"Crossing the Rubicon"
"Alea iacta est "
"Burn the Bridges "
"Break the woks and sink the boats”
"Leave the rope"
"bring the revolver and one bullet"
amateur: n. 1. a person who engages in some art, science, sport, etc. for the pure pleasure of it rather than for money. 2. a person who does something without professional skill...derived from the french word "amare" which means "to love." That's me...Even though I am without professional skill...far from it; I love adventure, I love climbing, I love a good Hard-core Stout, I LOVE DULUTH, MN and I am obsessed with cycling & no one pays me so much as a penny! I am the consummate Amateur...
"Break the woks and sink the boats”
"Leave the rope"
"bring the revolver and one bullet"
The Greg Hexum Teacher Development Grant Program (for generously providing shoes to cheapskate struggling area teacher/cyclist)
The C.O.G.G.S. Charity for Demented,Confused, and Ill-clad Wannabe Bike Racers
The Mike Haag Endowment for Under-employed Teachers
...and of course many thanks to Ski Hut for allowing the author access to the used parts bin downstairs in the shop...
May 30, 2009: Dirty Kanza 200 (200 miler) - Flint Hills. Emporia, KS (doubtful)
Red Ass 300 (not until June of 2010) Post script, I spoke with Lindsay Gauld at the AH 135 where he informed me that they are going to do the RED ASS again in 2010, in 2009 they are doing a shorter but more techy mtb race)
First weekend in September: 24 Hours @ Seven Oaks, Iowa [this could be the one 24 hour mtb race for me for the summer!!!]http://www.sevenoaksrec.com/24hour.html
August 22 [WEMS]:Blue Mounds (hopeful)
October 3 [WEMS]: Thunderdown (priority)
The Goal is to race around 16 to 18 times this season...all in anticipation of the Arrowhead 135 and ultimately the Iditabike
Here is the greatly anticipated, long overdue, Top Ten List of MOST IMPRESSIVE CYCLING EFFORTS of 2010…Disclaimer 1: Only old and stressed, albeit “impressive” people are allowed on THE LIST ‘cuz itz easy to do extraordinary things on a bike when a guy is young and fancy free. The older you are the better your chances. So if you are a guy under forty years-of-age without sore knees, a wife, or polyps on your colon, or scars on your shoulders or if you are a young fella without any snotty-nosed kids yanking at your pant-legs or getting’ in trouble at school, or if you are without a hyper-active dog that is constantly “on-the-lam” and/or if you are without a high mortgage payment, or an angry boss, or if you are not given impossible tasks to do at work, or if you are not surrounded by incompetent workers or if you are without exorbitantly high student-loans, or diabetic cats (or the like) then you would have really had to do something incredibly special in cycling in 2010 to make this LIST. A youngin’ that rides hard, eats right, don’t drink, and then goes home to sleep at his parent’s house with nary a worry in the world, of course can do great things in racing!!! Guyz that make The List are under the gun in their day-jobs and in their everyday lives…To them training “aint work,” training is a way to escape reality, to feel FREE! And the actual racing part is easy, itz the after racing part when ya gotta go home and take the dog for a long walk, coach a youth soccer team, or take the kid to hockey practice that really tests these guyz endurance. They don’t dread training, they look forward to training. Most of the time, they have to train at all hours of the day, super early in the morning or late night, if they are gonna “get one in.” These guyz do it all, plus they are darn good cyclists as well, and thatz why they made THE LIST!Disclaimer 2: In order to make The List, not only do you have to be over 40 and stressed, you also have to have done a really impressive thing in a race that The List-Maker has knowledge of or experience with…and since he is too slow and awkward to do the shorter races, chances are that you won’t make The List if you only do WORS or MNSCS races. Of course these short fast events are dominated by the youth and so it is to some extent a moot point. The List rewards longevity in the sport and the fact of the matter is that the longer one stays in the sport the more likely he/she will be drawn into the longer, more obscure events. Veteran riders are drawn to events that provide more race time for the buck and time commitment for obvious reasons.Disclaimer 3: This year’s List is configured in a different fashion from years past. This year’s List is based on specific Categories whereas in year’s past I placed riders in a hierarchical listing--
Disclaimer 4: If you don't like the List or if you feel like you were left off the List unfairly or unjustly, send the author a case of Bell's Hopslam Ale with a note and he will get back to you. Otherwise, if you are too young, thatz your fault.
Most Impressive Overall 2010 Results; Winner- Tim Ek wins WEMS and places high in many gravel road classics. Eki raced more “hard races” in 2010 than anybody else in “my world.” Runner-up-Sara Kylander Johnson, with babe on hip, has an amazing season winning many podium finishes in most of the big time Midwestern races including Ore-to-shore, Iceman Cometh, and Chequamegon.
Most Impressive Snow Race Effort; Winner- Sage Dave Pramann’s effort @ the 350 mile Alaskan Invitational; Runner-up; 40+ Jeff Oatley barely is beat by youthful Pete Basinger @ the same race. Winner did it in 3 dayz, 9 hours and 18 minutes; while 50+ Pramann took 5 dayz and 57 minutes.
Most Impressive Gravel Road Race Effort; Winner- Cornbread of Nebraska crushed a strong field @ Dirty Kanza 200 in the kind of heat that would make the Devil sweat, Runner Up- Tandem Team Eppen impresses @ Almanzo 100
Most Impressive Multi-day Race Effort; Winner- Jeremy Kershaw rides for 88 hours to complete 627 mile Trans-Wisconsin with aged malcontent in tow. Runner-up- Joe Meiser, who would have won the Trans-Wisconsin by at least six hours+ had to pull the plug at Hayward (near the finish) due to fatherly duty…
Most Impressive Effort in a Mountain Bike Race under Three hours; Winner-Family man Scott Cole’s (46) amazing effort at the Chequamegon, where he earned a 22nd finish; Runners-up-Jim Bell (47) from Saint Cloud finishes in 33rd position at the same race and Aaron Swanson of Northern Wisconsin in a top 40 finish…both very impressive!!!
Most Impressive 12 hour mtb race effort; (All involved Levis race)Winner-Jason Buffington @ Levis 100; Runners-up-Trevor Rockwell and Charly Tri. Rockwell and Buffington won at Levis on single-speeds whilst Tri won the geared class. Buffington has at least ten years on Rockwell and Tri and three kids to Tri's one kid, so do the math…Buffington wins, but Tri and Rockwell were impressive indeed!
Most Impressive 24 hour mtb race effort; Winner-Jason Buffington @ 24@9Mile. Buffington took second in the single speed division losing to a top Wisconsin rider and third overall; Runner-up; Danielle Musto @ 24Hrs@Afton. This is an incredibly hard course and she was right there with the winner for the full 24 hours!!! So impressive…but she is young and yet so impressive…
Most Impressive and Generous Race Director; Winner- Chris Skogen for the amazing Almanzo; Runner-up; Kershaw & Buffington Clan hospitality at the Heck of the North.
Overall Most Impressive Win of 2010; Winner- Oatley out-sprinting Basinger and Pramann at the Arrowhead for the win! Runner Up-; Cornbread’s win in Kansas.Miscellaneous Honorable mentions…
Most impressive non-cycling performance of 2010 (snow-walkers included, runners and triathletes excluded); Winner- Greg Hexum’s 4th place effort at the National Snowshoe championships (he has won it twice before), Runners-up; Tim Roe and Matt Maxwell at the 2010 Arrowhead 135
Most Generous Act of 2010; Winner-Rich Hendricks picks up two wasted finishers of the Trans-Wisconsin at a muddy remote Lake Superior beach @ 2:00 a.m. in the morning amid a rain storm. Runner-Up; Jim Reed’s daughter drives Trans-Wisconsin contingency from Duluth, MN to the border of Wisconsin and Illinois.
Company most in-tune with the needs of the DBD Adventure Society; Winner-Salsa; Runner ups-Man-Diaper Inc. & Bells Brewery of Michigan.
Nicest guyz in the snow and gravel peletons: Winners-Lindsay Gauld, Jim Palmer, Bill Shand, Jim Reed, Ari, the Braun Brothers, Chris Finch, John Kurth, Dave Simons, Jason Novak, Dave Gray, Greg Ames, Pat Long, Jason Giddings, Chuck Linder, Nick Wethington, Troy Kruse, Mike Dietzman, Rich Hendricks, Drew Wilson, Tim Andrews, Todd McFadden, Adam Blake, Ben Shockey, John Hatcher...
Funniest guyz in the Peleton: Winner-Josh Peterson; Runner-up: Lance Andre
Best Man-servant of 2010: Winner-Andy Lockery’s handling of Mr. Gauld at the AH 135; Runner up- Rick Mangen’s daughter’s work at the Heck of the North.
Good Samaritan Award: Prairie Peddler Bike Shop, Prairie du Chien, WI. If you are ever in the area stop by as they are the bestest, most nicest folks ever...really helped me out of a jam during the Trans-Wisconsin
Best Bike Shop: The Ski Hut in Duluth, MN...The Epicenter of Cycling. .
Most Impressive Bike Club: COGGS of the Northland.
Most Secretive Cycling Society: The Slender Fungus
Most Covert and Misunderstood Adventure Society: The D.B.D.A.S.
This so HUGE FOR YOU!!! If you made THE LIST...If you did not make THE LIST, I am sooooooooo sorry for you!!!!
Charlie’s Top 10 Amateur List-of-Honor, celebrating the Most Impressive Cycling-related Events of 2009…The List by which a cyclist’s career is defined… The List for which many live, languish, and even die to obtain recognition on... BRAVO to those that have achieved this noble recognition…These righteous persons listed below now take their place amongst the greats of cycling lore…[Disclaimer: To qualify for inclusion onto this most impressive TOP TEN listing, the accomplishment had to have been personally witnessed by the List-maker. This of course makes the list extremely biased, narrowly focused, and marginalized to constitute only the microcosm that encompasses the writer‘s SMALLISH world view of bicycle racing…The list, therefore, is evolutionary and thus reflects the author’s concerted personal effort to move away from racing in mass-marketed events that require venues to be marginalized and de-challenged in an effort to maximize participation numbers with the goal being to optimize profits. In order to offer hope and a bit of solace to the misguided, albeit talented racer that has not yet seen the fruits of forgoing these “pop-cultural, mass-marketed” generic events in favor of the nobler events from which the below honored have been chosen, the List-maker does offer recognition of a couple of major outstanding achievements within this less than lofty realm that were too noteworthy and impressive to ignore, but not witnessed per se by the author, in a Honorable Mention category. It is the List-makers hope that those listed in this second-tier category shall see the light and thus position themselves to compete for a spot on the 2010 List-of-Honor. Also in order to achieve this great honor, one must be a committed amateur cyclist, so anyone purporting to be a professional is automatically not considered. Furthermore anyone that used a preponderance of carbon in the form of components and/or frame is de-elevated in the author’s calculation. Finally, pure roadies and/or triathletes are not considered.]
Charlie Farrow’s Highly Anticipated List of Amazing and Great Cycling Accomplishments of 2009: [The List--#1 being the MOST Very Impressive and worthy of DBD recognition…while #10 being an effort that stirred Mallory’s loins and caused him to exclaim, “Bully!”]
Honorable Mention category: Ben Koenig of Schofield, Wisconsin takes third in the so-called 24 Hour National Championships held in Moab, Utah. This 21 year old kid had an amazing year and is a full-on talent…Of course, the idea of paying the loathsome, outrageous, far-reaching, and multifaceted financial fees (ranging from camping fees, pit fees, to licensing fees, etc., etc.) that are now associated with the “nationally franchised for-profit” 24 Hour events, has caused these types of opportunistic events to NOT be considered by the author for they represent a “cancer” upon our sport…But given Koenig’s age and seemingly lack of full sponsorship, the List Maker made a concession in his particular situation.
#10: Local racers win local races: Scotty Kylander-Johnson, Sean Gort, and Todd McFadden. Scotty for winning in very impressive style the challenging Lincoln Park MTB race and to both Sean and Todd for winning the Heck of the North.
#9: Lindsay Gauld for his fourth place finish at the 2009 Arrowhead 135. It was his first effort at the AH 135 and yet he still was right there in the thick of it, so impressive! Lindsay Gauld is the “Thomas Jefferson or George Washington” of a thriving cycling community up in the Winnipeg area. Mr. Gauld was in the 1972 Olympics in cycling and now at 60 years of age+ , he is still a force to be reckoned with…and an inspiration to all finely aged cyclists…
#8: Inaugural Race Creators Jeremy Kershaw and Tim Roe earn spots on The List for their efforts to provide both unique and top-notch racing opportunities for the discerning cyclist. These guyz (and other visionaries) are the ones that make it possible for the rest of us to enjoy local grass-roots racing. Kershaw put together The Heck-of-the-North 100 mile extravaganza this year and it was a resounding success. The course is a work of art and the organization of the race was flawless. Tim Roe created the Tuscobia Ultra and it too was a great inaugural event. Mr. Roe’s novel approach of transporting the racers from the finish to the start via school bus was the act of a genius! I personally know that Kershaw contributed a significant amount of his valuable time and money to putting on the Heck of the North and the fact they the race enjoyed a full roster is a testament to his brilliance as a course setter and race director. Bravo to both Jeremy Kershaw and Tim Roe for they represent the very best of cycling!!!
#7: Ben Shockey and the Brothers Braun take impressive honors at the 2009 Trans-Iowa Race. Shockey rode a fixed geared bicycle in this last spring’s Trans-Iowa. I repeat, Shockey rode a fixed geared bicycle in the Trans-Iowa. The author had the honor of riding with Ben for several hours and the manly effort required to propel that fixed gear was something to behold. One had the sense of witnessing something very special indeed. Had I not had my tear-ducts removed to save weight, I would have wept like a little school girl as he was forced to frantically pedal the descents while the rest of us relaxed and rested…The nod goes to the Braun duo more so because of the understated style in which they impress. They make everything look so easy. Travis won the Trans-Iowa Single Speed category while Matt was only three minutes behind. Matt rode the Heck-of-the-North on a single-speed while wearing what appeared to be a pair of old Jordan Nikes on his feet. He was always at the front of the lead pack and was the main topic of discussion in the lead group as everyone kept asking, “Who is that guy?”
#6: Relative newbie and Duluthian Jason Buffington wins the single speed category (2nd overall) at the amazing WEMS Thunderdown in October and then a few weeks ago “guts-out” a finish at Tuscobia on a “skinny-tired” 29er on a very tough course. Buffington was the only guy that was able to complete the 75 miles on a non-snow bike. Buffington is tough…in the tradition of Mallory and Shackleton…Need a write more?
#5: Rochester riders IMPRESS at three very challenging venues. Charly Tri wins easily at both the Ragnarok 105 and the Levis 100 while Brad Dittmer wins the 24 Hours @ Afton by four laps! Note: Look for a third Rochester rider, Jason Novak, to make his way up The List in the near future as his potential puts him in the category of “great expectations.” Novak finished in third place in last spring’s Trans-Iowa with Travis Braun, who won the single-speed class in this the gravel classic by which all others are judged.
#4: Jesse Rients riding away solo from a strong field in a full-on head wind and subsequently easily winning the Almanzo 100 by nearly twenty minutes. Of course, he was suppose to win as he is one of the best all around riders in the Midwest, but his solo break early in the race combined with his stalwart fortitude in battling a very strong head-wind all alone was truly impressive. As a member of the chase group, I remember that the general consensus was that no man would be able to ride away alone in such a wind…but he did and it was damned impressive!
#3 Chris Schotz’s overall series victory regarding WEMS: The Hard Core 12 Hours Mountain Bike Race Series over in Wisconsin...These are challenging, thrilling courses, and Schotz is the undisputed maestro. He has become a fixture for winning the overall series. He nearly always wins and in impressive style. Worthy-of-note is that Tim Ek has consistently finished second in this lofty series for the last two years.
#2: Terry Brannick (from “out-east”) for his “tortoise” approach to and ultimate victory at the 2009 Arrowhead 135. Whilst the aimless rabble with a forlorn hope followed Pramann’s ungodly pace early in the race with predictable consequences including time spent languishing in Dante’s Tepee, Brannick rode his own race to victory. It was not until mile 115 that he caught up to the exhausted leaders, who were forced to take refuge in the Teepee from Hell. He rode a smart and calculated race to victory in what is certainly, in terms of logistics, the toughest race included in this year’s venues.
#1: Clearly the two most impressive cycling efforts of 2009 witnessed by the author was that of Joe Meiser and his work at the Trans-Iowa in the spring and Young Stephen Carney run-away win at the demanding 24 Hours @ Seven Oaks in late summer. Meiser speared-headed a break away trio consisting of himself, Tim Ek, and veteran Dave Pramann to a most impressive win. Meiser took the lead early on and forced a burning, even defiant pace that earned him the moniker of “The Decider,” by those that attempted to hold his wheel. Special kudos also to Ek and Pramann both of whom contributed to this extraordinary Trans-Iowa effort. I rank their effort just a smidgen below that of Meiser’s; so they too enjoy this top ranking. Stephen Carney won the 24 hours @ Seven Oaks in impressive style beating the next closest contender by two laps and still retiring from the course with two hours left on the clock. Look for him to become a real force in future long cycling enduro-events. His older brother is also a past winner of the Seven Oaks race.
Congratulations to all that made The LIST...This is SO huge for them, their countries, their loved-ones, their families, and their careers!!!! If you did not make the List...stay around other supportive people, people that can care for you for awhile and refrain from playing with sharp objects for a few weeks...In time, the pain will lessen...to a more bearable state...Rest in the knowledge that there is always 2010…Your first chance is on February 1st starting up in International Falls, Minnesota!
Farrow’s Highly Anticipated List of Amazing and Great Cycling Accomplishments of 2007:
#1. In my little world the most impressive accomplishment of 2007 was the elder Lalonde’s amazing win at the Chequamegan 40 on a fully rigid steel SS 29er. This victory was extraordinary, perhaps even more so given the fact that Jesse Lalonde was behind the author leaving Rosie’s Field. Just the effort involved in getting back to the lead group was incredible (Note: Doug Swanson, doing what Doug Swanson is famous for; that is- being a great guy first and a great cyclist second, assisted the flamboyant Lalonde in catching up to the leaders). Mr. Lalonde beat a very tough field…Just an amazing, incredible display of riding a basic bicycle faster than all the other guyz on their fancy-pants techno-bikes…[Also worth noting was the stellar performances of Jan Rybar and Scott Cole: two old guyz finishing way up the line...]
#2. The second most impressive thing I witnessed first hand last season was Pua Sawicki and Chris Eatough wining their respective races at the National Championships for 24 Hours @ 9 Mile… Ms. Sawicki rode 18 laps (or just two laps less than the Maestro Eatough. These two endurance athletes are world class and so it was a real thrill for the author to pretend to race against them…This year’s 24 Hour National Championships return again to 9 Mile, near Wausau, Wisconsin.
Also worth noting was the 17 laps put in by the younger Meyer...
#3. The third most impressive thing of 2007(but by far the hardest and toughest) that I have firsthand knowledge of is the incredible fortitude demonstrated by Dave Gray (of Surly Bikes) in his victory at the 2007 Arrowhead 135. The February event represents one of the toughest things I have ever taken on, the start was something like 30 below and that night the temperatures dropped into the 40 below range…I would have quit (all but nine racers quit), I wanted to quit… But for me, with no cell phone and no other way out, to quit meant to freeze to death…so I reluctantly decided not to quit…The most impressive thing about Mr. Gray winning that race was how easy he made it look…He seems to take everything in stride…Dave Gray is a very impressive person!
Also: Dave Pramann even while sick was able to still finish in third place...Joel Calahan finished a very impressive second place...
#4. Lindsay Gauld, 59 years old finished 3rd place @ Red Ass 300+ miler after riding nearly the last 200 miles ALONE. From what I could gather from my brief time up in Winnipeg last summer, Lindsay Gauld is the Thomas Jefferson of a thriving cycling community up in Winnipeg area. Mr. Gauld was in the 1972 Olympics in cycling and now nearing 60 years old, he is still a force…He would have finished closer to the winner had he not stopped to assist a training partner. Ultimately, the partner had to quit, so Lindsay rode 200 miles alone…oh yeah, he did so with a broken shoulder that would require extensive surgery later that summer…Very very impressive person!!!
#5. Sara Kylander-Johnson and S. Simonson (spelling?) for winning their respective divisions at the Ore-to-Shore. Of course this list is not fair, life is not fair and this list is obviously biased in favor of old guyz, but Sara had a great year and a great victory at the Ore-to-Shore. Congratulations to Sara!!!
#6. Ross Fraboni for both his win at the 12 Hours @ 9 Mile and at the Thunderdown near Merrill, Wisconsin. He has won the 12 hours at 9 Mile two years in a row and the victory at the Thunderdown (which involved crazy muddy conditions) secured his claim to a spot on this prestigious list.
#7. Todd McFadden at an early marathon WORS race early in the race broke is saddle off clean off. He finished the race; at the time I considered his determination to be one of the most impressive displays of stubbornness that I had ever witnessed…very impressive!!!
#8. Scotty K-Johnson’s visionary course design for the 2007 Powder Monkey @ Spirit Mountain. If you have never raced at Spirit Mountain you are missing out on a national caliber race course complete with crazy descents, super techy single track and major climbs. Both Jeff Hall and Doug Swanson love the course. The course keeps getting better largely due to Scotty’s efforts. Most impressive!
#9. Doug Swanson is clearly the best bike racer in the area. He is also a great guy and we are all so use to him winning so much and yet with so much class that I have not done him justice by putting him this low on the list. Thatz the problem with guyz that are so good…I just can relate to them, so they get put lower on the list. Jeff Hall is another example of this, Jeff Hall could beat me on a unicycle and still he does not make THE LIST…In any event; Doug Swanson’s win at the 2007 Minnesota State Cyclocross Championships was incredibly impressive!!!!
#10. Tim Ek’s 9th place finish at the 2007 Trans-Iowa riding a mountain bike with knobby tires and a huge backpack…Eki will be a force in the enduro-realm for years to come...
Congrats to all that made the LIST...This is huge for them!!!! If you did not make the List...stay around other people for awhile and refrain from playing with sharp objects for a few weeks...In time, the pain will lessen...to a more bearable state...
Charlie’s Top 10 Amateur List of Most Impressive Cycling-related Events of 2006
[Disclaimer: To qualify for inclusion onto this TOP TEN listing the accomplishment had to have been personally witnessed by the list maker. This of course makes the list extremely biased, narrowly focused, and marginalized to constitute only the microcosm that encompasses the writer‘s SMALLISH world view of bicycle racing…although the list maker does offer a couple of major outstanding achievements that were noteworthy and impressive, but not witnessed per se by the author, in a Honorable Mention category]
The List--#1 being the MOST Very Impressive…while #10 being Pretty Darn lucky,… I mean “Impressive…”