Friday, July 31, 2009

The source of the author's bitterness is revealed...

July 28, 2009

Dear Sir,

I was pleased to speak with you during our interview last Monday and I observed that you have good skills and abilities that potentially mesh well with those required within the two-wheeled gangsta industry.

But I regret that you failed the pre-requisite qualification that our particular gang is looking for. So we are unable to offer you a position with our pack at this time. May I suggest you contact the nice people over at the Outlaws Motorcycle Gang. Their standards are somewhat below that of ours and they also offer summer internships for gang fledglings, such as yourself.

However, we will keep your application on the file for future references. If there is a position that suits for you, I will be pleased to get in touch with you.

Thank you for your interest in our firm and wish you the best in your chosen field.


Lucifer Jones
Alpha Male
Hells Angels Motorcycle Gang

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Lock up your daughters...stay home and watch golf on TV this weekend...

As rival gang moves in to the area, authorities wary of turf war, containing local cyclist may be key to successful (and safe) weekend…
[source: local newspaper]

Just as the Hells Angels settle into Carlton County for the week, a rival gang called the Outlaws shows up across the state border. The Outlaws claim Wisconsin as their territory, while the Hells Angels say Minnesota belongs to them. Adding to concerns is the presence of a local amateur bicycler claiming the Duluth area as his turf. The local cyclist warned, "I ain't gonna go looking fer trouble, but if they enter my turf, WATCH OUT!" Local law enforcement leaders caution, If the Hell’s Angels and/or the Outlaws were to enter this man’s turf…Well, let’s just say we don’t want that to happen, but if it does, we should be ready.” The comprehensive security strategy involving several law enforcement agencies is to keep the three groups separate. "Boyz will be boyz, so if we can just keep these groups in separate locales with enough tacky bars and tattoo parlors to go around, we should be okay, plus they spend lots of money, so thatz good for the country. The wife, me, and da kids, we're just gonna draw the shades, and stay home for the week...we have a new TV the size of a garage door with 659 channels and surround sound audio, so we are good to go," exclaimed a local politician, who asked that his name not be included for security reasons.
The Hell’s Angels and the Outlaws are weighty middle-aged groups of special-needs felons; mostly white guyz clad in leather jackets that ride upon very very loud motorcycles with very very high handlebars. In contrast, the aging bicycler, who suffers from dementia, rides either a green or orange steel bicycle and wears tight fitting lycra that is hard on the eyes. All three groups are known for settling their conflicts with violence and/or consuming massive amounts of fast foods or both. NOTE: Local citizens are encouraged to lock up their daughters, pull down the curtains, and watch TV "reality shows" for the remainer of the week...

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Hell's Angels are in town....they are sooo groovy!!!

I am working hard to be...I wanna be...someday I'll be... The most Narliest Hell's Angels Guy that there ever was....You know, the guy that drives the lead Harley MEGA Trike with full-on Dual HEMEEZ with enough decibel power to destroy every ear-drum within a mile radius!!!! The Head Honcho...Da Man that nobody messes with....the ALPHA MALE...THE LEADER OF THE PACK...

Monday, July 27, 2009

Get your postcards in for THE HECK OF THE NORTH. And ask NOT what the Heck of the North can do for you. Ask what you can do for the Heck of the North

As I rode my trusty Kelly Knobby X along aspects of the Heck of the North course (see link on the right side of page) a few dayz ago, I inexplicably began to experience an incomprehensible moistening of the eyes. The salty solution had the effect of escalating the event to include a deep sense of rapture of which I was completely unprepared for and thus momentarily found myself unable to continue pedaling. Stopped along the remote, yet beautiful gravel road lined with giant Norway pines, blubbering uncontrollably in a child-like manner, not unlike that of a scorned freshman co-ed on a prom date gone badly, I searched to make sense of this sudden and powerful emotional experience.

Was I profoundly sad, for had the world’s problems become too much to bear? Or were the tears a manifestation of sheer unadulterated joy? Suddenly struck by the pure majesty of it all, I realized that the tears were indeed a basic human response to a work of sublime art on the same par as the level of feeling inspired within my lofty manhood when I saw Poussin’s “The Inspiration of a Poet” so many years ago at the Metropolitan Museum of Art. The course that I was riding upon, I realized, in that moment of ecstasy, designed by Kershaw, had become a true classical piece of art. A work that would, with the passage of time, take itz place among the truly grandiose and creative artistic marvels of the human experience. I wept unbridled tears of joy until dehydration forced me to consider a short-cut home to repose and beer(s)…….. Bravo Maestro Kershaw!!!

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Good Luck Scott, Mark B., Ron, and Paddy H....

Although obscenely expensive and thus exclusive in nature, several people of whom I hold great respect are giving their all today at the 24 Hours @ 9 Mile...GOOD LUCK GUYZ.... 24 hour mtb races (like this one) that involve pedaling 60+ minute loops are the toughest 'cuz a guy can always take a break...itz a great temptation to stop...especially once night falls, when a man is faced with his own thoughts, fears, regrets, trepidations, etc...the night seems to go on forever...

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Controversy heats up--Heck of the North...A novel idea whose time has come. Or a sinister plot to introduce socialism and even worse into cycling.

Obama Making Push to promote the Heck-of-the-North (100 mile gravel road race on September 26th in Duluth) as G.O.P. Steps Up Criticism.

Part I: The changing face of racing in America...

[Source: The New York Cycling Times]

President Obama attended a discussion with Heck-of-the-North workers on Monday.

President Obama stepping up his focus on promoting the Heck-of-the-North race this week, the political battle over the plan working its way through Congress has entered a new register. With Republicans pushing back in more vigorous language, the president sharpened his own tone on Monday, but also eased his timeline for his ban on carbon frames made in China.

In a visit to the secret DBD Clubhouse here in Duluth, Mr. Obama held a round-table discussion Monday with a half-dozen roadies and mountain bike racers, while gravel road specialists were not included. But his message was directed at Congress and a growing chorus of critics of THE HECK OF THE NORTH.

“We’ve talked this problem to death — year after year,” Mr. Obama said. “Unless we act and act now, nothing will change. The need for reform is urgent and indisputable.” The president said that if things remained “status quo,” the nation’s bike racing system would only get worse and racing costs would continue to soar, "it already costs nearly $400 to race the 24 Hours @ 9 Mile up nearly 225% in ONE YEAR!!!!" He said the fight over bike racing in the US had devolved into a partisan battle for many Republicans and career for-profit race promoters.

“So let’s fight our way through the politics of the moment,” Mr. Obama said. “Let’s all attend the Heck of the North this fall in Duluth.” Yet there was a substantial easing of his August call for a complete ban on Chinese made, fancy-pants carbon sub-17 lb. bikes, he had set originally.

Hours earlier, Michael Steele, chairman of the Republican National Committee, equated the HECK OF THE NORTH approach to socialism and spoke of a political “cabal” behind it.

Under the Heck of the North Plan, the vast majority of Americans will pay more to get less — it’s that simple,” Mr. Steele said in a news conference at the National Press Club here.

There is, in fact, to date, no “Heck of the North” United States Cycling Federation (USCF) endorsement— plus, the president has yet to endorse any of the approaches being worked on by Heck of the North committees. Still, Mr. Steele said, Heck of the North proposals would leave Americans with “fewer options and less care, and we still won’t cover all of the poor cyclists.”

Asked whether the emerging approach, which includes a new government-run plan to run a national gravel road series that would compete with private for-profit race organizations, constituted socialism, Mr. Steele replied briskly: “Yes. Next question.”

His remarks came after a weekend when the nation’s governors, Republicans and Democrats alike, voiced serious concerns about the up coming Heck of the North Race, during a meeting in Biloxi, Miss. Governors of both parties said they feared that Mr. Farrow & Mr. Kershaw (both just back from visiting Castro in Cuba) were about to impose expensive, albeit covert, new obligations on racers without supplying money to pay for them. Farrow & Kershaw were unavailable for comment.

Mr. Obama did not directly address Mr. Steele’s comments, but in his remarks Monday afternoon, his conciliatory tone of a few weeks ago turned considerably sharper. He said he would not sign a Heck of the North bill that did not reflect a commitment to slow bike racing costs over the long run.

Both political parties are seeking to mobilize support, even as the many and powerful cycling lobbies that would be deeply affected by change make their stances known. The president plans to speak on the Heck of the North Race at a prime-time news conference on Wednesday and in Cleveland on Thursday, and the White House plans to use Internet videos to spread the president’s message of support further.

Mr. Steele said the Republican National Committee was unveiling a “multiplatform campaign” using television advertisements (broadcast in Arkansas, Nevada and North Dakota) and a Web site — — to explain its objections to the Heck of the North race and to lay out some "for-profit" alternatives.

The mainstream cycling industry also began airing a soft-toned 30-second advertisement on national cable television calling for bipartisan cooperation to “fix the Heck of the North Race” and make it “more in line with American values of blantant capitalism and intolerance of poor people racing bikes.” Yet, the approach is far less confrontational than the one the industry took in the early 1990s with its famous “Harry and Louise” advertisements, which helped stall the grassroots racing movement under President
Bill Clinton.

Although Republicans have issued no single alternative Heck of the North proposal, Mr. Steele said there were several steps that could be taken short of the Kershaw’s more ambitious approach. They included posting the costs of all bike racing and racing procedures on the Internet; simplifying paperwork and reimbursement forms; allowing racers to take insurance plans with them when they change races; making it easier for racers to buy insurance through professional or consumers’ groups; making it easier to purchase insurance offered in other states; protecting racers from frivolous lawsuits; and cracking down on abuses by race directors or other bike makers who use sweat shops in China.

“I think the governors would all agree that what we don’t want from the federal government is unfunded bike racing,” said Gov. Jim Douglas of Vermont, a Republican and the group’s incoming chairman. “We can’t have the Congress impose requirements that we are forced to absorb beyond our capacity to do so. First the Heck of the North, then full blown Communism with our daughters cavorting with Castro’s offspring…is that what the American people want. Just look what is going on in Canada?”

More to come on this in Part II of the series...............

Monday, July 20, 2009

Like a BULL in a China Closet!!! :)

Kudos to Scotty and Sara K-J for victory on a REAL mountain bike course....The author was relegated to the caboose, but most definitely enjoyed the scenic ride. A full race report to follow...

Friday, July 17, 2009

“Boy! He sure dodged the bullet…”
“Dude, she like totally lucked out…”
“It was clearly a case of divine intervention…”

Have you ever come face to face with your ultimate fate whilst trapped on a speedy out-of-control bicycle with no hope of recovery? Clarification/definition: To do so, requires one to have had the time to contemplate the after-life as he/she rockets towards certain calamity. In other words, to qualify one must find himself or herself in a situation that allows for consideration of the impending “sudden-stop” and subsequent pain that awaits once the forces of gravity, weight, and momentum have done their work. In contrast, a spontaneous crash, although often times even more physically devastating, does not count because one is not afforded the occasion to consider the consequences and thus experience the mental angst associated with the lag time between the initial event and the end result.

I did experience this phenomenon recently on one of the early laps @ the Levis-Trow 100 miler. Although I crash all the time, this one represents only the second in my career where I was subjected to a drawn out phase, allowing for reflection, before the inevitable. Luck saved me from a very bad outcome, and therefore allows me to personally convey the circumstances in a light-hearted manner. Of course had I been seriously hurt or killed my contemporaries, presumably after an appropriate albeit brief mourning period, would have conveyed it in a similar vein to the able-bodied and/or living. For the writer, the first such crash occurred during the Chequamegon several years back and has been documented, but this recent one is even more forlorn and hopeless and thus bears further explanation.

Visualize if you can an aging amateur cyclist atop a hand-crafted steel Gunnar 29er from the heartland of the Midwest, racing down a fast, widely curving and descending section of smooth single-track. Note that he seems to be attempting to hold on in a way that allows him to lightly grip the machine in a manner that neglects the use of either thumb. In other words, he has placed his hands upon the handlebars such that he is attempting to rest his already fatigued hands. Suddenly without any warning, his front tire hits an unseen divot which begins a chain of events of which he has no control and will certainly leave him on the floor.

As stated above, the tire hits the divot, since he does not have a sufficient grip on the handlebar, his hands in sequence fly off going forward allowing his poorly suited elbows to take charge by coming to rest on the handlebars, which simultaneously causes his torso to lunge forward impaling his belly button onto the stem cap.

So now picture the situation, as it has within a nano-second gone from a scene involving a happy aging amateur cyclist enjoying the sheer thrill of riding fast on a smooth dirt track descent to one of a desperate, pathetically doomed man trying to captain a run away bike solely with his elbows. He is on a straightaway, so before the conclusion, he has ample time to think about his so-called life, his many regrets, his lack of accomplishments, his future colonoscopies, and adult diapers. He hits the corner going fast, seeming to even accelerate once free of the Gunnar, fully aware of what to expect. While airborne, he marvels at the beauty of the forest, then the ground, then the upside-down version of the ground, then forest-tops, then blue sky, as he waits for impact... Once the dust settles a bit, as is often the case, when unsure of the extent of the injuries, he instinctively jumps up and checks for any missing appendages, blood, etc. This time the soft sand saved him and the bike and with nary a brief, "thanks" to his MAKER, he is off again, chasing the impossible dream... So it goes…

If you have one like this, please send it to me, and I will put it up for all to ponder :)

ps See you @ Lincoln Park MTB race tomorrow!!!!

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Levis did not disappoint..........

A cacophony of themes to be considered as it rains here in Duluth…
· Levis-Trow,
· SS versus Gears
· 1st amendment, individuality versus the common good, and the Hells Angels

Levis-Trow 100

Having raced there now on three occasions, The Levis-Trow 100 to my way of thinking is the best overall mountain bike race in the area for the following reasons: The comprehensive course is long enough, demanding, exciting, and yet fast and flowing. The rural picturesque setting is compelling, complete with amazing limestone and sandstone structures. The on-sight camping is convenient, top-notch, and social (this year the Muddy-Cup coffee trailer was there as well). The organization is spot-on with not too many rules and regulations and you don’t need a USCF license. The cost to participate is completely reasonable and in addition the fee gets you free beer and other treats, plus the prizes are very nice. And so, not surprisingly, Levis-Trow seems to attract a great field of competitors that love bike racing, appreciate tough courses, but never-the-less approach the activity with an emphasis on personal challenge without interfering with the overall emphasis on having a great time. In summary, itz a very cool vibe!!!

This year’s event included races in the following divisions— 100 mile, 50 mile, 25 mile, and the Wisconsin Single Speed Championships. Tim Ek, Matt Evingson, Hansi Johnson and the writer represented Duluth in the 100 miler; Eki in the geared solo class, the author in the single speed category, while Matt Evingson and Hansi Johnson teamed up to race in the Duo 100 mile class, and Mike Bushey raced in the WI SS Championships. Hansi and Matt won their event and had a blast. Hansi relayed a humorous, but dramatic incident involving a speedy miscalculation along a precipitous ridge that ended up with him hanging onto a tree, while his bike cart-wheeled down a sandstone cliff. It was funny because he was unhurt and his great ability at story-telling always guarantees a good laugh. Mike Bushey ended up a very impressive fourth place in the SS Championships finishing just a few paces behind the very talented Ron Stawicki. Mike Bushey inspires me with his amazing ability to make technical cycling look easy and fluid. Tim Ek and I lined up with a strong field of enduro-hounds including Charly Tri and Dan Dittmer from Rochester, Chris Peariso, Chris Scholtz, Lee Unwin, Justin Lund, Mark Burkholz, and nearly thirty+ others. Charly Tri won it in impressive style just like he did last year while both Scholtz and Eki battled for second and third respectively. The outcome regarding the single speed class essentially boiled down to the difference between the author’s and Mark Burkholz’s gearing. Mark went with a gear-ratio that would allow him to climb the three big hills, but force him to spin out on the flats. I went with a gearing that would hurt on the hills but allow more speed on the flats. I guessed right and with the hinge-factor swinging my way I was able to hold on to finish the eighth lap in the lead, but certainly had it been a 12 hour event Mark would have persevered. My legs were completely used up at the completion of the 100 miles; no way could I have gone another lap.

SS versus Gears
Having raced in two long ones using a single speed, I feel I am now ready to offer some preliminary and anecdotal conclusions regarding the utility and/or efficacy of racing single speed versus geared. Based solely on my results in these two events I think it is a fair assessment to submit that my use of a single speed did not alter my outcomes. In other words, I do not think that I would have placed higher overall if I had used gears at the Metro Challenge or for that matter, even at the Levis-Trow 100. I believe this is especially the case at Metro where I did not feel hindered by using just one speed. At the Metro, I finished third overall and I am quite confident that the addition of gears would not have allowed me to improve on that finish. At Levis, the course being much more varied, I finished fourth overall and again I doubt that gears would have improved that standing, although this conclusion is not as solid. I can state with certainty that gears would not have allowed me to stay with Charly Tri, so in reality the difference in concrete terms is not significant. Perhaps with gears I may have been able to battle it out with Scholtz and Eki, but perhaps not. Historical patterns favor the conclusion that Scholtz would have maintained his second place and Eki his third place. I did feel hindered by the one gear on some sections, but on others I felt compelled to go much harder than had I had gears, especially on the climbs. Regarding Levis, of course on the flats (especially the long ski-trail portion), some declines, and some minor inclines the lack of higher or lower gears was frustrating, but as alluded to above, on the three major climbs, in the tight single-track, and on steep descents it seems to me that the single gear was advantageous. There is no doubt that I climbed much faster given the one gear option. Another interesting aspect of racing a single speed is that one is forced to constantly contemplate and focus on how and when to rest and how and when to give a hard strenuous effort. At Levis, I was able to climb at a rapid pace the big hills nearly every lap because I took concerted and premeditated rests leading into what I knew would involve high physical exertion. Another aspect of single speed racing is that one is forced to use his/her upper body to a greater extent. Perhaps this allows a more balanced exertion amongst the muscle groups? Prior to these two races, I had grown accustomed to dealing with leg cramps, but at both Metro and Levis I suffered no leg cramps, but instead my biceps, lats, and forearms all experienced degrees of cramping. Another explanation is that the high reps associated with riding a single speed on the flatter sections allow the muscles to discard lactic acid in a more efficient manner. Another factor in riding a single speed well (as in all aspects of cycling) is to really commit to keeping momentum going forward. Of course itz all conjecture and it really doesn't matter. Itz like Ben Shockey sez, "fast guyz are fast guyz no matter the bike..." But it is fun to experiment and make conclusions. I really do not think that it is as simple as it seems in terms of determining what makes for the fastest recipe when it comes to an off-road racing bike (especially if one imposes reasonable restrictions on considerations such as cost and numbers of bikes). Think of all the combinations of wheel sizes, suspension, gearing, air pressure, Q-factor, weight, rotational weight, etc., etc., etc., the "Industry" wants you to think that itz all about carbon, complex suspension, and that the more gears the better, but to me the jury is still out...
More on this as the season progresses…….

1st amendment, individuality versus the common good, and the Hells Angels
Thankfully Carlton County's political reach does not include the power to restrict a motorcycle gang from riding their obnoxious bikes and acting-out in odious, albeit legal fashion, unless it can prove a clear & present danger. Following the same rationale, Carton County cannot restrict citizens from voicing their distaste for such groups. So it goes………its this notion of individuality versus the common good that makes this such a great political system. Given the above, can someone explain to me how the State can impose seat-belt laws on its citizens who choose to ride in cars, but cannot restrict 1000+ HELLS ANGELS from riding their motorcycles en-masse through the small hamlets of northern MN during the height of the family tourist season? Maybe they have seatbelts on their rides?

Monday, July 13, 2009

What a great thing for the Northland, this is wonderful, makes me so proud, what a nice event, what wonderful people, & really reflects well on us!

Is it too much to hope that someday Duluth could replace Sturgis as the gathering epicenter for motorcycle gangs and thuggery?????

I am sooooooooooooooooo pumped that the very nice HELL'S Angels people are coming to the Duluth Area to ride on their nice motorcycles!!!!!!!!!!! Certainly they will pump lots of drug/booze/gambling $$$$ into our sputtering economy, plus combined with the extra traffic in the local emergency rooms, we all stand to profit from this event. I plan to take the family over to see all the wonderful participants. I always tell my daughter that if she studies hard and continuously strives to do the right thing, someday she will be able to buy a Harley Davidson and ride with the HELLS ANGELS. Of course she may have to ride on the back on a Harley at first, do some petty crimes and become a drug addict to prove herself, but if she works hard someday she will be able to ride her own Harley and may be even beat up another Hells Angels person (or a minority or gay person) with a crow-bar....Carlton should be soooo proud, this is the best thing since Cloquet got itz Wal-Mart Super Store!!!!

From the local newspaper (note the objectivity, very nice and balanced, reads like "the Girl Scouts of America..."): "The Hells Angels Motorcycle Club will be holding their USA Summer Ride in Carlton County from July 29 Through August 2. The Hells Angels are a worldwide motorcycle club that sponsors a USA Ride every year prior to the Sturgis Motorcycle Rally in South Dakota. This year’s ride will take place in Carlton County, in addition to rides throughout the Arrowhead region. The USA Rally will consist of Hell’s Angels members from throughout the United States and possibly other countries. In addition to Hells Angels members other affiliated motorcycle clubs are expected to join them for the 5 day event. About 500-1000 people are expected to turn out for the ride."

Note: Next to Disneyland, our family plans to go to Sturgis someday to see the nice Harley people interact in their own environment.

Duluth is well represented @ Levis-Trow...

Tim Ek, Hansi Johnson, Matt Evingson, Mike Bushey, and even the author, (and perhaps others?) all did Duluth proud this weekend down in Levis-Trow, but clearly Charly Tri's win in the 100 mile solo-open class was the most impressive feat of the day....NOTE: Although the unveiling of the author's brand new SKI HUT racing kit [White, Orange, and Black with Gray-penciled custom and symbolic graphics by Kate], which had the effect of emphasizing both his metro-sexual-youthful demeanor as well as his decidedly svelte, even lithe physique, as he presented himself at the start fully dressed in this Euro-esque custom designed and fitted Louis Garneau, was a close second. A fully embellished race report to follow in a few dayz, once my brain settles down a bit and I regain the ability to walk... click on the following for the basic results...[ ]

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Three things you really should do...


1.) Race the July 18th MTB event in Duluth @ Piedmont (click on link)...
2.) Read, think about, and then reread NINE STORIES by J.D. Salinger, with an emphasis on "The Laughling Man."
3.) ReRead for a third time, Salinger's "The Laughling Man." WOW!!!!!!!!! and then tell someone else to read anything by JD Salinger...

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

LEVIS-TROW 100 Miler on this Saturday...

The WEMS Levis-Trow 100 is this weekend. Consider racing this event as it involves a remarkably varied and challenging course. I am more than fired-up, especially given my re-birth as a Single-Speeder. Thanking Mr. Bushy, initially for promoting the 29er and then the notion of a single-speed. Since adopting the austere SS lifestyle I have become obsessed with finding the perfect match between course, legs, lungs, tattoos, and the one gear. Regarding the one gear, at the Metro-Challenge I went with a 34X18 and it felt about right, although if I could go back, I would probably go with a 34X17 as that course held only one significant climb. Specifically, a climb which (given the 34X18) I was able to ascend every lap without dismounting, but the trade-off was that I was "geared-out" on several flat segments of the course. In contrast, from what I can remember, Levis is a much more demanding course, so I think I will go with a 19 or even a 20 on the back...I recall two big-time climbs in particular, one of which Eki and I walked on the majority of the laps [8 laps total to get the 100 miles]. More on my transformation....

Sunday, July 5, 2009

WEMS Metro-Challenge Race Recount...

A WEMS Metro Challenge race recap…[check out the initial introductory run-on sentence…in dedication to dear Mrs. Fortner, a master English teacher, now retired…but still a force to be reckoned with!]

Due to life’s time constraints exacerbated by da wife’s educational pursuits, geographical and/or transportational factors associated with living @ 46°47′13″N; 92°05′54″W, coupled with the realization and acknowledgement that I am but a cog in a fairly progressive and thus relatively healthy family ecosystem, it is often the case that in order to experience the joys of bicycle racing, without significantly disrupting the family dynamic, compromise is usually warranted. Therefore, the only solution is to commit to a kind of surgical/commando-style approach that manifests, in practice, as a car-to-race-to-car tactic. For example, the normal obligatory routine in order to participate in a WEMS event like the 12 Hours Metro Challenge (which is located near Milwaukee, Wisconsin; or nearly seven hours from my home in the northern latitudes) would involve the author leaving Duluth on a Friday night around 11 pm driving all night, racing, then driving back to Duluth and being home around 4:00 am on a Sunday. I figure that I’ll get plenty of sleep after I’m dead and hanging out with Mallory, Tilman, and the rest of the DBD guyz. So it goes…

However, this time was different, because my good friend and DBD training partner, Tim Ek, generously agreed to drive the both of us down in his fancy-pants Toyota Prius. To a simple man used to driving a 1998 Chevy Prism with no options and a sickly constitution, the thought of riding in such luxurious comfort was captivating. Note: Eki usually travels to these events with his lovely wife, Amy, as they routinely camp out and enjoy the whole weekend together; she rides and runs while he races, etc… As alluded to above, this solo sortie for him was unusual too, as he is blessed with a wife that enjoys and supports his cycling obsession and so they usually travel together, but this time she had to be “on-call” for work.

In any event, her misfortune was my gain as I was invited to go along with him. Initially we had planned to camp, but we could find nothing remotely near to the suburban venue. Reluctantly, we began to query the possibly of staying in a motel. During this process it began clear that due to all kinds of summer musical-festivals and other big crowd activities in the Milwaukee/Madison area; we were going to have to pay big money to stay in a motel, if lucky enough to find one with a vacancy. Yet, I still wanted to go because I was so fired up to travel with Eki and also I love the whole grass-roots, low-key, “shut-up and race” mantra of the WEMS. Finally, we found a place close to the race venue for the astronomically-high price of $139 for a basic room. For the author, a monetary amount that represents the highest ever paid for lodging…No doubt, it was a tough call, but alas the obsessive need to “feed the rat” trumped my frugality.

We left around 4:00 pm on Friday and arrived just a tad before 11:00 pm. The drive down was greatly entertaining and thus time and mileage flew by while we engaged in delightfully stimulating conversation. Although on a slightly sinister note, I must say that while initially captivated, as we continued onward I was somewhat taken aback by the rather condescending “tone” of the “computer lady” that apparently resides within Eki’s super techyglobal positioning device,” a modern 21st century navigational gizmo that, among the yuppie hybrid crowd, has all but replaced maps and the like, but more on this later…as my worst fears are realized on our trek homeward.

Arriving to our nondescript motel situated in a nondescript suburbia; complete with nondescript townhomes and nondescript strip-malls we halted the car. But before disembarking from the vehicle, we were subjected to a brief, albeit terse, auditory self-congratulatory pronouncement and concluding instructions via the computer woman that seemingly lays locked inside of Eki’s Super Techy “global positioning device/system” (GPS). At the desk, we were immediately informed by our slightly disheveled concierge, a young woman of immense, almost mythological proportions, that due to some kind of overbooking miscalculation, we were being “up graded” to the Board-Room Suite. Our heart soared with visions of a spacious multi-roomed “Executive” abode, complete with fully stocked bar, sauna, hot-tub, young female Swedish masseurs, and all the other trimmings that are doled out to the rich and famous. Unfortunately, the Board Room was nothing more that a two roomed affair fit for perhaps a meeting place for a local covey of house-to-house vacuum cleaner salesmen. The board room per se was a room that contained a large oblong table with six or eight chairs, although on one side it did contain a smallish kitchen-type set-up. The other room contained a large double bed and the standard boob-tube. We wiled away a couple hours, in good cheer, downing a few ales and watching rerun episodes of the always funny and clever South Park. All was good and apart from the respite from the long haul, I, for one, was also glad to be away from the constant and overbearing watchful eye of the dictatorial GPS spokesperson. I made a subtle attempt to communicate my concerns to Eki regarding the GPS spokeswoman, mindful that he was seemingly quite attached to it, but he immediately cut me off, calling me a Luddite and telling me to go to sleep, of which I obliged. I dreamt of playing with Michael Jackson in his amusement park...the Elephant man was there too!

Saturday dawned with nary a cloud in the sky. Although coffee was in short supply and the promise of a free continental was forsaken, we felt the undeniable excitement of the approaching race…We loaded up the Prius, Eki fired up the car, then religiously turned on the domineering GPS and then reacted with strict adherence to itz feminist commands; which, I must concede, did deliver us directly to the race venue. I remember quietly seething at the obvious contempt in her voice as she proclaimed, “You have arrived at your destination.” As I left the car to begin the final preparations for the long day of riding, I silently resolved to usurp this loathsome GPS device upon the homeward voyage.

Upon arrival to the scene, as is the usual case, many other riders had erected sophisticated canopy-styled pit areas including several race bikes each, some even brought obsequious man-servants to attend to their needs during the long day of racing. But Eki and I came armed only with two bikes and two coolers respectively. While Eki sported a sleek Gary Fisher FS 29er, the author (a simple man) opted to go with only his Trusty Gunnar of which was converted to a single speed.

The course was nondescript, but given the location and the topography from which to work, the race organizers must be commended for a job well done! The course involved a zigzagged descent down a blue diamond ski hill, into lots of rolling turns, a moderate climb, a gravel road, more single track, and a section of field, capped off with a short gravel incline. Each lap took about half an hour, give or take a few minutes.

Off the front, Eki rode with two other talented riders for a few laps during the morning, but from the onset he was clearly the best on that beautifully sunny and breezy day. Like any and all long events, there were of course flats, minor crashes, bouts of melancholia, etc., but thatz the name of the game and therefore such occurrences should not be used as excuses for less than stellar performances. In fact, Eki took a nasty fall from slipping off his handlebar grips and the author had to deal with an early front flat and a big crash on the one significant downhill section. The author was encouraged after the halfway point to learn that he was in 2nd place overall, but alas on the final lap, a fast charging Chris Schotz caught him, and so he had to settle for third overall. The fourth place rider from, I believe, near the Chicago area, was also able to turn 22 laps. Note: the distance covered was over 120 miles for the top four guyz...

The end-of-the-race festivities were delightful. We won beer!!! It was nice to see and converse with Justin Lund and Mark Burkholtz, but of whom share admirable athletic prowess and amicable character traits as well. However, with a long drive awaiting us, we did not dally. We jumped in the Prius, filled with high spirits and a resolve to get home in one piece.

All went well, until Eki turned the piloting over to me so as to grab a brief respite from the toil of the road. Uncanny in itz ability to ruffle my feathers, as soon as Eki began to snore and I began to look for a spot to refuel, the GPS computer lady began to get on me about where to go. To make a long story short: late night, lost near Eau Claire, Wisconsin and very low on gas, in a moment profound indecision, Eki chose the computer bitch over his friend…Of course, Orwell would not have been shocked…”The horror, the horror.” The author, relegated to mere spectator status, while the GPS intermingled between mocking and chastising me and propping up Eki with ingenious compliments…so it goes…

Levis-Trow is just six dayz hence…………….

Sign up for THE HECK OF THE NORTH...see link on the right hand margin or below on a previous, recent post.

The Fall Gala...The Heck of the North...Don't miss it!!!!

Click on the above for information regarding The Northland's Fall Formal and then immediately thereafter start making serious arrangements for a proper pedicure, bikini wax, and all the other refinements associated with attending a Top-Notch Formal Gala Event... To allow even the lowly proletariat (including Single-Speeders on rigid steel frames) to the waltz aside the bourgeoisie, the entry fee is reasonable ($0.00), you are NOT required to hold a USCF license, and the parking is free so you have no excuses...Carbon products from foreign lands are discouraged, but acceptable. This event is the result of Jeremy Kershaw's practicalized inspiration gained from participating in both the Ragnarok 105 and the Almanzo 100 this spring. This event promises to be on par with the Ball that Cinderella attended back in the day!!!!!

The WEMS Metro Challenge race recap is almost finished...And get ready for the WEMS 100 miler in six dayz time @ Levis-Trow (an amazing course).

Saturday, July 4, 2009

Happy __dependence Day!!!
Letz give thanks for all the things for which we now depend…
We depend on four or five mega-media institutions to decide what we read and what we watch on TV, on the "big screen," and listen to on the radio...
We depend on four or five mega-institutions to decide where we shop, the bikes we buy, and the food we eat.

We are dependent on China for our clothing, toys, and cell phones, etc, etc....
We are dependent on the Middle East for our oil.
We depend on the federal govt. to bail out our big three auto-monoliths, the Wall Street crooks, and we especially depend on them to decide who and what we fight for….
Happy Dependence Day!!!

Ben Franklin and da boyz are rolling over in their graves!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!