Sunday, November 27, 2011


From Velo-News:

Michael Diamond, a 63-year-old racer from St. Augustine, Florida, has accepted a two-year doping suspension after refusing to submit a sample during an out of competition test.

The U.S. Anti-Doping Agency announced the suspension Friday.

USADA said Diamond refused to submit a sample on October 8. According to the USA Cycling website, Diamond, racing unattached, finished fifth that day in the Florida time trial championships.

In addition to the suspension from competition, Diamond is also disqualified from all competitive results obtained on and subsequent to that date....

First comes the carbon bike, then the carbon components, then the carbon wheelset, then the carbon aero-helmet, then....

Of concern: Lance Andre lives partly in Florida? Also Lance Andre and Mr. Diamond have never been photographed together? Just sayin'.... cpf.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

"The last place finisher won this race, same as the first place finisher, we all won."

For your eyes only. Gleaned from the nimble, albeit secretive mind of the DBD Maestro. The heir apparent to the Great Mallory. Sir Eki submits his 11 Lessons!

Eki’s 11—
1. Equipment Does Matter. It doesn’t have to be the best, but it can’t be some beater from the 70’s if you’re planning on jumping into the deep end. I’m a firm believer in meticulous care of the machine. I often think about the bike from top to bottom, front to back before the big dance. I continually ask myself, “What could go wrong?” Solve all little issues that annoy you about the bike before the event. I go into races knowing that I can BEAT on my bike with reckless abandon and it will perform for me. In races where your life could potentially be on the line, the equipment becomes a means to an end, if it survives, it’s a bonus!

2. Picture it...All in your Mind...Sounds cliché, but it isn’t. I think about the most important races daily. I try to visualize myself “doing it”. I try to see myself getting through the tough stuff, like fixing the bike in the night, getting myself “unlost”. I plan how I will calm myself in adverse situations, possibly dangerous ones. I picture WINNING (winning is defined by you).

3. Believe. This one should be right after #2. Aint no one out there gonna believe in you, but you! Don’t be afraid to talk to yourself, be your biggest fan and cheer leader. I have literally said these words to myself out loud, “Nice Job!”. Leave no room for doubt. Quitting is never an option. Plans for worse case scenarios involve a lot of walking, not phone calls. Of course there are circumstances that do involve quitting, but I rarely talk about them, so I won’t here. There is never any thing wrong with last place. After finishing the Trans Iowa I told my wife on the way to the hotel, “The last place finisher won this race, same as the first place finisher, we all won.”

4. Embrace the Pain. Accept that it will get harder than you ever imagined. I try to think of the pain as an old friend who’s come back to visit. I’m talking about the kind of pain and hardship that shakes you to your core, scares you! This is the kind of pain that one needs a plan for. When it comes, stay calm, slow down and KEEP MOVING. And, most importantly know that it WILL PASS, it always does. You will feel good again.

5. Keep your Head Up. One tends to sink physically and emotionally as the hours wear on. Remember, you do this because you love it and because you can. Pick your head up, look around, take it all in, and be present. We only go around this crazy merry go round once and it may be a race, but it’s also the minutes of your life. Find your “horses” out on the prairie, you’ll know when you see them and no one will ever be able to really understand, but you.

6. Find a Friend. Hey, you’re never alone. Well, sometimes you are, but if you’re around others don’t take yourself or your situation so seriously. These are some pretty good athletes around you and 99% of the time some pretty cool people too. Get to know them, share the load, and take an interest in their life, you just might learn something. Some of the best memories of the things I’ve done on a bike come from people I’ve met along the way (i.e. Dave Pramann, Troy Krause – both Trans Iowa vets with whom I “shared the load”).

7. Stay Humble. We’re all human beings. We’re not just racers, be respectful, polite, and appreciative. No one likes cocky or conceited people. Everyone is struggling out there; some are just going faster than others. Take the time to listen to their stories; they’re just as important as yours. I’ll bet you had trouble with the same sections of the race as they did.

8. Be Afraid, Very Afraid. Respect the event. If I’m not nervous I know I’m doomed. There’s a big difference between confident and cocky. I try to be confident in all races, but realize that I am not bigger than the race. I must respect the course and its enormity, therefore I must be careful in regard to effort, safety, and the overall decisions that I make throughout.

9. Prepare. Think it through. Start with categories like food, safety, tools, hydration, and clothing. Then move through each area over the course of weeks working off of lists. I often start a list at work and at home. I add to these lists every time something pops into my head and then organize it all later. Plan for every scenario like, “what if I crash?”

10. Take Something from It. Leave the event a richer person. I try to ask myself what I’ve learned about myself while I was out there, did I like what I found. What kind of person are you? The event will tell you. They’re gifts given to us by race directors who often don’t really know what they’ve given you – only you know and that’s what makes it so special. I’ve been reduced to tears after finishing big races before. Some may think the emotion comes from the release of being done with such an intense experience and that may be true, but I think it comes from going inside to a place one rarely gets to visit and being o.k. with what’s in there.

11. Say Thank You. You don’t have to make it a big deal, but make sure they know that you walked away better for what they gave you. Sometimes a hand shake and a look into the eye is all it takes. This goes for your closest one too. “Thanks for letting me chase after these things …and thanks for letting me catch them”.

Thank you, Mr Ek!!!!!!!

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

From the famed Architech of the Fall Classic Heck of the North...Jeremy Kershaw's 11 Lessons

Dear Mr Farrow
Through my brief career in endurance racing, this is what I have learned so far (thanks to successes and failures):

1. Time Part One: In the grand scheme of one's life, 6 hours ain't long, or 12, 24, or even 50 hours. Put the event in context. The Arrowhead Ultra is many hours long, so is the Trans Iowa. But when you are in the thick of it, just remember that you are doing something amazing. You are fortunate to HAVE that time to pursue your passion (even if it is crazy).

2. Time Part Two: Break down long distances or time frames into workable chunks. There are times that the best plan is to simply make it to the next checkpoint, food station, or bend in the trail. When starting a multi hour or day event, do not fixate on the finish yet. Focus on making it to the next workable rest spot...then reassess.

3. Always be eating and drinking.

4. Always start a race comfortably cool. You will warm up soon enough.

5. Dream big. Tour Divide? Try to wrap your head around that for a few days. Be warned, though! The term "endurance junkie" is not that far off base. After a while, the local 5k won't cut it.

6. Know your machine. You will have to maintain it alone, in the dark when it's 25 below.

7. Know when to say when. Ya, it's easy to talk big and say you will never quit. But it might be the reasonable thing to do. Come prepared to think about what you are willing to go through to finish.

8. Before quitting, stop, eat and even do something else for a few minutes. Wait at least an hour (if you can afford that time). Then reassess.

9. If you are crawling into the pain cave, eat, drink and work through it. Over the duration of a multi hour/day event, you are going to have big highs and maybe some really low lows. With time, you will feel differently. Hopefully better. Sometimes worse...

10. Try to always remember that you are blessed to have the time, money and physical ability to even attempt this monster of an event. Be thankful for working legs, heart and mind. Thank your family for giving you the time away from them, too.

11. Thank the event creator with sincere acknowledgement. Chances are, they sacrificed a lot of time, money and sweat to put the event on.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Sage Lessons from everyone's favorite Luddite...Mad Max

11 Utra-Lessons [Click on the blue underlined letters, especially Lesson 8!]

Ultracycling legend and probationary DBD member
Charlie Farrow has given us bloggers an assignment. Write eleven lessons you've learned from cycling with personal commentary. Well, I'm going to flaunt that assignment and write eleven lessons I've learned from cycling AND running AND skiing.

Lesson 1: Train I used to think that commuting to work and doing the occasional gravel road century was enough. I finished my first Arrowhead 135 with basically no training. I finished the Dirty Kansa 200 with basically no training. Heck, I ran my first marathon with absolutely no training. Skiing the Triple D shocked me out of my complacency. I barely made it through the 18 or so miles of flat terrain. Needless to say, I didn't finish the Arrowhead that year...or the next. The third year I put together a training program. Nothing special, just a guide to what I would do day by day to get myself ready. It worked. Last year I used a slightly modified plan to finish the Arrowhead on foot.

Lesson 2: Sell your rollers. Go outside. Ride in rain, sleet, snow, wind, and darkness. Ride on gravel, mud, snow, and ice. Run through mud and creeks, and over roots and rocks. Ski in the rain and on ice. Your races will be like this. When everybody else stays home or bails at the halfway point you will laugh and know that you've been through worse.

Lesson 3: Eat food, drink water. There are lots of expensive gels, bars, and powders out there. You don't need them. Sure, they probably work, but there are tastier, cheaper options. Fig bars, peanut butter sandwiches, trail mix, pizza, cheese and sausage. Energy drink? Ensure, Carnation Instant Breakfast, and soy milk. Chocolate covered espresso beans can save a race. Eat! Drink! Use them! It is better to stop and pee than stop and pass out.

Lesson 4: You can go farther than you think. In 2009 I skied the Tuscobia trail ultra. 67 miles into this 75 mile race I was suffering from horrible blisters, poorly waxed skis, and weird hallucinations. I had given up on skiing and was walking slowly down the trail. There was no way I was going to finish. I reached a road and powered up my cell phone; no signal. The race director rolled up a few minutes later and I told him I was done and needed a ride in. He said "no." Walking the next eight miles is the toughest thing I've ever done. I made it.

Lesson 5: Know the meaning of "quit." When you are pushing your boundaries and trying new things sometimes you get in over your head. When you feel like there is no choice but to quit ask yourself this: How will I feel in a week about having quit today? If the answer is, "terrible," then keep going. If the answer is, "like I did all I could," then quit. Be honest. You'll know if you're not being honest. Sometimes getting the Myrtle the Turtle award is a step in the right direction.

Lesson 6: The hardest part is getting out the door. Feeling sorry for yourself? Didn't finish that gravel race again? Seriously underestimated a 100 mile run? Ride across town to the coffee shop, run one lap around the park, get up and do something! Chances are you'll end up doing a 30 mile ride or a ten mile run and feel better.

Lesson 7: Savor it. In 2006, at my first Arrowhead, I was exhausted, cold, alone, and riding through a flat boring swamp. I knew I was going to finish, it was just a matter of time. So I stopped got out some food and water and just looked around. I said to myself, "This is why I came here. This is what I want to be doing." I felt great.

Lesson 8: Look out for old guys on crusty mountain bikes. It's not the young guy on the custom titanium rig who is going to win. That old guy (aka Praman, the Master) is going to beat all the fatbikes to the finish line and set a record doing it.

Lesson 9: Commute. Ride to work every day. Walk if you have a trip to make that's less than a mile. You'll never be out of shape and you'll learn how to dress for the weather. Just remember: commuting miles don't count towards training (see #1).

Lesson 10: Be afraid.
Luke: "I won't fail you. I'm not afraid."
Yoda: "You will be. You will be." If you're not afraid of the big race then you're overconfident. You will fail. Fear makes you prepare. It makes you train. It makes you learn everything you can. If you are managing your fear then you are on the right track.

Lesson 11: Call me a Sissi. You're not normal. You are doing things nearly everyone considers dumb. You wear tight pants. You will get made fun of when you're out there running in the rain. That's okay. When someone calls you a Sissi smile and tell them, "No, they're tougher than I am."

This is a great list of lessons....amazing insight!!!! cpf
More Most Excellent Eleven Lesson from Jay of the highly secretive, but effective Slender Fungus Cycling Society

1) Don't let your meat loaf! - Get out and put some miles in. It doesn't matter what kind of bike you have, if you are decked out in Assos or Castelli....just get out and ride!
2) Ride your own race - There are some extremely strong riders out there, don't let them set the tempo for your ride. Especially on endurance rides know your pace and what you are comfortable with doing. Don't go balls out and bonk and then be screwed the rest of the ride.
3) Have FUN on the bike - We ride bikes because we enjoy doing it, if you aren't having fun then you need to rethink why you are riding. The fun might not come until after the ride or race but thats ok... races are hard. You trained and trained for this race, enjoy every minute of it, before, during, and after.
4) Chin up/Zipper Down - Have a mentally tough attitude. You need to tell yourself you are capable of anything you put your mind to.... if you don't you are setting yourself up for failure. Stay strong and work past those dark spots.
5) Keep Moving - When enough is enough and you are ready to throw in the towel...DON'T. Take a break, have an energy bar, clear your mind for a little bit.... but keep going and don't give up.
6) Don't over-pack - Know what you absolutely NEED to bring on the bike. Tubes, chain links, tools, etc. Know what nutrition works for you, but also rely on gas stations and other stops in order to keep the weight down on the bike.
7) Train with a partner - Riding with someone else allows you to go farther, share ideas, ride harder
8) Take your turn - In a race make sure that you are doing your part at the front taking pulls and sharing the responsibility. Also, take turns hosting rides, having get togethers, buying a round of beer.
9) Stay humble - No one likes a showboater. Stay down to earth...even if you are the fastest guy out there you never know what the race course is going to throw at you or what challenges you are going to encounter. Everyone has good days and everyone has bad days. Don't make excuses...its just the way of the world.
10) Be patient - In the race, don't get jumpy, don't get antsy....wait for the moves to come, if you can counter them then go for it. If you get dropped...hang tough, ride hard and catch up. In the endurance races you never know if Gorilla is going to get 7 flats off of the front, be patient and stay calm....races are won this way.
11) Be supportive - Support your fellow riders. Encourage them, help them if they need it. Support your local bike shop...give them some business and tell them about your races, maybe they will sponsor you. Support the races and organizers, even if these are free races see how you can help out...bring a six pack for the race organizer and thank them for most likely putting on a free event that ate up a lot of their time.

Bravo Jay....Ari must be soooo proud :) cpf

Monday, November 14, 2011

Keep 'em coming---Here are 11 top notch lessons!

galaxysearchlights said...

love the blog.
here are mine.
1. use your friends wisely ,,, they plan to do the same.
2. thank the race director and buy the sponsors stuff.
3. you can't win unless you lead at some point.
4. the best way to get beat is to lead at some point.
5. selling your raffle winnings or finishing prize on ebay is in bad taste..
they want you to use it.
6. taking everyone off their plan is a good plan.
7. the endurance racing/mullet analogy always holds true ,,,
all business up front and a party in the back.
8. winning an endurance race is like wetting your pants in a dark suit ..
it gives you a warm feeling but few will notice.
9. you can't plan for the unknown but that is what will get you.
10. use the competition wisely ,,, they may become your friends
11. it's good to be the guy who needs to stop and pee.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Two sets of Eleven Lessons to contemplate...

R.S. McNamara's eleven lessons of war
1. Empathize with your enemy
2. Rationality will not save us
3. There's something beyond one's self
4. Maximize efficiency
5. Proportionality as a guideline in war
6. Get the data
7. Belief and seeing are often both wrong
8. Be prepared to re-examine your reasoning
9. In order to do good, you may have to engage in evil
10. Never say never
11. You can't change human nature

Your assignment is to develop your own eleven lessons of bike racing...the assignments is a two-part project.

Part I: Personally develop and list eleven lessons that apply to you and your experiences in bike racing (send to the author)...these lessons should comprise what you have learned during your personal cycling experiences to date or they can be expanded to include lessons that apply to your understanding of the topic at a macro-level. For example one lesson that I have learned in this facet of my so-called “life”: When in doubt take a nap.

Part II: To supplement and further define your eleven lessons, you are required to add commentary to each lesson so as to explain your lesson(s) within the context of your personal cycling history. For example:

C.P. Farrow’s eleven lessons of endurance bike racing (no particular order):

Lesson 1: When in doubt take a nap. I learned this lesson as a climber, but have applied it several times in long distance bike racing as well....It is often the case that small groups of racers/climbers are faced with unexpected circumstances such as the onset of bad weather, sudden illness, or the like and thus talk themselves into quitting the effort in an immediate reactionary response to the unplanned development. Lesson one maintains that one should never quit until he or she has taking at least one hour (more is better if you can spare the time) to lie down and completely relax...then and only then should one consider quitting.

Lesson 2: You are not special, but go for it anywayz. There are lotz of guyz out there that are way faster, way stronger, and more talented than you are or will ever be, so lose the ego. Still race like you are a pro! Never avoid racing with the best even though they will beat you up bad. The chance to race with top guyz is a beautiful thing; seize the opportunity...Don't buy into the age group category trap...You will get slower as you get older...but so what, as long as you are out there doing it--thatz what matters. Race with the fast guyz and do the longer races...But avoid overt, continual drafting unless you are over 50. See Lesson #7

Lesson 3: An expensive bicycle will not make you faster. Fast guyz are fast because of many many factors but the bikes they ride has very little to do with their speed. Get a good bike that will last you a long long time and then focus on the other stuff...

Lesson 4: The two most important components related to bike racing equipment are comfortable shoes and saddle. No explanation needed.

Lesson 5: A man needs a plan. Have a workable, realistic plan of action going into the race. Write it out, contemplate it, and rewrite it making changes. Share it will knowledgeable people to get good feedback, then rewrite it again. The plan should always include a goal. Be able to visualize yourself achieving your goal. Set the goal first and then work backwards to develop a strategy to achieve the goal. Once you have developed a strategy, work on developing tactics that will allow you to achieve the strategy. For example: My goal for the 2012 Arrowhead 2012 is to finish in the top three. If plan goes all horribly wrong? See Lesson #1

Lesson 6: Race in a state of wonderment and awe: Do not lose sight of the fact that during these races you are afforded the amazing opportunity to interact, in an intimate manner, with extraordinary people during extraordinary circumstances. Be polite and appreciative to all involved. Also thank your lucky stars that you are able to do these kinds of things. Never ever forget to thank the race directors.

Lesson 7: Take “calculated risks” plus don’t sit in the whole race and then sprint for the finish. For further explanation see Lesson #2 & Lesson #6.

Lesson 8: Be inclusive in your written race recaps. Readers do not want to learn solely about all the minute details of your sixteenth placing in a local gravel road race. Offer a more compelling and broad rendition including several of the personal dramas that played out during the event. Give credit to where credit is due. People like to see their names on your blog. Give the people what they want.

Lesson 9: Be self-sufficient. Be self-sufficient. Be self-sufficient. Note: Lap races that are designed to encourage massive pit crew efforts (giving obvious advantages to the select few that have such crews) clearly violate this lesson and thus should be avoided.

Lesson 10: Leave the cell phone home lest you be tempted to use it. Mallory, Shackleton, (and the like) never wanted for a cell phone. Leave phone home and follow Lesson #1 should you encounter major problems. Getting into a tough situation and then finding a way out on your own is a good thing... Being super safe is overrated.

Lesson 11: Re-Develop, refine, rethink your own lessons from time to time...thinking about the way you approach bike racing is a productive dynamic exercise. Einstein said (or at least he should have said), “one can never fully understand a complex principle unless he/she takes the time to write about it.”

So...Please free feel to submit any and all of your personal lessons to the author and he may publish in the near future or just put them in the "comments" section of this page

Monday, November 7, 2011

Freedom...just another word for "nothing left to..."

A rambling muse on the term, Freedom (excerpts from a most interesting contextual political lesson that morphed into a discussion on the word, freedom)...I love my job as I am surrounded by brilliant youths!!!!

Freedom is a term that is so general that itz hard for me to conjure an image in my head. Freedom from something is really how I view the word…Because to be “free” seems too big of a concept to aspire to. In other words no one is truly free…the fact is that Dylan was right…in that everyone and anyone is “gonna have to serve” somebody or something, some fundamental concept, some protocol for living ones life...
In my life, I perhaps felt most free when I was deep in the mountains of southeast Alaska many many years ago; alone with no opportunity for distraction (free to pursue one's passion without distractions), climbing with a small group of like minded men...or more recently, when battling the long night in Iowa during last year's Trans-Iowa with Eki. So my freedom is not equated to notions of safety or comfort.
I guess to me... Freedom is essentially a state of mind or a dimension of consciousness... Thus only the individual himself or herself can control the degrees of freedom. I cannot take your freedom from you. I may be able to hold you and coerce you to do my will, but I cannot take your freedom from you…Freedom is therefore inherently a personal choice or a state of being....
Freedom is abstract and intangible….ever changing in context and meaning…perhaps I’d draw a river that is in a constant state of flux to represent this notion. Degrees of Self-determination is a good synonym for the word, freedom.
In my view, using the term "Freedom" in the context of war is often an empty word used by war-mongers to motivate the youth to do the dirty work of war...
Again in my view Freedom and War are words that are incongruent in most instances throughout history... Beware of those who promise you "freedom."

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Less than 50 categories!!! There needs to be more categories in bike races....otherwise itz too hard to WIN

Below are the rigorous race "categories" for the recent Iceman event held over in Traverse City, Michigan...Such a rip-off!!! The race directors should have had the age-group categories set up at 6 month intervals [or maybe three month intervals!!!]. Otherwise how is a regular guy ever gonna have a chance to win a medal (and thus feel good about himself)!!!! And another thing; they make these races WAY too hard...these mtb races are just too long--the length should be 90 minutes max and the courses should be safe for everyone!!! Otherwise no one has a chance to win except for just a few guyz...How can regular folk feel good about themselves if they cannot feel safe and also win. Regular folks from Texas get to be Presidents and Governors and why can't regular folk get to win bike races. It ain't fair!!! Everyone should get to be a winner....Winning is important!!! We are destroying the collective self-esteem of all these people...Everyone should get to be a winner (and also be safe)...There for sure should be Ultra-Clydesdale and Extreme-Ultra Clydesdale categories for both men and women and tandems and unicycles (and kids as well). There should also be a category for aged men, over 52 but not yet 53, that drink too much beer, and have bad knees, and are cursed raising a crazy sled dog and a goofy "gifted & talented" kid (I would have a chance at winning that one!!!!)

1 Pro & Cat 1 Women
2 MYC Scholarship Women 12-18
3 Women 19-24
4 Women 25-29
5 Women 30-34
6 Women 35-39
7 Women 40-44
8 Women 45-49
9 Women 50-54
10 Women 55-59
11 Women 60+
12 Lady Clydesdales
13 Lady Singlespeeds

14 Pro & Cat 1 Men
15 MYC Scholarship Men 12-18
16 Men 19-24
17 Men 25-27
18 Men 28-29
19 Men 30-31
20 Men 32-33
21 Men 34
22 Men 35
23 Men 36
24 Men 37
25 Men 38
26 Men 39
27 Men 40
28 Men 41
29 Men 42
30 Men 43
31 Men 44
32 Men 45
33 Men 46
34 Men 47
35 Men 48
36 Men 49
37 Men 50
38 Men 51-52
39 Men 53-54
40 Men 55-57
41 Men 58-60
42 Men 61-64
43 Men 65-69
44 Men 70+
45 Tandems
46 Male Clydesdales 39 & Under
47 Male Clydesdales 40 +
48 Men Singlespeeds 39 & Under
49 Men Singlespeeds 40+

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

The Senior Report-Dirt Bag Gravel Race Recap....

Thanking you Mr. Ben Doom!!!

A fairly talented and diverse contingency of Duluthian gravel road enthusiasts traveled southwesterly, across the windswept cornfields of middle Minnesota to partake in the Dirt Bag gravel road race. Comprised within this Northern troupe were several major players of whom carry great status amongst or within their respective fields of influence. Namely, the indefatigable world traveler, Rich Hendricks, who has done more for crushing rocks into gravel than any Alabamian chain gang; the bold and brave archaeological/journalism professor John Hatcher, who has put decades of both meticulous and dangerous work into finding the fabled lost bicycle of Erik the Red of Norse legend; the renaissance man, Jeremy Kershaw, one of just two or three that can claim to have skied, run, and biked the Arrowhead 135 (earning a DBD patch to boot); the unconquerable Mr. Ek, a throwback to a simpler time when a man was judged by his propensity to suffer under stress, under a load, doing work for days and days; and the odd-man out, a Mr. Farrow, a lowly unscrupulous aged man that spends the bulk of his idle dayz secretly planning the untimely demise of his daughter’s pet man-dog, Loki.

As dawn broke and they entered into Minnesota’s 6th District via three automobiles—the domain of presidential hopeful and darling of the Tea Party, Mrs. Michelle Bachman—there arose a collective sense of orderly patriotism, security, anti-immigration, and civic pride amongst the refined men, whilst the unprincipled one could only day dream of applying sorted Machiavellian tactics to the impending gravel race.

Upon arrival at the starting point the Northlanders set about individually to determine the proper ensemble to wear so as to complement their various physical attributes, given the relatively cool temperatures. For Ek , the sponsored one, the decision was simply a matter of selecting the appropriate Hi-tech Salsa-brand of stylish clothing that would afford just the right measure of both warmth and breathability, but for both Kershaw and Farrow it was a more complicated equation involving matching a hodge-podge of “lost&found” items, hand me downs, and duct-taped booties. Farrow is somewhat self-conscious of his weighty figure and yet has been told, more than once, that he looks “dashingly sporting’ in crimson, so he went with his predominately red outfit, including his red long underwear that he found abandoned near a local ski resort some years past. It is worth noting that to his chagrin, Farrow was completely upstaged by a strikingly good looking Flander’s roadie festooned in a brand new and brilliantly fire-truck red costume from head to toe to carbon bike. Those near to Farrow in the peloton recalled that the old curmudgeon was green with envy and jealousy as the large group of riders lined up to begin their battle. One participant remembers the old man complaining, “I wish we had a carbon-tax on these roadie guyz and their carbon machines…we could pay off the federal debt!”

Fast starts are always hard on old men as it takes considerable time from them to initiate their respective “mojos’ and so there was a collective sense of disapproval from the elders when the impetuous youth from Rochester, Drew Wilson took off like a flash of lighting down the first gravel road encountered. When eventually reeled back into the fold, an elder was heard scolding the unbridled youth in no uncertain terms,
“Drew if you would just learn how to ride smart you’d be able to win these races!”

From the get-go, the pace was decidedly fast and then all hell broke loose when the locals invited their unsuspecting guests into a series of deadly sand traps. These barriers had the effect of causing several seniors to experience rapid heart palpations, thus prompting Farrow to exclaim to the nearby Kershaw, “Strike me tent! I am ready to meet my Maker!” As the locals seemingly floated through the quicksand, the rest groveled. Such is the state of gravel road racing!!!! Oh the shame of it all. No respect for the seniors of the sport.

Sensing weakness, the charge lead by the Revolution Cycle squad increased in ferocity... then suddenly as if they realized their insolence, their bad behavior, the pace slowed just enough to allow a few of the luckier stragglers to catch back up to the lead group. Yet the damage was done to poor ravaged Kershaw; a crippled shell of a once proud man weakened from a troublesome addiction to foot running. Left languishing alone against the persistent headwinds of farm country, he is said to have wept the tears of a rider that had forsaken his velo-craft for the lonely life of a long distance runner. He, too wept, one can surmise for the precipitous downfall of the once great Brave Buffington…a man endowed with unequaled potential in the cycling world, who then gives it all up to skip through the forests with other like-minded fleet-footed pedestrians only to suffer the physical and psychological declines associated with that lonely and inglorious pursuit. A tragedy of epic proportions!

The lead group, twenty or so strong was thus comprised of the survivors of the sand dunes and the strong Saint Cloud riders. The tempo slowed a bit as some of the riders took time to become reacquainted. Bell complained of the frustrations involved with peeling layers and layers of old wall-paper off of a recently acquired 1970s ranch-style home and was reminded that Hitler was once a wall paperer. Farrow grumbled incessantly on the topic of how hard it is to murder a family dog without being found out, whilst the Deathrider rightly castigated a youth that publically admitted to being ignorant as the peculiarities associated with the new extra-wide Surly fat-bike.

Once again, around ninety minutes into it, the locals lead their unsuspecting guests into another insidious trap. This time the ambush came in the form of a long and hilly section of severe washboard type terrain. The incessant rattling and shaking caused the elder men to lose control of their aged bladders…Among the victims, Farrow wept as he soiled his red shorts... Whilst the depraved opportunists took off leaving all but eleven racers, seven of whom were indigenous to the area. Oh the shame!

At the end of the bone rattling segment, only the two youths from Rochester and the intrepid Horkey, had been able to hang with these The Saint Cloud Seven. Upon a post race analysis, some noteworthy researchers contend that the outcome plays well to a kind of conspiracy theory that places the flatlanders from both Rochester and Saint Cloud in a collusive arrangement designed to thwart any outside threats that may have come from the more genteel and fair-minded Northerners. A plot was afoot? Of course there does not exist any definitive evidence to substantiate this conclusion…but there were rumblings from the cheap seats!

Horkey is off the back! Then there were but nine leaders including Beuning, Loosen, Muyres, Bell, Scad, Wilson, Ziemer, Staifenberg, and Gritman. They road well together for the better part of fifty miles and it came down to a last desperate sprint up a hill that put Wilson on top. Any student of the game could not be unimpressed by Wilson’s effort for on paper there were others that boast more winning credentials. Yet the youth perhaps listened to his elders, road the smart race, and made the right moves when it counted…so it goes.

Giving a courageous solo chase was a forlorn Mr. Ek, but the head wind was too much even for this hard and brave man and so he was eventually caught up by a well motivated chase group comprised of Skarphol, Nikodym, Hurl, Fry, and others including the floundering Farrow. J. Fry was the inspiration and thus the driving force behind a fast second group that was buoyed by Hurl and Skarphol, both of whom took turns with Fry in keeping the pace high and optimistic.

But alas it was
not to be for the leaders finished a good fifteen minutes ahead of the chasers…such is the way of cycling in the modern age!

Thanking you Team Doom....The DBD had a blast