Injustices.  Obviously, by definition, they are unfair.  Too many of these occur nowadays.

I’m not big on bad dog breath.  I love dogs though.  Same with people, other than I don’t love people as much as I do dogs.

I could probably keep going all day.  These are just a few. Any of your own?

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Cyclocross is Hard

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I’ll write a longer post on Jingle Cross when I have a little more time.  I usually just get moving after races.  I usually don’t sleep much after hard efforts, so sort of wished we would have driven the 6 hours home after the race last night.  I was up until 3 am anyway.  We would have been back at least an hour before then.

The race yesterday for me was terrible.  I really didn’t have that bad a race considering, but the result was horrible.

I was lined up on the last row, as usual.  I’m not sure why I get so unlucky on the draw at UCI races.  The guy ahead of me missed his pedal when I was already going, so I hesitated some and then we were at the very back.

I passed a bunch of guys hitting the first mud section and then dismounted for the 100 meter off-camber run.  I maybe had 15 guys behind me, but then it went south.  Someone behind me slipped and grabbed my rear wheel to steady themselves.  That pushed my handlebars into the metal fencing and my bars got wedged into a small triangle in the fencing.  By the time I got it out, I was in last by a mile.

I got going and sort of caught the back of the last guys and was gassed.  We had to run up Mt. Krumpet super early in the lap and by the time I got to the top of it, I was hurt.

It is weird in cross, you can ride the speed of your group and if your group is going slow, then that is sort of your speed, especially early season.  I had to get off my bike again and straighten my brake lever on the climb.  It was twisted and was pulling my rear brake on.

Anyway, I rode 4 laps and then got pulled.  I was going about a minute a lap slower than the back of the top ten.  I was doing 9 minute laps and they were doing closer to 8.  That didn’t seem that bad really considering how unprepared I was to do a race of this caliber.  I honestly can’t say the food poisoning deal I had a couple weeks ago was an issue.  I wasn’t riding all that badly, for me, I was just a bit off all around.  My bike handling was super rusty, but got better.

I looked at some of the other categories and compared to all the master’s times, I was good. I was nearly 2 minutes a lap faster than my age group in masters, but that is to be expected.  But really, comparing different races is just make believe.   That being said,  I think I would have finished 5th in the women’s race, so I could have been competitive there, if I were a girl.

Like I said above, I didn’t sleep much.  We’re nearly to Des Moines, so should be back to Kansas by early afternoon.  I am surprised I’m not sore from the 45 minutes I rode.  I would have thought my legs and back would be wasted, but not so, which is nice.

Okay, I’m just rambling.  Tucker is out on the bench seat.   He isn’t used to hanging out all day at a cross race.  He had a blast, but he needs to sleep some during the day. Especially three days in a row.  Me neither it seems. It was a harsh was to start the cross season. It was a mildly embarrassing and enormously humbling day.   I’ll figure it out soon..

Trying to keep some sort of speed going up Mt. Krumpet.

Trying to keep some sort of speed going up Mt. Krumpet.

I got faster descending each lap. I put a little more air in my tires because I didn't like how they felt folding over on this off-camber descent. This is the same corner Stephen Hyde fell on Saturday.

I got faster descending each lap. I put a little more air in my tires because I didn’t like how they felt folding over on this off-camber descent. This is the same corner Stephen Hyde fell on Saturday.

This is Abby Krawczyk and Sven Nys. Abbey won Chequamegon last weekend.

This is Abby Krawczyk and Sven Nys. Abbey won Chequamegon last weekend.

Women's start run.

Women’s start run.

This is the sunset when I was riding back from the venue last night. Pretty great.

This is the sunset when I was riding back from the venue last night. Pretty great.

Big numbers at McDonalds. Crazy.

Big numbers at McDonalds. Crazy.

Tucker is out for the drive.

Tucker is out for the drive.

Friday Night UCI Race Jingle Cross

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Okay, pictures probably sum up my race better than too many words.  I had low expectations, that I was exceeding, but the bike gods weren’t happy with me for some reason.

I picked a lousy start number and only a few guys had worse.  But, no one was really that excited at the back of the field and I rolled up a couple rows to chat with Bjorn Selander since we were lined up so early.

The course was pretty awful.  Like very sticky, clogging mud.  It had been that way most of the day, but was getting worse as it dried out.  Lots of running, even when it was just flat.  I wasn’t at all motivated for that.  I haven’t ran a step since Jinglecross last year really.

But, I didn’t run that badly.  We dismounted about 400 meters into the race and did a 100 meter mud slog and I was alright.  I actually passed a couple guys.  Then we had to go up Mt. Crumpet, which was a surprise to pretty much the whole back row.  It wasn’t marked during the pre-ride, which I didn’t do.  I didn’t get into the mud until about 100 meters into the race.

Anyway, I jogged past a few more guys going up the climb and had moved up close to the top 20, start number 58, skipping some numbers, so I’d passed maybe half the field.  And I wasn’t gassed, which surprised me.

Anyway, going down the descent, into the sandpit, I was seated pedalling and hit a small bump.  I heard my seatpost make a bad noise and realized it broke.  It stayed on a 100 meters and then the seat and seatpost fell off into the mud.  I was thinking how hard it was going to be to ride in this deep mud off my seat.

I only had a few hundred meters to go to the pit, which was lucky.  I got back on my A bike, I’d already switched 1/2 a lap in and was passing guys still.  Be just after the barriers, just a bit after the pit, I heard a horrible noise and my rear derailleur was gone.  I stood there a second, thinking how far I’d have to run to get back to the pit and realized it would be more than a kilometer.

So, I just walked back to a course crossing and made my way back to the pit.  Done.

I don’t know why I had a Easton Carbon post on my bike.  Well, that isn’t true.  I had no seat on my B bike when I was working on it, so I just pulled the seat and seatpost off an old cross bike to put it in the stand.  I meant to put an Eriksen post on, but sort of forgot about it with all the stuff going on.  What a mistake.

The derailleur thing was not that unusual.  I don’t know how many people I’d seen without derailleurs.  Out of the 4 people racing from the Topeka area, 3 of us ripped off rear derailleurs.  There are 100’s gone.  That isn’t an exaggeration.

Okay, the World Cup is this afternoon.  I’ve pieced my bikes back together.  I put the Eriksen ti post on that should have been there originally.  I had a Di2 rear derailleur plus a wire, which was destroyed.  Plus the dropout, which I had.  I didn’t have an 11 speed chain for some reason. Man, do you have to carry around a lot of stuff for cyclocross.  I’m going over to the venue to hopepully get a chain from Shimano.  So, my bikes should be in working order for tomorrow’s C1 race.

There are so many people here.  LIke 10’s of thousands.  The parking is so far away.  It is great.  Maybe better than Worlds in Louisville.  I think the course is going to dry up some before the races later this afternoon.  It should be good to watch.  Alright, need to go for a ride.

Here are some of the pictures that described my race last night.

This one photo might sum up the race the best.

This one photo might sum up the race the best.

Or this. Trudi went back over to the course where The seat broke off and just happened to see a small piece of the seat sticking out of the mud.

Or this. Trudi went back over to the course where The seat broke off and just happened to see a small piece of the seat sticking out of the mud.

Busted rear derailleur and extra dropout.

Busted rear derailleur and extra dropout.

The women's race start. This was the best part of the course. The fastest.

The women’s race start. This was the best part of the course. The fastest.

I put in spikes when I heard we were slogging up the hill. I knew we couldn't ride it.

I put in spikes when I heard we were slogging up the hill. I knew we couldn’t ride it.

Catherine and their dog, Jason, after her race.

Catherine and their dog, Jason, after her race.

 

 

Crash #2 out of 3 Days

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I guess my bad luck continued yesterday at the Giro Della Montagna criterium.   Like the day before, there isn’t that much to write about.  It was just a normal criterium.

The race is at the Italian section of St. Louis.  We used to all go to a Bocce Ball place and have a meal and play Bocce after the race.  But I guess the race has gotten way too big for that anymore.  Shame.

The race is pretty much up a hill on the back stretch and back down to the finish.  Not a big hill by any means, but enough to get you tired after doing it for 75 minutes.  The front of the race’s pace makes riding further back risky.  The 1st three corners can get jammed up, thus you have to scrub a lot of speed, which you have to make up somewhere else on the course.  But yesterday’s race didn’t really get out of control.

The end of the race was interesting.  There were a few guys off the front, which one must have been a UHC rider.  I say that because UHC lined up on the inside for the leadout the last 3 laps, but were just hovering there, trying to protect their position at the front without chasing.  It made it hard to move up since we were riding curb to curb.

I got into just okay position with a couple laps to go.  I was swarmed a couple times and had to battle back up.  I wasn’t in great position, but great position in this race would require too much energy to hold.

I was maybe 20 guys back with one to go, on the outside, but the inside line was going faster.  I stuck to where I was at and into the first corner, it looked like it opened up for John Purvis, a friend from Arkansas.  He had just come here yesterday for the last two races.  He borrowed some tools from me before the start.

John was going around the outside of the first turn and I followed him.  He looked like he was going to be fine, but I think maybe the guy to his inside did a small swerve and he mimicked it, but whatever happened he was headed for the curb at the wrong angle.  I saw it coming but couldn’t do anything about it.  He slid out and hit the barrier and curb.  I grabbed a lot of brake, tried to cut the corner short, but his bike flipped back into the course and I flipped over the bars.

I was more disappointed than pissed.  It was super bad luck.  I had not used much energy the previous few laps and think I had one good lap in me.  But, no replays, so I’ll never know.  The sprint isn’t good for me, going downhill, so I would have just tried to be as far up as possible going into the last corner, then just try to maintain.

John came over to the van and asked me if I was alright, which was nice.  He told me that he didn’t really know what happened.  He said that was the first time he has ever crashed on the road.  He races cross, so he must have fallen in cross races.  I told him it was my 2nd crash in 3 days, so don’t worry about it.  It is just part of racing.  It’s a bad part of racing, but part none the less.   He said his back was sore, which I sympathized with.  My back is tweaked too.

So three out of 4 races done.  At least I’m getting in pretty much a full race each day, if nothing else.  Today’s race is at Benton Park and is pretty difficult.  It is more like a hard circuit race and not a criterium.  I was thinking about skipping it, since I’m pretty beat up, but that isn’t how I’d normally operate, so I’m going, even though my heart isn’t completely into it.

Yesterday I took Tucker to the bike path that runs North out of St. Louis, along the Mississippi. It was already pretty warm, so I didn’t want to run him too long.  We went maybe 3 or 4 miles.  After the run, I went to a easy access point and he swam some in the river.  He wasn’t used to a current, so was a little panicked.  I ended up swallowing a bunch of water, which he puked up pretty quickly, but he had a good time.  He really doesn’t like being too hot.  Then late last night, we went over to Forest Park, the biggest park in Central St. Louis for another romp.  He seems to be having a pretty good time here, even if I’m not.

The women's field at the top of the hill yesterday.

The women’s field at the top of the hill yesterday.

Tucker running along the railroad tracks close to the bike path.

Tucker running along the railroad tracks close to the bike path.

Tucker swimming in the Mississippi.

Tucker swimming in the Mississippi.

He was too tired to sleep last night.

He was too tired to sleep last night. Me too.

 

 

 

Razor Blades

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As cyclists, we go through more razor blades than average.  We’re shaving more, thus go through blades quicker.  Razor blades have improved a ton since I was a kid.  But the cost of these excellent blades have become unbelievably expensive.

I thought of this when I saw a Gillette ad and they were using the newly crowned Olympic Decathlete,  Ashton Eaton as their guy.  I was envious of the dude.  I’d have to assume that he gets unlimited Gillette products, which obviously would include razor blades.  If I were him, I’ve endorse them just for free razor blades.

I think Gillette makes the best blades.  I don’t really stray much.  Back when I first started racing, Gillette had just came out with the disposable  razors.  I think you could get something like 10 for $1.  Even in my penniless state, those razors were affordable.  Even once in a while I would try Bic disposables, but inevitably I would end up bleeding everywhere.

When I used to go to South America and race, I used to always stock up on razor blades.  Razor blades are sold in South America much cheaper.  Their cost is proportional to have much the average person earns, thus much cheaper.  A few times I’ve bought razor blades off of eBay and most of the time the blades packaging is in Spanish.  A few entrepreneurs are having their relatives ship boxes of razor blades up to them here in the US, then reselling them at a profit. Pretty great business model.

I think everyone hates buying new razor blades.  They seem so ridiculously expensive, that parting with hard earned money for them is painful.  Last year at Christmas, I actually gave Trudi a year’s worth of razor blades.  It was over $100 worth.  I thought it was a little cheesy for a Christmas present, but it is something you need, but hate buying yourself.

I’ve used the women’s blades a couple times to shave my legs.  The blades with the slimy things protecting your legs from nicks.  Man, do they work great for shaving legs.  It makes shaving legs a breeze. I’ve never bought them, because they don’t double up for shaving your face, but I would like to have some.

Anyway, paying $4 for razor blades irks just about everyone.  I read the guy that started the $1 shave club deal sold it for something like a billion dollars.  He was fed up enough that he actually did something about it.  The rest of us just pay through the nose.

I've been shaving my legs since before I actually grew hair on them.

I’ve been shaving my legs since before I actually grew hair on them.  This was a photo from the Topeka paper when I was a kid.

The gillette Venus women's blades are great.

The gillette Venus women’s blades are great.

Tucker feels better today, but is still a little under the weather.

Tucker feels better today, but is still a little under the weather.

 

 

Learning by Watching

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Yesterday I went over to the Tour of Lawrence, but didn’t race, I just watched.  I had ridden earlier, 40 miles on gravel and completely fell apart coming home.  I’m not feeling that well and figure I have one day in me, if that.

Anyway, it is important to watch races every once in awhile to understand what is going on from the outside, looking in.  It is a completely different experience, an important one.

Yesterday, the race was carnage.  It was super hot and the course was tricky, with lots of corners and places the field got super stretched out.  The slinky-effect was happening constantly, thus a lot of guys were on their limits.

Guys were getting popped out the back from the gun.  The front of the race almost looked easier than the middle of the pack, it was really interesting.

The race was only 75 minutes, but the last 15 minutes, about 1/2 the field disappeared.  It finally got down to a group of maybe 12 guys, where everyone could corner without braking, etc. From watching, it showed me that even really good riders suffer immensely when racing, especially in the heat.

Joseph Schmalz, Elevate, rode away with 5 to go, with Garrick Valverde.  Joseph’s team mate, Nick Torraca was there for a little while, but after taking a huge pull, he got dropped by Joseph. It looked a little weird, but in reality, when Nick went back to the field, they pretty much gave up, which allowed Joseph and Garrick to disappear.  Nick ended up riding away again with a lap to go and finished 3rd, which was a big effort.  Here is a link to the Lawrence paper’s article.

Today it is supposed to be much hotter.  I just heard on NPR that the heat index is supposed to be close to 110.  That is ugly.  I’m hoping to finish, but am not holding my breathe on that.

I know it seems a little strange racing when I have such low expectations and don’t feel well, but being from Kansas, it is important racing in downtown Lawrence.  It is a very historic downtown, dating back to the civil war when raiders come over from Missouri, a slave state, and burnt the city of Lawrence.

When the Collegiate Nationals were held in Lawrence, there was a USAC Pro 1/2 criterium.  I skipped Joe Martin Stage Race to just race one criterium.  I won the race that year.  That isn’t going to happen today.

Today is the Kansas State Criterium Championships too.  It’s always nice to be racing for a title.

So, it is going to be a hard day today.  If anything, I hope to learn something for not watching from the outside.  The course is easier than yesterday, so I have that going for me.

Joseph won alone.

Joseph won alone.

Nick barely made it in before the field.

Nick barely made it in before the field.

Matt Gilhousen had a party after the race. Tucker was way interested in the stack of meat Matt was preparing.

Matt Gilhousen had a party after the race. Tucker was way interested in the stack of meat Matt was preparing.

Later on, the shots came out. We took off just a tad later.

Later on, vodka shots came out. We took off just a tad later.

BBBQ Criterium

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Yesterday was very hard for me.  I’m not good.  I guess I’m sick, but it is a weird sickness.

I did the 5 hour drive from Cable to Clear Lake Iowa to race at 7 pm.  On my way, I called my friend Shadd Smith to see if he was coming to the race.  Shadd races for the Olathe Subaru Team and I hang with them most of the time since I haven’t had any team mates around most this year.

Anyway Shadd tells me he has been pretty sick every since Louisville.  And that 3 of their guys aren’t coming to the race because they were sick.  I woke up after the criterium, last week, with a super sore throat and crazy headache.  I had never had a sore throat when I was taking antibiotics, unless I was taking the antibiotics for my throat.  Anyway, after a day or so the headache went away, but my throat has been sore since.  Shadd has the exact some symptoms.

Then Stacie, who I was staying with at Louisville got really sick.   She did the 800 mile drive up to Cable, spend one day, and then curled up in the back of their truck and they drove home.  She was bad.

I’ve just been feeling weird.  Sometimes I was okay, but when I wasn’t riding or moving, I was super achy and lethargic.   I’ve been doing that sinus rinse thing, and  wasn’t really that concerned.

Anyway, last night I thought I was okay.  I rode nearly an hour before the race and felt alright.  I was optimistic.  But right when I clipped in, it was not good.

The course was hard.  It was short, .7 miles, with 8 corners.  It had a small rise on the backstretch, which really strung the field out.  Anyway, it was in a long line and I was never comfortable.  I was doing my best to being pack filler.  The whole race my sinus’ were dripping into my lungs and I was hacking constantly.

Towards the end of the race, it got ugly.   There was a small break away and the last 5 laps, it got going harder.  This put a lot of guys to their limit.  Lots of riders were sitting up and others were falling.  I guess the efforts were making them worse bike handlers or something, but individuals were falling randomly in corners, splitting the field.

I kept getting caught behind splits and barely made it back each time.  I finally just put my mind to it and said all I need to do is finish in the field.  And I just did, barely. The last lap I was last guy on, and barely stayed there.  I can’t remember a time I rode like this.  I have to admit, it took a lot of perseverance.  Looking back at the numbers, I sucked.  And I was hurting.  I had an average heartrate of 169 and a maximum of 189.  So much for that low heart rate deal.  I guess I can only get my heart rate up is when I am struggling.

So, today I’m not racing.  No one is.  The race has been cancelled.  That wouldn’t have made any difference, I wasn’t starting anyway.  I woke up early, at 5:30, with Trudi, who drove to Kansas City to fly to Switzerland.  Just a little while later, I heard thunder.  It has been raining pretty constantly since.

This season has been pretty challenging, mentally for me.  I’m not sure if it is just bad luck or what, but I have been out of sorts most of the last couple months.  I don’t really feel that bad, but yesterday was awful.  Man, if bike racing was always that hard, I’d consider a different lifestyle.

I have a week before Tour of Lawrence next weekend.  I’m heading home and will try to feel better by then.  I guess I need to rest some, but I feel better when I’m riding.  Weird.

I was never comfortable all day.

I was never comfortable all day.

I warm up by here. This is the last place that Buddy Holly played before he died in a plane crash.

I warm up by here. This is the last place that Buddy Holly played before he died in a plane crash.

Even at this criterium, they have barriers without legs sticking out into the course. Maybe the Tour de France could take notice.

Even at this criterium, they have barriers without legs sticking out into the course. Maybe the Tour de France could take notice.

Tucker was thirsty after I finished.

Tucker was thirsty after I finished.

Curent radar.

Curent radar.