Saturday, December 22, 2007
It only took Champion System two days to produce the art for our uniforms after I sent them our design - thanks, no doubt, to Liam's professional work. I had to make a few (small) changes and then approve them, but now the final art is here! Click on the links to see the designs (huge pdf's!!!). This is exactly what you will see on your uniforms.
Tuesday, December 18, 2007
Friday, December 14, 2007
Devon and I braved the ice storm on Wednesday to make the long drive to Kansas City. Though the roads were in good condition, we drove through the remnants of the storms destruction including over 50 cars off of the sides of the roads. However, when the sun came out the conditions were truly beautiful. The inch of ice covering all of the trees made it look like they had been all dipped in silver while they sparkled in the sun.
Getting up early to pre-ride the course on Thursday, it was in decent condition. They had driven a 4-wheeler over the course to break up the crust of ice so it was mostly riding through ice-cubes. The conditions were quite varied with some mud, a few sheets of ice remaining, bits of snow, and a lot of the cubed icy mix. The course was well designed with a long open paved hill to start then entering the dirt with lots of turns and many challenging off-camber sections that became very slippery as it warmed up and the conditions turned to mud. Just before the finish there were two sets of stair run-ups and a few more tight hairpins before the big open finishing stretch.
Unfortunately, I had a starting position on the last row of about 50 riders as I just registered in the last week that it was available. I thought that the open climb would enable me to gain a lot of ground, but when the whistle blew everyone was going all out to get to the ice in the best possible position. I moved past 10 or 15 riders but my position was still not very good. No matter, I decided that I had to keep making ground early, so I ignored the grooved in line that had been created with the race before and just rode through ice chunks for the first half lap, passing many groups of people. When I passed by Devon and my Dad spectating they yelled that I had moved into the top 20 and I was behind a group of 4 or so more riders. Ahead of that the field was well strung out with the leaders far ahead. Starting strong and in good position makes a huge difference.
After the first half lap I was able to settle into my own pace, pushing hard in the straights and trying to not make mistakes in the corners where the course was either icy or turning to slippery mud. I ended up picking off the riders in the group ahead of me and was passed by one rider late in the race who was a bit faster than me around the corners but slower when we could power. We went back and forth for the last few laps, but in the last lap he was able to open up enough of a gap before the finish stretch so that I couldn't close the gap and come around (though I still gave it all I had to make him work a bit for it at the end). Overall the conditions made the course very challenging, but it was a fun race to try push myself and learn to handle my bike on new surfaces. Pushing through mud for 45+ minutes is always a challenge.
The temperatures rose later in the day turning the course into a mix of soupy mud and grass and causing ice to rain down from the trees that it had been covering. It will be interesting to see how the course holds up to 2000 racers over 4 days. The weather is now calling for 4-6 inches of snow tomorrow before we race again on Sunday. Up next for us is watching my brother compete in the 13-14 race today and my dad compete in the 50-55 race on Saturday. Sunday Devon races first in the Collegiate Women's race followed by me in the Collegiate Men and Devon finishing off the day in the Elite Women.
Thursday, December 13, 2007
Next up, collegiate races for Devon (racing for Team Get A Grip Cycles) and Aspen on Sunday, and the elite race for Devon on the same day.
Tuesday, December 11, 2007
Devon and Aspen both won their Cx races this Sunday. Congratulations, great job. And Liam and Tim also did a fabulous job, as far as I could tell when I was cheering them up.
I also did mt first ever Cx race and I can only recommend it - it was a lot of fun, if only they would not always force me to get off the bike and back on again (read: I almost crashed into the hurdles several times)
Rumors also are that Aspen almost got into a fight with the guy who finished second, I am trying to figure out where he lives and what car he drives so this won't happen again. just kidding of course
And then I did the HP Time Trial all by myself yesterday Monday evening at 7 pm. My finishing time was 14:48 which is of course unofficial and can only be confirmed by a bunch of squirrels and two runners - noone else dared to be out there last night ... But surprisingly the path condition was pretty good, I was more scared to slip on large grains of salt than on ice, but then maybe I was just lucky. But it was much much better than in the morning where I tried to go on a ride with Liam but we both crashed about 3-4 times, it took us about 30 min to go from Istria to the hill at 47th, and it was safer to ride in the snow next to the path than on the path itself.
end of the story, more to come and whoever shows up to the next timetrial (and finishes it, in whatever time or condition) will be awarded a special homemade Austrian reward ...
Climb on ah sorry ride on (or whatever bikers say)
They say that if you ride bicycles long enough you'll break your collar bone. And I did break my collar bone. I just wasn't riding a bike.
Last Sunday I was walking out the front door. My girlfriend was ahead of me. She stepped on the concrete walk on my front yard, which appeared to be wet from melting snow. It turns out it was covered with a sheet of black ice. She slipped and fell, landing on her butt, back and hitting the back of her head. I went to her rescue and slipped too, landing hard on my left shoulder.
The doc said it'll hurt for two weeks, till it heals substantially. In the meantime, I'm taking happy pills. My girlfriend was tested for brain injuries - the CT was clean.
So, as much as I'd like to brag about breaking my collar bone while, defying the elements and common sense, I was riding my bike on ice, that's not how it happened. So, please, by all means, ride your bikes on the icy path, you're just as likely to break a bone as you are walking to the grocery store.
PS: A few years ago Charlie chipped his hip bone when he fell on black ice, on the infamous icy bend of the path near Ohio beach. He was in pain and unable to bike for months. He's been terrified about riding over that ice ever since, just like I'll be terrified about leaving my house from now on. Any "funny" stories about biking on ice? Please share them. Happy riding!
PS2: The guy in the picture is not me: it's an artist's conception of who I would like to be as a cyclist and how I would have liked to break my collar bone instead of stupidly slipping on my front yard.
Tuesday, November 20, 2007
it clacks its fierce metallic teeth and charges at students, clicking its gears menacingly
The University would be wise to [...] impose regulations upon the well-armed hooligans who circle our campus astride their potent death machines, forever in search of speed and the blood of innocents.
The article is a fine example of hysterical alarmism; it is hardly possible to take this overblown caricature seriously, let alone relate to it. A balanced presentation would have served Ms McNear's cause better.
Style considerations aside, the Maroon is right in pointing out the rude behavior of cyclists. (I am the first one to admit not respecting all traffic rules, although I don't ride on campus.) The problem lies in the "special" status of bikers: they're not pedestrians, but they're not accountable for respecting traffic laws either (or at least not forced to).
The solution is not "requiring cyclists to obtain licenses," as Ms McNear says. Who are we kidding? What difference is it gonna make to pass a test? And how much money would it cost the University to "train" the hundreds of bike users that join the neighborhood every year, as well as to administer the system?
The only things that would change the behavior of cyclists would be:
(a) Setting clear rules of where and how cyclists and pedestrians can share the campus roads and sideways. For example, are bikes supposed to use pedestrian crossings? Are they supposed to ride on the quads? Which areas are off limits for bikes? And so on.
(b) Enforcing those rules, as well as the regular traffic rules (does any day pass without seeing a biker going the wrong way in the street?)
Enforcement is probably the hardest and the most important part. But the UCPD is overburdened as it is. And lately they have to worry about people's getting shot, which seems more important than regulating bike traffic. I don't know how many cops you'd have to use to make a significant difference. Maybe you'd only need a few, especially if the penalties for careless or unlawful riding were steep.
But, again, in order to implement any enforcement system you first need to set clear rules about what you're not supposed to do while riding your bike on campus.
Also, when I get a little time, I will post about a continuing legal education program I attended a few weeks ago that was on the topic of performance enhancing drugs. It featured the General Counsel of the US ADA, an attorney who defends accused atheletes, and Greg Lemond. I thought Greg's perspective was pretty interesting -- a bit unfortunate and not one I agree with, but understandable hearing how his career ended.
Monday, November 19, 2007
Jesse was the hands-down winner for style points--+25 for the old raleigh (and bonus points for platform petals coupled with pumas...no toe covers in sight!) and an additional +25 for the amazing vintage Depauw cheerleader sweater worn over a backpack.
J and Yoko get +20 for matching argyle knee socks and very stylish flannel, and another +10 to J for actually wearing those goggles all the way up to Metropolis and back.
Taylor gets +20 for the gorgeous old campy on the blue raleigh and an additional +5 for braving the questionable standover height and riding the bike despite the perils presented by the top-tube.
Ben's rig was by far the classiest of the bunch, which earns him at least +10 patience points for putting up with our unusual peleton.
And I award myself +10 for the battle cry of the Zeus (i.e. copious shrieking that accompanies any attempt to break) but -5 for covering the wool jersey with a wind-blocking soft-shell (I'm a wimp!).
Yay for base miles on the winter bikes!
For newbies, I've posted the route info and rules at the bottom of this page:
|Jesse Y. ||16:39|
|Tony C. ||13:37|
|Rob F. ||13:37|
|John R. ||14:32|
Sunday, November 11, 2007
Non-Doping Cyclists Finish Tour De France (The Onion, August 30, 2007)
PARIS—A small but enthusiastic crowd of several dozen was on hand at the Tour de France's finish line on the Avenue des Champs-Élysées Tuesday to applaud the efforts of the 28 cyclists who completed the grueling 20-stage, 2,208.3-mile race without the aid of performance-enhancing drugs.
Great Britain's Bradley Wiggins finished the final 56km time trial in a respectable and drug-free 4 hours and 38 minutes.
Finland's Piet Kvistik, a domestique with the Crédit Mondial team, was this year's highest-finishing non-doping rider (142nd overall). Kvistik claimed the maillot propre, the blue jersey worn by the highest-placed "clean" rider, on the ninth stage of the race when the six riders who had previously worn it tested positive for EPO, elevated levels of testosterone, and blood-packing.
"This is a very, very proud day for me," said the 115-pound Kvistik, who lost 45% of his body mass during the event, toppled from his saddle moments after finishing, and had to be administered oxygen, fed intravenously, and injected with adrenaline by attending medical personnel. "They say it is...
Continue reading it here.
Monday, November 5, 2007
- Liam wins tonight's form award. It was actually too dark to really see it, but I trust his spin continues to smooth out and his torso was very quiet for the entire ride. Liam's prize is a pair of super skinny 559 tubes for his new 26" Schwalbe cyclocross tires.
- Maris wins tonight's pity award. He got a flat mid-course and had to borrow a wheel in order to ride back home. Maris wins a tube and flat repair and careful examination of his crazy malformed Shimano wheels.
- Katherine wins tonight's best bike award. I suppose she could also win the heaviest bike award, but I'm just glad to see her out with the crew! Her prize is a package of Cola flavored Clif Shot Blocks.
Saturday, November 3, 2007
Serious Riders, Your Bicycle Seat May Affect Your Love Life
By SANDRA BLAKESLEE
Published: October 4, 2005
A raft of new studies suggest that cyclists, particularly men, should be careful which bicycle seats they choose.
The studies add to earlier evidence that traditional bicycle saddles, the kind with a narrow rear and pointy nose, play a role in sexual impotence.
Read the whole thing here.
How to cheat without cheating
Nov 1st 2007
Athletes and the placebo effect
THE murky world of doping in sport may be about to get murkier still. Having spent decades trying to detect the use of performance-enhancing drugs, officials may soon be confronted with the paradoxical problem of detecting their non-use.
The reason for this paradox is the placebo effect: believing a treatment to be effective is sometimes enough to make it so. It is what lies at the heart of otherwise scientifically unproven fields such as homeopathy—and also, it must be said, at the heart of a lot of mainstream medicine. An analysis published a few years ago suggested that perhaps a third of medically approved drugs might be acting as placebos. And that thought led Fabrizio Benedetti and his colleagues at the University of Turin to wonder if the placebo effect might be important in sport, too. The answer is that it might.
Every year the World Anti-Doping Agency publishes a list of prohibited substances and methods, divided into those prohibited at all times and those outlawed only during competitions. Dr Benedetti observed that morphine falls into the second category. Since it is a painkiller, denying it to athletes in training would be unethical. It is forbidden during competitions because its painkilling properties would give users an unfair advantage, but the effect is short-lived—unlike, say, that of anabolic steroids that build up muscles.
Killing pain, however, is one of the things that the placebo effect is best at. In 1999 Dr Benedetti himself showed that someone who is injected with morphine for two days in a row experiences a powerful analgesic response not only on those days but also on the next, if the morphine is replaced by a placebo without his knowledge. That led Dr Benedetti to wonder if the effect of legally administered pre-competition morphine might, perfectly legally, be carried over into a competition by giving a placebo.
In their new experiment, published this week in the Journal of Neuroscience, he and his colleagues simulated a sporting competition by pitting four teams of ten athletic young men against each other in a pain-endurance test. With a tourniquet strapped around one forearm, these men had to squeeze a hand-spring exerciser repeatedly until pain forced them to stop. Their scores, measured by the time they managed to keep going, were averaged over the whole team.
One of the teams received a morphine injection just before training sessions held two weeks and one week before the contest, and an injection of saline solution on the big day, along with the suggestion that it was morphine. Another received the same regime, but the saline was combined with naloxone, an opiate-blocking drug. The remaining teams received either no treatment at all, or the placebo on competition day alone.
Members of the team that received morphine followed by a placebo were able to endure significantly more pain during the competition than any of their rivals. In particular, those injected with naloxone did no better than the other two control groups. This finding supports the theory that placebos reduce pain by encouraging the brain to produce more natural opiates than usual.
Although hand-spring squeezing is not yet an Olympic sport, it is a good enough surrogate to suggest that these effects might be shown in real competitions, too. So the question is, how useful would Dr Benedetti's observations be, should they be taken up by an unscrupulous but legalistic coach?
That depends how cynical athletes really are. The placebo effect depends on what the recipient believes is happening, so he would have to think he was cheating, even though, strictly, he wasn't. Also, if the practice became widespread, it would be hard to maintain the fiction that the injection on competition day contained the drug. On the other hand, as Dr Benedetti observes, doctors have been getting away with giving placebos for millennia, and their patients still fall for it. Perhaps if it were sold to athletes as a form of homeopathy, they would not ask too many awkward questions.
Many of those little frame pumps that people use are very cute and light, but completely ineffective at actually pumping air into your tires. I'd recommend that you buy a pump from the Topeak Morph series. This one for example. A feature I always look for in a frame pump is a hose, so that you won't bend the valve stem when you're pumping hard. (To minimize that risk, you should also use tubes with threaded valve stems.) Another handy feature is a fold-out foot pad that you can step on, so that you can use your frame pump exactly as if it was a floor pump. Some of these Topeak Morph come with a gauge. The model I link to in this post, and which I own, can inflate your tires up to 140+ psi (it takes me time and patience, but I can get there).
I don't know where you can find these pumps for the lowest price, but even if you spend 30 bucks on one, it's money well spent.
Does anyone know where I can buy a sleeve for my frame pump? I want to protect it from water and dirt, so I'm using an umbrella sleeve. But my cranks rub on it and already made some holes, so I need to find something better. (Plus, it looks awful.)
Tuesday, October 30, 2007
Monday, October 29, 2007
-Race clothes, including shorts, jersey, skin suit, arm and leg warmers, socks, gloves, rain jacket
-warm up and cool down clothes - jacket / tights
-bottles for warm up / race / post race
-food pre-race / race / post race (I always pack food because I don't want to be scrambling to find some place open when I should be warming up -- I've learned that lesson too many times.)
-HR monitor / strap / computer
-trainer (plus front wheel prop and iPod)
-cash / checkbook / phone / wallet / keys
-race flier / map / directions
- Tim Z. wins the most improved award. Not only did he drop 100 seconds in one week, but he rode one spoke down after breaking his rear Rolf last time. Tim's wins a packet of Jelly Belly Energy beans.
- Brian H. came out for the first time and posted an absolutely ridiculous time of 12:16. He wins the Course Record award, one packet of chocolate Clif Shot.
- Paige C. set the women's Course Record this evening! She wins this week's Grand Prize, a pair of super comfy Woolie Boolie cycling socks: just in time for winter.
- Claus L. tore up the course on underinflated 32c cyclocross tires, resulting in a pinch flat towards the end of the course. Claus wins the Pity Award, and his prize is a free Kenda tube and flat repair courtesy of TATI.
|Name or Alias||M||F||Total|
I guess the question rotates around set-up: do you use a short-sleeved base-layer with arm & leg warmers, or are you decked out in a full body fleece suit wrapped in a neon yellow windbreaker? Describe what you would wear given a couple of weather scenarios and riding situations.
Any other advice would also be greatly appreciated.
Sunday, October 28, 2007
They're not light tires (300+ g), and they look like 25c, rather than the 23c they are. And they're a bit pricey, for a training tire, but worth every penny. And you might be able to get them for a reasonable price at Tati (I think he's carrying the full Schwalbe line).
You can buy a "glamorous" version, the Schwalbe Ultremos, as durable and puncture-resistant as the Stelvio Plus, but much lighter and faster. Some people claim it's the best clincher out there right now. But those sell at a "glamorous" price.
I don't think I'll ever get tired of my Stelvio Plus (no pun intended).
If you wanna keep using the e-mail list for one of those things, or to announce a sale or product giveaway, or to make time-sensitive announcements, by all means, do so. Just remember that some messages could be posted on UC Vélo Café instead. Apart from not annoying people with your e-mail conversations, the blog is useful because all the postings are stored, so in the future you'll be able to retrieve that recommendation you read months ago about an indestructible pair of tires.
Those who join can post to the blog. The rest of the world can post comments and read the blog, but not post new entries. All UCVC members are welcome and encouraged to join the blog. All you need is a Google account (sorry, Google's "Blogger" is hosting the blog, and they have their conditions...). People can join UC Vélo Café only after receiving an invitation from the administrator. UCVC members will receive one in short.
For former members of the club (the Megans, Todds, David Morrisseys, Kents, Craigs,...): I know you keep "watching" us through the e-mail list. You're living legends around here and we'd love to have you visiting and contributing to UC Vélo Café. If you wanna join, send me an e-mail and I'll have Blogger send you an invitation.
Just a couple of words of caution. First, beware that the entire world can read what you write. So please be civilized: criticizing is fine, but please no insults, back-stabbing, gross stuff, etc. As a rule of thumb: don't post anything that you wouldn't dare saying in person or showing in public (please no pictures of saddle sores, especially yours). Second, write about cycling, bicycles, riding, bike racing, bike commuting, your last triathlon, etc. In short: cycling-related stuff. We don't wanna hear about your evil thesis adviser, or your claim that American beer is better than the Belgian stuff --we all have problems. The administrator won't watch the blog closely. It might decide to edit or delete posts or comments if things get out of hand, but only after careful consideration.
May UC Vélo Café never see the finish line.