Friday, January 1, 2010

This so HUGE FOR YOU!!! That is if YOU made THE LIST...If you did not make THE LIST, I am sooooooooo sorry for you!!!!

Charlie’s Top 10 Amateur List-of-Honor, celebrating the Most Impressive Cycling-related Events of 2009…The List by which a cyclist’s career is defined… The List for which many live, languish, and even die to obtain recognition on... BRAVO to those that have achieved this noble recognition…These righteous persons listed below now take their place amongst the greats of cycling lore...
…[Disclaimer: To qualify for inclusion onto this most impressive TOP TEN listing, the accomplishment had to have been personally witnessed by the List-maker. This of course makes the list extremely biased, narrowly focused, and marginalized to constitute only the microcosm that encompasses the writer‘s SMALLISH world view of bicycle racing…The list, therefore, is evolutionary and thus reflects the author’s concerted personal effort to move to long endurance events and away from racing in mass-marketed events that require venues to be marginalized and de-challenged in an effort to maximize participation numbers with the goal being to optimize profits. The list also reflects the author's propensity to reward the elder statesmen of the cycling world, people under the age of forty shall have to REALLY impress to make this list. In order to offer hope and a bit of solace to the young, the misguided, albeit talented racer that has not yet seen the fruits of forgoing these “pop-cultural, mass-marketed” generic events in favor of the nobler events from which the below honored have been chosen, the List-maker does offer recognition of a couple of major outstanding achievements within this less than lofty realm that were too noteworthy and impressive to ignore, but not witnessed per se by the author, in a Honorable Mention category. It is the List-makers hope that those listed in this second-tier category shall see the light and thus position themselves to compete for a spot on the 2010 List-of-Honor. Also in order to achieve this great honor, one must be a committed amateur cyclist, so anyone purporting to be a professional is automatically not considered. Furthermore anyone that used a preponderance of carbon in the form of components and/or frame is de-elevated in the author’s calculation. Finally, pure roadies and/or triathletes are not considered.]

Charlie Farrow’s Highly Anticipated List of Amazing and Great Amateur Cycling Accomplishments of 2009: [The ordering of The List is as follows--#1 being the MOST Very Impressive and worthy of DBD recognition…while #10 connotes an effort that stirred Mallory’s loin area and thus caused him to exclaim, “Bully! Who is this Man? For I'd like to buy him a whiskey!”]

Honorable Mention category: Ben Koenig of Schofield, Wisconsin takes third in the so-called 24 Hour National Championships held in Moab, Utah. This 21 year old kid had an amazing year and is a full-on talent…Of course, the practice of compelling participants into paying the loathsome, outrageous, far-reaching, and multifaceted financial fees (ranging from camping fees, pit fees, to licensing fees, etc., etc.) that are now associated with the “nationally franchised for-profit” 24 Hour events, has caused these types of opportunistic events to NOT be considered by the author for they represent a “cancer” upon our sport…But given Koenig’s age and seemingly lack of professional full sponsorship, the List Maker made a concession in his particular situation. Also, Dave Harris' effort at Moab in the single speed class was most impressive as was the 18 laps turned out by two incredibly talented single-speeders, Ron Stawicki and Paddy Humeny at the 24 Hours @ 9 Mile. The four mentioned above are all incredibly talented cyclists...and thus the author could not in good faith leave them of this year's List...

#10: Local racers win local races: Scotty Kylander-Johnson, Sean Gort, and Todd McFadden. Scotty for winning in very impressive style the challenging Lincoln Park MTB race and to both Sean and Todd for winning the Heck of the North. All three are great talents and committed stewards of local cycling...

#9: Lindsay Gauld for his fourth place finish at the 2009 Arrowhead 135. It was his first effort at the AH 135 and yet he still was right there in the thick of it, so impressive! Lindsay Gauld is the “Thomas Jefferson or George Washington” of a thriving cycling community up in the Winnipeg area. Mr. Gauld was in the 1972 Olympics in cycling and now at 60+ years of age is still a force to be reckoned with…and an inspiration to all finely aged cyclists…

#8: Inaugural Race Creators Jeremy Kershaw and Tim Roe earn spots on The List for their efforts to provide both unique and top-notch racing opportunities for the discerning cyclist. These guyz (and other visionaries) are the ones that make it possible for the rest of us to enjoy local grass-roots racing. Kershaw put together The Heck-of-the-North 100 mile extravaganza this year and it was a resounding success. The course is a work of art and the organization of the race was flawless. Tim Roe created the Tuscobia Ultra and it too was a great inaugural event. Mr. Roe’s novel approach of transporting the racers from the finish to the start via school bus was the act of a genius! I personally know that Kershaw contributed a significant amount of his valuable time and money to putting on the Heck of the North and the fact that the race enjoyed an overflowing roster is a testament to his brilliance as a course setter and race director/promoter. Tim's work also enjoyed wide spread participation. The author would like to this opportunity to encourage Mr. Roe to pursue his dream of a 200 mile category for the next Tuscobia Ultra...Bravo to both Jeremy Kershaw and Tim Roe for they represent the very best of cycling!!!

#7: Ben Shockey and the Brothers Braun take impressive honors at the 2009 Trans-Iowa Race. Shockey rode a fixed geared bicycle in this last spring’s Trans-Iowa. I repeat, Shockey rode a fixed geared bicycle in the Trans-Iowa. The author had the honor of riding with Ben for several hours and the manly effort required to propel that fixed gear was something to behold. One had the sense of witnessing something very special indeed. Had I not had my tear-ducts removed to save weight, I would have wept like a little school girl as he was forced to frantically pedal the descents while the rest of us relaxed and rested…The nod goes to the Braun duo more so because of the understated style in which they impress. They make everything look so easy. Travis won the Trans-Iowa Single Speed category while Matt was only three minutes behind. Matt rode the Heck-of-the-North on a single-speed while wearing what appeared to be a pair of old Jordan Nikes on his feet. He was always at the front of the lead pack and was the main topic of discussion in the lead group as everyone kept asking, “Who is that guy?”

#6: Relative newbie and Duluthian Jason Buffington wins the single speed category (2nd overall) at the amazing 12 Hour WEMS Thunderdown in October and then a few weeks ago “guts-out” a nineteen hour finish at Tuscobia, riding and walking and riding, then walking again a “skinny-tired” 29er on a very tough course. Buffington was the only guy that was able to complete the 75 miles on a non-snow bike. Buffington is tough…in the tradition of Mallory and Shackleton…Need I write more?

#5: Rochester riders IMPRESS at three very challenging venues. Charly Tri wins easily at both the Ragnarok 105 and the Levis 100 while Dan Dittmer wins the 24 Hours @ Afton by four laps! (Dittmer has some affiliation with Rochester, but currently hails from the Twin Cities area...) Note: Look for a third Rochester rider, Jason Novak, to make his way up The List in the near future as his potential puts him in the category of “great expectations.” Novak finished in third place in last spring’s Trans-Iowa with Travis Braun, who won the single-speed class in this the gravel classic by which all others are judged.

#4: Jesse Rients riding away solo from a strong field in a full-on head wind and subsequently easily winning the Almanzo 100 by nearly twenty minutes. Of course, he was suppose to win as he is one of the best all around riders in the Midwest, but his solo break early in the race combined with his stalwart fortitude in battling a very strong head-wind all alone was truly impressive. As a member of the chase group, I remember that the general consensus was that no man would be able to ride away alone in such a wind…but he did and it was damned impressive!

#3 Chris Schotz’s overall series victory regarding
WEMS: The Hard Core 12 Hours Mountain Bike Race Series over in Wisconsin...These are challenging, thrilling courses, and Schotz is the undisputed maestro. He has become a fixture for winning the overall series. He nearly always wins these hard races and always in impressive style. Worthy-of-note is that Tim Ek has consistently finished second to Schotz in the majority of these 12 races (beating Schotz this year, at the Metro Challenge). Ek has finished 2nd overall in this lofty series for the last two years. Charly Tri owns the Levis 100, and every once in awhile someone will challenge Schotz for the top spot on the podium, but it has not even been close the few years when it comes to winning the overall series as Schotz is the KING of WEMS

#2: Terry Brannick (from “out-east”) for his “tortoise” approach to and ultimate victory at the 2009 Arrowhead 135. Whilst the aimless rabble with a forlorn hope followed Pramann’s ungodly pace early in the race with predictable consequences including time spent languishing in Dante’s Tepee, Brannick rode his own race to victory. It was not until Mile #115 that he caught up to the exhausted leaders, both of whom were forced to take refuge in the Teepee from Hell. He rode a smart and calculated race to victory in what is certainly, in terms of logistics, the toughest race included in this year’s venues. Note: Lance Andre, had the race been 20 miles shorter, would be right here in this #2 it goes!
#1: Clearly the two most impressive cycling efforts of 2009 witnessed by the author was that of Joe Meiser and his work at the Trans-Iowa in the spring and young Stephen Carney's run-away win at the demanding 24 Hours @ Seven Oaks in late summer. Meiser spear-headed a break away trio consisting of himself, Tim Ek, and veteran Dave Pramann to a most impressive win. Meiser took the lead early on and forced a burning, even defiant pace that earned him the moniker of “The Decider,” by those that attempted to hold his wheel. Special kudos also to Ek and Pramann both of whom contributed to this extraordinary Trans-Iowa effort. I rank their effort just a smidgen below that of Meiser’s; so they too enjoy this top ranking. Stephen Carney won the 24 hours @ Seven Oaks in impressive style beating the next closest contender by two laps and still retiring from the course with two hours left on the clock. Look for him to become a real force in future long cycling enduro-events. His older brother is also a past winner of the Seven Oaks race. Note: Dave Pramann has made the list every year since its inception back in 2000.

Congratulations to all that made The LIST...This is SO huge for them, their countries, their loved-ones, their families, and their careers!!!! If you did not make the List...stay around supportive people, people that can care for you and comfort you for awhile, maybe a month or so, and also please refrain from playing with sharp objects for the next few weeks...In time, the pain will a more bearable state...Rest in the knowledge that there is always 2010…Your first chance is on February 1st starting up in International Falls, Minnesota!


  1. Once again, I see the only people to make your list rely on some mechanical means to propel them to the finish line. Isn't about time that you pull on your "big boy pants" and recognize the real athletes who only rely on running shoes and frail, skinny limbs to reach the finish line?

  2. bs makes no sense, thus his screen name. I am certain Mr Farrow has respect for runners.

  3. Thanks Charlie.

    Jesse R.

  4. Sorry Rich...But, I do not possess an iota of respect for any and all runners...I find them to be loathsome creatures, all skin and sinewy. Gollum-like...

  5. I'm honored, humbled and a strange moist salty solution escapes my eyes. Long live Farrow, bully!

  6. wow. thank you. see you saturday?

  7. Undeserved, undeserved!

    Especially if you discount my long, skinny, sinewy runner's build.

    But I accept, in honor of my parents, who used to make me shovel and haul dirt from one side of the yard to the other for no other reason than "character building", wait, that was the Jacksons.

  8. You will be hearing from my team of lawyers. I plan to destroy you...
    Lance Armstrong

  9. Charlie, being the humble servant you are, you have failed to nominate yourself for a spot on the list. I'd like to propose there should at least be an honorable mention spot in there for your efforts at the Boone 24 hour race as well. Broken seat posts, trail side naps, and a will to finish all 24 hours deserves some respect on a course that will beat you down with the best of them.

  10. Charlie deserves to be squeezed in there!!!