Did you guys see that they found maybe something like 125,000 western lowland gorillas in a very secluded place in the Republic of Congo in Africa? It made my day. Maybe week/month. I didn’t realize how worried I was about the gorilla situation until I heard of this discovery. It is very rare that something like this happens nowadays. It goes to show you how big the planet is and that there are still places above the water’s surface that haven’t been altered by man’s dominance. There are less than 700 mountain gorillas left in the wild still. Their numbers are being reduced to make charcoal. Anyway, this discovery a good thing.
A rider from Iowa sent me this photo from the Coor’s Race. It’s from BikeMonkey.net. The riders left to right are Davis Phinney, Thomas Prehn, Bernard Hinault, Jacques Boyer, Greg LeMond, and then obscured me.
And, Road Bike Action in January had an article on ads from the 1980’s. Below is a Raleigh ad of a race I won in Walnut Creek California, The Coor’s Devil Cup. Teammate Hugh Walton was 2nd. A good payday for sure.
It’s been awhile since I posted. Sorry. I haven’t raced in a couple weeks. There was a stage race going on over by St. Louis that most of my guys were going to race, but Bill Stolte and myself decided to go down to a one day race North of Oklahoma City, The Fire Hill Criterium. Sometimes it is better to separate and spread the wealth. The race was rumored to have a pretty good hill every .8 mile, so it was going to be good interval training. Plus, it had a great prize list for a regional race, which is never a bad thing.
The race course was all it was rumored to be. It was held at a Firemen’s Training Academy with super smooth pavement. A 150 meter hill with a snakey descent that involved a good amount of handling skills. I probably gained more from the descent than the climb. There were a fair amount of people watching (though you can’t see that in the photos). Both Bill and I rode the master’s event early in the morning. I kind of have a personal rule against racing master’s races. That is unless I feel under raced and/or there is a lot of money to be won. Both the before mentioned “rules” were present Saturday. There isn’t much to report here. We got away and finished 1st and 2nd. The biggest thing to report is that I flatted with 5 laps to go and had to “chase” back.
The Pro1-2 race was going to be much harder. But, I had been riding pretty good recently, so was mildly confident. I immediately got off the front with a few guys. That break got absorbed after a few laps and right when we were caught, they announced a $100 prime. I went down the hill pretty quickly and only had an ex-teammate, Adam Mills, with me for the “sprint”. We were pretty separated from the rest of the field so decided to just keep going. Both of us had a teammate left in the field. We got into a pretty good tempo early on and steadily built up a good lead. Eventually, the course took its toll on the field and we took the last 1/2 lap out of them in just a few laps.
Adam and I are friends and knew the situation, so we kept working to the finish. There were a few guys dangling off the front of the field, but it was all back together with a couple laps to go. Adam went up the hill as hard as he could and I lead it out from a 1/2 lap to go for Bill. It worked nearly to perfection. Adam’s teammate, Joesph Schmalz was on Bill coming off the descent. There was a small rise and a two sweeping corners in the last 400 meters. I was in a 12 and let Bill come by the last 100 meters. He ended up 3rd, winning the field sprint, with Joesph 5th. So, Topeka and Lawrence, Kansas riders dominated the top 5. 1-2-3-5. Bill and I came home with $1500, so it wasn’t a bad day prize-wise, either.
I’ve only won two races so far this year and both have been in Oklahoma. Hope that isn’t something I post in December. Catherine Walberg, van travel companion, won the women’s race handily. She lapped virtually the whole women’s field. She also rode the master’s race earlier to get some more form and try to keep up with the guys. It was a good course for her with a good climb and technical descent. Brian Jensen, Tradewind Energy team, won the Tour of Hermann near St. Louis convincingly. Our team winning percentage is increasing dramatically.
The drive down to Oklahoma through Kansas is very picturesque. Between Topeka and Wichita there is a huge expanse of grazing land. It is called the Flint Hills because of all the rock deposits. Huge rolling hills as far as one can see. It is where they do the majority of grass burning now in the spring. I’ve heard that a cow grazing on grass that has been burned puts on something like 25 more lbs. weight than one that eats last years grass. Not sure if that is the case, but there must be a reason. Anyway, they were burning at night when we drove back and it looked surreal. I think people are natural pyromaniacs. Especially men, men farmers. I didn’t get any good photos, but it is crazy looking at night. I’ll find some to post later.
Going to Iowa to race the famous Iowa City Criterium and road race next weekend. I’ve won both the races recently and so has Brian, so it should be a good weekend.
This is going to be toned down from last year. It is Bullshit how many people burn their grass in the country. It must be nearly the only place in the civilized world that allows this. I read yesterday that the county is issuing burning permits to the end of May. That is way past the point where it is beneficial for the grass for cattle. So, it is for lazy ditch burners. Good way to get rid of the plastic pop bottle rubbish. Anyway, it has been pretty bad the last couple days. Along with all the trees, flower, and grass allergies, it is nearly impossible to breath. At least breathe properly. Some photos (via iPhone) of the evening ride tonight.
I’ve been in rain for the past two weeks. I haven’t ridden much at all. Plus, I’ve been driving across the country. I hardly ride inside at all, so I had to ride some in the rain. I don’t ride too far wet if I don’t have to. But, I don’t mind riding in the rain if it’s not too cold out. I usually only ride by myself if it’s raining. Road spray is bad enough from my own wheels, let alone someone else’s. Rain has been good for the garden. It’s doing pretty good.
Leaving to go to Arkansas for Joe Martin Stage Race NRC. I glued a tire onto a super light wheel that I’m going to use for the hill climb TT. I’m getting sort of anal about glueing tubulars onto carbon rims. It is kind of weird how many rolled tires I see. Especially in cyclocross. But, on the road too. I’ve gotten to the point that if I’m home, I’ve been using a ratcheting tie-down to strap around the tire until the glue dries. It is overkill in my estimation, but it doesn’t take much extra time and it’s better to be safe than sorry I guess.
To tie the above two subjects together, the best tires by far to race in the rain are Vittoria tubulars. I’m not so concerned about the tread pattern. The rubber is so much better than other brands that the tread pattern is nearly irrelevant. If you are looking for a specific tread, then the KX or CG pattern would probably be the best for a wet criterium. The new CX , 320 thread count, would work great too. In a 23mm size would be best. But, any Vittoria is better than any other tubular tire. And any tubular tire is usually better than most clinchers. If you’re riding clinchers, I’d use Michelin PRO Grip in the rain. I’ve ridden one wet criterium with these tires and they worked 90% as good as Vittoria sewups. I wasn’t big on riding carbon rims that day, but I’ve gotten past that with SwissStop yellow pads. And, don’t ride high pressure. 90 psi or less.
Update from Joe Martin later this week.
Joe Martin NRC started this afternoon. We chose to drive the 300 miles this morning. Not exactly sure why. My reason was that I’ve been on the road for the last couple weeks and wanted to sleep at home. It probably wasn’t the best idea for a 8-10 minute effort.
I have been coming to Joe Martin since I was a junior. I used to race with Joe Martin. His wife, Nancy, is a friend. The race is over 4 days now. This year the hill climb time trial was not after the 2nd road race. I always ride better time trials the 2nd stage of a day. I must not warm up properly or something.
Enough of that. It was hot, mid 80’s and muggy. Super sweaty type weather. And the pollen is everywhere. When we were warming up, our eyes were watering. I haven’t been to a NRC this year, so it was pretty nice catching up with all the guys I haven’t seen for a while. Floyd started a few guys ahead of me. I haven’t seen him since……for a long while. He’s as friendly and goofy as ever. (Number folding photo below.)
Anyway, I rode up the climb a couple times and knew that I had to ride negative splits-Easy at the start and hard at the finish. I thought I was doing that until the last kilometer. That’s when I was going to punch i. And there wasn’t there to punch. I had to talk myself into standing the last 500 meters. I actually got on top of a gear, but that is the only high spot of the day. My arms were as wasted as my legs. Guess I was just out of oxygen. I think that is usually the cause of that feeling. I’m not sure of my exact time, but I think it is the slowest I’ve ridden here. The mid 9’s. Rory Sutherland won last year in 8:11 and it looked like he was catching Tom Zirbel half way up this year, so I’d assume his time is going to be + or – 10 seconds of last years time.
Brian Jensen rode under 9 minutes, which will be a good result. Not great, but OK. Tommorrow is a 110 mile or so road race. It’s supposed to be down pouring rain all day. And loose 15 degrees in temperature. I’ll actually look forward to that.
Thanks to Stefan Roth for forwarding the results.