Monday, June 25, 2007

Spankin the Dirt

Photos from Duluth local Bill Shwalbe

Me and Sam went up to Duluth on Sat afternoon to pre ride Mt Du Lac. It was hot and steamy for Duluth weather. I talked to an overweight and out of shape Ross Fraboni and he said it was the hottest day they had so far this year. We were a bit lethargic from the drive up; consequently, Sam had a lapse of concentration and put up a yard sale i the weeds. His bike went one way but his body wanted to go another.He got a scrapped up forearm and thigh from that rookie move. Scott and Sara Kylander-Johnson were gracious enough to let us stay at their house for the night. They have a premo spot right near Spirit Mt. Sunday morning it was hot and muggy already at 7:00am. Sam and I biked through Spirit Mt over to the Country Kitchen restaurant and I had myself a grande breakfast of eggs,hashbrowns,sausage,and pancakes. After that we did the top section of Spirit's singletrack for kicks and tiggles.
Ok now for the action. It was so hot out that everyone laid their bikes down on the start line and hunkered in the little bit of shade provided by a shed. A beer guzzling Ross Fraboni MC'ed us off at the start. Paul Hanson started to take off fast looked at us all and said "Just kidding", then backed off. I was glad no one went ballistic off the start, for it was an ungodly steep wall of a climb right from the gun. I was sitting about 7th or so on the false flat and let a little gap open up on the second ungodly steep kicker to the very top. I easily caught back up to the group in the singletrack and was sitting comfortably behind Jay Richards. Chris Fisher was leading our pack of 8 or so through the first lap of singletrack when Brendan made his move at the bottom of the big climb. The group blew apart and I just went a pace that I knew I could hold through the whole race. At the top of the hill I sat behind Chris Fisher with Scott Kylander-Johnson and the Wisconsin native Jesrin Gaier. Chris was fadding so I made a move around him in the bottom singletrack and latched onto SKJ and Jesrin. On the hill going into the third lap Jesrin and I started to drop Scott. I was doing better in the singletrack with the full suspension then Jesrin and he would always pass me back on the climb, so when he made a little mistake, I quickly got around him and tried to apply some pressure. He was tenacious though, and when I started to open up a gap he started to catch back up. On the big climb going into the 4th lap, Tom Miller came from behind to join us. tenacious G was feeling the flow of the singletrack and I think he realized it was less bumpy the faster he went on the hardtail. He led us around that whole lap. Going through the feed zone which was halfway up the big climb on the false flat, Tom Miller puts in an unnatural attack starting on the false flat and going all the way up the last steep climb.I think he was in the big ring for that one because he flew by me like I was standing still. As tenacious G followed pursuit I looked at them and thought to myself, "you know, its just not right for someone to have that much energy and power on the last lap in this kind of heat". Chris yelled from the sidelines "you gotta respond to that". Unfortunately my body had no response to it. I just went my own pace on the hill and went as fast as I could through the singletrack, maybe to catch someone popped or with a flat, but I met no such fortune. I put it in damage control on the last climb before the descent to the finish since now one was around me and rolled in 7th. You guessed it they payed 7 deep. right on the tail end once again. I'm happy with the result. I haven't raced in what, 3 weeks. I was sick for pretty much 2 of those 3 weeks. Next week I think I'll do better because the course is flatter and everybody's a winner. Look out Wisconsin. Minnesota is going to invade on July 1st.

Photos taken by Jake Richards and downloaded from

Sam took another 2nd place behind Brendan with Paul Hanson, Ben Moore, Tom Miller, and tenacious G taking the other spots in front of me.Scott K-J did well comming in 8th behind me.
In other exciting news. I'm on my last week of math wooooo whoooooo!!!
I think after this I gotta make some plans to start making $.

Friday, June 22, 2007

Home Sweet Home

A couple weeks ago when I was too sick to ride the bike, I built a boat ramp. For the first time in about 5 years I finally went ahead and put the dock and boat out. Whenever it rained before, I had to pump the water out of it.Now with the ramp, the water runs off without puddling or going into the boat.

This is a pic of our property from the lake view Its hard to see the house but its up on the hill on the right.

There is nothing more relaxing than fishing on a calm evening and the loons singing in the background.

Saturday, June 16, 2007

Off Weekend

Sam, Chris Fisher,Eic Thompson and I did a century today. We stayed local and went down to Afton then back up to Marine on the St Croix. Took us 5:08 and had 3200 ft of climbing. Took it easy for the most part. Chris and Eric hammered a few of the hills along the way but no long efforts. I didn't do too bad and felt good to the end,considering I was sick all last week. I get a dry throat once in a while and morning cough but I have all my energy back.
I posted some parts on Craigs list last week and now it looks like I have some costumers to do tune-ups and part swaps for. This one guy bought an older Cannondale Super-V and it turned out he needed more than just my v-brakes. It was kind of a hastle trying to figure out something that would work since he had 7 speed components. I got him running on 8 speed for the weekend with some mis-match parts so he can ride. Now he's going to refer a bunch of his buddies to me for work on their bikes. Sounds good to me, I need the $.
Tomarrow we go in for our pre France trip meeting. Picking up our plane tickets and meeting all the riders. The trip is well planned out,Cynthia Lawton-Abery is doing a sweet job at coordinating everything. All we have to do is show up with our bikes at the airport and go.
2 more weeks of math and I'm done:)

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Bill Dance

This post goes out to Jay Richards who has had alot of drama recently. Now you can see anothers misfortunes and laugh.I came across these bloopers from the Bill Dance fishing show. Just don't drink anything while watching these.

Tuesday, June 12, 2007


I came down with a stubborn cold after Steeple-chase and it stuck around all week which meant I forfeited Afton this last weekend. It was a hot one out there so I packed up some water bottles and rode around dumping water on everyone and giving Sam the option to take in more fluids. On the first lap Chris and Brendan came up Shady Lane with a small gap and Sam leading the rest close behind. The Second time around It was Chris, Brendan, Paul and Sam riding in close proximity. The 3rd lap Chris cramped out and Brendan attacked Sam and Paul. By the time he was at the top of Shady, he had 45 seconds on them. Lap 4 Brendan had 1:15 seconds on Sam and Paul put in reverse. Thats the way it ended, Sam 1:30 down from Brendan.
After the race me and Sam fixed Jays tire for him. Me and Sam believe in the military motto "Leave no man behind". Especially when he had to get up at 4:30 to go to a race with a boat load of rowdy kids, a sore thumb, and no energy. It started out pretty grim. The sun beat down on us, the buzzards were circling us low, and the tumble weeds blew across the hot, dry empty parking lot. But we got them rolling again and on their way only to hit a deer 4 miles from home...doh! or should I say Doe! Talk about Drama. If I was Jay at that point, I think I would have gone into a dark empty corn field and sit cross legged for a while staring into the black nothingness.
School is going well. I'm on my 4th week of a 6 week summer math course. My grade so far is a 98%. I thought the work load would be greater but its not. The teacher doesn't collect homework so I just do whats neccessary to get the concept down and move on. Some of these kids are up into the wee hrs of the night trying to do as much homework as possible. For me, after a couple hrs everything just turns to mush and at that point its time to close the book and walk away, because nothing is going to be absorbed after that point anyway.

Monday, June 04, 2007

Sam's First Win!

The weather held out for Steeplchase yesterday for the 2nd MNSCS race in Mazeppa MN. They added a bunch more to the course- a fast grassy switchback descent followed by a long climb back to the top, and some fast double track down on the flats at the bottom of the valley. Off the start they had us do a prologue with a couple short steep hills. Charly Tri took the front up the first hill and was quick to yell at Chris (his teammate) to charge at the front after going around him, all while his front wheel was grinding on Chris's(If you knew Charly you'd understand).I'm shure I was behind Sam going into the singletrack, with Paul Hanson, Justin Rienhart, Brendan Moore, Ben Moore,and Chris Fisher on the front. Matt Kurke and Luke Nelson were somewhere around me too. There is no passing in the singletrack because its all off camber; picture a goat trail carved into the side of a hill and thats what most of it is. The new downhill and climb was early in the course and thats where everyone surged to jocky for a better position in the group. I kept telling myself to be conservative but when guys started going around me I started to worry. So I jumped and followed Sams wheel past a fading Paul Hanson. I was near the back if not at the back of the lead group. Again we were back in no passing territory cris-crossing the hill. When we reached the bottom of the hill and started the flat doubletrack I saw Brendan and his brother Ben had gapped the rest of us by about 20 seconds. Sam surged and I followed. "Uh oh, there they go" Chris said. Sam was quickly gaining on the Moore brothers and was pulling away from me. Chasing behind me not too far was Luke Nelson and Chris Fisher. At the top of the main climb Luke and Chris were like 15 seconds behind me and Sam,Ben and Brendan were about 30 seconds ahead. On the second lap I saw Sam a couple of times through the weavy singletrack but no moore brothers. Back down on the flats there was about a 30 second horseshoe direction in the course so you could get a good idea in where people were and if they were gaining. As I was going out, I saw Ben Moore leading with Sam on his tail and Brendan back a few seconds. When I went around Luke was still about 15-20 seconds back. I found out Chris had a flat and called it a day. The third lap started with Luke still in the same spot. The Moore Brothers and Sam had gained more time and I no longer saw them anymore. The battle was now trying to hold off Luke. He would gain a little on the climbs and I could hold him off in the singletrack. It wasn't untill the bottom of the last climb that he finally latched on to my wheel. I told him good race and that he was climbing a bit better then I was. I couldn't contend with him up that last long hill as he could still stand up on the pedals. I had to put it in damage control and spin, for my legs were on the verge of cramping. I finished 3 min down from Sam and 2 down from the Moore brothers. The closest person back from me was about 6 min. The best performance thus far for both of us. Sam took his first win ever in a MNSCS race. Great racing by everyone out there,and thanks to Velo Rochester for a great venue and some great competition.

Photos from
Thats our mom in the background cheering Sam to the finish