Monday, April 30, 2007

How much homework is too much?

My daughter Maren is in 8th grade, and has been getting swamped with homework lately. She worked on her homework all day Saturday, then Sunday afternoon into the evening. She didn't finish last night until 11:30PM! Tonight, she had a track meet, and got home around 7PM. She spent 2 hours on homework, and still couldn't finish. Now she's going to have to skip her track meet tomorrow (What's with 2 track meets in 2 days anyhow?).

She doesn't procrastinate at all, and is a very good student. I guess it's Hudson's way of prepping her for high school next year. I feel pretty bad for her, but I am proud of her perseverance.

I was a good student, and studied hard, but I don't ever remember it being this bad. At least not in 8th grade.

Sunday, April 29, 2007

A cross town ride with a tailwind and my favorite riding partner

The whole family went to my brother's in Maple Grove to celebrate April birthdays (4 of them). I thought it would be fun for Jordan and I to ride home. The day was picture perfect (except for a couple clouds and occasional rain drop). The WNW wind was at our back for most of the ride. The greenway was crowded as expected, but not a problem.

We stopped in St. Paul to re-fuel, and I could tell we were going to be close to Jordan's PR distance. So once we got to Woodbury, I added a couple miles on to give him his longest ride ever. He didn't show any sign of being tired. His endurance seems to be good. We need to start doing intervals.

Saturday, April 28, 2007

Ken Woods Recap

Jordan's first road race of 2007 was a tremendous success. His mom and grandma were there to witness his big win. I couldn't be more proud. And could the weather have been any better (especially compared to last year)?

The older and younger juniors all raced together in the 9:00AM wave. The field was almost all MNJRC, except for a couple others, and Jordan. Jordan had trouble clipping in at the start, and got gapped right away. No problem, he sprinted through 3 riders to join up with 2 others before the corner. I was too impressed, except for getting gapped in the first place. We'll have to work on that. He rode with the 2 he caught for a while, then passed them, and caught up with Dano Barret. He rode with Dano a little, then passed her, and rode the rest of the way solo. He beat all 4 of the other juniors under 15 and even beat a couple of older juniors. Way to go buddy!

In the Masters 35+, LSC had a good group: Baker, Cullen, Macy, Cleary, Skibby, Trebesch, and Goblirsch. Grandstay and Birchwood also had a strong presence. The first lap was relatively easy, with a few attacks primarily by Bell and Bagley from Grandstay. We stretched into a line the first time up the climb, but generally came back together before the corner. The cross-tail wind section on the second lap was fairly active. Attack, relax, attack, relax... Bell got a good gap before turning the corner into the headwind, and kept us at bay for a couple miles before we reeled him in. While Bell was off, we see an entire pack of riders stopped and blocking the entire traffic lane. Eventually, we figure out we've caught the 3/4's group. Then a few miles later, they stop us, and the 3/4's re-pass us. I guess we need a bigger gap between start times?

The second time up the hill wasn't too bad, as the tailwind was welcomed by most of us. However, John Redmond had slowly rolled off the front just before the hill. At the top of the hill, several riders pressed the pace, and got a gap. They went by a GP rider, who I thought was Redmond, and we're all back together. Things got strung out a bit in the cross-tail section, and a few riders lost touch with the group. The group was still pretty large (20+). On the headwind section, Grandstay was pushing at the front, and I was a little baffled why they were riding tempo. That's when I figure out that Redmond is still up the road. We caught John headed down into the valley.

After the first ramp in the valley, Treb went to the front to ride tempo and keep things together into the base of the climb. Birchwood had also moved to the front. We turned the corner up the hill, and Peter Maxwell attacks like a rocket. The only 2 riders who can match him are Coyle and Macy. The rest of us are doing our best, but they are definitely leaving us behind. I backed off to recover, and Goblirsch and Baker came through me. I got on Bakers wheel, hoping I can recover and get us up there if the other 3 come back. It was pretty clear they were going to come back once we got into the false flat before the last ramp. Goblirsch had been pulling for a while, so I took over, figuring Baker would have the legs to win the sprint. We gobbled up the front 3, and I started my sprint at the bottom of the small valley just before the finish. I could see that Baker had my wheel, so I buried myself. Baker won it easily with Coyle in tow. Thankfully, we had a little gap, allowing me to take 3rd. Next was Mlinar followed closely by Goblirsch. 1st, 3rd, 5th & Macy finished a respectable 9th after covering the dangerous move by Maxwell.

This was probably one of the best teamwork experiences I've ever had on the bike. It was just plain fun to watch how each of us took our turn to cover attacks, and take our turns in the front of the group.

For you data junkies out there (like me), my average HR was 152 with a max of 190, occurring in the final sprint. 22.4mph average, and 2322 total feet climbing.

After last week's humble pie with the 1/2's, I opted for the Masters 35+. Good thing too. Doug Swanson and Doig took off from the corner, only to be reeled in on the backside of the course. Then Timmer, and the same 2 took off in the valley, and left for good. Clearly with Silver, Grandstay, and Flanders represented, there wasn't anyone left to chase (Most of GP is racing in Iowa). Once the front 3 were long gone, a chase group of 5 formed. Timmer and Doug dropped Doig the last time up the hill, and Doug won the sprint. Doig 3rd, and Dan Swanson was best of the rest. Doug is winning everything right now, but Timmer was 3rd@Durand, now 2nd. Next week should be another great race.

Friday, April 27, 2007

Oh No, I'm Anemic.

Got my blood work back today. 166 Cholesterol, 38.9% Hematocrit (No EPO usage here). However, my Iron and Magnesium levels were both a little low. My intake of veggies is greatly lacking, so I shouldn't be surprised. Does this mean I'll go faster if I get my levels up to the correct level, probably not. Oh yea, one more thing. My glucose levels were a little high too. Given my propensity for sweets, not a big surprise, but now I have to cut back on carbs, and eat more whole grains. Yuck.

Should have a good crew at Ken Woods tomorrow. Jordan's racing too. See you all there.

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Skibby and Red Lantern Steppin It Up, Donimator vs. Hanna

I have to say I noticed marked improvement in the riding of both Skibby and Cleary last night at Opus. Last week Skibby got lapped, and Cleary basically sat in. This week, they were both active in the group. I talked to others who noticed the same. Nice riding guys.

Hanna appears to have some good form, based on Opus and Durand. However, I think he's going to have his hands full at the May 2 Black Dog throw down. $200 to the winner. Hanna, you better get your bike put together, and I think bringing $200 cash money would be well advised. Keep in mind it is somewhat of a win-win situation for the Donimator. If he wins, he takes your hard earned money. If he loses, he ponys up what, to him, is more like about $20 to us.

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Jordan's First Opus, a Crash, and My First Points in 6 Years

The summary data from my Garmin is pretty telling. 19 miles @ average speed 26.8mph, average heart rate 163. You want speed work, come to Tuesday night worlds.

Jordan was bugging me to race at Opus last week, so I offered to take him this week. His only option is to race Cat 5. He got gapped big time right off the start, but chased back on in an impressive effort. Then on the 2nd lap, going down the hill, a couple of riders tangled and went down. Jordan was at the back with me following, and I yelled for him to hit the brakes. He scrubbed most of his speed, but managed to nail one of the guys on the ground, right in the ankle, and down he went. He quick got up, and said "I'm OK, let's go." I put his chain back on, and he was off. Wow. He rode the rest of the race mostly alone, and finished strong. Lots of people were cheering for him, and that was much appreciated. After the race, I checked his wounds. He scraped up his left knee pretty good, and cut his left hand a bit. Then we proceeded to go out and do a 20 mile ride with Treb to warm up for the 1/2/3 race. What a tough kid. Thanks to All the Way Ray for the picture and write-up. What a funny guy.

We had a great crew in the 1/2/3's with Donimator, Skibby, Treb, Patrick, Cleary, Baker, Kullman, myself, and a couple others. The start was pretty tame, so I did my typical 1st lap attack the first time up the hill. I was hoping do draw someone out, but ended up alone, and sat-up. I rolled around for a few laps to recover, and then saw Patrick and Baker in good position for the 2nd sprint, so I pulled for most of the bell lap to try and set them up. I think Patrick scored some points in that one.

After recovering for a few laps, I did the same thing for another sprint lap. This time Patrick was on my wheel, and I jumped a little too hard, gapped him, and left him on the front way too early. Somehow, he held on for 2nd. I am still baffled how he pulled that off.

A few more recovery laps, and then I moved into position to make sure nothing got away on the penultimate sprint, like last week. As we went down the hill after the sprint, I noticed Casper making a move. I jumped on his wheel, and away we went. No one chased, and Treb and Patrick moved to the front to try and block a bit. Casper and I shared the work, and our gap grew. We didn't expect Grandstay to chase, but I was a bit baffled why GP was being so patient. I guess, they felt they could close the gap quickly on the last lap. Sure enough, Treb hears someone tell Hanna to start pulling it back headed up the hill to get the bell. As Casper and I approach the traffic island, our gap still looks good, and I start to think we outfoxed them. Since I led down the hill, Casper took over at the island, and pulled to the corner. I'm thinking we are simply going to sprint it out between the 2 of us. Then Casper yells "You ready? You better go now!" I punch it from the corner. I take a peek back, and they are closing in fast. I dig as deep as I can, but Doug and Eric both catch me with room to spare. I did hang on for 3rd, giving me my first points at Opus since 2001. They may be 2 measly points, but I'll take them, thank you.

You can see in the graph how my heart rate fluctuates in sync with the elevation, with notable exceptions on my first lap attack, and my 2 lead out efforts. You can also clearly see my heart rate ramp up during the last 3 laps while I was off with Casper, culminating in my max heart rate of 186 in the sprint.

Afterwards, we hit the Scoreboard again, this time with Treb, Donimator, and Skibby. Jordan got to ride in Donimator's pimped out Hummer. Jordan loves hangin' with the guys.

Hudson Track Meet

Maren had another Track Meet on Monday, this time in Hudson. My mom joined Carla, Jordan, and I to watch her run the mile. My mom and I reminisced about my track meets, which were now 22 years ago.

Maren did great. She paced herself very well, and even overtook a couple girls late in the race. She finished the last lap strong and set her best time of 6:51. I was so proud, I actually got a little choked up watching her cross the finish line.

Sunday, April 22, 2007

Sun, Wind, Rain, and a Ride Home

Jordan and I got a later start today than we would have liked. I slept in, and did my chores before the ride. The wind was as strong as the last few days, and we fought it all the way down to Prescott. The sun was out at the start, but we could see the storm clouds moving in from the west. There were a few raindrops on our way down, but not too bad. However, I wasn't counting on the temperature drop. It was 80 when we started, and about 60 when we got to Prescott. We only had shorts and a jersey on. We re-fueled (yes, Jordan had another Hot Dog) and headed out to ride home. Brrrr. Then we saw Charlie Townsend packing up his car after his ride. Lucky dog.

If it was just me, I probably would have just put the bit between my teeth and gutted it out. But I'm not going to let Jordan freeze. I called Carla for a ride home, and she was more than happy to pick us up. She's the greatest. I did still consider riding, but I had also forgotten my saddle bag, and I wasn't going to make Carla come and get me again if I got a flat. I got what I needed for a recovery ride anyway.

Saturday, April 21, 2007

Durand Road Race Recap

Pretty much got what I expected today in the 1/2/3 race at Durand, a reality check. Position was everything as it guttered out immediately from the start. I let myself get to far back, and spit out in the first cross-wind section. Several of us regrouped, and chased hard. Painman, Matt Williams, Micah Moran, Chris Ripp, and a few others were in our group. We kept on the gas, waiting for the field to relax, but it never really did. Williams and Ripp were doing a lot of work. We kept picking up stragglers and our group grew to a dozen or so riders. One rider of note was Pete Maxwell, who contributed greatly to our chase. All of a sudden, Dan Casper was with us. He had gotten dropped right at the start, and had been chasing for 2 laps. Very impressive.

When Casper caught us, we were closing in on the field. We gunned it a bit, and our group blew apart. Casper, Williams, and a couple others made the front group, but I lost contact with those 4 at the wrong time, and didn't make it. Now it was just Chris Ripp and I chasing. We caught up to Homme and Hollywood at the top of the climb. Hollywood was waiting for his girlfriend, but Homme joined us. We were all pretty baked, and pretty much turned off the chase, but kept the pace up as best we could. We picked up GP rider Gunter from Germany at the start of the 4th lap. Homme fell off the pace on the headwind section, and Gunter lost contact on the climbs. Just Chris and I were left.

Chris was out of water, and stopped to refuel before heading out on the last lap. Suddenly I'm solo. I just keep it rolling as best I can. I can see a small group about a mile or so up the road. I knew it was the 1/2/3 autobus, because everyone else had finished by then. I decided to do my best to try and catch them before the finish. They came back slowly, but I was able to catch some of them (keep in mind they had clearly shut it down).

The story from up front was there was a break of 5, followed by the main pack. The break of 5 became 4, and Doug won. Big surprise. Timmer scored 3rd, good on ya mate.

A good hard race, and I guess I got roughly what I expected. I wish I would have played my cards a bit differently and moved up farther so I didn't have to chase all day. But, I know I'm not alone in that wish.

Friday, April 20, 2007

Durand Forecast

66degF, 18mph South wind @ 11AM. Forecasted S/SSE winds of 20-30mph all day, high 79degF. Leave your deep dish rims at home, and bring your sunscreen.

Thursday, April 19, 2007

Thursday Night Adventure

Jordan and I decided to ride down to Ellsworth to catch Maren's track meet. This meant riding straight into the stiff South wind for 30 miles. I also told Jordan I was going to push him a few times to work on his speed, and give him some interval training. Well, it took longer than I expected, but we got there in time to see the last half of Maren's 1600m. She battled through the pain, and finished in her best time. I was so proud she fought through the demons, and conquered her first mile race.

Jordan didn't want to keep riding, and opted to get a ride home with Carla. I sailed home in the tailwind. Man was that fun. I'm looking forward to racing 1/2/3's at Durand. Nothing quite like a Road Race you know.

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Opus Recap - Who eats at Rainbow Foods?

Thanks for the photo Linda. As usual, lots of good shots on (please help support his photography efforts by buying his pictures).

We started off the night at a new registration location. Things were a bit hectic at the start, but went pretty well considering. Then Treb, Painman, Casper, and I went out for an hour warm-up. We went a bit too hard, and Painman was not happy. Just trying to blow the carbon out of the legs you know.

LSC had a strong team present in the 1/2/3 points race for the first time in a long while. I decided to patrol the front of the race, and do my best to keep things in check, allowing Johnny B, Painman, and Patrick to make a run at the sprints. There were 60 guys in the race, with a very strong presence from Grandstay, Grand Performance, and Flanders. I started by following newly clad Grandstay member BK down the hill, then followed an attack by Dave Pramann.

From that point on, it's mostly a blur. The sprint laps were fast and furious. I never actually participated directly in any of the sprints. I simply tried to stay near the front to mark post sprint attacks. Dougo had his sprinting legs on as expected. Sickboy and Sedgewick tangled a bit in one of the corners, but stayed upright thankfully. Painman scored a 3rd in the 2nd sprint. His first points at Opus in a while. Congrats.

A few moves went off the front, but as usual, everything kept coming back together for the sprint laps. After the 4th of 6 sprints, the field relaxed a bit, and I did a soft attack down the hill. I got a gap, but was solo. I really could have used a partner at that point. I pressed on, but not exceptionally hard. Half-way up the hill, I could see the pack was still relaxed and letting me dangle, so I jumped again. My gap stretched significantly, but I knew it was to be short lived with the sprint lap coming up.

The field was closing in quickly as I came across the line for the bell. Then Casper and 2 others come through me without the pack in tow. I dug deep to get on to them, and thought there might be a chance to get some points, to no avail. I started my sprint early as the pack closed in, and Dougo came screaming past with Marcotte close behind. At this point the pack was all strung out, with gaps between the front riders.

I went to the back of the pack to recover, and was unaware that Dougo and Eric had gotten away after the sprint. Treb did take notice and rode the front to try and close the gap, but they were gone. The field sprint was to be for 3rd. Johnny B was back a bit, but found a good wheel in BK, and made it to the front of the field, but couldn't quite get to a fast finishing Dan Swanson. What a fun race.

Afterwards, Treb, Painman, Skibby, Casper, Sone, the 2 juniors from Hudson (Huesboe and Hackworty), and I went to the Scoreboard. I talked Linda out of going to Rainbow Foods for dinner. Great food, conversation, plus we caught both the Wild and Twins games. Thanks to everyone who came out to race, and we'll see you next week.

Sunday, April 15, 2007

Garage Sale

Checkout my ebay items. Free local pickup/delivery to Twin Cities, MN Area.

Hot Dog

Jordan, Treb, neighbor Hip, and I headed out this morning in a quest to get Jordan his longest ride ever. What a perfect day for it. It was Hip's first ride on his new Giant TCR Composite 1. It was Treb's first ride on his newly upgraded to 10spd Litespeed Vortex. It was my first ride on my new DA cranks. Jordan didn't have anything new, but his stuff is all mostly new anyway.

We decided to do the loop in reverse, and add a little to get the desired 62 miles. Hip turned off early to go golfing. We stopped at Prescott to refuel, and scored the 2 for $2 ballpark franks. Boy were they good. However, the ride up the hill into MN started to bring Jordan's hot dog back up. He kept it down, but it was good for a laugh. In the end, we hit our goal, and Jordan broke his previous record of 61 miles by exactly 1 mile.

On another note, we had lunch yesterday with Skibby at our favorite local restaurant, Pier 500. Our waitress recognizes me and asks if I was at the Daily Grind a couple weeks ago. She goes on to say, she remembers me and my friend, who had bonked hard, and was trying to regain his strength. How funny is that? Treb's bonk is now legend in Hudson.

Saturday, April 14, 2007

How much farther?

That's my favorite thing to hear on a ride. I consider it a compliment. It means you got your moneys worth. Today it was Skibby.

Baker, Skibby, Treb and I rode today and hit every hill in the Afton area, similar to what Painman and I did a week ago. We caught up with the LSC group that started in Afton in Prescott, and rode with them for while. Our 8AM start was chilly, but what a day it turned out to be.

Painman was down at Oxbow racing with the big boys (photo courtesy of He finished in the front group, and even attacked a few times. He certainly looks happy. Nice work.

Friday, April 13, 2007

What did you do Friday night?

Most people with a life hit the town, right? Treb, Jordan, and I did The Loop. Got back at 9:15PM this time, but no school tomorrow, so no problem man. Riding again tomorrow morning at 8AM. Gonna grab some quick Z's between rides. Good luck to all those headed to Oxbow or Fitchford. I'm saving my racing legs for "Tuesday night worlds".

Donimator pointed me to Timmer's interview in the WISPORT booklet, and how he basically says training for more than 2 hours is a waste of time. I happen to agree with Timmer's fundamental program, and I'd agree most of us generally over-train for shorter races (which make up a majority of the MCF calendar). However, I enjoy riding, the level of conditioning gained by long miles, and the added bonus of weight control. I can't wait for Memorial Day Weekend and Tone's 105 mile RR.

Thursday, April 12, 2007

Interval Workout

What a difference a day makes in the weather! Joined the east side ride at Tartan Park tonight and did the 3M Afton Loop. Lots of climbing, and several sprints (every time my HR goes above 170bpm).

My chain came off again during one of the sprints, similar to what happened at training camp. Not sure what the deal is. When I jump, the chain comes off the big ring to the outside. Frame flex? Worn-out big ring? Very strange. Anyone have any experience with this?

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Forced Rest Days

I needed some recovery time anyway, so maybe this weather isn't so bad? Carla keeps checking to see if I'm shaking from withdrawal. Very funny.

I was thinking about doing Oxbow with Painman this weekend, but they got a lot of snow. I wonder what the conditions will be like?

Thanks to some friendly needling from Nickelnuts, I'm racing Cat 1/2/3 at Durand. I mixed it up with the big boys last year at Marty, and paid the price. I'm expecting to get schooled a bit, but I find it healthy to enter with low expectations, and then maybe exceed them.

I spent the last 2 days breaking down and cleaning the drive train on my 2 road bikes plus Jordan's. Still have my TT bike to go. My hands have permanent grease stains.

Monday, April 09, 2007

Classic Misjudgement Jimmer

Went for the Prescott Loop again tonight with Jordan. Treb joined us en route, and I was hesitant knowing we would be tight on daylight. Then Murphy joined our ride. We stopped for too long in Prescott, broke a spoke, flatted, etc. Got back home at 9PM. All 3 of us had tail and headlights, but getting home at Jordan's bedtime was a bad call. The sad part is, we had a great time, especially anticipating the trouble we would be in when we got home. Carla was a good sport about it, when she certainly could have been pretty P.O.'ed.

The bottom looks to fall out, weather wise, tomorrow. Many of you probably don't know I have a daughter. She is running the mile this year in 8th grade track, which was my event in H.S., so needless to say, I'm pretty excited to watch her run. She is growing up so fast, and is attracting the boys too soon for me to deal with. I need to get my hands on a deer rifle, so I can be sure to be cleaning it when the boys start coming around to see her.

Sunday, April 08, 2007

Find Waldo

Can you spot the point in Sunday's ride where I pushed it to catch up with Matt Henry?

My Favorite Riding Partner

Sorry Treb, Painman, Johnny B, Red Lantern, Skibby, etc. It's definitely Jordan. We did the Prescott loop after today's Easter Celebration/Maren's Birthday Party. I get so much joy out of riding with him, I forget how amazing it is for him to ride for 3 hours in 40deg weather. On top of that, he doesn't hold me back in anyway. I ride the same level 1 pace I would if I was on the loop solo.

Bumped into Matt Henry on the Afton Coulee. He hammered past us, and after gaining permission from Jordan, I worked like a dog to catch him at the top of the next climb. Talked to Matt briefly, then turned around expecting Jordan to be way back. Nope, just cresting as I turned around. It is a real treat to see how much he loves to not only ride, but ride hard. Definitely, the apple of my eye.

Saturday, April 07, 2007

OK, that's enough.

3rd ride in a row in sub-freezing temps and torturous wind. Joined Meyer, Ludwigson, Lyner, and Storti. Stamm showed up to chat, but not ride. WTF? I'm still defrosting right now. Give me the 40's!

Friday, April 06, 2007

Cold, Wind, Hills, Painman, and a Bonk

Rode this afternoon with Painman. I figured we'd hide from the wind in the hills of Afton. We hit every one. We even went into Afton State Park, and dropped down on the trail to the river. Then we dropped down into Afton Alps. I over did it a bit, and ended up in the ditch, eating a snickers, towards the end of the ride. Then Painman dropped me on the hill back to my house, as payback for me dropping him on the 318 ride. I guess I'll take it easy tomorrow.

Thursday, April 05, 2007


Did the loop after work tonight with Treb. Flew down to Prescott with the tailwind. Battled the cold North wind all the way back to Hudson. It was a brisk 25deg when we got back. Felt like friggin March 5th, not April. This weekend doesn't look any better.

Sacrifice Ride to CatchTwins Game

So there I am fully kitted up, ready to brave the wind and cold on a Wednesday night ride. I'm out in the driveway, just about to depart and meet Treb for an Afton Hill Ride, and Carla tells me Treb called. He got last minute tickets to the Twins game and is bailing on me. WTF? Then she tells me he's got extra tickets for me and Jordan.

I reluctantly change back into street clothes, thinking this is some sort of belated April fools joke. When we pick up Treb and his son on the way to the game, I come to find he was fully dressed to ride and on his way out the door, when he found out about the game too. We got to the game before the first pitch, and the seats were club level behind the plate. I don't think I have ever paid for a sporting event ticket, but whenever I do get the opportunity to go with a friend, we always seem to get great seats.

As difficult as it was to give up the ride, it was a great time with Treb and the kids, plus the Twins won. Thanks for the tickets Treb. Definitely doing the loop tonight.

Sunday, April 01, 2007

Loon State Cyclists Training Camp Recap

The weather may have been cold and wet, but I thought is was one of the best camps ever. Before I go into any details of our exploits, I want to personally thank Delaney for master minding the trip; all the cooks, especially Olga, John, and Chris; Shane for the sag wagon; all the sag drivers; and the rest of the team who helped keep the camp clean and fun.

Official weight Thursday AM: 197 lbs.

Ride Summary Data:
16,965 Feet Total Climbing
340 Miles
19.75 Hours Ride Time

Thursday Ride (Motion Based Data):

The weather was perfect for Thursday's ride. The original plan was for a 65 mile route. However, with the threatening weather for the rest of the trip, Treb and I intended to simply ride till dark. About 20 riders departed from Whalan at about 1:30PM. The first climb didn't come until 20 miles. Rolle set the initial pace until Rotach took over. I was able to get to John's wheel, and that was the theme of the weekend on the hills for everyone "follow Rotach, if you dare." Tons of sprint signs, with many players taking part, Cleary, Macy, Baker, Lewis, Skibby, among others. The rollers took their toll as we approached the 65 miles cutoff. Most headed back for camp, but a few ventured on to climb and sprint the daylight away.

The sprint into Houston was exciting, to say the least. I was powering through a bumpy turn, coming around Cleary, to get to Macy's wheel, with Baker and Treb on my wheel. My chain bounced off the outside of my big ring, and I came as close to going down without going down as possible. Scared the crap out of everyone involved. I though my chain had broke, but when I recovered, I looked down to see the chain was intact. So I quickly feathered it back on, and restarted my sprint. By this time, Macy had a huge lead, but it was still a long way to the sign. Baker and Treb got back on my wheel, and Baker was able to come around me, and get to Macy before the sign. What an adventure.

After the excitement, everyone except Treb and I headed home on the Root River Trail, while we sought out the famed Houston switchbacks. In the end, it only ended up being 6 extra miles over taking the trail home, but did add 1500 feet of climbing.

Friday Ride (Motion Based Data):

We awoke Saturday morning to see what we expected, 45deg and rain. Nonetheless, 25+ riders headed out on a 35 mile ride to Rushford for lunch at Subway. There were some fresh legs in the group, notably, Patrick Horrigan. Patrick got in late Thursday night, and slept in his car, instead of coming in and disturbing us while we slept. We were definitely not worthy of his kindness.

Rotach was still king of the climbs, but Patrick was a force. All day long, we sprinted against each other. We did at least 8, that were closely contested. On top of that, he was climbing at the front group. Awesome to have a new teammate that strong.

We were all soaked to the bone by lunch. There were people complaining to me even before we got to lunch. EPO stated "Cullen, you are the best motivational liar I know." Everyone was chilled to the bone, and shivering as they ate their subs. I didn't think we'd get anyone to go farther. People started heading back on the trail to camp for a hot shower, in droves. Only about 10 were willing to go further.

Interestingly enough, the rain subsided, and we quickly warmed up after lunch. So much so, that every time we offered a short option, no one took it. 8 of us ended up with 110 miles. During lunch, I was sure there was no way anyone, including myself, was going to make it 100miles in that weather. Very impressive.

Saturday Ride (aka: the Buffalo Ride)

Skibby comes to me at breakfast and Say's "I'm doing whatever you do today, plus some." The challenge is on.

Not quite as wet and cold as Friday, but close. We had a crash and subsequent pile up on the trail right at the start of the ride. Then, someone pointed out the steep climb up to the Lanesboro golf course, which I couldn't resist. About half of us sprinted up the 21% grade, only to turn around and go back down. At the bottom, we discover Neil has broken his derailleur hanger off, probably compromised in the earlier crash. Bummer.

One the second climb of the day, I decided to hang back and take it easier. I watched the lead group pull away quickly. Suddenly, Macy sprints past, and I can't resist. I jump hard, to get up along side him, and rouse him a bit. I counter his move, and go past Baker, who jumps onto Macy's wheel. As we approach the top of the climb, I make contact with Rotach, Atherton, Clark, and Lewis. I go to the front to relieve John, as Macy and Baker make contact. Macy asks Baker to help him counter again, to which he replies "Chad, I don't lead over climbs."

Macy outsmarted all of us for the Bratsberg sprint. Coming into Rushford for Lunch, there is a long steep downhill, and after another mile or so, 3 sprint signs. I lead down the hill, and the only ones to follow close were Baker and Patrick. We kept the pace high through the flats, and sprinted for all the signs in succession, with almost no break in pace. Patrick scored the 1st 2, with Baker grabbing the final.

The mood was much lighter at lunch today. We were not frozen like the day before, and the hardest rain occurred while we were comfortably sitting inside Subway. A good group set out towards Houston. We had another awesome sprint for the Houston sign, taken by Baker. A few rode the trail home from there, but a majority headed for the Houston switchbacks.

At the top of the switchbacks, Lewis dropped the hammer in the tailwind on the rollers. I took over after him, at continued to hammer. It was a blast.

We dropped back down into Rushford, for the same 3 sprint signs as before lunch. Baker had headed back home on the trail, so it was just Patrick and I for the signs this time. Patrick took the first, and lead me out for the other 2. After that, everyone was game to keep going, so we decided to ride back to Houston, and then take the trail back to camp.

Another climb to Money Creek, another sprint into Houston taken by Macy, and Deja Vu. I was still feeling good, so I suggested we hit the Houston switchbacks one more time. I expect Skibby to be the first to say no way, but immediately blurts out "I'll do it." We take a poll, and everyone is game. Macy quips "We're like a herd of buffalo, following the leader over a cliff" Hence, from that point forward, the ride became known as "The Buffalo Ride".

Deja Vu again, as we descend for the 3rd time into Rushford for the sprint signs. This time, it is Treb, Patrick, Macy, and I. Patrick grabs the first one again. Just a they are recovering, I attacked hard, got a gap, and took the other 2 signs. At this point, we have ridden 100 miles, climbed 6000 feet, and sprinted a dozen times. We were all exhausted.

We started back to the cabin on the trail, and 3 miles in, Lewis gets a flat. Treb and I continue for a bit, and then back track. When I get back, I don't see Skibby or Patrick, so I head back towards Rushford to deny Skibby his mileage trump. Suddenly, a thunderstorm rolls in, so I turn around, thinking maybe they were just hiding, and I missed them. I rolled the rest of the way home solo in the pouring rain, lightning, and thunder, only to find Skibby and Patrick had gone back to Rushford, and I had turned around too soon. Therefore, I head back out the other direction on the trail for 2 miles to be sure to deny Skibby victory. When I got back, they were back, and we conceded to a draw. What a day.

Sunday's Ride:
We again woke up to cold and rain, and my heart just wasn't in it. I decided to bag the ride, and take Sunday off, instead of Monday. Treb and Macy were game for that, so Skibby led a small group for 2 hour trail ride. Thanks Skibby. I made it home in time to take the family out for dinner at our favorite local restaurant.

The post-ride activities were entertaining as always, including screenings of "Borat" and "Pulp Fiction", some Texas Hold'em, as well as a scrap book of put together by Olga. I will never forget this trip.

Red Lantern's Camp Recap