Thursday, January 29, 2009

NYTimes Headline: "Farrow has his worst year ever, but will not ask federal government for bail out monies..."

"I think he likes to do winter bike races because no one else does them and so I think he thinks he might have a chance at winning." Sophie Farrow, irreverent offspring of a cyclist in decline

Good news for my loyal minions and bad news, no REALLY BAD NEWS for Pramann, Brannick, Lance, Curiak, Peterson, Simmons, Shand, Lindsay, and The new kid from Iowa that Lance is bragging up, et. al. The author's momentary lapse into melancholia has passed with the aid of anti-dementia drugs, a tempestuous scolding from Mallory, a vote of no-confidence from the DBD, and the threat of baby-sitting duties should I stay home...So to the rest of the AH 135 BOYZ--Prepare for a humiliating defeat or worse, cuz I am back and I am bringin' Rosinante...
PS...Every one is going to miss Don Gabrielson...A finer MAN I have never met (other than Sir George Mallory, of course)....

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

You won't have Charlie Farrow around anymore to pick on...I am done!

Dearest Readers and Loyal Supporters:

It is with great trepidation that I announce my intention to stay home from the Winter Formal otherwise known as the Arrowhead 135. The preeminent military figure of the twentieth century, General Douglas MacArthur upon his retirement proclaimed, “Old soldiers never die they just fade away” and now I, too, friends will fade away into obscurity far removed from the winter enduro-cycling community. There are my critics that will no doubt point out that several last minute “ringer” additions to the race roster have negated any chance that the author may have had at a top three finish and thus caused him to act the coward and stay home and hide out. There are others that will purport to spread vicious and totally unfounded rumors about the author’s ties to Rod Blagojevich and Bernie Madoff. And still others will set forth Hollywood-esque gossip involving the writer’s propensity for lavishly accumulating shiny carbon bicycle frames and components while his family ekes out a merger existence. Of course all of these accusations are completely without merit.

That Terry Brannick and Mike Curiak have recently decided to enter the race has absolutely no bearing on my decision. The fact that Terry Brannick ALWAYS beats me and the fact that Mike Curiak holds nearly every cycling endurance record in the USA is of no bearing on my fragile, unrealistic, and hyper-sensitive ego. Furthermore, I have never made it a secret that Blago, Bernie, and I are the best of friends, even kindred spirits. I fully support both of them and know in my heart that they have only acted in the best interests of the fine citizenries of the great state of Illinois (the Land of Lincoln) and American investors, respectively. Finally, to somehow equate my farewell to winter cycling with my undeniable fondness for all things carbon is to misrepresent the facts. While it is both true that I currently own five high-end bicycles and that my little girl and wife often go hungry and wear thread-bare clothing; it is a total and outrageous misrepresentation of the facts in that I do not own a single carbon-fiber bicycle frame.

The actual reason for my sudden participation forfeiture of this fine gala affair is two fold: first and foremost is my family. I want to spend more time with my family. Let me repeat—I want to spend more time with the family unit. And secondly my dear friend Dick Cheney, who is now confined to a wheelchair, needs my help moving into his home in Texas.

So I will be staying home from the Arrowhead 135; Godspeed to all those brave souls that will embark from International Falls on their sojourns of truth on next Monday morning. Perhaps on that cold cold Monday night when your legs start to tie up and your guts are all in a terrible muddle as you begin to consider a conversation with the Devil think of old faded C.P.Farrow…I’ll be chillin’ with Dick down in Texas….planning for a full season of fantasy football with GW and Dick…and maybe even getting together with Norm Coleman and doing some serious death & destruction up here in the Northland with a spendy automatic shotgun and a souped up ATV on them grouse and deer and such come fall. Yeah, I am done with the whole silly bike thang…Good riddance!

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

...mind if I dance with your date?

With the Winter Formal only 12 dayz out...The author is uncertain regarding his date...Kelly is fast and furious, but fickle. Gunnar is a proven good time but may not go the full distance. Rosinante is inviting albeit heavy, buxom and new to town? More to come...

Friday, January 16, 2009

With a Dance as big as this...A man needs a plan!!!

A thoroughly planned effort is the key to an enjoyable time at the BIG WINTER DANCE…

Honesty, stoicism, integrity, and fair-play form the fundamental guideposts from which I live my life; coupled with the fact that, as those of you who know me well, can attest; I am a meticulous planner in the same mold as that of a top ranking nuclear physicist or a quantum mathematician from the Ivy League halls of academia. These essential and laudable personal values combined with my well-honed character trait of strict, even obsessive, attention to detail have melded together into a concerted strategically fool-proof preparation resulting in perhaps the singular or at least certainly a quintessential recipe for success for the upcoming Winter Gala cycling-event known as the Arrowhead 135. Initially, upon its completion, I hung close to this plan-of-success, even conspiring to use it against my competitors, but upon reflection and ingestion of many fermented barley beverages, I began to question the efficacy, even the morality of my selfishness.
Therefore after careful and calculated consideration; I have decided to publish what I believe to be the essential Arrowhead Inventory for Success.

Winter Formal: Arrowhead 135 To-Do List:
· Plan out hairdo. Experiment with cut, style, and color but without commitment. Commit two weeks out to allow for mellowing of color (be careful of too much gray cover-up).
· Remember to bring a bike, some warm clothes, a sleeping bag, and 3 lbs. of Genoa salami (thickly sliced).
· Practice with meaning, conviction, and desperation: “Pierre, je me gèle!”
· Bikini wax.
· Consider lumbar and endoscopic thoracic sympathectomies (cuts down on sweaty feet, hands, and armpits resulting in warmer appendages). Check for good deals at local hospitals; what with it being the Great Depression and all, elective surgeries are way down…
· Suck up to the snowmobile volunteers at pre-race meeting.
· Have remaining toes, pinkies, and privates removed (remember to insulate catheter).
· Bring shiny, albeit appropriate bartering items for use at the casino.
· Order boutonnieres for Cheryl, Pierre, and the Gear Nazi.
· Bring extra duct tape.
· Have tear ducts removed; shop around for the best deal.
· Check with Lance Andre (not Armstrong) about the reliability and price of The Original Whizzinator.
· Attend support group for cyclists repeatedly beaten by Dave Praman.
· For the camelbak, add one shot of quality Irish whiskey to each liter of water (make that two shots of quality Irish whiskey added to each half pint of water).
· Bring salty wieners and sour-kraut for a play at Gear Nazi appeasement.
· Shave legs, pluck eye brows, have upper lip waxed. Pluck hair from back mole. Clip ear and nose hair.
· Make sure all major sponsor logos are prominently displayed during pre and post race press conferences.
· Load up on E.P.O. and Testosterone (See Hamilton and that Mennonite fella for good deals)
· Ask for drug testing of top runner and skier; prerace and postrace.
· Make hair, nails, and makeup appointments (ask for discount on nails as few nails remain on hands and none on feet). Go with a bright, cheerful color.
· If Blue Shield/Blue Cross will pay for it, go for the removal of all that heavy gray matter except the primitive or instinctual part of the brain. That is the amygdala, the primitive part of the brain, responsible for gut reactions, including fear and aggressive behaviors, versus areas like the frontal cortex, which develops later and helps us control our emotions and cognition. So get rid of all of it ‘cept that amygdala thingy, saves weight and makes the race seems “normal.” Check around for the best deal, may be have tear ducts removed at the same time.
· Whiten remaining teeth for that perfect Arrowhead smile. Bring ample breath-fresheners in case of mouth-to-mouth resuscitation and/or podium finish.
· Repeat practice with meaning, conviction, and desperation: “Pierre, je me gèle!”
· Check on the cost of quick “tummy tuck” (abdominoplasty), again maybe cheaper than ya think.
· Add a smidge of vodka to the hammer gel flask to prevent freeze up (make that— add a smidge of hammer gel to the vodka flask).
· Go tanning.
· Practice victory celebration, stay conservative and yet convey subdued jubilation.
· Start vicious and scandalous rumors about both Dave Gray’s and Dave Praman’s past. The juicier the better, try to include accusations involving inappropriate behaviors in public restrooms at the Minneapolis airport and/or associations with terrorists.
· Pick up prom dress or tuxedo two weeks in advance. Go ahead and try it on! Go provocative, yet with highlights of enigmatic innocence. You may need to get alterations so be prepared to spend a little cash for that perfect fit.
· Arrive to the pre-race meeting in style and make everyone (especially those goofy runners) green with envy. Treat rivals with feigned sincerity. Make a big deal about Lance’s Ti sno-machine, etc.
· Wear the subtle, yet non-gender specific perfume “The Provocateur” at pre-race meeting. Wear a beret highlighted with French national colors to garner favoritism from race directors.
· Don’t forget to practice with meaning, conviction, and desperation: “Pierre, je me gèle!”
· Determine the strength of alliances/relationships among rivals and the potentiality of betrayal (Note: Gray’s father and uncle in the past have made no apologies for their affinity for quality whiskey, use this to your advantage).
· Wear only high-end Scandinavian sounding brand-name clothing to pre and post race interviews (CRAFT, SWIX, etc).
· Bring birth control.
· Practice North Dakota dialect, things like “you betcha.”
· Adjust living will to donate any important excised frozen organs or limbs to the Cryogenics department at the University of Minnesota. Have wife insist on a plaque in return.
· Do not agree to drug testing.
· Bring a 1920s era British military-issue H4877 centrefire Webley Mark IV revolver with one well preserved cartridge preloaded and letter of resignation (with appropriate postage), for use in the event that the participant finds himself unable to complete the race (for DBD members only).
· Bring a pack of Lucky Strikes non-filtered cigarettes to be used as a final act of defiance before the end, for use in the event that the participant finds himself unable to complete the race (for DBD members only).
· Practice poise, modesty, and humility in victory.
· Remember to hold bicycle over head in victory, stay calm as podium girls kiss cheek.
· Bring Cheryl and Pierre day-old baguettes from Great Harvest (day-olds are cheap and they will never know the difference).
· Practice bitterness, excuse-making, and victimization in defeat.
· Blame defeat on equipment and the race organizers.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

I love winter....

Itz 10:30 P.M. and about 17 degrees below zero, not counting that silly wind-chill factor that tries to figure how cold a guy would “feel” iffing he was naked hanging from the top of a flag pole (Mallory refuses to calculate wind-chill, he likes to say, “We don’t figure wind-chill cuz we do not go around naked in public. We are a modest sort, unlike the French.”). In any event, my point is that it is perfect training conditions for the Winter Formal (aka Arrowhead 135). I am just back from a 2.5 hour ride up in Hartley Park, which is a 17 minute ride from my house. Hartley contains great single-track and thanks to the snow-shoe crowd, right now the trail is…well like the kids like to say…The single track is AWESOME! The deer are all hunkered down in the deep forest and when I came into that section, my light highlighted their eyes…and it was good.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Sorry so few posts of late...'been crazy busy what with the BIG WINTER GALA just a couple weeks so so busy

The sixth installment of “one of my Worst dayz ever” by Hansi Johnson. Hansi is a brand new DAD, a film maker, a full-on outdoor enthusiast, and one of the best guyz ever to inhabit the Northland… In his own words:

So in keeping with Charlie’s epic ride series I thought I would post my worst day on a bike. Years ago while a young fit lad I took the initiative to ride my bike around Iceland for a summer. Now riding around Iceland is a story in itself, the conditions are generally wet, cold and extremely windy. When I say extremely windy I mean like so windy that forward motion at times is not possible. My MTB was loaded with Panniers, gear and food to enter and live in the backcountry for up to a week at a time and all the crap that goes with a bike tour, IE spare parts, tent, clothes etc. My plan was to ride the interior, mainly jeep roads, sheep tracks and old Viking paths. Which I did. However, once I was out of food, I would venture back to Iceland's Route One and peddle on the only road that goes around the whole island, find a village re-supply and then head back into the bush.

Well as luck would have it, one week I made a mistake on estimating my food supply and my distance to the nearest town. To be honest, I ran out with two days to ride and had really nothing but GU and toothpaste to keep me rolling. Upon finally reaching RTE One I also realized that the next town (and thus the closest food) was 150 km away across a giant Pumice and Lava flat. Now a Pumice and Lava flat is a gnarly thing to behold, it is basically fine dust, ankle to knee deep and if it is windy it can be 10 times worse than any sand or snow storm you can dream up. The good news was that RTE One is paved so I was not having to trudge through the deep stuff, however, I was tempting fate by entering the “Sanduer” or the pumice storm zone, to rip across it in a vehicle is one thing, to crawl across it on a heavily loaded bike is another. In my mind I was thinking what if I make 100 km into it, bonk, I have not had food for two days, and then get stuck in a sand storm and am forced to hunker down as the fine pumice coated everything I own and destroyed my bike as well? When you hit the zone there are huge lights and a barricade, if they are flashing and the barricade pulled over that means somewhere out there is a heavy wind and thus an impassable road. The lights were dim and the sun high, the winds calm as I entered the zone, but my heart rate was up and I was pushing that damn bike as hard as I dared. I rationed myself to a GU an hour and used the wrappers to mark the time. It was like being in a mental hell hole. You couldn’t relax because huge trucks and tracked vehicles were surging past throwing the fine dust in your face and pushing you into the loam as you tried to steer clear of them. Finally the GU’s ran out and I started to bonk. Eventually at about 95 Km the winds finally made their appearance. I knew they would, I mean why not, you tempt the gods and generally they kick your ass, especially in Iceland where paganism is still practiced and trolls populate every large rock in the countryside. My forward speed slowed to literally nothing, I fought not only to see, but also to keep the bike upright, luckily the road veered downwind for awhile and I had an hours respite. However at about 10 hours into it the road went back into the wind and I was forced to push. Eventually even that came to a halt and I had to stop and lay flat to keep my face out of the skin peeling maelstrom. Feeling like I had to move or die I just kept doing that eventually getting back to a point where I could ride again. At about 120 km I was nearly out of the sand zone, I was wasted and looking for any sign of mercy when all of a sudden I saw some weird lumps in the road, first one, then two then three or four, then I was amidst them and I saw that it was a group of other cyclists, Italians, and they were laying on their backs to keep out of the wind exactly like I had been. Feeling good I just threaded my way through them, it was like riding through the valley of the dead, as I neared passing them all the last one gave a half hearted wave (or was it a reach for help?) and then disappeared into the sand. I arrived at the next town a mere shadow of who I had been at the start of the day. I camped on the lawn of the local grocery store and literally slept and ate there for several days.
Great Story!!! "If it doesn't kill you, it will make you stronger." PLus it makes for a great story to tell over a few beers :)
More to come in a few dayz...I am worried about which bike to take to I-Falls???