Monday, August 31, 2009

Five dayz out from an exercise in "clarity through suffering."

Regarding these silly endurance bicycle races, from my experience, itz the onset of darkness that separates the pretenders from the contenders... I am well into the pre-race hydration process with a concerted focus on ingesting massive amounts of an ancient man-solution involving a mysterious mixture of fermented grains and various hops. I find that this elixir assists with bolstering both my courage and testosterone levels...Apparently, the Spartans of antiquity never, ever went into battle without drinking copious amounts of this particular beverage. For example, Spartacus, the famous gladiator, never went into "the ring" without drinking at least a gallon of the stuff!!!! So it goes........

Sunday, August 30, 2009

Three great MUST-READ biographies by Walter Issacson

Initially, I read the one on Einstein and was both fascinated and awestruck. Next, I read the one on Franklin and was patriotically inspired to the importance of community and civil service. I just finished the one on Kissinger and I am now seriously thinking about moving to Canada :)....So it goes...Are we really progressing as a people/society/nation????

Saturday, August 29, 2009

Exactly seven dayz and two hours from now I will be three minutes into it...

Regret for the things we did can be tempered by time; it is regret for the things we did not do that is inconsolable.
Sidney Harris

Good luck to all the guyz and galz down in Seeley...I wish I was there with 'em...The Seeley Pre-Fat is a great venue.

Get your paperwork into Jeremy Kershaw ASAP for entry into the Heck of the North (September 26 here in Duluth)

Thursday, August 27, 2009

9 Dayz and counting...

In racing a 24 hour event, it is the advent of darkness that can drive a solid man to grieve at the gut-level. With dusk, glory and good cheer give way to grim Gregorian chants and glimpses of Gorgon's ghastly goblins...

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

This just off the AP Newswire...Caution: What you are about to read is heavily biased and subjective.

Mallory Offers a Rare Pardon to DBD Rider

In a rare twist of events Sir George Mallory offers an unprecedented pardon to DBD favorite Eki. The only gesture made by the intrepid climber (and DBD founding-father) that even comes close to this is his past reversals on the expulsion of the always controversial and at times fringe member, Farrow. It seems an emergency meeting was held among the DBD'ers over the ill fated Blue Mounds 12 hour race attempted by Eki - the only DBD rider to ever accept the challenge. Discussions stirred over the rider's decision to pull the plug after his steed was severely wounded and knocked out of commission for the day. He (Eki) reports that he deliberated at length over attempting the daunting course on a loaner bike, but surmised that it was neither mentally or physically feasible to dismount the Corvette he normally races in order to jump on the back of a Nova. It was after this decision that he resigned to dismantling the maimed Gary Fisher and soak up some free suds provided by the directors. "I knew it's what Mallory would've wanted and what he would have done," surmised Eki in a post race interview

Reports have circulated that Farrow fought hard at the meeting to have Eki removed from the short list of DBD'ers and even, quite shockingly, confronted Mallory directly. This move by Farrow has once again placed him on the endangered species list among club members.

When Mallory slammed the gavel down it was decided. Not only would Eki remain in and among the DBD'ers, but he would be elevated to an honorary Knight status and shall be referred to as Sir Eki for one calendar year from Blue Mounds race date forward.

"What he did out there should be a lesson to you all. His perseverance and drive is the stuff dreams are made of...All hail Sir Eki". -Sir George Mallory in an extremely rare interview via telegraph

Farrow clearly in a state of dissolution by this turn of events had this to say, "I sense some real favoritism here. I mean I guess what he did was o.k., if you're into that kind of thing. Mallory has always leaned toward Eki, but that's o.k., it's what drives me on. In regard to my tenuous status, I've been here before, it's nothing I can't handle. I'll just keep proving myself on my 'road' rides and show my competitors where I stand. Hey, you just wait until I switch back to gears."

[Source: A.P. Newswire Report]

10 dayz and counting down...

Expletive deletives echoed everywhere as enduro-existentialists expired enroute to the inexact end-point...

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

11 Dayz...

Regarding a 24 hour mtb race:
Devolution develops in degrees...but usually the degeneration is decidedly complete with the descent into darkness. Darkness denotes desperation as delirious demons dance; destined to destroy ones determination. Devils delight in despicable display as desire gives way to defeat! Dire detriment and disaster awaits the two-wheeled damned. Disclaimer: Do not dare to disturb the demons after dark!

Monday, August 24, 2009

On the 12th day of the countdown to Seven Oaks...

Riding a bicycle for up to 24 hours on a rough trail down in Iowa is on par with trying to make compromise with a covey of committed, cantankerous cannibals while in captivity

Kudos to those that made the Gitchee Gallivant a huge success!!! Duluth is so great... [It was a celebration of cycling conceived by locals that are committed to Duluth cycling. It commenced on Saturday and involved a day of cycling and good year I am gonna be involved]
Only seven dayz left to notify Jeremy Kershaw of your intent to take on the Heck of the North challenge (see link AAA on the right column of this page, near the top )...If you live in the area and like to ride long distances on gravel roads, don't miss this inaugural has all the ingredients to one day become a fall "classic."

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Thirteen dayz and counting...

Riding loops on a ski resort in IOWA ( Iowa, of all places!!!...almost seems like a contradiction, a paradox, or even an oxymoron) for 24 hours is not unlike bedding down with a bevy of bored, albeit boozed-up, belligerent Bedouins…

At the risk of angering the gods I have chosen to add a front sissy shock for the 24 hour effort (and even nine gears), please pray for my damned soul and also ask that the Single-Speed Brethren will show mercy and forgiveness...
Kudos to Tim Ek for forgoing doing the "talk" but totally "walking the walk" down near Mad-town via the 12 Hours @ Blue Mounds...I am waiting to hear the outcome...

Saturday, August 22, 2009

The Countdown Begins...I am as nervous as a little school girl on her first date!

An alphabetical countdown to my date with Seven Oaks

Aiding and Abetting the Australian Death Adder...
Two weeks from right now, this very minute, I will be in Boone, Iowa running around making last minute harried attempts at getting my pitiful little pit-stop situated so that there will be some small semblance of order when I begin pedaling forlorn loops in conjunction with the 24 Hours @ Seven Oaks. It makes no sense and I’d just as well go courting a Australian Death Adder…so it goes…

"Real existence is to embrace the absurd..." A. Camus

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Quick cancel everything outside and fire up the new plasma TV!!!! Itz raining and I heard some thunder!!!!

It is raining now in Duluth, so of course my kid's big soccer game got cancelled!!! To me, when it rains, it means that I will get wet, nothing more... We are a nation of sissies... Good thing Ben Franklin didn't run from the weather or we would all be sitting around using candles :)

Monday, August 17, 2009

Eki and I rode the Heck of the North course on Sunday in full conditions

My intrepid training partner, Tim Ek, and I rode the Heck of the North course on Sunday in conditions way more interesting than those @ WEMS La Crosse, a couple weeks ago. WEMS decided to cancel their race due to less than perfect conditions, of course we never considered whether to go or not to go...In advance, having taken the time to write up the copious paperwork justifying the need for mechanized transport and thus ultimately securing a variance from the DBD Honor Board allowing limited use of my car to pick up Eki and then secure coffees from an all-night gas station, we started the ride at 5:00 a.m. near the shores of beautiful Lake Superior. With virgin cue sheets in hands, amid full conditions including strong winds, rain, and lighting, our hearts soared as we embarked on a reconnaissance of Jeremy Kershaw’s opus number one, The Heck of the North!

Seven hours and twenty-two minutes later amid rain and wind we returned to our starting point satisfied that we had experienced a true work of art. A course that reflects both the remote beauty of the back roads of the Northland and the commitment of a creative man’s need to express his love of two-wheeled adventure. Among other non-compulsory organs, Eki and I have both had our tear ducts surgically removed to save weight and to steel our emotions, but even so, upon the conclusion of this practice ride we experienced incomprehensible trickles of saline solutions leaking from our eye sockets. The sensation was both troubling and euphoric.

At the onset, I mentioned that the sky was full of electric power which caused Eki to respond, “No worries, we are on rubber.” The primary goal was to test the course for accuracy and potential problems or concerns using the cue sheets. It was an epic ride with full on torrential rain and strong winds. We rode at a good/steady pace and never really took any breaks. As stated above, it took us seven hours and twenty-two minutes. I'd guess that the top guyz will be able to do it in around 6.5 hours, if good weather, but it will take many riders nine or even ten hours+.

The course is primarily gravel in nature, intermixed with a nice complement of asphalt, and it does not hold any big hills (although it is not an easy course). There are three sections of ATV/snowmobile trails that represent tough challenges. One point-0f-interest is only about 50 yards long but it is a full on muddy swamp with itch weed, other long grasses, crazed horse flies, etc. forcing us to wade through it with the water up near our shorts and bikes on our shoulders!!! The experience had the effect of causing us to reflect upon the Golden Age of mountain biking when there were no man-made bridges and thus men were forced to often carry their bikes across natural barriers. It was a wonderful memory. The second section also comes before the half way point and involves two miles or so on the North Shore Trail, it had sections of very high grass (grass up over the bike and some swampy ATV ruts). This section is mostly rideable. The third section comes near the very end of the course and involves about a fifteen minute effort through a renegade ATV trail that is very rocky, grassy, hilly, swampy, and full of other stuff just waiting to rip off somebody's derailleur or cause a flat. So in total, there is probably only about 5 miles of off-road but I would advise racers to go slow through these three sections and be prepared to get generally wet and feet soaked.
I am SURE that the fastest times will involve 'cross bikes with skinny cross tires, but in full conditions (like yesterday) a 29er would not be a disadvantage. Also the course would not be prohibitive in terms of being near the front for a strong guy on a single speed equipped with a stout gear ratio.

Through out the ride Eki and I marveled at the seemingly remoteness of the course and the obvious creative work that Mr. Kershaw has dedicated to this fine course and endeavor. We both proclaim with heartfelt gusto: BRAVO Jeremy, Long Live Kershaw, HOORAY Heck of the North!!!

Postscript: There are those that will claim that by pre-riding the course, Eki and I now enjoy a significant advantage. To these detractors, I say…”Well, that maybe true, but at least we are not a bunch of socialists!!!” Also it is noteworthy that Eki, a true White Knight, refused to take a ride in my car at the course conclusion in that he was convinced that the DBD variance was only for the start, thus did not include permission for a return trip, and consequently by excepting a ride would be tantamount to a compromise in DBD dogma. He road his trusty steed home whilst I drove my car in guilt. His purity is an inspiration to us all…

Get your entry work in NOW!!!!!

Friday, August 14, 2009

Crossed the Rubicon as I sent in my entry fee to the nice folks at Single-Track Productions for inclusion into the 24Hrs @ Seven Oaks, Sept. 5/6

Ἑλληνιστὶ πρὸς τοὺς παρόντας ἐκβοήσας, «Ἀνερρίφθω κύβος», [anerriphtho kybos] διεβίβαζε τὸν στρατόν.

In other words, Caesar declared in Greek with loud voice to those who were present 'Let the dice be cast' and led the army across the Rubicon.
– Plutarch, Life of Pompey, 60.2.9
The word is that itz a tough one... If I don't make it back, know that I went with a smile on my face!

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Mean people snub others...

There is no such thing as a justifiable snub, but the snubbee must take into consideration the context in which he or she was snubbed...Often times there is more to the offense than a simple "in-your-face-disgrace" snub.

Itz always tough to get snubbed, but I have grown somewhat immune to being snubbed by tri-athletes and even top runners. Given their slight physiques and tendency to "skip" rather than to run, fast road runners are a nervous lot and by definition “run” away from other athletes (and motorcycle gangs), so being snubbed by a true runner may indeed be just an instinctual survival response that has evolved over time to protect the timid runner, rather than a premeditated snub.

Being snubbed by tri-athletes is also less offensive in that they have lots on their minds and thus genuinely may not comprehend the fact that they are perpetrating a snub. After all tri-athletes, when engaged in the cycling stage of their varied craft, are usually in the extended Superman position, encased in a fully carbonized aero helmet, and focused on a multitude of bio-feedbacks, lofty strategizing, and personal goal setting. Included in these complex cognitive pursuits are: a) attending to their pedaling cadence; b) power meter feedbacks; c) heart rate considerations; d) VO2 max issues; e) proper caloric intake; f) fluid management; g) cholesterol levels; h) current speed of bike; i) GPS coordinates; j) distance traveled; k) distance to be traveled; l) speed going up hills; m) speeds going down hills; n) average speeds; o) maintaining perfect aero dynamic form; p) appropriate wheelset for conditions; q) appropriate tires and tire pressure for conditions; r) appropriate gear ratios for conditions; s) proper breathing; t) wind direction; u) strategies for paying the outrageously expensive entry fees; v) strategies for explaining to the wife the need for purchasing the new “cutting-edge” aero bike, so as to keep up with other local tri-athletes; x) strategies for developing a rationale for purchasing new "Tri-athalon" wet/dry suit; y) and so forth. Thus it is little wonder that a tri-athlete may deliver a snub...

But to be blatantly snubbed by a fellow gravel road rider, as occurred to me yesterday just off Lester River Road, BOY THAT HURTS, THAT REALLY HURT My feelings!!!

Saturday, August 8, 2009

La Crosse WEMS race postponed due to weather :(

Jason Buffington and I left the Port City @ 3:00 a.m. for a classic "hardman" home-to-car-to-race-to-car-to-home attempt at the 12 Hours WEMS race near La Crosse, Wisconsin, some four hours+ down the road...The plan included a 2:45 a.m. start, a 7:15 a.m. arrival, coffee break from 7:15 a.m. to 7:45 a.m., hardcore racing from 8:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. (sans support crews, etc.), quick victory beers, reserved & modest conversations with defeated rivals, and gracious victory speeches to the throngs of fans from 8:01 p.m. to 9:29 p.m., back in the car by 9:30 p.m. and home to Duluth by 2:00 a.m. for a just under 24 HOUR EFFORT. But alas perhaps the gods were angry with Obama's embracement of socialism so the event was not to be, due to the absurd forces of Zeus including copious rain, thunder, and lighting (combined with the risk of law suits, no doubt)...Even so, I am quite confident in proclaiming with certainty that Jason and I would have tied for First Place as we were loaded, locked, and ready for total "Shock & Awe Victory."....WE ARE CLAIMING VICTORY!!!!! Sometimes great feats of athleticism go unfulfilled, except in the mind's eye...but we would have WON and received kisses from the beautiful podium girls and wonderful prizes!!!!

YES, we did drive all the way down there to the bluff country during the nether hours only to find that it had been cancelled, we then drove over to Levis-Trow and rode those great trails for several hours at first with heavy hearts, but then we forgot about what might have been and instead embraced the day as optimists by definition must do. Jason provided top notch comradeship...I must say that I am impressed with his raw potential...With Tinker aging and Eatough fading, He and Eki are the future of enduro-racing in the Northern latitudes...

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Little kids got it right....

The following is a recent conversation (verbatim), that I had with my daughter, who just turned nine years old and is really smart…

“Hey dad, whatz so great about George Washington?”

I sez, “He had rad hair, plus he was the first president of the USA.”

She responds, “Yeah I know all about him being first and all, but didn’t he get us into a war and thatz not cool.”

I sez, “Well I guess one could argue that it was a ‘Just War.’”

Whatz a ‘Just War,’ I think all wars are wrong, I think killing people is wrong, it is 'unacceptable'” she responds.

I start in on a lecture involving Saint Thomas Aquinas' Just War Doctrine, blah blah blah… but then she quickly cutz me off and sez, “There aint no way that you can convince me that any war where they are killing each other is okay.”

“Well, I am NOT saying that itz Okay to kill people, I am just saying that itz, well, what I mean is...Yeah, I agree, maybe he wasn’t so great, but we as a people like to admire old guyz that get our young guyz to fight and WIN BIG wars.” I sez.

She sez, “How do you win a war, I mean how do you know that you have won?”

I sez, “Well the big shotz, like presidents, get together and sign a treaty when they get sick of the war and that ends the war.”

She sez, “Why can’t they do the treaty before the war?”

I sez, “Thatz a good idea!”

She sez, “Instead of wars, we should make the big shotz race and then the winner of the race could make up the treaty.”

I sez, “Bike race or running race?”

She sez, “Bike race.” And smiles!!!!!!

What a GREAT KID :)

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Men will be "reduced" this weekend in La Crosse as they battle the coulees of the Mississippi River Valley

The 12 Hours WEMS race near the beautiful river town of La Crosse, Wisconsin commences this upcoming Saturday @ 8:00 a.m. At last year's event, my good buddy Tim Ek had a break-out race while the Amateur was reduced to a groveling, smallish dysfunctional organism incapable of rationality. The course involves climbing, climbing, and then substantial climbs which represents a challenge in determining a proper gear ratio.

Saturday, August 1, 2009

24 @ 9 Mile results suggest yet again that the single speeders (both on fully rigid steel machines) are on to something that the "industry" does not want you to know…as Ron Stawicki and Paddy Humenny placed 4th and 5th respectively OVERALL ( also, Goscinski 9th and Mark Burkholz 11th) . Great job SS Enduro-Brethren!!!!!!!!!!!!!