Tag Archives: Craig Lewis

Welcome the British invasion

The Tour of Missouri is showing itself to be quite the event.  The crowds have been more than respectable and the racing interesting in its own right.  Perhaps the experience would be even better for those of us watching on Universal, but there is no doubt that I’m enjoying the one man British invasion.

It will be interesting to see how the race unfolds.  With 93 riders within one minute of the leader, time bonuses have been the only way to improve your position.  Will this continue to the end, or will some sort of break switch things up in the next five stages?  With Vande Velde out, it opens up stage five for an interesting finish in the individual time trial.

Then again, today could be a deciding day as the peloton moves into the Ozarks.  It ain’t the Alps, but the profile looks like a saw blade!  6000 feet of climbing over undulating terrain can be painful in a different kind of way.  Last year Michael Barry soloed to the win.

One thing is for certain, we get spoiled by the television coverage of the Tour de France.  Both finishes so far have been somewhat obstructed.  It almost made it more interesting to read about Cavendish’s finishes than to watch them.  I miss that overhead view where you get do analyze the decisions made by the various sprinters.

Hey! I’m not complaining though! Seeing any of the race sure beats not having anything at all.  Thank you, Universal Sports!

What can you say about that Manx Missile – Man from Man – the British Invasion?  The Columbia-HTC team is strong, but not as overwhelming as they were in the Tour de France.  From what I can tell, Cav has had to do a little more of his own work in the closing moments of the race. Yesterday’s stage was a prime example when he launched from Thor’s wheel rather than a teammate’s.

Now that is to take nothing away from the Columbia-HTC team.  They may be ranked third in the team classification, but there is no doubt they are in control.  It was good to see Craig Lewis doing yoeman’s work to put his man in position.

George is looking really good in his red, white, and blue.  However, I do wonder if he will only get stronger as the tour progresses.  I would imagine he is just getting his stage race legs back after being off the bike for so long.  I want to see how he does in stage 5.

Oh, I wasn’t listening at this point.  Perhaps it was explained, but what was Craig Lewis doing with his water bottle and front tire?  He pulled his water bottle out and then placed it lightly on the front tire.  He then moved it back and forth a bit.  Was he trying to clean something off of the tire?  Maybe he was trying to cool it down to get some more grip. 🙂

Bottom line, it is good to see another American race see some success.

Going batty and a couple more things

I last rode my bike Friday.  Saturday I took my sons to a little amusement park, and now on Monday morning I’m still feeling it.  I guess I can’t just jump in and do things like I used to.

The ride was somewhat of a disappointment.  You may recall that Friday’s ride was supposed to be my attempt at my best 60 min peak power reading.  On Monday I had finished my warm-up ride with a reading of 276 watts.  Tuesday was a long ride that I believe took more out of me than I planned.  Wednesday was a short spin while Thursday was a little longer, but very much a recovery ride.

I thought things were going very well as I started out on that Friday.  The earlier attempt taught me a few things and I was trying to use that knowledge.  At 20 minutes I was averaging 294 watts.  By 30 minutes in I was at a 297 watts average.  Then it started going downhill.

It was about this time the heat (it was 92 degrees with high humidity) started to get to me.  That was a big difference between Friday and Monday.  Monday’s ride was wonderful.  This one was not.

I was now riding in survival mode.  The goal was to maintain as much of that average as possilbe.  I knew I wasn’t going to build on it.

With 10 minutes to go I was hanging around 271 watts.  At that point I couldn’t remember what my earlier average was.  Was it 265 or 275?  Turns out I ended up right smack between those two numbers.  It was a bit disappointing to only end up with my second best 60 minute reading.  Still, that was two attempts in one week with only a 5 watt drop off.

Saturday I was thinking about all my friends riding in the Caesars Head Challenge.  I really would have liked to have ridden in the first ever (though I am sure not the last) event.  My plans for the day were to take my boys to a little amusement park in the morning and then return home to Greenville after spending a last few hours with my family.

We started off with some minature golf.  I was playing with my brother-in-law and my two nephews.  My boys and their cousin, who is their age, were playing in their own group.  Needless to say, I got beat.  I got behind by a stroke early and then started taking chances in order to try to get back.  Wrong move.

Next, I helped my boys give the batting cages a swing.  I was proud of the way Thing Two got in there and took it to those 40 mph pitches.  Up to this point he had only received pitches from his coach in coaches pitch.  He is going to be ready to move up next year.

My older nephews talked me into getting into their cage where they were swinging at 80 mph balls.  I got one of the first four.  Then I started to figure out the timing and started getting a piece of about everyone that came at me.  A couple were even very solid hits.

Then it was on to go-karts.  That was very fun!  All in all it was a very fun morning and well worth the time I spent with my guys.  However, all weekend I’ve been suffering.

The batting cage did me in.  In college I had taken up tennis.  One day I was rushing and went out to practice my serve.  I didn’t warm up and then got a little frustrated about my placement.  So, I kept serving one ball after another.  My shoulder started to bother me a bit, but I kept at it.  Bottom line is I ended up messing up my right shoulder.  Now I have to be very careful throwing a ball or doing anything that requires me to rotate my arm above my head.

It didn’t cross my mind that I needed to be careful swinging a bat!  However, yesterday I ended up on medication and spread out on the couch.  Both of my shoulders were causing me pain.  They are slightly better this morning, but I’m walking around like a stiff board in order not to move them very much.

I do want to give a shout for our man Craig Lewis.  He had a very good showing in the Dauphiné Libéré coming home 24th overall.  That was ahead of some of the stage winners.

Cyclingnews.com has changed up their site again.  It will take me a little to get used to it, but my initial response is that it is an improvement.  They still have some formating issues to clean up.

Last week, Kirk Flinte mentioned on his blog that the DVD’s of the documentary on George Hincapie would be available within five to ten days.  I get the feeling that we may find them ready for purchase this week.  Should be an interesting watch.

Can you believe that the Tour de France is less than a month away?  Wow.  There will certainly be some interesting story lines for this one.  I’m looking forward to it.

This saddle rocks!

It is about time for a Random Page of the Day installment… and do I mean random!

I love me Specialized Toupe saddle.  It is a little scratched up and not so pretty anymore, but it is like a comfortable old friend.  I’m afraid to ever switch to another saddle for fear of the uncomfortable consequences.

Guess I’m not a Real Man.  If I were, I would want the Saddle for REAL MEN!  Somehow I think my relationship with such a saddle would be a little rocky.

Of course, this piece of humor comes from the ruminations of the late Sheldon Brown.  He always had a way to make sure cyclists didn’t take themselves too seriously.  Thanks to the Internet, his gifts to the bicycling world continue on.

On to other things… Upstate rider for Columbia-Highroad, Craig Lewis, is racing this week in the Tour of Romandie.  Yesterday was a time trial.  Craig finished 12 seconds behind his leader and teammate Frantisek Rabon.

I didn’t get out to Donaldson Center last night.  I heard it was a pretty tough one.  Would have liked to have been out there, but I have to remember to keep my priorities straight.  I love riding my bike, but there are more important things in life… I’m thinking primarily of the beautiful redhead and the Things Three.

Craig Lewis talks with Pez

You didn’t see him on the television yesterday, but Upstate rider Craig Lewis raced in the Liege-Bastogne-Liege race of last week.  Afterward he took time to talk with Ed Hood and ended up on PezCyclingNews.com this morning.  Check it out.

After doing his work, Craig came home 84th about 11 minutes back.  Of course, consider that was out of about 200 riders with 80 of them not finishing the race.  He was the fifth highest ranked Columbia-Highroad rider.

Great job, Mr. Lewis.  We’ll be following you in the Tour de Romandie.  Good luck!

I took a ride with Craig’s bike

After work Friday, I headed out on what I thought would be an easy spin around Cleveland Park.  Saturday was to be a long day in the saddle as I was to ride 5 hours in a fund raiser ride.  That isn’t too bad, except this five hours would going around in a one mile circuit.

While easily spinning along I came to a stop sign to turn right.  I thought I saw the shadow of a rider coming up behind me.  I made the turn and then the following turn onto Woodland Way to begin the climb.  That is when the rider came up beside me.

I glanced over and heard him say, “Nice bike.”  That, of course, made me look at his own bike.  It was a Giant and looked like a TCR Advanced frame.  However, there were numerous other markings on it that I didn’t decipher at the time.  “Yes, these Giants are very nice.  I love mine,” I replied.

We continued on talking about riding and racing.  Around one turn I asked him if the bike was an SL model.  Clay responded that indeed it was.  We went back to talking about various training methods and our plans for the year.

He asked me if I had raced any this year and I told him that I had only been able to do the River Falls race because of my broken pinkie.  He then asked me about the accident.  I told him the story and finished up by telling him that I rode up to the top of the mountain after the wreck with Craig Lewis.

He looked over at me and said, “This is his bike.”  I took a little closer of a look and realized those markings I couldn’t make out on the front fork were Team Highroad stickers.  Sure enough I looked closer and saw other sponsor logos.

Turns out Clay Jones is a member of the Hincapie Triathlon team and had taken a look at some of the Giant bikes that the local Hincapie Barkley team were releasing because of the bike sponsor change.  None of them worked well (the SL bikes have the integrated seat post).  There was another bike there that fit him perfectly.  It was Craig’s.

Craig was willing to sell and Clay got a pretty good deal on a very sweet bike.  There really wasn’t that much of a difference in the look of the two bikes.  The SL had the integrated seat post.  Our components were different and the SL was about a pound lighter.

Clay said that the bike pretty much had fallen in his lap and maybe he had spent a little more money than he had originally planned (that is not to say he didn’t get a VERY good deal), but it was worth it.  I told him that not only did he get a great bike, but he got a really cool story to go along with it.

By the way, Clay wore me out.  And so, that is how I ended up riding with Craig Lewis’ bike.  Hey, Craig, when you get ready to get rid of that Scott… give me a call!

Two lessons in a cycle shop

Got me some gift certificates to Sunshine Cycle Shop for my birthday! Beat it for the store as soon as I could break for lunch to see what goodness I could find to help celebrate. I had already gotten one cool and unexpected gift from the shop – more on that later here at LowCadence.com.

While there I was talking with shop owner, Mike McMillan. It was the first time I had been in the shop since getting my big bandage off, so I was showing Mike my stitches. “Oh, but it isn’t the broken finger that is so bad,” I exclaimed. “It is this road rash on my leg!”

I think I might have turned red soon after I said it because sitting near by was pro rider for Highroad-Columbia, Craig Lewis. He was there getting some shoes fitted with the Shimano vacuum-baking-thingie. I suddenly felt very foolish making much of my wounds.

If you know anything about Craig’s history you know he has had more than his share of road rash, broken bones, and more. It is a miracle he is on the bike today! Consider this from a 2008 article on Velonews.com:

Considered one of the top young U.S. prospects, Lewis nearly died when he plowed headfirst into an SUV that had turned onto the course during an 18-mile individual time trial at the 2004 Tour de Georgia.

The impact left Lewis with two punctured lungs and 47 broken bones, and threw his cycling career into jeopardy. Incredibly, Lewis was back on his bike eight weeks later and won the U23 national championship in 2006.

Enough said.

I ended up with a pair of long fingered gloves to replace my ripped ones and a wife-beater underlayer for when the warm weather comes around. The cool thing is I still have some funds to spend! I think I’ll save it for something bigger.

What I didn’t get (though I was VERY tempted) was the Reynolds Assault carbon fiber wheel set. I had the opportunity to get in on the POA Cycling Team purchase at a greatly reduced discount. Unfortunately, it would mean a snap decision and the draining of any discretionary cash. My heart screamed “Yes!” while my head sternly said “NO.” I followed my head — at 41 it is about time I did that.

I learned two lessons today. One about finances and the other about true grit. The first I came to myself and the second I was taught by Craig Lewis without him saying a word.

The Altamont Crash

I’m sitting here at 11 PM on Sunday night typing this while waiting for my medication to kick in.  It could take me a while since I am typing with one hand.  My left hand is elevated and bandaged because I have an unset broken finger.

My broken finger.

My broken finger.

This afternoon my brother-in-law, David, went up to the top of Paris Mountain to help me record going down the Furman side.  He would be piloting his BMW R-1100.  I would be riding my 2006 Specialized Allez with a compact crank.

The first pass went off without a hitch.  I’ll be putting up that video later.  However, just to make sure we had enough footage to work with, we decided to make another run.

We started down and soon came upon a truck.  I knew that would blow our opportunity so I slowed up and started coasting behind the truck.  Because I was going slow, I didn’t take my normal line.  Looking at the video I see I drifted toward the outside of the road where I would typically go near the yellow line.

You guessed it.  When starting to turn, the rear wheel caught the sandy asphalt on the side and started to go out beneath me.  I went into a slide and my hand and arm rolled under my body.  My first thought was that I had dislocated my pinkie, but it didn’t take long to realize it was broken.

I didn’t want to walk back to the car so I hopped back on my bike and started riding with one hand to the top.  As I started up who should ride up beside me other than Craig Lewis!  I’m reminded that it seems I’m always doing something embarrassing when I end up riding with Craig or George Hincapie.

Craig was super nice and we talked about his camp and the weather at the Tour of California.  I appreciated his offer of further help, but with my car at the top and David on his motorcycle I was set.  Good luck this year, Craig.  Hope to come across you again out there in better circumstances.

I got in my car and drove to the emergency room at St. Francis Hospital on Patewood.  By the time I got off Paris I was finally starting to feel the pain.  By the time we pulled up at the ER, my hand was beginning to shake.

I hid my finger when I walked in because I didn’t want to freak out people in the waiting room.  The nurse at the counter asked me if she could help me and was I there with someone in need.  I unveiled my finger and her expression changed.  “Wait just a moment,” she said “and the triage nurse will see you.”

Soon I was in a small room with one door opening to the waiting room and another to the ER.  As I sat there giving information and getting a blood pressure reading, I could see the technicians in their work area.  Different ones kept finding an angle to see my hand.  I could see it was a matter of great interest.

St. Francis was awesome.  They had me in to get my X-rays before the paperwork had even cleared.  The technicians were a hoot and made me laugh.  One called me “hardcore” for being able to laugh when my finger was in that state.  My “hardcoreness” started to fade when they had to put my hand in different positions.

I then lay down in a room to wait for the doctor.  That is when I started Twitting.  I didn’t have anything else to do and it seemed like a good story.  I realize now that it might have come across as seeking sympathy — and I am very thankful for the messages that came in.  However, my thoughts were, “Hey, it happened and now that it has it really is a pretty cool story for Low Cadence!”

I won’t bore you with the details, but suffice to say that the angle of the break and the pressure from my tendon pulling on it, made it so that the doctor could not set it.  “Will you have to go into it?” I asked.  ” I won’t,” she replied.  It was pretty obvious she thought someone would have to.  So, I am sitting here with a splint holding the pinkie in place against its neighbor until tomorrow when I go to a hand specialist.

At home I climbed into the shower with great fear and trembling.  The road rash was pretty bad.  It was worse than I thought it was going to be.  In the interest of keeping this site G rated, I will not be showing the rash.  I stifled my screams as I started cleaning out the asphalt and dirt.  Later, the lovely redhead did a masterful job of bandaging me.

Nearly an hour has passed since I started typing this.  The localized shots they gave me are fading.  The dull ache is coming back, but it is being masked by the pain killers.  I’m starting to feel really goooood.  Still, I don’t want to sleep because I know I am going to wake up with pain.

Enjoy the video.  Sorry it isn’t spectacular.

If you are reading this from some RSS readers or Facebook, you will need to visit LowCadence.com to see the video and picture contained in this post.

UWBL Ware Shoals Sprint

Before we get to the video from the Ware Shoals sprint, let me point you to this article on Velonews.com featuring Greenville pro, Craig Lewis. Andrew Hood sits down for a conversation with the young rider in his article, “Lewis: Ready for bigger and better things.” Sure hope we do see him get his wish.

The article mentions Lewis settling in Spain. I’m sure he’ll be heading there this season, but it was good to see him walking into a local bicycle shop recently just being a regular joe. He has to buy his fuel just like the rest of us.

Now, how about that sprint? The video is posted below. It was interesting for me because I have not participated in the sprint since last year and then I only did it once. I couldn’t recall much about it. That meant I didn’t have a proactive strategy. I was having to react to the group.

Overall I was pleased. I figure I finished about 10 riders back and was feeling good. Had I been able to anticipate the finish, I really think I could have done better. I’m slowly but surely learning to manage myself in the bunch. Now is the time to put myself out there over my head and make my mistakes.

More and more I am starting to stay longer with the big boys. I might not be able to beat them, but it gives me confidence going into this season racing in my own category. If I can hang with these guys, I should be able to hold my own against my category 4 competition.

Thanks for watching and reading! More LowCadence.com to come….

Video of Break the Chains of Cancer Ride

As I mentioned in yesterday’s post, there was a good amount of rain during the Breaking the Chains of Cancer ride.  Because of that, there isn’t a lot of video of the actual ride.  However, there is a bit as well as vido of the crowd beforehand.

You’ll find the Sullivans, George Hincapie, Criag Lewis, some of my P3 buddies, and lots of good-hearted Upstate cyclists.  Another great reason why Greenville, South Carolina and the Upstate is a wonderful place to live and ride.  I love covering it here at LowCadence.com.

I also realized today that it is the first day of winter.  What has that got to do with cycling?  Well, from here on out the days will only get longer!  For us recreational riders, that is important because we have to do much of our riding after work.

Can’t shake the embarrassment

What a morning!  It feels soooo good to be sitting here in a nice warm house.  After spending the morning riding my bicycle in the rain with mud flying up from the bikes in front of me, I’m happy to be home!

Still, it was worth it.  Over 200 cyclists came out for the ride organized to raise funds to help the Sullivan family fight the battle against cancer.  A special thanks to Blair LaMarche who arranged this event.

The day started off nearly perfect.  If the sun had been out, it would have been.  However, not long after we got started, the rains came.  There isn’t much to write about most of the ride.  A good amount was seen through squinting eyes or rain spattered glasses!

There is something about riding in those conditions that seems to bring the group together.  It is as though we are all suffering together in a common battle against the elements.  Of course, the purpose of the ride did a lot to help unify the group.

The only interesting thing that happened to me was something embarrassing.

It was cool having George Hincapie and Craig Lewis on the ride.  They rode along with us like any other regular guys out there.  Of course, that ride was just a warm up as they kept going after we all stopped once we reached the 65 mile mark.

Well, we started off the ride and the group split.  There were a good number of riders who were out ahead of my group.  At each stop light, we seemed to get caught and they were increasing the gap.

“I thought this was a charity ride,” I thought.  “Why are they increasing the gap?”  Finally, we reached a stretch where I knew they would not hit a light for sometime.  So, I went to the front and started pulling the group to catch them.

After a time, I heard a voice back behind me and then a rider came up along side me.  It was George.  I’m not sure exactly what he said, but it was something like “Calm down.  Ease up.”  As he said this he was holding his hand out motioning me to slow down.  “Well, they keep building a gap,” I defended myself.  “Don’t worry,” he replied with a smile, “We’ll catch them.”

Well, I was embarrassed.  George pulled up beside me and we rode in silence along at the front of the group for a bit.  Finally, I asked him something about his recent trip to California.  Funny, I was here riding with one of my sports heroes and I was wishing I was back in the group!

One other cool part of the ride was near the middle when about 15 or so riders started a rotating paceline.  It took us a bit to get organized, but once we did we were flying.  We did a number of rotations before we ran out of road.

It reminded me of riding in Austin and participating in the 5 man pace line with Lance Armstrong.  Now, two months later I was here riding in a pace line with Hincapie and Lewis.  For a cyclist that is like a basketball fan playing a pickup game with Michael Jordan!

One thing that made me feel a little better before the ride was done was having several people mention that they had seen the video of recent rides on LowCadence.com.  I started taking some video of this morning’s ride, but I’m not sure how much I got.  Once it started raining, I was just trying to survive and didn’t feel like adding to the danger by holding a camera!

We love you Joey and Susan!  Keep up the good fight!  Oh, and Happy Birthday, Big Joe!