Sunday, June 29, 2008


just got back from the trip to mankato...and it was one of those races that makes you feel completely gratified for busting your ass. the training all winter is paying off. not forgetting my timing chip is paying off. gearing choices, tire choices, nutrition, sleep...sometimes it all comes together and no matter how many people deserve thanks you know you put in the work and the miles and it just feels good to be proud. i got to mankato after crashing with some friends in roch about 9:30. check in, get dressed, pre-ride. damn it was greasy in back. mankato is a pretty standard ski hill type of race but what you start to realize is that when ridden slow its just like any other single track. but when ridden fast the trail really shines. a lot of corners have been well bermed and the climbs are all manageable especially if you can carry flow into them. for a single speed the climbs are just hard enough to force the geared group into something lower than me but doable enough to really use them to my advantage. anyway, some pretty hairy technical sections on the greasy backside put me down once on the pre-ride but ultimately that was a good thing because of the whole necessity/mother/invention thing. i was trying the newish euro chamois butt'r which has a menthol-ish cooling numbing affect on the nether regions. seems like a good idea. after my pre-ride crash my knee is a little bruised and swollen and i realize i've forgotten my icy hot. damn. icy hot but something meant for the a.b.c. that has a similar effect...why not? had a minor impact on keeping the knee limber so i've got no complaints. quick review of the chamois butt'r...dig it. worth the price. ready, set, go. 100 yard sprint to a long switchback climb to the top of mt kato. big rings leave me somewhere between 10th and 15th going into the climb but as we reach the top i pass the final gearie and move into first. i hold the lead with a guy on my tail until halfway through the first lap. i'm putting a small gap on when climbing but giving it up on the rough, rooty downhills that the suspended guys are floating over. i get passed halfway through the first lap and glue myself to his wheel. start lap 2 and back into the first climb. make my way around that guy and into first again and that was it. i rode as well as i could have. almost dabless except for a slip on a rock on a short steep effort that forced me to run about 10 feet but otherwise technically sound. legs felt great until the 4th and final lap when i realized a couple guys were starting to gain on me. we got into a section called the maze which was dead flat and ridiculously twisty. for whatever reason i sucked in here and the chase guys were always gaining on me. i pushed as hard as i dared through it on the final lap and got to the climb coming out of it with maybe a 5 second lead. the first part of this climb is too shallow to use the single to my advantage but eventually it steepened and i got myself to the top of the hill with a bigger lead and nothing but a really technical downhill which i just needed to stay vertiacl through, then a really fun ripping fast flowy up and down section that i didn't think could possibly impact the outcome. all went well and i hit the bottom of the ski hill with a sprint to the finish left and no one close to me. apparently not having to start dead last helps a bit. in my second comp level race ever i won the whole thing outright. i honestly think i was one of only two or three single speeds even in the field. i've had enough rides in my life and lately that have put me in my place that i'm far from assuming too much about this result or getting arrogant about it...but for now, it just feels damn good to win. i was hoping for top 10 coming out of a better start and everything just worked today. yeah, its gratifying. as for the guys i was racing to chat with them after the race...sorry i'm terrible with names but met a local-ish dude who was very cool. i think he was the last person i passed at the top of first climb. the two guys chasing me who were both from the same team (which again i didn't catch) were very complimentary and both deserve some credit for the race they ran. at one point during the third lap i started to get a little complacent and they certainly put a scare into me during the final lap. also ran into cam who finished 2nd in the expert class following a 3rd at afton...congrats on a great stab at the minnesota races. saw jay with cam who i met down in waverly and who seems like a pretty good guy as well. anyway rambling...enjoy the two pics.

yeah...tons of perspective, but that's the ski hill as viewed from base camp.

larsson was there to cheer me on and even took a sweaty hug from me after but didn't even make it out of mankato before the day caught up with him.

Thursday, June 26, 2008

wednesday night ride

the group was slimmed down a lot tonight by a random collection of events in people's lives. so travis, novian and i headed out just after 6:30. installed a rope to try to keep the horses from doing further damage to the new entrance of dead pet. the ride went all the way to the top of pali and back down, then we headed up through smeby's yard and into larson's land. coming down out of larson's i had my first of three crashes. the first one was just ugly trying to roll through the ravine where smeby's and larson's meet. over the bars but didn't flat. we need to fix that ravine...pretty sure its the same place marty got a flat on sunday. from there we went in the rollercoaster and up the rocky road to van peenen. julia, gunnar, north 40, dust bowl and little bighorn backward. i was feeling damn good after having already climbed larson's totally clean for the first time and then making it up the switchbacks on little bighorn. unfortunately a logpile on little bighorn sent me over the bars again. travis was riding really well for not riding much this year at all, and novian was riding really well for not riding trails hardly at all (roadie). from here it was over to fred's, up backside, captain's, big loop up top of dunning's/ice cave which included a decision to sprint the entire loop leaving me wanting to puke, up the clay corner and back to boa. boa gave me one more reality check as i caught my bars on a tree at high speed and just laid it down. i actually have road rash from the trails. i know that's common some places but not around here. anyway, it was good to get out and put on that kind of distance at the pace we did...didn't hammer but just kept a good solid pace.
novian coming up out of the clay corner
travis coming up just finishing our sprint (some day i'll use something other than my phone)

bad picture of the road rash

evidence of how dry and dusty our trails are right now

Monday, June 23, 2008


roll my sorry ass out of the tent on sunday, somehow feeling a million times better than i did 24 hours prior, but still struggling. i wander out to the bonfire to see a lump that i figure out is jesse sleeping 10 feet from the fire surrounded by the night's mess. i was surprised to see him back following his trip down the rocky road at some ridiculous time just before i went to bed. hadn't even seen him come back. see joe getting back from an early morning ride, part of me is jealous of not taking a spin in the peaceful morning but i knew my body couldn't handle it. we do a quick pick up then 10 of us head to family table and start stuffing faces. a face full of hashbrowns while stabbing at the french toast and i was feeling pretty good about myself. we loaded up in vehicles and headed back up for a full scale clean up mission. when we get to the top we come across marty who's finally made it over from prairie. marty's another one of those guys that great to have around. we finish cleaning up and decide to head back down and start our ride from town cause like half the group hasn't seen twin springs yet. we were considering taking the phelps trail but the parks and rec truck left us reconsidering. evidence of the floods was obvious on the way to the trail but twin springs itself rode like that trail. just wish it was closer to the rest or a little bit longer. hard to feel like its worth the trip every time. finish riding both ways then head back over to do the new entrance to dead pet that was built for the time trials. the ride consisted of me, mohwinkle, marty, jesse, kent and freidhof. another great ride. we headed all the way up pali and i got a chance to show off logjam for the first time to marty and kent. logjam provided a couple fun crashes as it typically does. everyone headed back down and out pali, then climbed up through smeby's back yard and into larson's land. after doing a loop through larson's it was deemed necessary to head to t-bock's for refueling. unfortunately, at this point i was cooked. a 32oz coors light and a gyro and i didn't have anything left in the tank. marty and jason headed back up for more but i headed for the couch. again, another great day spent riding with some solid dudes injected with just enough greasy food and beer.

here's the deal...the trails here are in phenomenal shape. everyone that came and hung out and got to see the trails with us had an awesome time. our trails are difficult, and that is something most of us are proud of. weather does change trails, but we worked our asses off and handled every problem area we found. some trails may not look like they did before, but they were already difficult, now they're simply different. the people who chose to show up were great people to have around. we had a blast and the weekend was pretty much everything i had hoped for...a lot of time spent riding and bullshitting with a group of great guys. people i've never had the chance to really hang out with, good friends that have moved away, good friends i just don't see enough. am i disappointed the official ballyhoo didn't happen? yes. do i understand why the decision was made? yes. do i agree with calling it off? it doesn't matter. that wasn't my call to make. it wasn't my responsibility or my burden. what does matter to me is that our trails our in amazing shape. tons of miles were put on these trails and i was proud to show them off. thanks to all the locals and everyone else that has put so much time into overcoming the events of the past few weeks.

as for me, the coming week is all about detox and preparation. i've had my fun and its time to get ready for mankato and then figure out how to start preparing for a 12 and a couple of 24's.

saturday recap

7 a.m. wake-up call and i try to pull my head out of its tomb located somewhere in the earth below my tent. ow. damn. this is gonna be a long day at work. seriously, i feel like death. yeah, big surprise. i try fighting off the demons whispering in my ear "5 more minutes, you'll wake back up and have plenty of time to get to work, just 5 more minutes, it'll make you feel better". so i get my shit together and head down to the real world. quick shower to scrape the residue off my skin, shave my teeth and head to work. a long miserable day is broken up by visits from scotty and kent and then moh shows up. haven't seen jason since frostbike and he's always a good guy to have around. loves to ride...LOVES to ride, and its contagious. joe from osage shows up and gets direction to the campground and its starting to feel like there's something going on regardless of how small it is. sounds like people are out riding some more and newbies are getting their tents set up. all my clock watching finally leads to 5 p.m. and quittin' time (for the record i still had a headache). run to the apt and head up to camp. people are already gathering for the planned 6ish group ride. list of people i can remember on the, ogara, jesse, travis, jason, brian, joe, adam? (joe's friend, help me if the name is wrong), friedhof, scotty, kent, gunner, derek, trevor and i'm sure i'm missing someone...grawin??? anyway, that was one of the coolest rides i've been on. we rode damn near every trail with the exception of pali, log rides were conquered and failed, and we moved pretty damn quick for a group that size. then, backbone took its revenge and kent provided the worst crash of the weekend. trust me, you don't want to see someone go over their bars on that trail and i'm pretty damn impressed kent rode away from that one. hell, i'm pretty impressed he walked away from it. travis made his maiden voyage on his sub-18 pound 1x9 superfly...that bike is ridiculous. anyway, got back to find some people who had dropped off and some people who hadn't ridden. deke was there with i think a half a cow and he was damn sure people were going to eat all of it before the night was done. beers were cracked...lots and lots of beers were cracked. the night was not all that different from the one that preceded it...maybe a little more tame and a few less beers shotgunned, but fun nonetheless. shit was talked, although grawin fell short on his threats, scotty fell asleep mid-sentence, and most of us made it til sometime after two before heading back to the tents. apparently most of us were passed out too hard to miss most of the excitement that ensued, but that's another story for another time. just know that drunk dudes and 2x4's don't make for a good combination. i was asleep within seconds of closing my tent (i think).

i'm tired

long weekend. not so much what would be considered "quality" sleep. but if you don't have fun camping riding and drinking all weekend with a group of awesome guys then you've got issues. the weekend started off on the right foot for me when fedex showed up friday with a present for i9's came in and that made me more than just a little bit excited. jeff happened to be at the shop (as did kent and scotty) so jeff helped get me set up while i worked with customers and we all just hung out for a while. i got off work at 6 and swung by the apt before heading up to the campsite. got there with everything i needed and had forgotten previously and started making dinner and hydrating with a mix of high life heavy and high life light depending on which cooler was closer at that point. after drinking for about three hours it was time to start the night ride...yes, if you're wondering, this IS in fact a good idea. in fact its a wonderful idea. at least we thought so at the time. we had about 10 people out for the night ride under a random collection of high end lights and some pretty shady set ups with basically commuter lights. some people were doing their first ever night ride under commuter lights and a bit of beer...again, i'm sure this was a good idea. people got roughed up a bit, but no serious injuries and it was a good ride. plenty to laugh about around the fire afterward. so, back to the beers and things are going pretty well when a certain someone shows up from his company golf outing with some friends. no everclear this year, but he was in full form. somehow nobody managed to get seriously hurt after seeing who could jump through ogara's raging inferno of a bonfire, jesse riding his bike like a maniac through the group and the fire, full beers being chucked at people from point blank range. i lost track of just how many beers were actually shotgunned friday night. at some point scotty and i did another night lap under extremely poor lighting conditions just to see if we could...still think we should have grabbed helmets for that one. the rest of the night gets a little foggy before i went to my tent around 1. would have enjoyed seeing the end of that one but knowing i had to work in the morning was starting to concern me. more about saturday when i can.

Friday, June 20, 2008

so it begins

kent showed up from des moines yesterday and got his jabber lightened up a bit with an origin8 carbon fork then headed up to van peenen to set up camp. as soon as i got off work i joined him and set up the third tent in the unofficial campsite of the unofficial ballyhoo. big thanks to kent who then helped get logjam rideable for the weekend. showered, moved on to t-bocks, and now i'm a bit tired. gotta get beer and food up to the campsite this morning then head straight up after work. planning social hour tonight, followed by a 9 p.m. night ride (christ i keep forgetting to charge my light). tomorrow is gonna consist of a big group ride shortly after 6 and who knows what else.

Thursday, June 19, 2008

wednesday night ride

got my ass handed to me by jeff, bill and brian last night. another ride where i felt terrible and got stronger...gonna have to get used to that and figure out how to adjust. unfortunately it wasn't just my aerobic ability that was failing me, my technical inabilities last night left me on the ground a few times.

self-portrait from lat night's ride

Monday, June 16, 2008

more trail work tonight

jeff, jeff, and jesse got little bighorn done before i joined them. we then got all of larson's land (loophole) reclaimed and rideable again...pretty much a super highway now.

here's the deal...if you ride the trails, work the trails. build trails. do something. give a shit.

Sunday, June 15, 2008

its done

the city bike project is finally complete. pic first, then important info...
older trek navigator 400
shimano nexus 3-speed internal hub/coaster brake
69'ed with a surly instigator fork
bontrager revolt ss rear tire
racing ralph 2.25 front
older titec ti flat bars
origin8 track grips
eastern platform pedals (the orange sucks but its all i had)
radially laced front wheel which cost about $20 in parts (all new)
race lite seatpost
big earl saddle
crap stem/cranks (which creak like mad but i'm too lazy to pull them apart)
burley hitch
it rides like a lazy-boy and the steering is terrible. oh well.

fathers day gravel ride

45 mile gravel tour with novian to see what road carnage could be found. plenty of road closed signs, amazing displays of the power of flood waters, farm fields turned into moonscapes, collapsed roadways and the stench of standing water in the fields. we're obviously past the worst of it...but to those who aren't, i wish you the best. had a lot of fun riding freewheel and felt pretty good considering i haven't hit the gravels very hard lately. anyway, plenty more euro 2008 to watch.

impassable gravel road leading into bluffton...looks like a bomb site.

novian bypassing a massive washout on happy hollow

fisty almost entirely swallowed up by what used to be happy hollow...this is not off to the side of the road, this is the trench on the right side of the road in the picture above.

Happy Father's Day

dad and i have been pretty cliche over the years. he was hard working, conservative, worked in a suit kind of a guy. i strayed off that path a bit, ended up with a fair amount of ink, a few extra holes, long hair, nail polish, pants that fell off my ass and made some choices that have been questionnable at best. to say we didn't understand each other oversimplifies things but will do for now. somewhere along the way things changed. a level of understanding was reached. i'm sure it helped that i kind of got my shit together without giving up who i was, but when that understanding turned into respect...a mutual respect for who we are and what we do...i realized i'd taken a lot for granted over the years. okay, avoiding getting as sentimental and emotional as this is about to get...i have two hopes for the future to share at this point. 1. i hope that i can be the father for larsson that you have been for me. to me that would be my greatest success, and i'm trying. its not easy, but i'm trying. 2. i hope that someday larsson can look at me the way i look at you now. thank you dad. thank you for more than i'll ever be able to repay. happy father's day. i love you.

larsson is the one truly benefiting from the father you've been to me.

chris and adam...keep doing what you're doing. payton, carter, maddux and caden are lucky sons. you, too, have learned from the best and both make incredible fathers. love you guys.

Saturday, June 14, 2008

random pics from the week...

working trails after the flood on monday with jeff and jesse and checking out the new teeter ending to the log ride in north 40.
death valley...still raging like a river on monday. if you've never seen this on a normal day you can't understand.headed off to school with larsson, and yes, he's reading on the way.

solo saturday night ride and some carnage from the flood.


sometimes riding takes a back seat to life, like it or not. this has been a week that proves that. following my race sunday i worked trails two nights, fulfilled a promise to zack to ride motorcycle one night, spent time with the in-laws one night, and was just too exhausted to ride last night. so today was my first ride since my race on sunday...and it started out terrible. i felt like shit. then...finally...the off-season miles started to pay off. i've noticed this year a common theme in my rides where i start off feeling worse than i used to but i get considerably stronger throughout the rides even when i don't think its possible to get past how awful i feel. so, rode the usual loop through the van peenen trails and rode the log i crashed on a few weeks ago with the new teeter ending...nice work jeff and brian. it rides awesome and i don't have to worry about eating my teeth anymore. the knee is still bothersome. scary bothersome. i ride along with no thoughts about it and then it just grabs me and threatens to end my ride. very frustrating. so, for now, fisty's going freestyle. 8 a.m. gravel ride tomorrow rain or shine (kinda hoping rain for some reason). this will be my first gravel ride on fisty not fixed...should be fun. hopefully late fall i can take a long enough break to get the knee back in shape before training for t.i.v.5. g-t are you listening???? some of are already planning...

Thursday, June 12, 2008

its on...

yes, the ballyhoo has been "canceled" but fear not...WE WILL THROW DOWN NEXT WEEKEND!!! camping in van peenen, tons of riding, possibly a fun enduro, way too much alcohol and an f-ing blast with or without vendors. bring your bike, whatever size and ride the shit out our trails. yes, the tornados and the floods have been bad but we have a great group of volunteers that have busted their collective asses to make our trails rideable and reclaim what we've lost. don't change plans just yet...we'll be doing our thing and we'd love for you to join us.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

in case you haven't seen

if you're not familiar with decorah, this is the college drive bridge and the shop and the whippy dip are about 100 yards to the right of where this picture was being taken.
this should be a fairly small, gentle trout stream passing under 52 right by the campground.

regents center at luther is flooded and all of the athletic fields are under FEET of water. they say the river is higher here than it was in 93. sounds like we're getting out of this way better off than it could have been. i don't think it was far at all from being catastrophic.

trail work tomorrow

actually, trail work last night and tomorrow and whenever you can until the ballyhoo. jeff, jesse and i went out and finished cleaning up the work jeff had started in dustbowl, gunnar, and north 40 then took a stroll down to death valley which is still a river at this point. there is some basic maintenance that needs to be done which is normal for a. summer maintenance and b. post storm clean up. there will also be some trail reclamation and rerouting necessary as well. what this means for now is NO DHPT TIME TRIAL TOMMOROW. instead, we will be meeting near death valley to rebuild/reroute what we've lost there. if we have more than enough people we might be able to send people out to other trails but death valley is in need of some serious work. luckily we have a great group of volunteers and i firmly believe we will have the trail situation remedied before the ballyhoo.

Monday, June 9, 2008

race pics

weird...i thought we climbed the entire race...

definitely considering puking...


Sunday, June 8, 2008

afton avalanche

wow...where do i even start with today? left town just after 6 and after driving through rain for the first half of the trip i called a buddy in the cities who checked the weather (and double checked my directions) and he said things might turn out okay for the race. hhmmmm...okay? pretty vague. get there and i'm ready to pre-ride sometime between 9:30 and 10. i pre-ride one lap and instantly realize two things...32x17 on a 29'er in less than ideal conditions with a LOT of climbing is way too big of a gear, and crossmarks suck huge donkey balls once their packed with mud. i went down three times in the pre-ride from washing out in sorta high speed corners. let the excuses begin. get back to the vehicle with a couple of hours before the race. run into fellow vassago supported riders steve and zach stillwell. they finished first and second overall in their race while i was out pre-riding...awesome job guys. pre-race was normal...minor adjustments on the bike, lower air pressure (hoping to get as much out of those tires as i could), eliminate rotor rub, get some grub, ipod and hill climbing to warm up. 15 minutes til race time and i start meandering around the start line. experts going out at 1:00 and comp at 1:02. moved up to comp for the first time to try the comp ss class with no expectations. here's the problem with testing yourself...sometimes you find out you're not as good as you thought you were. not that today went like that, but the thought was certainly going through my head. anyway, 2 minutes til experts take off and i realize i don't have my timing chip. this is bad. i was in the first line of racers and i had to take off on a dead sprint riding almost 3/4 of a mile to get car keys, get to the car, get the chip and get back to the start. got back to the starting line with about 30 seconds til the start and now had to start DEAD LAST. catch my breath, go. damn it hurt...a lot. turns out that in the couple of hours between pre-riding and racing the course dried up just a bit and the crossmarks ran flawlessly. the bike ran awesome mechanically. i felt terrible. got bottlenecked right away and literally had to just stop and wait, knowing the leaders had a clean run. damn i hate not starting at the front. way too many geared guys riding a totally different flow than me and it hurt me. legs blew up and i had no idea where i was in the pack. felt like i was passing people but felt like there were a ton in front of me. finished with no idea of how i did. turns out i won the single speed class and was 24th overall. damn, no complaints here. would have liked to have done better overall, and certainly have plenty of excuses, but really none are necessary. everything that went right and wrong today were totally within my control so i have no one else to thank or blame.
so...fellowship, awards, beer, packing, mcdonalds, and then...called spinner only to find out that decorah wasn't so lucky today with the lack of rain. ended up talking with multiple locals all of whom said don't even bother trying to get back into town tonight. roads everywhere are flooded, storm sewers are backing up and causing more flooding, the river is dangerously close to going over the dike, possible evacuations, and a good possiblity that the apartment might be unreachable right now coming in from the outside. either way, sketchy enough to not bother trying. so, "stranded" at the in-laws and will try heading back in the morning.
i'm always amazed by how much climbing there really is at afton. my legs hurt. high life should help. pictures later.

Saturday, June 7, 2008

racing tomorrow...i think...

holy christ what is with this weather?!?!?!? hail, tornados, flooding, downpours. it just never seems to end. it doesn't seem like the weather has been reliably nice since the first summer sizzler got shut down last fall during trek world. supposed to be racing at afton tomorrow, and racing in the comp class for the first time (now that they have a comp ss class). no idea what its going to be like or if it'll be worth the 6 hours of driving on my one day off. basically just hoping i don't spend a few hours walking 18 miles in the mud. too bad the mt. king 2.4's rub my stays or i might be considering a tire change. whatever...everybody's gotta race in the same mud.

Wednesday, June 4, 2008


officially decided to do 24/9 as a four man open. decided not to have my first ever 24 solo be the first 24 hour race i've ever been to. this will give me a chance to experience a 24 hour race once before taking on the solo fight. me, bill, jeff and spinner...the unicorns. plans for world domination are forming already. coach jeff will start regulating sleep and diets soon. we'll be fast...real fast.

urban style

wednesday night urban ride. haven't done one of those in a long time, at least not in weather above freezing without snow on the ground. ogara, zack, me and we drug travis out. his secret training has paid off and he really rode well. the steelhead came out of hiding...i love that bike. piggish, missing the peg that gave it some custom-ground-dropout-personality, welded chainstay after cracking top and bottom, and the crazy stiff argyle fork...still love that bike. everyone threw down some shit they hadn't pulled off before, including myself working a bench at luther's cfl that has a near 90 degree corner. of course, i also looped out of a wheelie drop down about a four foot stairset which messed with my wrist and slid across the concrete on my hip. i was a little concerned about skipping a chance to get on the trails with the afton race this weekend but the impact of urban riding on trail riding is easily underrated and i really have no concerns about getting out and tearing up the town a bit. unfortunately i tweaked my knee a couple more times which seems to be happening on a regular basis. i'm acutally getting a bit nervous about how my knee's gonna hold up through the rest of the season. i think i'm gonna have to be a little careful for a while and try to get it to rest up before my endurance races get started. rather not start taking time off but i might not have a chance soon. damn. regardless, shit happened tonight and its always cool to see people pulling stuff they've never done.

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

hail yeah

headed out for a ride saturday right after work. the day had been gorgeous and i was looking forward to getting some good trail time alone. on the way to the trailhead the sirens started going off. living in a small town that still has a 6 o'clock siren i didn't think much of it...then it hit me. i checked my phone and it was 5:45. i checked the sky and it was getting really dark. whatever, the last few times the sirens have gone off nothing's happened. 2 minutes onto the trail and it started raining. when i got up into the pines in van peenen i stopped to work on my bike when this rolled across in front of my feet.
so i put my helmet back on just in time to take a couple frozen golf balls to what would have been my skull. jumped back on the bike and kept riding...couldn't get much worse, right? the trails turned to mud with periodic mini rivers and lakes. stopped along the way to take this pic trying to show how much hail was actually making it through the trees.
the ride was a riot but had to do some serious clean up on the bike by the end of it. i guess it wasn't just the bike that needed cleaning...