Monthly Archives: August 2014

Hillbilly Steve

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I was a hillbilly for a day yesterday. It all started the night before, when Katie got mad for some derogatory remark I made about her, and she popped me one in the mouth. Next thing I knew, no front teeth. Well, that was not exactly what happened, but that was the story floating around the Eriksen household before Kent saw me.

I actually bit down on a piece of dark chocolate and next thing I knew, a bridge that I have on the front dislodged, or something, and was in my hand. Shit, that is an eye opener. There is really nothing more bothersome to a person to have their mouth change quickly. Even the smallest nick on a tooth seemed to be a crater when noticed by a tongue. When there are 3 teeth missing, with only the teeth left for the securing the crown, then it is pretty disturbing.

I knocked my front three teeth off back in the early 80’s at a stage race in Mexico. I was sprinting on Davis Phinney’s wheel, at a circuit race, at night, I got overlapped and high sided straight onto my face. I only hit my teeth, nothing else. No blood, just broken teeth. I headed back up to La Jolla and saw an oral surgeon at Scripps, who put them back in place. That was a long time ago.

Anyway, it was late at night, so I knew I was going to have to deal with it in the morning. Katie gave me the name of her dentist in Steamboat, but they didn’t have any time available. I called another denist, Jim McCreight, a triathlete, that Brad Bingham, Kent’s welder, had built one of his awesome duel suspension MTB bikes for. Jim squeezed me in at 4, right before he was taking off to do the Ironman Boulder.

Man, does he have a nice office. And nice staff. I was only there for hardly 30 minutes. We talked a bit and then he glued the bridge back in place. He told me he would warranty the repair for about as long as it takes me to leave the building. So, I have some dental work to address.

It is weird walking around all day with no front teeth. For one, it is hard to talk or eat. But, the initial, enormous embarrassment factor was something I didn’t expect. I worked through that though. Kind of weird how I did it.

Back, way back, at the Tour of Texas, Greg Oravetz, who road for Coor’s Light, crashed the last day and broke off all his teeth. There was an after race party, of course, and then we all headed out. We were at some bar and here walked in toothless, Greg Oravetz. He acted like nothing was different and just partied. Later on that night, Greg left with a beautiful woman. We were all trying to figure that out. We decided that it was the lack of embarrassment that was the attraction. Whatever the reason, I used it as a way to get through the day.

Well, as the saying goes, when it rains, it pours. Kind of tired of all the health issues/struggles. Now I need to figure out what I should do. I know I’m on borrowed time, but don’t what to have to spend 15K on dental work. I’d like to get some titanium posts put in and then a new bridge. That is time consuming and costly. I wonder if Kent has any laying around. He is a jack of all trades, it wouldn’t surprise me if he could insert them too.

IMG_1393

Teeth.  They are creepy, sort of .  I could never be a dentist.

Teeth. They are creepy, sort of . I could never be a dentist.

Jim McCreight and I after I have teeth again.  He just happened to have his bike at the office.

Jim McCreight and I after I have teeth again. He just happened to have his bike at the office.

I had dinner last night with Katie and her sister.  Kent had asked me early yesterday if Katie had made an humorous comments about my predicament.  I told me no, she was concerned.  Little did I know how much I was going to receive the rest of the day.

I had dinner last night with Katie and her sister. Kent had asked me early yesterday if Katie had made an humorous comments about my predicament. I told me no, she was concerned. Little did I know how much I was going to receive the rest of the day.

Adiós Steamboat Springs

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This morning I’m heading out of Steamboat Springs and driving over to Silverthorne to meet up with Bill Stolte, a teammate, who is doing a ride, The Copper Triangle. I have no idea about the ride other than $10 goes to the Davis Phinney Foundation, which is great. Bill is riding from Silverthorne at 6 am, to get to Copper Mountain by 7 am. I’m going to drive from Steamboat to Silverthorne, then ride backwards on the course, towards Vail, until I run into Bill. Bill is thinking he’ll have about 100 miles total when he’s done. I would love to be doing the whole ride, but I’ll be happy getting in a couple hours.

Yesterday I rode a couple hours with Kent and Katie, later in the afternoon. I felt pretty good, approaching great. I sort of lost my Garmin, so I don’t know exactly where we rode or the exact mileage, but it was good and it is nice feeling better. I took ibuprofen​ before I left and that might be the difference. I kind of hope not because my stomach and ibuprofen don’t usually get along that great. It didn’t seem to bother me much yesterday, which is great too.

Kent and Katie are riding Leadville next weekend. Kent is going to try to add to his 600 miles for the year. He was riding pretty good yesterday, considering. Katie is always strong and rides great. She likes to climb, which is convenient since she lives in the mountains.

Anyway, it has been great staying with them. Katie’s mom has made me lunch everyday this week and I’ve gotten to meet a bunch of new, interesting people, which is always enjoyable. I need to spend more time in Steamboat Springs. It is much different that much of the rest of Colorado, at least where I hang out mostly. I really enjoy it.

I’m still trying to figure out the dental thing. I’m going to do a bunch of research later this afternoon and then make a decision. The cost of a permanent fix for this is astronomical. I thinking about going to Mexico to have the work done. I saw that dental care in Romania is super cheap, but that is a long way. I checked out Canada, but it seems their dental costs are as crazy as ours. I don’t have much of an agenda the next little while, so why now try to save a ton of money. It might be a good adventure, you never know.

We stopped at this spring outside of Steamboat at the end of the ride yesterday.  Kent drank some of the water.  It was way too murky and  smelly for me.

We stopped at this spring outside of Steamboat at the end of the ride yesterday. Kent drank some of the water. It was way too murky and smelly for me.

Even Katie wasn't biting.

Even Katie wasn’t biting.

I guess the spring was supposed to have some medicinal properties, if you're brain ill.

I guess the spring was supposed to have some medicinal properties, if you’re brain ill.

We rode through a ton of gnats yesterday.  This is Katie's stomach when we stopped.

We rode through a ton of gnats yesterday. This is Katie’s stomach when we stopped.

Exclusive Jimmy Mac Interview – “Why I left Mountain Bike Action”

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Jimmy “Mac” McIlvain has left Mountain Bike Action after serving as its Editor for an unprecedented 13 years. Mac and I go back a long way and he asked if I was interested in doing an exclusive interview about his departure. I said yes, even though it’s the first interview I’ve ever done. Anyway, it’s kind of no nonsense and pretty much focuses on his reason for leaving a job he loved. Here it is.

Steve: So Mac, you feel like it is the right time to move on?
J.M.: Well, no, not at all (laughter). Being Editor of Mountain Bike Action was an awesome job. I worked for Roland Hinz, the publisher, a little over 20 years and while a tough boss, he always treated me fairly and was very generous. He was really hands-off for the most part. I hated leaving that job. I am going to miss it, big time.

Steve: Then why would you quit? (More laughter)
J.M.: It all comes down to Mr. Hinz’ feeling that electric powered mountain bikes are a growing segment of mountain biking and they should be reviewed and featured in Mountain Bike Action. I spent 13 years building trust with my readership and I couldn’t betray that trust.

Steve: How would you be betraying the readers?
J.M.: I feel E-bike companies want riders to believe there is some gray area when it comes to usage of their products. There is no gray area. It is black and white. E-bikes are classified as motorized vehicles by every land management agency I have ever met with and are not welcome on multi-user trails. If there is a trail network somewhere that allows them, great, but that place is the exception, not the rule. How would you feel if you bought a $5000 electric mountain bike based on a review in Mountain Bike Action only to find out the first time you took it “mountain biking” that you are asked to leave or fined? These things are very fancy commuter bikes or really bad dirt bikes, but they are not mountain bikes.

Steve: I saw on the Bicycle Retailer website, Pedego Electric Bikes called you close-minded and suffering from a superiority complex.
J.M.: I didn’t see that, but it is very common for a company who feels threatened to turn the discussion into a personal attack. They hope riders lose sight of the real issue.

Steve: And what’s the real issue?
J.M.: That electric powered mountain bikes are, under today’s laws, not permitted or welcome on multi-user trails. According to the California Highway Patrol, these things aren’t even allowed on paved bike paths. They are only allowed in bike lanes. Electric bike companies have talked about banding together and getting the laws changed, but if you are buying an e-bike today, you have to deal with today’s laws. That’s not being close-minded. That is being realistic. I’m sure if I had a warehouse full of these contraptions, I’d be looking to put a positive spin on them too.

Steve: You’re calling them contraptions?
J.M.: That sounds harsh, but look at what these companies are pushing on unsuspecting riders. E-bikes are equipped with components that are not tested or approved for motorized use. It usually says as much within the first two paragraphs of any suspension fork owner’s manual. They are putting single-crown forks with tapered aluminum steer tubes on these bikes. That is just crazy. Isn’t anyone interested in rider safety? I guess these e-bike companies buy components through distributors. I can’t believe companies like Fox or RockShox would sell to them directly. I see it as a giant liability issue.
Electric Bike Action did a revealing story in their June issue where they pitted Pro rider Neil Shirley against a friend of mine, Pat Carrigan. Pat is a solid Sport-class rider. Neil is super human. The course was a 3.8-mile dirt road with some climbing. Neil was on a Pivot cyclocross bike and Pat was on an electric-assisted Easy Motion Neo Jumper. Neil blazed up the road and set the fastest time ever recorded by a cyclist. Pat still blew him away. It wasn’t even close. The magazine’s editor told me that they had to stage the photos because Neil couldn’t keep Pat in sight. More telling, Pat’s time was half that of his normal time on a human powered bike. He doubled the speed he could get up that road.
E-bike companies have said to me the additional weight of their motors shouldn’t make a difference to the durability and safety of mountain bike components. The only reason these bikes are coming in at “only” 50 pounds is that they’ve got a bunch of lightweight trail bike components on them. I’m saying there is a lot more going on here than just adding weight when a Sport rider can bury a professional. You have increased weight and increased velocity.
I’m not against electric powered bicycles. I just think riders should be aware of what they are getting into. I do not understand how they can be called mountain bikes.
Richard Cunningham, who was Editor of Mountain Bike Action when it set the record for the biggest issue ever and is now at http://www.pinkbike.com, wrote a great editorial about e-bikes that deals with their impact on trail users. I could not have said it better. (Here is that link.)

Steve: So what’s next, Mac?
J.M.: Leaving a company that has been my home for over 20 years is really scary and exciting at the same time. I’m going to load up Big Red and do a little road tripping to the Pacific Northwest with Gail [Jimmy’s wife] and Jake [their dog]. When I get back, I’ll get serious. Still, every time I get on my bike, I come up with 25 ideas of what I want to do next and about half of them are good ones. I’m fired up.

jimmy Mac, me and Andy Hampsten.  I've used this photo a few times, but this is one of my favorites.

Jimmy Mac, me and Andy Hampsten. I’ve used this photo a few times, but it is one of my favorites.

I took this picture a couple days ago at Kent Eriksen's.  This is the  original bike that Roy Knickman rode at the 1st MTB National Championships.  It went from Roy, who raced it (flatted, then finished on a rim), then Jimmy Mac kept it.  It still has Mac's Husqvarna sticker (he worked there then), on the stem.  I once rode it from Cardiff to La Jolla, on the beach, and in the surf.  That bummed Mac out immensely, which I completely understand now.  Anyway, it is a classic and it was so nice for Mac to get it back to Kent.

I took this picture a couple days ago at Kent Eriksen‘s. This is the original bike that Roy Knickman rode at the 1st MTB National Championships. It went from Roy, who raced it (flatted, then finished on a rim), then Jimmy Mac kept it. It still has Mac’s Husqvarna sticker (he worked there then), on the stem. I once rode it from Cardiff to La Jolla, on the beach, and in the surf. That bummed Mac out immensely, which I completely understand. Anyway, it is a classic and it was so nice for Mac to get it back to Kent.

Froome Skipping Tenerife to Train with Levi in California ???

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I’m not a big fan of Chris Froome. I have written a couple posts about not liking Bradley Wiggins much. (And here.) (Or here.) I have never talked to Froome or really heard him say too much stupid stuff, but his actions speak louder than words sometimes.

Froome has been following in Bradley’s footsteps and has been training on Tenerife, a Spanish Island that he, Nibali and Contador all trained on this year before the Tour de France. Chris complained about lack of doping controls on Tenerife, which is admirable. I’ve written a couple times about how screwy it is for thes guys to be doing this, but, they just keep on doing it.

But Chris must not think that the Tenerife training, that the past 3 Tour de France winners have done, is good for the Tour of Spain, because he decided to fly over to the United States and train with, who, yes, Levi Leiphemer. (And no, he’s not racing either Utah or Colorado.)

Yep, I saw a photo on Facebook a few days ago showing Chris, broken arm and all, riding in Sonama County with Levi. Man, how about that? You’re the previous years Tour de France winner and a rider that speaks out against doping, and then, nearly while the Tour is still going on, you pack up your bags and fly 9 time zones away to ride with a confessed doping cyclist, that the rest of the sport won’t give a contract to after serving his suspension. What does that show to the racing public?

In this day and age of the sport, you need to walk the walk if you talk the talk. He’s not doing that. Okay, maybe he will never go to Tenerife again to train because of the lack of testing and general suspension that the island attracts. But going out of his way to train with Levi?

Even Levi admits here, that he shouldn’t be racing National level, or I assum,e World level events – “I actually agree with your sentiment and it wouldn’t make sense for me to show up to national level races and compete.” (If you haven’t read those comments, you should click the link and read some them. Good comments from Matt Cooke and Jamie Driscoll.) But it’s good form for last year’s Tour winner to be training with him? I think not.

If he, and all the other current GC winners of the Grand Tours have signed off on all this altitude training for 3 week races, plus he flies all they way over here to be jet lagged, why is he breaking the regiment and training in Northern California and not in Colorado? Either it is the correct preparation for a Grand Tour or it isn’t. And why is he flying nearly half way around the world and calling up Levi to take him out on a ride? Maybe he’s just not interested in the correct preparation for the Tour of Spainand doesn’t give a shit and is just going to explore the world some to train?

Okay, maybe he was just out riding and happened upon Levis. And he’s such a nice guy that he felt obligated to ride with him. If that is the case, then this whole post is utterly wrong. But, that is very, very unlikely.

I think whole deal stinks, plain and simple.

They kind of look surprised in the photo, huh?

They kind of look surprised in the photo, huh?

Colorado to Minnesota

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I’m doing the long-haul, left Silverthorne, Colorado on Monday and am now driving to Winona, Minnesota this morning. I have a dental appointment in Winona this afternoon.

I left Silverthorne pretty late on Monday afternoon, it was down pouring rain most the way to Denver. I had another deluge east of Denver and the driving was super slow. Then super late, in western Kansas, I was driving behind a truck and the truck through a retread. I tried to swerve but caught it with my left wheel and screwed up the underside of my Honda Insight. I stopped at a truck stop and got some bungee cords, Gorilla tape and mended the issues.

Man, it’s a big change riding in heat and humidity compared to the dry mountain air. It was nearly 100 in Topeka yesterday and I rode my normal two hours. My hip was a little less painful, which is a good sign. But, all this driving can’t be that great for it.

I’m heading up to Cable after the dentist appointment for a little downtime. It’s sort of funny, because the dentist I’m going to see in Winona just bought a cabin up there and is heading up there later this afternoon too. I hope the mosquitoes aren’t too bad.

Okay, first stop for coffee in Des Moines. This is going to be a long day.

20140806-071249-25969027.jpg I didn’t post this photo from Steamboat Springs a couple days ago. These bucks were magnificent.

20140806-071333-26013145.jpg I’ve been driving through some pretty nasty weather this whole year.

20140806-071451-26091305.jpg Luckily, I rotated my tires before I left Silverthorne. The micro spare in the trunk had never been used and was pretty much flat.

20140806-080303-28983545.jpgToo early for Bromont.

20140806-090729-32849289.jpgI’m the blue dot. My luck this year.

20140806-094028-34828904.jpgPlus, it’s road construction time of the year.

Night Swimming

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It is amazing how much activity you can fit into a long day, long day meaning starting at 4 am, which I’m not fond of at all. Yesterday I drove from Topeka to Winona Wisconsin to see Dr. David Gilmer, a dentist there. He contacted me through this website about helping me out with the front teeth problem from last week. The drive was pretty bad. Lost of rain and road construction. I actually minorly fell asleep right before Des Moines. Enough that the zizzies on the side of the road startled me, maybe more like scared me, awake. I stopped at Caribou Coffee and got a large cup.

I got up to Winona closer to 1 than to noon. But, David was on lunch break and, I swear, less than 3 minutes after I got there, he was taking x-rays and doing his thing. No paperwork, nothing. It was such a good experience. I’ve been to a fair amount of dentists in my time and this guy has to top that list. Super easy to talk to, explains everything super well and then, most importantly, is very good when his hands were in my mouth. He did lots of things that I wasn’t familiar with, like giggling my lips when injecting Novocaine. I really couldn’t tell a needle was used at all.

Anyway, the two teeth where the bridge turned out to be pretty good. He built them up and then made a temporary bridge and ordered a permanent one. Super painless and efficient. David just bought a cabin off of Blue Moon Rd., up here in Cable, so he was driving up afterward too.

I got out of Winona around 4, but there was a detour on the way up, so I had to head over to 53 and take I-94. But they were doing construction on the interstate, so it was a log jam. I didn’t really mind. I wasn’t in a hurry and I like looking around some, when I’m driving, and the slower you go, the easier it is to look. Wisconsin is a great state, super scenic. Especially down by the Winona, La Crosse area. Big bluffs and lots of corn.

Anyway, I got up to Cable around 8 pm. It was so nice. I pulled right up to the Rivers Eatery, an oven fired, handmade pizza restaurant, plus more. And it was jammed. Mick, the owner, has been bringing in live music on Wednesdays. Last night it was Molly and her Danger Band. She is from Hayward and is great. Mick “bought” my dinner, which was super generous. I haven’t been up here for a long time and I didn’t realize how much I missed it.

I hung there until Molly quit playing, said hi to a few people and got back to Dennis’ around 10. Dennis had left earlier, taking Bromont to romp in the woods. I decided to go for a night swim. The lake is a 5 minute walk from Dennis’, but I’m walking so poorly, I got a headlamp and took one of his MTB bikes. The moon was just up enough to see a little with the headlamp off. I normally wouldn’t mess with a headlamp, but can’t really afford to do a stupid fall currently.

When I got to the water, a huge something, jumped in. Maybe a beaver, probably a beaver. Hawkeye, Dennis’ dog barked and I was a little hesitant on getting in. I heard another splash, pretty close, but it wasn’t a beaver slapping its tail, something else. I was a little spooked, but intellectually convinced myself that there wasn’t anything that could be swimming around in the lake that could harm us. I waited a couple minutes, then finally took the plunge. The water is pretty warm. I was surprised. I swam out maybe 5 minutes and by then the crescent moon was rising pretty well. The water was so flat. I just treaded water for a few minutes and enjoyed. There is nothing like being alone in the middle of a calm lake, with just enough moonlight. All your senses are stimulated. Super sensitive actually. I love it.

Bromont never showed. I could see his blinky light off in the woods sometimes, but he rarely ends up in the lake when I’m there. He met up with me when I was riding back up to the compound. He was all muddy, like he’d been mucking around in a swamp. I had to hose him off.

I got some good sleep last night. 8 plus hours, when was well needed. Dennis has a bunch of projects around here that I can help with. He’s already started, so I should probably get going.

Dr. Gilmer doing his thing.

Dr. Gilmer doing his thing.

It takes a bunch of equipment to be a dentist.

It takes a bunch of equipment to be a dentist.

Wisconsin.

Wisconsin.

A lot of corn.

A lot of corn.

Stopping before Hayward to let Bromont out.  He is such a poser.

Stopping before Hayward to let Bromont out. He is such a poser.

Mick putting a pizza in.

Mick putting a pizza in.

Hawkeye looking at the black water.

Hawkeye looking at the black water.

I rode Dennis' old Bontrager MTB bike to the lake.

I rode Dennis’ old Bontrager MTB bike to the lake.

Bromont's tail this morning.  He is in dog heaven here.

Bromont’s tail this morning. He is in dog heaven here.

Dennis has already started on the project list.

Dennis has already started on the project list.

Here’s a bit of music from last night. Molly said that her dream would be getting this song she wrote used on The Game of Thrones. It is perfect.

Remorseful or Repugnant

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I read that Dave Zabriskie is doing Leadville tomorrow. I was kind of surprised, I’m not sure why. I haven’t seen him since I did the Mike Nosco Benefit Ride last November. He was in pretty good form then, but I hadn’t heard hide or hair from him since.

At first I thought, what I normally think, that Dave should just disappear into normal life and just leave cycling as a memory. He should be set in life, he did pretty well as a cyclist. But then I got to thinking about it and thought, shit, I like the guy and I like having him around.

I think it’s a double standard for sure. I say that Levi shouldn’t be racing, anywhere, and it okay for Dave to be doing it. I slam Levi for winning Leadville, which I still majorly disapprove of, but sort of hope Dave wins, or at least has a good race.

I realize the difference is that I really like Dave Zabriskie and don’t much like Levi. And I hardly know either of them personally. I like Dave because of his attitude and the way he’s handled his post confession days. And I don’t approve of Levi for the way he’s handled his whole career, pre and post confession.

There isn’t a line in the sand. When I wrote a post the other day about Froome training with Levi, I got a lot of mixed responses. One comment on Facebook said –” Do you guys ever really listen to yourselves. Where is all this anger coming from. Because it sure doesn’t have anything to do with common sense. Unlike some of the others, Levi seems to be doing everything right, since his admission. He donates his prize money. His gran fondo benefits many children’s charities. He didn’t murder anyone. He didn’t molest any children. He doped in a sport, that was rife with dopers. You people act like he should be crucified. Give it a break. I don’t care whether you’re religious or not. This saying makes a lot of sense. “To err is human, to forgive is divine”. Here’s a guy who hasn’t made excuses, and seems to be doing everything he can, to make amends. And all you people do is shit on him. Shame on all of you.”

There are a lot of very forgiving people out there. And each and everyone of us is different in this regard. This issue affected each and everyone of us in a different way. I do understand there is a huge spectum of different opinions, from whether to forgive and forget, punish until death, or somewhere in the middle.

I might seem pretty harsh in some circumstances, but in reality, I’m very understanding of the issue. I guess my criteria is whether I think the person is generally remorseful of his actions and actually thinks they did something wrong. Dave meets this criteria. Levi doesn’t.

My response to the Facebook comment was – “I have to respectfully disagree. Current actions don’t nullify prior “sins”. You say he didn’t make excuses??? Huh? When Floyd said Levi’s name in relation to doping, before Levi was forced to sign an affidavit, Levi pretty much called Floyd a lying sack of shit. Then he worked a deal, he negotiated keeping an Olympic medal for “telling the truth”. Olympic medals aren’t earned by negotiation. They are earned by talent and sportsmanship, both of which he lacks. How many studies would you like me to produce that shows that takng PED’s last years and maybe a lifetime after stopping? And Levi is still beating up guys racing huge races, then gets kudos from you for donating his winnings?? When one of these guys, anyone of them, tells the truth, admits to everything they did, then they get forgiveness.

Here’s a quote from an email I got from a professional rider a couple weeks ago. – Hey Steve, I read your post on Levi and thought I would share a story with you. Last year at a local race I trace, I toldat I am angry at him and that I wanted to bury the hatchet because I did not think it was fair to single him out. His response was “Why are you angry?” When I told him that he acted unfairly and cheated, h denied that he cheated anyone and went on to say that he never doped for the domestic races that he won. Either this man is delusional or stupider than he looks. All I wanted was a little apology or “I can see how you feel that way.” Fuck him

The guy isn’t remorseful or honestly trying to make, as you say, “amends”. He’s just doing what a guy does after he gets caught.”

I don’t hold grudges. I can forgive and forget. But not until there is a true feeling of remorse. No more lying. No bullshit about everyone else was doing it. Just, “I knew I was cheating and wouldn’t do it again if I had the chance to do it over”. I think Dave Zabriskie might say that. And for that, I wish him good luck tomorrow at Leadville.

Emma Knickman, Dave Z., Roy Knickman, and Rob Mesecher at the Mike Nosco ride in 2010.

Emma Knickman, Dave Z., Roy Knickman, and Rob Mesecher at the Mike Nosco ride in 2010.