Sunday, February 24, 2008

Hartley is in primo shape!!!

Feeding the Rat: Two hours flying thru the single track at Hartley....Right now; itz as good as it gets! The track is like a bob sled run...Pretty good week for an old guy with 18.9 hours on the bike...look out Iowa!!!!

Good luck to all the guyz and galz that started the Alaskan Ultrasport Classic today!!!! When you hit your knees tonight, mention Pierre Ostor...He is up there right now living the dream....Go Pierre!!!!

Another Great DBD Ride with Tim Ek

“Cinderella….you will not be going to the Grand Ball, for real!”

My trusty training partner, the stout-hearted Eki and I in both honor of the start to the 2008 Ultra-sport from Knik to Nome, Alaska and in anticipation of the upcoming 2008 Trans-Iowa IV embarked on DBD #4 at approximately 4:00 a.m. on Saturday, morning. Again, because of national security issues of the highest degree, I must limit any narration to generalities consistent with high level, federally established and mandatory guidelines (of course these guidelines are highly classified and therefore not available to the public; in the interest of protecting the citizens from “the enemy that lurks just below the surface”).

From my XXXXXX, a youthful visionary endowed with a perpetual XXXXXXX machine that is hard to miss!!! It is such leadership and commitment that will enable this XXXXX to just keep getting, stronger, bigger and better. After XXX XXXXX completed, Tim Ek was already getting fired up for the next XXXX, when he hopes to have a consummate XXXXXXX race XXXXXX complete with XXX separate Iowan XXXX…Although the Northland has been inundated the past three weeks, a shy reluctant sun XXXX made rare appearance as the XXXXX XXXX… X. XXXX, he's from Wisconsin, then there's XXXXX XXXXX, northern Iowa.

Standing next to the XXXXXXX, I looked up and just caught a glimpse of XXXXX. Eki went on to finish the XXXXXX! Ultimately, it was a XXXXX time for all and at the conclusion the XXXXX and family members were all treated to XXXX, XXXXXX, and XXXXXX life-giving XXXXXXX, brownies, even cheese dogs!!!! This is a wonderful local Route!!!!

So as you can see it was an amazing ride!


Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Part III...Bring it home

'Twas in another lifetime, one of toil and blood. When blackness was a virtue and the road was full of mud. I came in from the wilderness, a creature void of form."Come in," she said,"I'll give you shelter from the storm."
Robert Zimmerman from Hibbing, Minnesota

Part III: When in doubt; take a nap…
…so where was I? Oh yeah, I limped into the cabin half-a-man. Actually, the term “cabin” is a misnomer as the midway check-point is actually a beautiful chalet-styled modern bungalow complete with two bathrooms, spacious kitchen and a roomy loft-like second floor that is equipped with a multitude of comfy looking, temping berths. The place was populated with hosts that were seemingly direct descents of a hybrid of all the positive traits of Mother Teresa and Gloria Vanderbilt. Consequently the volunteers were incredibly polite, supportive, empathetic, even nurturing. “Minnesota nice” does not adequately describe the warm aurora; with the whole ambiance in some ways simply too accommodating for a man of my social standing.
Upon my arrival, the racers still in the cabin included Don, Josh, and Greg. With Phillip (the skier) arriving not far after Lance; both of whom entered shortly after I stumbled in. There was a funny albeit memorable moment when the skier came in, the light-hearted conservation unconsciously quieted down and we all instinctually lowered eyes in deferential homage as if to acknowledge that with the arrival of the skier we were witnessing a REAL man’s man, a man whose internal fire was something special to behold. We all relished the break from the trail and it was wonderful to sit down and take it easy. A cautionary note, however, one must be aware of the pull to stay too long in such a luxurious setting. A fundamental principle in my strategy for being competitive in any long distance event is to keep the rests to a minimum. Specifically, regarding the AH, the maximum time that I allow myself to relax and enjoy the wonderful, supportive environment of the half-way stop is two hours. This is a rigid rule, one that I do not deviate from for any reason. The rationale is similar to that of the turn-around-time in climbing. On big climbs, climbers (smart ones anyhow) set a time that they WILL turn around. The first year I did the Arrowhead, I was able to get in and out in less than 30 minutes, but that was a year in which both the trail and the weather were in primo conditions. Last year with the super cold temps, I stayed the full two hours and again this year, I allowed for the extended break mostly because I was experiencing frequent bouts of severe leg cramps. Even though I was a hurtin’ cowboy, I made myself leave the warm hospitality because I knew that if I stayed beyond my allotted time parameter, it would become easier to stay… and stay and stay. Again, enough cannot be said about the graciousness and pleasantries demonstrated by the volunteers at the half-way cabin. I sincerely hope that I will one day be able to return the favor.

So after about an hour and forty minutes, I donned my man-diaper, loaded up my camelbaks, and left. I would guess that I was twenty minutes of so behind Don and Greg as I mounted my trusty old Gunnar 29er, hoping to push hard and catch them up. It was obvious that the temps had finally started to descend and so on shaky legs but with a wholesome dinner in me and a dose of full-on optimism, I turned my trusty steel steed into the darkness and started tracking those malcontented Pugslies. There is a surrealistic magic associated with riding solo on snow trails in the darkness. I was energized, pumped-up and even though the conditions were still much less than optimal, I pushed hard and my legs responded favorably. I looked skyward and saw glimmering stars and it was good.
My hard efforts leading out of the cabin bolstered by good cheer, coupled with Don’s flat tire allowed me to catch the duo of Greg and Don about two hours out.
It was great to catch them and ride with them, but just at about the time I met the duo, the hilly sections came into play. The combined stupidity of no granny gear and skinny tires left me really struggling to maintain their pace in the hills. I was being forced off the bike and jogging to keep up and the descents, (usually one of the few strengths of mine), were very sketchy as my front wheel was super squirrelly in the loose snow. Anyway, dear reader, surely you've got your own problems and so you certainly don’t want to hear the laments from some old guy about some inconsequential night ride in the far north. Fact is I did not have long to whine or contemplate my ineptitude anyway as my legs took over and made the call…I started to seize up just like that old ’78 Dodge Charger did; the one that my brother and I burned-up on our way home from a semester at CU in Boulder, back like twenty-two years ago. Yeah, it was just like that in many ways, the red light came on just as we were leaving Sterling, Colorado and yet we kept driving it, sure we would stop every hundred miles or so and try to cool it down, hoping against hope that the old girl could just hang in there long enough to get us back to Minnesota, but only fools hope against hope and it should have been no big surprise when the old girl seized up just outside of Lincoln, Nebraska. The pistons melted into the aluminum engine-block causing the front wheels to lock up. We squealed to a halt, luckily there was enough momentum to skid it off the highway. We sorta looked at each other kinda in an embarrassed sorta silly way, then we got out and hitched-hiked into Lincoln, so it goes…
Same thing in the 08 Arrowhead, the red light came on for me shortly before I reached the cabin. Yet, a little rest allowed my system to cool down, but once I started in on those climbs, the whole thing seized up. I was played out. I threw up the white flag and called out to the boyz letting them know that I was going to need an extended break. To be honest, I was grateful that they did not argue with me. Actually, being the optimist, I took it as a sign of respect. Remember these guys are top-notch and so there is no question that if they had in anyway felt like I was in real trouble they would have stayed. They were doing well and I was pumped for them. As they road away, I took a long breather in the classic defeatist poise (with my fore head on the saddle) and resolved to bivy at the next shelter, (note: normally I would have considered just sleeping out, but it was snowing and I wasn’t in any kind of dire-straits, so I figured a shelter would be nice). Having not paid attention to the shelters and with my map buried somewhere in my gear, I just figured I’d ride at a slow pace until I came upon one. The funny thing was that nearly at the exact moment that I decided to wait until I got to a shelter; I came upon a picturesque shelter situated at the top of a hill. Within minutes I was toasty warm and relaxed in my bivy gear. It was great, I love sleeping out and having reconciled myself to a less than top five finish I faded into contented slumber.
But alas, just as I was wispfully dreaming about Pramann’s frame catastrophically failing at multiple weld points, I sensed an intrusion. It was Dave Simons, the delightful youth from Norddaacoedah. He’s a great guy that too was in search of respite. So then we were two snug bugs in the shelter. As he was bagging down, I told him that my plan was to be back on route in three or so hours, with that bold statement I passed out into a deep sleep; a sleep that I would not have awaken from had it not been for Dave’s misery. Not long after Dave was bived down , Dave Gray graciously peeked in on us and checked that we were Okay, it was nice of him and I remember thinking how it reminded me of when I check in on my little girl late at night. Itz one of my dreams to go to Alaska and make the big ride to Nome, it would be even better if all these guyz could come with me. There’s a silver lining in every cloud and as such Dave’s misfortune was a good thing for me. In other words, he got cold and really uncomfortable, so about three or four hours later he was so cold that he was thrashing around trying to warm up. It woke me up and got us both going. I think we left the cabin around 7:00 a.m. The temps had fallen as evidenced by my partially frozen, but functional camelback.
The sun came out as we rode it home…and it was good………nothing better really!!!!

Thanks again to all involved, especially Cheryl and Pierre and I can’t wait to do it all again in 2009...p.s. Good luck to all who partake in the Ultra of Ultras...the Iditarod Trail, especially Pierre!

Saturday, February 16, 2008

You are only as good as your last race!!!

Itz fun to reminiscence about the good ole dayz, about the Arrowhead 135 and all, but sitting around talking about the glory dayz don't get ya in the top five at the Trans-Iowa!
Feeding the Rat: 3 hours on the snomobile trails...
ps. Part III of the Arrowhead recap in a few dayz...

Friday, February 15, 2008

When bad things happen to bad that bad?

Part II…To the cabin or Don Quixote swallowed up in quick sand…

People, who even remotely know me, know that I am an eternal optimist to a fault. If I imagine there is an infinitesimal chance that things will go well; if I see a glimmer of a probability that things will go my way, then I am eager, without any further cognizance, planning, or forethought, to bet the farm and go for it! This approach to life is why I am the consummate happy-go-lucky amateur, as surely a professional would have figured out the pitfalls of such a philosophy long before he or she had gotten to this point. Now this is a race recap for a specific event, namely the AH 135, not a platform from which to communicate the myriad of occasions in which I have gotten myself into trouble by only seeing the metaphorical glass of beer half-full (it’s a metaphor because I drink beer really fast and so with me, the glass is almost always empty). Yet, a quick browse down thru this blog-site will offer plenty of recent examples of an amateur’s self-induced folly, not to mention the decades worth of ill conceived, albeit cheery-eyed plans-gone-awry that most of my buddies and ex-buddies can bear witness to. I know this is reading like a rant, however, I am going to get back to the race recap shortly, I just felt a little background on my avant-garde decision-making methodology may be helpful to the readers in understanding why while everybody else came to the Arrow Head Ball donning the Large Marges coupled with flamboyant Endomorphs, I showed up dressed conservatively in a 29er equipped with a lightweight 19 mm Mavic Open Pro wheel-set designed for cyclocross racing affixed to the same ensemble that I rely on in attending many summer weddings and other important spring/fall socials. Essentially, upon reflection my plan for success was all based on the slimmest of hopes…that the course would be just like the ones in my dreams!

In terms of my general approach to bike racing, it is this chronic propensity toward quixotesque optimism that always sends me franticly to the front of the pack once the gun goes off. Like the proverbial cookie jar, I just can’t help myself, I know better, I know I am gonna crash & burn and yet I get myself so darn excited and I start hearing and seeing in my deluded brain all that inspirational Madison-Avenue hype; you know, like when they are trying to sell ya life insurance and they start playing motivational music, depicting great-looking people doing wonderful, awe-inspiring things, and then a majestic voice is overlaid preaching about how you too can do or be anything that you want to do or be, as long as you really try your best and really really believe that you can do it or if you believe hard enough you can be anything, maybe even the President or a center in the NBA… (And of course, you will need to buy their insurance to cinch the deal, as well). So I start every race really believing that even though most, if not all, of the guyz lined up next to me are way better athletes, younger and way more fit, way smarter, with better genes, better equipment, better diets, more money, higher G.P.A.s, superior cardiovascular systems, clearer consciences, healthier moral convictions, less clogged arteries, superior livers, more patriotic, better balance, bigger muscles, faster fast twitch muscles and slower slow twitch muscles and yet I still maintain there is a pretty good chance, well maybe not “good” but there is a chance, however slight, that if everything goes well for me (and really bad for everybody else) I could bloody-well win the race! With the start of the 2008 Arrowhead 135, my mindset was no different; looking around and having studied the roster, I was well aware of the fact that I lining up against better people than me, people that are pillars of their perspective communities, people of integrity, athletic people, people that work for a living; yet I still lined up thinking I had a shot. What if Pramann’s frame breaks, what if Gray is viciously attacked by feral cats, what if Joel takes the wrong turn? What if they all get desperately and hopelessly lost?

Even though a quick check of trail conditions on Sunday near the Gateway store had indicated a soft and squirrely trail, I dismissed it as an abnormal sampling tainted by the fact that the examined trail segment was too close to several major thoroughfares to provide an accurate assessment of conditions. The idea about the high-traffic causing the loose snow appealed to me and so quickly manifested into a even higher appealing and self-satisfying hypothesis that hinged on the premise that just a few mere yards ahead from my flawed sample, the trail would be significantly harder and therefore icy fast and perfect for my trusty Gunnar 29er and the light weight wheel/tire set. If the course was set up hard and fast, I would enjoy a major weight advantage in that even the lightest Pugsley’s would be 20 lbs heavier than my ride. After all for the last few weeks in Duluth (nearly 140 miles south) I had been riding my cross bike on trails that were rock-hard fast. I had so convinced myself of this dubious theory that I was really surprised when Dave P. conveyed to me his intention to forgo his record-setting Bontrager mountain bike for the snow bike.

I tried not to let it bother me, but Monday dawned warm and humid, plus in the overnight nearly two inches of snow had fallen. Although I had hoped to get all the bikers to start together at 8:00 a.m., most riders started earlier. Next year I hope we can get more of a real bike race start put back together. Digression Alert! The Arrowhead 135 is billed as a race and when all’s said and done, if you are on a bike, it’s a bike race; not a sojourn for truth, not a personal odyssey, not a spiritual journey, not even an individual time trail…it is a bike race! According to Webster, the term “race” is defined as “a contest between two or more people seeking to do or reach the same thing, or do or reach something first…” I know that the logistics make it tough to get everybody there at the same time and Cheryl and Pierre always do a great job dealing with transports. In 2007 with the frigid temps, it was tough if not impossible, but this year with the mild weather, the bikers should have been able, on their own and without negatively affecting the other competitors, to figure out and agree upon a consensual starting time. I’m telling ya dear reader, in my world, one of the best aspects of bike racing is the START and then the immediate subsequent lead group and chase groups that form. For example, there are few things in life that can compare with the sheer excitement of the start of both the Ore-to-Shore and the Chequamegan 40. Getting in there real tight and forming a cohesive organic pack, living the dream, pretending you’re in the Tour!!! Taking pulls, taking turns at the front, relaxing while in the middle, slapping other guys’ butts, bumping wheels, knowing full well that in the very near future someone is going to make a break; its all top notch stuff, the stuff of dreams!!!!…and its an essential part of bike racing and the first 10 to 15 miles of the Arrowhead is a perfect course for putting together a fast string of bikers.

Four of us did start together including Dave P, Greg P, and Dave S. and it was a blast trying to hold Pramann’s wheel. We all took turns at the front, but Dave P and Greg P were clearly the strongest in the group. That Dave P was strong was no surprise, but I remember thinking, “Who put the quarter in Greg!” I also recall at one point early in the race when Dave S and I were riding in the back, pulling off of the front two, we looked at each other and we were both smiling, total thumbs up…I remember thinking, “What a great kid!” For lack of a better descriptor, it was SWEEEET! Although, the sweetness soon enough turned bitter for by about 10:00 a.m. the temps rose well above freezing and I started to “melt along with the snow.”

And so it goes…for alas, all good things come to an end and therefore with about two and half hours into it, like the BEATLES, we all split up to ponder our own inadequacies, failings, and of course our futures as solo performers. By the time I got to the Gateway store, some forty miles down the line, I was already 46 minutes behind Dave P and I knew that racing near the front was over for me. So I sat up and started to concentrate on pedaling a smooth even cadence with the goal being to find a nice enduro-rhythm that would get me to the half-way cabin. But I was still optimistic as the second half of the course is the real test and if the temps sufficiently dropped, I would still have a chance at a top five finish. It was fun riding into the cabin; I remember humming the theme from the Wizard of Oz. It was appropriate because there were segments of the trail that made me think of that classic cinematic climactic moment (CCCM ) when Dorothy inadvertently threw the water on the Wicked Witch of the West, "You cur-sed brat!, look what you've done!, I'm melting!" "What a world! "Who would've thought a good little girl like you could destroy my beautiful wickedness!" Joel passed me and was very pleasant as he sped away and then Terry Brannick came by at an impressive pace and was equally sociable. In both cases, I attempted to put evil spells on them, but to no avail. When Terry went by, in desperation, I even looked skyward for some kind of malevolent intervention, I recall uttering in a whisper, "I'll get you, my pretty, and your little dog too!” but again to no avail. No scary flying monkeys came to carry him off!

Anyway, I see-sawed for a time with a most impressive skier, Phillip Finzel. I would out distance him on the flats and the descents and then he would catch me up on the hills. On every round, we would exchange pleasantries and I’d like to think that I helped in a small way with his record ski effort by offering him some comic relief as on two occasions I crashed the Gunnar while he was in sight, one in particular sent me diving into the woods which caused even this stoic, focused, extraordinary athlete to momentarily chuckle!

Greg, then Don, then Lance all caught me as I floundered towards the redemptive cabin. I very much enjoyed seeing Greg and Don as they embody the yang in my Yin and Yang! Not far behind this duo was Lance Andre. He was in need of a stiff drink, so I offered him a pull off of my camelbak. He was very gracious, I must say that he is a fine man and that I look forward to riding the Trans Iowa with him in just a couple of months. All four of us arrived at the half way point within about thirty minutes…”Come in, she said, I’ll give you... shelter from the storm.” To be continued…

Part III...A working draft on an appropriate title for the second and third halves-- Death and transformation or When in doubt, take a nap…..

Feeding the Rat: 3 hours and 5 minutes all on single track (where else can you do that but in Duluth, MN!) with 10 below temps...perfect training for the Trans Iowa, baby!

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

The Last Great Hero: Sir Edmund Hillary

The 2008 Arrowhead 135: The whole truth and nothing but the truth
By: CP Farrow
Part I: Pre-race antics—
The BIG DANCE officially starts each year with an afternoon pre-race meeting up in International Falls on the first Sunday of February. The Arrowhead 135 is a gala affair that you, dear reader, should seriously consider attending next February. Order your tuxedo, maybe order a Pugsley as well (if you are so inclined), and start training in earnest as it is only a short twelve months away until the snow flies once again from the pitter-patter of boots, tires, and skis along the North Country’s Arrowhead Trail…

Anyway, the meeting is a great initiation to the whole crazy affair as it allows everybody to sort of gather and size each other up. In years past, there were more cool snow-bikes on display, but presumably with an extended check-in schedule, only a few wheeled snow-steeds were available this time for inspection when I arrived early Sunday afternoon. Upon entering the room reserved for the crazy Arrowheaders, I immediately spied Pierre and Cheryl, our charismatic and generous hosts. If not for their arduous efforts, none of this would be possible; it is impossible to accurately estimate the time and money that they donate to this adventure. Bravo Pierre and Cheryl!

With this being my third of such meetings, coupled with my propensity for mild dementia, I pretty much spaced-out all the dire lectures on being safe and obsequious to the sno-MiG oppressors and instead daydreamed about all the unfolding dramas that would certainly occur once the bands started playing and the Big Dance got underway on Monday morning (Digression ALERT!: By the way—“Being safe” is overrated and leads to obesity, I’d take a full-on misadventure any day over being safe, I’ll be safe when I’m in the ground!). In any event, I love checking out all of the various clicks, body types, and facial expressions. I relish the sense of excitement and anticipation that is present with every contender; enthusiasm is readily apparent in all the nonverbal cues, and in all the nervous fidgeting sewing-machine-like bobbing legs. It is this sense of sheer collective excitement and energy that is always apparent at the start of something big and challenging. This raw human emotion (our innate need for adventure) is the addictive pull that continues to draw me to bike racing and climbing after all these years, I hope I never lose that feeling, if I do; I’ll be done, I’ll be played out!…I’ll be looking to get into something more “safe.” As the meeting proceeds, all directly involved, even all in attendance, cannot help but to be at least moderately apprehensive and yet also eager, except of course Dave Pramann, who always maintains the classic poker face throughout these proceedings. I miss wild-eyed Team Evingson, the duo of Jon & Matt, because they represent the complete opposite of Dave P, the contrasts between the two camps are so captivating and just downright fun! And then there is Dave Gray, whose relaxed nonchalant demeanor seems to indicate to this passive observer that he is always thinking about serene peoples, places, and things associated with verbs like; “tranquil“ “real nice” “relax, take it easy” and “mellow”. Although I am clearly an amateur in the art of reading human emotions, I must say that both Pierre Ostor and Joel Cahalan also seem to convey, outwardly at least, a real sense of calm Zen-like contentment and therefore acceptance of their destinies; character traits that have clearly benefited both of them.

But really, itz hard to provide a generalized character profile of your average participant in the Arrowhead 135…so close your eyes and attempt to conjure a standard nondescript generic meeting room in a typical standard nondescript generic McHoliday Inn (methinks it would be so much better if the meeting site could be moved to a classic Italian bar/cafe, like the one @ the start of the RED ASS 300, in Winnipeg, but thatz another story…). Anyway, keep your eyes closed…and Visualize a boring meeting room, yet incredibly, this Wal-Holiday Inn rectangle is filled with sixty or so full-on hand-made nonstandard eccentrics, all of whom look decidedly out of place, add in another forty or so equally eccentric volunteers, all of whom look decidedly out of place, but a little more relaxed than the racers, and mix in another thirty of so mostly mainstream supporters of various racers, all of whom are looking really nervous as they gaze around at all the out-of-place eccentrics. Just from what I could personally ascertain (which aint much, just the tip of the iceberg, as further study is needed especially regarding the psychological make-up of the “runners!”), there are participants that range from a group of wild haired Rastafarian-esque adolescents that aptly refer to themselves as the “Yoga Slackers”; to a delightfully pleasant couple in their 50s and 60s respectively, that attempt the 135 mile distance each and every year; to a steely-eyed Hungarian; to a trio of tanned Brazilians; to a cheerful happy-go-lucky Iowan that resembles a 1960s-style hippy on his way to Woodstock. There are guyz&galz in their 20s, guyz&galz in their 30s, 40s, 50s, even 60s…There are twenty-two, (mostly dysfunctional), bikers; eight daring skiers; even an impressive bunch of brave soldiers (twenty-four), both men and women, that are planning on running/hiking the 135 miles! There are guyz from big cities like Tampa and London, guyz from France, Spain, even South Africa!!! There’s a young woman whose father is a famous polar explorer and a guy that invented, (or at least played a major role to invent) and market the Surly Pugsley. There are a couple old guys from the Twin Cities, one is an engineer (but not the kind that drives trains) and the other one is an air-traffic controller. The air-traffic controller rides his bike likes itz a supersonic jet and the engineer is solid as a rock in all avenues of his life. There’s an unassuming guy from up on Da Range that just happens to also be a graduate from the Naval Academy and currently the commander of a brand new hi-tech Navy combat ship, there’s a former designer of grenade-launchers, there’s an anti-derailleur pharmacist that rode the Paris-to-Brest-to-Paris last summer and he talks about it like most guyz talk about riding up to a local pub for a cold one. There is a brilliant liberal law school professor from North Dakota, a amicable Fed Ex Driver with a baby on the way, and a supremely organized parts manager that would make MacGyver envious, and a Duluthian that just about never, ever rides in a car and instead rides this bike-truck thingy to haul building materials…and the list goes on and on. I guess the point I am trying to make is that it’s a fun, zany, totally energizing crowd to hang out with!!!

I bunked with the boyz from Nordaakota and a better bunch I’d wager can’t be found…We wiled away the afternoon and evening packing and unpacking, laughing, telling jokes and being charmed (on and off for most of the evening) by a gaggle of slightly inebriated youngsters for Rainy Lake on a hockey holiday. From time to time other mercenaries of pain and suffering stopped by to offer social commentary on topics ranging from the potential athletic performance attributes of lobectomy to the appropriateness of wearing adult diapers in an effort to mitigate chapping and sweat issues during ultra-endurance cycling events to the constant, albeit strange eye-twitch that all the skiers seem to possess. Notable characters that moseyed by included Lance Andre, an up-and-comer from Northern Iowa that, once he gets it figured out, is gonna be a force in the snow bike racing community. My buddies from Duluth, Phil Rogers, Jim Reed and Pat Susnik also stopped by and partook in the traditional Pugsley hoist to feel for themselves the disparaging weight of the two-wheeled abomination that dominated this year’s cycling corps.

Sometime after the amazing conclusion of the Super Bowl, my comrades and I bedded down for a few ZZZZs. I never stress about not beig able to sleep the not before a big gala event like the Arrowhead, so I spent much of the night laying there snickering to myself about the absurdity of the human condition. One really funny thing, in particular, occurred during the wee hours of Monday morning. The alarm clock unexpectedly went off at 2:00 a.m. Rick, the organized one, immediately began to robotically prepare for the race by putting on layers of insulated clothing. It was like watching Skinner’s rat go through the motions! I let him go on dressing for quite awhile, it was so funny watching him. Finally, I called out, “Rick, what are you doing?” “I’m getting ready for the race,” he whispered. I respond, “Rick, itz two in the morning.” He apologizes, “Oh sorry.” And then-- just like that, he’s back on the floor sleeping, but he still has his gear on!!! Then, I realized that our young domestique had gone missing! It is feared that he has fallen in with the band of merry hockey players, who by the echoing sounds of their chemically-induced gaiety, (even at this early morning hour), are obviously still on the prowl for wayward youthful North Dakotans. I paternally worry for a few minutes and then cast off again into a lovely dream filled with rock-hard snow trails, hungry Pugsley-eating wolf-monsters, and vast lakes filled with Guinness Extra Bitter Stout. Upon awakening, it became obvious that Nathan, our young domestique, was still missing! All sorts of scenarios arise, but alas the loyal lad is sleeping out on our poolside deck! He states matter-of-factly that he was out a bit later than anticipated, and so rather than disrupt our slumber, he opted to sleep on a chair out on the desk! This generous, courteous, and completely unsolicited act represents the embodiment of these guyz from North Dakota…these guys are the best in the WEST!
The time was now 6:30 A.M. on Monday , February 5th; time to pay the fiddler!
To be continued…Part II: The race begins and …the dream dies

Sunday, February 10, 2008

Start training the 2009 Arrowhead 135... itz not that far off!!!

THE ARROWHEAD was a real great adventure and the folks that put it on are all top notch!!!! I highly recommend this race. Where else can ya hang out with a bunch of year....yeah next year...just you wait...I am already getting fire up...You just wait Dave Pramann!!!! Next YEAR I am gonna win the 2009 Arrowhead 135...

Look for a full on, totally embellished, inaccurate race report, but not until next weekend...
Feeding the Rat: Now itz time to get fired up for the Trans-Iowa (end of April)...the goal is to get Tim Ek in a position where he can go for the VICTORY!!! At least I don't have too worry about OLD MAN Pramann in Iowa...

Friday, February 8, 2008

Bully...Well done Arrowhead Finishers!!!! Churchill would have been proud of you!!!

I am crazy busy, so it will be several dayz before I can find time to write up a thorough race recap...but let me just say that Winston Churchill would have been impressed by those that finished....quick personal kudos and props to Dave P, Greg P, Don G, Dave S, Dave G, Doug R, Lance A, Spencer K, Josh P, Pierre O, Joel C, Ken K, the dude from Warroad, the skier, etc....I love the Arrowhead 135!!!!

Friday, February 1, 2008

I am done in........

Perseverance betrays me, I have grown too old, the fire deep within my loins, deep within my soul has been snuffed out....Oh the lament!!!! The thought of 20 hours, maybe more on the run…running on empty…running the gauntlet…dinning with the old demons…And for what??? It don't mean nothin'...The absurdity of it all…that’s it I am OUT...I am NOT GOING...Good luck to the rest of the group. I am going home to the couch. ...I mas...cayest...
No more!!!
Good luck to the young fellas, oh to be young again!!!! The exuberance of youth, the innocence of youth...I am DONE...........Yes, I am done...the pressure is off!!! I am already getting fired up for the Super Bowl! Whose playing? I want the Packers to win!!! I am gonna find a party, you know the kind, where everybody drinks when the big huge guy scores a TOUCH DOWN, or the little skinny guy kicks a field goal...