Archive for March, 2008

Good News

My season goals are shaping up with Ouachita and Kanza on the horizon and probably another cup in the cabinet and now I am delighted to see that my Chequamegon check has cleared the bank! Kim told me that she never goes for a ride without thinking about that race and I don’t think I have the fever quite that bad but I am very excited to get in through the lottery two years in a row and I am hoping for some redemption after the incident last year.

Looks like a pretty good season to me, drop in a few local races and it should be a great year on the bike with just a few big travel weekends so I don’t go crazy.

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Where Did I Go Wrong!

Yep, I blog. While I give Tarik credit for having the Best Blog because I think he does, I must admit to liking mine quite a bit. If I took more pictures of epic riding and bought more pretty new and old bikes and bad mouthed friends and enemies and posted more sorori-quotes for Jay and made fun of religions and politicians frequently I am sure my little corner of the web would get lots more visitors and then I could be way cool and have 18,000,000 hits in two months and have a book deal like some people. But I don’t, so I don’t.

I would not want to have to write a book anyways.

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Welcome Back, (Wheel) Sucker

Mr Kotter taught me about welcoming back.

And Marcus Sommers taught me about wheelsucking.  Well, Rae Dawn Chong did really, but it was while Marcus was trying to shake one off while training which was captured in the gripping documentary American Flyers which features, among other things, a moustache totally inferior to Mr Kotters.  Its tough to find a decent picture of the stash on the intertubulars so this is what I have.

Both of these concepts came together for me last night when I was finally able to attend one of Iowa City’s most beloved institutions, the A ride. It was a pretty nice day but durned windy and while I was hoping for a nice predictable Sugarbottom – Tiffin loop it was reported that we were going to go long and mosey all the way out to Oxford! Complicating matters I had forgotten all of my food. Crud. Big Jim Cochran gave me a 100 calorie chewy little morsel and off we went. Thanks Jim!The group was good sized, 20+ methinks and I was careful to stay near the front as we crossed town as I did not want to have to waste any of my precious little fitness chasing because I got caught at a red light. Made it out of town and into the wind and rode a nice solid brisk tempo in the double paceline style all the way to Oxford. I felt a bit pooped but it was a nice ride catching up with some people I had not seen in months. The turnaround changed the game as now we were enjoying a 30 mph tail wind so it was into the big rings and off to the races. I wanted to get a good test of where my fitness is so I decided to take all my pulls and see how far I could make it and that is what I did. The group shrunk, some poor guy (found out later it was Adam) hit a really big rock but amazingly did not flat or break his wheel or even crash and we kept on going. There are a couple of wiggles on this road and as we hit a cross wind the always cagey Hopson sat up and confused the paceline, or at least the me. I like an orderly rotation so I pulled through the clumsy front and kept the pace right where it had been but nobody pulled around. I probably kept at it for a quarter mile or so before getting relief. I knew that I was hosed at this point as my legs were turning to jelly but I kept pulling through and finally got popped off on a little bitty hill.The group was down to six or seven at this point and I felt okay about my effort, if not for the 60 mile mountain bike race looming I would feel as if I was right on track. So I guess I am but for one painful day coming. Sniffle… Rode in with team playa Jacobsen and we got caught by more and more people until we had a right proper gruppetto or autobus or whatever you want to call it. I guess Jim, after giving away food and beating us all up went and road around Sugarbottom for good measure. Good grief.  I came in with 2 hours 20 mins on the bike and with my previous commuting miles I am calling it 2.5 hours for the day with some intensity for once.

In other news, I have gotten in two rides on the Salsa now, a nice three point five hour roll on Sunday with the snow coming down and then an hour this morning. I mostly like the bike and feel pretty good about my position on it. I have only ridden a small amount of trail as most of what we have around here is under water but I can definitely feel the extra traction and I must admit it is refreshing to be able to shift.That is all.

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Opposable Teeth

Okay, long overdue serious updatery. We went to Southern Indiana. Funniest thing I heard down there was Cody’s uncle talking about teaching a black powder rifle shootin’ class and telling people to tear the gunpowder packet open with their teeth. An old feller said “We got a problem” because he lacked two opposable teeth. Good stuff. It was a nice visit with her family and it rained five inches or some such thing one of the days we were there. Wow. I got in a one hour ride one day and as I rode into a little town there was a mass of dogs stretching across the whole road coming at me at a leisurely trot and I turned around and bolted.  The stuff of cycling nightmares!  We stopped at Boot City on the way back to Iowa where I saw this amazing bike fit for a cowboy hanging from the rafters. Giddy up!

On the long drive we have gotten in the habit of stopping at a coffee shop in ChamBana for rest and caffeine and this time I got a double cappucino. It looked like this

I was perplexed but it was better than I thought it would be. Crazy college coffee shops all trying to be hip and different. Upon our triumphant return home I found out I had to work the rest of my spring break at my new job and nine point five hours a day at that! Holy crud, its looking like I am going to be slow this year. We will just see how it goes. In the grand tradition of slow people everywhere I bought a new bike to compensate.

That’s it. It came to me through the fine folks at the only Salsa dealer in town and I thank them right kindly for their help. I have yet to ride it but I did take it for a ride on a Bikes At Work Trailer.

That picture makes me so happy! I am going to be able to put some pedals on it tomorrow and get out for a ride. For now it waits at the Bike Library surrounded by bikes that already gave their full measure.

I am hoping for the best this year on the bike but as I will be finishing my commitment to the lil’ house of sorority-horrors as well as working a night and weekend day each week at the new gig I am going to be sorely lacking in long rides and consistency for the next two months. Ah well, it is for the best in the long run and I will just do the best I can with what I have. Take care of your teeth out there!

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Open Relationship

Cody is going out with the ladies tonight to catch a show.

I don’t mind because I’m meeting this sexy thing after work.

It’s not for everyone, but it works for us.

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Where Are They Now

Years ago I lived in Vermont. I rode my bike and did some racing and met lots of bike racers and the “scene” up there was very good. I was doing some catch up reading tonight and saw that back in February two racers I had met and ridden with out East were making good on the World level and I thought shucks if that aint just some cool beans.

photo by John Veage found over at

Here is Katie Mactier who came out from California and stayed at my house with her team during Collegiate Nationals when they were in Burlington, VT in 2002. She won every event, I think, so there you go – she fast. On her wheel and possibly grimacing, is Katheryn Curi Mattis who raced for the IF/Dansko team as just Katheryn Curi back then up in them parts. She would go on to win this World Cup and flex her muscles like a so:

Another fine photo from John Veage from

So I like reading about folks I have personal history with doing great things. I wonder if there is some citizen racer somewhere blogging about the dude he met once who won a Pie Race years ago? Hope so.

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Spring Break

It is spring break here in Iowa City and that means spring. No more winter landscapes

but a transition to green after the season of mud. Highs were around 50 for the past

week. While my friends were out riding and enjoying it I was dealing with a head and chest cold. Lots of coughing and aching and snuffling and feeling like poo. I had to work through it but took as much rest as I could and finally today I am feeling better. Hoping to feel complete recovery by tomorrow when Cody and I leave for the red hot spring break destination of Southern Indiana! We will be down there for a few days to visit family and work on our tans. Upon return I had better be ready to get back to riding as the Ouachita Challenge is coming right up and the Seven P’s are dancing in my head.

Unrelated, here is a photo from the archives of my dear old 1968 Sundial Conversion

VW known as the Elephant taken on the great winter expedition of 98/99 to find a new place to settle.  Everything I owned was in there and while in the end I wound up right back where I started it was a great couple-a-few months.  I sure do miss that old bus.

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I am One

Not with the Universe, and certainly not a 1 on my USCF license, but in weblog years.  Hooray for me and sticktoitiveness and you, dear readers for putting up with my inventive spellings.  I originally intended this to let my family know what I was up to and I know they stop by and sometimes even comment (thanks mom!) and that makes me happy.  I have found that I really like having an outlet for my writing urges so I will press on and keep waiting for that book deal…

As a special start to my second year of writing I was going to present you with a tasteful black and white photo of my newest toy, a rubberband ball!  But last night it disappeared before I could take a picture.  I blame the cats and hope it will turn up so I can bore you all with the mundane details of my life.

I was inspired to make the ball after seeing Brian’s.  His is pretty nice and  I get lots of rubberbands at work from asparagus bunches and broccoli too so I have been saving them up and when I put them together I got a pretty nice bouncy ball but you will have to take my word for it until I find it.  I remembered Franz had one that was five or six inches thick, I wonder if he still has that thing and how big it might be today?

So, to make up for my lost rubberband ball post I present you with photos from this mornings organized raid of our compost pile perpetrated by a local band of Opossums!

The Lookout

The Brave Scout

The Rustlin’

I wish I could offer you a gripping account of last nights group ride but as I am still not feeling super duper I was not there.  I can report that Cochran won it or so he said…

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Two Nice Rides

Saturday I put in my three hours fixing up old bikes at the BL. Then I went out for a ride. It was cold again and I was planning to ride the singlespeed around with Brian for a couple of hours and enjoy our frozen version of Moab but I got to thinking it would be warmer in street clothes and we decided to do a singlespeed townie instead. We rode a couple of hours, over the Res and into Coralville and along our magnificent river. Pretty nice pedaling, the bigger hills had us huffing and puffing over-geared platform pedal style and we were in the right place at the right time once and got to see a Bald Eagle take flight right over us. I was pretty cold when I got home and did not feel much like riding on Sunday but of course by then I was warm so I met Brian again, along with the Eppen’s

and the Adult who was in town for his bachelor party.

He had reportedly passed out at 3 in the morning after a last minute drunken Step Aerobics workout in the Eppens basement. We rode out to Solon and temps were much warmer than the day before. Hit some gravel which was awfully rutted but not very muddy. From Solon we rode the four or five mile pea gravel path out to McBride. It was not pea gravel but snow and ice that had been driven over by a snowmobile. I biffed it twice just trying to get on the path from the parking lot we cut through. The ride was entertaining as only conditions like this can make it. Nobody hammered, we just kept a good tempo going and watched the show as people tried to take inventive lines and go way off course into deeper snow to avoid gnarlier sections. We made it through after many dabs and a few near-endo situations and lots of laughter. Rolled back to Solon for the Casey’s experience and then home on more gravel. A fine day and I think we ended up with over three hours.

The T/Th group rides start tomorrow night and with temps predicted to be in the 50’s I imagine it will be a big sketchy mess. I am feeling good about my current fitness and have a bit of a sore throat today so if I am not feeling perfect tomorrow I will sit it out. Got the Ouachita in a month and I need to be ready for that, not the last sprint of the Frytown loop.

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Fringe Benefits, Cont’d

Cats do more than cuddle, sleep in cute places and purr. They can enhance blogging by providing images or written content such as this: *- :when they walk over your keyboard.

Thanks Wayne!

Artists are also capable of enhancing life in many ways. Not just with comics or paintings but also Tube Wringers which they use to squeeze out every last drop of paint.

Works just as well on toothpaste.

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