Friday in Photos

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Yesterday was a pretty great day. We all suited up and headed up to Washburn, WI, the county seat of Bayfield County, a small town on Lake Superior, so Pat and Gwen could get a marriage license. Pat was stressing all night about not having his social security card, which no one has, but the form stated they needed. It was way more casual than you could have imagined. There was a question on the form asking if you are fertile or not. I told the woman that seemed not appropriate, but she said they needed that information if cousins marry. Wow was all I could come up with.

It was a 62 mile ride up to Washburn and we did it under 3 hours, tailwind. Pat pulled the whole way, me most of it too. Bill did the first hour and then I took over. I am feeling a little tweaked from all this activity and wasn’t having the best day. Plus, I’m not big on tailwind riding. Makes my butt hurt, not enough pressure on the pedals.

It’s pretty warm up here right now. By warm, I mean it is already in the 60′s this morning. I think singletrack is the choice today. It is going muggy in the woods. I still am riding a rigid fork, so I’m getting beat up a little here off-road, but it is normally super smooth, so it isn’t that big a deal.

Okay, some pictures from yesterday.

Our group heading North to Lake Superior.  Trudi turned around after about an hour to ride back and drive the van up to pick us up.

Our group heading North to Lake Superior. Trudi turned around after about an hour to ride back and drive the van up to pick us up.

Dennis messin' around, practicing his reverend deal.

Dennis messin’ around, practicing his reverend deal.

Pat and Gwen in front of the Bayfield County Courthouse.

Pat and Gwen in front of the Bayfield County Courthouse.

This is Molly, who is singing at Pat and Gwen's wedding.  And this is her tour bus.  Super cool.

This is Molly, who is singing at Pat and Gwen’s wedding. And this is her tour bus. Super cool.

We stopped at an apple orchard outside Bayfield.

We stopped at an apple orchard outside Bayfield.

There were apples everywhere there.  Oct. 4-5 is the Apple Festival up there.

There were apples everywhere there. Oct. 4-5 is the Apple Festival up there.

You can still pick blueberries here still.

You can still pick blueberries here still.

Making apple pie before dinner.

Making apple pie before dinner.

Gwen made homemade pasta too.

Gwen made homemade pasta too.

There is something to be said about a nicely set dinner table.

There is something to be said about a nicely set dinner table.

Missing Summer / Riding To Washburn

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It is kind of strange for me to have missed most all of summer. By that I mean I had a broken hip nearly all summer, so I missed what I normally do, plus I was physically not anywhere that really had a summer. I spent most of the last 3 months either in Colorado or up here in Wisconsin, and at both places, the weather never seemed summer like. I’ve been mildly cold the past three months.

I like some hot, midwestern summer. Not a ton of it, but enough to make me appreciate milder weather. I grew up with hot summers. I guess it’s in my genes. I do complain more about being way too hot than I used to remember, but I think that is just my body and mind being out of sync, alittle war within myself.

It hasn’t really been warm since I got up to Cable. Hardly in the 60′s any day. Today is not any different.

A bunch of us are riding from here at Dennis’ up to Washburn Wisconsin to get a marriage license for Pat Lemeiux and Gwen Jorgensen. They had a crazy year between them this year. They have a homes in Australia and Spain and have travelled extensively pretty much the past 9 months. Pat actually just baled out of a “short” trip to New Zealand for last week to ride Chequamegon. Gwen did a photo shoot down there, for shoes, but they made here run in shoes two sizes too small. Sponsorship and its joys!

Anyway, Gwen had a stellar season, winning the Triathlon National, but more important, World Championships too. She has a couple months off, just one race in the Carribean, then back to the travel routine. They are fitting in a small wedding up here in Cable in a couple weeks. Dennis is actually going to marry them. He got a license to perform marriages last year. He has a rule that he only marries Olympians or Tour de France riders. He’s stuck to it and this wedding is going to qualify.

It’s a little too early for me. We’re leaving at 9, which is the crack of dawn around here. I’m not sure how we’re going to shuttle everyone back here. I think it is 70 miles one way and I’m pretty sure that I can’t ride both directions. I can hardly ride 2 hours of singletrack, so 3-4 hours on the road is going to be challenging.

Gwen, scrapping the bottom of the dessert pan last night after dinner.

Gwen, scrapping the bottom of the dessert pan last night after dinner.

A bunch of us pulling a boat lift out of a lake.  I was in my underwear.

A bunch of us pulling a boat lift out of a lake. I was in my underwear.

A little northern woods lake home.

A little northern woods lake home.

Gwen winning in Edmonton to secure the 2014 ITU World Championship.

Gwen winning in Edmonton to secure the 2014 ITU World Championship.

Lots of Beauty out There / Voight’s Hour Record Attempt Today

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I’ve been doing lots of stuff the past couple days. Mainly switching it up a little, riding some, looking at property for sale, chopping a bunch of wood and paddling some. I’m trying to do some things that are constructive to my shoulder and hip rehabilitating, strengthening them some, because they are both pitifully weak. I sneaked in the Chequamegon race, just because I needed a goal, but in reality, I’m not anywhere close to back to normal function-wise.

If you’ve never been up to Northern Wisconsin, specifically, the Hayward/Cable area, you should put it on your list. You need to bring all the toys you have, MTB and road bikes, boats, blades, anything you can think of, because the area is conducive to all of it. Lots of empty, beautiful roads, plus miles and miles of awesome singletrack. Then you have the water. Rivers, lakes, flowage, more water than you could explore in years.

The land up here is crazy cheap, by US standards. It is normally less than $2000 an acre for a 40, more for smaller, more developed. That is for fully wooded lots in a beautiful setting. And that is the normal asking prices. If you look around, there are lots of special deals around that would blow you away. It is super fun looking around, playing with options.

I’ve been cutting and chopping wood a couple hours a day. There is something therapeutic about it, plus, Dennis goes through a fair amount of wood throughout the winter. I like the whole process from cutting, to splitting to stacking. It is sort of like shovelling snow. You can see your progress and it is fulfilling. I woke up early this morning with an achy shoulder, but that is nothing unusual. I think I’m going to be waking up achy for the rest of my life, if nothing chances soon.

We went out on Cable Lake for a few hours yesterday. I haven’t been in a canoe for a couple years, so it was refreshing. It was a nice day when we started, but towards the end, the temperature dropped a lot and we all got pretty cold. We saw a few bald eagles, one with a fish in his talons, which was cool. It is super relaxing, going through the water on your own power. Pretty comparable to riding a bike, just a lot slower. Pretty good shoulder workout also.

Changing the subject, today is Jen Voight’s hour record attempt. He’s gonna be trying to break the record of 49km and change, under the current UCI rules. You can click here for Cyclingfans.com for the Eurosport links or go to the Trek website for live video too. I think the coverage starts at 11:30am, CST here in the United States. Not a bad way to spend your lunch break.

Dennis has this nice wood canoe which is a joy to paddle.

Dennis has this nice wood canoe which is a joy to paddle.

Bill and Dennis were using kayaks.

Bill and Dennis were using kayaks.

Dennis skims through the lily pads.

Dennis skims through the lily pads.

We ran into Jeff Bradley, former Olympian and Tour de France rider.  He caught some nice Northern Pike.

We ran into Jeff Bradley, former Olympian and Tour de France rider. He caught some nice Northern Pike.

We stopped at Dennis' friend's place on Cable Lake.  He has this incredible barn on his property.

We stopped at Dennis’ friend’s place on Cable Lake. He has this incredible barn on his property.

They don't make 'em much like this anymore.

They don’t make ‘em much like this anymore.

Guess this bike has been laying around here for awhile.

Guess this bike has been laying around here for awhile.

Bill and I admiring the lake from the dock.

Bill and I admiring the lake from the dock.

Jen's and his hour record machine.

Jen’s and his hour record machine.

“Downtime” in the Northwoods

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Sometimes after Chequamegon is actually more action packed than before. I’ve been coming up here for quite a while now, so I know a lot more folks. And everyone here has a ton of stuff going on constantly. Usually there are a few construction projects happening, plus the getting ready for winter stuff that happens way earlier up here than farther south. We traditionally cut a split a bunch of firewood for Dennis the afternoon after the Fat Tire. But, with the awards ceremony moved up to late afternoon, it has really gotten in the way of our firewood production. We still got a ton stacked, but not enough for my liking.

I picked Trudi up at the Duluth airport yesterday. We swung by Adam Swank’s coffeeshop, Amity Coffee, but it was closed at 5. We then drove over to Canal Park, got some coffee at Caribou, walked along Lake Superior abit, had dinner and then drove back to Cable. Trudi is done working for BMC for the year. But next season is starting early with the Tour Down Under, in Australia, early January. She is probably going to sleep 12 hours the next few nights if history is any indication.

We’ve been riding singletrack the last couple days. I’m sort of beat right now and might take a day off. I have 37 hours for this month so far, with a couple days off from driving. And a lot of that is riding bumpy stuff, which my body is not liking so much right now. But, the singletrack around here is pretty incredible, so it is impossible to resist. Yesterday, before I left for Duluth, we got lost on the Ojibwe trail by Telemark. They somehow rerouted the trail and we ended up riding around in circles. I had to get driving, so we backtracked and found our way out by the North End Trail Cabin. I’ve rarely been lost in my life, but the majority of times has been somewhere up here. It is a maze of woods and very hard to keep oriented if it’s cloudy or dark.

Bill, Pat and I went with George on Sunday and took a wood-fired sauna. It was super hot, I think around 230. But, that wasn’t the “good” part. Jumping in a small river, near the sauna, between sessions was the kicker. We did 3 plunges and after the 2nd I was dizzy. I’m not really sure the water temperature, but it was really cold. Not can’t move after 30 seconds cold, but nearly. It was very interesting and super fun.

I’ve been lake swimming as much as I can, for my shoulder, but it is getting super cold too. I hate to pool swim, but swimming cold isn’t much fun either.

Today I’m going to help George take a dock out of a lake. I guess the thing weighs 600 pounds, so it is going to take 4 of us to lift it out. I’m not sure how much help I’ll be with that, but we’ll see. Okay, below are some photos from the last couple days.

Splitting wood is a communal project after the Fat Tire.

Splitting wood is a communal project after the Fat Tire.

We even use child labor, though this child is stronger than most of us.  He's George's son and takes after his father.

We even use child labor, though this child is stronger than most of us. He’s George’s son and takes after his father.

We have put away a good amount.

We have put away a good amount.

Riding singletrack with Kent and Katie on the tandem on Sunday.   They are amazing on singletrack.

Riding singletrack with Kent and Katie on the tandem on Sunday. They are amazing on singletrack.

There were lots of people out riding on Sunday.

There were lots of people out riding on Sunday.

George, Pat and Bill in the river.  The water was super clear, but stained from the tannins from the leaves and such.

George, Pat and Bill in the river. The water was super clear, but stained from the tannins from the leaves and such.

Dennis had to make a couple pieces of furniture for the crowd that showed up.   He likes to take scrap wood and make end tables and things.

Dennis had to make a couple pieces of furniture for the crowd that showed up. He likes to take scrap wood and make end tables and things.

Bromont was getting some attention on Canal Park in Duluth.

Bromont was getting some attention on Canal Park in Duluth.

We ate at the micro brewery right there.

We ate at the micro brewery right there.

Chequamegon 40 Race Report

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The Chequamegon 40 MTB Race has been a mainstay of the fall, for me, for the last 17 years or so. I’ve won the race a few times, been 2nd a few times, 3rd a few times, etc. This year, that wasn’t going to be the case. I am actually so lucky that I could even start the race. It wouldn’t have been possible even just 2 weeks ago.

I’d like to state here initially, I had a pretty good race. I might have been able to finish 2 places better, but I was jacked at the finish and was lucky to finish 16th.

I was completely unable to predict how I was going to ride. I hadn’t ridden hard for just about 3 months and my left leg is still over an inch smaller than my right.

The key to me being able to “compete” for a bit was due to 3 reasons. One, the weather change taking the section of Birkie Trail from Mosquito Brook to OO out, allowed me to ride with the front group. Two, I got a little lucky with my tactics, which was to go the front and pull for the first 20 minutes, just until we hit Phipps Fire Lane. And third, there was a new little singletrack section, to avoid some mud puddles, and that split our huge group down to 17 riders, which is just about where I finished.

The race started casually. I wasn’t sure whether I was going to be able to stay with the leaders on the pavement before Rosie’s Field. But, it was pretty easy and I hit the field kind of far back for me, maybe 10-15th, but rode back up to the front in the next 100 meters of grass. Brian Matter was nice enough to let slot in front of him, in 2nd. When I hit the Birkie Trail, I had decided if I got there, I’d just go to the front and pull. I can’t really change speed with any positive result and knew if I was back in line on the hills, I would eventually be shelled because of the slinky effect.

So, these guys just let me pull, which I did all the way to Phipps Fire lane. When we got to Phipps, there might have initially been only about 20 riders. But, there were a lot of guys not very far back. Bill had fallen somewhere, avoiding a rider in a mud puddle and came back on with the Eppen tandem. Pretty soon, we weren’t really racing and a huge group of maybe 60 guys were cruising along Phipps. I talked to Kim Eppen a little, telling her that it would be to their advantage to go to the front and just drill it.

They did a couple big surges on the downhills, but there were so many riders, they really never could establish a gap. Coming off Phipps, we missed the next section of Birkie Trail too, and rode directly onto Janet Road. Bill took off with a group of 3, right before we turned off to Martell’s Pot Holes, where the new singletrack section is. I slotted in a little ways back, maybe 8th or so, and just rested. When we emerged from that section, there were only 17 guys left.

And in that group were me, Bill and Pat Lemieux, who is a good friend hanging with us at Dennis’. Pat has been travelling the world with his fiance, Gwen Jorgensen, so is in pitiful shape, for him. He was just about as thrilled as me still being in the mix.

So we had about 10 miles to where the “real race” begins, the Seely Firetower Climb. I tried my best to roll off the front multiple times. I was mildly amazed, and it was a compliment, the guys chasing me down. I was completely done at that point and knew I needed at least a 30 second led at the bottom to have a chance of being connected at the top of the climb.

It was all about survival, I wasn’t racing, just surviving. But, I didn’t survive. I led through a singletrack section, one climb before the Firetower Climb. But, I got shuffled back for the last little climb. We started up the climb and I was right behind Bill, maybe 8 riders back. Then the guy in front of Bill missed a line around a mud puddle and shot off the course with Bill. I had to grab a big handful of brake, so had to sprint back up to their wheel.

Then at the next puddle, Bill’s front wheel just went out from under him and he fell, for the 2nd time. I didn’t come close to hitting him, but had to come to a complete stop. That was all she wrote for me. One guy went by me and I was on the rivet trying to stay with him to the bottom of the Firetower. When we turned the corner, the tailend of the led group was just 30 meters ahead or so. My guy rode back up to the front, but, I was done.

I crawled up the climb, arms cramping, and when I got to the top, only Ian Stanford, a friend that won the Master’s National TT Championships a couple weeks ago, was there. Hollywood was at the top and handed me a micro coke, which I got half down between breaths. I knew if I could get past the last Birkie Trail section with Ian, he’d be a good guy to pull me to Telemark. We crawled the 2 miles of Birkie section. Ian was climbing, spinning, on his seat. I was riding 50 rpm’s, off my seat, arms still cramping. We got to the last road section, which is about 6 miles long. Ian and I switched off pulling, both not going too good. I asked Ian, right before Telemark, if he could see anyone behind us. He said it was all clear.

We had 2 miles to go, with 3 or 4 short climbs. I never looked back, which in hindsight, was an error. With two hills to go, I hear Ian say “shit”. Right then 4 guys blow by me. Another two in tow. I was thinking, great, there goes 5 places. I jumped, but I was done. I caught up with the front three and climbed the to the top of Telemark a few bike lengths back. I passed one guy and coasted pretty good down the descent. He passed me again and I caught back up through the sweeper. I beat him, going around the last corner doing about 4 mph/40 rpm’s. 16th. It was a harsh way to finish that race.

I was completely done. Bill rolled in a couple minutes back, in 24th and Pat finish 32nd. Not too back. Pat and I nearly maximized our abilities. Bill probably could have done better.

My hip was good most of the day. Actually, other than the muscle not really working, it didn’t bug me hardly at all. But, Saturday night, I was crippled, my hip throbbing. I think that had more to do with the wood splitting session than riding. I took 4 ibuprofen before I went to bed and woke up on Sunday feeling fine, which was a huge surprise.

I called Brian and Gina winning their respective races, pre-race. They both have this race down and there wasn’t anyone here that could have beaten them on Saturday. Congratulations to both.

We’ve been doing a ton of fun stuff the last two days. Lots of wood splitting, wood fired saunas, river plunges, singletrack riding. I feel pretty good about where I’m at in this hip recover, 13 weeks in. I need to do some more PT stuff, but this was a good weekend.

We’re picking Trudi up at the Duluth Airport later this afternoon. I’ve told Bromont it is going to be a special day for him. He might need a rest day, as I do too.

Prelim Results.  Guess there was an extra guy in there somewhere.  Click to enlarge.

Prelim Results. Guess there was an extra guy in there somewhere. Click to enlarge.

There are lots of people riding this event.

There are lots of people riding this event.

Brian Matter, the winner, and me, at the start.

Brian Matter, the winner, and me, at the start.

The start is always fun.

The start is always fun.

The coffeshop was well stocked before the race.

The coffeshop was well stocked before the race.

This was how I rode pretty much I rode until I "dropped" myself.  You can see how stressed everyone else is, hardly.

This was how I rode pretty much I rode until I “dropped” myself. You can see how stressed everyone else is, hardly.

Brian Matter and T.J. Woodruff, 1st and 3rd, after the race.

Brian Matter and T.J. Woodruff, 1st and 3rd, after the race.

Micheal Olheiser, me and Kim Eppen at the finish.  It is pretty cool, the camaraderie at the end of a MTB race.

Micheal Olheiser, me and Kim Eppen at the finish. It is pretty cool, the camaraderie at the end of a MTB race.

Chequamegon Morning

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It’s early and cold, somewhere in the 30′s. It is not supposed to really get all that warm. That is my biggest worry today, trying to stay warm before and after the race. The race will take care of itself. I’m not too worried today. I can’t stay with the leaders, which is my biggest disappointment with this whole injury deal. I hate to miss the fireworks towards the end of the race, even if I’m just one of the guys getting ejected. I’m always curious to actually see what the key move is to the win. I’m not going to be horrible, I’ll be fine. This is my first race back after breaking my hip just 13 weeks ago, so I am actually mildly thrilled I can even be here.

The race is just under 40 miles and takes just a tad over two hours, which is screaming fast for a MTB race. It will be faster this year because of more logging roads.

I’m picking Brian Matter and Gina Rinehart as the men and women’s winner. I’d like to pick Michael Olheiser to win the men’s race, but just think that Brian always has another gear once we hit Telemark property. Outsider, not really, but recently, Jeff Hall is my pick to fill the men’s podium.

Okay, have to go throw more warm clothes in my finish bag. It is so easy freezing after this race.

Everything is ready at the finish for 3500 MTB racers.

Everything is ready at the finish for 3500 MTB racers.

Registration line.  It moves faster than you could imagine.

Registration line. It moves faster than you could imagine.

You don't want to have to deal with this guy.

You don’t want to have to deal with this guy.

The Eriksen's and Eppen's, mixed tandem teams.  I think the Eppens are going to be in the front mix somewhere before OO.  I think it will change up the race a bunch.

The Eriksen’s and Eppen’s, mixed tandem teams. I think the Eppens are going to be in the front mix somewhere before OO. I think it will change up the race a bunch.

Our pre-race feast last night, courtesy of Katie and Company.

Our pre-race feast last night, courtesy of Katie and Company.