Monday, June 29, 2009


In May, I got yet another lesson in mountain bike race starts.  Start fast.  Period.  Even if it hurts.  At Eriks, the old me went for the usual overly cautious build up start.  The result was me rubbing wheels mid pack, and having to pass lots of people to end up in 31st place.  In the June races, I sped up my starts and went on a three race age group winning streak.  I'm well on my way to reaching my goal of becoming Expert class pack-fill.  Nice.

Thanks to Dana Schoppe for this and all the series photos.  They are really fun to look at!

Thursday, April 2, 2009

What Kind of Road Cyclist are You?

Squirrel?  They are often quick, indecisive, skittish, oblivious to danger.  The human equivalent would be rookie cyclists out for a spring ride, blowing stop signs in urban areas, riding on roads and paths unaware of anything or anyone.  Children and university students also qualify.

Deer?  Unyielding to larger, faster vehicles, and tending to not care what part of the road they occupy.  Fast moving and confident, morally superior, with the utmost confidence in powers greater than them such as Jesus, the Wheel of Life, and the municipal legal system.  This guy is a deer.  Actually, I see a lot of deer.  The human-deer equivalent will assert his or her right to the road NO MATTER WHAT.  This seems like a bad idea.  Sometimes people don't see them, and therefore can't provide them their rights.  Sometimes people in cars don't know that you actually have rights.  Mostly, because you can't communicate with drivers, you should give them space.

Tasmanian devil?  Downright mean.  These creatures cruise the bike paths bowling over little kids, Burleys, old ladies, little dogs, and wild animals in their quest to maintain speed and deliver chaos.  I'd say, this type of cyclist would be a better deer.

How about a crow?  A crow is road savvy.  A crow will grab his meal (road kill squirrel?) and fly away well in advance of oncoming traffic.  A crow is smooth, patient, and predictable.   You don't see too many road kill crows.

Unfortunately, cyclists are prey animals.  We should be smart ones, like crows.  Please stay safe, be nice, and have fun.

Friday, March 27, 2009

Wonderful, Wonderful Taxes

We overpaid the taxes by a lot. Half of the refund is kind of looking like a cyclocross bike.

Something tough like this?

Salsa La Cruz is interesting for its 135mm rear hub spacing, disk breaks, and other MTB parts.  It seems like it would be on the heavy and slow side.  It would be compatible with parts I already have, which is nice

Something fast like this?
I might not loose my ass so much in the fall CX cat 4 races with a real competition bike like this.  Something with an AL frame and a carbon fork around, say, 19 lb. would be very quick.  Not as tough for trail riding, though.

Monster cross?

Build up a Karate Monkey or Cross-Check into something like this?  This bike oozes "cool".

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Mountain Bike Racing Secrets

For what it's worth, here are some "secrets" I learned in my racing and training.

* Get a plan to train. Follow the book "The Mountain Biker's Training Bible", buy a plan from Lynda W., get a coach like TJ, or whatever. Just get a plan and follow it.

* Make your plan adaptable. Family, friends, work, and flooded basements come first.

* If you have a goal event, do other races first to see what it might be like.

* During your training period, get thin. It's much easier to loose a pound off the average person's body that the average person's bike. Be kind of hungry sometimes.

* Don't push it going down hill. It's a waste of energy and potentially dangerous. Going uphill fast is how races are won.

* Train to your weaknesses. An XC mountain biker needs endurance and the ability to put out 1-5 minute all out efforts. If you have great top end speed, but poor endurance (like a sprinter), train your endurance and long intervals.

* Learn how to eat and drink on your bike. Find food and drink you like and figure out how much of it you need for a given effort. Energy drinks work fine for an hour or two. Anything longer and you'll want a gel or an energy bar. Hammer Nutrition has a very good line of products.

* Before spending a ton of money on a bike, make sure you will have enough leftover for the other stuff you need like padded shorts, water bottles, a car rack, emergency tools, etc.

* NO MATTER WHAT, keep it real and have fun!

Monday, March 16, 2009

Lake Minnetonka Ride

Sunday, I went out on a ride around roughly 1/2 of Lake Minnetonka. I saw a bunch of other club riders on the way: Flanders on the roll out from 44th St., Penn Cycle going the opposite direction as me about half way through, a group of unidentified blue jerseyed riders a little later also going the opposite direction, and a Grandstay rider (also opposite direction) at the end, where I was about to take my 5th wrong turn. I get the impression that clockwise was not the preferred direction on that loop. Why is that? Wind? Traffic? Better lane? It was a great ride, but some of the narrow stretches give met the heebie geebies.

Anyway, it was a good learning experience. I will be doing that again, and maybe on a road bike.

Monday, March 9, 2009

Random Happenings

So I went to pick up the new kit at the bike shop that sponsors the team / club. The long sleeve jersey is waaaay nicer than I expected - super warm and tough. I'm normally not one to wear flashy logos on my person during an around town ride, but it was the perfect thing for the weather this Saturday. I set out, apprehensively. About half way through my ride, I spot a cyclist emerging from a cross street - wearing the same thing I was. "Hmm" I said to myself, "that's weird. I wonder if he or she rides for my team too?" (I don't know everybody yet) It turned he did, in fact he is the store owner.

We chatted a bit and wound up riding around for a while. He showed me a couple new lower traffic routes I may try again someday. It's a bit weird riding with other people out on the road. I get the sense that there's definitely some etiquette involving pulling at the front, or pacing, or something. Anyway, we must have looked hilarious in our matching jerseys riding around in our Frankenstein winter beater bikes.

Good times. I'll have to try a more organized group ride sometime.

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Saturday, February 28, 2009

US Cup

It would be fun to see or participate in a US Cup event, however, the organizers didn't bother to schedule any races in flyover land.  The closest event to Minnesota would be in Colorado Springs, CO.  In fact, the Colorado race is the only non-California race in the Kenda Cup West.  Wow.  Thanks guys.  

I am confident the authorities will see the error in their ways and bring some action here in 2010.  Lutsen could re-open for a weekend to make this happen.  Wishful thinking, perhaps.  Maybe Minneapolis will get the Olympics, too.  Ha!

Monday, February 23, 2009


Congratulations to Scott Johanik, 16, of Washburn, WI.  On the heels of qualifying for a 3rd straight Junior Olympic team, he crushed the Korteloppet 25 K.  Skiing for Team CXC, he came in finishing 1st in his age group by over 2 minutes, and 5th overall.  Of course you come to expect this kind of thing from Castle Guards.  Somebody get this guy on a mountain bike!
Photo courtesy of the Ashland Daily Press.  

Monday, February 16, 2009


This time of year, a bike rider around this area will inevitably ride past some outdoor hockey games.  This got me thinking:  "Hey, don't you have a working computer now?  And hasn't it been, like, 3 weeks since you updated your fantasy team?"  When I went to update my roster, to my surprise, I jumped up to 3rd place out of 8 from second to last.  Having Ovechkin will do that for a person.  

I'm currently watching the Rangers vs. Blues on Vs.  Looking for some Tour De Cali coverage, I found this and ate mass quantities of pizza to it.  Close to the second intermission was an awesome fight:  Janssen (Blues) vs. Voros (Rangers).  Janssen handily beat down Voros in front of his home crowd, and the Blues proceeded to score a few minutes later.  As a friend of mine says - it doesn't go on the scoreboard, but it matters who wins the fight.  Also, you need to mind your manners when a 210 lb. forward is on the ice.

There might fewer serious road rage incidents if fighting was allowed in driving.  Someone cut you off?  Pull over and fight it out!  Of course this means I'm going to have to get someone big to carpool with.

Saturday, February 14, 2009

The iPhone as a bike computer

I wanted to check the wheel diameter setting on my bike computer.  So I used the GPS feature on my phone to map my commute.  It appeared to go well, until ...

So instead of being 13.5 miles like I thought, the phone says I rode 17 miles!  I rule.  My battery was half drained when I got to work.  I don't think this device is a legit replacement for a Garmin, yet.  For now, my taped on watch device will have to do.

I watched Klunkerz on Netflix today.  It was great for me to see, but I don't see anyone that's not into biking liking it too much.  

Saturday, January 31, 2009


Today's ski at highland was very good until the snow started melting.
For a change, the tracks were better on the lake trail (photo) than on
the trail to the nature center.

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Ski Things, Good and Bad

Classic skis you can wax
Craft clothes
Gas station sun glasses
Swix blue extra
Elm Creek
Post-ski NFL viewing and beer drinking

Layering with wool (don't believe the hype)
Post-ski grocery shopping
Temperatures above freezing
Footprints on ski trails
Temperatures below 0 F

What wax are you using??

I get this question a lot for some reason. Swix blue extra is always the answer. I have only been skiing for a couple years but I find that this stuff works from 5 F to 25 F. Actually, it was a little grabby at 5F. It costs 8 bucks. Go get some! I'm incredibly fast and all, but I'm not getting paid by Swix to say these nice things.

Theo W Ski

Usually, I pedal or golf this track. This time, I'm here to get some
pre- race intelligence. What a fun day!!!

Saturday, January 10, 2009


My plan was to eat a quick breakfast, then do a 2-3 hour ski at Hyland. The problem is my boots were riding around in my wife's car during her morning routine, which started slightly before mine. Instead, I mustered the mental toughness to do two and a half hours on the trainer watching episodes of "The Wire".

An unrelated bummer was a couple days ago when I re-broke my Garmin Forerunner 50. It's about a year old, and the watch band doesn't want to stay on. If I had to do it again, I would have bought a bike mounted unit with GPS. What they should really do is come up with Bluetooth bike computer sensors and heart rate monitors that interface with the iPhone. I would buy that in a minute. Instead, I'm stuck with my old broken-banded Garmin duct taped to the stem of my bike.

Saturday, January 3, 2009

Snow Baby, Snow!

I'm looking out at my neighbor's porch light seeing some determined flakes coming down. I want some nice conditions when I return for my beating at Elm Creek this Wednesday. What I really want is good conditions for the City of Lakes Loppet. I'll be touring with my wife at the Luminary Loppet and racing the next day in the classic race. I don't know that classic skiing is the best off-season training for mountain bike racing. I'm guessing skate skiing emphasizes the legs more. More and more, I get the feeling my upper body is doing most of the work. At Elm Creek, as I progress with my skiing skill, I do more and more double poling. I can go nearly all the way around the snow making loop that way. I think the main thing is to get that heart pumping at 150 rpm. I would probably wreck myself skate skiing anyway.

I see the flakes have turned to freezing rain. Do they make klister for mountain bike tires?