Archive for March, 2008

Five Years…..

March 20, 2008

 a girl my age went off her head

hit some tiny children

if the black hadn’t pulled her off

I think she would have killed them

….five years

my brain hurts a lot.


My own Private Hillsboro

March 16, 2008


Hillsboro Roubaix is a great early season contest. There aren’t very many road races in South Central IL MO, and this race has good texture, with a mix of sort hills and windblown narrow roads.  And, it pretty much winds up being the first or second race of the year for many people.

Team Mack has always done well in the Masters race at Hillsboro–we’ve won 4 of the last six if you count Fleckenstein’s overall last year (while registered 50+).  Since 2002, 47% of the top 5 Masters racers were from Team Mack, and 38% of the top 10 were Mackers in the last six editions. 

And, we did it with lots of tools. Four different guys got wins:  Mark McGeen. Larry Moore, Lou Waugman, and John Fleckenstein. Eight distinct racers cracked the top 5, and a dozen different Mackers have been in the top ten at Hillsboro in the last six years.

Hillsboro is a huge Mack race because of the date. In South Central, we usually only have five or six guys. But, for Hillsboro, the Wisconsin and Iowa guys turn up. And they’re going nuts. they haven’t been on a bike outdoors except for training camp. That’s the real secret to our success–stir crazy Wisconsin-Iowa guys going nuts…

I’m bummed that I won’t be there to help the team this year. Gary said that Robert, Steve, and Fleck are absolutely flying…and Clark is always that way.

Instead, I’ll do an easy  3 hour outdoor ride, and try not to hit a dog.

Support the Montgomery County Cancer Association

Rich Pierce has invited Hillsboro Racers to support an important charity which has also provided tremendous volunteer support for the race. the MCCA. I’ve seen groups like the MCCA in action, and it is humbling. They help people in tough situations, and do so on shoestring budgets. Without groups like this, people in rural areas wouldn’t be able to get the care they need to surive.

Russ Murphy of Mesa has issued a team challenge and tossed in $500 to kick off. I put in $100 to get Mack going, and I hope people will get behind this. You can donate at

Dr Uncle Gary, MD

March 13, 2008


Sometimes, fellow racers are more helpful than doctors, especially if you don’t have access to high end sport people.  I had a long talk with Uncle Gary ( condolences to Gary and Sharmin on the passing of their beloved kitty), and he set me straight on  a few simple things.

 1. “If I did what Doctors told me, I’d have quit racing 15 years ago.”

2. “If you can do it, do it.”

My hip isn’t that bad. I’m pretty sure I won’t need the scope.  I can walk! Not much pain, even. Gary loaded me up on his hip horrors, and added detail from Steve…the bottom line, if you can walk, the bike is physical therapy. Look at the happy quote from the American Physical Therapy Association!

 Cycling For Healthy Hips
For many people, cycling is a great way to keep their hips in shape. Whether you choose to ride outside or to work out on a stationary bike, cycling helps maintain muscle tone and fluid joint movement without undue shock and pressure on the joint. (If you have an existing hip injury or condition, be sure to get your physical therapist’s approval before exercising.)

Now, that’s much happier than the first line of most information on hip fracture:

Why is a hip fracture so serious?

People who sustain a hip fracture are more likely to die than a person of the same age who does not experience this injury. About 20 percent of people who have a hip fracture die within a year of their injury. It is estimated that only one in four persons have a total recovery from a hip fracture.


So today I hopped on the trainer for 30 minutes….40 tomorrow….

UCI v Grand Tour Conflict

March 10, 2008


The conflagration between ASO and the other grand tour organizers and the UCI is perplexing, and most fans find the behavior of both parties to be inexplicably stupid. Part of the problem is that you need to clearly separate the actions of each party, and carefully inspect the (admittedly perverse) logic of their actions. The ASO-UCI conflict is about developing property rights over a novel and loose commodity–bike racing. It’s novel because nobody can stake a clear claim on the most valuable aspects of a road race (unlike in stadium sports). And it only became viable for external (outside of the main sponsor) investment in the television era.

     The UCI was in good position to take advantage of national division early in the history of cycling, trade teams developed late, and were restricted to equipment sponsors until about 50 years ago. The Uci was in a good position to bully its way in and lay dominion over the right to race or promote events. The only problem was that several of the most successful races are nearly as old as the UCI, and never fully accepted its claim to ownership.  ASO has consolidated ownership over all of the French races that matter, and now Fleche, and Liege! Let’s not forget, Unipublic and RSO are also fed up with UCI’s shit, and both groups promote more than just their signature tours. So why does Rasmussen get not-busted-but still-kicked-out while leading the tour? Because the UCI wanted ASO to look bad! If they fail to comply, they look soft on dope. Why does ASO ban riders and teams beyond UCI sanction? To make UCI look bad!

     In the end, I think the UCI is going to have to give up something.  Prudhomme’s words of 2004 put it succinctly. “For the organiser, it boils down to being tenant of a race, rather than owner of one.”


March 6, 2008

ticks1.gifOne of the things you might want to learn in college, is that universities rely on the generosity of alumni. Most alumni really do want to see good things happen for their alma mater, and they selflessly give to help with projects for research, infrastructural development, scholarships, and to enhance student life.

Sometimes alum direct their generosity in ways that are not a good fit for student needs or longterm development goals—like building a stadium instead of a classroom building. But, even in those cases, the donors believe that they are helping student life and enhancing the university’s profile.

Unfortunately, at large universities, a very few alumni take more than they give. When I was at Oklahoma, several bars and stores were busted for selling unlicenced OU materials  (shirts, shot glasses…). Invariably the guilty parties were alum who were big fans, and many were donating boosters. The parasites would always vociferously proclaim their loyalty to the university, and were shocked that the University would sue them for making just a couple of grand  on a few unique items.

It’s sad to see such things happen…. 

i hate dog

March 2, 2008


Sometimes you are pretty sure that someday, something bad is going to happen at a particularly dangerous part of a regular riding route. Yesterday was the day for me. In So Ill many of our obstacles have four legs, no vaccinations, full fecundity, and a run down trailer in back of their “lawn.” My favorite ride is the Hickory Ridge wine trail, which concludes with a trip down Dutch Ridge, on what the old locals used to call Warrior Hill (real indigenous history). We tend to refer to the Southern part as Goat Hill. We’d rename it Dog Hill, except that might cause confusion with the hill with the pack of wild dobermans.

Goat Hill charts 19% on Big Dale’s Garmin, and it is a screaming descent if you open it up.  Yesterday, we rendevouxed at club Jackoff with the Chief, Molteni, and Dave. We were running a tad late, so we stoked the bunny just a tad, and railed down Goat Hill as if we’d never seen a pack of pit mongrels waiting for us at trailer central. We were going 44mph when Chief and Dave flew past the unchained mutt, and it stormed into the road right in front of me. I hit it square, with predictable results. I was surprised that Molteni and Dale didn’t hit me as I skidded on the cinder-covered chip and seal.

Of course, since it was a nice day, i was wearing brand new 2008 Team Mack bibs and Jersey, and some really cool new Castelli knee warmers…LAS Helmet, all trashed.

At least I was on the old Blue Gunnar with the steel fork! It had cosmetic damage and a flat, which the guys fixed while I tried to recover. I rode home with difficulty. I probably should have gone to the hospital last night, but I didn’t want to sit around. Today I went in for the five hour hospital visit to confirm muliple fractures, broken wrist, and a fractured hip.  I’ll see about surgery tomorrow!

Wow! I can be like Gary and Steve! Nah, I’d have to be a lot worse off. But I’m out past Hillsboro…I may take up dog extermination as a hobby, since I’ll be off the bike for a few weeks…