Wednesday, December 27, 2006

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year! This fall has been busy. I took some time off the bike, about a month, and then started riding frozen trails. The lack of snow has not hampered good riding. The ice patches are a little sketchy. Our ride yesterday was fantastic, lots of variety. This one section of trail was lined with bright green moss along both sides of the trail as it climbed out of a river crossing. It was a beautifully sunny day.

I read in the last Velo, that riders that are serious about riding, typically update their blog daily. Huh! I usually have the choice of riding, or posting on my blog. I think most people with dial-up understand.

Well, I hope to bring my digital on one of our next rides. The streams and creeks in duluth are beautiful in the wintertime. The ice formations are really neat. I am always pretty thankful we live in Duluth!

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

I finally got back on the bike today. I took a break since the Iceman. My legs have felt really bad for the past few weeks, along with the rest of me. The weather was beautiful today, sunny and in the 40's, the sun rising up over lake superior, so I rode my bike into work. I left a little late from work to get home and had to ride home the last bit in the dark. That was dumb. Cars don't look for bikers in the daylight, much less the dark. I plan on mostly just biking to commute for a while and still not doing any sort of specific training. My commute is a little long to do everyday though. Otherwise, we have been hiking a bit and building some singletrack. It is a good time oof year to do nothing or low level actitivies. The hiking in Duluth is fantastic, and Scott and I have been hiking through the woods to scope out where new singletrack should be. The potential seems endless. Well, not much else going on at this point.

Monday, November 06, 2006

Well, unfortunately the Iceman didn't go so well for me. No triple crown this year, anyway. I didn't feel very good from the start. After the race, Scott told me he knew I wasn't going very fast today based on our warm-up together. We usually do a hard effort and he said he could tell I didn't have 'it', but thankfully he waited until after the race to tell me so. Races where I don't feel fast and don't feel like I can push myself are the toughest for me mentally. This year the Iceman, Ore to Shore, and Sheboygan were all highly mental races to stay in and get to the finish line. Iceman was particularily difficult because I lost my left contact about 10 miles into the race. I couldn't see anything! I could tell I was taking bad lines and had to slow down a lot on downhills and in the singletrack to avoid crashing. It was really tough and pretty dangerous. I think I was pretty lucky to hang onto second as it could have been a lot worse. Probably the most tired thing after the race was my left eye! It felt super fatigued.

Scott was in 4th/5th place early on in the race, tried to bridge the gap to the lead group and blew for the first time at about 10 miles in. He was still in the top ten until mile 22 and then blew again. Scott finished, so that makes his 4th race all year. He is looking foward to next year already, as some of his health issues are resolving and he is feeling better and able to train.

It was good to see some of our bike friends and have some closure to the season; catch up with a few people before settling into the off-season. I know I need a break. I feel really tired and my body has wanted to be done since Chequamegon. I have not raced well since. I was sick for about 3 weeks after Chequamegon, then got hives which lasted another almost 2 weeks. Training has seemed like work, so I know it is time to be done. I was really fired up to cyclocross race this fall, but it is not going to happen. I finally got my XO2 all set-up, but I think I am going to commute with it this fall and winter as much as possible. I have some really sweet winter riding bike shoes Scott bought me for Christmas last year. He always seems to get me great gifts; he also bought me my first pain of MTB shoes and shorts when we were first dating.

I can still be thankful for winning the races I did this year, especially Chequamegon! I think that will forever be one of the highlights of my MTB racing career. I was really fired up to get mentioned in Velonews a few times this year. That's really cool!

Friday, October 13, 2006

This week has gone by really fast. Last weekend was the big WORS Sheboygan race. Unfortunately, I developed Hives the friday before the race and was unsure if I would race on sunday. It's a 7 hr drive from Duluth to get to Sheboygan. Luckily, Scott planned on racing as well and we met Doug part way there to ride share. It gets to be a long drive and Doug is pretty talkative. I always like it when Scott comes along. It's much harder to travel without Scott, as Doug has found without Anne. When Scott and I were first married, I rarely traveled with him to races, and then I would only go to races if I were racing (which back then was not often).

I was still itching sunday of the race, but decided to race anyway as we had traveled so far to get there. I didn't feel great at any point in the race, but I was able to hold on and win. The race course was a little different this year than last. They added some singletrack and a stream crossing. The leadout wasn't as long before the racers hit singletrack. They had added a section early on in the race. It created a bottleneck early on. The elite women only started 15 seconds behind the elite men. When we got to the singletrack there was a line of men waiting to get through. I found a line around the group and had passed around 10 men within that first section of singletrack. The stream crossing had a steep hill coming out of it (last year we rode a bridge across the stream). The hill was really slick and then all the momentum was lost to get up the longer hill on the other side. I would have liked to have felt better and push it harder, but I was pretty thankful that I wasn't trying to get out of my skin during the race. Afterward, I started itching again. I still have hives, although they are slowly getting better. Turns out I am allergic to oats and that is what seemed to cause it. Oats are in alot of foods, especially powerbars. I told myself no more racing until the itching stops, but there is a CX race at Spirit Mtn in Duluth tomorrow that I may just race anyway. Because of a tatoo convention at Spirit, the race will be held at the bottom of the hill last I heard.

It has snowed off and on for three days and is finally accumulating. They sure like to use salt in duluth! Scott and I were almost going sideways up Mesaba when we hit a patch of ice on our way to work today. We had to finally turn the heat on in our house. We could almost see our breath inside yesterday. I usually have to wear a hat and scarf, along with a wool sweater in our home. We should be getting our wood pellet stove hooked up and ready for use next week.

Friday, October 06, 2006

This has been a rough week for me. I have ridden one day thus far - on weds. I am fighting a cold, but my energy is finally coming back. I need to leave here soon for a ride in Hartley. I love Hartley. Great trail with a little bit of everything. Recently the Superior Hiking Trail took some of our trail, put "foot travel only" signs up on it, and then contacted the local bike group - COGGS - to have them tell riders to stay off the SHT. The SHT even went so far as to cut down trees - which is a major no-no to deter riders on the SHT. My only question to the SHT folks, is how do they think the original trail got there? Duh. Trails don't make themselves.

Anyway, I have a few items for sale. I have a certificate good for a 2007 Trek Fuel Ex 5 WSD that I would like to get $1000/b.o. I will throw in a WSD jersey and shorts (still in new packaging) and some size 39 MTB shoes (if they fit). The second thing I have for sale is a Reba World Cup carbon fork. First $600 takes. I have a Reba on my bike and love it! It's stiffer than the fork that comes stock on the Fuel. I will post photos soon.

Off to Sheboygan this weekend.

Better get riding..

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

Scott is still riding the beamer to work and myself the suzuki. It poured rain yesterday, so thankfully we commuted by car. We've both gotten stuck in the rain before. It's really not that bad once you get out there.

Last weekend was the Fall Color Festival. Good event. Alot of peoople showed up for the event. None of us Midwest Trek team members got a warm-up, nor did Scott. I felt pretty bad for the first 3/4 of a lap and had crashed 2x in the first few miles. I realized after I had crashed the second time, that I didn't have a rear brake and my front brake was really grabby. My fault for not maintaining my brakes better. I felt good for about 1/2 a lap then kinda slowed down. I felt kinda bonky early on. Doug mentioned later to Scott and I that it was because we didn't eat any McDonald's breakfast burritoes. I hate McDonald's. The only thing worth eating maybe once a year is their ice cream, and I am not an ice cream eater. Scott has read the book "Fast Food Nation". It's nasty what they put in that food and if the general public knew, I think McDonald's would go bankrupt. I got passed by two guys going into the last lap and held onto their wheel for the last lap. Scott finished his first race since Cable Classic in May. He is starting to come around. He didn't push as hard as earlier this year cuz he had DNF;d so many races that he didn't want to do that again. A good thing at home is that he no longer naps for 2 hours after work.

We drove back on saturday and got to Scott's cousin's wedding reception by 10 pm. We stayed until midnight visiting with family and the cousin's almost 90 year old grandma. Sunday was a wash for me. I was so tired all day from staying out late, that I just spun a little and cleaned the house.

I got my cross bike almost two weeks ago, but haven't gotten to race it cuz of this Cheq cold. I still have a few more MTB races yet this fall (Sheboygan and Iceman), so I don't want to race extra races while sick. Cross is super fun. Our friend Charlie was at a cross race this past weekend, got their 10 min before the start (so no warm-up and no course pre-ride). He was riding at high speed when he launched himself over the first barrier. Just before he hit the barrier, he thought it was kinda weird that the guy next to him was getting off his bike.

Better get some work done. Lots to do today. My new job is going well, but I am more busy than ever.

Sunday, September 24, 2006

Scott and I took our new CX bike for a ride today. The bike handles really well and the tires stick like glue around fast corners. We rode both my mtb and the CX bike and took turns. It rained since friday night, so the ground was pretty tacky. The CX bike accelerates really well. We would have raced the st. cloud CX race today, but we are both still sick. Scott got up in the middle of the night last night and changed our sheets cuz he was wheezing. I didn't hear him after that. We are both looking forward to getting over this sickness and trying some CX races.

Friday, September 22, 2006

Here is my new CX bike! Trek XO2. I am fired up to race CX this fall. I did one race last year on my mtb and had a blast (except for the barriers, my legs are short!). We'll see how it goes. Scott is fired up to ride as well. Should be fun.

I found this photo of Sunday's chequamegon crit on the fat tire website. From back to front is Michelle, Anne, Kyia, and myself. This was going up the first climb. I was in the lead up this hill, then got passed by Kyia going up the second. I accumulated too much lactate up the first hill and had to drop a few gears for the second. I stayed close to Kyia's wheel for the second lap and passed her up the last hill for the win. There were 6 women in our race, so we only had to race one time. Most of the men had to race once for their age group, and another time in the overall. Scott raced the crit and finished! That was his goal. This was the first race he had finished since May. He saw the dr again, and he should be on his way back to health and the ability to finish MTB races. I have a few more races this year, so hopefully he will feel good enough to race!

Next post will be of my new CX bike! Trek XO2 - ultegra components and race X lite wheels. It is really nice and I have a feeling I am going to have to share this bike a little with Scott!

Monday, September 18, 2006

I was so excited to win this race. I credit it to my friend Michelle who told me on friday that she prayed that I would win. After last year, I needed a little divine intervention this year. I was shooting for top three because I knew there was really good competition. My goal was to go as hard as I could and not worry about anyone else. I had started to get a cold on friday (the day before the race), but wasn't too worried because during our ride on friday my head seemed to clear. I woke on saturday feeling fine, just a little plugged up.

The start of the race was a little sketchy. A guy a little in front of me almost crashed 3x going down Hwy 77. Once we got to Rosie's field the race opened up. I knew I was in good position when I could still see the lead group heading into the woods as I was going down the big hill with the gully at the bottom in Rosie's. I worked my way through groups of riders and settled in for the long race. I felt fine the whole race. I lost my group once on an open road, but slowly caught back up on Firetower hill. I didn't know where I was in the race standings until Scott mentioned I was leading with "a big gap" at Firetower. Scott was everywhere on the course. It was awesome to see him. It helped to get hand-ups and it forced me to drink. Flying down the road on the backside of firetower hill I felt a bug smack my leg. It wasn't until after I finished that I realized I had a nice swollen bee sting on my right hip. It's still pretty sore. The rolling birke hills didn't seem as bad this year in years past and I was really glad when I hit the last bit of rolling trail in the woods before the downhill finish. I started cramping a little with 4 miles to go and just knew to be careful enough not to flat or have any other mechanical and just get to the finish line - fast. It was awesome to cross the line and know I had the win. I think I hugged everyone in the vicinity. Chris and Jason (regional team manager and assist team manager)were at the finish as well and it was great to share this victory with them. It was nice to meet Heather and Catheryn (2nd and 3rd place women).

My teammate, Doug Swanson, was in the lead with 3 miles to go when he got a flat. He still finished second, although I think it would have been fantastic for him to win. It's fun to see him race well. Tristan Schouten, my other teammate, made the top 10; so all around it was a great day!

On sunday all of us raced the crit as well. The women's race was two loops with two challenging climbs per lap. I led after the first downhill, then Kyia passed me on the second uphill. She led until the last downhill of the second loop when I passed her on the final climb. She is really tough!

Doug took first as well, and Tristan 3rd overall in the sunday crit. A really good weekend for the Trek Midwest Regional Team!

I slept horribly (not at all?) last night between blowing my nose, coughing, and having the cat wake me up to get fed (he doesn't eat when we are away from home - he's a really anxious cat). I feel pretty bad today, but made it through work, somehow. No monday night ski hut ride for either Scott or I. It was really cool to go to work today and our Adminstrative Assistant put up the podium photos from this weekend's race. It's fun to share this win with so many people.

Friday, September 01, 2006

Yesterday I was all fired up to ride. Scott and I planned on riding the trails near our house with a friend of ours. I had a kinda rough day at work and felt a bit mentally fried, but also not myself. I lasted about 20' with those two and had to spin easy home. I crashed twice in the first, again in the first 20'. I don't usually crash; especially during training rides. I had a nice evening anyway and still got almost an hour ride. Not much else going on.

Tuesday, August 29, 2006

This photo is me racing at the Spirit Mtn Powdermonkey race two weekends ago. This section of trail is really twisty windy making it tough to go fast. Scott did most of the labor to make this section of trail.

The middle photo is at the awards ceremony for the Seeley Hills Prefat race. I love this race cuz the speeds are high and there is excellent single track. The weather was perfect for the race (upper 60/low 70's). Going down on the pavement during the start of the race, my legs didn't feel that great. But then we hit the gravel and they felt much more comfortable. I felt way better in this race than the last two races. I felt like I could go hard. I got in a really good group of ski hutters. There were seven of us at one point training along the course. Then Joe busted his seat, Harry dropped his glasses and stopped to pick them up, and Ross flew up the steepest hill on the course, gapping the rest of us by 20 sec or more. I got a nice gap on the rest of the group through this bit of singletrack, but then wasn't sure if I took a wrong turn or not, so they caught back on. This was definitely one of the most fun races I have done. I won for the women and was 10th overall amongst the men. I got this really cool clock that I have attached a photo as well. Thanks goes to Bill Schwalbe, of whom took these photos and have a bunch of others posted on Check out the photos of spirit mtn race. It gives one an idea of what the trails look like at spirit.

Thursday, August 24, 2006

Today was a big day. I passed my motorcycle endorsement test! I was pretty fired up that I passed. I got a little nervous during the test and missed a few points going around the cones, but the rest of the test went fine. I especially liked having to stop really fast. I skidded the tire a bit.

Otherwise, I am just busy with work. Today is an off day and yesterday was an easy road ride. I lifted a few weights with just my arms. If I go too long between weight work-outs my arms will start to feel wimpy.

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

This past week has been really hectic. I was on vacation between jobs and had to get my new office set up and started to work on some presentations. I'll be teaching at The College of St. Scholastica this next year. I am really fired up.

I also gave a free women's mountain bike clinic last night in duluth. (at Hartley). I think there are about 12 women that showed up. Alise, from the ski hut rides, organized the event. It was really fun to work on skills and give the women some technical advise. I was really impressed with how everyone improved. There are some women that plan on continuing to meet on Tues evenings at 6pm for casual riding. I may show up to some of these as time allows, or have additional free clinics.

I also learned how to take my motorcycle's carburator apart and fix it (sorta) last week. It died on me during my endorsement test multiple times last week. The instructor made me reschedule for a different date. I was pretty upset that it didn't work. After getting it home and having Irv (father-in-law) walk me through how to take the bike apart, etc, we saw the air box was loaded with fuel. No wonder I couldn't get it to work. I felt a little better about myself after that. The endorsement test is all done in first gear around cones in a parking lot. My bike works fine on the road, but can't handle slow speeds or idling well enough to get me around cones. I may just use the full year of my permits eligibility.

This last sunday was the Powdermonkey race at Spirit Mtn. The course is really challenging. I was a bit disappointed in how my body felt. My legs get really heavy fast and then I can't push and go hard like I like to. I got passed by men I usually never see in a race. The women started 30 sec behind the expert men. I was passing men within the first 5 min of the race. There is a group of men that will not let me pass. This has happened in several races, and its the same group of 2-4 men. A few of them crashed (hard) in front of me. Another one I kept trying to pass on singletrack and he'd speed up and not let me by, or we'd get to two track and he'd go gangbusters to get ahead. I would catch back up on singletrack and the game would start again. Oh well, that's racing. I should just get faster and then not have to worry about them at all. This racecourse is probably the toughest in the midwest and its easy to go out too hard and explode, or implode. There were lots of crashes from what I heard. The toughest downhill on the course is similar to a downhillers course (it was used as part of the downhill race a few years ago). There is so much trail at spirit mtn that hopefully in years to come we will be able to make one big loop. This year was only 3 for expert men and 2 for expert women/comp. It was fun and nice to have a race close to home.

Next race: likely seeley hills prefat.

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

This photo is courtesy of the mining journal ( They had a nice little write up of the Ore to Shore race. This race was definitely one of the hardest races I have finished, both mentally and physically. I didn't feel good at any point during the race. My legs felt heavy and I felt the hills were more work than they should have been at this time in the race season. I felt pretty slow. My time was seven minutes slower than last year. The course conditions were tougher as well, though. With the lack of rain this year, the stretches of sand seemed longer and deeper than years past. Luckily, I got in a good group not too long after the start of the race and held with them most of the way. The Eppens tandem came around our group with about 20 miles to go (they flatted early on in the race). They shattered our group. I had just got done working kinda hard and needed a little recovery when they past us. I struggled to stay with the group and then got dropped. I probably rode the last 15 miles in mostly by myself. In past years I have had difficulty with cramping...hamstrings, quads, adductors. This year my hamstrings were cramping pretty bad the last mile. Luckily, there was no other women around to sprint finish. I was really glad to see the finish line. I jumped in Lake Superior with kit still on - including my bike shoes. I was covered in a layer of dust from head to toe.

Doug and Anne Swanson rode to Marquette with us in the VW van. It was fun to have them with. I felt bad that Doug didn't have a better race. He was doing really well til he kinda bonked the last 1/4 of the race or so. Scott and Anne did a great job of getting me bottles, but missed Doug one time cuz of the amount of driving it took to get from one spot to the next. I felt bad they had to hang out for the awards, but Doug still won his age group. I got some nice prize money and a cool chair made out of bicycle rims. I think they are made locally in marquette. It matches the stool I won last year.

Our good friend, Charlie, took 20th overall and the last payout spot for the men's overall. His 6 year old daughter, Sophie, helped with hand-ups. She's a really tough kid and fun to hang around.

We drove back part way on saturday night and slept in the van. It comfortably sleeps 4 with the top poped up. Sunday Scott and I went for an easy two-track trail ride. It felt good to spin the legs. My legs felt quite achy after the previous day's efforts. Monday we joined The Ski Hut Monday Night Ride at Spirit Mtn. The PowderMonkey MTB MNSCS race is this coming sunday, Aug 20th. We added a little bit of trail in the am and rode it in a bit during the ride. For those of you familiar with Charlie's Demise (part of the Grady Downhill); it does a switchback now instead of going straight down (where Charlie almost severed his Quad tendon a few years ago). Even with some rain the past two days, the course is still dry and a little dusty.

Today is a rest day and a motorcyle endorsement test this afternoon. Better go practice.

Tuesday, August 01, 2006

It's been a busy past few weeks. I have been practicing on our motorcycle and will hopefully take my endorsement test soon. It's been really fun riding around, and mostly riding behind Scott to do errands and get to/from work. We are really fired up by the mileage (80 mpg).

We finally got some rain. Friday we had inch sized hail pelting down and pouring rain. We were inside our shed when the storm hit. It sounded like being inside a tin can with rocks hitting all sides...all at once. Then it stormed the next morning, rained the next day, and then stormed again monday night. We had to cut the Monday Night Ski Hut ride short due to thunder and rain. We got quite wet before getting the bikes back into our car. Too bad it was lighting, it would have been fun to jump into lake superior before heading home.

Scott is riding his bike more often and seems to be coming around. He may not race the rest of the season. He can go easy just fine, but long and hard are not do-able at this stage. I am starting to feel better. I had a few weeks where all I wanted to do was sleep. I am sure I was fighting a virus of some sort I picked up at work. I felt almost normal on the Ski Hut ride yesterday, and felt probably the best I have in some time. Not sure if its also the heat taking my energy.

Doug and Anne's wedding was this weekend. It was fun and we were really glad to be a part of it. Dan is always hilarious and it was fun to sit with Harry, Megan and meet some new folks. We also got to catch up a little with Hollywood and Kimberly. My dad is a frequent visitor to Hollywood's shop. He set his time trial and road bike up and is really happy. My dad's pretty funny. He's trying to cut weight for the senior olympics coming up in October out in St. George, UT. He really wants to win the yellow jersey (the overall) in his category. Nice to see him still racing at 67. He is a good road biker, but mountain biking would not be very kind to him I am afraid.

The ore to shore is coming up next. I hear they haven't got any rain recently like we have. Lots of sand to look forward to. When I was in college we used to run intervals at forestville trails near the end of the race. I love going to marquette!

Saturday, July 22, 2006

It has been a while since I posted on my blog. From Grand Marais we traveled to Hayward to ride some of the trails and hang out. Rock Lake trails were amazing! They had been worked on since we had ridden them last. Really fun twisty singletrack with plenty of rocks and some expert sections of trail. We also rode some of the ojibwe trail - one of our favorite trails. We were pretty tired after putting in time riding, hiking, playing tennis, and kayaking. We borrowed some friends home-made (from a kit) sea kayaks. They are made in a fashion that the boat doesn't need a rudder. We got a lot of compliments. We spent most of our days out in the sun (and its been HOT!), so we have been pretty tired the past week or so.

I tried to race the MNSCS race at Red Wing, but DNF'd. It was partly the heat, but I felt really slow. I got back to my car, and realized my front wheel wasn't turning. (It spun fine before the race). I really fried myself with the combination of the heat and the extra peddling resistance. I finally rode again today (sat). I am surprised that my legs feel really tired after todays ride. We rode some great trails close to our house. I will probably take a little more time off next week. I don't have my usual zip and enthusiasm to ride, which tells me there is something not right with my body. My next race will be the ore to shore - three weeks away.

I have been riding our new motorcycle - learning to shift and stop/start smoothly. I didn't grow up riding motorcycles so it's going to take a while before I feel comfortable riding on the road. Scott gave me a ride to work last thurs on the bike - it was really fun! It's hard not to smile while riding. I hope to take my riding test soon and get my endorsement.

Tomorrow VeloDuluth is putting on a fundraiser ride for Courage Duluth. It starts pretty early - registration is from 6:30 - 8am - and riders can choose 35, 50, or 100 miles. If we can get out of bed we'll go. Lately, I have felt the need to sleep in as long as possible - especially on non-work days. I'll probably road bike tomorrow either way.

Monday, July 10, 2006

Here is the latest edition to our family: a Suzuki drz 200. It was either spend $$ on plane tickets out to the national in california, or buy a motorcycle to save money on commuting to and from work. Obviously, we chose the latter. Scott is still not feeling super well, but has perked up some since this latest purchase. Last week we headed up to the north shore to do some riding, play some tennis (we both are pretty terrible at tennis), play some mini-golf, hang out in the sun, and stay at nanaboujou lodge up past Grand Marais. Nanaboujou lodge is pretty cool. (Scott is walking toward the lodge in one of the photos). No phones, tv, or cell service. We hiked in Judge Magney State Park: the upper and lower falls and Devil's Kettle. Devil's kettle was pretty cool and worth the hike up. (see photo) We also rode our bikes at Pincushion trails. The locals are making a nice new section of singletrack for their race that will be held at the end of august. The races starts in downtown Grand Marais and then heads up to the pincushion trail system from there. Unfortunately, Seeley Hills and WORS cup are also that weekend, so we won't make it back for their race.

Back at home we have been riding some of the local trails and had a great long hike from our house to Ely's peak and back yesterday. The weather has been just great this past week, with yesterday and today not so hot, so we can recover a little from some minor sunburn and gear up for the hot weather that is supposedly headed our way the rest of the week. We hope to get down to the hayward area to ride some of the singletrack trails down there yet this week, as well as, partake in more minigolf and tennis. We also have harvested some of the lettuce we have been growning in our garden. It definitely tastes and smells better than store-bought. That may be all we get from our garden this year, as the deer have been feeding in the rest of our garden at night. We plan on putting up a fence next year to keep them out. It is so dishartening to wake up and all our plants are just stubs.

Saturday, July 01, 2006

I don't have a green thumb, but I am pleased I didn't kill this clematis. I was feeling pretty bad last week. I only rode three days, including the Mont Du Lac race. This week I am feeling a bit better and was able to ride more consistently. My energy levels have been really poor and my stress levels at work pretty high. I have been gardening instead. Scott and I hauled in three truck loads of rock we used as a border to our new garden. It's about 40'x 40', but I built walkways between the rows of dirt. It was fun to build. So far, we have only lost a few plants to the large rodents that rome the neighborhood (i.e. Deer). I read an article in the paper that said christmas lights are the best way to keep them away. I use irish spring soap in my watering can. Let the water lather it up and then pour it around my garden. Deer are not supposed to like irish spring.
Scott is still feeling really tired. He hasn't riden his bike in a week, and doesn't feel like riding, which isn't like him. Typically, by this time he would be going nuts if something kept him off his bike this long. He has been busy instead fixing our cars and VW van, along with some house projects. As good as it is to have all that work done, I'd rather have him able to ride his bike. Tomorrow is the eau claire wors race. A friend of mine and I are driving to Brainard instead to see a friend of ours from xc racing in high school. I'll be cool to see her again. It's been 14 years. It'll be nice to finally meet her two boys.

Monday, June 26, 2006

Mont Du Lac Dirtspanker race yesterday. Here's me holding up my prize! Thanks to Jeff Fraboni and Greg Minerich about a mile of new singletrack was added to the loop. Nice new bridges, corners, twisty, but not too tight, singletrack. This was my first year racing this course, kinda sad cuz I live in Duluth. I'll chalk that up to having the crud the past few years. The course is pretty challenging - especially the first climb. The elite men and women started together. I really liked racing with the men and seeing where I can improve. After the first climb I was riding behind Charlie Farrow and Ross. Something his Ross's tire, he flatted and soon after I got around Charlie. Todd McFadden flew from behind and slowly picked his way around the line of riders ahead of myself and I slowly followed. I was still not too far behind Todd after the second lap. My third lap kinda stunk. I crashed on the long bridge and felt really slow in the singletrack. I could tell my legs were leaning towards cramping up, so I had to back off the last time up the long climb, but was able to ride the big ring for most of the fourth lap. I felt I was starting to catch some men again as I finished my last lap.

I guess I just felt ok racing. Not good, not great, for sure really hot - especially up the long climb. I have been really tired the past few weeks and not sleeping well so I have been forced not to ride my bike. It's rare that I don't feel like riding my bike for days at a time, but that was where I was, so I didn't force myself to ride. This race was a test to see how I felt. I still feel somewhat tired, but my energy is starting to come back.

Thanks to Scott and Dr. Bob pouring cold water on me. I made it up the hill each time. My dad and mom showed up for the race and handed Scott and I water. I think this is the second time they have seen me race. My dad road races, which is pretty cool. He's fast too. I have a hard time training with him, cuz he always goes a little to hard to be easy, but not hard enough to be hard. We've talked about this and he says he just gets all fired up once he's on his bike and can't seem to keep his easy days mellow.

Scott started the race, but stopped after a lap and 1/2. He feels pretty bad still. His energy levels have been much worse than mine. After this race he is ready to sell all his bikes and take up carpentry (and fix our VW van) as a summer job. His body isn't working quite right, but I am sure he will come around. Once his energy gets back he'll miss biking.

The COGGS group really did a great job of making this race happen. I am in charge of COGGS membership and I highly encourage readers to visit to check out the benefits of membership - especially locals, but also those visiting the area and whom enjoy the trails COGGS builds and maintains (i.e. Mont Du Lac, Spirit Mtn, Pokegema, Hartley, and they are currently working towards trailbuilding in Lester).

Sunday, June 18, 2006

Keweenaw Chain Drive Festival Race Recap: It felt like the race started the day before, in the sweltering heat of the sun beating in our car windows as we drove to the Keweenaw penisula. Once we hit Poplar, WI the temp jumped 20+ degrees to 90. Once we got to the hotel, we went for a quick ride while the AC in the hotel room was cooling it down for our return. Ahhh......
Saturday morning it was already hot and humid by the time the roll-out started at 10am. The race starts in Houghton, but heads over the bridge to Hancock for all but the first 1/4 to 1/2 mile of the race. Once the patrol car pulled over and the race started I was drafting off the lead mens group. That lasted until we climbed this monster switchback climb that took us to the singletrack. The lead group had to slow down and filter into singletrack which gave me time to catch back up to the lead group of men. I raced with that pack of men for the first half of the race - which was really fun! I was mostly in the back of the pack, and I don't think they were going full-on race pace, but it was cool to ride with a group for such a long time. I ended up getting dropped on this really long uphill. I just didn't have enough power in my legs and thought I could catch back up on the downhills. Didn't happen. I passed Scott as he dropped out and I felt really bad. He's having a rough year - again. Maybe some sequalae from drinking bad water for two years? The last 10 miles (of 32) I got really tired, probably cuz the races I typically do are around 20 miles. The last 5 miles I felt as if I were riding backwards - I could tell I was going really slow. I downed 2 liters of water from my hydration pack (its the Chris Eatough design Jansport pack - its light and worked fantastic) and a bottle of cytomax and still didn't have enough water. At one point in the race, I got really hot - like flames coming out of the skull hot. I was still happy with my day - I was 20' faster than last year's time (last year I was sick from drinking bacteria laden water from our contaminated well - not finding that out until early July) and I was 30' ahead of the second women. My goal was to finish in the top 10 mens overall - I was 7th. It was pretty cool to get to ride with the men.
The finish of the race is only 2 miles from the start, and the race is point to point with great singletrack. The race seems harder than some of the other longer races I do each year, because of the singletrack. I can't just put my head down and go hard, I have to mentally keep it together to be able to ride singletrack, especially once I get tired. It was also pretty cool race cuz I ran into an old friend from college that also did the race and got to talk to a Trek employee about equipment, etc.

Wednesday, June 14, 2006

Scott and I are getting ready for the Keewenaw Chain Drive Festival 32 mile race this weekend in Houghton, MI. We've done this race the past two years. It is a great race to test my fitness/training for longer races, especially for the Ore to Shore and Chequamegon later this season. Houghton is a pretty neat city. Alot like Duluth, only smaller. There is this whole Bridgefest and Seafood festival going on - and a technical time trial on sunday (Scott won it two years ago and is pictured here). In past years, I have run into friends from my days at NMU. Last year Scott and I hiked at the Porquipine mountains and up to the lake of the clouds (see photo). Back at NMU our ski team would take a long training weekend there and train insane hours in only 3 days...running, rollerskiing, hiking. I don't rollerski anymore...way too boring. I tried it 1x last fall and gave it up for good.. My feet hurt after 15' and all I could think about was riding my bike!

Sunday, June 04, 2006

Scott and I decided to head the the MNSCS Rochester Steeplechase race today. I was looking forward to testing my fitness against Kyia and Jenna. Kyia has been racing since March, and Jenna since April, so I expected them to be fast. They were. The course was mostly tight twisty singletrack with punchy climbs rendering passing difficult. For the first two miles or so Kyia, Jenna, and I were riding together. Then we caught the comp men. Jenna gapped Kyia and I while we had difficulty passing on the tight singletrack and then I bobbled and Jenna and Kyia both gapped me. I passed Kyia back on the long climb and gained some time back on Jenna, but not able to bridge the 20 sec or so gap. My legs finally felt OK during the third lap, before that they were burning and heavy. I had some difficulty with my shifting on the last lap, probably from cable stretch. I didn't take it much out of my big ring each lap. It was HOT! Over 80's and probably the hottest day for us northerner's all year - especially to race in. Still not as bas as the internal inferno I felt racing at Afton a few years back. Jenna won, me second, and Kyia third. No payout for me. We need more women racing! Only 5 women showed up. Scott did 3 (of 5) laps and then was done. His back was really sore from hauling about 8 cubic yards of black dirt the previous day. We both made a big mistake in that regards. 6 hours of hauling dirt and garden building yesterday. We both are sunburnt - before we started the race today. Less than brilliant. It was fun to race a MN series race again. Next race on the agenda is the Keweenaw Chain Drive Festival 32 mile race. Very fun singletrack and good race preparation for longer races such as the Ore to Shore and Chequamegon.

Thursday, June 01, 2006

It hailed again tonight. Thunder, lightning, pouring rain. I love the smell of the air after the storm passes and the orangish hue to the sky - pretty cool. Scott and I got out for a road ride tonight after work finishing long before the storm blew through. We were both quite tired so we made a nice loop riding mostly on skyline parkway that traverses the city of duluth. Beautiful sunny day. Some guy in a big pickup truck decided not to move over at all on a road with no shoulder. If I were the police I would impound his truck and give him a bicycle to use for a month.

Scott and I are thinking of doing the MNSCS race on sunday this weekend. It's just over a 3 hour drive, compared with 4 and 1/2 for the WORS race. We'll see how we feel. I still have that nagging dirt pile to contend with and gardens to build, but in truth it will more depend upon how my legs feel than anything. Should be a good turnout for the MNSCS race for expert/pro women. Tomorrow likely an off day, but we may take a short hike on some of the new superior hiking trail that is being built through the city of duluth. The trail is basically built from enger tower (just west of downtown) all the way out to Jay Cook State Park - maybe 30 miles or so of trail. Some really nice overlooks and great terrain. I'll try to remember to take my camera.

Wednesday, May 31, 2006

Couldn't sleep...again. So up at 5:30 am, finally looked at the rock shox website to get the directions to dial in my rear shock. I typically try to figure it out on my own each year, but I'd highly recommend just getting the directions from the start. The rest of my (long) morning was spent building gardens and hauling dirt. I have HUDGE pile of dirt in our driveway that I had delivered today. I have to get it moved otherwise our VW van is trapped in the garage. Good forsight on my part. I purchased some organic vegetable plants grown by a local gardener. Duluth is really cool that way. There are so many good places to get locally grown and organic food.
Off to Hartley trail this afternoon for a trail ride. Fun, tight, rocky, rooty singletrack. The hail and rain from two nights ago hadn't fully sunk in. I have been really frustrated the past few rides with singletrack so my goal was just to look ahead and ride smooth. I love riding that trail. It has a little bit of everything. Steep short and long climbs, technical decents, tight singletrack and lots of vegetation to make the trail difficult to see. My favorite part of the trail is "the pines". Not officially marked as such, like the rest of the trail. When I first rode in Hartley 4 years ago or so I would get lost. I would take my father-in-law with me (he grew up riding his motorcycle in hartley and his brother made a lot of the trails when he was young that are still ridden now), and we'd both get lost. The trails are not marked and there is no trail map. There is the blue pot loop, named as such, cuz of a blue pot that hangs from a stump along the trail. The guard rail loop loops around by a road that has a guard rail on it so drivers don't go off the road. I think only mountain bikers know the loops have names.

Scott is feeling a little left out of my blog. So I am attaching a photo of us in Moab. I was holding out for the photo of him that we are planning on putting on the Powdermonkey race poster. Hopefully, I'll attach that one later.

Monday, May 29, 2006

Kyia and Kris, eh hum Mr. Anderson, spent memorial day weekend at our house. Scott and Kyia helped me set up this blog and with images of high school computer programming class, finally got all my links to work today. Yesterday while riding at Spirit Mtn we ran into the Oftendahl (my apoligies if spelled wrong) brothers. We rode some of our secret singletrack as well, trails that are not included in the Powdermonkey race course. Today Scott, Kyia, Kris, and I headed out for a long ride on some other trails that are difficult to find unless you know some of the locals. I got us lost for a little while, but evidently made it back to the house. Kyia helped me weed out this hudge patch of raspberry bushes once the fog finally lifted on saturday. Tonight it hailed! Not quite dime sized, but nickel sized were reported in some areas. Tomorrow night the Mont du Lac ride, if my legs recover.

Sunday, May 28, 2006

Alpine Valley Open - May 21, 2006

Chris Shaw, Trek Midwest Regional Team Manager, emailed me this photo from the race:

Our team had a good showing for the day in the elite field: Doug 1st, Tristan 3rd, and myself 1st. Perfect weather - 60's - for us northern folk that haven't been exposed yet to the forces of summer sun (or any sun most days).

Saturday, May 27, 2006

Moab - April 2006

My 66 year old father-in-law.

Irv enjoying a good technical downhill.

Beautiful weather with 30+ hours riding base miles and working on technical skills. Sunny everyday. Unlimited traction. Took my 2005 Fuel for its last Moab trip before passing ownership to a developing rider.