Thursday, September 27, 2007


Most of the time when I go for road rides, I bring my ipod and sing along to my favorite songs. Eddy really likes the calms him. But sometimes Heather takes the ipod when she goes running, so Eddy and I tell stories to each other to pass the time. He tells me about his wonderful journey from Belgium to the USA to ND and then finally to WI. I tell him about my previous bikes; before he was born. He was particularly interested in my story about White Lightning, my Giant TCR from a few years ago.
Seems that Eddy is keen on the white accessories. Plus, he has been feeling a little bit neglected lately with all the attention the mountain bike has been getting. So, I decided to give him a makeover. New Race X Lite wheels (with white spokes), hbar tape, saddle, and then I finally upgraded the stem/hbar combo that I've had for many years and got the Bontrager Race X Lite stem with the Race Lite bar.

Notice how I also conveniently snuck the paver project progress (good use of alliteration right there) into the pics. Don't tell Heather! :)

Vontoux chillin with the lil speedster Willa.
We went to Birbigs tonight. It kicked butt, funny as hell. * Mike Birbiglia is skinny and his new CD is hilarious. * - glad I could help, Mike! :)
Also, a big congrats go out to Robb and Tracy!!

Monday, September 24, 2007

Some Pavers & WORS #11

Another weekend blown by. On Saturday Heather and I worked on the paver project under the deck. It's starting to come together, hopefully we can finish up with that within the next week or so. I think it will look really cool when it's all said and done.

On Sunday Brooks came with me to Iola to watch me race the 2nd-to-last WORS race of the year. It was a beautiful day. The Iola course is fun...some good climbing, fast tight singletrack, and some sandy descents. We had to do 4 laps on the 5 mile course. The first lap I felt really good and stayed with the leading group as best as possible. The second lap I didn't have as good of a lap, in part because halfway thru it my number plate came loose and kept flapping into my front wheel. I had to either hold it while trying to hold the handlebar or constantly jam it into my housing. At the end of that lap, I stopped at the feed zone and took the plate off and kept going. For the 3rd and 4th laps, I felt fine again and was trying to catch back up. I ended up getting 5th in my age group, with only around 2min separating me from 2nd place. 1st place was way up there, over 4min ahead of 2nd. Disappointing to be so close to 2nd with the plate problems and all, but that's racing!

Pre-race adjustments.
Why is everyone taking the sandy line when the far line is nice and packed??
Flying down the hill with a rider in tow.
The Lalonde bros killing it as usual...they finished 1-2 once again on their rigid singlespeeds.
Sans number plate.
Thanks to Brooks for traveling with me, taking pics, and doing water bottle handups. Much appreciated!

This Thurs Heather and I are going to watch comedian Mike Birbiglia. We've seen him live once before, and he's a riot. That should be a great time. This weekend there are 2 WCA cross races on the calendar. I might end up skipping one though...doing both of them would take up the whole weekend, and if it's nice out, it would be good to work on the pavers. We'll see.

Monday, September 17, 2007

No goal

I guess the "wait until next year" line is in effect. My 2nd Chequamegon is in the books, and although I didn't make my goal of finishing in the top 100, I still had a very fun weekend. Details, details...

I left work early on Friday and took off for the KOA campground in Hayward to meet up with Vino and Rick. This lovely cabin awaited us:
We unpacked everything and then took off to pick up our packets/numbers. Upon returning, we prepped the bikes and clothing for the next day.

This is what 3 layers of Brown Bear goodness looks like. That's a short sleeve under an insulated long sleeve under a windjacket.
We woke up at 4:30am to head to the start and snag 2nd row start positions (behind the preferred start group, of course). It was a brisk 26 degrees out, so it felt good to head back to the heated cabin and crawl back into bed, wondering how all the campers in tents were doing. A few hours later we were back up, eating and getting dressed, then heading to the start line.
The start seemed the same as last year...very fast with a couple of big crashes thrown in for good measure. I felt fine for the start, not cold despite the temps with the legs feeling ok; not great, but not crappy either. I went through the 17 mile checkpoint about a minute slower than last year, so I tried to pick it up a bit. Right around mile 30 I started to feel a little crampy in the legs and butt (?) area. They never fully locked up, but just twinged. As I neared the finish, I knew that my time would be slower than last year, but it's so hard to know your position in the race with all those riders out there. I crossed the line in 2:38, so 3 minutes slower than last year, and that put me in 235th place. Not what I was hoping for, but not bad either. I did beat Greg Lemond though. :) Looks like I would have to shave about 10min off of my time if I want to reach my goal of top 100...that's doable. Next year, next year.

Both Dave and Rick had good races, with Dave taking a full half hour off his previous best to finish in just over 3 hours, and Rick doing well in his first Cheq. I found a pic of Rick here. Nice job guys! I believe that Rick reserved the same cabin for next year, so we have plenty of room if any other TBB members care to join in...

After the race, I took off for Minneapolis to have some fun at the Renaissance with the family. I hadn't been there for many years. It was good to see everyone, even if it was just for a short time, and I delivered Danette her new bike (in aquamarine color) as well.

There's my weekend. On Sunday is another WORS race in Iola.

Monday, September 10, 2007

No Chainsuck!!

Yesterday I raced the WORS race in Kewaskum, a quick 60min drive from home. It was a perfect day for racing, with a slight breeze and highs around 70. The course was fast and dry; lots of climbing, some rutted out sections in the grass, and some high speed descents with packed, banked corners. Not many extended sections of singletrack though. We had to do 4 laps on the 4.5 mile loop.
I started out relatively fast on the little "start loop" and entered the first singletrack in good position. Then the first climb hit, and it was decently steep and long, so I passed quite a few more riders there. The first 2 laps I kept a pretty strong pace going and got into my own rhythm. On the 3rd lap, my legs started to feel tired and I could feel myself slowing down. I hate those little mental ruts in the middle of races! Right after the big climb at the beginning of the last lap, I could see the Elite leaders (the Lalonde bros and Woodruff) coming up on me. I let them pass and then decided to see how long I could hang with them. I latched onto their wheels and we took off. I was surprised to see that the pace wasn't THAT much faster...but the fact that they can maintain it for the entire race is amazing. We passed a few people, and then I dropped off after about a mile and a half. I didn't want to blow up. I finished the rest of the race off as strongly as I could.

After cooling off and changing, I went and checked the results. I ended up getting 2nd place in my age group, and was only 1:24 behind the winner. Sweet! Another TBB podium. The freshly-built 8900 performed flawlessly. I think this was the first time in like 5 mtb races that I haven't experienced chainsuck. The 8900 felt stiff and fast...I like it.

Coming up this weekend is Chequamegon. I'm hoping to improve on my finish from last year and try to get into the top 100. We'll see what happens. It looks like it will be a cold one this year. Then I'll be heading to the Cities to meet up with Dad, Danette, Alane, and Dick. We're going to the Renaissance Festival on Sunday. Fun fun.

Thursday, September 06, 2007

Labor Day weekend back home

Heather and I had a fun, relaxing 4 day weekend back in ND. We drove to Fargo on Thurs after work and crashed at the Litchy house, which is looking good with all Tonia and Trent's renovations. They still need to finish that darn bathroom though. :)

On Friday we made a stop at the Ski and Bike Shop and visited with Pat and the gang, and went to the Red Pepper (did they get bought by Cub Foods or something?) to feast on some grinders, tacos, and cheese tostadas. Then we took off for Union Lake to play at the lake cabin. Dad and I got in some nice waterskiing and a bike ride around the lake. On Saturday night, after some appetizers at the Blue Moose, we traveled back to the Litchy's, where we hung out all day Sunday and Monday.

If there's one thing that Tonia loves, it's....
Mario is big. Willa is little.
We delivered Trent his shiny new road bike. They make quite the flashy pair, don't they? Trent and I went on a couple road rides so that he could get used to it. Fun times.
Yesterday I got the first electricity bill since we put the new furnace in. Despite having to run the A/C during the hot days, the bill was only $16, compared to over $40 last month. Awesome! High efficiency furnaces kick ass! I can't wait to see the savings in the winter.

I got a replacement frame today for my broken 9.9. Here it is, all pretty and new:
It's last year's 8900 Euro frame (only one water bottle mount...what's the deal with that?). I already have all the parts off the 9.9 frame, and I will be bringing that into the warranty dept tomorrow to check the frame alignment. They think the alignment might have been messed up, causing all that chainsuck. If that's the case, then I have a free, brand-new 9.9 frame coming my way as well. Sweet.

Now I just have to get the 8900 all built up and tested before the WORS race on Sunday. Hopefully it doesn't fall apart on me! :)