John Howard Knees

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Sorry about not posting yesterday.  I hardly ever miss a day.  I woke up early morning feeling pretty crummy.   And it only got worse.  I think I have food poisonings or something since it came on so quickly and intense.  Not to get too specific, but I am nearly 10 pounds lighter today than I was yesterday.  My stomach has been okay for the last few hours, so I’m hoping it is passing.  Man, if I had a handgun available yesterday, I would have considered just putting myself out of misery.

I was hoping to be up in Minneapolis yesterday, but that didn’t happen.  Trudi is flying into MSP from the World Tour race in Montreal today.  Dennis, Mick and Beth are going to pick her up, which is a super favor.  I’m hoping to feel a little better and try to pack up in a bit.  I have to bring a ton of stuff since we’re staying on the road through Jinglecross next weekend, so I have ton of bikes to bring.  Man, am I weak.

Anyway, I took a bunch of baths yesterday.  I was having a real problem controlling  body temperature, freezing one minute, then roasting the next.  I looked down at my legs and realized that my knees looked like John Howard’s when I was a kid.

I was lucky and had a bunch of great riders local. Not necessarily that local, but Midwest local. Marc Thompson was from Kansas City.  He was on the Olympic Team.  He along with John Howard, who was from Springfield Missouri, then Wayne Stetina, from Indianapolis.  When I first started racing, we had great races close.  The Tour of Kansas City was an Olympic Development Race, along with KU Criterium.  These guys all came and raced.

I can’t remember exactly where I first saw John.  It might have been National Championships in Milwaukee the first year I raced as an intermediate.  I don’t think he raced in KC or Lawrence that year.  Anyway, I looked at him and what caught my attention was his knees.  They were gnarly. All scarred up, cycling worn.  It totally freaked me out.

Then I was standing in my bathroom yesterday, all feverish and all I can think of is how my knees now look like John Howard’s.  My knees probably look worse now.

My right knee is healing slowly from crashing in Colorado a few weeks ago.  It was pretty much ground down to the knee cap, with a few stitches, so it is healing from the inside out.  It is going to be a few more weeks.

But even without that, my knees look bad.  I couldn’t tell you how many times I’ve taken all the skin off of each knee.  You can always tell how long a someone has ridden by their scars.  It you don’t have a pink patch on each hip, you don’t really race bicycles.  That and your shoulders.  And lots of other places.

John is out in California, riding, coaching and just doing his thing.  He just coached a women to the World Land Speed Record on a bike last week.  John did that himself a while ago.  I talked to him last time I was out there and need to go by and see his collection of bicycles.When I think about it, it is not a bad thing having knees that look like John’s.fullsizerender

Tucker was super sensitive yesterday and stayed by my side all day and night.

Tucker was super sensitive yesterday and stayed by my side all day and night.


30 thoughts on “John Howard Knees

  1. numbnuts

    and, scars on the elbows… esp mtbing.

    plenty of scars and layers of them on my right knee as my body seems to favor my right side when falling. My left knee not so much.

    funny thing though, both my elbows and surrounding forearms on both sides are scared. Most recently by road rash some weeks back. Going down hill then making a sharp turn on wet pavement while it was raining hard. Nearly hit a pack of cars waiting at the stop sign. Hit pretty hard, but survived. Scars to prove it…
    My knee is still healing because I keep hitting it mtbing and xc hiking. Mostly from climbing over logs and such.

  2. DJ

    I’ll never forget one occasion I saw John Howard at the state championships in 1979. Soon after the start line there was a close call and John was going down in a crash. It was only a close call since his arm was like a coiled spring when he bounced back up to an upright position.

  3. Bruce Gilbert

    John is working with us on a corporate coaching business. Denise just did 148mph at Bonneville. Set the women’s speed record. After this attempt, I will be helping them acquire national level sponsors, outside of the bike industry. There is a great female achievement story here that needs to be directed to the right companies.

  4. Ron Harper

    Didnt John deck it on one of those 150mph attempts back in The Day?! Get yerself a bottle of Sky Juice n you be feelin like a Spring Chicken Steve!

  5. Bolas Azules

    For a guy who is suppose to take care of himself, eat right, exercise, take naps and basically live without employment for the last 40+ years you sure feel ‘crummy’ a lot. Maybe you need a regular cubicle 9:00-to-5:00???

  6. Touriste-Routier

    Which is why I switched to the Velox rubber plugs. Sprinting and climbing with Benotto plugs potentially added extra pain to the efforts. Unfortunately while the Velox plugs saved your knees from the impact wounds, they screwed in place, enabling team mates to mess with you by putting ball bearings in your handlebars to drive you crazy…

  7. Pete A.

    I met and rode a tiny bit with John here in Houston in 73/74. I was a skinny kid hanging out at the westside bike shop he worked/rode out of. His words of advice still live me. Saw him get one of those knee scars at a Crit in fall of ’74, he was hammering in his stars n stripes nat’l champ jersey riding that shiny SS Crescent, still hammered the field for 1st.

    He was and is still one of best I’ve had the pleasure of meeting in cycling.

  8. Mike Rodose

    I’d forgotten about those sharp edge caps! They cut sharp and a little deeper than necessary! They were fitted over the benotto tape at bar-end. Not into the handlebar.

  9. Mike Rodose

    I hope you feel better Steve. I know you’re just using the “if I had a gun” thing as an extreme example or how miserable you felt. But don’t make us worry, OK?! Food poisoning is gut-wrenching, feverish stuff.

  10. sillypuddy

    Here we go again. “Not feelin up to it….kinda tired,….might b getting sick”. Don’t ride or race. If your seriously feeling run down. Take some serious time off. I don’t understand the point of being in superman condition year round. Treat yourself to some time away from the bike. U neef some buddies who have nothing to do with bikes. Besides it’s starting 2 sound like pre-mediated excuse for not doing well. Your not supposed to win EVERYTHING.

  11. mike crum

    the above post….lol lol lol.. steve, I was just gonna post and ask you this question… do you ever get blood work done? you are sick A LOT! and a few months ago, you were in a funk, like you seem to be in A LOT, and you asked what you should do.. EVERYONE said rest. you didn’t.. lol.. so why would you travel to a race not feeling good at all? freezing then hot, loosing 10 pounds.. your knees still hurting .do what you want, but if I were you, I would go get blood work done.. could be something major….. cause if you are always sick, and don’t even have the everyday stress of driving to and from work, kids, $$$$$, you really shouldn’t be as sick as often as you are WITHOUT the worries most of us have.. get to te dr!!!!!!

  12. mike crum

    I agree sillystring… steve needs to get out on the town, do some serious drinking and dancing and carousing the loop of bars in his local town.. live life AWAY from the bike.. THEN GET TO A DR.!!

  13. mike crum

    hahahahahahaha……..sillystring.. that was good.. gotta feel sorry for steves dog… another race another tree I’m tied to for half the day….

  14. James

    Oh the stress of your kids. Who the hell impregnated your wife? Oh my god, you drive to work. How much shit do you have you don’t need? There’s your cash flow problem?

    So your life is a miserable hell, according to who? You!

    And all you can do is rant on someone who charted his own course.

    Go see your trucker pals, you’ll feel good again.

  15. congrats

    9-5 sucks.. go ride!!! we are merely monkeys following sheep in life…

    others challenge life and choose alternative ways to live life to the fullest.

    9-5 jobs equal borinnnng…

  16. congrats

    real cyclist (like steve) will bike no matter what… rain, pain, shame with no blame… just ride! riding takes the blues away and illness… when I feel sick, I ride… gets the body pumping again. Adrenalin, endorphines, dopamine… all is well after a ride, no matter how hard or how small, just ride.

    winning isn’t everything, riding is though… freedom and health.

  17. Mike crum

    Congrats…. Super duper dumb post. If ur sick ride huh!?!?!? I can see training in the rain or cold, riding in the heat, but being macho and riding when ur sick is dumb. Prolongs ur sickness . Hope You don’t have any kids.. Go out and ride little billy, mom said it’s only a 103 fever.. Lol. Smart is very different than macho

  18. als

    The nomadic lifestyle of Scrum’s trucker pals is the primary cause of his severe and deep despondency. Scrum wakes up everyday knowing that there will be 2 times in each and every day that he will feel what he thinks is true happiness.

    You don’t get to choose the TRUCKIN’ LIFE. The TRUCKIN’ LIFE choses you.
    Scrum, You need to remember this Alright? It is VERY IMPORTANT that you remember to recite it daily! Here it is again, because it is VERY IMPORTANT that you remember!
    You don’t get to choose the TRUCKIN’ LIFE. The TRUCKIN’ LIFE choses you.

    The following is a detailed account of Scrum’s activities,yesterday, September 13th…

    The first daily occurrence of ‘life’s unrelenting and unbearable pressure’ being mysteriously lifted away from Scrum, is also the shortest, unfortunately, of his 2 daily respites from life. The length of time of his first respite can be measured by walking 15 paces; the exact amount of paces he walks from the door of his house to the door of his car. The moment Scrum closes the door of house and walks towards his car, to drive to work, he knows for the next 8 hours he will not have to listen to his pregnant wife “nag nag and nag” about how HE NEEDS to mow the lawn, how HE NEEDS to get the gutters cleaned out, how HE NEEDS to hurry home so HE CAN DRIVE the kids to soccer practice. Which OF COURSE reminded her to “nag, nag, nag” somemore about how HE NEEDS to make more MONEY because HIS KIDS NEED new soccer shoes AND new school shoes which she OF COURSE DOESN’T HESITATE IN REMINDING HIM that she could’ve “MAGICALLY PAID FOR” only if HE HADN’T JUST unexpectedly go out and get new tires for “HIS PRECIOUS” little red Chrysler Lebaron Convertabile without ASKING HER or TELLING HER FIRST! Well as Scrum opens the door of his pride and joy, he gives a bit of a smirk as he knows the joke is on her, cause she still doesn’t know that after he got those new tires for his sweet ride, he went and had his sweet baby professionally detailed inside and out! And SHIT! It still looks damn good!

    Well, that joyous moment comes to screeching halt for Scrum the moment he backs out of his driveway. Some asshole jerk-off didn’t stop to let him back-out of his driveway! And that VERY same prick is NOW ONLY going 30mph in a GODDAMN 35mph ZONE! This asshole is going to cause Scrum to be late for work! If this DICK would’ve just speeded up 3mph Scrum wouldn’t have hit those 3 red lights! FUCK!!! It’s UNFUCKINGUNBELIEVABLE that Scrum HAD to follow THAT-EXACT-SAME-SON-OF-A-BITCH for his WHOLE ENTIRE 1.5 mile/10 minute commute to work! — UNFUCKINGUNBELIEVABLE!!!

    As if Scrum’s day and LIFE couldn’t get any worse, 1.5 hours into his his shift, his wife calls to tell him that she and the kids are at the hospital because Tommy and Timmy were playing soccer in the backyard, well Tommy slipped and fell as he was running and broke his arm. Instantly Scrum goes into blame-defense mode, and screams into the phone “ITS NOT MY FAULT!!! HOW WAS I TO KNOW THE KIDS WOULD BREAK THEIR GOD DAMN ARMS!!!” He then turns around and slams bar’s black bakelite corded receiver onto its rotary dial base. Which then the phones mechanical, analog bells let out a deafing ring. Scrum then looks up as he displays a grand smile to the patron who is just walking into the bar – “Well, Well, Well, if it ain’t none other than ol’ Rubber Duck!!!” Scrum says to the trucker, “I thought I heard your Kenworth pulling logs a few seconds ago!” as they shake hands.

    –So begins Scrums 2nd, and fortunately, longest ‘respite of life’ of the day!!! —

    Rubber Duck tells Scrum “Ive been truckin’ for the past 12 days straight and I still has 3 more long days of truckin’ to go and a short time to truck to where I needs to get to so I can drop that load of lincoln logs”.

    Not wanting to miss a word of what Rubber Duck has to say, Scrum pulls a bar stool behind the bar and sits down as he clinches a fist with his right hand and places it firmly on his right hip, and then slowly slides his left forearm along the bar to lean in and listen intently as Rubber Duck regales him of the Big-Rig-Livin’-On-Da-Road-Life. Coincidently (and ironically) Harry Chapin’s “Cats in the Cradle” song begins to play softly over the jukebox.

    I mean, I tell you whut! I gots me a longs way to go and I gots me a even shorter time to get my ass der! But those damn sons-a-bitchin’ Smokeys, man, they dun got me sittin’ on dem damn scales til 5 rooster crows! Naw whut I sayin’?

    Scrum is enthralled, it appears as if he’s in a trance. Rubber Duck then asks, “Well how’s dem boys of yours gettin’ along? And dat sweet gal of yours?”

    “Well the old lady, she’s bout ready to pop any day now. So I’ve been busy cleaning the house and cooking food and babysitting the boys and stuff and hell not knowing when she’s gunna pop, I went ahead and mowed the yard dis morning, and I decided to clean out da gutters too. Ya know it’s just a couple less things I’ll have to worry bout when she does finally pop. I still don’t know who knocked her up. Im purdy sure as hell I didn’t. It’s either the mailman or da UPS man. She’s been buying the dumbest pointless shit left and right off da internets. I tell her ALL THE DAMN TIME that I ain’t got one of those money trees! Well anyway I got the boys playing in soccer and they been loving it! But hell little Timmy broke his arm yesterday! I’ve been so busy with her bout ready to pop and everything that I completely spaced off that they been needing soccer cleats. Well Timmy slipped and busted his arm, I felt a bit bad for him but hey, it’ll toughen his lil ass up a bit.”

    Rubber Duck was listening while also counting using his fingers as he recited names of the months, in descending order, beginning with September. When his count reached 9, he grinned a bit a said, “Hmmm… Naw…. It can’t be… Well, maybe… See bout der bout 9 months past ago, I was truckin’ down thru here, out der on Eye-One Oh. It was bout mid-afternoon and boy Id been needing to drop a nasty deuce for the past 50. Yep I done remembered that deuce too boy! It was my first of the day, I mean I always drop 2-3 by that time time of day. Well I’d done filled and launched 3 bombers that day. Nauwtoboy, I had me 2 direct hits. Yup, Dat day I was doin’ wut dey said cant be done! Yeah buddy! I wus out there T-R-U-C-K-I-N’ !!! Let me tell ya naw! Bout der bout 40 miles back der dis blue or red convertible lookn’ like sumthin’ my Granny would drive ya know, but it was a Chrysler, my granny DONT drive no Chrysler. Yeah naw it wus a red Chrysler. Well anyway day come up on me real fast like on me right and dis chimpanzee look-a-like fella had him a fed-ex or UPS costume on well dat dumb sum-bitch cut me off as he shot back in me lane, well I light his ass up with me airhorn, right. Well, that woke up dis tasty lookin’ blonde up der in da front, wit him. shes all pointing and yelling at dat chimpanzee driving der, and I’m all hmmm… She would be fun to have around. Well numb-nuts der he decides he gunna try ta pinch me off da road. So hes right up next to me looking up at me showing me his finger he must be real proud of as I’m all looking down checkin on dat tasty blond. Well I’m cumin up on some traffic der and numb nuts ain’t budging. So alls I do is drop down me window der, and just wit a flick of me wrist I send them down a 64oz bomber, made special just fur dem. It hits nuts on, dead-center of the insides of that Lebaron convertible. Dat was the last I saw of em, right. Well I TRUCK-ON bout 20 more down and that’s when’s I I knows that I gotzta to drop off a me a deuce. And if I don’t does it soon, that ole brown man gunna be pissed and blowout me back door! Naw wut I sayin’? So’s I figures I stop off and drop off out der at da EYE-One Oh Truckers Paradise-Truckin’ Oasis-Truckin’ Stop-For Truckers. Dat place is like a gold mine up der up in heaven. Der ain’t no better Truckin’ Stop for Truckers out there. Yeah so’s git dis! Ya go in der havin’ ta drop off, rite? Well day got TVs ya watch while you is in der dropping. Naw whut Im sayin’? It takes me bout 30 revs of da lil hand ta drop a deuce And Dats on a good, ya know. Yup when’s ever I is out truckin’ on EYE-ONE OH dats da place weres I gits all caught-up on me soaps like dat Ice Road Truckers show and The New Apprentice show dat Donald Trump has been workin’ on. Anyways I wus in der bout 45 circles of da lil hand, and I am all thunkin’ that I needs ta get East Bound and Down, Get Loaded Up and do sum T-R-U-C-K-I-N’! Ya know? CUZ I wus all like -I jus kaint waint ta gits back out ders on da rode agin! CUZ I was gunna go do what they says can’t be done, CUZ, I had me a long ways of truckin’ ta go but a short time ta truck there. So I walked out of the ol’ Truckers Paradise-Truckin’ Oasis-Truckin’ Stop-For Truckers so I could get back out there and do some TRUCKIN’! Out there I can do what it is that I do, which is TRUCKIN! Which I do when I’m out there TRUCKIN’! Well as I was walking back to my Peterbuilt sleeper-cab I saw what I thought was the red Lebaron convertible I had trucker bombed early that day. As I was spying on the Chrysler I noticed a sweet lil gal bent over airing up her tires, so I walked on over there to inspect that. After she got done airing up all 4 of her tires, I told her it was bout time she get some new tires on that ol’ red convertible. She said something about having to buy school shoes and buying somebody a time trial bike cause all they wanted to do is race time trails or somethin’ and she said there’s no time left over for her wants and desires. So I told her all I do and all I want to do is TRUCKIN’! But if I knew of somebody like her who wasn’t getting her wants and desires fulfilled, Id stop TRUCKIN’ for a little bit to fulfill her wants and desires for her. So Well to make a long story short, she thanked me for my generosity of watching her, as she was airing up her bald tires. And to return the favor, she wanted me to take her into the sleeper cab of my Peterbuilt so she could inspect how well the “sleeping” of my Peterbuilt was built. Well bout 3 hours later, she said my Peterbuilt was built purdy damn well! Like I said that was about 9 months ago. Kinda odd ain’t it? So I then got back to doing my thing, which is TRUCKIN’, which I do when I’m out there TRUCKIN’. I didn’t choose the TRUCKIN’ life. The TRUCKIN’ life chose me.”

  19. sillypuddy

    Als missed his meds 2day. Homie b trippin’ hard! That boy is ramblin fool who wasted his lunch break Now I’m gonna go get another porksteak while they’re still hot and try 2 forget the 2 sentences I read.
    Sillypuddy OUT!


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