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Sunday, July 31, 2011

Two Book Reviews

For Father's Day my son gave me two cycling books: Bike Snob by Bike Snob and Come & Gone by Joe Parkin.

In my opinion Bike Snob is for neo-cyclists. It was a bit interesting here and there, but if the reader has any cycling experience there isn't much to be learned here. The one thing I found interesting is that Bike Snob doesn't mind if drivers honk their horns at him; it lets him know that the driver sees him. A honking horn can mean a few things. Most of the time it's just annoying, but it could actually mean something for the safety of all.

On the other hand, Come & Gone was a much better read. That being said, I was a bit disappointed in a few places and this book was not as good as Parkin's first book, Dog In A Hat which was actually very interesting; so much so I think I will read it again.

Come & Gone covers Parkin's professional career after returning to the U.S. having spent the previous six years in Europe racing. He really has a tough time of it only experiencing success in mountain bike racing. I would have liked to have seen more about his time with the Coor's Light Team.

There were two things I was able to take away from the the book. First, rider support makes all the difference between a podium and simply finishing a race. Second, the support people rarely lie to the racer. When the rider is having a bad day, the support people feel his pain and it shows on their faces too.

My heart really went out to Joe as he struggles to make a living in the U.S. bicycle racing. He seems to have more than his share of bad luck. But then again, Joe seems to be the type of rider that is either "on" or "off"; there is very little middle ground. It's like the stars have to line up just so in order for him to give a good performance. His bad days outnumber his days.

While I don't think this book is as good as Dog In A Hat it is still worth the time to read.

Friday, July 8, 2011

The Sun Has Not Been Good To Me

A week ago from today I had surgery on my lip to remove skin cancer. I have spots all over my body that is some form of skin cancer. I regularly have to get some of these spots tended to by a doctor. Well, what started off as chapped lips turned out to be more serious and actually required surgery which also meant general anaesthesia. I was being told that this was pretty serious and needed attention right away. A week later the swelling has gone down, but my lip still hurts and it is a chore to eat. I've lost almost 5 lbs. which I'm sure I will gain back once I can get my body back on a routine. Right now my body is out of sync.

Having surgery also meant time off the bike. It was recommended I stay off the bike 2-3 weeks. I asked why and the reason is to avoid a crash and avoid breaking my lip open; otherwise I could ride my bike.

On weekend rides I try to be home by 11am to get out of the sun. Now that summer is here I try to get home even earlier. I have to avoid the sun. Sure, I put on sun screen, but I quickly sweat that off. I'm afraid that at some point I will have to wear long sleeves even during the summer to minimize the damage to my skin.

I rode this past Wednesday with the Firestone group. I got dropped. I couldn't keep up. I was very tired and I should have warmed up first. I was hoping for an easy ride, but it was not to be with the 22mph pace. I couldn't believe how much I was suffering.

I tried riding again last night with better results. I rode for an hour with two friends and my son. The pace was more relaxed and I felt good. I still suffered a bit towards the end of the ride going up Scenic Hwy. but I felt good. Thanks for a nice ride guys.

Today my son and I head to the Dick Lane Velodrome in Atlanta for a weekend of racing. I hope to get some good pictures this time and write about it next week some time with pictures.

To my cycling friends, I hope you have good rides this weekend and keep safe.