Tag Archives: Steve Baker

What a relief!

When I left the office and headed home to get ready for the Thursday ride, I was feeling pretty apprehensive and yet excited.  Excited because I was going to get to ride after being off the bike for two days and apprehensive because I wasn’t sure how my shoulder would react to the effort.  The ride would tell the story.

I stopped into Sunshine Cycle Shop to pick up my new helmet before heading out. Steve Baker came in while I was there to interview John James for a story he is putting together for GO Magazine.  I won’t give away his subject, but I’m pretty excited to read it when it comes out.

When I brought my bike up to the group, I was happy to see there were a number of riders there.  It was a good group of regulars.  It was good to see Rob back out.  Anthony was also there.  Speaking of Anthony, turns out he was the Barley’s rider that was telling me to pull through at the last Donaldson Center ride I rode.

We pulled out and I was feeling pretty good.  I had rubbed my shoulder down with some Biofreeze and it felt downright normal.  Word was we were going to go on the Hour of Power route.  That sounded good because there would be less climbing.  Then I heard that we would be tacking Paris Mountain onto the end of it!

The first test of my shoulder would be the Meece Bridge Road sprint.  As we approached the attack zone, John moved over and Anthony moved to the front.  I moved onto his wheel.  It was pretty much he and I as we neared the rise that starts the run in to the finish.  He shifted to gain more speed and I shifted two and jumped.  He let me go.

Then it was time for a little climb.  This would put a different strain on my shoulder as I would climb the quarry road.  I let the group go on ahead.  My plan was just to ride up steady at my own pace.  I had already told John that I wasn’t going to go for it.  He would have to fly the POA banner on this one.

Well, what do you know.  By the time we reached the false flat I was sitting on the wheel of Art who was in the lead at that point.  I just kept tapping out my cadence and moved to the front.  There was no doubt that John was back there and soon he would be coming around to take over.   My plan was just to keep spinning and keep the force in my legs and avoid pulling on the bars. Sure enough, John came around and took the finish.

Now I was toast. To say my legs felt like Jello wouldn’t be a good description.  Do you remember Stretch Armstrong – those dolls that you could stretch for unnatural distances?  Well, that is what my legs felt like – gooey but hard.  It didn’t help that Bob and I got caught at an intersection and had to chase back to the group just before we turned to go up Altamont Road.

Again the rest of the guys started up ahead of me.  I was about 30 seconds behind because I got caught up in some traffic at an intersection.  I figured some of the riders would come back to me, but there were several I knew I wouldn’t see again until the top.  Anthony had gone home, so I knew he wasn’t ahead.

Passing several riders I came up on Bob and Tyler.  I was surprised that I caught Bob just before the halfway point.  However, I couldn’t get past them.  They sped up a bit and I slowed some.  We continued this way for some time.

It was on this climb that the ache in my shoulder became more noticeable.  It was probably because my body was just getting tired.  I was also rocking on the bike a bit more causing me to pull on the bars.  It is a good training mechanism to cause me to focus on using my legs more instead of burning energy in the rest of my body.

This post is getting long enough.  There were lots of other things that I could write about – like the time Bob and I went into an unfamiliar corner way too hot and nearly came to grief together.  There was the race between Tyler and I to see who would be back to the shop first.  There were plenty of little odds and ends that make these rides so much fun.

I just hope that this time McPain will read this before Gunny calls him.

Am I ever thankful for my helmet!

I’m writing this late Tuesday evening because I’m not certain if I’ll be able to get out of the bed in the morning.

Things started out very well. After arriving at Donaldson Center for the Tuesday Night World Championships, I met up with some of my teammates. A group of them were about to go out on the country route. This is a route that does not follow the normal Perimeter Road circuit. They called to me to join them.

I started to follow, but then remembered that Reece was in the house and I was feeling pretty good. It would be very hard to pass up mixing it up in the A Group tonight. Finally, I decided to turn around and head back to the main group. Part of me is glad I did. Another part of me wishes I hadn’t.

Several of us POA guys were on the front to begin. I figured that if we were up there, we could pedal as slow as we wanted! That didn’t last long as some others came around and picked up the pace. By the time we were over the railroad tracks and headed for the start/finish there was an organized move to get away.

I worked to help bring that group back after a short time and tried to stay up near the front of any chase group. Most times one of my guys – normally Randy or Reece would be up in the break. As soon as one break would get caught another POA rider would attack with the next group to go off the front. During the evening, I only went off on one of those.

The rest of the time I was sitting on riders who were trying to chase back my teammates. It was in the process of this that I learned something about cycling I did not know. It was a good thing to file away for the future.

I have learned that when you have a teammate up the road, you don’t do anything to help close the gap. At the same time, you have to be aware of riders who are dangerous to your teammate. Say, if a Spinx guy starts to bridge across and he already has a Spinx rider up in the break, you don’t want him to get up there and turn the odds in their favor.

You handle this by not working with him as he attempts to bridge over. You also want to be in position so that if he does manage to bridge over, you are there to help even the odds. There really aren’t any written rules about this, but there are some unspoken rules of etiquette. That is what I learned tonight.

I had Hank up in a break about halfway around the circuit. A Barley rider and Steve Baker (Hincapie) were working hard to get across the gap. I was not wanting to help in any way. However, I knew if either of them made it up there, I would need to be there to help Hank. So, I sat on them.

This was the right tactic. However, I what I didn’t realize was I was violating the unspoken rule of etiquette. I was getting in the middle of their rotation. As the Barley rider came by me once he yelled, “Pull through! Don’t be afraid of the wind!” I yelled back, “I’m not going to help you pull my man back.” I wanted to come back with the fact that I had already done my time in the wind. “Well, if you are going to sit on then at least go back and sit on fifth,” he replied.

Here is were race awareness comes to play. As far as I knew, it was only the three of us. They were the only two I was aware of around me. I didn’t realize there was a fifth rider! Even if it was only the three of us, I should have hung back in third place and let them know I wasn’t going to help them.

Hey, I’m still learning. One thing is for sure, I don’t want to be one of those guys no one wants to ride around because he is either dangerous or a jerk. I learned a lesson and I’ll try to follow it next time. I do have to add though that I won’t be intimidated.

Speaking of being a dangerous rider. On the fifth lap I slipped back a bit as I had Hank, Matt, and Reece up ahead of me. I was tired from covering all those moves through the race. However, I was satisfied that my team had good numbers. I got on the tail end of a string of riders to recover some for the last lap. Unfortunately, I realized too late and I had latched onto a slowing group!

A gap formed and I tried to come around and catch them. Soon I was stuck in no-mans land with one other rider. I don’t know who she was, but she was stout! The two of us kept digging to see what might happen. I kept hoping that the group might slow as a break will sometimes do when it is larger.

As we went through the dip at the bottom of the hill leading up to the start/finish I could see the group nearing the top. I decided to just put my head down and put out a good cadence and if I had them in sight as we began the final lap, I would give it one more push. I started off taking the lead.

As we began the climb, I heard the rider following me let out a gasp of air. It distracted me for a moment and I started thinking that soon, I might be all alone. I looked down at my computer to see if I was to far into the red zone. It was at that moment I heard her say, “Watch ou…!” She didn’t even get the “out” out when I slammed into a cyclist in front of me.

I was going 20 mph at the moment I hit him. My wheel rode up the left side of his rear wheel. It flipped my bike up over it and I was slammed down on my right shoulder. My head followed and I felt the pain in my neck as it whipped to the ground and my head bounced off the asphalt. For a moment everything was spinning, but I never blacked out.

Before long there were riders around me. They asked me if I was okay. I told them to grab my leg. The only thing that was hurting right at that moment was my right calf that was seizing with a cramp! We got that under control and I stood. Wow! No blood. I think the reason why is because I didn’t slide at all. It was just a body slam into the pavement.

My helmet was busted in the back. Looking inside, I could see where the material had a crack across the inside. My jersey was just a little roughed up on the right shoulder. My left brake lever was broken – though the shifter still worked. Only thing I can figure is when I went down, I grabbed the shifter and broke it. Besides that the bar was askew. I’m really hoping my steer tube was not bent. As for the carbon frame and fork? Not a bit of damage. Not even a scratch. I was amazed.

I apologized to the guy I ran into and helped him make sure his bike was okay. Again, amazingly, it was just fine. Most thankfully, so was he!

Another lesson learned. No matter how hard you are digging. Don’t assume you know what is happening ahead of you. Always look out at least 10 feet in front. What happened to me was I looked up and saw the group. What I didn’t realize was that it was made up of two groups – the A Group breakaway and some C Group riders returning from the country route. I took off after the faster group and didn’t look up again thinking they were the only ones ahead of me. I found out otherwise.

I made my way to my car and just sat on the back staring at the ground. I felt like I had been beat up and I was very embarrassed by my accident. I was about to mist up, I felt so bad. Then Reece came by and told me that the POA guys had pulled off the win! There were enough guys up front to help get Reece to the line.

What is it they say? All’s well the ends well.

Good night.

A $1 billion bicycle business I’m not interested in

Today I came across another random site that is helpful for me to better understand my bike.  It was created to help people learn how to do maintenance on their own bike.  I like the idea of knowing how to fix things if I get in a pinch, but my experience is I tend to make things worse instead of better.

I typically leave adjustments to the drivetrain to professionals.  However, you might be different.  So for you, I give you the “Bicycle Repair Guide” from Bicycle Tutor – today’s Random Page of the Day.

While I was there I came upon an advertisement for the National Bicycle Registry.  It gives the statistics that bike theft is a $1 billion “business”. Also, it puts the fear into you by saying that only 3% of unregistered bikes ever get returned to their owners.  Of course, I didn’t see any statistics saying how many registered bikes make it back home.

The site grabbed my attention because just yesterday word went out from local rider, Cinthia Lehner, that her bike had been stolen while down at a race in Alabama.  Not only is her Giant TCR Advanced 1 missing – so are the Zipp wheels that were on it.  Steve Baker also gave some details over on his blog at Hincapie.com.  Sure hope she gets it back.  She hadn’t been riding it for very long.

I really do hope to have some time tonight to do some investigating on my new Quarq CinQo powermeter with the “Ring of Saturn.”  The plan is to have some information about the device tomorrow morning.  Until then… have a great day!

Rock was on the babes. Hincapie was on the leader.

Happened across this video following a Twitter link. Low and behold, it is Greenville’s own Steve Baker having a sublime time steaming some signature sublimation from Hincapie Sportswear out in Cali. Hey, I want one of those things! How about a LowCadence.com logo in that little box!


HINCAPIE SPORTSWEAR JERSEY PRINTING – ATOC’09 from CYCLEFILM on Vimeo.

Once you are done with this video, head on over to Cyclingfilm Cycling Media Services at Cyclefilm.com. I found some pretty neat stuff over there. Of course, I was drawn to the Tour of California stuff first off. It shows two things are important for good video — equipment and an eye for the shot.

I know it’s about Hincapie Sportswear, but I don’t think they mind if we also see it as a little bit of Greenville finding its way out to the left coast. Way to represent… and come on podium girls… Rock & Republic has better cycling fashion that Hincapie? I don’t see many riders wearing trucker caps!

Update: Here I was thinking I had posted something first just to find out that Steve had posted this video to his blog yesterday!

Baker’s back – Video of George at AToC

Steve Baker of Hincapie Sportswear stepped away from his blog a bit while out presenting the company’s line at the Amgen Tour of California.  I was hoping for some regular updates, but it sounds like he is pretty busy.  He did get one up earlier today.  You can check it out at Hincapie.com.

Here is some video he took of George Hincapie before the racing started.

Hopefully Steve will get to slow down a bit and send us some more.  I did notice that Kirk Flinte also put up some pictures.  Always good to get a local view of the race.  Thanks for thinking of us, guys.

Developing a new view of development teams

Sorry to those of you who have come to Low Cadence expecting to find video of the Upstate Winter Bicycle League. I know I mentioned my plan was to get the Waterloo sprint and some overview video of the ride. Well, “the crash” changed things for me.  Should have a clip up tomorrow.

Another goal of the ride was to follow the Hincapie Development Team around as the UWBL progressed. This was different for me because I typically don’t focus on any particular riders or teams during the event. I would also spend some time with the team during other times of the weekend.

So, when the ride was disrupted, I had to make a choice. The HDT decided to follow Boyd Johnson on a ride up the Greenville Watershed. I either went with the UWBL or followed through on my feature with Hincapie. Of course, the guys didn’t know that when they took off after Boyd. I followed.

Well, I learned some things on that ride! It actually made things easier for me because I now had the group isolated from the hundred or so other riders they would have been mixing around. I was better able to observe their interaction and get them together on the video.

What did I learn? For one thing, I had always thought a development team would be a group of riders that were pretty raw in their experience and talent. Perhaps compared to pros that might be the case. However, these guys I was riding with were all Category 3 up to Category 1 racers. They might be young… but they can flat out handle a bike and put on a hurtin’ going uphill.

Speaking of ages, I also came to realize that on a development team, age is not necessarily a determining factor. It can include early high schoolers right up to college graduates. With age comes a certain level of fitness and life experience, and the team works to use that dynamic to its advantage.

What I came to realize is that the purpose of the development team only deals in a small way with the physical development of the riders. That isn’t to say that it doesn’t. It is just that these riders all love riding and are pretty self motivated. They would be working to get to the top of their sport with or without the team.

What the team is developing is the all around package. It provides structure for these riders who may be coming from more informal club teams. It gives them access to professional riders and older mentors who show them some of the ropes of being a racer — both off and on the bike.

Really, what I gathered is that Rich Hincapie and Steve Baker (along with a number of others) want to give these young riders an experience as close as possible to a real professional team. I know they will be the first to admit that not all of those pieces are in place yet… but you could say that is another part of what makes it a “development” team.

Churning up the Greenville Watershed with Chris Butler (cat. 1 racers and national collegiate champion) and Christian Parrett (cat. 1 racer heading to Europe this year to represent the US) taking the lead, I rode along side DLP pro racer Boyd Johnson. These guys weren’t going slow and it wasn’t but about five minutes before I was hurtin’ bad!

I don’t know if they slowed down any before the top, but the thought that came to my mind was, “Development, my foot!”