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!

Thursday, November 30, 2006

Prep for France Trip

We're looking at doing the legendary "Horribly Hilly Hundreds" in June, in prep for our France trip. They have a 100K and 200K option with a ton of climbing. They claim the 200K option has 12,000 feet of cumulative climbing. Obviously, it won't have the "sustained" type of climbing we will get in the Alps of France, but it will do. They don't have 2007 info up yet, but their website is

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Repeat after me, the stairmaster is my friend.

Whatever it takes to mix it up, and keep those winter pounds off. What's your secret?

Sunday, November 26, 2006

Stick a fork in me, I'm done

(Photo: post 2002 Firehouse 50 individual TT after riding a blazing 2:17)

As planned, Jordan and I joined the west side ride from the 318 in Excelsior today. There were 11 riders total, including the entertaining duo of the Red Lantern and Skibby. What a perfect day. Did a 55 mile loop into Mpls and back on the paved trails. It was Jordan's longest ride ever, and he was all smiles, all day.

Afterwards, several of us sat down for a leisurely dinner at the 318. The food was so great, I had 2 meals! The waitress also gave me a complimentary foo-foo coffee drink, because she heard me telling the guys I hate coffee because it was too bitter. It was good, but pretty sinful, so I gave it to Jordan.

So back to work tomorrow, after an amazing stretch of 5 days of riding. I'm definitely going to be suffering from withdrawl next week.

Saturday, November 25, 2006

And the hits just keep on coming

Another perfect fall riding day. Bob Rolle came over for another long ride today. My neighbor joined us at the start as well, but split off after an hour or so. Bob and I were headed to Hagar City, and attempting to hit a few climbs on the way down. We hit the Beldenville Pass, Crosstown, a 14% killer climb (name unknown), and a couple others.

The ride was perfect, right up until we got into Hagar City, and my rear derailleur cable end snapped off inside the right shift lever. Great! I'm at the farthest point from home, and now I'm on a fixed gear.

I decide to tie the cable off, so I'm not stuck in the 12. I was shooting for the 15, but once the cable slack was taken up, I was in the 14. I decided to live with it. So now I've got 35 hilly miles to ride home, with the choice of a 39x14 or 53x14.

We basically hammered for about 20 miles, with Bob and I trading pulls. Then just to make it interesting, Bob missed a turn, and I couldn't get his attention, and couldn't catch him either. I looked for him for a while, but it was getting dark so I headed home. Thankfully, he found his way home and was waiting when I arrived.

After these last 2 rides, I expect tomorrow's ride from the 318 in Excelsior to be completely uneventful.

Friday, November 24, 2006

One problem after another

Joined Painman and Ritzy for a west side ride today. The weather was too perfect.

Broke a spoke in the first couple miles. Stopped, trued it, and back on the road. This would be the first of many problems to come.

After 2 1/2 hours, Painman headed home, and Ritzy proceeds to get a rear flat. Turns out the tread on his tire is completely gone. Luckily, I carry a spare tire this time of year. Problem remedied, and we move on again.

Just before Ritzy and I are about to part ways, I hit a major hole, and lose my grip on the bars. Luckily, I stay upright, and think nothing of it.

As we depart from our last pit stop, I remount, and immediately both tires blow! What the? I've had a double blow out before, but not sitting at a gas station. Luckily, I also carry 2 tubes. I get the front taken care of, then I waste 2 CO2 cartridges trying to blow up the rear. What the? Luckily Ritzy carries the handy-dandy presta/schrader adapter, and we use the stations pump. Whew!

It's about 4:30 and getting dark. Ritzy offers me a ride back to Painman's, but I want the ride time. He loans me his taillight, and I set off. It was pretty dark during the last 1/2 hour, but I made it.

I guess the moral of the story is you can never be too prepared.

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Happy Turkey Day

Did the loop with Bob Rolle today. Temp was mild, but didn't see much of the sun like those overpaid weathermen said we would. Bob worked me a bit in the hills, and I worked him a bit in the flats.

I've been doing a ton of long solo rides lately, so it was a welcome change to have Bob drive all the way over and join me. After the ride, I checked out one of his new custom cycling shoes. Man, they are sickly light, felt like about half of a normal shoe.

At the end of our ride, these 2 younger women drive up, and get out of there car stating their Dad rides bike too. At first, I thought maybe they were interested in connecting us with their dad or something. Wishful thinking. Merely a ploy to discuss Creationism. I was polite, but she got the hint I was in no mood. The Jehovahs went on their merry way. Why is it they always catch me outside, where I can't just ignore them by not answering the door?

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Casino Royale

Jordan and I went to the new James Bond flick on opening night last Friday. For those of you who don't know me well, I am a movie superfreak, and Jordan is a chip off the old block.

This is the 21st James Bond film, and features a new actor, Daniel Craig, as 007. He is the 6th actor to play Bond (others were Sean Connery, George Lazenby, Roger Moore, Timothy Dalton, and Pierce Brosnan).

Casino Royale was Ian Flemming's first novel published in 1953, and follows the development of a fledgling double O, namely James Bond. It is definitely a departure from previous Bond films. No naked women silhouettes in the intro credits. Daniel Craig looks more like a Swede, than a Brit, with his blue eyes and blond hair. There are some cool cars in the movie, but no visits from Q branch. Tons of action, which is where Craig excels. He's a fast mover, and does lots of running and fighting. It runs pretty long at 2:20.

Overall, I'd give the movie a 7 on a 1 to 10 scale. I enjoyed it, but it just didn't seem like a true Bond film. It will be interesting to see if Craig catches on like Brosnan did, or if he will be another Lazenby or Dalton.

Sunday, November 19, 2006

My Lucky Night

Hit the casino last night with a couple of neighbors. We played "Let it Ride" for most of the night. It is not a game where you can strike it rich, but you also limit your losses. You can play all night on $20-$40, which is all my tight a$$ will allow me to lose. Well, last night, the stars were alligned. I hit 2 flushes in a row that pay 8 to 1, and then busted out a full house, which pays 11 to 1. I counted my blessings, and quit while I was ahead. Went home $100 richer.

Riding was a bit cold this weekend, but Jordan and I got a nice ride in on Saturday, and I rode solo today, Brrrr... At least there is no snow yet (although I am looking forward to some DH skiing this winter).

Friday, November 17, 2006

Painman is outdone.

Lars Teutenberg duplicates Painman's 2006 double collarbone fracture in a single race. So I guess it could have been worse, eh?

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Step away from the cookie, and get out your checkbook.

Thomson's King of the Mountains French Alps tour itinerary is up. It's going to be a fun, but tough trip. Average of 70 miles/10,000 feet climbing per day.

We will be staying in 3 different hotels, starting in the town of Megeve (near Geneva),

then Meribel (near Albertville), and finally atop the famous Alpe d'Huez. We fly into and out of Lyon.

Trip Highlights:
  • July 14: LIVE Race viewing on the Col de la Colombiere

  • July 15: LIVE Race viewing on the Cormet de Roselend
  • July 17: LIVE Race viewing on the Col du Galibier

The climbs we will conquer (total climbing nearly 60,000 feet):
Click the name of the Col for a profile.

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

I gots cyclocross skillz

I've had many friendly compliments on my exceptional bike carrying method at the state cyclocross event. Fact is, the darn thing was so light compared to my MTB, the darn thing nearly flew out of my hands when I grabbed it. I switched to the traditional carry method for the rest of the laps, but they managed to catch my first carry of that helium machine.

Hit the trainer tonight with Jordan. That kid has got the bug!

Sunday, November 12, 2006

A visit with Dan and Linda

Took off today at noon to do the loop. I fought the fairly stiff south wind all the way to Prescott on the Minnesota side. I spotted someone preparing to ride at Point Douglas Park, and after a second glance, it looked like Dan Casper and Linda Sone. Sure enough it was. They came up from Northfield to avoid the snow pack. We decided to ride together into WI. I offered to ride with them back to Hudson, and then drive them back to Prescott.

The ride was perfect. Cold, but not too cold. They were on their cross bikes, but had no trouble keeping pace with me on my road bike. I mixed together a quiet 50 mile route, with plenty of climbing, and no traffic. The wind was pretty much at our back the whole ride. Dan and Linda commented some of the roads reminded them of the french countryside. At one point, there was this black lab that ran with us for like 2 miles. We got back right at dusk. Jordan joined us for the drive back to Prescott. He really likes Dan and Linda. They sure are good people. Dan turns 40 on Tuesday, so we called it his birthday ride.

Pretty sure this is the end of the road for the Litespeed until next season. I think I'm going to switch over the the trusty winter bike at this point, for outside rides.

Saturday, November 11, 2006

State Cyclocross

Bike compliments of Painman. Photo compliments of skinny ski.

Had a great time today at the State Cyclocross Champs, at Bassett Creek Park in Crystal. I actually ran cross-country running meets there in high school. Looks about the same as it did 22 years ago.

Jordan did the C race, and had a great time lugging his MTB up the stairs. Not sure where he ended up, 3rd or 4th in the younger juniors? My folks came out to watch his race, and loved that style of racing. My cousin came to watch my race too. I rarely get family outside of my wife and kids to watch me race, so it was a treat.

Painman was kind enough to loan me his beautiful new Redline. All I did was swap the pedals, and raise the seat a couple inches, and it actually fit pretty well. We had 55 guys in the A race, which was way more than the previous races I did this year. My old buddy Darrin Homme was there, and even Timmer made an appearance.

I tried to start closer to the front, rather than at the back like previous races. Unfortunately, I got pushed into the soft shoulder of the dirt road, and dropped back about 20 spots. I settled into a group with Timmer, Red Lantern, Chris Doig, and a couple other guys. What a difference the bike makes compared to the MTB. I wasn't able to stay with front groups, but the bike rolled so much easier.

The course was a tough one, but it was fun. There were some fast sections, which I could really get rolling on, but the finish climb (which could be ridden), the long stair run-up, and the dip into the creekbed wore me down. I'm definitely a rider, not a runner, just too darn heavy. I don't think I would have finished if I had to carry the MTB like I did the Redline. Each time up the stairs, I got a little slower. The cheering was incredible. Lots of teammates and others cheering my name each time up the hills. It really made the race a painful pleasure. I kept hearing Kullman, Ohotto, Wataja, and Kuster, each time around. Thanks guys.

About mid-way through the race, I slid out in the corner headed into the woods, and never quite recovered. I wasn't hurt, but the shifting of the bike didn't work very well for a couple laps. I actually stopped at one point to check it. Lost quite a few spots, and then the leaders started lapping me. I always try to stay out of the way, so I stopped pushing hard. Painman's feeds were welcomed (added thanks).

Well, that's the end of the racing season. This was my 45th race this season. It was Jordan's 28th. What a great year. Looking forward to 2007.

Thursday, November 09, 2006

And then there were 4...

Great news. Treb booked his flight. He had just enough miles (75,000) to book a frequent flyer. Lucky because, at this point, the only flights available now cost 100,000 miles, which Treb and I did not have enough miles for. Treb's return flight is the same as mine and Painman's, but he has to connect through New York on the way there. The ugly part is he has to transfer between LGA and JFK during his layover.

Hopefully there will be a cash and miles, or fare sale to help make JB's flight more affordable than the current $1500.

The picture is from our snowy spring training camp in 2003. Treb was recovering from Hernia surgery. A couple weeks after this, he destroyed the bike in a bad crash at Sogn, where he broke his collarbone. I broke my collarbone in 1998 and 1999, Painman broke both his this year in separate crashes. JB is the only one of the 4 of us without a lumpy shoulder.

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

71 deg and calm, unexpected ride partner

Can't ask for better riding conditions in November. Ducked out of work early and rode the loop this afternoon. I caught a guy as I headed south to Prescott. I greeted him as I blew past him, and I never looked back, assuming he wouldn't accelerate to follow. I was wrong. As I entered Prescott, I asked him where he was headed. He said back north to Stillwater. I told him I was headed back to Hudson through River Falls, and he decided to join me. I'm thinking to myself, who is this guy, that's about 70 miles round trip.

He's riding an old school Columbus steel custom Kavale with downtube shifters. No helmet, and a Banesto jersey. I introduce myself, and he just gives me his first name, Pete. He tells me he used to race a long time ago. I'm thinking about our trip to France, so I ask if he's ever ridden in Europe. He tells me he rode the Vuelta in 1985. What! His name is Pete Moody. He raced for a few years in the early 80's, and then hung it up. I had heard his name somewhere before. In 1985 he rode for the Xerox team, and rode 3 stages of the Vuelta. He missed the time cut, and went home. His comment was "the shortest pro career in history".

We started chatting about some of the guys who have been around a while. Scott Flanders of course, Tim Mulrooney, Bjorn Carlson, Pat Dalton, Cleve Peterson, Mike Anderson, Eric Ringsrud, just to name a few. Turns out he was the one guy to ever take the Firehouse50 in a solo breakaway. We talked about all the races that are no longer like the Paul Bunyan (a 200 mile race around Milacs), Octoberfest, State Fair Crit, Union, etc. Pretty cool guy. Before I knew it the ride was over. It's always fun to meet new riders, especially one's with history.

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

2 down, 2 to go.

Painman and I have booked our frequent flyer flights for the France trip. It cost me 75K and painman 100K miles. We had to shell over $80 on top for taxes and fees. But that's much easier than paying $1500 for the same ticket. I've had pretty good luck getting Northwest Frequent Flyer tickets. It's impossible to get frequent flyers during the holidays or spring break, but away from those dates, it's not too bad. JB is going to wait for fares to drop, and Treb has to plead with E to go (you're in dude, you just have to convince her).

This will be my first trip to Europe. I feel kind of guilty my family isn't joining me, but we plan to go over for a sightseeing trip in a couple years. Actually, the trip was my wife's idea, as a 40th birthday present (yes, I'm 40 next year).

This trip will be all cycling. I'm going to be in France for a week, and not see Paris. I'm strangely looking forward to the shock of how tough the climbs will be, especially with myself being a pretty large rider (Eros Poli, eat your heart out). I'll get a much better perspective of how incredible it must be to just participate in the Tour de France, let alone win.

Monday, November 06, 2006

Thomson's Alps Trip Dates

This is a shot of the last 5K (tough) of the Galibier, where we will pre-ride and then watch stage 9, where their lunch tents will be waiting for us.

Thomson's itinerary will start and end in Lyon instead of Geneva. They don't have anything posted yet, but here is what I anticipate based on my conversations with them. I suggest we plan to arrive a day early due to jet lag and the early departure from Lyon on Friday.

Wednesday, July 11, Depart Minneapolis in the afternoon.
Thursday, July 12, Arrive Lyon - Relax, recover.
Friday, July 13, Depart Lyon for Megeve at 10:30AM, warm-up ride.
Saturday, July 14, Pre-ride stage 7, watch on the Columbiere.
Sunday, July 15, Pre-ride stage 8, watch on the Roselend.
Monday, July 16, Transfer to Eybens. Alpe dHuez?
Tuesday, July 17, Pre-ride stage 9, watch on the Galibier.
Wednesday, July 18, Croix de Fer and Glandon?
Thursday, July 19, Arrive in Lyon at 10:00AM. Depart for Minneapolis around Noon.

Still waiting on the final details and cost. I think this will be our best option as long as the price comes in around the same as Discover France.

Sunday, November 05, 2006

Hagar City and Back

Opted out of Northfield today. Painman is down with a cold, plus Jordan's race was at 10AM, and mine at 1:30. Decided to spend the time on the bike instead of in the car, and sitting around at the race.

Made it down to Hagar City today. Haven't been there since a long ride with the Bakers in July. Fought the wind on the way down, welcomed the push home. Only bummer was a flat within 10 miles of home. Everyone hates flats, but I especially hate them when I'm that close to home, and it's getting dark out. Can't get too upset though, with 2 awesome long rides in as many days.

P.S. On top of getting the long ride in, my most excellent wife mowed the lawn for the final time today (I am truly blessed). The yard is ready for winter. Hooray and thank you Carla!

Saturday, November 04, 2006

Anoka CX and a long ride

Helped out this morning at the Anoka CX race. Billy K. and the crew really did a great job setting up the course. Jordan did the C race and finished 3rd in the Juniors < 15 I think. After Jordan finished, we left. I decided I wanted to get a long road ride in today instead of racing. It was warmer than I expected. It felt really good to get one more long ride in before the snow flies, and it really gets cold out.

Here is today's awesome 71 mile loop on Route Slip. All familiar roads to those I have ridden south with me.

Thursday, November 02, 2006

Candy Bars and the Trainer

I love candybars every bit as much as I love cycling. My calorie intake always spikes around halloween. Therefore, it was absolutely necessary for me to get back on the trainer. We'll see if I can keep it up through the next couple months.

I don't have a computrainer, but I have a Kinetic fluid trainer, and the optional computer which measures watts based on speed. Kinetic claims it's pretty accurate, but I mostly use it as a relative measure to gauge improvement over time. Tonight, ave watts were 251.

I see Smithers is running his weight challenge again. Seemed to motivate him last year. He's sitting at 191. Not bad. I myself am steady at around 210. The trip to France next summer will keep me motivated this winter. Gone are the years where I spike up around 245 at Christmas, and then work like a dog to get back down to 215 by July. I plan to be well under 200lbs next summer, to help me get over those mountains.

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

Discover France's Alps Itinerary is Up

One of our alternatives to Thompson Cycling Tours, Discover France, has posted their 2007 Alps Tour Itinerary. The cost is a little under $2500. It's a 7night/8day trip like we're looking for. The trip catches all 3 alpine tour stages, Stage 7's finish, Stage 8's start, and the final climb (Galibier) of Stage 9. They stage at 2 hotels, first in Annecy (3 nights), then Les Deux Alpes (4 nights). Their trip looks a little easier than Thompson's (They skip the Columbiere and Roselend, which is where I would like to pre-ride/witness Stages 7 and 8, respectively). They don't hit the Madeleine either.

It is certainly a good alternative, but I'm looking forward to seeing Thompson's detailed itinerary and cost.

Painman and I were researching flights for the trip (approx. July 12-21). The only currently available frequent flyers to Geneva cost 100,000 miles (rule buster). Flight cost is currently running a little over $1300.

Monday, October 30, 2006

What did you do this afternoon?

I know what I did. The Loop of course. Just couldn't resist what is likely the last shorts and jersey weather of 2007. 67deg at the start, 50 deg at the finish. The wind (which was pretty strong) shifted on me too. Moved from SSW to W. I enjoyed every minute of it. I even tried out a couple new climbs.

Click here to view the route.

Saturday, October 28, 2006

Red Barn Cyclocross

Just couldn't resist. I joined Skibby and Painman in this race in Taylor's Falls (picture compliments of SkinnySki). Jordan raced too, and loved it. He ended up finishing 2nd in the Juniors 10-14. I finished second to last (Thanks Skibby). Fellow Hudsonite, Bjorn Selander won, way to go! The toughest part was the steep, slippery run-up. It killed me every time. The MTB is a liability in Cross racing, but even with a cross bike, I think I'd be battling with Painman (who is getting fitter) at best. It's fun, but I know I will never perform well in cyclocross. I'm just too big to be jumping on and off the bike, and running all the time. It's incredibly hard on my ankles. That said, Jordan and I still plan to do the State Cyclocross Champs in November. I will probably pitch in next weekend at the LSC cyclocross in Anoka too (not sure about racing, though?).

Afterwards Jordan and I went to the Baker Apple Orchard for Apple Baseball and a Bonfire. What a great time. I gotta start riding again with JB soon.

P.S. Painman actually scored a CRY point taking 8th place today in the A3's. Way to get on the scoreboard!

Friday, October 27, 2006

Firming up France Trip Plans

Thompson Bike Tours looks very promising. I still have calls out to Discover France and Trek Travel, but Thompson looks like the best option so far. 7days/6nights in the Alps during the Tour in 2star hotels = approx $2500. They cater to avid cyclists, and provide the support we're looking for. I reserved 4 spots on the Priority list for the guys I know are going (Painman, Treb, JB, and myself). There is only so many spots, so if you are seriously thinking about joining us, let me know ASAP. The itinerary details will be available around Nov 15th.

Thursday, October 26, 2006

Tour Route Announced - Trip Planning Started

The big alps stages in 2007 will be on July 14 (Bastille Day), July 15, and July 17. Click here for details.

Mark you calenders. The plan is to hit the Alps, while the Tour passes through. So it looks like our trip will be in the middle of July. I'm going to check into a couple different tour companies including Discovery France and Trek Travel. More details to follow.

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

Ann Arbor

I ended up on the Trainer this weekend before leaving for a quick Medtronic recruiting trip to the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor. Never been there before, what a cool campus. Interviewed 13 engineering students over the course of 9 hours. It was inspiring and exhuasting at the same time. It's always fun to witness the enthusiasm of a soon to be new grad.

I have to say I was a little depressed this past weekend about not riding outside. I think I'm over it now, but it was sure hard to let go. I think I'm going to start riding the trainer regularly during the week now (lack of daylight), and save the outdoor riding for the weekends. I think I might even have one more cross race in my legs.

Friday, October 20, 2006

I'm no Iron Man

I finally got out and rode a couple hours last night. Brrrrr. I read an article yesterday about Matt Aro's experience with a "double" Ironman Triathalon. These guys take it to a whole new level. I thought doing a "normal" ironman Tri was incredible. The furthest I've ever ridden in one day is about 140 miles. I've bonked on rides before, even in races, but having to go the ER after a race because of exhaustion and kidney failure is definitely taking it to a whole new level. He even say's he'd do it again! And people say I'm crazy and obsessive?

Thursday, October 19, 2006

3 days off in a row, I'm Lost.

Weather has been sad the last 3 days. I rode a ton last week, but haven't been on the bike yet this week. Painman got me hooked on the TV series Lost. I'm truly addicted now. I finished watching season 1 this past weekend, and just finished watching season 2. I TiVo'ed all the episodes from this season, and now I am onto them.

I'd heard all along how great the series is, and I agree. It's very much a who done it, with lots of twists and turns. Lots of flashbacks for character development. Each episode leaves you wondering what just happened, and what will happen next. Once I'm totally caught up, I'm not sure how I'm going to deal with waiting for next weeks episode.

After watching 2 full seasons, here are the questions I am still left with:
1. What the heck is the island security system, who/what is it protecting, and how does it work?
2. Who are the others, and what do they want?
3. Why was Locke in a wheelchair?
4. Who is Kate going to jump, and when?
5. Will Hurley ever lose any weight?

There are a few other questions, but I don't want to give away too much.

Monday, October 16, 2006

What's wrong with this picture?

Circa 1997. Al, me, and Treb. There are so many things wrong here. Not sure which was worse, that jersey design, or my flattop haircut (I guess I should be greatful I have hair, compared to the other 2). Nice Charles Nelson Riley eyewear (pre-lasik). Note to self, never stand next to the skinny guy when having your picture taken.

Solo Riding Thoughts?

Just a little Monday morning thought. Anyone who does a lot of solo training has a lot of time to think, especially if the roads are quiet, like mine. What do you think about?

Do you solve problems, or forget about them? Do you come up with great ideas? Do you simply enjoy the surroundings?

Friday, October 13, 2006

Addicted, Dedicated, or just plain stupid?

Above is a shot after a snowy, icy 70 mile ride at LSC spring training camp in 2003. It was probably the nastiest conditions I've ever ridden a road bike in. I did the Prescott Loop solo again tonight. I was dressed warm enough, but the wind was just nasty. I almost got thrown off the road a couple of times. Whenever I think I've got it bad on a ride, I just think back to that snowy day in 2003.

Getting some pressure from the Painman and Skibby to race a Boom Island on Sunday. Only thing is I want some miles this weekend. Maybe I'll ride over to the race, and back?

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

The end is near.

My commute to work is 35 miles, one-way. The picture above is an example of the reason I put up with the long commute. The roads south of Hudson are quiet, scenic, and hilly.

I got long road rides in last night (with Treb) and tonight (solo). The colors are just past peak, and pretty awesome right now. I did my best to take it all in, knowing the cold and snow is coming tomorrow.

Monday, October 09, 2006

WI vs. MN

I live in WI, and work in MN. WI property taxes are higher, but state income tax is lower. This weekend, I paid $2.35/gal in Menominee for gas. Today, I paid $2.07/gal in New Brighton. Cigarettes are about $.75 cheaper in WI, plus liquor stores are open on Sundays. You wouldn't believe the flood of people into Hudson on Sundays buying cigarettes and beer. It's like a dang pilgrimage.

Sunday, October 08, 2006

WISPORT Awards Party

Went down to the WI Dells with Jordan Saturday morning. We spent the night at the Wilderness Resort, which has 3 huge indoor waterparks. Their wave pool produces 4-6 foot waves. They also have a ride called the Hurricane, where you ride on a 4 person tube, down a steep grade into what resembles a giant funnel on it's side. It was definitely the scariest water ride I've ever been on.

Sunday morning, we headed up to Grand Marsh, WI for a short ride and then the awards party. The weather turned out to be perfect for the 30 mile ride. The roads and colors were awesome. Afterwards, the food was great, and we got lots of shwag as usual. We also collected our 1st place Trophy for the WISPORT Tandem Series. Just got home, and now we're headed out the door to catch the flick, "The Guardian".

Friday, October 06, 2006

The Loop - Solo

Treb bailed on me last night, so I rode the loop solo. Perfect weather and hardly any wind. The colors in the river valley are pretty amazing right now.

Had to ride the last hour or so in the dark, with a headlight and tail lights. I do a fair amount of riding in the dark each year, but usually not solo. The roads I ride on are very quiet anyway, but some people say it's too dangerous to ride at night. I can tell you that people give you a lot more room at night. I don't recall ever being buzzed by a car at night, where I occasionally get buzzed on the same route during daylight.

Treb and I have had the occasionaly comment thrown our way on night rides. Our favorite comment was "You guys look like a couple of aliens!". Then there was the time Treb and I were doing the loop, and had stopped in Prescott to refuel. It was already very dark. This drunk guy asks where we were headed. We told him Hudson, to which he replied "Oh, I used to ride from here to Hudson all the time, but that was back you guys weren't even born yet." This guy was probably in his 40's. He must have thought we were a couple of 20-somethings. Then to top it off, we depart Prescott headed south (because to go north, you have to ride on the highway). The guy got this confused look on his face as to say, "Dudes, Hudson's the other way."

Monday, October 02, 2006

Bluebird day!

I had pre-planned to take the day off today and take to boat out with Carla on the St. Croix. We cruised up to Stillwater for breakfast, and then down to Prescott on a color tour. It was amazing how much the colors had changed just from Saturday. Had the river pretty much to ourselves, except for the fisherman.

As nice as it was, I took the day off from riding. My body clearly needs the rest.

Sunday, October 01, 2006

Oh, the Irony! Skibby's been replaced.

Today, I paid for my comments from yesterday (concerning quitting). I woke up this morning with pain all over. I'm pretty sure it was mostly from the cross race, but I don't think the waterskiing and wakeboarding helped. I desperately wanted to skip today's race, but I committed with Painman. I won't leave my wingman. Jordan decided to come with too, but not racing today.

Painman (removed the "in" since I seemed to have that covered today), and I rode the course a few times to warm up. My legs felt terrible. The course included riding a lot of grass (including off-camber sections), a sand volleyball court, 2 sets of double barriers, and another barrier prior to a steep run-up. Bottom line, it felt really slow, and required 3-4 dismounts each lap. The strong South wind was no help either. Below is a shot of Painman at the barrier prior to the run-up.

I was gapped right from the start. I had no snap in my legs to match the typical fast start. I caught back up at the sand pit, but then they just rode away from me. Just after entering the woods, some wiseguy yells "you miss the start?" Gee, thanks. How heavy do my legs look?

I just couldn't get going. I think Doug caught me after about 5 laps. I endoed in the sand pit, and gave up on trying to ride through it after that. I was watching the gap to Painman, and it seemed to grow each lap. My legs kept getting heavier each time over the barriers, and not being able to shoulder the MTB made the run-up and sandpit that much tougher for me. I don't remember feeling this bad in any race, ever. I kept thinking just don't stop.

Doug caught me again with 5 laps to go. He was flying. Everytime someone passed, I'd try to stay with them, but just couldn't. I hardly taxed my cardiovascular system at all during the race, my legs were just completely gone. Thankfully, Doug actually caught me for a third time just before the finish, ending my anguish 1 lap earlier than expected. I'm pretty sure almost everyone except Painman lapped me, and he was close too.

My emotion at the finish was mixed. I could live with finishing last, but it was really hard for me to accept being so far off the pace. Met up with the girls at Chili's for a post-race lunch, and then went shopping with my daughter. Then we went and played a little tennis, just to finish me off. My 39 year old butt is worn out!