Gender Equality in Sport: A Male Cyclist’s Opinion

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The word equality is more striking than “equal pay,” and cuts directly to what we’re really talking about. In pro, as well as amateur cycling, there’s a sort of debate about whether women deserve equal treatment. This is in regards to prize money, salaries, equal number of races,  quality of races, etc. The fact that this ‘debate’ exists has become increasingly disturbing to me. It makes me feel a bit shameful, knowing that so many of my friends and colleagues are, deep down, jaded by bigotry.

But I get their point. I see their side of the story very easily, and when I first started cycling I thought–(okay not when I first started. Back then I didn’t think about anything, I just pedaled hard)–so a few years after I’d been in the sport I pondered the question of whether women’s cycling had reached a point where it was on par with men’s for equal pay, equal number of races, the prestige of starting last in an evening crit when the crowds are at their biggest and rowdiest. I decided no, it didn’t. And women’s cycling still isn’t there.

In order to change this, we have to be progressive, not passive. We can’t wait for it to catch up. Farmers don’t expect their crops to grow without fertilizer and water. Maybe that’s a bad metaphor since I’m comparing women to corn, but my point is still there. And besides, everyone likes corn. Women’s cycling, just like men’s, needs nurturing to see growth. At this point, because their field is being overrun by a rampant strain of soybeans from across the road (men’s cycling), this particular crop of corn needs some extra care and attention.

It’s no secret that there are way fewer women that show up at a local race than men. Their races may not be as competitive because of the lack of participants, but do the women want it any less than the men? Don’t they try just as hard? Don’t they train as ferociously and as passionately? They sweat and grit their teeth just as much as any guy and they look better doing it too. So why the hell are we keeping them down!?

Cycling, like most sports, should be a flagship for what society could be like. Sport exemplifies the pinnacle of human endeavor, an arena that allows fierce competition without the downfall of war and consumerism: death, poverty, and destruction of the natural world. Sport should stand as the antithesis to greed and dishonesty within competition and the way our society is actually run, where profits steam-roll the quality of human life…and human life in general if you’re from the third world. Sport should separate itself from the real world and demonstrate what we can accomplish with hard work and ethics.

For this reason, I view dopers as unworthy participants in sport. They were given the opportunity to be part of something great, and instead they squandered that chance with greed. It’s even worse to hear about dopers now in this day and age when PEDs are not at all necessary to take in order to win. I increasingly view male cyclists, those who don’t want the attention and funding of sponsors to be divided evenly amongst the sexes, in a similar light.

White men have dominated the earth for long enough. It’s time to let our stranglehold on everyone else cease.

One thing that I truly admire about America is the equality between men and women in the workplace, at least compared to a lot of other countries. I expect that women have capitalism to thank for this, as corporations, long ago, realized that they could double their profits by making women work. But even here, the land of free enterprise–or as close to it as you can get–the average American full-time working woman still makes 33% less than the average full time working man. Men, would you be willing to do the same amount of work as you do now with a pay cut of $11,600 per year?–and have that money go to another group of people (women) that are doing the same amount of work as you? What. The. Hell. Where’s the outrage!


The gender wage gap is caused by discrimination. And while it’s huge, it doesn’t even bring to light an even larger wage gap–that of the average US man vs woman (working and non-working included). Women account for the larger percentage of stay at home parents, who don’t count as workers because raising children is not real work.

“Well, some women want to stay at home and raise their kids. There’s nothing wrong with that.” I agree, there’s nothing wrong with that. In fact, more time spent with family should be encouraged for women and men. A 40-hour a week job is too much time spent at the office. We’d all be happier working less and having less things. But shouldn’t stay at home moms be compensated equally for their work? Raising kids is work, right? Or when working moms have a baby shouldn’t they at least get some help? Here in the States, we don’t even have child care or paid maternity leave. The few countries in the world that don’t have any sort of state-guaranteed, paid maternity leave: Papua New Guinea, Swaziland, Liberia, Lesotho, and the US of A. 

Below is a map of the world’s maternity leave. This map is from 2009, and Australia added paid maternity leave in 2011, so it’s no longer in the pink category with us–the only category that offers nothing.



Unfortunately, money is power. When one gender has less money than another, they will never have the same rights. I don’t know, maybe most women don’t care about this but it piss me off even as a man.

Back on the topic, women’s cycling deserves the opportunity to grow, and as members of this sport, we should all strive to show the ‘real’ world what humanity can and should be like: equal regardless of race, gender, or nationality.

A little affirmative action is needed for women’s cycling to catch up, so even if the numbers aren’t there yet, women’s cycling deserves more money and more races, which will bring more women into the sport to fill those races and eventually legitimatize the higher salaries and prize money (most pro women don’t even have a salary these days). This will of course take time, and money in this sport is very sparse, so everything helps. My team has a women’s program, and although it’s a little smaller than the men’s side, it’s a huge step for a first year continental program to have a pro women’s team. Adelaide’s race, the Gebhardt Automotive Cycling Classic, had equal pay for the top three men and women in the pro/1/2 fields. The money went two places deeper to 4th and 5th in the men’s race because the field was so much larger (58 starters compared to 13). Things like this matter and other race promoters should take note of this set up. Most important is a change of mindset. When you’re talking about equal prize money and equality for women with your friends, show some compassion for your fellow human beings and realize that what you say behind closed doors matters. Even small stones make a ripple.

Gebhardt Automotive Cycling Classic RR

What a relief it’s over and done with. I’m not talking about my race; I’m talking about THE race. Like the whole thing in general. Back in November when Adelaide suddenly decided to put this event on, neither of us quite knew how much work or how stressful it would be. Adelaide did the work, and I stressed. Well, I helped stress. Like the work, Adelaide did just about all of the stressing herself too.

She’s writing a blog post about how in the hell she put on the race (it’s anyone’s guess really), so check it out in my “friends” column to the right in a day or two. I won’t say too much about it other than I’m incredibly proud and amazed that she pulled this off. She didn’t know a thing about bike racing when she started this back in November. She barely anything about bikes for that matter. Two big things that she has going for herself is that she’s a very fast learner and a hard worker. Putting on the race turned into a part-time, then full-time job, and finally culminated into a 15-hour a day job for the last week and a half. I would get tired just watching her work.

The lack of pre-registered racers was a big concern in the final few weeks, as was the weather, the very real possibility of her losing thousands of dollars of her own savings, and of course the  potentially dangerous, angry residents who lived along the course that began calling a few weeks ago. One guy argued with Adelaide on the phone for about 15 minutes, proclaiming that he was going to sue her, which of course wouldn’t have been possible because she had all the legal permits she needed to use these PUBLIC roads. Another drunk-sounding redneck left a long voicemail (she’d since begun screening her calls from Laramie County numbers) and said, and I quote, “You people down in Boulder need to keep your bikes down there IN Boulder…we don’t like you comin’ up here….on our roads and riding them races….it’s the silliest thing I ever heard of….so….just STAY down there…in BOULDER and do your races….down there IN Boulder. Okay?” He rambled on and on about how he hates people in Boulder/cyclists for like 5 minutes. The disorganized, jumbled thought-pattern of this troubled individual rivaled some of my longest, most spaced-out voicemails…and I’ve left some pretty spaced-out voicemails in my day.

Anyways, the race was a huge success. 400 people ended up coming out to race and only one resident was given a ticket for reckless driving. It was sunny, the wind wasn’t gusting at 50+ mph like the day before, and the snow held off, just barely, until the evening. It was very humbling and satisfying seeing the level of support all our friends, Adelaide’s family, and other volunteers gave leading up to and during the race. The sponsors, which all provided excellent support, should be happy knowing they invested in something and someone very worthwhile. Everyone I talked to said it was a perfect day on the bike, that it was one of the best-run races they’d done, and it was one of the most fun courses they’d raced on in quite some time. We may have angered a few jaded losers with nothing better to do than pout about us slowing them down for an afternoon on “their” roads, but it was totally worth it after hearing how happy it made 400 other people and their friends and families. And now, onto my race (if you want the Cliff Notes version, I didn’t win but I did end the day with a bunch of free beer and some high quality pizza).

I started out by driving the lead car for the Masters 45+ cat 1, 2, 3 race that morning. I was nervous the entire time about the race in general, whether things were running smoothly at registration, if the traffic cones that the Sheriff’s office made us put along the center lines would cause crashes, and whether or not Adelaide was having a mental break down back at the star/finish.

I didn’t see anyone in the masters field behind me crash and when I got to the finish two laps later, everything seemed to be under control as no fire engines had shown up, yet. I got out of the car and stepped into my kit, eager to get the stressful part of the day over with and onto my bike where I belonged.

With my cortisol levels jacked to an all-time pre-race high, the whistle went off for the start of our race. I sat in, content to ride easy in the pack until the first hill. Our race did four laps of a 17-mile loop, which had a steep switchback climb up to Carter lake, followed the shore line before barreling down a steep descent, and then rolled on undulating, wind-swept terrain for the remainder. It’s a super popular training route that most of us have done 50 times, but it felt different today in the race somehow.


Dean Warren Photography


Dirka face. I’m looking forward to our new clothing by they way (that’s an HB vest Circa 2010). D2 Photography.

A large breakaway of 10 or so guys got away early and the field was content to let them go, since every team was represented. I was worried, but smartly waited until the climb to poke my head out into the wind. I rode pretty hard that first time up the climb and took 20 seconds out of the break’s lead, leaving them a 12-second gap. No one would help close it the rest of the way down once the terrain flattened out going around the lake. Luckily Nick Bax of Rio Grande dropped out of the break with a mechanical and we passed him as he struggled to take out his rear wheel a minute later. That meant that Rio had to chase the break down since they now didn’t have anyone up there.

Rio left the chasing a bit too late, and instead of closing it down immediately, they didn’t get up to the front until the gap had gone back up to like 30-40 seconds. But they did keep it from growing any more than that.

I took another dig the second time up the climb with a few others, and at the top were were gnawing at the heels of the break, which was finally just within reach. A few more pulls across the lake, towing the remainder of the field, and we made contact. I attacked immediately.

It didn’t go anywhere. Nick attacked. I bridged to him with one other guy and the three of us went for it over the next couple miles. We didn’t stand a chance with Horizon and all the other teams back there. The wind wasn’t favorable for a small break either. It was pretty much a head or tailwind for most of the lap, with only a little bit of cross wind coming into effect once in a while.

I attacked and covered a lot of moves over the next few miles but missed the next lasting break, which contained, among others Josh Yeaton of Horizon and Jim Peterman of Rio Grande–two guys on my danger list.


Ryan Muncy Photography

I waited until after the start/finish to attack again, this time taking first Chris Winn of Horizon with me, followed shortly by Nick Bax (Rio) and Kit Recca (also Horizon). See picture above. We motored pretty smoothly and easily up to the break, making it 8-guys strong, which was a bit too heavily weighted with Horizon riders now. Josh sat on since they had the numbers to do that, while his teammates Kit and Chris took extra pulls. I never heard a time gap to the field, but never really needed one. There was no way we were getting brought back now.

Half way up the climb I attacked, but sat up quickly when I saw that Peterman was sitting on my wheel. I let him come around and pull the rest of the way to the top. Just in case I had to respond to a counter attack, I wanted to stay out of the wind as much as possible and save my breath. Ever since Wednesday, when I did the first of my 1-minute intervals of the year, I haven’t been able to breath right. I’ve been coughing at night and more easily winded since those brutal efforts, seemingly working with diminished lung capacity. This had me a little worried every time on the climb. I’m recovering from the workout just fine, but it’s a slow process apparently. I might have overdone it a tad bit the last couple weeks with all the hard efforts. Whatever. They’re paying off, and will pay off even more after some big-time quality rest in a few weeks.


Final climb. Dean Warren Photography

At the top of that last climb all that were left was me, Josh, Peterman, Brandon Babaracki of Sonic Boom, and Michael Burleigh of Primal. The four of us all took pretty even turns while Josh sat on, knowing that he could get away with it since he had two teammates, for a little while anyways, chasing right behind.

The attacking started maybe 6 or 7 miles from the finish on the false flat/rolling headwind section. I followed for a while, letting others do the work to bring back each other, then unleashed what I thought was the race-winning acceleration with about 6K to go. I looked back, saw a big gap, and kept my head down. I looked back again, suffering, and saw Josh coming across, with Peterman leading the other two guys right behind. I sat up and they caught me. I attacked again immediately. That didn’t go anywhere. We coasted a bit and I attacked again, which also didn’t go anywhere for long. By now we were on the final false flat downhill straightaway to the finish line, with only 2.5K of tailwind riding to go to the line. There was no way anything was getting away now, so I saved up for the sprint.

I’m not sure how it’s possible to get boxed in when you’re sprinting in a 5-man group, but I managed it. I’d been sitting just to the left of Josh’s rear wheel in fourth position, expecting him to go around Peterman’s and Babaracki’s left side since the wind was slightly from the right. He didn’t, and when he started his sprint early I couldn’t get over to him since Burleigh was right there to my right. The rest of the guys began the sprint, unintentionally forming a three-man-wide Mighty Ducks’ V that I was stuck in the middle of and couldn’t pass. I coasted with 100 meters to go. This is the second time in two weeks I’ve coasted during a sprint. What the hell??? I found a gap with 70 meters to go, took a few big pedal stokes and lunged for the line, taking 2nd ahead of Babaracki and Peterman. I need to get on the track for some sprint practice apparently. Josh would have beaten me on that sprint anyways since it was flat and we were all still pretty fresh from it being a short race at 68 miles, but I should have at least been on his wheel.


Josh takes a commanding win. Ryan Muncy Photography.


The excellent bike throw for 2nd. Dean Warren Photography.

Horizon played it smart by never missing out on a move, stacking the breakaways, driving them when needed, and conserving when necessary. I feel like Rio stepped up this year, coming to the race with a full, strong squad and racing aggressively. As for myself, I should have attacked more in the end maybe, though Jim Peterman wasn’t about to give me any leash and he and the rest of the guys were still too fresh and strong for me to get away from. I needed like one or two more laps for that to happen and for their legs to possibly weaken. I was fairly satisfied with 2nd and happy to get in another good day of hard riding—all in order to continue my build up for Normandie, which I hope to hear about soon. There are so many strong guys on our team that I might not make the selection for that race. For now I’m just crossing my fingers and training my ass off. Today is a rest day though. My lungs appreciate it.


Someone’s iphone Photography.

Below is my ex-coworker Dan doing what he does best. Check out his website  D2 Photography for some awesome shots.


Some good friends manning the beer tent after the race:


Iris Stagner Stage Race and then some

I went down to Texas last weekend to race my bike and to see for myself that everything is indeed bigger in Texas, aside from driver IQ. The sheer amount of America down there is baffling. First of all, there are only three colors visible to a Texan’s cones: red, white, and blue. And by the way, none of those colors run.

Secondly, every car must be a truck, and no smaller than an F-150. It’s preferable to drive a dually F-250/350 though. Everything else really is just for women, small children, and the gays. Okay, now that I’ve had my fun giving Texas a hard time, let me back up a bit and say that I had a great time in the Lone Star state.

By the way, if you want to hear what a Texan sounds like while backing up…

This was a fat joke in case you didn’t realize.

I flew down Friday evening and got picked up by Michael Lalla of Elbowz. He and I met a long time back in 2008 in Tucson during the Shootout when I commented on how awesome his mullet was. It was an instant friendship, as I was currently attempting to grow one for myself.

Michael and I drove out to the race hotel in Mineral Wells, which was like 90 minutes from the airport and is known for their healing water, full of scientifically proven minerals that heal all ailments (it’s science. Actually it’s not). Legend has it that people used to believe that the mineral-rich water from the well in this little town was basically a magic elixir. It’s strange to think, but people back in the olden days stupidly used to believe that things existing in nature could help them. Now we know better and put our faith where it should be, in pharmaceuticals.

But before we got to Mineral Wells, we came upon a dangerous driver on the freeway (in an F-150 of course). We kept a bit of distance as the driver swerved back and forth in the fast lane, either texting or drunk. We waited a few more minutes before realizing that it definitely wasn’t a one or two-time swerve, and that this guy was loaded. Michael decided to call 911 and report the guy. We got up real close so we could read the license plate while Michael was on the phone with the 911 operator.

We hung up after the call was complete and a police officer was on the way (or so we were told). But in order to stay on the trail, we decided that we had to follow this guy. He sped up to 95mph for a while, still swerving everywhere in and out of fairly heavy traffic and barely able to stay in his lane, then he’d slow way down to 50 for no apparent reason. We stayed vigilant, ready, close but not too close. He exited. Shit. Michael called 911 again to let them know the driver was off the freeway now and headed to a gas station. We followed him there, where he parked, got out, and left the car running in the parking space. His girlfriend also got out. Both probably needed to restock their supply of Slim Jims and a Redbull to keep the party going.

Michael had just gotten off the phone with a police officer this time, giving the driver’s current location, when I decided I wanted to stop the guy if he tried getting back in his car. All I needed was a, “Well, maybe,” from Michael but he was more hesitant than that (I’m not blaming him at all by the way.) A lot of people carry guns down there, and this guy definitely seemed the part and drunk enough to not think twice about doing it.

We continued to wait for the cops, then took off a few minutes later, immediately regretting not waiting longer and stopping the guy from getting back in. I don’t know if the cops ever got there in time. He was taking quite a while in the gas station, so it could have been possible. But Michael and I both felt like we made the wrong decision after we’d left. It had been getting late, we still had a ways to drive, and the next day was going to be an early morning with a full day of racing.

On the other hand, starting the weekend off in jail, kicked off our teams, too inured to race, sued, or shot dead wouldn’t be ideal, stopping that drunk idiot still would have been the right thing to do no matter what and we should have done it. I’m still kicking myself about it. One thing that played in my mind to justify not stepping in was the thought that maybe I was over-reacting and too-ready to get in a fight. This occurred to me due to the growing number of times I’ve gotten into it with drivers lately. But this time it was definitely a risk I should have taken.

Later, as we were driving and brooding over what we should have done, we came up with two potentially safe and crafty ways to make sure the guy got caught: 1) since his car was still running we could have snuck into the cab and taken the keys out and tossed them in the bushes 2) we could have blocked him in with Michael’s car, put our hood up, and pretended the car broke down right there behind the guy’s truck. That would have bought at least another 5 minutes for the cops to show up 3) take a brick and smash his skull in once he stepped out of the store. Next time.

Okay, now onto the racing:

The first stage the next morning, Saturday, was a super short (too short) circuit race. The lap was 3 miles long with terrible pavement and two rollers. I spent quite a bit of time off the front in various moves, solo for some, in groups of 3-4 for others. With 2 laps to go I attacked with a couple guys, attacked them once the field was right behind us, got bridged up to, then attacked those guys once the field was behind us again then soloed for a mile or so. Three more guys came up to me and we rolled pretty well for the next 3/4ths of a lap until the field was on us again and we were caught with 2km to go. One guy snuck away from me and kept on going and made it to 200 meters but got swarmed by the field. Since the finish was into a headwind up a small riser, positioning was important. I got boxed in, as did most people, and had to coast twice going up the hill in the last 150 meters. Stupid. I got around a few guys finally and wound up 10th. This was a points-based stage race so placing well in every stage was important. Points went: 1st=25pts, 2nd,=24pts, 3rd=23pts, et-cetera, et-cetera all the way down to 1 point for 25th place.

I felt good in the circuit race. It felt really easy. I was happy about this especially since I wasn’t sure how my legs were going to recover from the previous workouts that week. You see, now that I don’t work I have a lot of time to train hard. I have been putting this time to good use, and rode for 4 to 4.5 hours Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday, only taking one day easy on Friday. During those three days on, I performed super secret top secret ultra secret training. Okay this is what I did: 20 minutes of V02 intervals each day, followed by upper zone 2 and lower zone 3 for the remaining hours. I’m taking this training regime out of The Sencenboss’ play book, stacking small to medium blocks of V02 back to back. The third day of it was actually my best day, which is always very encouraging.


So anyways, after a solid two weeks of training with only a couple rest days, I still felt good for Saturday’s circuit race. Would I feel good for the TT that early afternoon? Does a Kennett eat 2,000+ calories during a free Best Western continental breakfast???

The answer is and was yes. I felt good for the TT. It was short at just six minutes, and constantly turning and rolling over small risers. There was a bit of a cross tailwind out, then a bit of a cross headwind back. I hammered over every little bump and went a bit easier on the downs, and pretty much wimped out on the corners since I hadn’t pre-ridden it, not that anyone else had either and not that it was very technical. I need to spend more time in my aerobars, that’s for sure.

I got 2nd, 4 seconds off Kristian House of Rapha Condor and 0.2 seconds ahead of 3rd place Rob Chrisman of 787 Racing. House didn’t have a TT bike, and hearing that was kind of disappointing. But then again, it wasn’t too much of a TT-bike necessary course, or so I’ll tell myself.

Michael and I hung out in the hotel room, which was free thanks to the race promoter, until Mike, Adam, and Collin showed up, all three were racers and friends of Michael who were going to stay with us that night. I slept with Mike and Michael slept with Collin. Adam took an air mattress on the ground, though I had a very vivd dream that I was snuggling with a black bear late that night. This is Adam:


Not unlike a bristly black bear now that I think about it…

For dinner we went to the Mesquite BBQ pit. I asked the waitress what brisket was. She looked at me like I was a genuine dummy. I ordered brisket, which had been slow cooked for over 24 hours, with a side of french fries and mashed potatoes. Pillowy mounds.

The food was amazing and plentiful. I also ate at least half of Michael’s fired ocher. I thoroughly enjoyed all these new kinds of authentic ethnic food that I’d never had before. We went back home to the hotel room and watched the Olympics, which have been great this year. Speed skating and cross country in specific.

The next morning was way too early. It happened at 5:45. I’d smashed a waffle with peanut butter and honey, eggs, sausages, three cups of coffee, and one more cup of coffee within 20 minutes and we were in the car driving to the course 15 minutes later.

The race started at a ridiculous 7:35. Just barely light out. Cold. Groggy. Everyone was sleeping on the saddle. I went with the first attack right when the neutral section was up.

One guy had drifted off the front. Michael followed. Another guy sprinted up to them and I jumped on his wheel. The four of us began rotating through and pretty quickly seven more joined us. The rotation was a bit slow, but at the front we were doing over 400 watts so I figured the chase behind would have to really ramp up to catch us before we had a solid and insurmountable gap. I was correct, somewhat, and within a few miles our gap was already 30 seconds and soon over a minute.

We slowed down to my dismay. Somehow we lost a guy despite the tempo pace we were going. I knew if we could just smash it for 20 miles our gap would be well over five minutes and the race would be over for the guys behind us, but there were too many soft-pedaling pussies in the break.

A little bit about the course: it was 24 miles long and we were to do three laps. It was flat except for a small hill that was 2 minutes long. The rest was false flat and windy, especially the last six or seven miles of the course coming into the finish. There were hot spot sprints at the finish line for the first two laps, plus a hot spot KOM, also for GC points, the second time up the climb. I was sitting 4th on GC, 1 point behind 3rd and 2nd place, who were tied, and 8 points behind House, who was 1st. Looking around, I realized that none of those guys were in the group with me. All I had to do was get a few points during the KOM or hot spot sprints, which wasn’t even necessary actually, and make sure the group stayed away, and then I’d win the overall, which was my main goal since the payout was pretty good. $500 for first, $400 for 2nd, and $300 for 3rd. It paid all the way to 10th place, and for a regional race like this that’s pretty darn good in my book. If you win the GC at an NRC it’s only 2 grand so 500 bucks here is great and would easily cover all my expenses and I’d be able to come away with a good profit. Now that my paycheck is considerably smaller than when I was working at SmartEtailing, these things matter.

I took extra pulls but our gap was hovering dangerously low at the half way point at just over a minute. It had been hovering between 50 seconds and 2 minutes for a while. I wanted to just smash it on the front but knew that I’d just drop the weaker guys and make everyone else tired and pissed off, then I’d be out all alone or with only one or two people on a course that demanded a big break from the wind. There was nothing I could really do except take extra pulls and try to keep the group’s motivation up with help from a couple of the other stronger riders.

I got badly beaten for the first hot spot sprint since I went way too early, thinking a red banner was the finish line, only to realize that it was the 500m to-go sign.

Someone crashed in the feed zone right after the sprint. His teammate, who had been sitting on like the guy who crashed, refused to pull anymore at all. We verbally abused him until he did. Sorry buddy, but if you’re going to sprint for the hot spot points and win them, you have to pull. It’s so stupid when someone thinks they have the right to sit on, do zero work, and still go for sprints or try to win at the end. Just dishonest in my opinion and I’d hate to win like that. I wouldn’t even consider it a win. It’s like cheating.

Back in the field House and the other strong guys were keeping our gap in check. I got beaten on the KOM, which was surprising to me, and only took 2nd. My kick is still lagging quite a bit, though it’s certainly made some leaps and bounds in the last couple weeks. I’m confident it will be back up to full strength in another month.

We were almost caught at the second hot spot sprint at the end of the second lap, with our gap dipping down to 40 seconds, but we held the chase off once again. I took 3rd in the hot spot sprint, so one point there and three for the KOM meant I was in an okay position to win the overall, assuming at least a couple of us stayed away to the finish on that last lap. This was not to be.

We dropped more guys and by the time we got to the climb on the last lap a chase with all the strongest guys was just 15 seconds behind us. I went hard up the climb but was caught at the top. Our groups merged and reshuffled up the climb, with Michael getting a flat and most of the original break getting dropped. Now, with half a lap to go it was a new group of 9 that would contest the win. House was there, as were the other top GC guys, including Jason Waddell of Tulsa Wheelmen, Mat Stephens of Bone Shaker, Michael Mull of Team US, and Derek Wilkerson of Elbowz. So there went my chance of winning the overall, now that House was in the group. I knew that no matter what he’d be able to get at least 3rd in the sprint, probably better, which would give him enough points to take the overall win even if I took the stage. So now my goal was to hang onto 2nd GC and forget about going for the stage win. I wanted the GC placing, ie the money, which made me race more conservatively than I normally would have, which inevitably lost me the stage and 2nd on GC.

We worked together for the most part over the next five miles, then the attacks began. I only followed. I didn’t think anything would get away since the best sprinter, Waddell, had a strong teammate, Gibson Winfield, to pull it all back together. All I needed was 4th anyways. Stephens slipped off the front during that attacks and we all looked at each other for too long and he was gone with 2K to go. Then I completely botched the sprint by sitting 2nd wheel in the headwind behind a laboring Gibson, who was pulling his brains out for his teammate, and I got passed by just about everyone with 200+ meters to go. The acceleration from behind me was so strong and sudden that they were already going practically twice my speed when they came around. I stood no chance, even if I’d been able to whip out 1300 watts for 10 seconds, which I cannot do. My tactics were just terrible. I wound up 7th on the stage and a miserable 3rd overall, just one point off of 2nd, which was why I consider it to be so miserable. God I raced that last couple of miles so stupid. So, so stupid. I can hardly believe it. Earlier in the race I was confident that I’d win the stage and the overall, but ended up not doing either. At least it wasn’t due to my legs. With every race you grow a little wiser and hopefully a little stronger. Or maybe a little more brain damaged and a little more fatigued. One of the two.

To the promoters of the Iris Stagner Memorial Stage Race: well done! It was a great race, fun courses, great payout, and all around a terrific event. Thank you.

But wait I’m not done. The trip didn’t end there. It should have. That should have been the end of this blog post but there’s a big old rant coming up instead:

Frontier Airlines royally fucked me over. So fucking hard. God damnit I’m still angry about it. Here’s what happened. I booked my return flight to Denver for March instead of February. I learned this when I called them up, wondering why I couldn’t check into my flight online (in order to so save $5 for pre-paying my bikes). This was the second time I’ve chosen the wrong month to fly home. The way Frontier has their shitty website set up actually makes it easier for you to choose the wrong month. Don’t believe me? Well you haven’t flown Frontier that many times have you? The cost to fix this mistake? $265. The cost of my original two-way ticket? $188. There went breaking even for the weekend.

I spent about 20 minutes on the phone with two Frontier agents, venting my furry at them and telling them how the company they’re employed by is a greedy, money-pinching, immoral corporation that doesn’t care about anything except a profit and that anyone and everyone that stands in the way of this will get screwed over. I expect they already knew this though.

After I’d regretfully paid for the new bullshit ticket, Michael and his fiance Jesse took me to a bar in what I want to call “Uptown” Dallas, though I have no clue what it was called. Uptown suites it though. It was a combination Harley Davidson/hipster street, lined with cool, weird looking bars and restaurants. It was sunny and warm out, only like 4:30 or so. There, we met Philip, who’s a mutual friend of ours, and Michael’s boss. I was drunk after half a beer. My anger was virtually gone thanks to this magic potion. My blood pressure went down to a healthy 180 over 140. I ate a hamburger. Total calm.

Luckily Michael was paying attention to the time and we got to the airport at 6PM, still warm and sunny out in Dallas, headed home once again to the cold most likely. My state of euphoria was holding strong (the buzz was still there in other words). At security TSA took my forgotten honey bear for sandwiches out of my backpack. “Explosive device.” “Drugs.” “Immoral child porn.” One of those things most likely. An almost full bear of honey straight to the trash. I held my calm. My left eye twitched a little, but I’d previously decided to be extra courteous to people for the rest of the day in order to say screw you to the gods who were trying to make my life hard by messing up my ticket and making me pay almost $300 for a new one.

In the airport I let other people go ahead of me in lines, I made way for people with their heads buried in their iphones as we walked towards each other in the terminal, as opposed to what I normally do, which is walk straight at them until they move or slam into me. I even smiled. SMILED. Smiled at the airport. I was being super nice.

Then I went to the bathroom and the god damn, stupid fucking piece of shit god damn automatic sink faucet wouldn’t stay on for more than a half second at a time. I snapped. The transformation was instantaneous. I growled and cursed and spat and from then on I took my anger out on everyone within a Kennett square foot radius. I purposefully farted non stop on the plane. I battled with the fat guy next to me who actually needed the arm rest because he couldn’t fit his arm beside him. I made sure he couldn’t sleep by bumping his arm constantly and nudging his arm off of it. I put my seat back immediately, even before take off so the person behind me had less room. I glared at the flight attendants for no apparent reason. I farted more. After the flight, back in the Denver terminal, I walked straight into people who wouldn’t get out of my way. I was dragging two huge bike boxes first off all so THEY should have been the ones to move out of MY way. After a long bus ride to Boulder, a half hour wait in at a cold, windy bus stop, then another bus ride up to north Boulder, I was finally home. Adelaide met me there at that final stop to help me drag my bike boxes the last 1/8th of a mile home just before midnight. My raging was over, all my anger had been ‘gifted’ to roughly three dozen other human beings that had the displeasure of encountering me. That’s the only way to get rid of anger, to leave it behind for others to deal with.

Which leads me to wonder, how does anger and hate in the world continue to grow? Shouldn’t there have been a set amount of it at the beginning of time, only allowing it to just get passed around from person to person? Kind of like how much water is on earth. The mass stays the same but transfers from point to point, atmosphere, to ocean, to glacier, to lake, to tears, back to atmosphere, etc.

But no, this is not how hate and misery and anger exist. Hate grows. I believe it grows with every new person brought into the world, not because people are inherently evil, but because with every new person, the earth becomes a little more crowded, a little more inconvenient, a little more stuffy…sort of like being in a tight-packed plane. All that crowding is converted, bit by bit, into hate and anger and evil. That’s how it grows. Eventually it will run out. As with everything, it requires energy to multiply or gain momentum, and the universe’s entropy will at some point in time max out and everything will be still. I think.

But wait there’s more. Gotta get that word count up to 4,000. Before I’m done I want to point out that anger isn’t always a bad thing. Going about your life without feeling any anger towards anything is a sign of weakness, naivety, gullibility, ignorance, and denial. It’s a boring person who feels this sort of contentedness with the status quo. I’ve always thought that reaching a state of peace is for the frail at heart, a person with nothing left to prove or accomplish, a person without wonder or deep thought, someone who’s ready for their grave. Is real happiness even possible without anger? No.

A little bit, or a lot, of anger is necessary to reach goals, overthrow true evil, and to fight for what’s right (your right to party..duh). If you think the world is a good place, you’re not paying attention. We live lavishly only because we take and take and take and make billions of others suffer. “The poor have more now than the rich had back in the Dark Ages,” you say. Yes I agree, but for better or worse, humans base their own happiness on what others surrounding them have. They give value to their lives based on what they contribute to their community and the world, not on the basis that they have enough food to live on or a roof over their heads, though, of course, a lot of people don’t even have those two things.

I’m reading Kurt Vonnegut right now, or I was on the plane the other day, and I came upon this passage of dialogue between two characters that helped me cope with my own anger just a bit and to remind me that anger can be used for good, not just farting on the people to my left and right in order to bring them down to my level:

(I emboldened the part that has to do with anger. The second half is just plain hilarious).

“Doesn’t he believe in psychiatry?”

“Yes, indeed. He watched his brother find peace of mind through psychiatry. That’s why he won’t have anything to do with it.”

“I don’t follow. Isn’t his brother happy?”

“Utterly and always happy. And my husband says somebody’s just got to be maladjusted; that somebody’s go to be uncomfortable enough to wonder where people are, where they’re going, and why they’re going there. That was the trouble with his book. It raised those questions, and was rejected. So he was ordered into public-relations duty.”

“So the story has a happy ending after all,” said Halyard.

“Hardly. He refused.”


“Yes. He was notified that, unless he reported for public-relations duty by yesterday, his subsistence, his housing permit, his health and security package, everything, would be revoked. So today, when you came along, I was wandering around town, wondering what on earth a girl could do these days to make a few dollars. There aren’t many things.”

“This husband of yours, he’d rather have his wife a. –Rather, have her–“Halyard cleared his throat “–than go into public-relations?”

“I’m proud to say,” said the girl, “that he’s one of the few men on earth with a little self-respect left.”

(They’re talking about prostitution in case you didn’t pick up on it)

Osmo Hydration: products I actually believe in


You may have heard me ranting and raving about Osmo last year. Here’s why:

A) It works.

B) See A.

Like many of you, I’ve used pretty much everything out there in terms of hydration mixes. Some of it tastes ridiculously sweet, some of it messes your stomach up, and some of it actually makes you perform better. Osmo falls into that last category, which is why I’m endorsing it. Instead of injecting a plethora of nasty, artificial fluorescent food coloring to attract hummingbirds (hummingbirds are color blind by the way), or shoveling in a bunch of sugar, Osmo actually made a product that works. It’s a salty solution with just a touch of sugar and natural flavor. They made it with easy-on-the-stomach, high-quality trisodium citrate, as opposed to cheap sodium chloride (regular old table salt that messes up your stomach).

The result is a very mild-tasting, yet highly potent drink that I can actually feel making me perform better and last longer. No, I’m not talking about Viagra.

I’ll be using all three of their Men’s products next year (I swear I’m not talking about Viagra), including my favorite, PreLoad. I used it from March through September last year for every race I did, plus a lot of training days as well. As a plasma expander (the natural and legal kind), it vastly increases your body’s water supply for hot days, while improving oxygen transport at the same time. Doubly whammy.

The Active Hydration and Acute Recovery are amazing as well. Get edumucated and entertained with these videos that describe how each product works.


Active Hydration:

Acute Recovery:

Osmo formulated each of these for their Women’s line of products as well, making them the first and only company to make the distinction between men and women when it comes to hydration:

Women’s Overview:

I contacted Osmo founder Stacy Sims last year before Philly and got her to shed some light on her heat training protocol, which I’ve talked about here on this blog before but I think it’s so awesome I’ll talk about it again. If you’re going to be competing in any hot races this year (especially if you’re coming from someplace cooler) or you just want an overall boost in fitness for any event, I recommend it. It’s not easy but it worked for me multiple times last year.

13 days before your event, begin the dry sauna training, which sounds easy but is pretty miserable after riding for five hours or however long your workout was. You sit in the sauna for 20-30 minutes right after each ride for 7 days in a row. Go as soon as you can after your ride. I just park my bike at the rec center, grab a towel on the way in, shower off, and I’m in the sauna within five minutes of finishing my workout. Don’t rehydrate before going in though. Counterintuitive? Yes. Only consume enough liquid to get your recovery drink down.

Sit high up in the sauna (which should be between 170-180 degrees) for as long as you can, only coming down to the lower benches if and when you have to. When you get out, don’t take a cold shower. Take a warm one. More importantly, don’t consume huge amounts of water at once when you get out. Don’t chug. Slowly rehydrate for the next 3-4 hours so the heat stress you just put yourself through doesn’t go to waste. You want your body to suffer and adapt to the suffering, just like in training. This is crucial and a bit miserable. Remember, you only have to make it through a week of this. Using all three Osmo products during this phase, especially the PreLoad, helped keep me feeling strong enough to make it through the next day of this miserable heat acclimation.

Stop five days before your event to let your hydration levels bounce back and your body super-compensate with extra plasma stores, more red blood cells, and increased capillary density. I recommend doing a practice run of this protocol during training a few months before your target race, just to make sure your body can handle it, similar to how you shouldn’t use new equipment for the first time on race day. If any of you try this, let me know how it goes and how your event went in the comments section since I’m interested to know if it works for everyone.

PS hummingbirds are not colorblind, you big dumb idiot.

First races of the year

And the prognosis is: I’m slow as fuck. Maybe not quite that slow, but pretty close to it. Maybe as slow as some hot, wet foreplay. As per usual, I’ve over inflated my ego and came down here expecting to win. Win big at the UofA crit and Oracle road race. What was I basing my form on? I’m not sure, but I guess my own Strava rides and the form of other guys who’ve been riding in the ice. Sorry Boulderites, but we’re WAY out of shape compared to the southern belles down here in Arizona. Yes, the Gateway ride is sorta fast at times, but dang the Shootout must be cookin right now because these boys is on fire! My only consolation to getting my ass pounded this hard is that it’s only February. I hate it when people use that lame excuse “well it’s only December,” “well it’s only February,” “well it’s only July.” Eventually you need to be fast. When? At races. This weekend had races, so to the winners: good on ya’ mate, as they say in Sweden.

After a hectic Friday, which was my last day of work, Adelaide and I flew down to Tucson late at night. We timed it perfectly, right in between Colorado’s stupid snowstorms. Quinn Keogh picked us up in his sweet liveable Elk Van with a bed in the back, dark curtains on the windows, and a sign that says free candy if you’re under 48 inches. (48 inches tall, get your mind out of the gutter).

The instigator of this trip was Adelaide, or more accurately, Adelaide’s desire to have me at her first race, you know, to give her sound tactical advice.

Saturday at noon: I spent a lot of time yelling at her from corner 1 to stop pulling and get off the front. She spent 20 minutes of her 30 minute crit dragging the remnants of her field around, only to be out-sprinted in the end. Wait, you can’t just ride hard and expect everyone to drop off your wheel or crash? Who woulda’ thunk? This isn’t a triathlon, Adelaide.


Adelaide sitting on the front.

After the race, I told her that she spent way too much time in the wind, pulling without attacking, to expect a good result, though she still ended up 9th so it wasn’t like it was a complete flop.

Then, in the afternoon, disregarding my own advice, I did almost the exact same thing. My first mistake was lining up at the back, thinking that I’d ease into it for the first 10 minutes then start attacking…probably lap the field once or twice, solo. Nothing too he-manish, just enough to get in a good workout and let everyone know a new sheriff had come to town. Instead, the race broke apart on lap two because of a medium-strength crosswind. I spent half an hour working through small groups to get to the front. By then it was no longer the front, since a three-man breakaway was half a lap up with all three teams represented.

Still intent on getting that workout in, I ‘pulled an Adelaide’ and just sat on the front of whatever group I was with at the time and got 7th, just after being lapped by the winning break. Good way to start the season, new sheriff!


Picking my way through the pieces.


Sitting on the front.

1656436_1418852995019961_1510786085_nQuinn attacking and dropping me.

7th was out of the money of course, meaning that it was up to Quinn and his $4.50 to buy the post ride Costco pizza/frozen yogurt/chicken bake/and king-size chorro (sp?). If you weren’t aware, you can get diabetes on the cheap at Costco.

Day two was much better. Not in terms of results but because it was a road race on a hard course with some good competition and I was ready to crush it! Ha.

The course was downhill for seven miles, rolling and flat for six, and uphill/rolling/and false flat uphill for the last seven miles. We were to do four laps for a total of 80 miles.

I got dropped hard. At the end of lap three, my legs, lungs, and heart could take no more. They’d had it. I’d been at my limit for roughly the entire race at that point and one little kicker before the end of that third lap shed me out the back of the peloton. The “peloton” being eight guys at that point, but still, it was humbling. I’ve got some work to do in order to get fast again. Judging from my current base, though, I don’t feel like it will take long, which is the good news.

The strong men of the race included a super ridiculously revamped Smart Stop squad, Landis Trek, and Conor Mullervy of Champ Systems, who was the culprit for dropping me that third lap. Bastard. Smart Stop went one-two with Josh Berry soloing for two full laps and Cameron Cogburn attacking with five miles to go, leaving Conor to sprint for third. I rolled in a long time later for 10th.

More importantly, Adelaide won her race after accidentally dropping the last woman left standing. She’s going to be fast, folks. Very fast.

1623786_1419101078328486_1608034509_n3rd place was too ashamed to show her face.

After our races, we jump started Quinn’s van for the ride home and took a quick stop off at my favorite grocery store of all time, Sprouts. Back at Quinn and Allie’s house, we cooked up some delicious backyard barbeque and downed three bottles of cheap wine by the fire pit. It was a grand old time and probably my favorite moment of the weekend.

My almost equally favorite moment was the six-hour ride the following day on Mt. Lemmon: 11,500 feet of climbing,108 miles, 5,600 kilojoules. I was feeling the previous two days of racing, but not too much since my power was decent and my energy levels were pretty solid.

Adelaide and I rode to the base and did the bottom 20 minutes together so I could help pace her 20-minute test. She set yet another record but kept the vomit down this time. From there I went on alone to milepost nine 4 times, then once to milepost four. The weather was great. 65 degrees at the base and 50 up above for most of the day. There were almost no cars, making for a quiet, dry, pleasantly lonely day of tempo riding. I had my new playlist “Thomas’ Winter Mix 2014” so I was entertained for hours.

Heading home, I’d gone through all 1,300 calories of my food at 5.5 hours and realized a very hard bonk was quickly approaching. Fortunately Tucson has plenty of fast obesity establishments to choose from once you get off Catalina highway, each conveniently located twice every 10 feet in every direction. I chose the McDonalds on Tanque Verde.

Within 4 minutes I’d gone from pushing 300 watts with ease to a rapidly deteriorating state that included but was not limited to massive loss of brain power, blurred vision, profuse sweating despite being slightly chilled, and of course complete lack of sound decision-making capabilities (see choice of food establishment). It still wasn’t a full on bonk. But just 10 more minutes would have been a disaster.

I stumbled through the doors and slid across the just-mopped and still slippery floors, regained my balance, and the smell hit my nostrils. I decided right then and there that I’d buy EVERYTHING. ‘Dear gods of grease, I thank thee for providing this bounty of happiness. I shall take every hormone-laden meat patty, every fat-drenched Freedom fry, and all of the chocolate dipped cones and, as quickly as possible, I shall stuff them into every open orifice I see fit and be happy and everything will once again be good and right in the world.’ But I only had two bucks.

In America, $2 still buys unlimited calories. Within 87 seconds of being handed my soda cup, I’d chugged 190 tablespoons-worth of sugar in the form of strawberry Fanta and was cured immediately. I cruised the rest of the way home slightly faster than the speed of traffic and could have kept going for another two hours at the same pace, no problem. My endurance, ladies and gentlemen, is not the issue.

Tuesday morning in Tucson means the Tuesday morning ride, similar to the Shootout but smaller, shorter, and without as much firepower. It’s still fast though, and great training for a tempo-legged northerner like myself. Adelaide, Quinn, and I woke up way too early and were out the door at a dark and chilly 7:10 AM. We met the group on campus and picked up riders along the route as we slowly made our way through town to the backside of Gate’s Pass.

With approximately 60-70ish riders, it wasn’t a big turnout. Quinn said they’ve been getting over 200 on the Shootout lately and over 100 on the Tuesday morning ride. I think Tucson is once again become THE place in the States for training camps and general winter riding.

I’ll cut to the chase though. I won. Yep I won the Tuesday ride, taking a commanding yet uncomfortable lead on the final steep pitches of the climb up Gate’s Pass for the big W. Mission accomplished, folks. Season complete. Time to pack it up and start planning for 2015. Resume has been updated; please contact my agent and send me the papers to sign once the contract is hashed out. I won’t entertain the idea of anything less than 700K (euros).

photo 1 (1)Putting in some extra miles after the Tuesday morning ride.

Tuesday afternoon, as I write this from the airplane, was unfortunately our last day in the beautifully sunny and warm Southwest. We’re headed for the snow and four-degree temps of Colorado, about 18,000 minutes too soon if you ask me. I certainly wouldn’t complain if we were forced to stay in Tucson for another five or six weeks, training by day, racing by weekend, and sitting by the fire pit in the Keogh’s backyard by night, watching their wild dog, Lola, run rampant circles around us all like only a true desert beast can.