Thursday, August 26, 2010

Conclusion Of LIVESTRONG Fund Raising

On September 1, 2010 the Haymarket Bicycles / HomeVisit team will conclude it's fund raising efforts for LIVESTRONG. HomeVisit will finish matching all team winnings and it looks like that will be just over $4,000 sent to LIVESTRONG. We also collected pledges for our top 10 race results. With a few races left to enter into the system, it looks like we will just meet the 100 top ten result goal. That means that we will process donations for all $12,225 pledged at

Thus, our total funds raised will be just over $16,000 for the season. I want to thank everyone who made pledges through the team. Looking over the pledge dedications on the web site, it's clear cancer has affected many in or near the cycling community.

Also as of September 1, HomeVisit's sponsorship of the team will end. Haymarket Bicycles will continue the team as before and HomeVisit will move on to other endeavors with a new charity / sponsorship effort for next year. Whether that will be cycling related is yet to be determined.

When I came up with this idea of a season long fund raising effort, I knew that there would some risk in keeping the charity focus at the forefront along with racing and work and life in general. That's the reason why so much effort went into the web site, so that it could be primarily web driven. I also knew going in that this is a reason why many athletic fund raising efforts are driven by a single day event.

I still think there are ways for amateur sports teams to draw significant focus and funds to various charities, tied to the efforts of the athletes and I'm not ready to give up on that idea yet. To gain a sustainable foothold, I think a charity effort like this needs a larger team that involves women and juniors and masters if it were to be as successful as I envisioned it to be. That's nothing against our team - I always said that we couldn't let the fund raising outweigh the riding. A balance is needed to work well. Anyway, my Wife and I, through HomeVisit, are very pleased to have undertaken this effort with the help of our team this year.

Sunday, June 27, 2010

System Shut Down

It's 9PM as I'm writing this and I'm still not right. Things hurt that wouldn't normally hurt after a one hour crit. I'm waaay more tired than normal and I've been bitchy to my Wife ever since we got home (sorry Bert). When I finally had enough energy to eat something, the muscles under my tongue were cramping. F*#@.

I've always done well with athletics and heat. I graduated high school in 1981 (yes I'm old). I played 3 sports from grade school on. The summer was and endless succession of games, practices, pick up games, running, etc. In high school, the coaches handled us in ways that would get them fired or sued now. Denial of water was one of the big "motivators" used to keep us in line. During football 2-a-days it was not unusual to see guys drop. In basketball we had a series of drills at the beginning and end of practice called the Dirty 30. It was a continuous set of sprints, agility, ball handling and jumping drills. It was brutal. They put hangers bent into hoops with trash bags at each end of the floor for barfing - no joke.

Usually, I can go pretty hard for a long time in a lot of heat. Today I got a lesson / reminder of what can happen when you don't do the right thing with hydration. We did Brownstown RR yesterday and it was 95ish. I'm usually really good about hydration. I drink water continuously most of the time. Mistake 1: I didn't drink much water last night or this AM. Still, I put down some water and Gatorade before the race and felt ok. Problem 2: I couldn't get any water down during the race. I had this wicked lung problem for 8 weeks earlier in the season. Every deep breath made me cough. It sucked. I went to a doc and was prescribed antibiotics. No change. Finally I went to an internist before Speedweek in April. Turns out I had a continuous lung inflammation that she described like having a continual asthma attack but I don't actually have asthma. Finally got that under control.

One problem though. The inhaler she has / had me on makes my throat really raw feeling - so much so that under stress (like in a race) I can't get water down without slowing down. No problem in training or even a road race. At TOWC crit I was coughing my ass off while trying to follow moves. So if anyone was wondering why I was spitting green Gatorade all over my frame today, that's why. I was trying to swallow it then just washing my mouth out with it. The combination was not good and I pushed too far today.

When we had Ryan off the front today, I was able to get up front no problem to help Jared mark moves. But as we got into the second half of the race, I started feeling a little "detached" - still there but not completely and definitely not where I should have been to help. With 3 to go I started seeing dark spots and had to pull myself before I laid it down. I had to stop 3 or 4 times to make it to the car. Not my best moment.

So when I got some food in me I checked out the data from the race. 380 watts for the first 30 minutes and then a plummet to 315 watts for the second 30 minutes. No one cracks that bad after 30 minutes. Not only that my heart rate was dropping the whole time. Total shutdown. For comparison, at Working Man's Classic day one this past Tuesday, I did 395 watts (430 normalized) for the hour and felt really good - also in 90 plus degree heat.

The point I'm trying to get to with this is not to explain why I DNF'd - it's me re-learning something really important which is that hydration and feeding, two things I'm notorious for neglecting during races, can really screw you. Think about it. We can train our asses off all season all in hopes of gaining less than 10% FTP let's say. Then you make a mistake like I did today and lose 80 watts out of 395, that's 20%!!! Stupid. Not a mistake I plan on making again.

Congrats to Jared for another really gutsy ride today.

Also congrats to Nick Vs Gravity who soloed in for the win in the Cat 4 race. When I was a Cat 4, I weighed nearly the same as he does but I never rode away from anything. Great job. Keep up the good work.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Trek Story Posted On

The reporter, Zack Vestal, did a phenomenal job gathering information, talking to everyone on all sides, vetting facts and giving everyone a chance to respond. I'll have some comments tomorrow. Personally, I am very pleased that at least the issues have been fairly disclosed.

I'm relieved that at least there is some public awareness of the issue and more Madone owners can check their bikes and decide for themselves if anything needs to be done. I hope this helps even one more person from being injured.

IT IS VERY telling that Trek did, in fact, add more carbon to the layup of the steer tubes as soon as I brought this up and started pushing with exposure. Regardless of what they say, think about it, why would you change the manufacturing of your flagship product when you already have delivery problems? Please. It's because they know there was an issue and they fixed it, period, regardless of what spin they put on it. I'm happy to have played a role in that. This means that Madones coming out now are stronger and safer. That alone was worth being the asshole I have had to be to get this far. Trust me, it's not fun.

Now they just need to decide what to do about the other 6,000 bikes. I think they should recall them but that's between Trek and the CPSC now. At the very least, they should offer any Madone owner a new fork if they want it.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Haymarket / HomeVisit Set To Make First Winnings Donation To LIVESTRONG

I just ordered the 5 foot check below to make our first presentation of race winnings to LIVESTRONG. We will be doing some photo ops and perhaps a video to during Tour Of Washington County to send out next week.

Through my business, HomeVisit I'm making a donation on behalf of the team for all of our race winnings for 2010. Everyone knows there isn't a lot of money in amateur cycling! However, we have been chipping away for the first part of season with an impressive list of results. See the live winnings tally here.

We are also accepting pledges through our web site to LIVESTRONG based on the number of Top 10 race results we score. CLICK HERE to see our donor list and make a pledge. Our goal is 100 top tens and we have 58 as of today.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Injury Time Out

The Velo News story has been filed to the Editors as of the end of last week. Stay tuned.

And I promise to write something positive and / or funny as soon as possible - just not yet.

In all the time I've played sports, from 5 years old on, I've never had a knee injury. Ankles are another story but no knee problems ever. Now I'm getting a solid dose of how knee issues can really f&*# with one's bike riding. I wish I could say it's just road rash or the stitches. The stitches on the right side as completely healed over. The left one would have been a nice scar by now but I managed to run it across the edge of a cabinet while standing up from scratching my Dog's belly, so it gets to start over.

All of us who race probably have a injury almost every season that takes some time away: road rash, collar bones, etc. It's a challenge not to get mentally down. Sometimes, I'm sure the circumstances of a crash have an effect on how one feels about the recovery and lost time. If you get taken out by a stupid move by someone else, that would be hard to take. Crashing while trying to stick a break, maybe a little easier. It's a long season. Pros crash and miss major races, then come back an kill it later on or the next season. Horner comes to mind. Van De Velde - it's a long list. ED NOTE: I was watching the end of Tour of Switzerland Stage 4 sprint while writing this. Holy crap! That crash was unnecessary and there will be some harsh words!

Obviously in the world of local amateur cycling, the stakes aren't that high so you just have to roll with the punches. I have said a bunch of times how lucky I am to be walking around at all. If my bars had come off 30 seconds earlier on the descent to the gravel, for example, I probably wouldn't be riding at all. My team mate's bars coming off at the start line falls into the same category of good fortune, considering the alternatives.

Now it's exactly a month later and the feeling of being lucky has worn off - completely. I have a good riding day without pain and think, "ok, it will take 2 more weeks and I'll be ready to go". Then the next day going down the stairs or on the bike, I get the pain under the knee caps, on the sides, one side or the other. Fuck. Now what? Stop riding completely and give up weeks? Ride flatter, slower rides to keep the legs turning? Race or not? The problem is the rock impact from coming straight down on the knees. There is a huge bundle of tendons there that are one issue. I'm fighting the thought of how good my form was at that moment and where I am now. It really sucks. Being left behind. Watching the team race and not being able to. Wondering if I can race at all again this year.

One of the things I asked for from Trek was for someone to call me. They were saying that the "issue" was discovered only after my crash. I don't believe that and I think the facts say otherwise. Nonetheless, as a rider on a sponsored team, a sponsor myself and as the person who paid for our team bikes, I wanted someone to say, "we are sorry this happened to you and we are taking these steps..." Something. Of course they did the opposite. If they end up with an expensive, protracted recall of the Madone, they deserve it. All I asked them for was a guarantee that all Madone owners would be notified asap, which would likely require some public acknowledgement. They wouldn't do it.

So yes, I'm personally offended and pissed off that my season is screwed up because of this. I'm still more worried about all the other 6,000 Madone riders that are at risk but today, right now, I'm sitting here deciding about whether to ride through it again today or stay home.

I really hope the Velo News story does two things: first get the word out that the Madone is not safe. Remember, they have ALREADY modified the design for newly shipped bikes, so they implicitly admit there is an issue, regardless of how they spin it. Secondly, I hope it exposes the kind of cover-your-ass corporate thinking that is far too wide spread. Sporting companies and cycling in particular don't need this.

In 2000, Trek had a recall for a similar issue with handlebar stems breaking. Note that only 3 incidents / injuries were reported, prompting the recall. The CPSC had to intervene here too. It sucks that we have to deal with what looks like an auto industry approach to delaying action as long as possible. It's now 30 days since my crash and nothing has been done by anyone yet. It's wrong.

You can search for any recall for any company here on the Consumer Product Safety Commission web site.

I was looking at the SiteMeter stats for this blog the other day and noticed reads from the domain So? Well it turns out that Charter provides cable service in Wisconsin. So? Well, when I had my journal of this incident as a private blog, I invited Trek to read it so they would hopefully see that action was necessary. The hits on the blog, when there only 4 authorized readers, came from the same domain. I picture someone in a nice office at nice desk, reading this blog and cursing that Vaughan guy for giving us trouble. I think it's both funny and sad that anyone there would take the time to read this blog but not do any thing or write me a letter, send an email or just pick up the phone.

In Trek's defense, they have at least taken some action that I asked for, which was to allow me to return some bikes that were purchased. Although they won't communicate with me directly, the word is I'm getting credited for 4 bikes I sent back. Of course I haven't seen any credit yet but hopefully that comes through. Obviously, I don't feel like they are doing me a huge favor there but they deserve a little bit of credit. Frankly, I think they just want to get rid of me asap. The feeling is mutual for sure.

So to whoever is reading this from Trek, "I am really, really unhappy with how you as a company have handled me personally, as a sponsor of my team and multiple (former) bike owner and I'm even MORE unhappy at your handling of the Madone's steer tube issue and the other 6,000 + of your customers." That's putting it mildly. It's wrong and I hope that more exposure will make this more clear. I'll never ride another Trek bike. My Wife's is the last one left, hanging in my garage but it goes on sale - cheap - this week. Then I'm done.

Thursday, June 10, 2010


A lot has been going on this season, not all of it positive. Nonetheless, I decided it's time to put some thoughts down in writing and to give my perspective on some things - cycling and otherwise.

I figured I could either stick my head in the sand because our chosen charity, LIVESTRONG is tied in so closely with Trek, who I believe has handled our team and the Madone issue terribly, or push forward. Personally, I put a huge amount of time and resources into the team and our LIVESTRONG focus and I'm not quitting because of Trek's actions - or inaction. So I'm going to *try* to turn a negative into a positive.

Please consider supporting LIVESTRONG by making a pledge through our team based on the number of Top 10 race results we acheive this year at


The 2010 Trek Madone 6.9 Steer Tube Failures
Some may be coming to this blog as a result of the article written by Zack Vestal about the situation with the 2010 Trek Madone steer tube failures.

(The story has not yet posted as of Thursday June 10 at 2:30PM)

I didn't set out to be involved in a crusade against Trek - I paid for our team bikes and Trek was a sponsor of our team. I just wanted to race my bike this year, raise money for LIVESTRONG (see Featured Pages at right) and get my Cat 1 upgrade. However, my handlebars came off in a race on May 15, leading to a hard crash onto gravel caught on my helmet cam. Then a week later, ANOTHER of our bikes had the handlebars break off. I was upset and pushed Trek really hard to find out what was going on. That didn't go well. In the end, I found out another team had two bikes break in one weekend a month before my crash. On top of that, another DC area rider had his tube fail at Wilmington GP. That's 5 failures in one month on just the East Coast. I contended to Trek that if they did not communicate on this quickly, that I would seek out press coverage and regulatory intervention to try to protect the other Madone riders out there.

Still, Trek would not release any information to the 6,300 other Madone owners, choosing only to send a "dealer bulletin". This led to me asking Velo News to look into this and filing an incident report with the Consumer Product Safety Commission.

There is a FEATURED PAGES link at right that is a journal of the story behind the scenes with more photos, emails and more in-depth information.


Haymarket Bicycles / HomeVisit Cycling Is
Raising Money For LIVESTRONG

On a more positive note, my team, Haymarket Bicycles / HomeVisit is raising money for LIVESTRONG through our race results this season.

Please go to our web site and make a pledge!

We are raising money for LIVESTRONG in 2 ways:
  1. We are donating all race winnings. Through HomeVisit, I am matching all winnings dollar for dollar and donating directly to LIVESTRONG. We have won over $3,500 as of June 1!
  2. We are collecting pledges to LIVESTRONG based on the number of Top 10 race results we score this season. Our goal is 100 and we have 57 so far. A pledge of $1 per Top 10 will send $100 to LIVESTRONG.

I'm really proud of our approach to this and I hope to keep it going next year and beyond in some form. I designed a web system in concert with my talented programming staff at HomeVisit. We built a pledge system with secure store function that collects pledges for billing to credit cards. The whole site is database driven, so our pledge count, race results, top 10's and podium placements are all updated in real time. At some point, we could have a larger team, masters, women and juniors all raising money for charity through race results. The idea is to give the riders something to shoot for and keep focus and attention on fund raising all year long.

Check the FEATURED PAGES link for more on our fund raising efforts.


Leaonardtown Criterium Tack Sabotage Caught
On Helmet Cam
The day after the Poolesville crash where my bars came off my Trek, I decided to dust myself off and race Leonardtown with stitches in my knee. It's a cool course that I hadn't done since I was a Cat 5. I ended up getting caught up in a crash caused by someone dropping tacks on the course - again on helmet cam. The story got regional and national TV coverage. The video is below and the FEATURED PAGES link has more info and TV coverage links.