The Pain of Cycling

A lot of people wonder if taking EPO is risky to health. I’d like to reply to that concern with the following list: Elbow Shoulder Collarbone (twice) Back Hip Fingers (multiple) Ribs Wrist Nose Those are the bones I’ve broken during my racing career. This is not an unusual list in our profession. It’s funny: in the States, everybody connects bike racing with health. But when you get to the top level, you see the truth: bike racing is not a healthy sport in any sense of the word. (As my former teammate Jonathan Vaughters likes to say, If you want to feel what it’s like to be a bike racer, strip down to your underwear, drive your car 40 mph, and leap out the window into a pile of jagged metal.) So when it comes to the risks of EPO, they tend to feel pretty small.

From: The Secret Race: Inside the Hidden World of the Tour de France
Tyler Hamilton and Daniel Coyle

Cycling injuries aren’t just for racers. The more I read about cycling and actually ride, the more I understand a painful fall or crash is a question of when, not if. I may be in the best shape of my life (13% body fat), but there is a price to pay when you’re trying to become a better cyclist.

Case in point:

On the left: my left arm. On the right, my left hip, before the swelling.

Climbing the Palo Alto (Page Mill) hills yesterday morning around from 6-7AM, a slight rain started (California rain in September?!). I was about 1.5 miles away from the top (and getting really cold) when I decided to head back, concerned about the wet traction. On one of the very first corners heading down, my bike slipped out from me and I fell on my left side.

Road rash.

The oddity of my fall is that from my trepidation about high speed downhill cornering in general, I had approached this descent slowly, well aware of the wet ground. I also have carbon wheels, which exhibit poor braking compared to alloy wheels, and are even worse in wet conditions. I have no idea why I fell except for perhaps 1) “first rain”-like conditions created less traction 2) I may have gone over a darker patch of pavement (looks like a small add-on layer), one that wouldn’t give me cause of concern normally but perhaps doesn’t absorb or handle water as well.

Thankfully, I didn’t suffer anything more serious (but…emotional pain of scuffing up my new Ultegra shifters) and was able to finish the descent (slowly) to eventually get home. My hip will likely need close to a month of healing before the bruising goes away.

Hunting for a Strava KOM (King of the Mountain)

I’m not a particularly strong rider, and I am a really (bottom 10% my first time going down from Old La Honda) poor descender. That’s why results like these feel really, really good.

42/4,383 all time on Strava! Admittedly, this isn’t a particularly difficult (-3 degrees) descent, and I don’t think this is a super popular ride for elite riders.

I did try to push my downhill cornering a bit more to the edge today, so it’s good (improved on second best personal time by almost 10%) to see the result.

Still, it almost makes me dream a little, to imagine the KOM.

Being Sad for Ivan Rabb Means We Should Celebrate the “One and Done”

A year ago, I said:

As of today, according to DraftExpress (a reputable source on pre-NBA talent), Jaylen Brown would be the 4th pick (or is the 4th best prospect, however you want to read it) in this summer’s draft. Ivan Rabb is 14th. Both would be considered “lottery picks”, draft picks for teams that do not make the NBA playoffs, just as Chris Porter could have been so long ago. …

If their draft positions hold, Rabb and Brown would get closer to $3M and $7M, respectively. …

Taking money now is the smart thing, if it is guaranteed. For any player’s long term development, he has to be in a good team situation in which he can grow (compare San Antonio Spurs vs Brooklyn Nets) – this is something a player has much less control over and thus, has much more risk. The money is guaranteed while the opportunity to play, be liked by a coaching staff, is not. …

Other than having your draft position go down, costing you literally millions of dollars, if you get booted to the second round as Chris Porter, you will not have a guaranteed contract, or a contract at all. …

If a player stayed in school in order to complete his college degree and then dropped out of the first round, I would say he wasted the point of going to college. Jaylen Brown, Ivan Rabb, get in the draft now and go to summer school in the future.

Last night, former Cal Bear Ivan Rabb was picked in the second round by the Memphis Grizzlies, 35th overall. That likely means no guaranteed money, no guaranteed roster spot, and extensive time in the D League.

Rabb went from the projected late lottery as a freshman with guaranteed money and a chance to play to now having nothing.

And for those who look down upon the one (year) and done athlete, how do you feel about someone who lost millions of dollars by doing the “right thing”?

This isn’t much different from the example of Chris Porter over 15 years ago. Last year, I recommended: “Jaylen Brown, Ivan Rabb, get in the draft now and go to summer school in the future.”

I’m sorry Ivan.

My Facebook at Work Launch Analysis – September 2015

As with my Minecraft post, I do have an ego-driven need to see my insights proven correct. (Don’t worry, I know I am often wrong) Below is a slide deck I put together in an interview with Facebook for Facebook at Work (now called Workplace) in September 2015.

After 1+ years and only thousands of paying users and questions about what how the site should be used, however, perhaps my Slide 5 was onto something.

Facebook claims it has already signed up “thousands” of paying subscribers to Workplace Premium, spokeswoman Vanessa Chan told CNBC. Facebook’s name recognition and user familiarity could be a major asset that should help it muscle into the marketplace. But the social media site needs to overcome the perception that the site is a productivity killer at work and convince employers that staffers will be using the tool for work, not social purposes.

Silicon Valley Business Journal – April 2017.