Friday, October 19, 2012

Just checking in..........

Just a quick random and unorganized update as not much as been going on for me up here in the Northland that is worthy of sharing. 

This year’s class of Esko seniors is among the best I have ever had the pleasure of spending time with in my many years of teaching. I am always encouraged and hopeful for the future because of the fact that the vast majority of young people that I interact with on a daily basis are way more interesting and intelligent that I ever was in my youth; same can be said for my friends as well…Basically all my buddies and I cared about in high school and even in college was playing sports and drinking cheap beer.  In stark contrast this year’s group, especially, are extraordinarily well-rounded, thoughtful and generous. I have many seniors that are top-notch athletes, blooming academics, concerned humanitarians, empathetic mentors to struggling younger students, political moderates, consensus builders, good stewards to the environment, and the positives attributes go on and on…If you are stuck in a rut surrounded by others stuck in ruts…consider going into teaching; it’s a great gig!

The Heck of the North did not disappoint as it went off perfectly…there was a small unavoidable glitz involving a detour near the end of the race because of a car accident and a subsequent road closing by the cops, but even in that situation the leaders of the race acted with class and integrity.  Specifically, from what I could glean from a couple of the fastest riders (I finished way back), the situation involving the road closure necessitated a kind of real-life ethical dilemma in which the final outcome proved that there are still MEN that when tested will act with honor and grace.  Essentially here’s what happened: With less than ten miles to go—There was a group of three or four lead cyclists that had been able to establish a significant gap on a strong and motivated chase group of about ten or so guyz, a group mostly comprised of Duluth’s best in terms of endurance athletes.  The four leaders were heading down a long hill whose terminus is Superior Street.  Suddenly they encountered a bunch of cops and police cars.  Upon stopping they were informed that the road was being temporary closed because of a car hitting a telephone pole, etc.  They thus were forced to start back up the hill.  A few minutes later, they intercepted the chase group.  Now all headed back up together. Once to the top, the race officials (acting well under pressure) redirected the group to a detour route.  The comprehensive group thus headed off together following the detour until they came upon the final section of off-road, which was really only a few miles from the finish.  Then suddenly (and with out fanfare) the Men that had comprised the chase group suddenly stopped (as did the four original leaders). The chase group collectively and without any semblance of dissension, informed the leaders that they would wait for five minutes allowing the leaders to contest for the victory.  Such is the make-up Duluth’s best.  I wept when I heard the story. 

I did journey the following weekend after the Heck of the North to Levis Mounds for the last of the WEMS race.  This race, too, was a blast.  Unfortunately for me I got lost and/or distracted on my way down to the race so I did not get to start the race on time.  In fact I started the race about 78 minutes after the gun had gone off.  Yet I finished the 75 mile race, got to hang with Martin Rudnick, and even turned in a few relatively fast laps.  I love that course, felt pretty fit, and I am always impressed with the generous prizes available to the racers during the post-race party. 

The Heck of the North and the last WEMS race @ Levis are both great events. 

I am starting to get really pumped and even somewhat serious about training for the 350 mile Alaskan Iditarod race that Buffington and I are attempting at the end of February…I even considered giving up beer, but then I realized that would be the act of an insane person…

More to come…….


  1. Who knew!? I am honored to have such fine, upstanding folk ride the Heck! Thanks for the story, Farrow!

  2. I also am getting pumped! so much, in fact, I've been lying in bed unable to sleep for 3 hours thinking about gear, so finally just got out of bed and am sitting her at 1am eating a bowl of cereal. I'm contemplating just leaving now for the 5am training ride, or slam a couple beers and try to get some sleep. Hmm?


  3. Are you doing the Arrowhead?

    If bored next weekend come down to cloud and do the Dirt Bag! Good Training.

  4. Charlie, it is always a pleasure to see you posting. As the temps dip and the leaves fall I think the true season of cycling begins. I am glad to hear you are doing well.
    All the best,
    Cookie and I and a bunch of other Slender Fungi will be attending Gravel festivities in an undisclosed location in the Godly state of Iowa.