#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.
#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!
#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...