Saturday, August 7, 2010

Falling Behind

I realize I have been falling behind with blogging. I guess I really am not that into it anymore. Who knows, maybe things will change and I will start updating it again more than once every two months.

News Flash
Out with the old in with the new- I tore apart my Dos Niner and built a new Ti El Mariachi. So far I have only rode the bike to and from work, but it feelt great. I am hoping to put some laps on it at Afton Alps today.

Wedding-Katie and I did another site visit trying to determine where we are going to have our wedding. Hopefully we can decide soon so he we can really begin the planning.

Upcoming Events-Next weekend I am signed up for the Dairyland Dare. A road race/ride/tour in Dodgeville, WI where riders can sign up to do the 50,100,150,200, 250 or 300k route. I am signed up for the 300k. The 186 mile course will cover over 20,000 ft of climbing. I plan on switching my 53/39 cranks to a compact 50/34 and riding my Primero. Should be a good time. Goal time, sub 11 hours.

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Cheq 100

This past weekend was the first annual Chequamegon 100 bike race.
The race started in Seeley, WI and covered most of the 4 major trails of the CAMBA systems in Hayward, Cable, Rock Lake and Namakagon. Of the 100 total miles, roughly 75-80% was single track. In general a 100 mile mountain bike race is challenging enough. But the directors of Cheq 100 were not satisfied with amount of suffering the course alone presented, so they added another challenge. The race was a self-supported race, meaning there were no aid stations and riders were not allowed to take help other individuals. In other words, “we were on our own”.

I arrived at the Angry Minnow in Seeley around 7:00am with my race companion and good friend Mike Schroden. Once we arrived we grabbed our queue sheets (detailed course directions for the race) and started getting our gear ready. At 7:30 after a short race brief from the directors the riders started rolling out. For the first 20 miles the pace was way faster than I anticipated. Maybe it was because it was early, but I didn’t want to be going that fast that early in a long 100 race.

Eventually the pace settled down and I was in the first chase group of about 7 people. Our group rode together for another 20 until we got turned around and started riding the same stretch of single track back and forth 2 or 3 times. At this point another group of riders caught up with us and we all navigated the remaining 15 miles of single track together until we got to mile 55, the one and only check point where we had our drop bags of food, water, and other pre-packed supplies (ie. Chamois Crème) waiting for us.

The stop was very short and little by little smaller groups started heading back on the course. I was off my bike for about 10 minutes to refuel then Mike, and I took off with one or two other riders. Not more than 5 miles into the single track we took another wrong turn and ran into Heath, a lone LCR rider, who was heading back towards us on the wrong trail. Eventually Heath, Mike and I split from our group and finished the rest of the course together. We didn’t know how many riders were ahead or behind us, we just rode a good pace, stopped at every questionable intersection, and reassured ourselves we were on the right track.

As luck had it, we got lost less and had fewer mechanicals than most of those who left the checkpoint ahead of us. Heath, Mike and I crossed the finish line together just after 5pm. 10 hours of pure single track bliss and a three-way tie for 3rd. The Cheq 100 was an awesome event. I can wait to see what this race evolves into next year.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Salsa Cycles: Ride the Divide premier!

Salsa Cycles will be hosting a premier of Ride the Divide, a film about racing the Great Divide Mountain Bicycle Trail. The premier will be shown at Riverview Theatre, in Minneapolis, on June 15th 2010.

All details can be found on Salsa Cycles site.

Resistance Training

Today I hauled G. with me to work . This is will make it three weeks in a row. She is getting much better in the trailer and is very well behaved at work. Luckily the humidity dropped overnight and it was a beautiful day. My legs are still cooked from the Cheq 100. More info on that later.

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Quick update from the past couple weeks. Last Thursday I took an impromptu trip to Seattle to see my brother. I was in Seattle for 4 days and had an awesome time. Day one we went to Shorty's pinball bar to have their signature cream cheese chill dog and washed it down with a variety cheap canned beer. We had the best apple fritter ever at Top Pot doughnuts, went to Roq La Rue Gallery to see some great art as well as a glass blowing studio.

Day two we went to the Fishermans Terminal to checked out all the boats, then to Ballard neighborhood for lunch at Mike's Chili Parlor for a killer chili cheese burger. After lunch we spent the rest of the afternoon walking around town checking out the cool boutiques and flower shops, bars and coffee joints.

Day three was spent around Josh's place in Magnolia doing house work and cooking dinner.

Day four we went to Belview to see Hollie's work, do some shopping, get a professional shave at The Art Of Shaving, and lunch at a nice Irish pub. All before catching my flight home. I got back to Mpls around 12:30 am, light railed it home and then to bed for a full week of work.

Work was typical, rode my bike everyday, except on Wednesday I had company. Gretta Dingo rode with me in the Burley trailer and spend the day with me. She did a great job in the trailer and behaved very well at work. Weather permitting I am going to haul her in every Wednesday.

The Weekend was busy with a trip to see Katie's mom in Redwing, groceries and chores around the house. Luckily I was able to squeeze in a couple laps at Leb with Joe.

There you have it, a quick update on what I have been up to.

Happy Mothers Day to all the Mom's reading this.

Saturday, April 17, 2010

The Rok

Last Saturday I completed my first race of the season. Ragnarok 105 is a 105 mile race primarily on gravel roads. At the beginning of the race, riders are given course directions for the first half of the course. Then at the half way point there is an aid station where riders pick up a final set of directions for the remainder of the course. This is not a new format, but for me it was the first race I've done where the course is not "marked". It was also the longest race I have done where I had to ride and working with a group of riders.

Going into the race I was confident in my fitness but less confident in how I would do reading the course directions. It didn't help my confidence that my computer stopped cooperating with me the day before the race and I was not 100% satisfied with my map holder. However, my goal for the race was to be competitive at the end and hopefully be in the final sprint for a spot on the podium. I knew this was lofty goal for a first timer, considering there were a lot of strong riders in the field. But I knew I had put the training in I needed and my legs felt really good leading up to the race.

The race started out much slower than I had anticipated with a lot of chattering between riders. Eventually we started approaching the first KOM (King Of the Mountain is a series of climbs throughout the race where riders race to the top. The first riders to reach the top are awarded points for their respective finish. At the end of the race, there is a separate KOM winner. KOM is a race with in a race) The pace picked up as the people who wanted to win the KOM attacked the climb. At the top the leaders slowed down for the majority of the field to catch up again.

I started getting frustrated with the pace but knew eventually the stronger riders would attack and thin the heard. After the 3rd KOM, I noticed my frame bag which was holding all of my water had completely unzipped and my 80 oz. bladder was falling out. I also noticed the group was about to turn onto a section of paved road and I knew this was where the attack was going to take place. I couldn't get my bag zipped up while riding, so I had no choice but to pull over, get off the bike and zip up the bag. As I did so, I watched the lead group take off down the road and leave me on the side of the road. By the time I was back on my bike 6 riders were a good 1/4 mile ahead of me. If I didn't bridge the gap my chances of finishing in the top 5 were shot. For about 5 miles I put my head down and chased the group ahead of me. Thankfully the group didn't work together for too long to keep the pace up. At the bottom of the 4th KOM I caught the group and rode at back of the pack for a good 15 miles trying to recover. Eventually I started to feel better and was able to start taking pulls at the front again.

As the group kept riding together the pace was not super hard, but the wind and rolling hills of the river valley added up and my legs were getting tired. I could tell I wasn't the only one hurting, at about mile 75 the group fell silent and no one was talking. Around 95 miles we reached the final big climb, it was the kind of climb that crushes a persons spirit and made me question if I should get off my bike and walk, but continued to slowly turn the pedals. As I reached the top I was the lead rider, I decided to keep my head down and the pace up. At this point I was comfortable trying to stay in the front of the group, hoping the last climb had wiped out the rest of the field. This wasn't the case.

The road gradually kept going up , this is where Charlie Tri, last years race winner, made his move. Charlie attacked on the final climb and I couldn't grab his wheel. At this point the race was on. We bombed the final gravel hill at about 35-40 mph. At the bottom of the hill we turned onto a paved road. Charlie had a good 100 yards on me and I was hurting. Next thing I know another rider is on my wheel and then Tim Ek passes me. I wished Tim luck chasing Charlie down and he responded, "You're coming with me". That was all the motivation I needed to push a little harder. Tim and I chased hard after Charlie. We were headed into town and toward the finish line. Putting safety second priority Tim and I blew across the highway, passed moving cars and blew through 4-way stops at around 25-30 mph. (Yes, this may not sound too smart, but I assure you we were looking out for one another and I never blindly cut through traffic. However it was a rush and I was having a lot of fun)

Tim and I were making ground on Charlie, but he was riding really strong and we ran out of room. Charlie rode a really strong race and tactically did everything right. Tim had more left in the tank than I did and finish second. I happily finish 3rd and did what I set out to do at the beginning of the race; be competitive and try to be in the final sprint for a spot on the podium.

Finishing time 6 hours 16 minutes.

Now playing: Leo Rondeau - Down At The End Of The Bar
via FoxyTunes

Sunday, April 4, 2010


Over the last month or so I have been doing a lot of riding in preparation for some early season races. The first being Ragnarok, a 100 mile gravel road race in Red Wing. Because of an unusually warm spring, I've been able to get some long rides in early. In March I logged over 1,000 miles between commuting and some nice weekend rides. Last Sunday we rode to Red Wing and back racking up 160 miles and 9+ hours on the bike.

After last weekends ride I feel really good about my conditioning for Ragnarok. This weekend I decided not to do any long rides and started getting my bike set up for the race; tweaking my bag set up where I will store food, water, spare tubes, and tools. I will post a race report next weekend.