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.