Sunday, September 30, 2007

Back from the Brink...A Better Man!!!!

The 12 HOURS @ Thunderdown near Merrill, Wisconsin was a grand endeavor...At the moment my mild dementia prevents me from giving any details...suffice to write: The better man clearly won and yet I gave it my best finishing second to Rosscoe Fraboni...and overall it was certainly one of the best courses I have ever raced on and it has no peer when it comes to area ultra-distance events courses. The 9 mile course (80+% singletrack) had it all ; great flowing singletrack, tight banked curves, rolling ridges, fast descents, zigzag climbs, challenging was just top notch...Plus it rained hard for nearly half the race. And free libations at the conclusion...Kudos to Kate and her wonderful family for great accommodations...WOW--what a great way to end the mtb season!...Now a few Cyclocross races to bring in the fall and then itz time to begin training in earnest for the "mack-daddy" of them all--The Arrowhead 135!!!
Click here for official results from THE THUNDERDOWN...

Thursday, September 27, 2007

"Once the shooting starts, throw out the plans and run...."

Last night I spent time getting my supplies in order, which included putting together my secret 'high-potency' concoction measured to accommdate twelve 20 fluid-oz water bottles. I also cleaned off my Trusty Gunnar 29er, made just a few miles down the road from where the race will be commenced [I love that!!!!]....No one really knows much about this race which adds to the suspense...Once again I retired early last night and slept very well...At least I'll be well rested.

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

The Calm before the Storm

Taking the term 'rest and recovery' to a new level, I retired for the evening last night at 7:30 pm (of course I took pains to get myself very well hydrated before I emarked upon my repose)...I am starting to feel the bitter-sweet excitment that comes with the immediate dayz prior to these ultra-enduro cycling events...Here's some perspective--When you get up, fix your coffee, and read the Saturday funnies I'll be an hour into it; as you eat lunch I'll be four hours into it; when you jump on the couch for a little college football I'll be half way; when you start the grill and break open that first beer I'll be nine hours into it; and finally when you cozy up with the family to watch "Fat Camp" on primetime TV I will have tranformed into a shell of a once proud man...A man stripped of all semblance of it goes.......

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

If itz raining on Saturday, my tears will be tinged with blood...

To prepare for the up-coming 12 hour test on Saturday, I am steeling my frame of reference by applying a barbed whip in self-flagellation...

Monday, September 24, 2007

They're racing for beer in Merrill, WI this upcoming Saturday!!!!

The last serious mountain bike race of the season for the author...itz a 12 hour endurofest--12 hours of fear & loathing!!!!!
With just five days out...know that I will be seriously hydrating and embracing the whole rest thing..........I'm an amateur bike racer, but a professional slacker, so the rest/recovery of my training schedule is where I really SHINE!!!!
Feeding the rat: 90 minutes w/ 6 thirty-second bursts...legs felt 'invincible.' :)

Sunday, September 23, 2007

Catch 22...Wow!

Remember Catch 22? One of those books that you were suppose to have read in high school or college, but ya didn't have the time (or interest), so ya bought the Cliff notes...
I am just about finished with Heller's Masterpiece...Its the most ironical, funny, and disturbing novel I have read in a long time...the humorous style reminds me of A Confederacy of Dunces (Catch 22 is not as funny, especially given the context, but still I often catch myself laughing out loud). A Cautionary Note: Hang in there and don't become initially dismayed with this novel; the first hundred pages are convoluted and thus tough to understand, but after that it all starts to come together and itz well worth the effort!!!! One can only hope that these characters are wholly fictitious, yet I suspect they are based on real people!
The March to Folly goes merrily it goes!
PS I obtained Catch-22 on the strong recommendation of Nicolas Kullish, the author of Last One In.
Feeding the Rat: 3 hours with the youthful Fraboni...great ride
KUDOS to Greg Hexum and Kim Holak for Victory at Bangin' in the Brush!!!!!!!!!

Saturday, September 22, 2007

Perfect Day.....almost

"Since the bicycle makes little demand on material or energy resources, contributes little to pollution, makes a positive contribution to health and causes little death or injury, it can be regarded as the most benevolent of machines."
Stuart S. Wilson, Oxford University [source: Adam from the Duluth Cycling Website]

The world would be a better place if there were more bicycles...ya can't say that about too many things now a dayz! CPF

It would have been the perfect day if I could have raced at Saint Cloud, but with my wife in graduate school and a huge test looming in her near future, I stayed home to hang with off-spring...and I did get a great 2 hour+ ride in. Also, I am competing in a 12 hour race next Saturday, so I'll get my "fix" in seven henceforth....It has the makings of a classic SUFFERFEST...featuring a host of enduro-freaks including EKI, LORD OF PAIN

Friday, September 21, 2007

There's gotta be a better way to make a livin' than being a deer, especially a buck!

On Minnesota Public Radio, the other day ,they had some bureaucrat from the Minnesota DNR talking about how autumn is a time for the deer to become “active,” especially the bucks. Well, no kidding!!! I would become “active” to if I knew that over 500,000 gun toting blood-thirsty zealots were heading out into my neighborhood with the singular intent being to KILL ME, especially if I’m a male deer!!!!! In any event, I know the deer know what it means when the leaves start to turn color and they are getting totally freaked out…can ya blame then? The “Fall Colors” for the white-tail buck aint no good life; the does are hitting on ya and the humans are trying to kill ya, and the bigger your rack the deader you gonna be…The bureaucrat went on to extol the citizenry to be safe and conscious of others when embarking into the woods (via ATVs) with high-powered, hi-tech weaponry. He failed to mention any safety concerns for the deer, especially the bucks.

Yesterday, as I was riding up Lester River Road, I saw a beautifully majestic buck get hit broadside by a car full of moronic adolescents. The car initially sped past me at the crest of the final stretch of the hill leading out and onto a wooded plateau, the green sedan was “hugging me” close to the shoulder and I therefore surmise that they were focused on scaring the hell out of me, as it seemed as if the driver never saw the deer explode out of the woods. The ferocious impact sent the doomed deer cart-wheeling high into the air. Miraculously, the deer was able to get up and run away, but I am quite certain that he had sustained mortal wounds. The car never even slowed down…so apart from a few broken pieces of plastic and glass, I was left with nothing but the violent image and the profound thought that it must suck to be a deer, especially a buck with a rack………If I was a deer, I'd be a buck, a BIG BUCK and I'd be an enterprising big buck and so I'd open a full service, w/ 24 hour convenience, no appointment necessary "rack reduction/elimination" center where I'd remove or "tone-down" other buck's racks for inflated monopolistic prices ...then I'd be a rich buck, but alas I bet the humans would still be out to KILL it goes.......
Feeding the Rat: 150 minutes in windy conditions. Thursday: 2 hours in the rain

Shoe-ins for THE LIST!!! Plus a very cool pic...Oh to be young again!!!!

According to my trusty, well-worn Webster's New Collegiate Dictionary:
phenom /fee-nom/ noun ; a person of phenomenal ability or promise. Note: the term phenomenal means "extraordinary, remarkable, unusual, rare, etc...."
Therefore base on the above: The Lalonde boyz' command of their bicycles represent a phenom of which the writer has never before imagined. Or
Team Phenom of which the Lalonde comprise is beyond comparison within the smallish world of the writer. or perhaps: Jesse Lalonde and his younger brother, Marko, are the incarnate of Da Vinci, the phenom of phenoms during the Renaissance Period.
Pic -Source: Jesse Lalonde's website

Thursday, September 20, 2007

I was beautiful then...........................................

Anyone that has been on the move for 20 hours or more can appreciate the lyrics as Grizzabella laments her decline...My little Sophie and I watched Cats last night and the words from Memory brought back fond albeit powerfully bittersweet "memories" from both the RED ASS 300 and the 24 Hours @ 9Mile, while at the same time bolstering my eargerness for the upcoming 12 hour race @ THE THUNDER DOWN...
Lyrics from Memory [from the Broadway Mega-hit, Cats]

See the dew on the sunflower
And a rose that is fading
Roses whither away
Like the sunflower
I yearn to turn my face to the dawn

I am waiting for the day . . .

Not a sound from the pavement
Has the moon lost her memory?
She is smiling alone
In the lamplight
The withered leaves collect at my feet
And the wind begins to moan

All alone in the moonlight
I can smile at the old days
I was beautiful then [or: "I was strong and fast back then" cpf :)]
I remember the time I knew what happiness was
Let the memory live again
Every streetlamp [or; "Every bikelight" cpf :)]
Seems to beat a fatalistic warning
Someone mutters
And the streetlamp gutters [or: "and the wheelset gutters" cpf]
And soon it will be morning

Daylight I must wait for the sunrise
I must think of a new life [or: "I must think of a new sport" cpf]
And I musn't give in
When the dawn comes
Tonight will be a memory too
And a new day will begin
Burnt out ends of smoky days
The stale cold smell of morning
The streetlamp dies, another night is over [or : "The bike light dies..." cpf]

Another day is dawning

Sunday, September 16, 2007

Chequamegon 40 was a great race...but I got 'schooled.'

Itz was a full-on classic, beautiful weather, tons of friends; highlights included riding in a group that comprised many of my buddies, plus Gary Fischer and Kent Erikson!!! The Talent Pool at this race was awe-inspiring!!! There were 20 to 25 guyz that had a reasonable shot and just making the top 50 required a supreme effort...And I had a blast, but it wasn't one of my best efforts, I felt great for the first hour and good at the half way point, but I quickly faded after about the 90 minute point... Toward the end, on the Birkie rollers, I felt like I had been "knocked-out" from a round-house kick from Chuck Norris... Yet, I'll live to fight another day. I love bike racing even when I get my butt kicked!!! Plus there is always next week and then there's always next season!!!!
Kudos to Jan Rybar and Scott Cole on outstanding efforts!!!! The Lalonde Boyz and Ezra T. are of a different world!!! Many Ski Hut was a grand event!!! Gary Crandall and all the volunteers do a great job!!!
A race recap to follow in a few dayz

Friday, September 14, 2007


Left is a great photo showing Doug Swanson leading out across Rosie's Field a couple years ago. A careful examination of the photo reveals Tilford (in chase), the Eppens (on Tandem), TJ Woodruff, Jeff Hall (on the right), and all the rest of the 'usual suspects'. Also, the most amateur of racers can be spotted at the far end of the photo (second to the end bringing up the Caboose.) While this is just the very beginning of a long two hour plus effort, crossing Rosie's Field in good shape and in a good position is key...Many of the guyz in this photograph that are bunched up and in hot pursuit will ultimately cash out and be relegated to limpin' 'er in...Essentially at the early stages of this classic race, we have a lot of pretenin' goin' on... but really only about 40 or so guyz are really contendin' for the top 20 spots!!!!
My sentimental favorites include Doug Swanson, Steve Tilford, and Eric Simmonson. I want Doug Swanson to win because I know him and really like him and his wife. They are super nice, amicable people, and Doug is very unassuming and always quick to support cycling. I don't know Tilford per se, although I rode with him for a few brief moments last year as he suffered a flat which put in out of the running for a top spot. Yet in my world, his misfortune allowed me to ride along with him for awhile. Just as he was finishing up fixing the flat, I caught up to him and so I started up a little conversation with him and he was very nice. After a couple of minutes, I remember him looking back at me and saying, "itz been very nice talking with you, but I suppose I better get back to racing." And with that very polite good-bye, he put 'er into an overdrive that I can only dream about and left me like a was standin' still. However, the fact that he's a nice guy is not why he made my top three. Nor is it the fact that he's an old guy, like me (we are both 47); the reason he made my top three is because he rides a rigid 29er made by Kent Erikson. Kent Erikson was born in Wisconsin and is in the Mountain Bike Hall of Fame. I love the idea that both Erikson and Tilford are riding bikes made in the USA by a committed craftsman that has roots in Wisconson. Both Erikson and Tilford are back this year. I know even less about young Eric Simmonson, but I love Bell's Kalamazoo Stout Beer and Bell's Expedition Stout can only be described as "nectar of the gods." Young Simmonson rides for Bell's Mountain Bike team on a Quiring rigid 29er made by Steve Quiring. Again I love that kind of thing!!!!!!! Quiring won the fat tire about ten years ago and now makes high quality bikes in a little shop in Michigan. How great is that? Great Beer by a local brewery and Great Bikes by a local craftsman...The American Dream?

Thursday, September 13, 2007

Anything can happen on Saturday....

The Big Dance commences on Saturday and I am as excited as a little school girl getting all ready for her first prom date!!!!

To the left is a classical depiction of the major, even legendary crash I caused a few years past as the frenzied chaotic peleton crossed Rosie's Field near the start of the Chequamegon. I was feeling good and so I gunned it across the field, but as usual I lost momentary focus and rammed my trusty steed into a strategically placed hole. I hit the hole going wide open and took the customary flight over the handlebars. Landing, luckily on my head, I was unfazed, but the carnage I caused was massive in scale. Good men, tax-payers, patriots, community leaders, talented cyclists by the scores piled up on top of me. The sounds of expensive fancy-pants bikes and carbon wheel-sets breaking was awesome...Needless to say, I was not a popular person at the time, so I left the scene of the crime in a stealthy hurried, rather embarrassed state...One poor unlucky soul in a red cycling kit sustained relatively serious injuries requiring emergency medical personel and was therefore forced to DNF. I cautiously spoke with him after the race in an effort to offer my genuine apologies and yet he held no spite, no bitterness towards this writer. "I should have known better than to have gotten too close to your wheel," was his it goes... Although my riding skills have been compared to that of a drunken sailer...This could be my year!!!!
PS. I left off super fast TJ Woodruff, Ian Sanford, Eric Hareland, and Bjorn Selander all off my list of possible contenders for the win...The facts are that any one of about 20 guyz could do it--Itz a recipe for a great race! Hey if you believe in miracles...don't count me, Dave Pramann, Scott Cole and Jan Rybar out either...stranger things have happened, I just can think of any...Okay, you can count me out :(

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Gettin' 'er tuned up for the FAT TIRE RACES!!!!

The Chequamegon 40 is Saturday & the crits. are on Sunday, as I embrace this appealing notion of resting up and hydrating...I had the boyz at Ski Hut go over my trusty Gunnar 29er. Plus, I put on my lightweight cyclo-cross wheelset (XTR hubs and Mavic Open Pro rims) coupled with the ultra-light Crows...Itz a risk, no tread and unprotected side-walls, but I am going for it. Itz not like I got something to save it for as even on my best day, a top 40 finish is the best I can hope for, plus I like the idea that I am taking a calculated risk............ Up front, a good distance ahead of me and the rest of the frantic wanna-bes, look for a tough battle between Doug Swanson and the young Simonson from Michigan for top honors in the Men's Divison. With Sara Kylander-Johnson taking on Sue Hayward for the top spot for the Women's event. Although, this year's race has the potential for being one of the most competitive ever...there are at least ten guyz that could win this thing including, Jeff Hall, Tristan S., Young Gaier from Hayward, Jesse Lalonde, one of the Moore Brothers, Mike Phillips, E.J., Brian Matter, and my favorite old Tilford, etc. The Chequamegon 40 is a great race in that it requires tactical planning, pacing, and both road and mtb skills. Risking taking in terms of gear selection can pay off...going light is advantegous, but it putz one in great danger for flats. I have flatted several times back in the day, but last year I went really light and I had a good race. The big wheels and the rigid frame/fork complement the super fast rolling course which is comprised of mainly wide ski trials, fire roads, and gravel roads. Last year that took out the only real treacheous descent due to erosion problems. If they keep the course the same as last year's I should be good to go.......Itz hard to describe the feeling of riding in a pack of 1700 racers as one heads across Rosie's Field!!!!

Tuesday, September 4, 2007

Ekimov Takes 2nd...full race recap to follow!

"It was an epic day to say the least. A re-cap will be drafted, but the highlights are these. I was 3rd to the bike off the run. I jumped on my newly tuned full suspension rig with full intentions on marking and hanging on to series dominator Chris Schotz. The pace through the first lap was just like a 2 hour race, complete with young kids in "Stars and Stripes" jerseys yard saling it in front of me, etc. I completed laps 1 and 2 in 1st position over the entire field, including all team (4 person and duos) only to start encountering bike problems. By the way, man Ross, do I need you. I ultimately was forced to do the entire race in the big ring. I finished 2nd overall to a very classy Chris Schotz with 3rd place over an hour and a half back of me. More details to be posted as you know, so many little stories that go into a 12 hour pain fest." Tim Ek

The Thrill of Victory....and The Agony of Defeat!!!! [Source:]

Saturday, September 1, 2007

A Pride of Lions, A Pod of Whales, the Peleton...

A Flock of Seagulls, A Herd of Buffalo, A School of fish, A Gaggle of Geese...So what do you call a bunch of fat guyz on super-loud, obnoxious Motorcycles that get worse gas mileage than my 1999 Chevy Prism with two bikes on the top???

Feeding the Rat: Saturday 200 minutes...hard-core Chequamegon training...I ran into a __"Loaf?"_____of Harley Dudes on Highway 61 and one of them flicked his cig @ me. But, hey, I didn't take it personal, [afterall, I was wearing a red jersey with red shorts, so maybe he thought I was an old school Soviet Marxist or even a Castro-Commie]. Plus he was waving the old stars & stripes, so it was cool!!! I totally understand, he was just doing his part to keep America FREE!!!!!
The following is a description of the grand loop I took today: From my house [near East High School] head down to Superior Street and head out towards Lester River...cross the new four-lane 61 and eventually get on Old 61 [Scenic Drive on Lake Superior] heading towards Knife River and [eventually Two Habors]...after about 25 minutes take a left onto 33 [McQuade Road] and head up crossing the new 61 and up up up a great mid-gear ascent...33 turns into 40 and eventually the pavement ends, stay on 40 which turns into Hegberg Rd. Take a left on 42 and then shortly thereafter take another left on CR231 and then right on CR271, all of which are curvy gravel roads, complete with quaint old farms and hard-core trailer trash communes [some of which look like something out of an old MAD MAX film] and even a few junk-yard dogs that encourage an occaisonal anaerobic sprint...eventually CR271 turns into Fox Farm Road which is something like ten miles of gravel, washboard rollers (great practice for the ChequWhammy) at the end of Fox River Road take a left onto to 44 and then a left onto Jean Duluth Road and rider her in back to town...
Sunday: 3 hours mostly on the road
Monday [Labor Day]: 210 minutes of high paced expansive version of the Fox Farm Road Loop...Sweet, legs felt GREAT

Mark your calendars...looks like the third weekend in April!

------Great News to REPORT------- Trans Iowa IV: The tentative dates are April 26-27...I have never had the opportunity BEFORE NOW. Yet, I did complete a similar event up in Canada a few months ago [The Red Ass 300-A Grand Loop complete with great companionship]...As stated above, I have always had big, NO HUGE, scheduling conflicts in Aprils of past, but now with so much time to plan and scheme coupled with a current, albeit blank 'family' 2008 calendar going into the fall of '07....I have aggressively taken the offensive and highlighted in bright red that weekend in April as "Bound for Iowa- Or Bust!" I love these kinds of races. Here's a thought: Do both the Trans-Iowa & The Red Ass 300 in the same season, now that would surely get a person on THE LIST!....Important Note: Trans-Iowa III transformed Tim Ek from a shy sickly-pale school boy to an assertive confident Man among evidenced by the fact that as I type and sip coffee, Eki is 'livin' the dream' racing a 12 hour event near Madison, WI...GOOD Luck EKIMOV