Friday, November 30, 2007

Five Star Workout; the kind that tests ones resolve! The kind that tests ones mettle! The kind that...makes a guy thirsty!

Fed the Rat even though it was a cold late Friday night, and I was well hydrated and full of fare from the Brew House, and also I didn't wanna go, cuz I knew if I went I'd miss my favorite political talk show (The McLaughlin Group)!!! But I went anywayz cuz I know...I've been there...I know my fate...I know what awaits me come early February...perhaps I know too much...--2 hours and fifteen minutes on snowy single-track up in Hartley and Lester. Took a hard fall and bent my rear wheel, hopefully Dean and da Boyz @ The Ski Hut can fix it goes...banking the time now so I can fly at the AH135, at least thatz the theory!

Thursday, November 29, 2007

Good Bye to MIDNIGHT SUN; a gear store here in Duluth. It was a great store, but itz going-out-of-business. Makes a guy wonder about the definition...

Kudos and farewell to MIDNIGHT SUN Ski/Kayak/etc gear-store here in was a great little store run by top notch local folks... But itz going-out-of-business...Makes a guy wonder about the possibilities of the "capitalistic free mkt system" and "the American Dream" and the adage"if ya work hard enough, your dreams will come true." Bad Guyz will go into a local store, like my favorite LBS (THE SKI HUT) and get fitted out and then leave and go buy the product off the internet...

Daily Brief Illogical Oxymoronic Muse on the Arrowhead 135: Practical contradictory applications in Paradoxology. Arrowhead countdown--68 dayz out...or something like that??? The race starts on Monday morning, February 4th: "I feel bad that I don't feel worse."

Note: Everyday for my classes, I write a Quote-of-the-Day on the board and I have the kids discuss it. My 1st hour group is top notch and it was amazing how the above little quote touched many of them. I heard many of them saying things like, "I totally feel that way sometimes." Of course for the Arrowhead 135, a more appropriate quote might be the following:

"I feel good that I ain't dead."

Feeding the Rat: Home-to-Esko commute in "good A.H." training conditions: 3 hours and 50 Minutes (BIG TIME, SWEET).

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Who would win in a fight;Rocky Balboa plus Apollo Creed, the super buff Russian, and Mr. T against a severely wounded Chuck Norris?

Daily Brief Illogical Oxymoronic Muse on the Arrowhead 135: Practical contradictory applications in Paradoxology. Arrowhead countdown--75 dayz out from the BIG DANCE:
“After racing my bike all summer and fall, I am so out of shape itz sick. Yeah, I know what ya mean, I am so weak on top that I can‘t even do a pull up”
Scotty Johnson & CPF on the paradoxical pitfalls of bike racing...

Feeding the Rat: 60 minutes; running the stairs @ UMD while the tax deduction is costing me $$$ at swimming lessons (the author has been running stairs for 30 years and still maintains that itz the best ‘quick workout’ a guy can do, well almost the best!!!!).

Monday, November 26, 2007

Daily Brief Illogical Oxymoronic Muse on the Arrowhead 135: Practical contradictory applications in Paradoxology. Arrowhead countdown--78 dayz;
“Everyone needs a philosophy of life. Mental health is based on the tension between what you are and what you think you should become. You should be striving for worthy goals. Emotional problems arise from being purposeless." Viktor Frankl
Note: The jury is still out, of course, on whether riding 135 miles on a fully loaded bike in the dead of winter on a remote trail constitutes a ‘worthy goal.’ But I will submit that it is just as worthy a goal as hitting a golf ball or the like…

Feeding the Rat— A.M. easy commute: East Duluth –to- Esko 90 minutes, no wind, no snow, and mild temps (go figure). Plus 80 minutes Esko-to-Duluth, plus 52 minute jog while off-spring was at swimming lessons...for a total of 3 hours and 32 minutes; Legs are sore (in a good a way), but with good reason as I am at twenty-one hours+ on the bike over the last seven dayz. Looking forward to Tuesdayz REST DAY. The plan is to hit it hard with lots of steady aerobic base work (average 15 to 17 hours per week) thru December and maybe into the first week of January and then start the four or five week taper with lotz of rest and recovery heading into the Arrowhead 135 (AKA The Big Dance). My hope is that I will be able to start skiing in mid December as too much time on the bike makes “Johnny a dull boy.”

Sunday, November 25, 2007

Input, ideas, suggestions, pleas, submissions, etc., for The List of Most Impressive Cycling Accomplishments of 2007

Due out in about one month or so, I have begun, in earnest, to consider THE LIST.

Any suggestions, etc, will be considered...(bribes are encouraged. As many of you know earning a place on THE LIST can be life changing...)

Feeding the Rat: 131 minutes traveling up the North Country Trail. Ran into a section of hummocks similar to those found on the Arrowhead was a hard truth to bear...

Saturday, November 24, 2007

DBD #1: In the interest of National Security, no less!!!

Top Secret DBD Workout #1 is in the books!!!!

"Trying to find out what only dead men know." Bob Dylan

As part of a covert training mission, Tim Ek and I embarked on a picturesque, yet enigmatic, secretive, highly guarded 70 mile loop Friday morning from my securely fortified house in East Duluth. Nearly five hours later we arrived back to my humble, yet well protected abode with sore legs but bolstered psyches… While specifics are confidential, basically, we are training for nothing less than top finishes in the Trans-Iowa come late April….there I said it!!!! We both know we can go the distance, we have done so in the recent past. None of this, “I just want to finish” anti-hyperbole.…no way, we are training to be able to hang with the front group and we are training to be able to "jump clean" should (or when) an opportunity arise(s). Itz like that US American Revolutionary patriot dude said way back in the day, “Give me a top five finish or give me death!” (or something like that? Anyway, ya get what I be getting’ at?) In any event, Eki is a good man, tough as nails, and therefore a top notch training partner for the Trans Iowa IV (322 miles on rough gravel, in the past strong men have cried for their mommies)…The top echlon on the Federal government are on board, including White House approval. With clandestine assistance from various governmental agencies including but not limited to the FBI, CIA, NSC, SEALS, and Green Berets, we have developed a series of covert workouts that are dangerous, highly classified, top secret and yet vital to our nation’s security and our chances at the Trans-Iowa…I simply cannot convey anymore, dear readers, for to do so would endanger the very core foundations of our American Democracy…I am sure you all understand the brevity of the situation! For the time being, you will just need to trust that we (Dick Cheney, Eki, and I) are doing all that we can do to keep you all safe from the evil doers and at the same time getting Eki and I “like totally buff” for the Trans-Iowa!!!!

Daily Brief Illogical Oxymoronic Muse on the Arrowhead 135: Practical contradictory applications in Paradoxology. Arrowhead countdown--80 dayz; “Just War.”

Acknowledging Assyrian Assassins whilst attempting to augment the audacious RAT: Saturday-131 minutes good training pace; 5 hours hard w/ Ekimov on Friday. Plus, 90 minutes easy on Thursday...Itz shaping up to be a big week!!!

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Duluth MN; A Wintery mix in late November, maybe the best we can hope for in a Post 9/11 World!!!!!

Daily Brief Illogical Oxymoronic Muse on the Arrowhead 135: Practical contradictory applications in Paradoxology. Arrowhead countdown--81 dayz
“As civilizations progress, it will become more and more obvious that civilization will kill us all.” C.P. Farrow ( after a harrowing, dangerous, but exciting commute home from his place of employment, November 21, 2007)

Feeding the Rat: 4hours & 17 minutes partly in tough conditions… (SWEET)

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Read Minnesotan Leif Enger's: "Peace like a River...itz just superb

Daily Brief Illogical Oxymoronic Muse on the Arrowhead 135: Practical contradictory applications in Paradoxology. Arrowhead countdown--82 dayz
"There is nothing wrong with sobreity in moderation." John Ciardi

Starving the Rat: Rest Day

Monday, November 19, 2007

Monday...Mtb & CX seasons are the real work begins!!!

Daily Brief Illogical Oxymoronic Muse on the Arrowhead 135: Practical contradictory applications in Paradoxology. Arrowhead countdown--83 dayz: "Stay with me; I want to be alone." Joey Adams [Note: relates perfectly with what was going on in my frazzled brain as Joel Calahan offered me his last tube, but we both realized that there was no pump--approximately 37 degree below zero, ~75 miles into it, sometime around 1:00 a.m., about 18 hours into the 2007 Arrowhead, so it goes.....].

Feeding the rat: a.m. commute 90 minutes "against the wind." P.M. commute, plus easy jog while offspring was at swimming lessons for a total of 198 minutes (3+ hours)...gettin' 'er done...

Note: Come the end of April, I am signed-up (along with Tim EK) and ready to go in the Trans-Iowa IV...SWEET!!!

Sunday, November 18, 2007


The last MN cyclocross race of the season was held down in the Cities this Saturday and it was a major event!!!! Tons of racers and spectators...It was a resounding success with hundreds of racer and maybe even a thousand spectators!!!! Free food, free "peace" coffee, free "Summit" beer, great music, even human-activated globally-warmed weather, plus the super-fast guyz put on great athletic efforts for the top spots!!! Who could ask for anything more...

Kudos to Hollywood Henderson, his great bike shop [Hollywood Cycles: 722 West 98th Street, Bloomington, MN ] and the other sponsors, and all the wonderful volunteers and participants that made this such a great event!!!!

An amicable, yet realistic group of Duluthians traveled down to the big Twin Cities on Saturday to partake in the final psycho-cross festivities of the Minnesota cycling season. Included in this cadre of Nordlanders were Dave Shuneman, Scotty K-J, Shawn Gort, Mike Weispeining, Mike Hall, June Sayers, and the aging author. “Amicable” in that ya just can’t fine a better bunch of fellas to spend a day at the races with; and “realistic” in that we all knew that the competition would be fierce and that the best a guy could hope for was to not wrought flagrant dishonor onto himself or the great city upon The Lake, and perhaps most importantly, to not take out a fast guy at the start or when getting lapped…[Note: In CX A-races, the author has taken the process of getting lapped by the really fast guyz to an unsurpassed level. Using novel techniques such as pushing the faster guy onward or even jumping completely off the course in expert fashion as the leaders attempt to pass on tight sections of the course).

With the talented and skilled CX racer, Harry Anderson conspicuously missing-in-action, all the Northlanders demonstrated unremarkable performances (official results are not available at this time) and yet were well within the top echelon at publically enjoying themselves and encouraging the other racers after their respective races were completed. Also notable groups that were especially adept at public displays of enjoyment (both natural and chemically enhanced) was the contingent from Saint Cloud and the group that was encouraging free shots of whiskey at the double barriers on the top of the course. The author in mock protest to the continual attempts by the powers-that-be at US Cycling to shorten the race times and/or distances for the elder statesmen of cycling, completed both the B race and the A race (nearly two hours of cx racing!!!), displaying his unique propensity for painful mediocrity in both competitions. Plus I wanted a Top-Notch aerobic workout to end the 2007 season and to also kick off a committed, concerted, rejuvenated effort to get really fit, no, I mean...dangerously fit for the Arrowhead 135. In the “A” race, the highlight for me was getting lapped by crowd favoite Doug Swanson twice (the undisputed MN CX Champion for like the fifth year in a row). The first time he caught me, I used my right arm to give him a strong burst forward as we were climbing the stairs and on the second time I gave him an enthusiastic, “Go Doug Go!!!.” Methinks Doug Swanson is the consummate athlete and all around great guy. Team Lalonde caught me only once, but I took the initiative to jump on Jesse’s wheel and hold it for at least one minute during which time I was totally “livin’ the dream, baby!!!!” The Lalondeez are so wEiRd, so fASt, and so aLterNatiVe that a guy can't help but to be intrigued...The highlight for me in the B race was holding Jim Bell's wheel for the first lap and then watching from afar as Jim Bell, Bill Kuster, and Greg Goblirsch all in their 40s, finished well up at the top!!! It seems so weird and counterproductive to me that with all these old guyz cleaning up in all aspects of racing why there would be an effort by the governing body of US Cyling to shorten the times or distances for veteran races???

Now that the racing season is over, itz time to get into shape, I am up to nearly 180 lbs., itz time for me to get my act together and really focus on some big time BASE training and eating right for the Arrowhead and hopefully the Trans-Iowa!!! So little time and so many races :) Racing in a park in the Cities or at a ski resort is one thing...riding 135 miles on a desolate trail in the dead of winter out of I-Falls with no one around, requires a little more from a guy...
Feeding the Rat for the 51st Week: 9.5 hours...

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Kids these dayz!!! I remember how great it wuz back in the day....Kids were better then, blah, blah, blah......

Hey Northlanders!!!! Tired of all the negativity about todayz youth??? Go see the Duluth East & Duluth Central High School fall play [tickets are still available for next weekend]. Itz the classic broadway smash-hit: Joseph and the amazing technicolor jacket (or something like that; you know, remember?, that Osmund squeaky-clean Mormon dude played Joseph on Broadway for like 50 know, the guy that had a sister that was easy on the eyes). In any event, itz a great Andrew Loyd Weber work (a bonafide genius) and the local kids put on an outstanding show, complete with full-on dancing and great singing.!!!! My little tax-deduction loved it as did da wife...The high school boy that played Joseph was Top Notch...Restores a cynical guyz faith in tomorrow's taxpayer base...Of course I fight with HS kids everyday and I can tell ya that in my little world at least, their every bit as smart and talented and civic-minded as any of the Gen Xers or the Baby Boomers....

Feeding the Rat: Rode out to 2 Harbors and back--Sweet!!! 3 hours...for a good week (13.7 hours!!!)
Note: It don't mean nutin' but with 2 weeks left to go in my training calendar I am up to 652 hours of total training.

Daily Brief Illogical Oxymoronic Muse on the Arrowhead 135: Practical contradictory applications in Paradoxology. Arrowhead countdown--86 dayz: "I never take short cuts unless I know they're shorter." C. Farrow

Saturday, November 10, 2007

They hurt, but mini-epics make ya stronger…

Ekimov and I embarked on a long 3 hour+ ride today that transgressed into a four hour mini-epic as the wind then snow, then slush came up rather suddenly about two hours into it. Neither one of us was dressed appropriately, but the steely Eki had even less on than the writer. We pulled it off though and it was great getting a chance to work-out with Tim Ek, one of the top enduro-freaks around and more importantly a darn nice guy!!!! Three hours into the ride with a good hour still out from warmth, my feet were really cold, but my main source of pain was the super chilling of my core front. Poor Eki was wearing just regular cycling shoes, shorts w/leg warmers and no glasses…frozen feet, legs, and no vision makes for an ideal training session for the upcoming Arrowhead!!! Anyone that has frozen his or her feet on a long ride knows that itz the thawing out that really makes a guy wanna cry!!!

Feeding the Rat: 3 Hours and 55 minutes…

Friday, November 9, 2007

Rule #1: Don’t take it personal…after all itz just a war!

Even though it was dark, my highly trained eye caught movement on the left perimeter. I was riding fast…up well past the main entrance to Hartley Nature Center. There is a community park on the right where the road begins to flatten out, complete with softball/baseball-type fields, tennis courts, and play ground. As a wily veteran always on the lookout for an ambush, I automatically honed in on the unnatural movements behind the shrubs that line the ball fields which in turn quickly allowed my Mega CIA computer-like brain to discern two shadowy figures. The one closest to me was athletic; lean like lynx, committed like a cannibal. While the other was fat and sloth-like, tentative and wary like a roadie on a mountain bike course. They both looked to be 9th or 10th graders and both were fully armed with snow balls. The pure white of the small, albeit lethal orbs presented a stark, deadly contrast to their blackish camo fatigues. From personal experience, while not always fatal, snowballs especially at this early stage of the winter campaign within close urban warfare can cause major damage, (when the biker is still dressed in relatively light-weight armor). A well placed snow-ball really hurts when a youthful arm has the talent to hit a moving biker, even a leg shot hurts something awful (a couple years back a youthful, albeit talented miscreant hit me in the ear with a snow projectile knocking off my glasses and it hurt REAL BAD). At first, I went with the “flight” instinct standing up and driving down hard onto the pedals, but nearly just as instantaneously I knew that “fight” was my only real chance at salvation for this type of amoral insurgent thinks nothing of hitting his target in the back. I hit the brakes, popped off the bike in perfect Belgium-cyclocross dismount style and screamed at them in the best John Wayne voice I could muster, “You throw that snowball at me and I’m gonna kick your @#$#@^% *&^!!!!!" Perhaps too new to the merciless ravages of war to call my bluff, they dropped the snow balls and took off running back into the shadows…It was just like John Wayne would have done it!!! I was pumped!!! I rode off smiling and thinking I was “Lord of the Universe.”
Chalk one up for the good guys!!!!

Daily Brief Illogical Oxymoronic Muse on the Arrowhead 135: Practical contradictory applications in Paradoxology. 87 dayz to go…According to a super smart guy (Lao-Tzu) that was here on earth like a long time ago, like from the Far East; “The further one pursues knowledge, the less one knows.”

Feeding the Rat—60 minutes walk/jog on Thursday. 120 minutes high tempo ride on Friday...

Thursday, November 8, 2007

Good luck to all the area riders that are heading over to Traverse City, Michigan for the classic Ice Man Cometh….this race is comprised of thousands and usually matches up the Midwest’s best riders!!!!

Daily Brief Illogical Oxymoronic Muse on the Arrowhead 135: Practical contradictory applications in Paradoxology. 88 dayz to go…According to Mark Twain, the founder father of irony “When I was younger, I could remember anything, whether it happened or not, but I am getting old, so soon I shall remember only the latter.”

Feeding the Rat—Wednesday night=100 minutes+ run including 30 minutes running the stairs at UMD.

Tuesday, November 6, 2007

First snow ride of the season!!!!

Daily Brief Illogical Oxymoronic Musing on the Arrowhead 135: Practical contradictory applications in Paradoxology. 90 dayz to go…According to Peter Drucker, the founding father of modern marketing and advertising, “We know nothing about motivation. All we can do is write books about it.”

Feeding the Rat—two hours+ on the North Country Trail, approximately at the half way point it got real dark out and then started to snow…that was motivation enough for me!

Monday, November 5, 2007

Get fired up!!! The Arrowhead 135 is only 91 dayz out!!!!!!!!!

I had a great weekend down in Rochester visiting my parents, little brother, and his family!!!! Got in two long solo rides on the abundant and picturesque gravel roads that criss-cross rural SE Minnesota…As I rode along on these roads, my less than nimble mind wondered from romantic fantasies about participating in April’s Trans-Iowa Race to the great winter challenge that awaits come early February. You see, I have not raced the Trans-Iowa and as we all know, “ignorance is bliss” where in contrast I know what is involved in completing the Arrowhead 135…So to get a head start on prepping for the Arrowhead 135, I plan to add a daily feature to this blog, titled: Musings on the Arrowhead 135: Practical oxymoronic applications in Paradoxology, (inpsired by the newly published, Oxymoronica, by Dr. Mardy Grothe: Itz a great read and a perfect Christmas gift for your favorite psuedo-intellectual).

Daily Brief Illogical Oxymoronic Musings on the Arrowhead 135: Practical contradictory applications in Paradoxology. With 91 dayz to go until a motley rag-tag group of maladjusted enduro-freaks begin their forlorn trek down the Arrowhead trail…the following initial [albeit grim] quote by Charles Baudelaire, to get the ball rolling so to speak, seems appropriate:
“The cannon thunders…limbs fly in all directions…one can hear the groan of victims and the howling of those performing the sacrifice…It’s Humanity in search of happiness.”
Note: You still have time to sign up for both the Arrowhead 135 and the Trans-Iowa IV...but the deadline approaches on November 15th for both events

Friday, November 2, 2007

ATVs, camo, & hi-tech optics; I know itz all about communing with nature and all. But sensory infra-red imaging devices interfaced with cell phones?

Okay...I know this is sacred ground, treading on the dogmatical principal of Man's dominion over the lesser of God's creatures, but digital infra-red/sensory motion cameras strategically placed along the ATV/deer trails that call the Great White Hunter's cell phone to alert "the sportsman" of a deer in the immediate periphery? Finally, have we taken this inalienable right to hunt a bit too far? According to a Gander Mountain employee, these hi-tech cameras are selling off the "rack." Said employee was also quick to remind any critics,"remember the hunter still has to pull the trigger."
What a great way to introduce the wonders of nature to young people...perhaps the day is not far off when one can "take his deer" using a joy stick from the comforts of ones couch, of course the couch would have to be in the deer shack or it just wouldn't be the same!!!