Saturday, December 30, 2006

Bluff Riding with Johnny B

Awesome ride today with Johnny B. Couldn't talk him into the gravel climb in River Falls. Maybe tomorrow?

Friday, December 29, 2006

Ride, Ski, Ride

How often do you get to sandwich a day of downhill skiing, between long road ride days. On top of that, we also got together with the Wollers, who were in town for the holidays. What a week.

We set out today with the goal of getting Jordan a cool 60 mile ride, his longest ever. Treb joined us en route for the Prescott Loop. Jordan was feeling sprightly, and attacked us at the base of the Afton Coulee. It was an impressive effort, all the way to the top.

The overcast, misty conditions were not ideal, but we would not be denied in our quest. Jordan downed a Monster energy drink in Prescott, and another in River Falls. They seemed to do the trick, as he didn't seem to slow down like on previous long rides.

On the way home, we saw an amazing sight. At least 500 Canadian Geese, in a farm field. We startled them all into flight. At first it was chaos, but they slowly formed groups, and headed west. Never seen anything like it.

In the end, Jordan met his goal. 61 miles in 4 hours. The bikes needed a bit of clean-up work, but 40 degrees on December 29th? Will it ever snow?

Wednesday, December 27, 2006

Weather continues to permit

Couldn't ask for better riding weather during this holiday week off. I just wish it didn't get dark at 4:30PM.

Had a great time with the family over Christmas. Saw Rocky Balboa on Christmas day. It is what it is. Stallone and Rocky fans will like it. Very predictable. I do have to say I hope I'm in that good of shape at age 60. Looks like he's doing another Rambo film next.

Going skiing tomorrow, and riding with JB this weekend. We are actually going to a New Year's party this year at the neighbors. It will be a welcome change from our typical uneventful New Years.

Saturday, December 23, 2006

No Respect, No Respect

During today's ride, we were giving each other quite a bit of grief. Made me think of some of the funniest comments other riders have said to me during my days as a cyclist:

JB(in all seriousness): I don't think it is a good idea for me to be on our strongest guy's wheel, I think I should be on yours Jim.

Treb: I've got to go around you, if we go any slower, I'm going to tip over Jim.

Woller: Have some pride, Jim (As I'm raiding what remains of the sag food at training camp).

Painman: I knew you got a new helmet, but I didn't know you got a new bike Jim (in reference to a photo of a pig on a bike).

Homme: We'd never let you ride for Flanders with that stubble on your legs Jim.

Notice that they all end in the condescending signature word "Jim".

Then there are the classic verbal exchanges between others:

Tim Sproul: "Hey Aaron, you've been riding really strong lately. How you feeling?"
Aaron Vorheis: "Well obviously not very good, if I'm back here with you."

Jake Stechman to Jay Woller: "No one was a Cat 3 for as long as you were!"

Holiday Loop

Painman and Treb joined me today on for a modified version of the Prescott Loop. We missed out on Neil's race on the west side, but Painman put the hurt on us on just about every climb. He made me dig deep one too many times, and I was pretty much out of gas. I'm happy just riding easy to get home, but then Treb decides to get frisky. Definitely a harder ride than I had planned, but it was such a perfect day, who could resist amping it up a bit.

Thursday, December 21, 2006

Property Taxes Due

Every year, I pre-pay next year's property taxes, to get the tax write-off this year. This only gives you an advantage the first time you do this, and then you have to keep doing it every year to get the same write-off. The first half are due at the end of January anyway, so I'd rather just get them paid anyway.

When I first moved to Hudson, 10 years ago, I was shocked at how much higher the property taxes were. It's offset a little by lower income tax, etc. All the property values in town were recently re-assessed to full market value. Our assessed value went up 50.2%! A similar hike was made about 5 years ago, and our property taxes didn't move much, but I was still nervous.

We got our tax bill today, and it actually went down by 4%. Whew! They are actually close to what they were in 2002. Here is the trend over the past few years:

2003 +4%
2004 +6%
2005 -5%
2006 -4%

We just passed a school referendum, which means our taxes will go up by approx $125 next year. I just hope the general negative trend continues, or we at least hold even.

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Happy Holidays

Click here for a christmas carol played entirely on bicycle parts.

Sunday, December 17, 2006

Another 318 ride

A bit colder than Saturday, but still very tolerable for a snow-less December. Jordan and I met Painman and Red Lantern at the 318 Cafe.

Like last week, I was surprised there were not more there. Where was the Donimator? And Skibby? Turns out Red Lantern was in one of the groups I spotted in Mtka yesterday. It's also looking more like he will be joining us on our France trip.

We cruised into Mpls and back on the trails. We spotted a helmet-less Bryan Loeken sucking wheel of a couple others on the Greenway. I'm learning more and more about Painman's past. Turns out he used to be a rock climber and mountaineer. He even climbed Mt. Rainier (or almost did, 500ft from the summit). We talked about Everest, and how incredible a feat it is to climb that monster. It's mostly a rich man's game. I have no interest in climbing myself, but I am very interested in learning about others mountaineering adventures.

Jordan bonked a bit towards the end, but his buddy Painman helped him over the hills, to which he was very grateful. I offered to shorten the ride for him, but he would have none of that. What an animal.

Saturday, December 16, 2006

December Century

In the true spirit of one-upmanship, I rode a century today. I knew Painman, Treb, and JB were not riding today, at least not outside, so I figured I'd better ride enough for all of us.

The original plan was to ride from Hudson to my Brother's place in Maple Grove, which is about 60 miles. Then I started thinking, the weather looks great, why not just add 40, and make it a century. Then I spotted Evan's post to meet at the Stone Arch at Noon. I set out from Hudson at 10:15AM with the intention of joining Evan and the crew enroute.

I met Evan just before Franklin Ave on East River Road just after noon. I was surprised to see he was alone. I turned around, and we rode out to the high bridge, headed west past Fort Snelling, back down west river road to the greenway. Evan split off near his place, and I was back solo again. It was just after 2PM, and I was at 60mi. I needed to continue adding on if I was going to get the full 100.

I rode the greenway to the cut-off at cedar lake to catch the LRT trail. Took the LRT trail all the way into Hopkins, went south towards Opus, and cruised around some more until I had about 75mi, and the started heading north to Maple Grove. I got to my Brother's around 4PM, but I only had 95mi. Can't stand for that! I took in one more 5 mile loop to finish the task.

I saw lots of riders out there. The entire group of Birchwood Bettys passed me on East River Road, and then I saw some of them again later on the LRT. I think I might have even spotted Skibby on the Greenway (somebody yelling something obnoxious)? I hope you got a chance to enjoy the sunny day. I keep thinking it can't last forever, right?

Thursday, December 14, 2006

Dude loses more than I weigh!

Erik from New York won the Biggest Loser last night. My wife is a fan of the show, so I watched the final episode with her. 4 of the contestants lost more than half their body weight! Erik went from 407 to 193 = 214 pounds lost. That's over 12 months of lots of exersize and diet. No surgery.

It motivated me. I jumped on the bike right after the show was over. I'm going for 185lbs now.

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Just to piss off Donimator

Sorry Don, upgraded to 10sp today. That's it, I'm out of money.

Hudson School Referendum Narrowly Passes

Excerpt from Hudson Star Observer:

Voters passed Tuesday’s $12 million school bond referendum by a margin of only 129 votes. Turnout was heavy with more than 6,400 voting in the single-issue election.

“It is definitely a positive thing for our community. Prior to asking for this, we did everything we could—we revisited each school’s capacity and looked for space everywhere we could. And when we had exhausted all those possibilities, we went to the community with the need for a new school and with a commitment to maintaining quality education in Hudson. This is the right solution.”

TOTAL ............................... Yes 3,300 ....... No 3,171

This allows us to build a new elementary school south of town, where most kids are currently bused across town to North Hudson. Even though my kids are out of elementary next year, it was still important to Carla and I to support the area's growth, and provide the same quality education to the new kids.

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Mavic Ksyrium Equipe Wheels

I bought a pair of these today to be used as my primary training wheels next summer. Recently, I've managed to break 3 spokes, on 3 separate wheels in my last 4 rides. 2 fronts, and 1 rear. I've broken more spokes this year than ever. I've also noticed the trend for more and more riders routinely using "race" quality wheels for training. Unfortunately, I'm hard enough on wheels, that just wouldn't be a wise investment.

Most of my training wheels are traditional 32hole Mavic Open SUP's with Shimano hubs. My front wheels are radial laced, and the rears are 3x. They all use a traditional spoke with tangential hub flange. I've had problems with alloy nipples in the past breaking, but all my wheels now have brass nipples. Now my spokes always break at the flange.

I know that once you break a spoke, the wheel tends to be compromised, and will be more prone to breaking more spokes, unless you re-lace it. Unfortunately, that's just not a cost effective solution for me, since I can get a replacement spoke for $1, install, and true it myself. It would cost me at least $60 to get the wheel re-laced.

My racing wheels have straight pull flange hubs, and have been rock solid. These Mavic Ksyriums have straight pull hubs, and the price is right. I look at them as a "race" quality wheel, albeit a little heavier (1840g vs. the 1535g SL's). We'll see how they hold up next summer.

Sunday, December 10, 2006

5 to 7 Pounds Below Race Weight

So it's pretty obvious the 4 of us are pretty excited and motivated for the trip to France. Turns out that during a conversation with the tour operator, JB was told we should shoot for 5-7lbs below our normal racing weight. Crap!

This would explain why JB called me for a long road ride this weekend. I'm always the one bugging JB to ride, and I never bother him to ride this time of the year.

Perfect weather for riding this weekend. JB and I rode in WI on Saturday. I hadn't ridden with him since the Firehouse 50. Him riding this much, at this time of the year, has the rest of us spooked a bit. Now we have to work extra hard too. I guess there's nothing like a little friendly rivalry to motivate each other. JB even said he might shave his beard for the trip, stating "It's got to be equivalent to a titanium part on the bike."

We even had a little adventure on the ride, stumbling upon a park road with a short 20% grade gravel climb. Both of us barely made it up, nearly falling over a couple times.

4 of us showed up for Painman's west side ride from 318. Thought there would be more, but apparently the rest were tired from the bike party? It was just Painman, Ritz, EPO, and me. We rode into Mpls again on the paved trails. There was some frost on the roads, but no problem. We even stopped to help a New Zealand woman with a flat.

On the way home, I couldn't help myself, and proceeded to drag Painman and EPO on an alternative route back to Excelsior. It added a few miles, and some hills. Even though they were cursing me, I could see the twinkle of personal satisfaction in their eyes at the end of the ride.

Time to sleep

This year, Brenda joined us and made it all the way to 1AM. Skibby and Olga crapped out at 2AM! No Hanna this year. Donimator, Treb, Jordan, and I made it to 4:30AM.

Highlight of the night for me was Donimator letting me drive both his Viper and CTS-V. Unbelievable power in both cars! What a generous host. Would you let me drive yours, if you had one? I know I wouldn't.

Friday, December 08, 2006

Oh, that rollercoaster

Photo circa January 2004

Took a look back at my weight difference between January and August of the last 10 years. The data is pretty disturbing.

Average Starting Weight in January: 232lbs.
Average Racing Weight in August: 203lbs.
Average Weight lost: 29lbs!

My worst year was 2005. I started in January at 247lbs, and weighed 202 in August (45 lbs lost, yikes).

Do the math, and that means I've gained and lost almost 300lbs in the last 10 years!

In the past 10 years, I've only been successful twice in keeping my weight down over the winter (2000 and 2006).

It's the middle of December, and I'm sitting at 210lbs. I'm shooting for 190lbs for the France trip. More importantly, I plan to be within 25lbs of Treb. Wish me luck, and good luck to Smithers and the rest of the local cyclists who worry about their weight more than most women.

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

Party, Party!

Loon State party at Donimator's on Saturday. BBQ, awards, and fun. Bring your appetite, and suit for the Hot Tub.

Believe it or not, this guy is going to be there, albeit, a bit thicker. Hey, that's my bike!

Monday, December 04, 2006

Donimator's "56"

Donimator's blog if finally back to life with a post on his "56" restoration. He must really love that friggin car. My high school car was a rusty POS Chevy 350 pickup with NO power steering. I sincerely hope that thing is now a steel beam in some skyscraper. I don't even think I have a picture of the damn thing.

What's the story Don? Score your first babe in the thing or what?

Here is my version of the conversation regarding the restoration if I were Donimator, and Brenda was Carla.

Don: What do you think about me finally restoring my 56?
Brenda: Fine, I'm sick of hearing about it, and you're just going to do what ever you want anyway.
Don: Thanks honey.

A few weeks later:
Don: Honey, you're not going to believe it. It turns out the car is in worse shape that I thought, and it's going to cost $7K-$10K to do it right.
Brenda (with learing eyes): Don't you think that is a bit excessive? We're already spending a fortune on Christmas. Where are we going to get the money, out of our Ass?
Don: I know, I know. It's not like we can't afford it though.
Brenda: Fine, waste your money on that old damn car. It's not like the kids need to go to college anyway.
Don: Come on Brenda, don't be like that. This is important to me.
Brenda: Go ahead and finish the car. Don't expect me or the kids to ride in it though! As a matter of fact, why don't you just go ahead and join Cullen on the trip to France. Train and race your little heart out next year.
Don: What if I got you a new pair of 1 carrat diamond earrings, and some new furniture for the family room?
Brenda (all smiles): OK.

From one selfish husband to another. Way to go Don!