Monthly Archives: January 2015

New Years 2015

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So, first day of the year.  Sometimes it seems that time just flies by and other times it just drags and drags.  Last year did both those.  It seemed to drag when I was hurt and flew by when I was doing fun stuff and travelling.  That doesn’t seem right or fair.

I need to go out and ride just a bit today.  It is nearly mandatory that I at least pedal a bike some on the first day of the year.   It is supposed in teens today, so it isn’t hot by any means, but it ain’t -25 either.  We’re going to stay up in Northern Wisconsin for a couple more days and then make our way back to Kansas and then Austin for cyclocross Nationals.

I’m so far removed from cyclocross right now I’m pretty excited about going.  I purposely didn’t renew my license, just in case I get a wild hair and want to race.  But, with this new electronic licensing, I guess that won’t really be a problem.

Last night we went over to Jeff Bradley’s house for some snacks and hang.  We came back to Dennis’ and headed out into the woods for our annual New Year’s hike.  We didn’t need snowshoes this year, which was great.  It was 40 degrees warmer this year than last and it was still in the single digits.  We made it out to the Hemlock ridge right about midnight.  I like being out in the middle of nature at memorable moments in time.

I was thinking about how New Years is just a way that humans keep try to keep track their time and that it doesn’t apply to any other animals.  It is just business as usual for the rest of the life forms on the planet.

There is going to be an exodus today with the Walbergs flying back to Seattle this afternoon, from Minneapolis and Parker, Trudi’s nephew, driving back to Chicago.  I’m going to try to do a long ski, probably from the North End to Hayward.  I only have a couple days left to ski and I think it is doing wonders for my hip and shoulders.

Okay, hope you all have a great New Year!

 

Me and Parker about ready to head out last night for the New Year's hike.

Me and Parker about ready to head out last night for the New Year’s hike.

The long ski made the front of the local paper yesterday.  Bill and I happened to be standing there.   I wonder if we're going to get some photo bonuses for the exposure?

The long ski made the front of the local paper yesterday. Bill and I happened to be standing there. I wonder if we’re going to get some photo bonuses for the exposure?

The gang at midnight up on the Hemlock Ridge.

The gang at midnight up on the Hemlock Ridge.

 

Stacie made apple crisp for after the hike.

Stacie made apple crisp for after the hike. Nice way to keep it warm.

 

The highschool hockey team was bagging groceries at the local grocery store in Hayward last night.

The highschool hockey team was bagging groceries at the local grocery store in Hayward last night.

Catherine decided to do 30 pushups at 2 am last night, while Keith was brushing his teeth.

Catherine decided to do 30 pushups at 2 am last night, while Keith was brushing his teeth.

Keith skiing up the last big hill coming towards OO from the South.

Keith skiing up the last big hill coming towards OO from the South.

1st Ride of the Year – Crashed on Ice and Bit by a Dog

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Yeah, the title is right.  But, it isn’t as bad as it sounds.  Yesterday, I decided I needed to suit up and go out to set a precedent and get a ride in, since it was January 1st.  It was in the 20’s and there was a couple inches of new snow on the roads, on top of 6 inches a couple days ago.

I had my cross bike with tubeless Hutchinson’s Bulldogs, so it wasn’t going to be that big of a deal, I thought.  The snow was pretty loose and since not many cars had driven on the road, it was pretty unpredictable.  My front wheel kept breaking away and I had to just let it float.  I wasn’t that worried about crashing, especially since my “broken hip” has been pretty stellar ever since I got up here and started skiing.

I started out and thought I’d just ride to Cable, which is about 4 miles away , and see how the bigger roads were.  A couple cars passed me from the other direction and the blowing snow coming off their wheels nearly blinded me.   It was pretty slow going, maybe around 12 mph, but it felt great turning my legs in circles again.  I had ridden since Christmas Day, which seems like an eternity ago.

About 10 minutes into the ride, I see 2 kids walking in the middle of the road with their dog.  As I approach them from behind, the dog sees me and runs directly at me, full speed.  I wasn’t too concerned.  I’m not scared of dogs.  He veered last second, did a U-turn and start chasing me.  When he got his mouth close to my leg, I just put my hand down and thumped his nose.  He seemed pretty harmless.

But, he kept going and as I rode past the kids, one of them tried to tackle him.  He veered again and I thought he quit, but next thing I knew, I feel this tug on my right leg and look down and the dog is back, and he had chopped down on my bootie.  I was surprised and just reached down and wacked him on the snout again.  He let go instantly and stopped.  He didn’t get a hold of me and draw blood, but he ripped a hole in my bootie.  I can’t think of the last time a dog actually got a hold of me.

Then I rode just a minute or two up the road and was turning a sweeping left corner and my front wheel slid out and I was on snow covered ice.  I thought I saved it, but nope, hit the ground pretty hard.  Luckily, it was only a flesh wound.  I landed on my bad hip and it was good.  My neck, which I’d sprained pretty good on the long ski day last Saturday, got tweaked a little again, but that isn’t so bad.

So, I was fairly unscathed even though the ride couldn’t have gone too much worse.  I only rode 8 miles since when I got to Cable, they had put down salt and the road was a mess, so I just rode back.

We’d already hiked in the fresh snow two hours in the morning and then we went out and skied under a bright moon for 15 km, so I had nearly 3 1/2 hours of exercise in my between the three different adventures.  I felt pretty good skiing.  The new snow made it super stable, so I didn’t have to use all those micro balancing muscles I use when it is icy.  It was pretty great.

Today we’re gonna ski the whole Birkie Trail from the North End to Hayward.  It’s 40 km.  It isn’t supposed to be warm (16 degrees) until midday, so I think we’ll wait until then.

Hopefully, yesterday was really a good omen and I got that stuff done early and the rest of the year will be incident free.

Here's a picture that Keith took of Dennis with a bear that his father got for him on his birthday in Paris at the end of World War 2.

Here’s a picture that Keith took of Dennis with a bear that his father got for him on his birthday in Paris at the end of World War 2.

The road I was riding on yesterday.

The road I was riding on yesterday.

 

Does that Shoulder Even Work?

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That isn’t a question that you want someone to ask you.  And that is a question some PT/massage therapist asked me out of blue yesterday when I was skiing from the North End to Hayward.

It all started great.  We had a plan to meet up with Stacie and Karl, then head south to Hayward.  Trudi was going to drive the van down there and ski North.  The snow was pretty great, which means stable for me, and the k’s were going by pretty quickly.

When I got to OO, I was a few minutes ahead of Bill and Karl, so I went into the warming hut to try to stay warm.  I was sitting there, just for a couple minutes, when they showed up.  A guy in the warming hut knew Karl and started talking.  Then his buddy started talking to us.  He was saying that there was a fatbike race going on and that it was 100 miles long or something.

Next thing I know, his eyes get a little big and he just reaches over and grabs my shoulder.  He says that it’s the worst shoulder he’s ever seen and wanted to know if it “even worked”.  He asks me if I could ski.  I say to him that it’s been doing pretty good here and ask him what he sees that makes him concerned.  He said it was pivoted wrong and folded in.

Anyway, he pushed around on my back alittle and once again said he was amazed the shoulder even worked somewhat.  That was kind of depressing.

He sent me a text with a phone number of some guy in Texas that is supposed to be a shoulder God physical therapist.   I thought I was past that point.  And in reality, I thought my shoulder was working pretty great, considering.

The IPC Nordic World Ski Championships (Para Skiers) is in 3 weeks here in Cable.  Skiers from 18 countries are going competing.  I’m wondering if I’m crippled enough to compete?  Probably not I guess.

Anyway, it gives me something to think about.  I have to say that the skiing the last week has been exactly the right thing I needed to be doing for both my shoulders and hip.  Everything has held up pretty great and nothing was aching much.  We skied over 40 km yesterday and it felt pretty easy.  I wasn’t really tired and felt pretty good.  It is amazing what a little grooming will do to make the conditions a lot easier.

We’re packing up and heading south today.  It is supposed to be cold everywhere, but really cold here on Sunday.  Like a high of -8 and a low of in the -20’s.  Plus, we need to start making our way down to Austin for cyclocross Nationals next weekend.

Karl and BIll skiing up to the high point on the Birkie trail yesterday.

Karl and BIll skiing up to the high point on the Birkie trail yesterday.

 

And hanging at OO 1/2 way through.

And hanging at OO 1/2 way through.

At the North End warming hut before we left.

At the North End warming hut before we left.

 

Weird Day/Stressful Driving

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Yesterday was a strange day.  It started pretty tame.  We got loaded up after spending a great week with Dennis, getting in some great skiing and nice walks in the woods.  Bill, Trudi, Bromont and I were all in my van, with Bill’s car at the MSP airport parking, left there by the Walberg’s, who left on New Year’s Day.

We stopped in Spooner, at Alley Cats Coffee, then headed south to Minneapolis.  We didn’t have any problem finding Bill’s car and then we kept going south on I-35.  I had been trying to get ahold of Michael Fatka, since we were driving through Ames around dinner time, but hadn’t been having much luck.

About an hour North of Ames, Trudi’s phone rang and it was Ed Bauman, the guy that pretty much got me into the sport of bike racing.  Ed lives in El Segundo, CA, and is about as hard to find as a Ivory-billed woodpecker sometimes.  Ed had been MIA for a couple months and it was good hearing his voice.

Then about 45 minutes later, Michael calls, right when we’re at the Ames interstate exit and tells me Tim Hinz, a good friend and former Levis team mate, is in Ames too.  So we arrange to meet them at Panera and exit.  Michael showed up a few minutes later, then Tim.

It got me a little worried talking to Ed, seeing Michael, plus Tim, nearly the same time.  I’m just a little superstitious, enough that something felt either in align or misaligned, I wasn’t sure.  But, it seems like a weird trifecta of odd occurrences.  We sat there about an hour talking and then headed south.

I knew the weather was going to get bad.  I got a text from Vincent saying that I-70 was closed, nearly the whole way across the state of Kansas.  Luckily, we weren’t driving on it much.

Just about at Kansas City, about an hour from my house, it started sleeting pretty good.  Plus, the temperatures was hovering just around freezing.  Pretty soon, it was all out snowing with the temperatures plummeting.  Pretty much all the way from Kansas City to Topeka, on I-70, it was ugly.  I’m not sure how slick it actually was, but it looked pretty icy.

Exiting at Topeka, it became apparent how bad it was.  It was solid ice with a thin layer of snow on top.  Any little hill became nearly impassible.   Bill crept to our house to get his stuff out of the van and then headed home.  It was around 11:30.  I felt super stressed out, my shoulder and neck muscles were toast.   I was super happy I didn’t have any farther to drive.

It took a little bit to empty the van in the snow.  I then went down to the building to shovel and put salt on the sidewalks.  I’m not big on throwing a bunch of salt down, but it was solid ice under snow, which makes for pretty horrible footing.  I finally got to bed around 2:30am.

We’re here for a day, then driving south to Austin with Vincent.  That is, of course, depending on whether Vincent can get here from Denver today.  I’m sure I-70 is much better than last night, but it can be pretty ugly in these conditions.  Vincent has a new Sprinter, which, I assume, isn’t that great on ice in high winds.

Okay, I’m hunkered in for the morning.  There is a cyclocross, The Soudal Classic at Leuven, live in an hour, at 8 am CST.  .  Click here for the links.   KU is playing basketball later this afternoon.  I might ride inside during the game.

Other than that, I”m just going to sort and wash some clothes, then repack for the next week in Texas.

 

The gang back together at Panera.

The gang back together at Panera.

Tim, Michael and Pete, Michael's new dog.

Tim, Michael and Pete, Michael’s new dog.

Mena, BIll's dog, ready to leave Cable.

Mena, BIll’s dog, ready to leave Cable.

Trudi and Bromont were tired from their morning romp in the Northwoods.

Trudi and Bromont were tired from their morning romp in the Northwoods.

Alley Cats, my all time favorite coffeshop, in Spooner, Wisconsin.

Alley Cats, my all time favorite coffeshop, in Spooner, Wisconsin.

Upon arriving back in Topeka, it was super ugly.

Upon arriving back in Topeka, it was super ugly.

Texas Bound

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Vincent showed up late last night with his new Sprinter loaded to the gills with bikes, ready to head to Austin.  He’s taking a bunch for some of his team mates from Denver.  I was planning on bringing, maybe, 3 bikes, but now I think I’m down to one.  One is enough.  Just a cross bike with tubeless clinchers on it.  I’m not racing, so it is good for both on and off-road.  I was hoping to bring a MTB bike too for riding on the Green Belt, but don’t think there is going to be enough room.  Go figure.

It doesn’t look that warm down there.  Well, tomorrow is going to be in the 60’s, but then in the 40’s.  Saturday looks like rain and in the 30’s.  Burrrrr.

I haven’t packed anything at all, but I’m not brining much.  Some warm clothes to stand around in and cycling stuff.  What else do I need.

Okay.  Bill is now going, so we need to head over there and get him.  Maybe I’ll update this on the road.  Vincent is itching to get moving south.

packing

 

 

 

Gonna Ride All Day

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We made it Austin sort of late last night.  Pretty much just in time to go to bed.  Today it is supposed to be the stellar day for the next week.  It is supposed to be nearly 65 today and then half that and rain/snow on the weekend.  So Bill and I are going to go and ride all day.  I’m not sure what Vincent is doing.  He is racing the single speed race tomorrow afternoon.

Speaking of the single speed race, here is what Vincent is planning on doing tomorrow.  Think it will work?  He only brought one bike, a Di2 regular cross bike.  So he is planning on just removing his battery, thus disabling his shifting, making it a single speed.  Personally, if I were an official, I’d let him race, but I’m not an official, so I’m thinking that he is going to be watching.  It is just the same as not have a cable and blocking off your gears, but for some reason it seems different.  I guess, if he was a real devious guy, he could carry a battery in his pocket and then put it back on during the race, but you’d think someone would see that.  It is the Nationals Championships though, so I’m sticking with my original guess.

Bill and I only got to bring one bike each, since Vincent’s new Sprinter was stuffed full of bikes from Denver.  We both brought our cross bikes with cross tires.  That isn’t going to stop me from riding west out into the hill country.  I figure it is just that much extra resistance.  I have only ridden 7 miles so far this year, so I plan to increase my mileage at least 10-fold.

I’m hearing from the other side of the room right now that Vincent is planning on riding all day too.  He says that he came down here to race as an excuse to come somewhere warm to ride.  That isn’t how I have ever thought at Cyclcross Nationals, but it will be nice having him on the ride.

Okay,  CNBC shows that oil prices are dropping like crazy again today.  I’m thinking that the prices are going to drop into the 30’s before it goes back up to the 70’s.  It seems to me that the US is beating up Russia right now through economic means, thus oil  Whatever the reason, it is great for getting around to bike races this year.

 

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