Friday, January 28, 2011

Why ride? Part II

Well I guess I had better post something new.  It has been a rough winter, not in terms of weather, but in my ability to ride.  I managed to get a upper respiratory infection that lasted for about 6 weeks, really crappy.  I can ride through a cold or some typical crud, but this time it was pretty bad and I was having a horrible time trying to breathe.  At the tail end we traveled to Disney World for nearly two weeks.  Disney is great, lots of fun, especially for Drew, but the food kills me every time.  The fact is that Disney restaurants are great, at least the high end ones, and with a dining plan they all are affordable.  The bad news is that they are great and I can't pass up good food.  Consequently I managed to gain about 12 pounds between the lack of riding during my illness and the great food at Disney.  Well as soon as I got back my doctor put me on antibiotics, steroids and breathing treatments.  They appear to have worked, but I still feel like I have some crud in my lungs.

Well back to our story.  After beginning riding with Adam, Kris and Fritz, I really caught the cycling bug.  I was "training" 4 or 5 days a week.  When I started Junior High at Boswell I met someone that really changed my cycling life, my science teacher.  My science teacher, Jim Janelle, just happened to be a rather good racer and raced with a lot of great cyclists from the 70's and early 80's like John Howard and Bob Cook.  Jim had ridden and won the Durango Iron Horse race and rode the first couple of Red Zinger's, before it morphed into the Coors Classic.  Jim would ride with me before school most every morning.  I can remember getting up at 4 or 4:30 AM a lot of mornings and riding to his house to meet him and go for a 25 to 40 mile ride.  I don't think I ever had any real cycling clothes at that time, other than my cycling shoes and wool shorts.  Jim actually gave me quite a few of his wool cycling jerseys, they were so cool.  I remember that one of them was a Hammer Cycling/Cool Gear jersey, one of the ones from when he was on the same team as Bob Cook, who happened to win the Pikes Peak hillclimb quite a few times.  Jim also gave me a ton of cycling posters from Belgium, Italy and the Netherlands, which I think my first wife managed to get when I left and couldn't take all of my "stuff" with me.  Really wish I would have kept those, I had several with Eddy Merckx on them advertising 6 day races at Gent.

I started racing for the Mt.Oread Cycling Club from Lawrence, that was the only "real" local racing team, the Kaw Valley Bicycle Touring Club had local rides in Topeka, but not a racing team.  Mt. Oread was sponsored by Nile Nims Cyclery in Ames, Iowa, Puch/Astro-Daimlier (sp?) and Rick's Bike Shop in Lawrence.  Rick's was so cool, it was the best bike shop I had ever been to, at least up until then.  Every once in a while I would convince my mother to take me over to Lawrence to just see what they happened to have in the shop, or sometimes we would ride over.  I can remember getting a team jersey, this was before real lycra clothes, it was made from a fabric called Quiona or something like that, it was real shiny and looked cool.  Since everyone was starting to get lycra shorts and I couldn't really afford them I took some dancing tights, much cheaper, cut them off and hemmed them up.  Of course I needed to have at least two pair together for them to work, since one pair was just about see through.  I used those all the time, but they didn't have a chamois in them.  I used to do rides up to 60 miles in those and never had any padding.  During the time I was racing for Mt.Oread I had to replace my Ross, which, as I said before was a little too big.  Forget who told me, but I answered an ad from the KU newpaper that someone has a 19 inch Gitane for sale at one of the dorms.  I forget how much it was, but I managed to convince my parents to get it for me.  Being young and naive I didn't notice that the frame was bent.  I managed to ride that bike for a year or so before noticing how bad it was bent.  During this time I raced in races in Kansas, Missouri and Iowa, it was great.  I managed to get rides with other people on the team to most of these, but my mother drove me to quite a few also.  During this time I met Jim May through Mike, Judy and Adam I believe.  Jim lived down in Newton I think, but Jim had a bike for sale, a gold, aluminium Alan, otherwise know as the screwed and glued frame.  I again convinced my parents that I needed it and I built it up with a Campagnolo Nuevo Record rear derailleur   a Suntour front derailleur and shifters.  Back then it didn't matter which components were used, friction shifters worked with which ever derailleurs you had.  I also got some Universal CX brakes.  I also remember that I had a lot of Suntour freewheels, all 5 speed.  As an Intermediate, what they call Junior 14-15 now, we were gear restricted, I know I had a 44-tooth big ring and a 42-tooth small ring, not a whole lot of difference.  When I went to the Juniors, now Junior 16-17, I got to go to a 49-tooth big ring.  Of course all of these were paired with a maximum 14-tooth on the freewheel.

I managed to go to the National Championships in 1982 as an Intermediate.  I think Scott Moniger went as a Junior that year, along with Aaron DeWolf.  I had to change clubs to get enough money to go, Mt. Oread didn't have enough funds to send me, but the Oz Bicycle Club from Wichita, Kansas did, so I changed clubs to Oz and changed to the Red and Green stripes of Oz/Coleman Industries, which Scott M and Aaron rode for as well.  I remember David Brinton, Oliver Starr and several others that ended up being quite good on the starting line up in Milwaukee.  The lake front course had been used for national quite a few times, it was pretty tough and there was a downhill section with an off camber turn that was really difficult in a pack.  I managed to lose one of my water bottles on that off camber section on the first lap.  On the third lap I flatted and my race was over, oh well, that is the way things work.  I couldn't get a wheel from the neutral support so I just watched the rest of the race.  David Brinton won that year.  I watched the Senior mens race and it seems like Alexi Grewal yelled at the field most of the race, Greg Demgen won.  I was great watching all of the guys I had read about in Velo-News racing.  Although I qualified in the following year for nationals I never was able to go again.  The following year was at Big Bear Lake I think, way to expensive to travel to.  For Milwaukee I rode the train with Aaron, I met Aaron, who came in from Wichita, at the Topeka Amtrak station and we rode to Chicago and changed to a commuter train to Milwaukee.  We stayed at the dorms at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, really cool for a 15 year old.   One night we went for pizza at a place called Van Horn's Pub, it was really good pizza.

After joining the Army in 1984 I stayed in pretty good shape, although in the Army, at least at that time, everyone smoked, so I took up that filthy habit.  I was still able to run the 2-mile under 10 minutes without much effort.  I would start and stop smoking throughout my time in the Army.  I managed to race some on both the road and track while I was stationed in Germany.  I loved riding in Europe, I wish I would have had more time to train and race, although the 3 to 4 hours of PT (physical training) I did each day for my Army service helped keep me reasonably fit.  I got to race for a small team out of Bremen for a while, but never got any really good results.  I moved stateside to help train the "new" 10th Mountain Division in Ft. Drum, New York.  I bought a new Cannondale in 1988 with Shimano Dura-Ace and was able to start riding again.  When I left active service in late 1989 I moved to Olathe, KS and started back to school at KU and commuted back and forth from Olathe. I pretty much just went to school and rode my bike.  I got into pretty good shape and started racing again for Tri-tech Sports, I managed to win a few local races, nothing big, but it was great. I was riding a lot and was in great shape.  After my first year at KU I transfered to Johnson County Community College and was able to commute on my mountain bike.  It was during this time that I was hit by a car and left unconscious in the road.  I woke to cars driving around me as lay there, not a single person stopped to help.

Well that is it for tonight.  I need to get to bed so I can get up early and get ready for a nice 80 mile group ride.  Hopefully it won't be too cold or foggy.  I have a new pair of bib tights to try out! 

1 comment:

  1. Scott Andersen,
    Wow, my son was looking for info about the old Hammer racing team and came across your blog! I am honored that I had some impact on your life as a cyclist because as a science teacher I was really bad! :-) Have enjoyed reading your blog and somewhat catching up on your life since Boswell closed after the 1979-80 school year. After Boswell, I taught at Highland Park Central Elementary for a year and then moved back to Colorado as we had started a family by then and wanted to be closer to family. I have continued to cycle (mostly touring) and run over the years and am now living in Aurora, a Denver suburb. Would love to stay in touch, so shoot me an email at
    Regards, Jim Janelle