Sunday, November 16, 2008
What does a guy do in an extended offseason? Brew beer I guess.
What did you expect, that I would actually get to editing the videos from the 24/9 or the Chequamegon. Yes I wore my helmet cam and would like to get to both video segments, but until I get a video compatibility problem fixed and find the time to edit it, I think it will wait. Adobe Premiere Pro does not like the audio on the camera file. I would assume that audio would be good and if you know me and video editing, I will not just put the raw file on the internet. Some day I might get to it, but until then, I have rekindled an old passion...brewing. I have pictures to post soon.
For those of you wondering, my buddy is doing fine after thyroid cancer surgery. It was fun to see him and long overdue.
Brew on until you can Ride on. Babes will have to wait.
Tuesday, September 2, 2008
My son entered the Cub Race and had little boy tip over on him at the start. He was dead last, even behind a trike. Teetering on the edge of tears, "suck it up and catch them" exited my mouth while giving him a push start. He impressed me that day by doing a great job at fighting back, passing many before the short race finished. Pride.
Back to the lack of blogging time. So much has happened, it seems pointless to go through it all.
I golfed in my work related event and my back managed to stay in. All the same, I visited the chiropractor the next morning after too much to drink. I had to finish packing with a serious hangover and then it was off to 24/9. I will post details, video and pictures when I have the time to get it done.
Another post I want to do is the Rock Lake Cluster and the taking of Mr. Kay's ear. Good stuff.
I built a mini ramp in the workshop. Sort of an afterthought to the skateboard I bought my son for his birthday. That would make a nice blog as well.
The Cheq 40 is approaching fast and that will be another post if I don't break my leg on the mini ramp. I'll be back soon...
Tuesday, June 3, 2008
Monday, May 26, 2008
This was also the first day on a new ride. I decided sell my Trek 2100 because the geometry was different than my Cervelo Soloist. The logical choice was another Cervelo, this time the Team aluminum. After buying a complete bike, I needed to swap parts to make it the way I wanted. Other than the seat, it was a great first day on it. There have been a few adjustments since that time, but nothing major. Cervelo makes a great bike in my opinion.
Tuesday, May 6, 2008
From the moment I landed in England I learned that my son was sick with flu-like symptoms. No big deal, right? Well it is a bit of a deal because I am thousands of miles away and he is only five. I feel for him, and my wife who has to deal with it in my absence. To make things a bit worse, two weeks earlier we found out that her mother was diagnosed with cancer. Not a great two weeks.
But wait, it gets better. After I got home, and retrieved my truck with the new transmission, things looked good. My son had seemed to recover; my mother-in-law was starting treatment. Life was on track. But as you know, things are rarely what they seem. Two days after my return, there was trouble with my mother in law. Things were getting worse, fast. I took the first bike ride in a long time on Wednesday, April 23rd. Bob and I went for a quick 27 mile ride and finished in time for me to make it to my son's first soccer practice, with pictures afterward. At the exact same time that my wife got a phone call from her sister, my son started complaining of stomach pains. I figured it was from the Gatorade he slammed during practice, but he barely made it through pictures before running to the toilet.
You guessed it, my wife's sister was the bearer of bad news and her mother was gone. Six weeks is a short period of time for cancer. I find little solace in saying that "perhaps it is good that it went quickly". Pavel (my son) was oblivious to "nana kitty's" passing as his stomach pains worsened. Three hours later I woke a riding friend that is also a doctor and gave him the lowdown. Here comes a trip to the ER!
While I was in England and he was sick, a stool sample was sent out for analysis. Tested positive for the Norovirus and that would prove important over the next 18 hours. Getting an IV shunt, blood drawn for testing, x-rays, urinalysis, drinking barium and a CT Scan in on a five year old before 5am is not easy. I am utterly amazed that we actually had all that done that quickly. Glad I have insurance.
Nothing came back indicating appendicitis as they expected. The only explanation is that the Norovirus had cause inflammation in his lymphatic system and caused pains that mimicked appendicitis. After another round of blood work showed his white blood count to be back to normal, he was allowed to eat. First time in 28 hours. He was extremely happy. At 5:30pm that Thursday we were dismissed.
My wife had zero time to come to grips with the fact that her mom was gone because our son was in the ER. After a few days, it was off to the visitation and funeral in Hector, Minnesota. Everything happened so fast that I am not sure we still understand what our family went through.
Time will allow us to heal, but six days after the funeral, Pavel is running a fever for the third day. Elementary schools are a lab experiment. I am convinced of that. As I write this, I am sneezing and blowing my nose repeatedly. Virtually four weeks without a steady ride pattern has left me with little care about my weight gain and lack of training. I would settle for a reprieve for my family. Biking is always been second or third.
Some good news bike related. I made some decisions about my rides and have made many changes. I hope to write about them tomorrow and include plenty of pictures. Yes Supercrash, I will post yours as well.
Monday, April 14, 2008
15 hours worth of travel and I am finally able to lay down and rest. True, it is not as bad as traveling to Japan, as Scope can attest to, but it is a long day for me. I managed a few hours of sleep on the plane to Amsterdam, and fought the urge to sleep the rest of the day in the UK, hoping to collect lost sleep from about 8pm on. The body clock is a funny instrument. Doesn't care where you are, or what your doing. Time is the only thing that can right the ship. At 12am UK time, I awoke feeling right as rain. That is 6pm Wisconsin time, I realized that it is EXTREMELY important that I fall back to sleep for the rest of the night. I have been in this position a few times before and forced myself to shut everything out and sleep. It took an hour, but I then tacked on another 5 hours of sleep. Nice.
Perhaps it was the meal at The Bulls Head that helped me rest. Perhaps it was the two pints of fine English beer. I do love the ale's in local pubs. So much for training.
In my cab ride to the hotel, I passed a cycling group of about 15 riders with a few falling off the back. Made me wish I had brought my ride, but there really is no time for it. With temperatures forecasted in the 50-60 range at home, I can only joke that I am putting on weight for long spring rides. The Manor Hotel is home for the next four days.
Tuesday, March 25, 2008
Sunday, March 23, 2008
Easter weekend (this weekend) was a different story. Temperatures hovered just at or below my 35 degree limit with winds a bit higher than I would like. I decided to do some power work of the trainer and push my legs a bit. Good Friday I took it easy, riding a 15 minute warm up and an interval course that takes just over a half an hour. Saturday I pushed it much more. After a short warmup, I rode a virtual course up Mont Ventoux in France, a climb that takes just over an hour. 12.8 miles up an average slope of 8.4%, with a max gradient of 14.8% totaling 5,587 feet of elevation gain. After that I did a 10 mile course of flat, steady pace work.
I had plans to do that again this morning, but I did not feel very good. Ended up scrapping the idea of riding all together. Instead I washed vitamins down with Guiness Extra Stout. After three days straight of forgetting to eat lunch, I think my body was upset with me. The forecast is for 40's and the Minnesota Wild are barely holding onto first place in their Division. Riding outside is quite appealing right now.
Almost forgot; Friday we drove through a blizzard to go to Eau Claire for some shopping. Stumbled upon a Bontrager RaceXLite 53/39 crankset for 99 dollars. This is one of only 5 cranksets that will work with a Cinqo Power Meter that are set to be released in April. Just maybe this will all come to fruition. I will write more about it later...
Wednesday, March 12, 2008
The pavement felt good but surprisingly rough after hundreds of miles on a stationary trainer and coasting on downhill sections was remembered as entertaining. The wind was light but again, surprisingly strong compared to the guest bedroom fan that offers no resistance. Still, it was a ride in the spring time sun on dry paved roads. Seventeen miles is no epic ride, but it was fun and we really couldn't go much longer without needing lights. The snow covered ground cooled the air quickly and once the sun set, any wet spots were quickly turned to ice. I offer a picture from my less than adequate phone, for no other reason than to document the day and the piles of snow in the ditch.
Sunday, March 9, 2008
Wednesday, February 27, 2008
In college, U of M - Duluth, I bought a Bridgestone MB-3 mountain bike to use as a ride to class, but really never did. I entered a race with a friend named Sven on Hawk's Ridge and got my butt handed to me. I never really wanted to race at this point, it was just something to do one day. Occasionally I would take that steel beauty out on the trail, but it was a rare event.
After graduating, my brother started to get into mountain biking a bit more, and he and I decided to upgrade to the new full-suspension mountain bikes that were out on the market now. Enter the Pro-Flex 856 (I think that number is right?). This bike gave me a new interest in mountain biking as a more worthy past-time. However, my small town was over an hour away from good mountain biking trails which limited biking to a few weekends a summer. The Chequamegon Fat Tire Festival was one hour away, so it was a race/goal to enter and finish the smaller race called the Short and Fat.
Still, mountain biking did not capture much of my attention, even as my brother became quite involved, racing quite a bit in the WORS series. I could not get past the fact that I needed to drive one hour to ride good trails. Riding for two hours would take 4 hours out of the day at a minimum. In 2002, my son was born and this meant even less time. As my brother continued to get more serious about mountain biking, I actually bought a Harley Davidson in late 2003 to ride to work, or go on little rides right from the house without taking too much time away from the family.
That same year brought another impulse purchase. The Trek 2200 Road Bike. Road riding ignited the pure desire that was lost in me somewhere. I could leave from my door and ride for an hour or two, halving the time of mountain biking on nice trails. By this time I had upgraded again to my Tomac Eli, full suspension mountain bike, keeping the Pro-Flex because it was so outdated it would not bring much money. I experimented with both road and mountain bike racing a bit more. Trying some one of the WORS series events and a couple road races in the WISPORT series. Road riding and racing was certainly fun, and much easier to train for. Ironically, as the cycling industry started to pull me back in, my brother started to fade out of it.
Despite the addition to my family with a daughter in 2003, riding became more frequent. My first road race was the Firehouse 50. It reduced me to the unconditioned amateur cyclist that I was. But for some reason I wanted more. New friends were met with the same intentions and it was all over. I was hooked.
Over the next four years, I have treated road and mountain biking equally. Road riding provides excellent opportunities, more convenient training and group rides with friends on a consistent basis. It was not until this last month that I realized which type of biker I was. While determining my schedule for the season, I realized that the 24 Hours of 9 Mile was the same weekend of the Firehouse 50. Having finished in 22nd place last year in the Firehouse, I wanted to better my finish and/or be a domestique for a friend going for the 60 year old record. But the 24-9 took top honors. The chance to ride mountain bike for 24 hours straight and put myself through ultimate suffering again made my decision easy. If you cut through all the BS, I was a mountain biker if given the chance. I may put three times the miles on a road bike, but I prefer to ride the single track trails in Northern Wisconsin.
Tuesday, February 19, 2008
The forecast for Oracle, AZ was a mixed bag leading to last minute changes in the suitcase. Snow as far down as 3000 ft, rain and cold for Thursday and Friday. Saturday and Sunday are supposed to clear and warm up. Let’s hope so because night laps at 35 degrees and rain/snow is just a bit frustrating. I can get that at home.
Saying goodbye to my family on Valentine’s Day is not fun. My son is feeling better and actually went to school today, just for the Valentines Party. Hopefully he will give cross-country skiing a try after school to get ready for the Barnebirkie. My daughter is supposedly good at skiing, practicing at her school, but I have not seen her do it and so I always tell her that I don’t believe she can ski, just to make her want to prove how good she is. When I get back, I will be ringing the cowbell and cheering them on.
If all goes well, we should be able to set up camp at 24 Town around sundown. I meet Scope in Phoenix and we get shuttled to pick up the RV. Then it is off to pick up the Superfly, buy groceries, drive two more hours to the race site and set up camp. Busy day!
Monday, February 11, 2008
There is reason to be guarded however. Saturday night my 5 year old son showed signs of another cold. Even though he was just getting healthy, as was the rest of the family, parents will appreciate the sheer number of illnesses in one school season. So tonight as I watch him suffer with a fever I am certainly conflicted. I want to help him in any way I can, but I also would like to be healthy for the coming trip.
It makes me think of the well chosen name for my solo entry to the 24 Hours of Nine Mile last July, Kharma's Bitch. If sickness is going to happen, then it will. Sure, I'll take the necessary precautions to guard against it, but asking my boy to contain his illness and wash his hands frequently is a losing battle.
I look forward to the Old Pueblo trail lined with cactus, breathing the dust of the desert and maybe "bikenelson style hydration". Boddington's has been a part of my training table for years.
Looking back at the photos from 2006 reminds me of getting passed by Tinker Juarez in the middle of the night, Uke and I trying to sleep with a head full of adrenalin, the allen wrenches as tent stakes and a sinus infection obtained just before I arrived at the race.
In 2006 there were four of us, until Clay's wife gave birth weeks early. That left the three you see here. John, Uke and I. This year Clay is put back on the roster, but John is out, replaced by Scope. If you don't know Scope, you will in the coming entries.
Friday, February 8, 2008
Don't get confused by the title, I am not an expert at packing bikes. After researching bike boxes and cases on the internet, I realized that all the materials used to make a great box were in plentiful supply at work. After a quick sketch, and gathering of supplies, I went to work making the cardboard box. My friend Howie helped me cover it in black vinyl, heat welding seams and affixing velcro to close the flaps. With some scrap aluminum angle I created a base structure and put masonite into the aluminum frame. Another addition was a quick release fork mount that Scope left at my house years ago. A little adhesive, foam and some handles and it was complete.
It had been decided that the new Gary Fisher Superfly would be the ride of choice for the upcoming 24 Hours in the Old Pueblo. Having bought it around Xmas time, it's presence was haunting me, literally calling my name every time I passed by it. Yesterday it made its first voyage via UPS in a box I designed, making me a bit nervous. I hope it travels well! It would be difficult to justify the expense of this trip if anything happens to the bike in transit. Insurance, you bet! Tape, oh yeah! Straps too. Stickers all over it: Fragile, This End Up, Do Not Stack. Fingers Crossed? Check!
Experienced packers would argue the helmet, shoes and containers of nutritional powder just laying in the bottom. These items were later packed in foam and secured so I don't unpack a bike covered in Hammer Products. I have read that shoes and helmet should travel with me, not the bike, but think about it, if the bike doesn't make it, I am not going to rent or ride a friends bike, I am going to be at UPS making someones day!
Wednesday, February 6, 2008
The sun is starting to stay longer in the sky, meaning that the snow will soon be melting and the days will soon be warming, despite the prediction for a deep freeze this weekend. Roads will soon be free of ice and willing to accept the thin rubber tires of my bike. It could be considered the beginning of the outdoor riding season, but living in the northwoods as I do, steps have been taken to secure a 70 degree windless day 365 days a year. The RealAxiom trainer I use has given me solid results over the past two winters and I am hoping this spring will again show the fruits of my labor.
I will never be the in a Grand Tour or the Mountain Bike World Championship, but there is a relief in knowing that. I can just settle in and have fun with my friends without giving up time with my wife and children and the other things I enjoy doing. "What were they again?"
For now I will see what this blog looks like and add to it as I prepare for the 24 Hours in the Old Pueblo. A race with old friends, cactus, cattle and cold beer. We won't win, but I challenge anyone to have more fun than us.