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...