Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Training Camp Eminent

Looks like we're gettin' wet this weekend. Did a prep ride in the rain last night, so I'll be ready. 199lbs this morning. 24lbs heavier than Treb. Goal achieved.

Tuesday, March 27, 2007

One tough kid

Jordan and I went out for a ride last night to enjoy the record temp. He's been bugging me to let him wear his iPod, but I have explained to him he needs to be able to hear traffic, etc. For some reason, I caved yesterday, and let him wear one earbud, so he could at least hear out of one ear.

About 45 minutes into the ride, were simply cruising along, and I feel Jordan rub my back tire. I look back to see him sliding across the road (a quiet one thankfully). He rides pretty close behind, and has touched my wheel once before and ended up in the ditch (unharmed that time). This time, he got a good dose of road rash. Right knee and hip, both elbows, and his shoulder. I've seen lots of people go down, and I always feel bad, but when it's your kid, your emotions run quite a different gamut. I can't quite explain it. It certainly made me appreciate the quiet roads we ride on, since he ended up in the on-coming traffic lane.

I quickly turned around, put my bike in the ditch, and went to help him up. His feet didn't clip-out, so separating him from his bike was the first order of business. He was moaning a bit, but no tears. He stood up, and I could tell he was pretty scraped up, but had no trouble moving. Nothing was broken, so I asked what he wanted to do. Call mom, head home? "Keep going", he says. His bike was fine, levers scratched up a bit, and one bent in. I made some quick adjustments and we were off.

He kept his distance from me the rest of the way, which forced him to suffer more than he needed to in the wind. We rode another 20+ miles to home, and then it was time to tell mom. She was unexpectedly calm about it, and glad to see he wasn't hurt too bad. I asked him how it happened, and he stated "I was looking at my shadow, and not paying attention." What a tough way to learn a lesson. Carla bandaged him up, and Jordan Say's "I'm wearing shorts and a short sleeve shirt tomorrow to school. Chicks love scars."

Sunday, March 25, 2007

Engineers Love Data

I picked up a Garmin Edge 305 off Ebay. Pretty easy to use. It comes with training software, and you can upload the data to Treb and I did the Prescott Loop. Good recovery ride, with a strong south wind. I would have been in trouble if I didn't have Treb to pull in the headwind.

Saturday, March 24, 2007

Painman Goes the Distance, Treb Bonks

Incredible ride today with Painman and Treb. 7 hours, 120 miles, and 7400ft of climbing (17 significant climbs in all). Fog in the morning, lunch in Prescott, where we met Treb. None of us drank enough. We ran out of time, and had to skip the water stop in Hagar City. That turned out to be the demise of Treb. 2 bottles in 4.5 hours wasn't enough. He bonked hard, just as we entered Hudson. He refueled, and made it home safely. I can't remember the last time Treb Bonked. It was priceless.

Thursday, March 22, 2007

Training Camp Weigh In

Whalan is one short week away. We have some serious prep work on tap for this weekend. Trying to drop those last couple lbs. before the pre-camp weigh in. The pic is from Opus 2005, complements of

Here is an archive of my past pre-camp weights:
1999 - 195
2000 - 199
2001 - 210
2002 - 230
2003 - 214
2004 - 225
2005 - 222
2006 - 210
2007 - ???

My goal is to be less than 25 lbs away from Treb and Johnny B. Treb hasn't been making my life difficult lately, but Johnny B is keeping me honest.

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Spring Training Camp Saturday Route Highlight

Saturday's Route at this year's LSC Training Camp will be identical to last year's edition. We had almost 20 people complete the full monty last year, including Donimator.

It's 100 miles with almost 5000ft of total climbing. It's broken down into 3 basic loops, with 2 stops in Rushford, giving people plenty of opportunity for the easy return to camp via the Root River Trail. There are 6 major climbs on tap for the day, 4 of which are featured below.

The first climb is just 5 short miles into the ride. It is a long grinder with an average gradient of around 3-4% over 4 miles. There are 2 more significant climbs, which I won't highlight here, en route to the lunch stop in Rushford. Lunch is approximately 35 miles into the ride.

Following lunch, we will get a couple miles of flat, before one of the tougher climbs of the day. The steeper part of this climb covers 425 vertical feet over 1 mile, for an average gradient of 8%. From here, we drop down into Money Creek, and head for the famed "Houston Switchbacks".

The switchbacks are a perennial favorite at training camp. The climb features 475 vertical feet over 1.3 miles for an average gradient of 7%. It feels much worse than that, especially since it is the 5th major climb of the day. Following the climb, we cruise through the plains and back to Rushford, where we will have completed 65 miles.

The last major climb of the day is probably the toughest. What you don't see in the profile is that you are gradually climbing for the 5 miles leading up to the climb up 109. It covers 275 vertical feet in just over half a mile, for a gradient of almost 10%. There are a couple more rollers after the climb headed back to Peterson, and then a leisurely ride back to camp on the Root River Trail.

Monday, March 19, 2007

I get by with a little help from my friends

What a great weekend. Check out the customized cycling magazine Donimator is holding.

Sunday, March 18, 2007

Birthday Century

Johnny B and I conquered our goal of a hilly century prior to my 40th birthday party on Saturday. We got our 100 miles with 5200ft. of climbing. At the half-way point, I knew we were about 5 miles short. John and I discussed our options. Adding on at the end of a 6 hour ride is a difficult task. We agreed that if we were going to do a century, we needed to be 25 miles away from home when we hit 75 miles. The only thing was that to add on the 5 miles, we added in a couple more climbs. Needless to say, we were both pretty dead at the end of the ride, and only had to do one lap around my Culdesac to register a full century.

The birthday party was a big success. There must have been about 60 people there at one point. Thanks to everyone who came.

Thursday, March 15, 2007

Who's the hammer and who's the nail?

Johnny B joined Treb and I Thursday night for a ride through the hills of Afton. There was a cold south wind, but the roads were dry, and the sun was even trying to poke through the clouds.

The first part of the ride was uneventful. Just catching up with each other, and sharing stories about our Big Sky Trip. Our pace was pretty calm, until we decided to line it out for the Afton State Park prime sign.

Then, in the tail wind section, Johnny B took the front. For the past couple years, this has not been his style, but we know his form is on the rise. Treb and I settled in until we hit the rise on Neal. Those who do the 3M ride know this rise well. It looks harmless, but always hurts. We started the hill @20mph and I was pretty much already tapped out. I watched the speed droop as expected. 19, then 18, then 19, then 20, then 21! Crap. He's accelerating. Well done, Johnny B.

The snow flurries started as it got dark out. It made for a surreal ride home. Our lights made it feel like we were riding in a tunnel. Epic.

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

4 hours on my 40th

Temperatures in the 60's. Who could ask for a better birthday present than the opportunity to ride 4 hours on a Tuesday? Rode the first 2 hours solo, and then joined up with the crew at Tartan park. Great catching up with the guys.

Incidentally, I rode 2 hours with Jordan on Monday night. I rode my normal pace, and he had no trouble keeping up. Just like at Big Sky on the downhills, I never had to wait for him. I guess all his trainer riding this winter is paying off. I sure am proud of his progress. He clearly loves to ride, and we really enjoy riding together.

Lordy, Lordy, Look Who's 40

and Now
I swear my hair got more grey overnight.

Sunday, March 11, 2007

Can you say bonk?

So we skied our last full day at Big Sky on Saturday. The plan was to depart immediately after skiing, stop halfway and stay the night, and drive the rest of the way Sunday. The drive takes about 17 hours with the time change, and refueling stops.

Well, we got to Bismark, ND (a little past half-way home) @ 4AM, and I was still feeling good and awake, so we decided to drive through the night. The kids fell asleep in the back, and Treb grabbed a couple z's, so he could relieve me from driving later. I cracked @ 7AM in Fergus Falls, MN, and turned the wheel over to Treb. I caught a solid hour nap. Surprisingly, I felt refreshed, and took over driving again after a breakfast stop in Saulk Center. We made it to Treb's @10:30AM, and we were home-sweet-home @11AM.

Having been off the bike for 10-days, I decided to unload the truck, quick catch-up with the girls, and then do the loop. I was on the bike by 1PM. There was a stiff headwind all the way down the MN side into Prescott. It took me longer than normal to reach that point, but I just chalked it up to the wind. I was unaware how depleted I was at this point. I refueled with Snickers and Gatorade, but it didn't seem to help.

As headed home into WI, I slowly realized I was bonking. It was the weirdest bonk I've ever felt. Not your typical lactic acid buildup, cramping type bonk, I am familiar with. This was an odd fatigued feeling, clearly a result of my lack of sleep (and skiing 8 out of the last 9 days). I quickly opted for the more direct route home, rather than go through River Falls. Even with the strong tailwind, I had nothing. I was on total auto-pilot, with one objective: Make it home without having to call for a ride.

Thankfully, I made it without incident. Time for a much needed nap, before I go to bed.

Thursday, March 08, 2007

What's a Gaper?

"Gaper" (pronounced gay-per): a person who owns all the right equipment, looks great standing in the lodge, but is a terrible skier. Used by locals to make fun of tourists.

Treb, who is a very good skier, defines a "Gaper" by other qualities. For example, anyone who uses the safety bar on a lift (Guilty, fear of heights you know). Anyone who wears rear entry boots, or bright fluorescent ski clothing. Anyone who rides the Tram to the peak, with their skis, and then turns tail, and rides the Tram back down.

Wednesday, March 07, 2007

I guess I'm doing Durand

It turns out they changed the Lincoln Plating Classic Stage Race Master 35+ category to Cat3/4 only. WTF? I guess they didn't like us coming down from Minnesota last year and dominating the field. That's OK. We'll just have to find another timed stage race later in the season.

FYI: Send your registration for Durand in prior to April 14th, $20. Race day: $30. I'll be pre-registering.

Snowmobiling in Yellowstone

Jordan and I drove down to West Yellowstone on Tuesday for a guided snowmobile tour of Yellowstone National Park. Neither of us had ever been to the park. The weather was perfect, a bluebird day. Temps were in the low 30's at the start, and the high almost reached 50.

My expectation was the most thrilling part of the tour would be seeing the Thermal basins, and Old Faithful Geyser. Turns out, the best part was the wildlife. A herd of Bison walked right by us, headed the opposite way on the snowmobile trail. A little scary to say the least. We saw a ton of Elk too.

The hot springs, mud pots, and geysers were no disappointment. The bright sun brought out the colors, and the thermals produced great steam. The guide was pretty good, and filled us in on the history of the park, and how it is constantly changing. He also told us some horror stories about people dying and being seriously injured by venturing off the boardwalk, and falling into a hot spring. The water in the springs is 180-200 degF, just below boiling point at that altitude. Jordan was so fascinated by the stories, that we bought the book "Death in Yellowstone". The guide suggested it, as it tales accidents and foolhardiness which has led to over 300 deaths in the park over the years.

One of the stories chronicles an unleashed dog jumping into a hot spring, and the owner jumping into save him. The dog drowned, and the owner suffered an excruciating death over the next 14 hours from his burns.

Another guy innocently wandered off the boardwalk, and was walking on what appeared to be safe ground. Suddenly he broke through the thin crust into a hidden hot spring up to his knees. He survived, but suffered 2nd and 3rd degree burns to his legs. The guide said he screamed all the way back to the first aid station, several miles away.

He talked about a woman who was feeding a bear, who was standing on it's hind legs, with his paws resting on her shoulders. The park ranger kindly told her not to feed the bears. She responded "You damned park rangers are all alike. These bears are friendly, and pose no threat." Just then, the bear simply decided to come down off her shoulders, but in the process, unintentionally tore her chest open with it's claws. She then sued the Park. Nice.

8 hours on a snowmobile was a long time, but I would recommend it to anyone. We had a great time.

Saturday, March 03, 2007

Jordan's First Mountain Skiing

We skied a half day Friday at Bridger Bowl. They got 30 inches of snow on Wednesday night. It was pretty carved up, but still decent powder conditions. Jordan loved it. He dove right into the steeper terrain, and learned fast how to control his balance and speed in the powder. I was proud, and grateful for the tune-up, knowing Big Sky was going to be a whole different ballgame.

Fast forward to Saturday. As we approach Big Sky Resort, you can clearly see Lone Peak which is an amazing sight. I'm not a very seasoned skier, and have not frequented many resorts out west, but the prominence of Lone Peak is incredible.

We went for the peak right away. No holding back. It takes 3 lifts to get to the top, including the Lone Peak Tram, which is a scary ride for us with a fear of heights. As you board the Tram, it clearly states, "Experts only. There is no easy way down. This lift services most difficult and extremely difficult terrain."

I didn't see any other kids waiting for the Tram, which made me a bit nervous, but I knew Jordan was capable of Liberty Bowl. The top was socked in a bit, and visibility was minimal. Never having been there, we stumbled our way blindly over to what we assumed was Liberty Bowl. I was pretty nervous. It was very steep, and you couldn't see the fall line at all. Jordan gave me "We have to go down that?". We both sucked it up, and jump turned our way down slowly. Keep in mind the peak is at 11K+ feet, so we got tired pretty quick, and had to rest a few times. Finally, we could see the tree line, and felt more comfortable. We cruised the rest of the way down, up another lift, and back to the base. Jordan says "That was the best time I've ever had skiing." I sported an ear-to-ear smile the rest of the day.

Our condo kicks butt. It even has Internet access. No one tell Carla, but I actually made dinner tonight. Spaghetti and Texas Toast is nothing to brag about, but seeing as how the most impressive thing on my cooking resume is making a bowl of cereal, and throwing a frozen pizza in the oven, it was definitely a photo opportunity. Makes me appreciate her all that much more.

Friday, March 02, 2007

Road Trip

We hit the road just after Noon during the snowstorm Thursday. It took us 2 hours to get from Woodbury to Rogers. Then it took us another 12 hours to get to Billings, Montana. Treb napped briefly, while super-trouper Jordan was wide awake in the back watching DVD's and playing PSP. We finally crashed at the Super8 in Billings @ 3AM.

Driving conditions varied. Hard packed ice/snow all the way to Fargo. Lots of wind lead to drifting snow in ND and MT. The roads would be clear, then all of a sudden we would hit snow across the road. No close calls really, just kept me on my feet. We saw lots of cars and trucks in the ditch, including a snow plow in ND. At about midnight, we saw a jackknifed semi eastbound, with stopped traffic behind. Sucks to be them.

The plan is to hit Bridger Bowl for a half day Friday, stay in Bozeman Friday night, and then head to Big Sky on Sat AM.

Sounds like MSP continued to get hammered last night. I-90 was closed in South Dakota yesterday too. Thankfully I-94 didn't get hit as bad. A shout goes out to Painman and Johnny B for getting Treb and I into the Horribly Hilly 200K. Word is it filled up already.