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!