Wednesday, August 30, 2006

Hittin' the trail

Last night I went mountain biking in Milaca with Jim, Jeff, Jon, and Charlie...and got my ass handed to me. Maybe I should just leave my mountain bike hanging in the garage where it can look pretty and not be emberassed by me!

It was a lot of fun to get back out on the trails, but it's obvious that my technical ability leaves something to be desired. Oh well, I had a blast...that's what we do this for, right?

Look what I bought!

I've fallen head-over-heels in love with riding the velodrome, so I bought myself a little present:

I got a great deal on it, so it's almost justifyable! This is my first experience with tubulars, so we'll see how it goes.

Monday was our last day of track classes, and we actually got to do some races. I felt strong and did well in the sprints, but the experienced road racers kept putting me into a bad position in the points race. Damn dirty roadies! Seriously though, it's pretty cool to be riding with some of the big-name Cat 1/2 guys that I've looked up to (and have kicked my ass) over the years.

Riding the Velodrome

8.8.06 - What a rush! Ted and I went down to the velodrome at the National Sports Center in Blaine for the introductory classes. Having never ridden a fixed-gear bike before, I was pretty intimidated...and that was before I even rode on the banked track! Luckily, confidence came quickly, and by the end of the 3-hour class (sorry Honey, I'll be home late!) we were flying around the curves. It's really cool to feel the G-Forces pushing you down into the 43-degree banking. It's like riding a rollercoaster...only a lot more work. 3 classes left and I can start racing!

I think racing on the track will suit me a lot better than road racing. I don't think I have a slow-twitch fiber in my body, so the short fast races should be great! Instead of fighting nature, I'll work with what I have for once. What a novel idea...


7.26.06 - Last weekend, Kristin and I took Julie and Roman up to the Boundary waters. I selected a pretty ambitious trip, but all involved were up to the challenge. We started out at Sawbill Outfitters, and took four portages (80, 80, 110, and 180 rods respectively) to Cherokee Creek. Once there, we were to follow the creek to Cherokee Lake, where we would be staying. About halfway up the creek, we saw a huge moose in the water. What a cool experience! It's easy to underestimate how big they are until you're right next to one. The moose slowly made his way over to the woods, where he stood and watched us paddle away.

Once we selected a site, we set to work right away setting up camp. We had a great view with a long, sloping rock face overlooking the entire lake. It was at about this point that we realized the lake was crazy with black flies! They were absolutely insane, and there was no escaping them. We ended up hanging out in our tents for a couple hours until it got dark and the flies went away. We started to make dinner, and then came the mice. "Look," said Kristin, "a little mouse. Oh my God, there's mice everywhere!" It was like something out of an Alfred Hitchcock movie. Kinda freaky. Apparently, Julie had set their tent up over a mouse hole, so she had mice scratching and jumping into the side of their tent all night!

The next morning we decided to move to a different site, so we headed back to Sawbill Lake. We hung out for a while at a really cool island campsite, then decided that none of us felt like setting up all our crap again, so we began the journey home. Just as we started heading back, huge storm clouds came rolling in. We ended up getting hailed on for about the last 30 minutes of our paddle. It was a pretty wicked storm, with lightning and high winds. We just stayed close to the shoreline and paddled to beat hell!

It kind of sucked at the time, but in retrospect I think it was a great trip...lots of adventure and some good stories to share.

St. Cloud Crit - I suck!

7.25.06 - Damn! I'm glad I'm better at programming than I am at biking.

The race started out great. I was positioned well in the pack, coming through all the turns smoothly. About 5 or 6 laps in, there was a big crash in turn 1, and pretty much the whole Tonka team went down. I got held up for a few seconds, but was able to chase back on after about 2 laps. Almost as soon as I got back into the group there was another crash, in which someone went down in a turn and took out a couple Grandstay guys (Ben and Slick). Both went over there bars, and I heard a big POP! I got held up behind this crash for quite a while, and the race was all downhill from there.

Rudy, Jake, and I lost contact with the group, and we picked up Ben on the next lap when he was unable to tag on to the back of the lead group after taking his free lap. The four of us worked well together, but we were never able to make up any time on the lead group of about 15. We picked up a couple stragglers along the way, and a group of 6 of us came to the line together. I didn't want to risk crashing in the all-important race for not-quite-last place, so I just backed off and let the other guys duel it out.

I ended up DFL out of the riders that finished. I take some comfort knowing that 14 guys didn't finish at all, but I was still last. It's kind of demoralizing, especially considering how much I've been training. Oh well, I'll get 'em next time. I felt like I rode strong, I just made some tactical errors and had some bad luck being in the wrong place at the wrong time for the crashes (But not as bad as the riders who actually crashed. Luckily, no one was seriously hurt...lots of road rash though).

The masters 35+ race was cool to watch, with St. Cloud rider John Bagley decimating the field.

Overall, it was a fun day. The event was well-run, results were posted before I even got home, and a lot of people showed up for the festivities.

I have a blog. I rule!

I didn't like the url of my old blog, so I created this one. The dates of the first few posts will be screwed up, so deal with it.