Wednesday, December 31, 2008

The UP of Michigan is a treasure, especially in winter...


We, the nuclear family (sans gecko and cat) just spent the last five dayz skiing and cycling up in the UP of Michigan. We stay every year @ around this time in a totally picturesque cabin in the woods near Ironwood. Actually the wife and off-spring did the alpine ski thang @ Powderhorn and Indianhead and I rode my bike [equipped with studded tires from Finland] on beautiful and isolated back roads. The cycling was great and very uncrowded, in fact on the first day out [4 degrees above with 27 below windchill] I did not see any other riders out at all. Come to think of it, I did not see another cyclist the whole time I was up there in the UP, weird? I thought a little bit about skiing and snowshoeing but it seemed too practical, too healthy, too much wellness, plus I have turned into a one-trick pony ( I ride my bike cuz thatz what I do...I really can't do anything else, for me there is only THE ROAD).
Note: The picture above is from the Black River National Forest...There is an amazing National Forest Park road that I biked two times while on our vacation. It starts near Powderhorn ski resort and winds along the hilly terrain and ultimately dead-ends at a beautiful natural harbor on Lake Superior. The road was basically all mine to ride, with the exception of a few logging trucks, I was alone. I have my old Merlin set up with 700c wheels and the Nokian tires and it worked great. Going at a good, albeit steady pace, it was about a four hour round trip training ride each day...WOW...it was just great!!!! For the four dayz, I got 17 hours in on the bike...the sickness of the insatiable rat feeding!!!!

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

"One of my worst dayz out there" by Ryan Zimny, a lad with a DBD membership offer in his future?


The fifth installment of “One of my worst dayz out there” comes from the rugged off-spring of a comrade-teacher of mine from Esko Schools. Below, Ryan Zimny (a high school fizsicks teacher and ski coach), cut from the same raw hide as his dad, recounts a vignette relating to an epic trip he took crossing the Great Divide from the Mexican border to the Canadian border some years ago. (FYI: His dad met him near the halfway point and together they road in glory to the Canadian border.) Little Z (as I like to fondly call him) is tough as nails and always ready to accept a challenge, as long as there is desperate desolation or forlorn danger involved. Regarding Little Z's propensity for steadfastness, Mallory once was heard to mutter, “I like the cut of that lad’s jib.” Read on and marvel at this youth’s resolute demeanor:

Charlie, I've been enjoying the tales of woe on the blog as of late, and thought I'd throw in a tale of my own if you so choose to include it:


The summer of my 21st year found me looking for an excuse to avoid the misery of another summer of manual labor in the pallet factory between my scholarly pursuits. I had come across a small blurb about the newly mapped Great Divide Mountain Bike Route stretching between our northern and southern borders in a Bike magazine, and figured it could provide an adequate diversion from "respectable" work. After an inadequate period of training and gear procurement, I made my way the day after my last final to the Mexican border in order to start my ride north, under the assumption that I could follow summer on my journey north. This assumption worked fine for the first few weeks, where I would find patches of melting snow at the higher elevations to balance out the unbelievable desert heat at the lower. That is, until the day after I crossed from New Mexico in Colorado and started a long slog up to 12,000 foot Indiana Pass, near the Summitville Mine Superfund site. I had just crossed the 10k foot elevation mark, looking at the scarred remains of a bright orange mountain peak as a monument to human destruction and greed, when I hit a significant snow field. The weather was pleasant, probably around 50 degrees or so, and when I pedaled into the snow, my wheels sunk into the heavy cement enough that it became a challenge to push my way, dragging my fully loaded BOB as a sled behind. Two hours later, my legs were covered in cuts from post-holing my way in waist deep hell. I was soaked, and getting cold. Really cold. Reality hit when I realized I no longer could tell where the forest service road lay beneath the alpine meadow, the wind was blowing a lot harder than before, and the sky had become a dark gray. Realizing the stupidity of the situation as I had made less than a mile of progress over the last couple hours, and starting to sink into hypothermia, I set camp beneath a stand of pines and crawled into my summer weight sleeping bag. Every article of clothing I had went on, and I laid there spooning peanut butter into my mouth, weighing my options. Struggle back, and make a hundred mile detour around this mountain or continue on. If I went forward, I still had 10 miles and 2000 vertical feet before the pass would allow me to drop back to the heat of the desert. Once the shivering had subsided, I stuck my head out the door, and looked into a full-on blizzard. I crawled back into my tent, and tried to get some sleep as the walls of my cheap 3-season tent were pressed into my face by the wind. Somewhere around 3 AM, I woke up to the sound of silence. Sticking my head out, I saw stars, so I stepped out to water a tree and found solid, frozen snow underfoot. It was cold. Cold enough to firm up the snow. Salvation! I packed up as fast as I could and headed off in the direction I hoped the road led. I was able to make good time over the frozen crust, breaking through only occasionally. After a couple hours, the sky lightened and I was able to find the road often enough to keep my bearings. Cresting the Pass mid-morning, just as the snow was getting too soft to ride, I was able to at least struggle downhill until I escaped the last fingers of snow and coast a vertical mile over the next 20 miles, down to triple digit temperatures and a cold beer at the first little bar at the outskirts of town. The saint behind the bar let me set up camp out back, and I laid down in the heat and passed out.


Great stuff!!!! Expect more from this young man.
Note: While he will run from the cops, like most of us, he does not run for recreation, like most of us…

Saturday, December 20, 2008

The loneliness of the winter cyclist....


The forlorn road is my only true friend and it is indifferent to my suffering…
Itz been just me and the wolves out on the trails lately. Apparently itz too cold and snowy for the sno-MiGs (or maybe they are still enraptured with the high rent dullards/felons that play in the NFL). And itz too much work for the skiers cuz da groomer has not been through yet…In any event, I am lovin’ the Pugsley…But with all the fresh snow, I be runnin’ something like 4 psi in the endomorphs…the last few dayz I have been relegated to the 26 tooth granny in the front and just the two or three big ones in the back…and so itz slow going…but I am fired up…Watch out Dave Pramann!!! Today on about hour three, I noticed a steady stream of salty water leaking from each eye…I was alone on THE ROAD while my trusty training partner was, of all things, snowboarding on the tamed hills of Spirit Mountain. I truly am ALONE…..If I should go missing, rest with comfort in the knowledge that I was a luxurious dinner to a pack of FREE wolves!


ps In an effort at peace-making, I invited several "runners" to contribute to the highly successful, "One of my worst dayz out there," but todate none have stepped up; perhaps "runners" what with "runners-high" and all, never experience bad dayz?

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

The fourth installment of "One of my worst dayz out there." By Mike Conway....


The fourth installment of "One of my worst dayz out there" is bought to you by one of my dearest friends, Mike Conway. In our youth, Mr. Conway and I enjoyed many epics and misadventures in the mountains of the Western states, Canada, and Alaska. But rest assured as we gracefully age, we are not content to grow old and feeble reminiscing about "how back in the day I was really something." In fact we are currently planning for 2014 or 2015 a full-on winter/spring epic involving roll-your-own-cigarettes, cheap whiskey, two Surly Pugsleys, minimal gear, no carbon gear, and the Iditarod & Yukon Quest Trails; essentially the hope is to die with our boots on. Veteran of foreign wars, helicopter pilot, biathlete (even triathlete), climber, skier, cyclist, family man, and all around top notch leader of men, Mike Conway is simply the toughest all-around man I have ever known. (Editor's note; In my little world, Guy Evans is physically the toughest man I have ever spent time with "out there." But I stand by Conway as the toughest overall in all categories of manliness. Or in other words, while Conway may not be number one toughest in the mountains or on a bike or skiing, all-in-all… factoring in bar-room brawls, ability to survive car crashes, or ability to drive a truck for dayz on in, etc., he is the toughest all around man I have ever known…I am thinking that this could be another great theme; the toughest guy ever on a mountain bike, in a canoe, ice climbing, etc…). In any event, the following are two little vignettes; the first one is from his wild carefree dayz living in southern Wisconsin and the second is from an early cross-country ski race probably circa mid 1980s. [Note: Regarding that semi-dark cloud of rumors surrounding alleged circumstances surrounding Conway being linked to one or all of Mallory's groups. Mike refuses to confirm or deny any affiliation with Mallory, the Avenging Mallards Adventure Club (AMAC), the DBD or the Quixotic Rogues. He will only say, "I have knowledge of the AMAC and I have met Mallory on occasion and it is true that I share similar interests and convictions with that of the DBD. If you need more than that you will need to speak to my lawyer, Johnny Cochran." ]

Hey Charlie,
I'll try and compose a couple of my life's highlights. Naturally it won't have the flare and panache that a true master such as your self could conjure up. Here it goes: Story #1: My first major bonk comes during one of my early road rides. I had hooked up with some long distance guys from work. These fellows had been at this game for quite a while. Knocking out 70, 80, even hondos (editor’s note: one hundred miles) was common place for this group. Being a young whelp of cocky background, I thought nothing of signing on to a 70 miler one hot July afternoon. My steed was a steel fake Italian 10 speed that we called the Maserati. Nothing to help my cause of course. The group of ten lads started out with laughter and good humor competition. I chose to leave the home base without shirt and wearing only my spandex riding shorts with shoes. I'm not sure where exactly in the ride that I started to falter but not wanting to hold the group up I waved them ahead. The hot sun and lack of proper hydration would eventually take its toll. At one point I found myself laying in someone's yard somewhere in a southern Wisconsin back-road. A lady from the house came out with Oreo cookies and water which I devoured in seconds. This gave me enough energy to continue on. My next stop was at a typical WI crossroads with a church and a bar. I stumbled in sun burnt, sweaty, dirty, and looking next to death. I had no money so I had to explain to the bar tender that I needed a cheeseburger and would pay him back once I found my car. He took pity on this poor fool and obliged. The patrons just stared as I sat at the end of the bar wolfing down the greasy burger…This day finally ended with me getting back to home base, going directly to the car, leaving a wild party that the others were in the middle of and going home after a stop at the local Good Samaritan bar.
Story #2: This is one of my early cross country ski races. I must have just started getting into racing. I heard about this race in Marquette, Michigan; it was called The Red Earth Loppet. This race was the predecessor to the Noquemanon. It was a full 51K, 30 plus mile race. It must be a 9 or 10 hour drive from my house so I headed up after work on Fri. I got in late but in time to pick up my race packet. I go directly to the parking lot of the race start. Where I settle in for a night of truck camping. During the night a full on raging blizzard moved in. The temps plummeted and my quality of sleep went down with it. The morning finally rolled around with slightly better conditions but still bitter cold and blowing snow. I fire up the single burner camp stove and heat up some instant coffee and oatmeal. All is well, I think up to this point…The gun goes off and the race is on. Once again I don't remember when things started going bad. What I do remember is leaning on my poles with slow racers and old ladies going by asking if I was alright. I do remember skiing into a feed station, eating donuts, biting my lip and bleeding over my face. Most likely cause I couldn't feel my face. The trail was being drifted over as I trudged on; mostly by myself. When I finally came into the finish the race staff was taking down the banners, the hot food had been loaded into the trucks and the finish area was almost empty of people. I at once stumbled to my truck and curled up into my sleeping bag. Caught a short nap and fired up my truck and drove home the very night.
Hope you can use these 2 stories. They are for the most part true to the letter. Like I said before we could write several more of our trips into this little idea of yours but that was all just great times and to be expected.
Have a Merry Christmas. Say Hi to the little one and Crystal. Have Fun
Your Buddy,
Mike

Great stuff…starting off without a shirt!!!
Thatz a classic...oh the audacity of youth!!!

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

The third installment of "One of my worst dayz out there!"


Open up a warm Guinness, light up a Cuban, because for your reading pleasure, we now present the third installment of "One of my worst dayz out there." This epic is provided to you by Tim Ek. Tim Ek, a long time competitive mountain bike racer, who in the last four or so years has gravitated towards the underbelly of cycling; participating in many 12 hour mountain bike events (finishing I believe in 2 nd place in the overall WEM Series last season) as well as finishing ninth (on a 26 inch mt.bike) in the 2007 Trans-Iowa. As he develops into a full-on Enduro-racer extraordinaire he has been kind enough to include the author on many of his arduous training rides. If there is a blemish on this fine man's record it would involve his murky relationship with Mallory and his rouge DBD group. Ek has repeatedly refused to comment on his affiliation (or lack thereof) with the DBD. Below are the unabridged words of EK describing a degree of lofty clairvoyance that can only be obtained through attempting to race two hardcore 12 mountain bike on back to back weekends. (Editors note: The course EK is racing on is the WEMS Thunderdown @ the Underdown or Underground?):

My good friend and confidant, here are a few of my favorites. I truly hope these will suffice as I feel they are just about as far from 'techy' as one could get: I knew stacking two12 hour epics together back to back in two weekends would test my willingness to live, but I had no idea how bad I would want to die. I pushed, plugged and fought through the course feeling the last weekend's effort creeping into my legs in that sort of DEEP fatigue one feels after say a dehydrated double summit of Everest attempt. Loneliness came to me in many forms and visions. I found myself in dialog with her (loneliness) and even singing to her at times. As the hours wore on I longed for some sense of the time. Without a time piece (no watch or heart rate monitor mounted on this rig) I actually began to look to the sun for answers. I started to make friends with the squirrels and even got excited by the occasional honking of geese overhead, calling out to them, "Hi friends". In one particular instance a chipmunk darted out in front of my wheel and I heard my own voice cry out, "careful little buddy". What was happening to me? Those in the know would refer to it as "SLIPPING ON THROUGH TO THE OTHER SIDE".
It just wasn't happening with the hard tail, in fact I was planning out what I would say to the doctors in the Wausau hospital. Something like this..."Well, Doc, I don't know how to say this so I'm just going to say it, will you please remove my #$%^?"

Great stuff...surrealism brought on by exhaustion!!! How cool is that???

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Part II: One of my worst dayz out there....


The second installment of “One My Worst Dayz Out There!” is by North Dakotian, Dave Simmons. Mr. Simmons is a mere man-boy when compared to Pramann or the writer, but he has the right stuff and so can look forward to a great and long future of pain and suffering on THE ROAD of DESPAIR. Last year he did very well in the Arrowhead 135 and also was a top finisher at the RED ASS 300 up in Winnipeg in June. He also has recently sired a man-child of whom the whole future of arctic exploration, upon bicycle, rests. Plus hez a first-rate young man... Below he recounts one of his worst dayz out:
...My greatest memory of a full on "bust" comes from last year’s Arrowhead135. After curling up with an old narley DBDer (that was obviously suffering from some kind of dementia) for a spell to try and stay warm, I took off again early morning in the sub-zero temps, but quickly hit the proverbial “wall” of insufferable pain and anguish...
But let me start at the beginning; I got myself in trouble as I had packed up from the half-way cabin in such a hurry that I didn't eat or drink anything before heading off to chase down the front runners. After four or so more night hours on the trial, I was totally gassed and looking for a place to bivy. At the top of a beautiful rise I spied a three-walled snowmobile shelter and made for it. When I peered into the hovel, I saw the old one laying there in his ratty antiquated sleeping bag. He called over something amounting to, “Welcome youth, I’m glad for the company, I've busted, me legs are no good.” I recognized him as an old member of one of Mallory’s group and a veteran AH rider. I set up my bivy next to him and although bitterly cold for most of the time, the rest did bring a relative degree of respite from the harshness of the trail. I think I rested for a few hours. With the sun, I arose to a frigid morning as did the ancient one. Now this was about 24 hours after starting the race and freezing all night. So, not surprisingly a few hours later towards the finish of the race, the muscles in my neck and shoulders went numb and I started hallucinating. I swear there was a snowmobile following me for the longest time, but it never got any closer or further away. Then I thought I saw someone alongside the trail taking pictures, but again when I got up to him there was no one there. I was reduced to sitting along the edge of the trail with about 5 miles to go thinking there is no way I could make it, just a measly five miles after completing 130 miles. Five miles! That's it! Pretty hard to imagine not being able to ride five miles. Eventually I warmed up the cajones enough to stagger into the finish. I can't wait to see what kind of trouble I can get into on the Alaska trail one day. Hopefully that old man will be there to keep me company again during the long Alaskan night...

Wow, what a great epic! What Mr. Simmons calls 'hallucinations' I like to think of as 'vision quests'…I wonder who that old man was? :)

Stayed tuned for the next installment of "One of my worst dayz out there." Featuring Duluth's own Tim Ek....
ps: If you have an experience with "going bust" contact me and I'll include your narrative. Don't be afraid to embellish as I make it a rule to never let the truth get in the way of a good story!

Thursday, December 11, 2008

The image is of Dave Pramann (our featured writer today) after finishing the Arrowhead 135 in Record Time...Note: He is the not-so-pretty one!


The first installment of “One of My Worst Dayz Out There!”

So there’s this misguided roadie-kid, alwayz in a Flanders jersey, that routinely snubs me out on Jean Duluth Road...Several weeks ago (maybe itz been a good month—roadies don’t ride in the cold), he snubbed me big time, so I turned and chased him. When I finally caught up to him, I struck up a conversation with him, and he starting going on and on about power wattages and power meters and power graphics and max heart-rates and thatz why he routinely snubs me, Cuz I’m burying the power meter and so I’m too gassed to wave to another biker.” His lame explanation got me to thinking…Power wattage? Power meters? Heart rate training zones? VO2 Max? Lactate threshold? Mallory never needed any power wattage meter gizmo to tell him to go harder!!! Mallory went harder cuz he was Mallory. So then I did me some more thinkin’ and then I thinks to myself, “Since Mallory refuses to give interviews, why not ask a few of my hard-core buddies how they know when they are totally maxed out? This novel, albeit vague idea, with the help of a more clear thinking friend of mine, then morphed into an idea to ask some of my hard-core buddies to describe one of their worst days out on THE ROAD. Therefore, below is the first installment of a new section of this amateurish blog-site. Itz called “One of My Worst Dayz Out There!” Our first contributor is Dave Pramann. Dave Pramann is the Arrowhead 135 record-holder. He has ridden the Arrowhead faster than anybody else two times. Or in other words, he owns the two fastest Arrowhead times ever. He is also an outstanding cyclist in all genres of the sport and more importantly he is a great guy and a connoisseur of fine stouts. The following is a personal narrative from Mr. Pramann describing one of his worst dayz out back in his youthful dayz at the University of Wisconsin in Mad-Town—

“Surely have several stories, but bore you with only one. There I was, just riding along. The Duluthian off to college in hippie-city Madison mid-late 1970's. Real cyclists pretty much do not exist in Duluth, but I have my Fuji Special 10-speed from Stewarts Wheelgoods. I believe I am fast and good from the 25 mile Paoli bike rides and a decent Birkebeiner XC-ski and run background. I join in on a Yellow Jersey Century ride out to the west of Madison. Beautiful Fall colors at their finest. Harvest time. Cool and Sunny. I have never before ridden in a group. Drafting is something Engineering students practice in school. Did you know there are big hills west of Madison? Lots of Big hills. Carry as little as possible cause light is good. Latch on to the early fast group. I notice a couple strangely smooth-looking fast riders with big thighs in this bunch. They are really hunched over. Both a girl and a guy about my age. Maybe one stop to get something to eat at about 30 miles. At 60 miles am feeling good, thinking, "Yeah I can do this." I am young and strong and from the North, and I have toe-clips and tennies. The group kinda rides away from me on a small rise. At 75 miles I feel a serious pit in my stomach. At 80 miles I am wandering all over the road seeing beautiful but dull-grey colors. Going real slow. I again latch on to a small group of older people. They are munching and eating and drinking. They talk about some Heiden kids who are riding up ahead and are pretty impressive (Editor’s note: Eric and Beth Heiden of the OLYMPICS—Like tons of Gold Medals in speed skating!) I have no idea. I have nothing. I beg. They give. Still my sorry ass is dropped. I go real slow. At 90 miles I am still seeing colors and going real real slow. A moth flies past. Its getting late. A possum runs much faster up a small rise. I stop. No place to buy anything. Plus who needs to bring money on a ride? Hmmm. That corn looks good. Wait, my summer on the distant uncle's farm tells me that is Field Corn. But hey, it must have calories. I stumble into the partially harvested fields and tear open corn stalks and chew and swallow and at least it is something. Glad my parents gave me good teeth. I am OK. At 98 miles I am still riding darn slow. Spaghetti at the finish. I must finish or die here at mile 98. I finish. I sit. Someone brings me a plate of Spaghetti. A bonfire is off in the distance. I stagger to it. Another plate. And another. I am still hungry and then they run out because it is late and I am close to the end of the finishers anyway. This must have been the dreaded bonk. It was. I go back to my apartment and eat.
Dave P
Great Stuff!!!! My favorite part is when he resorts to eating the field corn, I wonder how a guy can evaluate/graph that kind of desperation on a power meter?...Look forward to the second installment of "One of my worst dayz out there!" in the very near future...
p.s. If you, dear reader, have a story to tell, please contact the author and he will attempt to include your epic as well....

Monday, December 8, 2008

Secret Societies...



Dear Discerning Reader:

Many of you have expressed a keen interest in learning about the enigmatic DBD. Questions stem from; “Who are they?” and “Can I join them?” To, “Are they getting the therapy they so obviously need?” To, “Are our wives and daughters safe?” The broad range and variability of your queries surrounding the cycling mystics known collectively as the DBD bares witness to their compelling, and stirring world view. Your questions also reflect the unsettling emotions deep within that inevitably occur when this group is subjected to serious cognitive analysis. Yet the truth of the matter is that we know very little of the DBD. Here is the extent of what little we do know: They are somehow loosely affiliated with the obscure Quixotic Rogues. The Quixotic Rogues are a rag-tag group of cyclists that owe some allegiance to the infamous Avenging Mallards Adventure Club (AMAC). The AMAC has an affinity for hard-core stouts and was founded sometime in the 20th Century. The intrepid George Mallory seems to be their charismatic leader. Since his death on Everest in the 1920s, by most accounts, Mallory has slowed a bit, but those close to him claim that he is as intense, vigorous, and steadfast in his convictions as ever! Mallory is rarely seen in public and never grants interviews to the media. In all of these groups, Mallory seems to hold a pivotal leadership role. So while in-depth intelligence regarding these groups is sketchy (especially with regard to the DBD), we now, given a recent prize that has fallen into the writer’s possession, are at least able to begin the incredible process of inquiry into this most secret society. Perhaps now we can begin to discern the myth and legendary lore from the sterile facts. It is the author’s hope, that the following correspondence between two current members of the DBD may assist us in understanding this most compelling secret society. What you are about to read is a facsimile of two secret letters that have very recently come into the possession of the author. He can divulge nothing more as to the circumstances surrounding the acquisition of these letters as to do so would mean grave harm to both the writer and perhaps the entire free-market world.”


Note: Apparently, the first letter is some kind of admission of failure or dereliction of duty that occurred during some common mission, whereby the letter-writer is submitting a rationale or justification for resignation from the DBD. The second and perhaps more telling letter is the response to the sender’s retelling of the circumstances leading to the decision to resign from the DBD. The initial letter sender is obviously covertly, even subconsciously seeking solace. The respondent is obviously a loyal confidant to the dishonored one, but at what price? Does the respondent convey a weakening of Mallory’s long reign? Read on and draw your own conclusions about this remarkable, albeit secretive organization. More analysis to follow…


Dear Hondo:
After the seven hours on The Road, I must admit to thinking, as we departed to go our separate ways, that your hill climb up 40th would finish me...It is an impressive thing that you were able to ride the whole thing, although I suspect, in direct violation of the DBD code of honor, that you employed your granny/sissy-gear! But alas, I have some sad, disheartening news; for I must come forth with the Truth— In an effort to obtain the agreed upon target training goal of eight hours, I rode past my home and out to Lester River and then rode up the Seven Bridges Road heading towards Amity Trail and then back home via Jean Duluth Road. In an act reeking of compromised fortitude, at the point on the Seven Bridges Road where the slope gets relatively steep, I got off the bike and walked. I tried to rationalize this less than honorable act by telling myself that I was walking solely to warm my feet. From behind, as I was pathetically marching slowly up the hill, some geeky triathlete-type festooned in a brightly colored running suit, skipped by and yelled out mockingly, "Hey aren't ya suppose to ride that thing?" I swore quietly and wearily at him and then wept the wretched tears of bitter shame, humiliation, and dishonor...Mortally wounded, I staggered onward and over to the Seventh Bridge with the intention of throwing my dishonored, soiled body over into the waiting River of Abysmal Discarded Worthlessness, but lacked the courage to do so. So within the span of less than five minutes I dishonored myself two times for sure and maybe even three times if you count the initial act of walking the bike... I will be sending in my resignation to the DBD Self-Incriminating Acts of Dishonor Commission shortly. Good Luck, Godspeed, and tell Mallory of me, that "I knew him, he was once a Man." As I leave the DBD to follow a mundane existence for what few years I have left, rest in the knowledge that these acts of "dishonor will not trouble me, once I am dead."
With regret,
C


Dear Despondent One:
While your behavior is inexcusable, please don't send in your resignation yet. I know if you would've had the strength you would have retaliated against the tri-athlete, perhaps it's better for the club that you didn't. The shock of such a comment from a tri-athlete must have left you breathless, sort of like I was when that guy in XXXXX asked me, "Why do you start so early?" I was so taken aback by the simplicity of the question that I caught myself before responding..."I don't know". Instead I mustered the awkwardly stupid answer of, "so we have the rest of the day", while as the words were escaping my lips I said to myself, "who are you kidding, you know you're just going to sleep on the couch the rest of the day anyway. Why do we start so early?”

I appreciated your honest commentary on not having the courage to throw yourself off the bridge. In my profession we know that the absurdly depressed are never at risk of suicide as they lack the motivation to follow through with the deed. It is the novice mental health professional that invests energy into "saving the life" of the debilitatingly depressed individual. They, the depressed, will never do it; it's the one that suddenly begins to emerge into a healthier state that must be more closely monitored. The mere fact that you were hovering near or at your "bottom" may have just saved your life.
The rolodex of comments that must have fluttered through your mind when the “skipping” runner said that to you staggers me. I know in your mind you were grabbing him by his fancy running jacket and kicking his XXXXXXX XXXX XXX XXXXXX all over the place. He was probably about 3 blocks into his 2 mile run when he sashayed past your broken, disheveled manhood. If he only knew what we'd been through... Besides Mallory need not know of this obscene act. What Mallory doesn’t know won’t hurt him!
Hang tough, you'll always be DBD to me.
Buck up,
H


Great News: In the near future, I am going to feature a few episodes of “one of my worst dayz out” (personal narratives of loathing on THE ROAD TO NOWHERE) provided by some of my heroes…including Dave Pramann, Dave Simmons, Mike Conway, Tim Ek, Greg Hexum, and even Brent Smith (to get a couple of "the runners" perspective!)

Sunday, December 7, 2008

Feeding the Rat.....


Eki and I fed the RAT for eight hours today!!! The start was @ 5:00 a.m. and 10 degree below zero....SWEET

Thursday, December 4, 2008


Not to be divisive especially in this critical time where we as loyal, patriotic Americans need to buck up and go shopping for poorly designed but shiny products and borrow more money from mismanaged banks and buy more insurance from fraudulent insurance monoliths and charge all kinds of worthless stuff on our toxic credit cards and may be even go out and buy a low-tech GM, Ford, or Chrysler gas-guzzler and of course support the troops; Of late I have been contemplating what DORKS pure road racers are...expect a full commentary in a few dayz!

Sunday, November 30, 2008

A huge week on the bike...ALONE with my only real friend, THE ROAD

As the rest of you gave thanksgivings for varied and interesting lives...
The forlorn author had a huge week on his simple steel bike…and what with all the good cheer and such, it got me to thinking that…being on the road aint no good life, but itz my life…


Got me an old Waylon Jennings song stuck in my head as I broke the 20 hour mark whilst alone on the dusty, cold ROAD

Cyclists ain't easy to love and they're harder to hold. They'd rather give you a crank-set than diamonds or gold.

Gunnar steel bicycles and old faded chamois, And each night begins a new day.

If you don't understand him, an' he don't die young, He'll prob'ly just ride away.

Mamas, don't let your babies grow up to be enduro-cycling freaks.

Don't let 'em ride mtbs or drive them old 29ers.

Let 'em be runners and swimmers and such.

Mamas don't let your babies grow up to be cyclists.

'Cos they'll never stay home and they're always alone.

Even with someone they love.

Cyclists like smokey old oatmeal stouts and clear mountain mornings, Little warm puppies and children and girls of the night.

Them that don't know him won't like him and them that do, Sometimes won't know how to take him.

He ain't wrong, he's just different but his pride won't let him, Do things to make you think he's right.

Mamas, don't let your babies grow up to be cyclists.

Don't let 'em pedal fixies or drive them old cross-bikes. Let 'em be geeky tri-athletes and skiers and such.

Mamas don't let your babies grow up to be cyclists.

'Cos they'll never stay home and they're always alone.

Even with someone they love.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Yeah...I gotz lotz to be thankful for, but...







I am most thankful for Mark, Ernest and Kurt...and of course, Bell's Expedition Stout, My Gunnar 29er, and Peace Coffee...

I am most thankful for....


I am most thankful for....the fact that the Feds are gonna save GM, Ford, and that other monolithical auto-dinosaur based out of Detroit, Michigan (the Cradle of Civilization)...

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Lance Andre's Race...Itz gonna be a blast!!!!

Saturday, January 10th; I have the website linked somewhere on the right side of this blog...Check it out; all the guyz that did it last year went home with their appendages intact and even better; fired-up for more...

Monday, November 24, 2008

If loving her is wrong....I don't want to be right!!!


I have so much to be thankful for...we all do. Family, friends, you know, all that stuff...But I am most thankful for BELL'S EXPEDITION STOUT.
Feeding the Rat: The trails in Duluth right now are as good as it gets...No bugs, no mud, no tourons, amazing traction, even the skinny neurotic runners are nowhere in sight...Get OUT and ride, RIDE LIKE the WIND....To be free again....The highly covert DBD #4 is scheduled for this weekend, if I don't make it back, know that I died with a smile on my face :)

Wednesday, November 19, 2008


“We shall not bring back a single bit of gold or silver, not a gem, nor any coal or iron. We shall not find a single foot of earth that can be planted with crops to raise food. It’s no use. So, if you cannot understand that there is something in man which responds to the challenge of this mountain and goes out to meet it, that the struggle is the struggle of life itself upward and forever upward, then you won’t see why we go.”

George Herbert Leigh Mallory
Founder of the Avenging Mallard Adventure Club & and Architect of the DBD

In response to inquiries regarding the enigmatic DBD

A special division of the Quixotic Rogues Cycling Club; the DBD is cloaked in secrecy and mysticism whose beginning stems from the Golden Age of Exploration. Certainly a more romantic time when an alpha male was measured by his propensity for ardent suffering as compared to the present-- in that it is rare in todayz world, the era of the sensitive beta male, for men to measure themselves against the forces of nature … Apparently itz specific founding stems from a chance meeting between Luigi Amedeo di Savor, the Duke of Abruzzi and George Mallory deep within the Hindu Kush at the turn of the 20th Century. Mallory was on his way to Everest while the Duke was finishing up a bold but unsuccessful bid for the virgin summit of K2. Legend has it that the Duke, in the throngs of severe exhaustion, malnourishment, and despair broke down and emotionally wept as he recounted the circumstances of his defeat (during of which he had lost several top-notch men). Mallory was, of course, steadfast, unsympathetic, and immediately called his men together to insure them that any man in his expedition caught sobbing would be shot. He then left the immediate area to allow the Duke to gather up what was left of his compromised manhood and to soldier on...

The DBD training sessions are designed to develop in our athletes a sense of indifference to feelings. It is our contention that the best endurance cyclists are numb, albeit efficient machines void of any semblance of human emotion. We are committed to simple objectivism. Approach the objective, begin the objective, finish the objective...period.

Cessation of history, a disdain for glory, even comfort; they ride not for fame or enlightenment…they ride only because they are on the bike. They stop riding only when the race is over. There is no joy, no reflection, no sense of accomplishment…there is only THE ROAD…There is only a beginning and an end. Men, having completed a long series of DBD sessions, no longer worry about divulging their inner feelings as they are devoid of emotion. A seasoned DBDer is essentially emotionless...

Involuntary sinew and muscle function replaces free will; the brain is replaced with a simplistic albeit more efficient notochord. Cognition is limited to “thinking” only of the most fundamental instinctual thoughts such as basic maintenance of caloric intake and hydration and maintaining adequate power to the pedals. Bloody chafing along ones MAN AREA, the sort that would drive a normal man insane is just something that occurs, nothing more nothing less...

Below is the musings of a robust lad; a man well on his way to achieving notoriety within the enduro-freak cycling community (and training partner of the declining author) regarding the just completed third DBD training ride of the season [Note: last Sunday, November 16, 2008, the DBD left Duluth at 4:40 a.m. and embarked on a 7.5 hours session]. As you read, please consider that the DBD is still in the early phase of training. One cannot hope to achieve the full DBD mindset until after ten or more sessions. The idea is to develop the athlete in a progressive manner with the goal being for a full peak around late April and early May of 2009 (and a minor peak for the first week of February '09):

You may be thankful that you missed this one. The idea of traversing all the trail systems that Duluth has to offer is a bit daunting when one considers that it's winter. We climbed up Lester through the mud in complete blackness with a light snow falling. We decided that Lester was just too wet and we needed to get out of it. We then crossed to Hartley via Amity and the XXXX XXXXXXXX XXXXX (a superb section for mountain biking I might add). Once in Hartley we completed the inner loop and the new sections that have been added. Mind you if you really think about these sections, it amounts to a great deal of climbing in soft soil. Upon completion of Hartley the light of day was upon us. We hit the pavement for the commute to Piedmont. Our sweat soaked clothes gathered the bite of the morning air like a moth to flame. Although we did not acknowledge it, we were cold and really hunkering in as we rode exposed into a west wind. Once again we climbed, as we entered my neighborhood to the P.T. parking lot. Cold and wet with sweat we hit the trails. This is the portion of the day where we soared. The trails were hard and fast. Among the deer we sketched our way through what XXXXXXX aptly referred to as "like riding in the Rockies". The new G.F. really proved its worth in this system as I was able to accurately make comparisons to my other bikes as I passed through familiar sections. After completing a large loop we exited on the trail that simply goes down as "World Class". We shook our heads as we were spit out onto skyline by the "Wall" overlook. Short two minute break to eat and re-fit in an effort to prepare for the exposed ride to Spirit. Again, the cold nipped at us and worked its way through our clothes, but we remained stoic. Upon arrival to the mountain we were beginning to realize that the morning was taking its toll. We were wasted! We pushed our bikes up the hill and again re-fit at the top of the ski lift. Entering the challenging single track we noticed that our skills were diminishing as we argued about who would lead. A time check indicated that we were 6.5 hours in and really tired. We completed the top section and had to push some of the climbs as the power was gone from our legs. We toiled in the top half of the mountain for about 30-40 more minutes before conferring about continuing. Careful to not demonstrate emotion, we agreed that if we completed the entire lap our total bike time including the commute home would put us north of 8 hours or even 8.5 hours. We decided to pull the plug and traversed via service road across the mountain and back to the parking lot. A short re-fit for the commute home and we were on our way.
I was so wasted when I got into my house I wasn't sure I would be able to get my gear off and actually considered laying down on the basement floor for awhile. However, I managed to get undressed and get everything into the washing machine. I made my way to a hot bath and promptly fell asleep in the tub in about 3 seconds flat awakening to the sound of XXX returning from a run. I lost a total of 7 pounds on that ride. I consumed massive amounts of food throughout the rest of the day including an entire pizza. In addition, I took about a 2.5 hour nap. I haven't been that worked for quite some time. The new bike was completely trashed. It looked like I had owned it for about 5 years, but man she worked well. I hope I did not display any emotion…

Saturday, November 15, 2008

True North by Elliot Merrick...Read it

Here is a novel (written in 1930) that upon reading; in many instances gave me serious pause for reflection as the lines rang true with such burning clarity and insight... Rare prose indeed and yet so fundamental to thinking about the requirements of living a purposeful and meaningful life…Bravo Elliot Merrick!!!! Below is a sampling:

“…how fine it is of the unspoiled Eskimos away North to put in the grave the precious knives and spears of his kinsmen. We sniff and say that an Eskimo who dies for lack of a knife that sleeps beside a skeleton is a fool, never supposing that his custom may be the acceptance of a challenge, a wail of grief and a battle cry defiance to life, to death, to Nature kind and Nature cruel, to the shadowy future and all the engulfing incomprehensible. He doesn’t care for his own future when he stands beside a grave. But we, we think always of the future; that is the root of civilization. In this respect primitive races are certainly finer than we; that they can ignore the certain sufferings of tomorrow. It enables them to live today, which is more than civilized men do. It is inexpedient, it costs life, but it is brave. Life is so uncertain; they know how to treat it. To a certain degree, in certain ways, they provide for the future, of course, but beyond a certain point they will not go. It is not always ignorance that stops them. Many of the Indians we have met, and even some of the trappers have a fine disdain for the future that makes our foresight, our anxiety to provide every possible comfort and safety, our desire to insure against the future and establish that unattainable ideal of society, Security, show up by contrast as ugly and greedy and small. Smart, yes; but not glorious.”

Thursday, November 13, 2008

A Work-in-Progress...The Quixotic Rogues Cycling Team

A work-in-progress…

The Quixotic Rogues will be a new kind of cycling team; a team with a progressive vision that will transform the direction of USA Cycling from a third rate fringe sport on par with NSCAR, mired in rampant consumerism and gadgetry, to a thinking albeit aging man’s game that celebrates cerebral development and serene clarity through facing up to severe physical hardships while mounted upon a locally made bicycle purchased from a local bike shop. The following tenets or principals shall form the foundational basis of “The TEAM’s” structural philosophy:

· The Quixotic Rogues will hold in contempt anything and everything created by the use of carbon, shun over-engineered hydraulics in all aspects and functions, and will look down upon all but the most rudimentary forms of front suspension systems. Note: Of course any use of rear suspensions shall result in immediate expulsion from the team.

· The Quixotic Rogues will encourage young people (defined as cyclists under the age of 39) to join the ranks of the domestique, but only those young people that are willing to sign a solemn oath to always allow the senior members to win the races. The oath also commits the younger ones to “pull” the senior members on long windy training sessions. As well as retrieve victory ales for senior members once the race is done and the festivities have begun. Young members must never question a senior member when the senior member embellishes the truth or exaggerates his abilities during long periods of reminiscing about when the senior was “a hardy and more rigorous man, years ago, in my youth when I was a cycling force to be…” Certainly once a younger member proves his meddle he will be able join the ranks of the senior echelon.

· The Quixotic Rogues Team Kits of course should in most instances be made of wool with chamois of rough leather. Preferably leather that has been chewed by an Inuit women over the age of 78. We have a good solid man charged with developing a specific motif; but rest assured that the jersey will be emblazoned with our war cry, INVICTUS.” He is reviewing several beasts of dignity, all of which have extraordinary capacities for physical and loathsome toil to represent our lofty purpose including the following— The dragon for its savage intensity; The lion for its dominance and pride; the wolverine for its unmatchable fury per pound; The cougar for its stealth and beauty; and of course The tortoise for its regal perseverance…Note: other ideas pertaining to this important consideration are encouraged.

· The Quixotic Rogues will, of course, publicly frown upon the overzealous use of pharmaceuticals, yet there is a tacit undercurrent built into this discretionary policy that will not ignore the fact that as cyclists age there are various over-the-counter elixirs, ales, and empathetic apothecaries that may be deemed to be subjectively required for some of the old boyz to enable them to still “turn the crank” with the younger more robust lads. This kind of thing may be especially warranted in the shorter more “fast-twitch” types of XC races.

· More to come…

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

I am seriously thinking about forming a new cycling team...Any takers????

The Quixotic Rogues...A new cycling team that will refine the meaning of victory...more on this to come....I am working on a Team Mission Statement

Feeding the Rat: 17.4 hours for Week #3...It was sweet on Sunday as my camelbak froze up and my toes were going numb from the cold; great training for the Arrowhead 135

Great book I am almost finished with: True North by Elliot Merrick...A write-up in a few dayz

Monday, November 3, 2008

DBD #1: There is so so so little time to prepare for the up coming CLASSICS!!!!

D.B.D. #1: Six hours and nineteen minutes with my training buddy, Eki Hondo, on Sunday. We left our respective and comfortable abodes at 4:40 a.m. and met at the Copper-top church as the bells chimed five times. From there we crossed the Bong Bridge, rode thru a sleeping, hungover Souptown gaining access to the old gravel railroad bed that follows the Great Lake’s coastal contour across northern Wisconsin and is now frequented by weighty ATVer and soon-to-be obese snowjetters. The gravel makes for a great training ground for the Trans-Iowa and other spring gravel classics. Given our strict adherence to mandated DBD training schedules/protocols coupled with the infinite hours available to the local "Joe Six-Packs" for viewing pro football games on Sundays, we rode uninterrupted nearly all the way to Brule, WI and then turned and headed back the way we had come…The first DBD training ride of the season is in the books!!!


Feeding the Rat: 15.6 hours for Week #2 of the Winter Training Season (including DBD #1). Note: Cumulative Total: 32.5 hours...I will never be in shape for the AH 135!!!

Saturday, November 1, 2008

Trans-Iowa...Registration


Serious stuff...very serious, NO I am not kidding around, really serious...
If you are a veteran of the Trans-Iowa--send in your post card entry info to G-Ted on November 11th...This is serious stuff...Seriously, those guyz from Iowa don't mess around and you don't want to miss TRANS-IOWA V!!!!!!!!!!

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Cyclocross is a Blast, but not when ya can't run....

Even though I am not very good at it (mainly because I am such a klutz), in years past I have greatly enjoyed the fast paced fall cyclocross season. Last year I did five CX races and the year before I did even more than that racing nearly every weekend in late September and all of October, but this year my injured heel has not healed to the extent to allow me to attempt a CX race...I hurt my heel in a dynamic crushing event while chasing my crazed offspring on the Lake Superior Hiking Trail. I was chasing her as she crossed a small bridge spanning about two feet across a dried-up rocky creek-bed; she ran over with no problem, but when I hit the old rickety wood structure it gave way and I violently jammed my heal into the underlying rocks. It hurt something awful and had it not been for a stash of Summit Porter Ales (Note: for the money; a fine local St. Paul, MN Ale ) back at the camp, I may have elected suicide rather than hiking/limping out the next morning...Then the very next weekend I jammed the same heel into the bottom of a pool while chasing the same crazed off-spring up and down one of those cheesy motel water-slides. Again access to fermented grain beverages saved my will to live as it felt like one of them mean, old Taliban fellas had hit me with a full swing on the bottom of my foot with an ax handle. X-rays revealed a "significant" bone spur and the doc shot it up with cortisone, but that was way back in mid-August and it is still is too tender to run on...so it goes...My hope is that I will be able to race the November 15th Minnesota CX Championships...But hey you don't want to read about my problems, you got your own problems!!!! Plus I can still ride my bike....

Thursday, October 23, 2008

A slightly confused amateur makes a bid for the Top Spot at the Arrowhead 135...Hey, by the way, there is still time to sign-up!!!!!!




Confused author throws his hat in the Ring…Look for change at the Top come February regarding The Arrowhead 135 Suffer-fest

“In response to an overwhelming outpouring of support and encouragement from ‘Main-streets’ all across America, I am at this time announcing my candidacy for the TOP SPOT at the 2009 Arrowhead 135!”
CP Farrow, October 20, 2008

Monday, October 20th came and went; the financial markets continued in a downward spiral, the presidential front runners with great sincerity warned us of their opponent’s disastrous tax proposals, and the bighearted oil cartel continued to drop the prices at the pumps to allow the masses an unbridled Christmas spending spree at Wal Mart— So my official announcement regarding my intention to pursue a well constructed and thoroughly planned-out campaign to win the Arrowhead 135 come February 2009 largely went unheralded. The lack of mainstream press coverage is not surprising given their Hollywood elitist liberal bias and their connections to the NRA and the evangelical right. The fact of the matter is that I do not welcome their gratuitous exposure; I am not running for the Top Spot at the Arrowhead 135 to please the gun-toting, tree cutting, oil drilling, far left media circles that dine with the Nancy Peloski/Barney Frank bunch nor do I seek to satisfy Karl Rove and his socialistic-leaning, anti-American, Castro-lovin’, tree-hugging media crowd as well. I am running for the hard working people of America, the most productive, the most humble, the most peaceful, and the most ecological people on this great American-made earth of ours.
Certainly winning the Arrowhead 135 is not an easy goal and there are others that will also vie for this great objective. Yet unlike the other racers, the likes of Dave Pramann, Terry Brannick, Dave Gray, Joel Calahan, and other socialists, I will not rely on mundane training regimens and healthy life-style choices. Americans are sick and tired of these antiquated approaches. The people are ready for change, the people yearn for straight talk, and most of all-- the people want a new rider to win the Arrowhead 135 in 2009! The American People are tired of the same old thing, the same old Dave Pramann outpacing Gray, Brannick, and Calahan year after year after year. Those people are NOT racing for you, they don't care about mainstreet, they don't care about Joe-The-Plumber, all they care about is Wall Street and their fancy-pants carbon-burning sponsorships!!!!

Partnering up with Dave Simmons and the rest of the true Red White and Blue Nordaakotah contingency for this upcoming Arrowhead 135, the author promises new faces on the podium. The time is now to throw out the greedy old guard and to look to change, change NOW; yes the American people want CHANGE on the Podium in 2009!!!

The following is a strategic outline of what the American people can expect from me and my Northdaakotah partners as we take on and ultimately defeat the entrenched power-brokers of yesteryears:

This campaign to victory will NOT take any prisoners. We plan to fight viciously, unfairly if need be, and to retain both out-of-work and bitter statesmen Dick Cheney and Bill Clinton as our legal counsel. This campaign to victory with always put country first, and if in order to keep Hockey Moms and their cute little hockey brats safe, we will use water-boarding and even “extra-ordinary rendition” against the competition ( but only on Canadians, Frenchies, bike designers, bike store managers, engineers, and most of all Air-Traffic Controllers). This campaign to victory will employ the latest in American cutting-edge technologies (manufactured in China) in terms of incorporating the best in snow-bike design into our race strategy and ultimate victory. Now even though the author is on record as having taken a solemn public vow to never ride a Clown Bike, this campaign to victory will, but only if conditions warrant it, use a “clown-like” bike with “clown-like” bike features, but only in situations where the circumstances are such that the safety of the American Heartland is at dire risk for attack from a rogue terroristic state (or in the event of fresh unconsolidated snow). Also, it is important to emphasize that the bike that the author may race at the Arrowhead 135 is not a Clown Bike per se as it is not colored “suspect-telle-tubbie purple” but is instead painted gun-metal NRA blue-gray. [Note: Regarding the use of the Clown-like Bike in a seemingly period of relative global peace or sound snow conditions; while it may seem to the American People that they are not in imminent danger, the American people will need to trust that this campaign knows what is best for the American People regarding the use of the Clown-like Bike in the name of national security.] This campaign to victory will also seek to have the Patriot Act expanded to allow for the not-so-noble use of various pharmaceuticals and other “enhancements” in the very noble and honorable effort to dethrone Pramann, Gray, and Calahan

In sum: Straight talk, pro-America, change at the AH 135 podium, no surrender, country first, save the working people, no Clown-bikes (but a gun-metal gray bike that may slightly resemble a “commie” clown bike), your guns are safe, pro war, pro death penalty, pro-life, pro drilling, and drug use to defeat the axis of evil….
Feeding the Rat: Week #1 for the 2008/2009 Season...16.9 Hours!!! Yes....Just like Rocky V

Monday, October 13, 2008

The author is passed over for sponsorship consideration by all the major players except maybe TEAM INVICTUS...


Invictus
by
W. E. Henley (1849-1903)

OUT of the night that covers me,
Black as the Pit from pole to pole,
I thank whatever gods may be
For my unconquerable soul.

In the fell clutch of circumstance
I have not winced nor cried aloud.
Under the bludgeonings of chance
My head is bloody, but unbowed.

Beyond this place of wrath and tears
Looms but the Horror of the shade,
And yet the menace of the years
Finds, and shall find, me unafraid.

It matters not how strait the gate,
How charged with punishments the scroll,
I am the master of my fate:
I am the captain of my soul.


The title "Invictus" is Latin for "Unconquered." The poem was first published in 1875. I ran across this amazing literary work prepping my Knowledge Bowl Team. It sums up my approach to adventure racing, especially the Arrowhead 135 (and life in general). Since I have no other sponsors per se, I am contacting Mr. Henley's estate in London with a proposal for full sponsorship for both cycling and life in general. But no matter the outcome; from henceforth and forever more: The author will be racing his bicycle and climbing mountains under the royal auspices of The Avenging Mallards Adventure Club, TEAM INVICTUS, & Team DBD...My ship has finally come in as Tim Ek and I will form the foundation of TEAM INVICTUS--"The Unconquered Ones." Once we are up and running, surely the sponsors will come a calling...