Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Oh Schnap, Jordan hit by a Deer

Don't worry, the title is meant to dramatize the encounter. Jordan and I did the Prescott Loop tonight. 2 weeks ago, we rode at night in the rain, and had a near miss with a deer. Amazingly, tonight's encounter was within a few hundred yards of our previous encounter. I'm definitely going to be more careful on that road.

We were cruising along in the dark, pushed by a strong tailwind, with only 10 miles left on our ride. We passed a house, and heard dogs barking and coming after us. We are both familiar with the dogs, and they are harmless. Then, we both heard what we though were the dogs coming through the brush. Only it wasn't the dogs, it was a deer! I caught it in the corner of my eye, and yelled Oh sh?t. The deer ran just behind me, and I cringed, waiting for the sound of Jordan going down. I looked back, and he's still upright, and is saying "Ooohhhhhhh, whoooooo." The deer brushed his back wheel, but not hard enough to knock him down. Both our hearts were racing north of 200. Ironically, Jordan got the hick-ups after that. I guess the deer scared them into him.

Sunday, October 28, 2007

Northfield CX Recap

Awesome course layout today. Loved the unique pinwheel feature. The hill climb was brutal. Dismount at the bottom, over 2 barriers which seemed about 3 feet tall, a short run-up, then remount and grind up the switchbacked climb. Ouch. Plenty of technical, and plenty of open riding. Definitely one of my favorite courses.

Turnout was lite, as some expected. Jordan won the younger juniors, followed by the ever present Michael and Brian Gaines. We were also treated to a sprint finish between Raymond Warns Ledesma and Zach Stillwell for the older juniors title. Zach came out on top.

There were only 28 A racers. I started harder than I would normally, and settled into the middle of the pack. The climb killed me every time, but the downhill through the woods was awesome. I dropped my chain 2x, forcing me to stop and remount it each time. That sucked, but got my adrenaline going. The last few laps, I could see Mark Mlinar making some ground on me, so I pushed as hard as I could to stay away. He definitely closed on me during the last couple laps, but I was able to hold on to the finish. I ended up 4th in the Masters 35+, and about 13th overall. Doug Swanson won easily, followed by Casper. Bergman ended up DNF'ing after he slid out in one of the fast turns, and had more bike problems. Bummer.

Congratulations to Dan Casper for sealing the Masters 35+ CRY with his win at Northfield.

Lunatic and Jordan. Too bad I couldn't get a shot both of them in costume.

Jordan in full flight at the bottom of the hill.

I swear the barriers on the climb seemed 3 feet tall.

The switchbacked climb.

The way close finish between the Lindas

Saturday, October 27, 2007

"I got my a$$ kicked today, by a fairy."

At least that's what one C racer said, that finished behind Jordan at Red Barn.

Linda and Jordan swapped genders for Red Barn, and what a hoot it was (We surely missed you and the Mrs today Ray). Watching Jordan's wings fly back as he rode kept everyone in stitches. Linda went as a 60's Pimp Daddy. I went as Captain Jack Sparrow, eye makeup and all. Jordan tied for 1st in the C race costume contest, and Linda won the B race costume contest.I overheated during my race a bit, but beating Super Rookie, and Mostly Naked Red Lantern, for 1st prize in the A race costume contest was worth every bead of sweat.

Jordan won the C4's, and Linda won the B3's. I'm pretty sure I finished 9th in the A3's, just missing the cutoff for CRY points (see, Maren). Doug Swanson won the A race handily, followed by Hareland. Casper got tangled up with Bergman on the last lap and lost a couple spots.

Lovely Linda aka Pimp Daddy

Got a little Captain in you?

Red Bull gives you wings

Look, it's a flying fairy.

There's a new sheriff in town, and his name is Skibby.

The start of the B race women, led by a man.


3rd Place in the costume contest (out of 3).

Painman gets a hand-up from the fairy.

I think I heard Arrrrrgh cheered to me 1000 times during the race.

Post race dehydration setting in.

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Cheating or not cheating?

My Cheaters post generated a lot of comments. I apologize to Chris, Kent, Paul, and Dino for calling them cheaters. After reading all the comments, and seeing this photo (pointed out by Timmer), I can see there was a small window left open for interpretation.

My accusations were based on hearing the course organizers talking about how C and B racers had ridden around the stairs, and that they moved the tape in to eliminate that possibility. I agree this info should have been passed on at the start of the A race by the officials to make it clear.

I don't question any one's ability to ride a 4" wide piece of concrete. Even if it were clearly stated at the start that it was allowed, I never would have attempted it. That said, I still say it was cheating if you rode on the grass next to the stairs, even if you just "slipped off the curb". You can't convince me the stairs were intended to be an "optional" obstacle.

Hollywood, as far as riding down stairs at the State CX go, bring it on. I admire creativity in conquering an obstacle, as long as you ride through or over it, not around it.

I already heard that we are expected to dismount and jump over the stream at Northfield this weekend, instead of bunny hopping it. Is it enough for the officials to simply state this at the start? At this point, I think if they don't want us to bunny hop it, they better put a barrier in front of it. Even that might not stop some of the more skilled riders.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

My Rule of Thumb

I have a somewhat unique perspective as both a racer and the parent of a junior racer. As a parent, I see how Jordan looks up to riders, and takes their lead on what is acceptable and unacceptable. He and I admire the racers who are dedicated, and follow the rules to the letter of the law. He knows the rules are there for both fairness, and our safety.

Whenever I am faced with a real-time decision regarding the rules as a racer, I simply ask myself "What would I suggest Jordan do in this situation?" Bottom line: How can you respect yourself, or expect people to respect you, if you take the rules for granted?

Here is an example. You are in a road race, with a strong crosswind, forcing an echelon from right to left. It's so easy to rationalize riding over the yellow line as long as your not the only one, right? Now put your young child in that situation. Would you want them to take that risk?

Tuesday, October 23, 2007


What makes you guys so special that you can just create your own line around an obstacle? Do you think the other 45 guys in the race were running up the stairs because they were not capable of riding through the tape and up the side? You can pretend to be ignorant, but there is no way you are that stupid.

Chris Fisher

Paul Hanson

Kent Throlson

Chris Edin

Monday, October 22, 2007

More from Powderhorn

Kristi on the run-up
Michael leading Ray on the run-up
Brian on the run-up
Jordan over the barrier
Kristi over the barrier

Sunday, October 21, 2007

Powderhorn CX Recap

Jordan on the steep "rideable" run-up.
Jordan gets a hand-up from Mom.
Tackling the steep climb. Photo compliments of
Suffering behind the technically superior Dag Selander. Photo compliments of
Maren and her boyfriend Luke.

Painman and that adorable Connor.

Holy cow. I missed Boom Island last weekend, but Powderhorn was just as big. There were almost 100 racers in the C and B races. I think there were around 50 A racers. What an awesome race to both participate in and watch. The course was great. Not very technical. Only 2 dismounts necessary: at a set of triple barriers, and a short stair run-up. There was another steep run-up which was a challenge to ride. The other challenges included riding between some dirt piles covered by plywood, an off-camber ride on the side of a hill, and a ride around a baseball diamond.

Jordan had another great race. He won the younger juniors, and finished 61st overall. Excellent work this weekend buddy. You're showing great progress. Kristy Kreme was ahead of him after the start, but then Jordan took over. I think Kristy was still smarting from last weekends crash and efforts.

Painman and I started at the back of the A race. My main goal for the race was to ride up the steep hill section every time, even though my lowest gear was a 42x26. Painman and I started at the back of the field, and slowly worked our way up during the first lap. At some point, I came around Painman and some slower riders, and lost him. Then I saw Dag Selander up ahead, and knew he would be a good wheel to pair up with. I was right. He is a much better rider than me technically, and I learned a lot following him today. During our first few laps together, I would pull through, but it only seemed to hold him back. I just couldn't corner as fast as him. He'd pull a gap in every technical section, forcing me to close it down in the open areas. Dag's pace was so strong, we kept catching other riders, and going right through them. Early in the race, I came up on Dan Swanson, who had clearly broke pace and was going backwards through the field. I cheered him to not give up, and show me how it's done. He did just that, rode away, and I never saw him again.

The ride up the steep hill was a challenge every time, and the cheering was awesome. There was a huge crowd gathered at the top, and they were clearly having a great time watching us suffer. Bjorn flew past us with a couple laps to go, with Bergman, and then Hareland, all separated by a hand full of seconds. On the bell lap, I could see Dag and I were catching up to a group of 4 in front of us. We were right on their tail at the base of the steep climb. I followed Dag up the hill, and then blasted off the top. I was able to get around Dag and all 4 of the others before the finish. I felt bad after following Dag during almost the whole race, but I've had the same thing happen to me (on the road). In the end, I finished just out of the top 20 overall, and 4th in the masters 35+ (1 out of the money again, Maren).

Afterwards, we went to Mattys on 35th and Cedar for a Jucy Lucy with Painman and his family. Good times.

Saturday, October 20, 2007

Twine Ball CX Recap

Jordan and I travelled out west to Darwin, MN to do the Twine Ball Cyclocross Race. It was a chilly morning, only 40 degrees when we left Hudson at 7:45AM. We arrived with plenty of time to check out the course, which was a killer. A long grinding uphill, which ended with a run-up for most at the top. Then a technical, twisting downhill, with the only set of barriers at the bottom, where you entered some woods. You came into the barriers with a ton of speed, so scrubbing it was a bit of a challenge. The barriers were placed going up a hill, which made them seem taller than normal. They were also spaced out on the hill, making the run-up even tougher. The single track through the woods wasn't too technical, but there was a quick descent, followed by a greasy uphill, which could be ridden if you carried enough speed into it. After rolling through the woods, it opened back up, and there was one last hill, which could also be ridden, but was greasy enough to be a challenge. One final turn, then the finish, and back up the hill again. Overall, a challenging cyclocross course (even though there were only 2 barriers), with plenty of technical challenges, and very few places to recover.

It was still pretty chilly by the start of the C race and turnout was light (only 20 C racers). There was a total of 4 younger juniors racing, including Jordan. Jordan had a rough start. His rear brake cable had popped off the hanger somehow, so he had to ride the first lap without it. It caused him to go flying into the weeds on the twisting descent, forcing him to dismount and run back up the course. He managed to keep it together the rest of the lap to the finish, where I was able to quickly pop the cable back into place. He never looked back after that, and moved up several places. He ended up 12th overall and 1st in the younger juniors. Congrats buddy. Michael Gaines was 2nd, with LSC teammate Tristan Manderfeld 3rd, and Brian Gaines 4th. Poor Tristan struggled the entire race with his shimano SPD cleats. They kept getting clogged with mud, and he was unable to clip in for most of the race. That didn't stop him from mounting a last lap charge where he almost caught Michael. Way to tough it out Tristan.

There were a total of 29 starters in the A race. The temperature had warmed up nicely. As usual, I started in the back. I was second from last to reach the top of the hill. I was able to get passed a couple of guys at the top before starting the twisting descent. I slid out in the first turn on the descent, and ended up on my back, slowing the progress of the 2 poor guys who were behind me. Sorry. I was able to remount quickly, and catch back up to the rear of the group in the woods. I caught and passed Dag Selander and a couple others, and then proceeded to crack a little, allowing them to catch back up to me. I let them by, and just couldn't stay with them. I was suffering like a dog, and then I started to see some of the casualties. First Hollywood, then Patty Cakes, then Dan Swanson, and Andy Kruise. They all gave up the ghost early, although Patty Cakes did eventually finish. I thought to myself, no matter how much I hurt, I was finishing this race. About half way through the race, I started getting lapped. First Bjorn came through me like a freight train, then Bergman, Hareland, etc. I had lost sight of Dag, but I kept grinding away. The run-up at the top of the long grinder was killing me, and I damn near drilled the barriers once. As I rolled towards the finish to get the bell, Patty Cakes told me that Bjorn was closing in on me. I took that as an opportunity to slow and rest, to allow Bjorn to lap me again, allowing me to skip my last lap, and end my suffering. Bjorn even messed with me a little, and wouldn't go around me at first. What a kidder.

I have to give props to Zim and his crew for giving us the new and challenging course. I felt bad that turn-out was light, but hopefully the word will spread on how great a job they did, and more will come next year. They even fed us burgers after the race. Many thanks. Jordan went home with a cool medal, and I finished 4th (out of 5) in the Masters, just out of the medals (see, I told you Maren).

On the way home, I called Painman to find out why he didn't make it. Turns out he did come to the race, but got this weekend's flyers confused, and thought the race started at 1:45 (Powderhorn's start time). He rolled up 20 minutes after the start of the A race. Rather than kill more of his afternoon, he simply turned around and went home. As he was telling me, part of me felt bad, and the rest of me couldn't stop laughing. I guess it pays to sweat the details. eh Painman?

Results Posted

Cyclocross wannabe Maren, giving it a try in the backyard.

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

I Love a Rainy Night

The addict in me just had to get out on the road last night. The sky cleared around 6PM, and Jordan was game, so we did it. The roads were wet, and Jordan got a flat right away. I think it was his first road flat ever. I fixed it, and he asked "what we were going to do now?", as if calling it a night was an option. I simply stated, we forge on, taillights ablaze.

By that time it was dark, and then it started to lightly rain again, forcing us to abandon our eyewear. I hadn't turned my headlight on yet, but Jordan had his on. We were cruising along when suddenly a deer ran right in front of me. I slammed on the brakes, and luckily Jordan was to the side of me, and avoided plowing into me. I just kept thinking I hope there isn't a second deer, and luckily there wasn't. I said to Jordan "How close was that?", to which he replied, "What?". He didn't even see the deer.

We rolled into the driveway around 8PM. I Love a Rainy Night.

Sunday, October 14, 2007

Boom Island

Wish I were there. Jordan finished 2nd in the younger juniors. Doug Swanson won the A race followed by Bjorn Selander (who flatted) and Aric Hareland. Red Lantern broke another bike, and Jordan loaned out his bike for the second weekend in a row. Unfortunately, Red Lantern proceeded to get a flat, and hung it up. Below are a couple shots from

Looks like there was a bit of a stack-up at the start of the B race, with Super Rookie as the cherry on top.

Jordan looks focused, but cold.

Through the tight corners.

Suffering behind Kristi Kreme.

Friday, October 12, 2007

Road Trip

My father-in-law wanted to have his 1998 Mustang Convertible down at his vacation home in Cape Coral, Florida. I talked him into driving it down, rather than shipping it. Thus begins our adventure.

We left after work this past Wednesday. He drove to the WI-IL border, then I took over. I immediately missed our exit off I-90 and didn't figure it out until we were almost in Chicago. Rather than back track 30 miles to I-39, we figured out an alternate route down to I-57. Overall, the mistake probably cost us around an hour. I drove through the night, and handed the driving off at about 8AM in Tennessee, and slept in the car for about an hour. We stopped at Stuckey's, where I had been about 28 years ago on a family trip to Disney World. All I remember was all of us laughing so hard, we about pissed our pants. I can't remember what we were laughing about, but the place hasn't changed. It's an absolute hole-in-the-wall dump.

Billboards galore in Tennessee. Hundreds of "See Ruby Falls" signs. I took over driving again in Georgia. We had one last rest stop in Northern Florida, where we ate at Whataburger. Tom drove the rest of the way. We arrived at about 9:30PM on Thursday. I promptly went to sleep until noon on Friday.

1720 miles
72.79 gallons of gas
23.63 mpg
27hrs 20mins total trip time
25hrs drive time
2hrs 20mins stopped time
68.7mph average speed
87.1mph max speed (Tom, not me)

Ready to begin the adventure.

Why did I let you talk me into this, Jim?

Snore? I don't snore.

1998 Mustang Convertable with 11,111 miles on it

Dreaming of Stuckey's

It's just like it was 28 years ago

Only 750 more miles to go.

Finally. Only 350 more miles to Cape Coral.