Monday, December 31, 2007

One Week Of Intense Training

I just finished an intensive training week designed to help me ride faster this coming season. After consulting my coach, the plan was hatched. I'd go out to Saratoga, New York to visit my wife's relatives over the holidays and train on a consistent basis. Before the trip, my last workout was Saturday, December 22nd. During the trip, I cross country skied for 2 hours on Thursday, the 27th, at Garnett Hill in the Adirondacks. My old ski buddy, Dave Matthews (the original) drove up there with me. The snow came down as we skated, about three inches and the skis had slow wax. Skiing for 2 hours in those conditions was like skiing 4 hours in decent tracks. Then, I waited until Saturday, the 29th to get in a highly effective 40 minutes on the sister-in-laws exercise bike. With training like that, I'll have a tremendous bike season...

Sunday, December 23, 2007

Another New Record...

I set another new record today... 176lbs! That's my all time high... The cause must be all of the weight lifting I've been doing lately. My routine includes leg squats, leg curls, sit-ups and most importantly, 12 ounce curls... Some people have six pack abs. Mine are the 12 pack version...

Saturday, December 22, 2007

I'm Number One...

The Only time I've ever been Number One... From the State Cycloross Championships last month.

A Classic Day

Classic skiing that is. I joined fellow bikers and cyclocross racers Tom Bengel, Rob Belz, Jerry Engen and Lori Belz for some skiing at Lake Elmo Park Reserve. We used waxless skis and did one loop of the classic only section. The snow was pretty soft and slow but we had fun. I'm not in good ski shape but I'm in decent bike condition...

Friday, December 21, 2007

Records Were Made To Be Broken

Records were made to be broken and I've set several new records lately. I tied my all time high of 174.5 pounds on Wednesday. Thursday, I set the new record at 175 pounds. Today, I broke that record when I tipped the scale at 175.5 pounds. I don't know if I should go for 180 and try and lose the weight or whether I should start dropping the pounds now... Such record breaking feats sent me to the trainer today where I pedaled for 1 hour.

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Barry Wicks Rides To Fourth

Rob Belz took this picture of Tom Bengel, Linda Sone and me as Barry Wicks was on his way to Fourth Place in the Men's Elite Race at Cross Nationals.

Back On The Podium

I got back on the Podium today. It's a place I'm very comfortable with... Yeah, I pulled out the Diamond Back Podium cross bike for a ride. Actually, I call it the "No Podium". I have it set up as a 1x9. The Podium is the bike I took down to Kansas City when I found out the weather was going to be dicey. Basically, if I'm going to trash a bike, I don't want it to be my Redline Conquest Pro... The Podium doubles as my winter bike. Anyway, I got in 11 miles.

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Cross Nationals Wrap-Up and Back On the Skis

Cross Nationals wrap-up: It was a blast! More people need to go next year... The total driving time was only six hours one-way. Plus, I am the 36th best cyclocross racer in the nation among the millions of 50-54 year olds. If anyone else was faster, they would have shown up on the start line... That's me, second from the left, in the Loon State kit climbing the stairs at Nationals.

Back on the skis: I got in three skate laps at the famed and storied Highland 9 Hole Golf Course. That's where local bike legends Tom and Lee Bengel and Dave Dow train.

Monday, December 17, 2007

Storm Front Cross Nationals Elite Race

The Sunday races at Cyclocross Nationals in Kansas City were awesome. After the collegiate races and 60+ categories were done, it was time for the elite women. Katie Compton crushed the competition in easy fashion. Our own Linda Sone had a fantastic race though by placing in the top twenty. Linda kept passing racers the whole time as she was one of the best at handling the deep mud brought on by temps in the low 30s with a warm sun. In the elite men's field, the race kept unfolding on different levels. The first group to hit the stairs before the end of the first lap included Jonathan Page, Todd Wells and Tim Johnson. Ryan Trebon, last year's National Champion and Barry Wicks were 20 yards behind at that point. Trebon only made it one lap as he crashed and dropped out. Page led most of the race and opened a gap on Wells and Johnson. However, Johnson gradually reeled him in and got around Page when he made a slight mistake. Johnson is known as the best cyclocross racer in the mud so it was no surprise that he pulled away for the win. Wells was a close third and Wicks got fourth. Check out the picture of me and Ned Overend at the Saturday night party. How many guys would have paid me to push him over when he lapped me on Saturday? The next picture is Rob Belz, me, the ageless Steve Tilford and Tom Bengel.

Sunday, December 16, 2007

Storm Front Cross Nationals

When the big storms blast out of the Rockies and sweep across the plains of Kansas, nothing can stop them but the rugged racers who hit back. That would be the strong men and women who race cyclocross. After the stormy weekend, those racers could cruise through the toughest Paris-Roubaix. Snow, ice, frozen mud and deep frozen ruts greeted the racers at the Cyclocross National Championships in Kansas City, Kansas on Saturday, December 15th. Tons of racers crashed, fell down and piled up. I managed to stay upright for the most part. That's me in second position in the picture. It was even tougher than it appeared. The afternoon races had the snow storm so it affected the masters dude field. All in all, it was an EPIC Day! I raced the 50-54 Class and got lapped by Ned Overend... He was close enough that I could have pushed him over... Tons of complaints from the competitors about the course conditions and tons of racers who dropped out. Not me though... Hey, I'm from Minnesota! It was definitely the toughest conditions I've ever raced in. Snow came down the whole time while we raced! We're tougher than the Belgians! Anyway, the officials pulled people after they got lapped. Ned lapped everyone in the 60-64 and 65+ category so those guys got pulled and had to race again on Sunday... Tom Bengel was in my race too but he was in the 55-59 group. Tom got bounced around so much that he had to drop out... It wasn't racing according to him. Did I mention I got 36th! Only 44 guys finished the race though. Future Loon Rob Belz was 83rd in the 40-44 race but a lot more guys finished so he didn't do too bad. The highlight of Saturday was Bjorn Selander winning the U23 Race against Jamie Driscoll and Danny Summerhill. He outsprinted Driscoll at the line! The Minnesota and Wisconsin peeps present were ecstatic! Among them, Dag Selander, Paul Schoening, Paul Thoreson, Linda Sonne, John and Carol Thompson, Linda Sone, Dan Casper, Cory Coogan, Dan and Dave Meyer, Hollywood, Tommy, Rob and I. The second highlight of the day was the fab party at Sunflower Bikes in Lawrence, Kansas. We got pics with Steve Tilford and Ned Overend. Score! Tons of racers, mechanics, bike reps and wannabes were there.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Need An Aero Track Frame

I got my Masi Coltello track frame and a couple of days later, another one showed up. It's a 56cm like mine and is the same color. I know they want to sell it. Call me at 612-554-6081 if you are interested and I can hook you up with the right peeps...

More Skiing

What do you do when there's snow on the ground? You go skiing... When the roads dry up, I'll go biking... Anyway, I went over to the Highland 9 Hole Golf Course and got in three laps on the skate skis with Tom Bengel. The last lap was a little shaky as the sun was down and the lighting wasn't too good. The place is a better ski course than it is a golf course. It's only 2800 yards long and comes in at a par 35. It's not an easy place to score either because the fairways are narrow so you can get in trouble with the driver...

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Hanging In The Skate Lane

I got out on the boards for a 1 /2 hour session at the famed and storied Comenkollen. Tommy Bengel was there so we skied together. As usual, we talked biking. I tried to talk him into doing more time trials and track riding. Anyway, I rode the skate skis.

Sunday, December 9, 2007

Winter Duathlon and Awards Banquet

Hats off to Don Schmichel for hosting the Loon State Awards Party last night. Tons of great peeps and teammates were on hand. It was fun talking racing on a winter night. As for today, it was another cold day in the Great White North. I did a double workout. First, I rode the trainer for 1 hour with stage 16 of this year's TDF playing in the TV/VHS combo. It's the stage where Contador and Leipheimer keep attacking Rasmussen. The Dane holds them off for the stage win up the Col du Aubisque while the crawl at the bottom of the screen says he's been kicked out of the TDF. After the trainer workout, I went over to the famed and storied Highland 9 Hole golf course and skied two classic laps. My legs were still hurting from yesterday's classic ski in Lake Elmo. If any of you cross country ski, you know how bad your legs feel after your first day of classic skiing...

Saturday, December 8, 2007

Dropping In With Masi

The bike project for the winter will be building up this Masi Coltello aero track frame. The frame is pretty cool with an awesome blue paint scheme and aero profile with a bladed carbon fork. I've got the bullhorn and aero bar combo for it already. The frame came with a Ritchey headset. I need a track crank and some track wheels, preferably deep dish carbon models. I'll add a RavX Aero carbon seat post to the bike and a RavX saddle.

Back to Classic Skiing Again

What a day. I grabbed the classic skis from the rack and scraped off the storage wax. The storage wax wasn't from last year but the year before... After scraping, I put on a layer of good old Rex Blue and headed out to Sunfish Park in Lake Elmo where I joined Jerry Engen and soon to be new Loon State rider, Bill Stuber. We kicked and glided our way through the rolling, forested hills for 1 1/2 hours. Yeah, it was cold but it's not so bad when you're moving along in the woods. I need to get back on the trainer though to keep in bike shape.

Monday, December 3, 2007

The Famed and Storied Comenkollen

Como Park, aka, the "Comenkollen" was the venue for an after work skate ski workout. I named it the "Comenkollen" many years ago and now, numerous local skiers refer to it by that name. Ouch! I just dislocated my shoulder patting myself on the back... Anyway, the name is in reference to the greatest skiing venue on the planet, the famed Holmenkollen trails above Oslo, Norway. It's a small part of a huge pine wooded landscape stretching all the way to the northern part of the country. There might be a few trolls hiding behind the trees but the skiing is fabulous as untold kilometers of trails cover the place. Okay, it's got to be over 400K. The trails sit about 700 feet above Oslo and at night, with the lights on, the place is spectacular. That's why the famed and storied "Comenkollen" reminds me of skiing at the Holemenkollen (where I skied 10 years ago). Just like the Holmenkollen, the highest point of the "Comenkollen" sits at least 10 feet above Como Lake and Lexington Avenue. At night, the view of the street lights on Lexington as they twist through the park are, well, kinda sorta not as good as the Holmenkollen... Well, the Holmenkollen doesn't have a zoo or a Conservatory. The Holmenkollen isn't a cyclocross race venue like Como Park either. Well, the cyclocross course was ruined this year when they put an asphalt path through the middle of the woods... Time to get back on the trainer...

Sunday, December 2, 2007

Back On The Skis

The bike season for me has gone indoors until the roads are clear. As for now, I'll take advantage of the snow. Tom Bengel and I got in some skiing at Battle Creek today. There were a lot of skiers out on the trails but not too many who do a lot of cycling like us. The ski trails are some of the same ones we used to mountain bike on before they cut the single track. Great for skiing but nothing like the single track for mountain biking.

Saturday, December 1, 2007

Snow Is Coming Down Hard

It's December 1st and the first significant snowfall of the season is coming down. I got the snowblower working a few weeks back and mixed the oil with the gas yesterday so I'm ready (providing the snowblower works like it did in the dry (really) run yesterday). With the snow on the ground I'll get some cross country skiing in. Today, I rode the trainer for 1 hour while watching the '07 Amstel Gold Race. Yeah, Stefan Schumacher won again just like the first time I watched it... Anyway, since I don't have a Pugsley, I'll ride indoors until the roads are clear and get in some skiing.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Back On The Trainer

The cold weather is here. In February, temps like today's might get me out on the bike. Since I haven't adjusted to the cold yet, I took the Motobecane time trial training, winter beater, trainer bike and put on one of those Continental orange trainer tires. Next, I grabbed the mag/fluid or whatever it is trainer and put the Motobecane on it. After that, I popped in the tape (yeah, not a dvd) of the '07 Tour of Flanders and spun away. The 35 minutes passed fairly quickly so I'll build up to an hour. Gotta stay in shape for Cross Nationals...

Monday, November 26, 2007

Velo Experience

I've posted this elsewhere but this idea has to come to life. Velo Experience is my idea for a new velodrome complex to be built in the Twin Cities. This would be a facility with both an indoor and outdoor velodrome. The indoor velodrome would be perfect for winter riding and races. The outdoor one would be capable of hosting national championships. For the indoor facility, the layout would include rows of seats for fans on both sides of the velodrome. An interior warm-up riding area with cyclotrainers and stationary bikes plus a flat practice loop would be included. The rest of the layout would include a bike shop, weight machines and potentially a restaurant. I'm guessing the corners of the track would be banked at 33 degrees and the distance would be 250 meters. The outdoor track could be banked at 35 degrees with a longer distance. Yeah, this would cost a ton of dough. If I win the lottery... Anyone related to the Pohlads, Taylors, Daytons, Cargills, McKnights? Class? Anyone?

Sunday, November 25, 2007

Jay T's Thanksgiving XC Ski Training Camp

Last year, we got in five days of riding during Jay T's Thanksgiving XC Ski Training Camp. Circumstances led to only a three day camp this year. The XC Ski Training Camp started on Friday with a couple of Loops on the single speed mountain bike at Lebanon Hills. Joining me were Tom and Lee Bengel and Rob and Lori Belz. The trail was mostly snow free but what fell a couple of days before left it a little icy and slippery. Instead of tackling the usual bridges and rock gardens, we baled out on a few bypass trails. We got in close to 15 miles of riding. On Saturday, the gameplan was to rollerski for an hour followed by a couple more on the cross bikes. We (Lori Belz, Rob Belz, Jerry Engen, Barry Torgerson and me) got in the hour plus of rollerskiing and decided to take a break before riding. The next course was eating chips and drinking soda. After an hour of doing that, no one wanted to ride. I stopped by the Bicycle Chain on the way home to find Dave and Larry both gone. Next, I went to Now Bikes and took their time trial challenge. Five miles of pain on the trainer with the video course layout in front of me. I averaged 24 mph which wasn't bad considering I haven't time trial-ed since August. I hacked up a lung afterwards... Today, Tom and Lee Bengel, Lori and Rob Belz, Bob Sumada, Mike Brown, Ben Popp, Dave B and I rode the river bottoms trail from Mendota down to the Cedar Avenue Bridge and back. Along the way, we passed Corey Gross and then Jim Redmond and Andy Kruse. It was a perfect day for a ride. I got in 26 miles as I rode from home and back. All told, not a bad xc ski camp.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Jay Tegeder and RavX Components

I'm the new Minnesota Representative for RavX Components so I'll be in a store in your neighborhood soon. RavX has a great line of Carbon and Alloy products. Among them, Saddles, Handlebars, Stems, Seatposts, Floor Pumps, Mini Pumps, CO2 Inflators, Mini Tools, Bottle Cages, Saddlebags, Locks, Trainers, Grips, Gloves, Lights, Brake Pads and many more items. Check out the Halo Carbon Handlebar pictured and check out the web page under the Off The Back links section on the right.

Skibby's Former Girlfriend

Skibby met his former girlfriend at the Lehigh Valley Velodrome. She usually wore bike shorts but was wearing her new skin suit when this picture was taken. That's Skibby driving away in the background. She threw her bike at him because he found another woman...

Saturday, November 17, 2007

Crossing, Crashing, Drinking, Grabbing the Money

The State Cyclocross Championships were held today on the west side of Minneapolis. My race was the B2, 45+ event and man was it tough! I don't do too well in the hills and this race had the big stair climb as usual and an off-camber climb with a lot of turns. Things didn't start off too well. Mark Rathbun crashed at the start and took me out. I was dead last after we got up and had to make up a lot of places. I started passing guys and eventually settled into the spot where I likely belonged. After coming up the stairs on one of the laps, a big stick got stuck in my rear derailleur. Although no one passed me, I lost some time when I stopped to get it out. At that point I figured what the hell and grabbed a shot of something from the counter culture crowd right after a set of barriers. A lap or two later, they had some dollar bills on top of the barriers. There was only one left when I got there but I grabbed it. Since no one was too close to me in front or in back, I cruised in to the finish. As usual at all cyclocross races, it was a blast. The beer was good but it ran out fast. Tons of riders showed up for the big event. Besides me, other Loon State peeps included Jim and Jordan Cullen, Tom Manderfeld, John Kortbein, Andy Frye, Shane Kullman, Barry and Ali Tungseth, Bill Kuster, Greg Golbrisch, Dan Meyer, John Stamm, Mike Lyner, Chad Macy, Tom Cowan, John Rotach and the amazing Red Lantern - Dan Cleary. Future Loon Rob Belz had a bike malfunction free race for the first time this year. Among the rest of the field was Doug Swanson, Aric Hareland, Dan Casper, Hollywood Henderson, Adam Bergman, Steve Kapaun, Lee Bengel, Mike Wataja, Hans Eisenbeis, Lori Belz, Linda Sone, Margot Hermann, Theresa Moriarity, Sam Meier, Dave Meyer, John Thompson, Paul McKinney, Peter Lugers, John Friedel, Paul Krafthoffer, Rob Ogren, Dave Peterson and many more. By the way, I'm the one in the Loon State kit on the ground after the start line crash. Thanks to Bruce Adelsman for the picture.

Friday, November 16, 2007

The Trans Boreal

Okay, Europe has the Trans Alps and we have the Trans Rockies. I think it's time to have the Trans Boreal. This would be a multi day mountain bike stage race. My idea for the course would be to start in Marquette and traverse the pine forests of Michigan's U P, northern Wisconsin and Minnesota. The race could even be started on the lower peninsula of Michigan at Traverse City. Each stage would get the riders closer to the finish line in Duluth. The course would include the numerous logging and forest roads plus trails that traverse the boreal forest. The course would be like the Iditarod with mandatory daily and overnight stops at checkpoints. Something like this could become huge! Would the Teginator single speed mountain bike take part in the Trans Boreal?

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Single Speed Cyclocross World Championships

They held the Single Speed Cyclocross World Championships in Portland the other day. Barry Wicks, in the Golden Speedo beat Adam Craig for the title. Craig was ahead until a lunge at the line got him. I think Craig let Wicks win so he wouldn't have to wear the speedo which is the winner's prize... Anyway, Craig is the one sucking face on the right... Ryan Trebon looks out of place on the left wearing his official team kit. Hollywood, Red Lantern, where were you? This looks like your kind of party...

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

More Cross Exploring

I took out the Redline cross bike and followed a rail line out to the east side of Saint Paul. The right of way dirt and rock trail was pretty soft in places. The trail led me out to a good sized wooded area right behind a facility owned by a very large Minnesota company with numbers and letters in its name. In fact, one of my teammates with the initials DM works for said (or is it un-said?) company. There were some nice trails through the area. I scared up a big buck on the trail. Anyway, I figured I better get out of there before any hazardous materials dumped there by said company started seeping out of the ground and onto my tires... By the way, that buck had a glowing green nose...

Let Down By My Loon State Teammates

Because Bill Kuster and Dan Meyer let John Thompson finish in front of them at the Rum River Cyclocross Race, I dropped a position in the Cyclocross Rider Of The Year standings. Thompson needed to finish fourth or lower for me to keep my spot. He finished second to Greg Golbrisch thanks to Kuster and Meyer letting me down...

Monday, November 12, 2007

Cross Country

Nothing beats a cyclocross bike for riding it all. Roads, dirt paths, singletrack, gravel, railroad right-of-ways, farm fields, you name it. I rode all of that yesterday with Rob Belz, Jerry Engen and Lori Belz. Cross bikes are great for exploring new places. If you happen to wander on to private property, a cross bike will help you get out of there fast! We did a little of that too and had a few dogs chasing us... Anyway, we found some new dirt trails in the east metro hobby farm country. It's always fun to ride new places. Today, I rode some of the single track trails in Roseville that I discovered a few years ago. I scared up some deer riding at night. That's when they get active. One of them was a 6 point buck. Having a Niterider light makes it pretty easy to cruise when the sun goes down. If you only get one bike, make it cyclocross. You can throw road wheels on it for riding the asphalt.

Saturday, November 10, 2007

Taking Out the Winter Bike

A couple of years ago, I bought a cheap Motobecane frame on eBay and built it up with parts in my bike cabinet. I decided I needed a criterium bike that I didn't care about since crashes happen a lot in those races (check out the picture to the left from an Opus Crit). Anyway, the Motobecane morphed into my winter bike. It's the perfect bike for bad weather because, I don't care if it gets dirty... The Motobecane pulls double duty though. This past spring, I got a disc rear and deep section carbon front wheel for my time trial bike. The wheels are great for racing. However, I didn't want to hit pot holes with good wheels on that bike so I threw a set of clip-on bars on the Motobecane and it became my time trial training bike. I took the clip-on bars off after the time trial season. The Motobecane is the bike I grab when rain threatens and when the weather turns cold. Give your race bike a rest and get yourself a cheap winter beater...

Commuters Keep On Rolling

On the road again. I took one of my road bikes out for a spin yesterday. While I was one of the few guys out training, tons of commuters were riding on Summit Avenue and River Boulevard. This time of year, unless you're still training for cyclocross, most road racers have hung up riding for the season. The commuters though, keep on rolling. Passing each other as they cross the Twin Cities, many of them will keep riding through the winter. As racers, we like to think we're the warriors. I'll give my vote to the commuters though.

Tuesday, November 6, 2007

Arrival Of The Dreaded AARP Card...

Why does the AARP card have to show up? Couldn't they just give you a call? I got the arrival today of the one thing no one wants, the card that says you have one foot in the grave... The American Association of Retired Persons or AARP card gets you discounts at restaurants, motels, car insurance etc. I wish I could retire right now but that's a few years off. Maybe they should send it to you when you actually do retire. Then you wouldn't feel so bad... Well, when you are trying to pass me in a bike race, I'll make sure to stay to the right. I'll be the one going slow like all of the other AARP eligible riders out there like Dave Ludwigson, Dan Meyer, John Stamm, Mike Lyner, Chris Paidosh, Charlie Townsend, Tom Bengel, Jerry Engen, Bill Stuber, Scott Flanders and on and on... Don't get behind me in the single track...

Monday, November 5, 2007

Gut Friendly Pictures Are Much Appreciated

I had a great weekend of cross racing pictures thanks to Bruce Adelsman and Jim Cullen. At 172 pounds, my gut hangs a lot lower than I would like it to. However, picture angles by Jim Cullen at Ham Lake and Bruce Adelsman at the Velo Cross actually made me look more like an in-shape kind of guy... When taking pictures, please keep these camera angles in mind as they will make the subject appear fitter than they really are... The photo at the left is by Jim Cullen at Ham Lake. Notice the care he took to make sure my left arm blocked the view of my stomach. Bruce Adelsman took the picture on the right. He employed the same left arm blocking technique that Cullen used. Also, my upper body was twisting to the right which took my stomach out of view. Jim Cullen and Bruce Adelsman are professionals so it might be difficult for the average photographer to duplicate their excellence...

Sunday, November 4, 2007

Velodromes Are For Track Bikes...

Today's cyclocross race, sponsored by Grumpy's, was held at the Velodrome in Blaine. Yeah, we rode into the Velodrome... The course was mainly on the grass surrounding the Velodrome and around a soccer field. Some guys complained that the mud pits at the bottom of the ditches were too dangerous for a cross race. There were plenty of endos and crashes to affirm that conclusion. It's been dry for quite a while but the ditches must be wet from soccer field drainage. Anyway, bike handling skills and finding the right line through the mud were imperative. I could have done without the ditches but the course was pretty interesting. We rode into the Velodrome from the east side. The organizers had carpet down so we wouldn't trash the wooden track. The course only went over the track. Like I said, velodromes are for track bikes. They wouldn't let us ride on the wood. After that, we rode the infield where we jumped a double barrier, circled inside the track and came out where we entered. From there it was back on the grass. I had a decent race and I got 7th in the B2 and 29th overall. The toughest part of the course for me was along the west side of the velodrome where the grass was real soft and the bike sank in. As for the ditches, I found the right line through them. The first dip into the ditch came right after a barrier. I stayed left there and blasted out of the ditch pretty easy. The next dip was easier and I stayed right through that one. Next we rounded a corner and went back into the ditch. I stayed to the left on the high side as far as I could go and then dove into the ditch and followed the right side as far as I could go. Then, I crossed the ditch to the left side and stayed high again. That was the fastest route through the mud. Among those who finished in front of me were Paul McKinney, Bill Kuster (Loon State), Dan Meyer (Loon State), Greg Golbrisch (Loon State) and Charlie Townsend. Behind me were Tom Bengel, Rob Belz (soon to be Loon State), Andy Frye (Loon State), Sam Meier, Jordan Cullen (Loon State) who had already done the C race and was racing his first B event. Linda Sone won the B3 just as she did on Saturday.

The C race was won by Dave Meyer on a single speed. Sam Meier was third. Also racing the C category were Jim Redmond, Lori Belz who was the fourth woman, Barb Harick, Bruce Harick, Mike Wataja and Mike Berger and John from Loon State. Hollywood was on a single speed but dropped out. As for the A race, it was a really strong field. Bjorn Selander, Aric Hareland, Doug Swanson and Adam Bergman were duking it out early. Swanson crashed in the ditch a few times and hung it up. Selander had a big lead when we left. Others racing in the A's were Jim Cullen, Chad Macy, John Rotach and Dan Cleary all from Loon State. Plus, Mark Mettler, Charlie Townsend, Andy Kruse, Dan Casper, Dave Meyer and many more.

Saturday, November 3, 2007

Ripping It Up at the Ham Lake Cross Race

What a great day of racing and what a perfect course for me at the Ham Lake Cyclocross Race! Flat and fast is how I like it and that is exactly how it was. I dusted off Tom Bengel and Rob Belz early but I'll likely be behind them at the State Championships when we have to go up some serious hills... Today's course was perfect for Lee Bengel too. I passed him on the second lap and got a decent gap on him but he clawed his way back and got in front of me with a couple of laps to go. I was "on the rivet" as Andy Frye says but I went around Lee on the last lap. I think the effort he put in to close the gap on me took a lot of energy out of him. Of course fellow B2 racers Bill Kuster (Loon State) , John Thompson, Dave Herbert, Paul McKinney, Dave Ludwigson (Loon State) and Dan Meyer (Loon State) were all ahead of me as usual. Although I wasn't too far behind Meyer for a while. Besides Tom Bengel placing behind me in the B2, I got John Stamm (Loon State) too. Stammer is still learning cross so I don't know how long I can stay ahead of him. Rob Belz (soon to be Loon State) dropped his chain one and one half times. How you can drop it one and one half times I don't know but he did. He had bushels of apples in his truck though from his orchard and gave them out to us. Score! In the women's race, Linda Sone won the B3 ahead of Linda Cooper.

Johnny Wyland (soon to be Loon State) had a good run in the C race. It was only his second ever cross race. He moved up a lot from last week. Jordan Cullen (Loon State) won his junior divison as usual. Nora Bengel had a good race too. The C race was won by Sam Meier. The kid, who is only 19, did two races last year so he's kind of a rookie still. He has improved a lot in the last few months. He was way up there in the B race too.

Some Crazy stuff happened in the A race. Doug Swanson, Aric Hareland and Adam Bergman kept trading off the lead. I had to leave before the end so I don't know who won. The Loons were cranking along today. Jim Cullen, on a course suited to him, was pretty far up in the race. Chad Macy and Barry Tungseth were cruising along at a good pace too. Dan Cleary was having a great day on his brand new titanium/carbon Bianchi. He had one of the crazy things I mentioned happen to him though. Just after he jumped the barrier in front of us, he got back on his bike and snapped the Campy carbon seat post. Ouch! He cut his leg but it wasn't too bad. He was going to quit but race official Matt Anderson gave him his 60lbs Surly Pugsley to ride! Dan took off and was moving pretty good. Another rider bunny hopped the barrier in front of us on the fly but stopped immediately and said his bike was wrecked.

All in all, kudos to my Loon State teammates and Ride On Red Lantern! BTW, I got 7th in the B2 and 29th overall.

Friday, November 2, 2007

Do we really need carbon bikes?

My buddy Tommy Bengel bought his 14 year-old daughter Nora an Orbea Orca full carbon fiber, Dura Ace, Kysrium SL, FSA carbon crank, carbon flat handle bar equipped rocket ship the other day. She now has a better bike than Tommy, her big brother Lee and me! I say carbon is overrated. Give me a nice Reynolds 853 steel bike or an aluminum Specialized any day... I mean, what does carbon give you other than a smooth, shock absorbing ride that handles corners better and is superior in sprinting stiffness than anything else out there. Yeah, carbon makes a beautiful appearance too. Okay, carbon is way cool! I'll keep my Specialized carbon Roubaix and my Giant OCR C1 carbon bike with the Dura Ace rear derailleur and FSA carbon crank. I just need to add more Dura Ace components and a better set of wheels to keep up with Nora...

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Fighting off the Halloween Candy Binge

I haven't been too successful fighting off the Halloween candy binge. I waited until today to buy the candy so my wife and I wouldn't eat too much. Anyway, I got home from selling and took a count. I went through 15 junior size candy bars today. Twix, Crunch and Butter Fingers... At least I grabbed an orange and ate it when I got home. There goes the doorbell... Better cut out the candy with more cross races coming up.

Monday, October 29, 2007

Bringing More Riders to Loon State

We need more riders so I got three buddies of mine to join the Loons this fall and I've got another one ready to sign up. Rob Belz is 42 and is a fantastic road sprinter and mountain biker. He's also been really strong in cyclocross where he keeps improving. Jay Wenner used to race in Eau Claire and Wisconsin in the 1980s. He's 46 and is one of the best cross country skiers in the area. Jay is very tough on the mountain bike and will likely be doing cyclocross. I think he's going to get into time trialing too. Bill Stuber is in his mid 50s and likes mountain bike racing and cyclocross. These guys should be good additions to Loon State. Belz and Wenner have the potential to be very fast.

Loons on the road

I was out for spin on Summit and River Blvd today when I ran into fellow Loon State rider John Kortbein. He was riding back to Northeast Minneapolis and I was heading there so I rode through the U of M Campus, West River Road and the Broadway Bridge with him before he headed for home. On the way back, I came across another Loon State rider heading north on River Blvd but I couldn't tell who it was. It was a pretty nice day for a ride.

Sunday, October 28, 2007

Hammering at the Red Barn

I had my best cyclocross race of the year at the Red Barn event at Taylor's Falls, Minnesota yesterday. The course was perfect for me as it was very flat and fast. I missed out on some good series points though when I hit a barrier while carrying my bike. My chain came off and I bent the derailleur hanger on my Redline. About four or five people went around me while I was trying to get my chain back on. Among those were two guys in the B2 category like me. Anyway, the race was a blast. I got pretty sloppy jumping the barriers so I need some more work there. My overall place was 29th and I got 8th in the B2 so I got points...

Friday, October 26, 2007

Bike Projects

The bike collection is pretty large right now and I could stand to get rid of a few to get some extra cash. I've got a couple of projects to get done over the winter. 1) I'd like to get rid of my Jamis Dakota 29er frame and Rock Shox 29er fork. The plan is to swap the parts on to a lighter frame like the Niner EMD or something similar that is much lighter than the Dakota which is a tank! I'll add a carbon fiber straight fork too. 2) The second project, build up an aero track frame with deep section wheels. I've been checking out a few frames including the Giant Omnium, one of the Masi models, Specialized Langster, or maybe a Trek. If the cash is running out, I might check into a Leader...

Chasing CRY Points

The cyclocross scene in Minnesota keeps getting bigger every year. I started out four years ago and the fields were much smaller. As a result, It's harder to get CRY points now. Add in the fact that someone who's 43 with a December birthday gets to ride B2 (45+) and guys like me get pushed further down the results sheet. I turn 50 in December... I think they need a 50+ Category in the B2... How's that for some CRYing? I have several options; 1) Convince the faster guys to ride the A race. This isn't too likely. 2) Get in better shape. Might be tough if everyone keeps bringing beer to the cross races. 3) Train more. That could lead to a divorce... 4) Cheat. Take EPO or better yet, crash out the competition on the first lap.