Monthly Archives: October 2015

2015 Chequamegon Start Action

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Here’s a video from the back of the quad taken at the start of the Chequamegon Fat Tire from a couple weeks ago.  I wasn’t trying to be a camera hog, but I was planning on starting fast, so was at the front.  I didn’t even know that someone was taking video.  It shows the action before we actually hit the grass.




Cherokee Park – Louisville, KY

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I was standing the first few laps of the World’s Road Race talking to my friend, Wayne Stetina, in the Shimano tent.  The tent was strategically placed about 300 meters before the finish, close to the top of Governor’s Hill and just within eyesight of the big screen TV.

I hadn’t seen Wayne in a while and we were just talking about lots of different stuff.  I don’t remember exactly why, but the Cherokee Park Race came up and both Wayne and I had different vivid memories of the race.  Different years, but close to the same experiences.

Cherokee Park is close to downtown Louisville and was a around a 3 mile circuit with a good climb on it.  The course was selective because of how many laps you had to do over the hill.

Wayne told a story about in the mid-70’s, he and his brother Dale had broken away from the field with a little skinny Canadian kid.  Wayne said that he and Dale got sort of in a dispute about who was going to win the race, with Dale saying that Wayne got to win last week.  Anyway, Wayne said they totally disregarded the third party, little Canadian kid, until the sprint when they were waxed by him in the sprint.  It turned out to be Steve Bauer, who wasn’t on their radar until that very moment.  Steve went on to become an unbelievable cyclist, wearing the yellow jersey in the Tour and finishing on the podium in lots of classic, worlds, and the Olympic Games.

My story was similar, but a little different.  I’d driven all night and was at Louisville with a girl named Harvey Heim.  We were staying at host housing close to the park.  Anyway, I got in a break with about 6 other riders, two of which were Wayne Stetina and their little brother Joel.  Joel was my age and was pretty good, but not riding like his brothers.  Anyway, I was stoked to be in the break and was pulling as hard as I could.

The finish was at the top of a hill, on curve to the finish.  Anyway, I was hoping for a top 5 finish, figuring I could beat at least two other riders.  I was a first year senior and I really didn’t have any idea who any of the other guys were, but they all seemed better than me.

The sprint started and I was in okay position.  Wayne started leading it out and I moved up on the inside and took the short line.  Right then, this medium build stocky guy, that had been sort of just floating, not showing any sign of strength, came by on the outside and sounded beat us.  I finished 2nd and was thrilled.

So, I rode back to the host house to tell Harvey, who had raced the women’s race.  I finished showering and this guy came into the house and was waiting for the woman that lived there.  He asked me if I had race, I said I had, then I proudly told him I got 2nd place.  He asked me in what race.  I told him the 1/2 race.  Then he told me that he had won.  Man, was I deflated.

It turned out, it was another Canadian, this time Hugh Walton.  He was probably already something like 15 time Canadian Nationals Champion, mostly on the track and had ridden the Olympic Games a couple years earlier.   I ended up riding on the Levis team with Hugh a few years later.

Wayne learned of Steve Bauer at Cherokee Park and I think it was my first real experience beating national caliber riders.  Wayne was probably seasoned enough that he should have not disregarded Steve, but I had no way of knowing about Hugh.  Wayne knew about Hugh, but not about me.   I learned that I needed to know, to the best of my knowledge, the abilities of each and every rider in a break with me.

Cherokee Park was a good course.  They held the National Road Championships on the course, the Master’s Nationals and lots of other prestigious races.  I would love to have a chance to race there again sometime.

The park is beautiful with a few old bridges.

The park is beautiful with a few old bridges.

I’m off today to Cable, Wisconsin, to hang and ride MTB’s for a couple days.  I have a few other things to do up in the area too.  Below is a video from around Chequamegon.  This is some of the awesome new singletrack that Camba has recently built.  It is a blast to ride.  There is something like 400 miles of marked trails there.  Unreal riding. The video might make you a little dizzy.  Enjoy.

Back in Cable

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Yesterday we made a 90 degree turn and headed north and drove the 800 miles to Cable.  It was an all day adventure.  I would call the drive east coast crowded, but there are so many more trucks, construction and just general congestion between Louisville, all the way up north of Madison.  Actually, the whole way.  It took close to 12 hours and I was driving pretty quick. There were lots of accident, one where we waited, stopped, for 20 minutes or so, then had to exit and get back on again.

We got up to Cable just in time to meet up with Dennis and visitors at the Rivers Eatery.  The visitors at Dennis’ at the moment are Pat Lemieux, Gwen Jorgensen and Jamie, their friend and Gwen’s coach.   Gwen is still in training, which isn’t the norm.  I think she is doing triathlon in the Bahamas soon and doesn’t want to be so out of shape she embarrasses herself.  I doubt that could happen.  Maybe she want to keep her 2015 winning streak in tact?  Whatever the reason, she is down in the lake swimming an hour right now in a wetsuit.

Pat and I going out and riding trails today.  Hopefully Danky Dank to the Rock Lake trails, then, who knows.  I only have my road shoes and pedals, so we’ll see how that goes.

It is pretty warm in Dennis’ house now.  It is cool outside, but Dennis has bought the temperature up to the mid 60’s.  Gwen is pretty thin and probably gets cold easily.  It would never do that for me.  Wonder why?

Okay, took a break.  Decided to head down to the lake and swim with those guys.  Luckily for me, Gwen was heading back and pretty much done.  She had a full wetsuit and neoprene swimming cap.  I probably didn’t need the wetsuit, but the cap was key.

The water is really cold, like cold enough I could barely stand it.  And it wasn’t because of my body.  My head got so cold that my forehead hurt.  Actually, after just a few minutes, my whole head was aching pretty good.  It was refreshing.

I rode a borrowed fat bike there, so got back pretty quickly.  Gwen had the sauna heated up and was already in it.  Man, did that feel great.  I stayed in there something like 20 minutes and still didn’t get that warm, even though it was 180 degrees and humid.

Okay, we’re ready for the next project.  After 2nd breakfast.  These guys eat a ton.  And eat great.  Eggs, avocadoes, etc.    I’m going to put on weight the next few days.

It seems truck drivers can't read road sign.  That is mildly worrisome.

It seems truck drivers can’t read road sign. That is mildly worrisome.

Mick brought out a little treat after excellent pizza, salad and wine.

Mick brought out a little treat after excellent pizza, salad and wine.

Dennis was on a paddle board, excorting Gwen, who swam an hour.  Guezz.

Dennis was on a paddle board, excorting Gwen, who swam an hour. Guezz.

Hawkeye and Harley came down to the lake to play.

Hawkeye and Harley came down to the lake to play.






Typical Northwoods Day

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Yesterday was the typical day up in Cable.   Eat, swim, sauna, eat, exercise, eat, chop wood, eat, drink wine at the Rivers Eatery.  It takes a few days to get used to the whole routine.  Gwen makes the rest of us look super lazy because she swam for over an hour, so everyone else is playing catch up and that is impossible.

Pat, Gwen and I rode over 3 hours off-road yesterday afternoon.  I only have road pedals and shoes, so I taking it a little easy.  Pat has a big tired Surley that rolls over everything.  Gwen was riding a stupid light Specialized dual suspension bike.  She has dramatically improved technically the last couple years.  She doesn’t recognize it, but she is going so much faster than even last fall, the last time she really road a MTB.

She was going so well that once Pat and I rode pretty fast for a longer section, then stopped and waited at an intersection.  We barely had time to take a drink and she showed up. I just looked at Pat and we started cracking up.   I told her I was embarrassed that we weren’t further ahead.  In reality, she was just going super good.

Dennis got a new chainsaw.  A couple weeks ago, during Chequamegon, the Stihl that he has had for 28 years, quit working.  It actually didn’t quit, but I noticed that the chain wasn’t getting any oil.  The oil pump blew.  I’m going to fix it for him, but in the meantime, he got 2nd one. Dennis hasn’t fired up the new saw, so I went out and split a bunch of wood that had already been cut.  I think that splitting wood is cathartic.  I’m not so big at picking up the wood, putting it in a wheelbarrow, then moving to the pile and stacking it.  But the splitting part I enjoy.  It’s good exercise.

Today, Gwen has already been down at the lake for a good bit.  We are trying to watching Lombardi and the Super Prestige cross race on the internet.  Plus, Dennis is making waffles, or at least preparing the batter.  Pat and I are going to ride trails again.  They are taking off later today.

Tomorrow I am going to drive down to Winona and see my dentist friend there.  Then probably head back to Topeka, maybe through Ames Iowa.  My friend, Michael Fatka had a hip replacement and had a couple complications.  One which was a pulmonary embolism.  He’s at home, but feeling shitty.  He needs some chores done, so we can help him out some there.

Gwen told me to try the avocado/egg smear. I'd already put butter and jam on the other piece, my normal toast coverings.

Gwen told me to try the avocado/egg smear. I’d already put butter and jam on the other piece, my normal toast coverings.

Pat and Gwen on an open section.

Pat and Gwen on an open section.

Not sure what we were doing here.

Not sure what we were doing here.

I split most of this section yesterday.

I split most of this section yesterday.


Super Cold, then Super Hot

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I went for a final swim last night, after cutting wood for a few hours yesterday.  The lake is super cold, like in for 5 minutes and your muscles barely function.  I had already turned on the sauna and when I got back I was crimpled by cold.  Anyway, I have already written a post about 3 years ago, about my best sauna memories, so I thought I’d just repost it.  It’s below.  I cut a ton of wood yesterday, rode MTB’s for nearly three hours and made a pie.  Little stiff today.  Probably from making the pie.  Okay, have to start driving.  (New pie pictures below the sauna pictures.)

I was flipping through an Outside Magazine yesterday and there was an article on Taylor Phinney and how he was using a sauna after training to increase blood plasma and thus VO2.

I had actually just gotten out of the sauna when I saw the article. I have always loved saunas. I like heat in general, although not so much anymore when I’m racing. When I was a kid, I used to get inside our car in the driveway, in the middle of a summer day, with the windows rolled up, and sit there for long periods, basking in the heat.

When I was a junior I was invited to the Olympic training center and met Eddie B. One of the first things that Eddie did was take us to a gym and put all of us in a sauna. It was Jeff Bradley, Greg Demgen, Mark Frise, Greg LeMond, and all the other guys on the Junior National Team. Eddie just sat by the stones and poured ladle after ladle of water, creating a cloud of steam. Soon it was just Lemond and I left, each sitting as far away from the stones as possible, in opposite corners. I just kept hearing the sizzle of the water on the rocks and then the searing heat of the steam would hit us. After what seemed like an eternity, I hear Greg whisper, “Hey Tilford, I’ll go if you go.” I said back, you go first. He said we’ll go together. The heat moving to the door was nearly overwhelming. Eddie just stayed in the sauna and we just kept hearing the sizzle of the water over and over again. He made his point that he was much tougher than us. It was a very good lesson.

Later, when I went to KU, I used to have a work/study job at the computer center, which was next to the gym. Afterwork, at 11pm, I’d go over to the gym and read the KU paper in the sauna. I’d go through wave after wave of wrestlers, trying to get down to weight. I could sit in there for a couple hours.

I’ve always thought that taking a sauna was good for you. In 1994, before MTB Worlds in Vail, I was feeling pretty ill. Ned wasn’t good either. There was a sauna in my condo so everyday, three times a day, for most of the week before, I got into the sauna for 30 minutes. My though process was that a sauna created a synthetic fever and the bug inside of me couldn’t live in the high temperature. I have no idea if that is anywhere close to true, but by the weekend, I felt better and finished 12th, the 3rd American, after starting 125 guys back in the smoking section.

I built the sauna here. It is in the “Kansas Garage” at Dennis’. It was built pretty much from scratch. We bought the heater element and insulated door, but everything else we built. Dennis went over to the local lumberyard, Vortanz’s, and cherry picked the cedar decking. Not the clear boards you’re supposed to use for a sauna, but we ended up with hardly any knots. A knot in a board is supposed to heat up and the sap is supposed to come out, but the few knots in our sauna seem to not have that problem.


The sauna is on one side of the Kansas Garage facing the jacuzzi.

We put in a nice window to the outside.

You might not see it here, but the cedar is nearly clear.

Dennis using his first chainsaw for the first time.

Dennis using his first chainsaw for the first time.

It was pretty dark for my last swim.

It was pretty dark for my last swim.

Used up the last of the apples.

Used up the last of the apples.

Finished pies.

Finished pies.



Bank Charges

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I saw an article yesterday that said that banks this year have made a record profit from the charges they “extort” from their customers.  I’m not sure when and why this started, but it is totally unacceptable, from most people’s point of view.

After reading this, I opened my mail, when I got home last night, and my bank sent one of those letters citing changes they were making.  One of those letters that no one reads.  One of those letters that spews how great these changes are going to be.  And buried in the print is a line saying that if I don’t keep a minimum daily balance of over $5000 in my checking account, I’ll be charged a $15 service charge.  WTF?

Okay, this is total bullshit.  Very few people keep a balance of $5000 in their checking accounts. Actually, over 60% of the US population doesn’t have $5000 to put into a checking account.  I saw this article from the Wall Street Journal that says that 62% of the population doesn’t have $1000 in their saving accounts.  So obviously they don’t have $5000 to put into my bank, so they can avoid the service charge.  Think about it, if they have 100,000 people with checking accounts, times $15, then they make 1.5 million dollars a month.  What this really is – a poor tax.

I’ve been charged a few service charges over the years and have found it impossible to get one removed.  I’d bet a ton of people get this charge on their account for months upon months, with virtually no chance of getting their money back.   Plus, if you do have $5000 in your account, they will pay something like .01% interest.

They realize that we all have our checking accounts tied to lots of automatic payment systems.  I pay so many credit cards, insurance etc.  They sort of have us in a tight spot in this respect.

I guess this all means that 62% of the population of our country couldn’t use my bank without incurring a $15 monthly fee.  I’m going down there today and talk to them about the “no fee” checking account.  If they don’t have one, I’m withdrawing my money.  I’ve used the same back for decades.  But, this practice is unacceptable and we, as citizens, need to make sure that banks, and such, understand that we don’t approve of their business practices.  Thus, we walk.


To Censor or Not

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I’ve never censored any comment here on my blog.  The comment section is a forum for whoever agrees, disagrees or just has something to say about whatever I post.   Or really, about anything they want.  I do trash the spam comments I receive, but if there is a comment that has something to do with the sport, or whatever the subject is written, then it stays.

A lot of the comments are pretty out there.  They can be very crude and mean.  But, I figure personal attacks are just part of life, so if that is what drives a person, then that is how it is.

But, I needed to change that yesterday.  A guy signed in under Inga Thompson’s name and posted a comment.  Inga is a friend of mine and posts comments herself every so often.  It wasn’t right that this person was using her name to state his/her opinions.  After I deleted the comment, someone else had commented and I posted that it wasn’t Inga.  Then again, yesterday morning, the person reposted the comment under Inga’s name.  I deleted it once again.

I’ve been thinking about it for a day now and have decided that I’m going to block the person for leaving comments.  Or maybe even accessing the site.  I’m not really sure how to do this, but I’m going to figure it out.

This person, who I assume is a guy, so I’ll call him a guy, uses lots of different user names.  Jim Ochowicz, Ian Stevic, Gwen, Francisco Mancebo, Dave Le Duc, etc.  I think I counted 12 or 13 different user names that he has used the last couple months.

I had let the other pseudonym comments slide.  I figured that most people were smart enough to figure out for themselves that Ivan Stevic and Dave Leduc, Och, and the others weren’t leaving comments on my site.

Initially he was posting comments as jt.  I went back and looked at his early comments and they were pretty informative, but sort of snarky.  I liked them.  But, as the years went on, he started posting under more and more names and leaving less informative and just more hateful stuff. It is weird looking at the evolution of his comments.  I wonder what happened to the guy.  I guess his opinion of me or my thoughts must have morphed.

In July, I sent jt an email and told him he was stepping over the line sometimes and he wrote back.  Maybe he felt uncomfortable because this is when he started using a pseudonym email address  – Leducroofingand

I just looked it up and he has left over 400 comments the last 4 years.  He does have a pretty good knowledge of the sport of cycling, but for some reason, isn’t using that knowledge in a positive way.

In the email I told him I would be happy to come out to the East coast and do an interview with him and let him express his opinions to “my forum”. He replied, “dude, not your best moment…”

Anyway, I’m not going to make a habit of doing this.  Censorship, for me, is a chickenshit way to limit the exchange of knowledge.  It’s not up to me to filter the thoughts of others, especially thoughts created by something I write.

I feel a little badly about doing this.  Obviously, the guy is a bit obsessed with my site.  But, he can look at it this way – It will free up a big chunk of his time not having to sign in and complain about my thoughts.  He must be coming here multiple times a day.

So, this is a one up thing.  If jt wants to discuss this in person, he can just let me know.  He has my email and phone number.  If not, sorry, but you stepped over the imaginary acceptable line, so you don’t get to play anymore.

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