Friday, May 21, 2010

Lance Armstrong-It's Not About the Bike-Tour of California Edition

Floyd Landis is not the first ex-teammate/ friend of Lance Armstrong to recall Lance's drug use.

And Lance's snarky replies are nothing new either.

Armstrong dismisses the Andreus' account as "100-percent" fabricated. Betsy, he claims, is motivated by "bitterness, jealousy and hatred"

"It's our word against his word," Armstrong said. "I like our word. We like our credibility. Floyd lost his credibility a long time ago."

The 37-year-old Simeoni earned the wrath of Armstrong’s anger when the Italian confessed to taking the banned blood booster EPO and human growth hormones while under treatment and direction from notorious Italian doctor Michele Ferrari during the 1990s. Simeoni’s confession put extra heat on Armstrong, who staunchly defended his own controversial relationship with Ferrari. Armstrong later called Simeoni a liar in a 2003 interview...
But in discussing LeMond's comments, Armstrong said that when he did stop racing, "I want to be the guy when I'm done I don't want to have any bitterness toward the sport, I don't want to have any bitterness toward the new generation. ... I hope I have the class to do that."
Asked if he though LeMond was bitter, Armstrong replied, "I don't know."

Saturday, May 15, 2010

Cycling Weight

I once read that the optimal climbing weight is 2 lbs per 1" of height. So with the Alta Alpina as a goal I counted calories and went down from 148 (147-151 in 2009) to 136 (135-140 in 2010). Don't know if I got any faster on climbs but climbing was certainly easier. With Alta Alpina out for this year, no more counting calories.

Of course bike weight means alot, dispite what the huckster from Rivendale says. My Lightspeed is between 17-18 lbs, my steel GT is 22-23 lbs. Once up to speed on a hill (and there are hills in every direction in California) I can climb with the GT, but it takes alot of effort to get up to speed. Alot of effort compared to the Lightspeed that weighs 5 lbs less.

Of course there are now alot of bikes that weigh 14-15 lbs, but at a certain point duribility is important. I haven't ridden a carbon frame bike yet--something to get when I'm 60.

For planning for the Alta Alpina (200 miles, 20,000' climbing) I was going to start at 4:30am, so morning cold would be a problem, and in the "California Alps" afternoon thunderstorms are a fair possibility (2x in the last 7 years.) To these ends I bought a gram scale to figure out the lightest "additional clothes" I needed to take.

First I'm amazed at the basic weight gain from bareassed scale weight when getting ready to ride on a nice sunny day. The basics:

So just having the basics unless you are going to pull a thirsty eurotrash (no helmet) Lady Girdivia increases your riding weight by 9 lbs. Now I don't pick my stuff out with being a weight weenie in mind, and I'm sure there are lighter helmets (324 g, 8% of the total) or shoes (835 g, 21% of the total) out there, and you can ride with one bottle (748g, 19% of the total), but my stuff isn't close to the heaviest, so you might shave it down to 5 lbs and hope you don't run out of liquid refreshment.

And these aren't even the basics for a ride I'd do in the Summer months. I'd need to take along a tiny bag of sun screen, tums, endurolights, some food, and a vest.
Doesn't add much but we gain another pound, so now up to 9 1/2 lbs just to go for a warm weather ride.

So how about cold weather? Forecast for Markleeville, elevation 5802' today (where Alta Alpina starts in a month from now)
Tonight: Isolated showers. Mostly cloudy, with a low around 41. South southwest wind between 5 and 10 mph. Chance of precipitation is 20%.Monday: Showers, mainly after 11am. High near 56. South southwest wind between 10 and 15 mph, with gusts as high as 20 mph. Chance of precipitation is 90%.

And Markleeville is the "low spot" in the area, a little higher, during the day!

Point Forecast: 4 Miles SE Echo Summit CA 38.8°N 119.99°W (Elev. 8476 ft)This Afternoon: Snow showers. High near 39. Breezy, with a south wind around 25 mph, with gusts as high as 50 mph. Chance of precipitation is 90%. Total daytime snow accumulation of around an inch possible.

(While the forecast for the East bay area was 8-12 warmer.

Tonight: Mostly cloudy, with a low around 53. West southwest wind between 8 and 14 mph. Monday: Rain likely, mainly after 11am. Cloudy, with a high near 64. South wind between 3 and 6 mph. Chance of precipitation is 60%.)

So, unless a heat wave hits Markleeville it will be cold at 4:30am a month from now. To this end I'd need another 1 1/2 pounds of stuff, so now we have 11 lbs of clothes and food/ drink on the bike, and this isn't even adding in lights or rain pants, rain socks or a hat.
So 154 body & bike weight, but another 7% (11 lbs) to get ready for cold weather riding that is usually overlooked--and still 6% (9 lbs) for a moderate weather day.

Monday, May 3, 2010


May 1, 2010, The Dream of Alta Alpina 8 over for this year.

(Above) Photos w/ cobblestones taken by Graham Watson, other photos by Ward-o-photo.

Ride report by head technical writer of Ward Industries--"funny" that key moment before crash remembered in great detail by us but very differently--my version in orange. Dr. Dave in purple. Christine in pink.
Summary: The Good Part:
If seeing everyone "walking" at the end could possibly be considered a good part, then that would be it. Otherwise, there was nothing good about this ride.
Attendees for 200k (slacker or regular): Christine,Dr. Dave,Jack,Jay,Jeanne,Joe (who brought his sister Adrianna (?) for her first century),Jim, Todd,WI
Photos: Maybe Later.
Starting with a bang:
We rolled at 7:10, giving those who did not believe the 7:00 a.m. start time a few extra minutes of messing around. They must not have heard that (on centurys) we try hard to leave on time; a few minutes of grace are provided when porta potty lines are long but that's as far as we usually go (well, we also suggest peeing behind a tree). We started slow to get everyone warmed up and to work our way safely through the morning crowds. About 15 minutes (and 4.76 miles) after starting we are cruising down Woolsey Road (parallel to River Road) when Christine announces that she thinks she is gettting a flat. Next thing we hear is a loud bang as her side wall explodes. It turns out that the bead has torn away from the side wall (see photo). There is no way we want to do a long ride on this tire so we install a boot (4" long piece of an old tire with the beads cut off) and a new tube and four of us decide to ride back to the ride start where WI and Jay have spare tires in their cars. We deflate C's tire so it is not bulging over the rim and Christine, Dave, Jay, and WI head back to the ride start. We send the rest of the group on, we'll try to catch by riding fast, and blasting through (or skipping) rest stops.

...after my front tire blew, I thought my day was done. Ward takes over and within a few minutes my tire was back on my bike but, unsafe for duration of ride. Ward, Dave, Jay and I set off back to the parking lot as Ward had an extra tire in his car. Go figure. We make it back and new tire installed. I wasn’t feeling good about the situation, but the guys always make me see the light side of things. (KungFuC)

Almost big accident riding back which should have been a sign to get in the cars and go home. Ward/ Christine up the road--Dave/ I riding together, against the direction of the Wine Country ride but on the opposite shoulder of 4 lane road. All of a sudden cyclist comes from other side, crosses 4 lanes, and turns right in front of Dave/ I, oblivious to us all. I yell out "what the hell are you doing" when I suddenly hear Dr. Dave., man of arts and letters, yell even louder "what the fuck are you doing asshole." I had to turn around to see who the foul mouthed cyclist behind me was. (PC)

Yes, I had a foul mouth that day, before and after the carnage. I was anxious because I thought there were a lot of people riding like jackasses, including myself once or twice when we missed turns. A lot of opportunities for unexpected stops, turns, etc. with too many riders and cars around. (DrD)

I think I saw/heard Rusty as we recrossed the Hwy 101 overpass on the way back.We decide that this extra out and back will be the bonus miles for the day, 9.52 miles @ 15.6 mph, with 170' of climbing.
If At First You Don't Succeed:
We install a new ProRace3 on Christine's front wheel and are rolling again at 8:04. On the early part of the ride there are a bunch of 90 degree corner and turns. While negotiating this section, we caught up to a group of 6 or so guys. They were traveling at a reasonable pace so, considering all the turns & corners, we decided to hang back. Most of this group missed a turn (note that this was the second missed turn, the markings seemed to be right at the corners this year, with little to no warning to get everyone alerted before turns) but we all made the corner so we were now at the front. The guys who missed the turn were now behind us and jumped on as the 4 DC (JK, CB, DD, WI) started trading turns at the front.
Oh Shit!:
We are now 13.5 miles from the start, averaging 19.1 mph on the restart.
After the DC had been taking turns for a while, one of the trailing guys (Guy A) came to the front to lend a hand. He did a good turn and was still at the front when another of the trailing guys came to the front. The second guy went a bit hard and created a gap, so I put myself in front of the first helper and tried to pull the pack up.
As best as I can remember, this was the situation (one guy in front, WI second wheel) when we approached a SAG vehicle on the right shoulder of Occidental Road (turns out there were two SAGs but at the time it didn't matter.) It was on a flat section of road about 13.5 miles from the start. We all moved out into the traffic lane to pass the SAG vehicles, there was still a good size gap between me and the rider in front, I don't know how people were arranged behind me.
As we passed the SAG, a rider (CapoGuy) came up on my left and started to swoop into the space between me and the rider in front. The road is clear and dry, no debris, and there is plenty of room; but somehow CapoGuy loses it big time. I see him start to go down and begin looking for someplace to go. Stopping is not an option.

His body is to the left so I can't go there. I head right, but his bike is sliding into my path. Since life is now in slow motion, I have time to read Time on the downtube and to check out the color scheme. I maximize sphincter contraction, think O Shit! and try to ride over his front wheel before the frame and handlebars arrive. I feel weightless, then a hard impact, and I feel myself rolling. I felt another thump (which I think was the curb), more rolling, then find myself face up in the ditch, head towards the road. The first noticeable pain is intense and is originating from south of the border. I cross my arms over my chest and wait for signals from other parts to work their way up.

From Jay's perspective (interesting how this is different, minor edits by WI):

DC was doing alot of work at the front when one guy came forward on a mini-uphill, and since at the pace we were riding (and getting lost) if someone else didnt do any pulling we'd be dead once we caught the larger group. After a while the guy in the front slacked and two guys came off the back--one guy with a Terrible Two jersey I had spoken to earlier (he remembered me from Eastern Sierra) and a guy in a dark Capo jersey on his wheel. They went hard and created a gap in front of the first new guy who was dying out (it was almost as if they were pulling the old 2001)--so I recall me going over the top of him and pulling the group up to TT guy and Capo guy.

So now i'm 3rd wheel to TT and Capo guy, and we cross an intersection and two sag wagons, about 200' apart, on the other side in the shoulder. TT guy goes out smoothly, moving left on semi busy road, Capo guy follows but jerks in & out to road and back to shoulder like a driver going around a cone or suddenly realizing he's passed the cross street he wants to turn on. We get to second sag in shoulder, TT guy smoothly moves out again, Capo guy darts left and then darts right and when he comes back right he first wobbles and then loses it and is down fast directly in my path, with his bike almost turned 90 degrees. I go over the middle part of his bike, try to get my weight back, and in an e---n---d----l----e----s-----s-- ---s---l----o----w-- --m---o---t---i----i----o----n I know I'm going down--instinctively hold on to the bars but fly down solidly on my right shoulder. Someone said that someone came from behind and hit me but I dont remember that--nor do I recall seeing Ward in front of me.

Once down I remember strict but calming Maggie nurse and Christine taking care of me, traffic seemingly buzzing 6" from my head and incredible shoulder pain and thirst. One laugh while laying there, I thought 'fn Ward probably taking photos of this''--the thought was truly funny and only bit of levity while laying there seemingly for an hour. (PC)

My recollection is that there were two guys ahead of Jay, all three of whom had gapped the group. Ward pulled us back up to you three, then the gap opened up again behind him. I decided not to close it down -- not out of any sense of danger, but out of "race sense." That is: I figured it would close itself down without my making any effort. The way Capo guy's bike went down, it looked like he clipped the Terrible Two guy in front of him.

I could see tumbling bodies, but had tunnel vision: looking for clear space on the right to make a controlled stop. I missed the guy in front of me, but Ward was right in my path, tumbling across the pavement, over the (ouch!) curb, and into the grass. I knew there was carnage off to my left, but was much more worried about Ward hitting that curb, and was sure he'd broken something. Pulled his bike out of street. When he said he was (mostly) OK, I turned around and saw Jay flat on his back holding a lovely, blossoming elbow. Nothing I could do for either of you that wasn't already being done, so I started directing traffic to do something useful. Used my foul mouth some more to express my disapproval of a couple of rubbernecking drivers. (DrD)

We were making good time riding with a mission to try to catch back up with the group. Along the way we met up with a group of 6 guys and soon we had a stronger pace line. We missed a few turns, but quickly rebounded back on course. The missing of the turns and the sense of “urgency” made me a little uneasy. When we reached Occidental Road , the pace line was really moving.

Not to far up the road was our first “true” ascent. Then, one of the guys from the other group decided to break his line and I guess go to the front of the pace line.

Next thing I heard was the sound of carbon smashing together. Dave was in front of me. He broke right and I broke left. We luckily avoided the knot of bikes and cyclists on the road. It happened so fast. I saw Jay in the road holding his shoulder and then I saw Ward off the side of the road in the weeds with his arms crossed around his chest…scary sight. I put my bike aside and did what I could to help our guys. I assessed Ward first. He appeared alright with some road rash and pain in “THAT” area… I then told him I was going over to Jay. This is where I met Maggie the RN. She took over and was in control. I later found out that she had been off the side of the road getting her flat fixed by SAG when the crash happened. Maggie would keep Jay in line and I provided water and any other support I could.

I hear voices. Someone yells don't move. I don't know who they are talking to but I'm not going anywhere for a while anyway. Christine arrives and asks for a damage assessment. I consider the location of the most severe pain and decide to maintain my modesty by not answering. I can't see anything but grass and a broken beer bottle from my position. After lying for a bit I decide that nothing is broken and climb out of the ditch. I see people standing around, then I see Jay in the middle of the road, not moving. I'm a bit fuzzy on things here but I think the woman who had the flat tire (which is why the SAG vehicles were there) had already taken charge. She (Maggie) told us she was an RN and an professor (of nursing) at USF. She kept Jay still and would not let anyone mess with his helmet. Christine tried to provide moral support. The SAGs called for an ambulance, I was told the closest was at the ride start (Wells Fargo Center) and was on the way. Dave was directing traffic on the other side of the road.
One of the SAGs tried to give me a baby wipe thing to clean up some blood but that seemed pointless, the bandaids available were inadequate, and taping anything did not seem like a good idea either (actually, taking the tape off was the worrisome part).
I am told that 3 bikes went down (CapoGuy, Jay, WI). Everyone else was able to take evasive action.
At some point one of the guys standing by Jay moved so I took his place and held my vest up to block the sun and to try to convince other cyclists and cars to move over to give us room. It was obvious that Jay was in extreme pain, most of which he said was from his shoulder. Maggie told him that his muscles were contracting and this was causing the spasms of pain. She asked the usual questions, what's your name, how old are you, what month is it (no one seemed to know if it was April or May), but she did not ask about favorite colors.
The ambulance seemed to be taking forever. Based on my GPS data it took 24 minutes from the accident (when my bike stopped moving) to when the ambulance arrived. 24 minutes of agony for Jay. After it finally arrived, Maggie gave the EMTs a rundown of what she had done and they (the EMTs) took over. They repeated the questions Maggie had asked, Jay provided information on his allergies and someone had gotten his Kaiser card out so it was handy. About 5 minutes after they arrived, Jay was in the ambulance and headed for Santa Rosa Kaiser.
The GPS data goes from 24 mph to 0 in one data point. So we must have been traveling at 24 when this happened.
Maggie has lost her patient and now discovers that her bicycle is not ready to go. The rear wheel is not installed and she cannot get it to cooperate. The bike is upside down so I filp it over and put in the wheel (I can't do upside down rear wheels). Now her chain is off so we pop that back on, her chain was filthy. I hope she did not get greasy fingerprints on her white seat.
We start picking up bikes. I don't notice anything seriously amiss with Jays bike. Some minor scratches on the levers but the wheels turn, the brakes work, the shifters look like they shift. The instigating Time has the right lever destroyed, the carbon (Rival) is trashed. It's on the rack when I see it so there may be more damage. The Ritchey has both levers trashed, bent derailleur hanger, bars were rotated about 60 degrees from the wheel and will be replaced, I'm worried about the stem too so that will probably replaced also. I hope a professional inspection does not reveal more damage, I am also glad I did not spend big bucks on a plastic bike for this spring season.
Christine, Dave, CapoGuy, and WI were loaded into one of the SAG vans and driven back to the start (that seemed to take forever too). We call Donna, tell her what is going on and tell her to stay home until we call again from the hospital. We load up the clown car and the Pumpkinmobile and head to Kaiser Santa Rosa. The directions we are given are not the best (there is no Bicentennial exit when you're heading south) but we make a quick reversal and find the ER. Jay has a private room (frequent customer benefits?) and they let one of us in at a time. He's in X-Ray so we call Donna then hang out in the waiting room. When Jay gets back from X-Ray he is on a morphine drip (?) so the pain has eased considerably. There is a long discussion about cycling with one of the (male) nurses. It turns out the nurses favorite cyclist is Jens, so the nurse gets extra credit. We agree that Fabian is kicking some ass but Jens is still the man. I am glad that the cyclist who shall not be named was not named. Apparently one of the guys who was involved in last years Tour of CAs big crash in Santa Rosa came to Kaiser.
Kaiser gets extra credit for providing a free cleaning of my observable wounds, along with some magic tape and superglue to hold things together. I did not want to check in and was told that as long as I could deal with no pain meds, I could escape the check in process (thanks Obamacare!).
Jay gets more X-Rays, a CT scan, and some cleaning and stitching that were best not observed. But, shortly after Donna arrived, they sent Jay home with a bag of horse pills (Dave did the pharmacy run so he knows what they are - update, Dave tells me they are Percocet) and instructions to see the Orthopedic at the local hospital. We were told his scapula is broken and that this is difficult to do but is sometime seen in cyclists (but not nearly as often as collarbones). One of the tests shows there are some loose bits floating around so surgury may be needed, we won't know until the orthopedics take a look. His elbow is very ugly (soft tissues only) and the concern there is infection. There was a lot of flushing and cleaning going on. Morphine is amazing stuff.
We put Jay in his car, Dave driving, Donna in her car, WI and Christine in the clown car and drove to Antioch.
Interesting Observations:
1. At some point post crash, I heard someone say that someone (else) had hit their rear wheel. I was not observant enough at the time to know where this guy was in the mess. If he was first (which seems reasonable since only 3 bikes went down) This would indicate that CapoGuy tagged the lead bike and that's how he started things. WTF was he thinking?
2. Jay tells me that he was in front of me. But I can't figure out how that could be. I saw CapoGuy going down, I rode over his bike, but I did not see Jay. And when I got out of the ditch, I had to walk back up the road to Jay. Jay said some guy (who matches the description of CapoGuy) fell in front of him. So I think that CapoGuy went down, WI hit CapoGuy, then Jay hit CapoGuy.
3. Nothing the CapoGuy did, until he started the crash, stuck in my mind. Jay recalls him being at the front, but I never took note of him.
4. CapoGuy was scraped up. Both jersey and shorts were torn. All of his friends continued the ride. They left before the ambulance arrived.
5. Christine told me she had a bad feeling about these guys. I did not get that but I was closer to the front so maybe she saw some squirrelly business that I was not aware of.
I probably missed some significant goings on while noticing trivial details, but it's really odd what sticks in the mind. I am sure that Dave and Christine can provide additions/corrections and different perspectives, but that can happen later.

Happier times--early morning checkin-Lion of Flanders Flag marks the meeting point (PC) Diablo Cyclists cuing up (WI), Ward checking around to see if there are any nurses that can be strategically positioned on the course (PC)

For once I get better action photos than WI, here is Dr. Dave and Christine--the second time on early morning bumpy road through the vineyards. (PC)

Med who took care of me in hospital, a Jens Voight fan, not Lanceypoo. Staff at Kaiser Santa Rosa ER great, the rest of the Kaiser Permanente bureaucracy sucks to high heaven, had to fight to get followup appointment when ER dr ordered--thrive my ass (WI)

Donna and Dave holding up holy bloodied Domo Diablo Cyclist Farm Frites jersey (WI)

postscript-5/3 clusterfuck getting into local Kaiser--finally do. When you're ill fighting the Kaiser bureaucracy is the worst. No surgery needed but need to stay in brace minimally for two weeks and elbow infection may be a problem. Showed great restraint as didn't mention the word b-i-k-e. Pain mostly mental as Alta Alpina 8, which I had a good chance of finishing, is now off the table (so is Davis Double which was going to be a training ride for Alta Alpina.) Can't drive so trapped in surburbia (yeah--can walk for a Jamba Juice), was supposed to drive down to see daughter next weekened--thats out too. Physically, with brace everything is a pain in the butt but have cut back pain meds to nighttime only. Unfortunately Donna out of town this week so my rewrapping bandages may create a new art form.
5/4-in morning called/emailed and cancelled event entries/ motels for next 3 months--depressed went back to sleep until noon.
5/10-Missed not seeing my daughter in Long Beach this weekend. Each day taking 3-6 mile walks to 'exciting' strip mall. Best one was walk to local Barnes & Nobel located across the street from the Brentwood Holyland--it has one of the biggest religious sections you'll ever find in a B&N. I'm looking for a new book on atheism, promanent in their Walnut Creek store. None in Antioch/Brentwood store--they never ordered it. Also a dearth of cycling books.
5/12-Took suburban bus and train into Walnut Creek, which has a mini (albeit high end) downtown conducive to walking around. While waiting for the bus, which only the down and outers of surburbia take, I’m clad in Birkenstocks and Lion of Flanders cycling socks, a vagrant riding a city bike came up and said “hey mister with the anklets—do you have the time?” Wonderful. But he can even ride a bike better than I can at the moment. Mostly spent time in Barnes & Nobel, the modern library replacement. where they have a much more diverse selection than the one in my town. Now reading three books at a time (this must cement my having ADD.) Kinda rationalize that with being “out of action” I now am doing stuff like summer reading I never have time for, which may be good. Unfortunately a crash doesn’t let you do other physical things that may be nice, like gardening, so alternatives are really limited. Later I took a long walk to where bike club starts their Wednesday assault of Mt. Diablo—damn, it must be 80 degrees so will only be about 60 at the top. Everyone real friendly but when your injured there is a gulf that separates you from everyone else who can easily ride. One racer asked if I was back on the trainer yet and was surprised when I told him I wasn’t. That would only get me more hyper for the doctor to let me start cycling again.
5/13- Got my $2500 bill for the ambulance ride (inc $9.22 for exam gloves,) luckily Kaiser may be the shit to try to get an appointment with but they are good at paying bills. Nervous about tomorrow when I take new xrays and get reevaluated. If the doctor clears me for cycling right now I figure I can get my arm extended during the next week and have two weeks of good training and then Alta Alpina is a possibility. But then again 2 weeks ago I was rounding into great form, now physically had a major setback, so I am not 100% certain I’d want clearance now as I’d probably try the Alta Alpina in lousy shape. But then again I don’t want to hear “one more week in a brace.” Things were so fn certain 2 weeks ago, I had the training game plan down perfectly (this Saturday was supposed to be the Davis Double for 200 mile stamina, next week the self supported old Sierra Century for hill work.) Now things are just fucked (yep-depressed all morning for my 3-4 mile walk wrapped up in shoulder harness and heavily bandaged elbow.) But if I can get back on the bike now, I can scramble to catch up...
5/14-I'm delusional. My expectations soared ahead of my improving condition. New xrays and exam. Shoulder healing well and I can drive and (much thought and delay by medical professional so I knew not good) I can get on trainer, but of course shoulder is still broken so no biking for 4 more weeks.