Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year! Scott and I mention each year since Kiera has been born, how much more we enjoy the holiday season. She has enjoyed learning Christmas songs, dancing to Christmas music, wearing her new princess dresses and taking care of her new babies, including giving them a ride in her new stroller. Today she and one of her babies were in a basket to emulate baby Moses in the Nile. We enjoyed visiting with family and it is especially fun to see Kiera and all the cousins play together!

I want to thank everyone for their thoughts and prayers since falling off my bike in August. God answers prayers! I had such horrible photosensitivity and motion sickness that took quite a bit longer to get over than we expected. Scott has been very supportive and patient. Kiera is an incredibly understanding child. She would ask me everyday, "Is mommy's concussion all better?" Boppy, Scott's dad, is a Godsend; he watched Kiera while I rested and was my chauffer to and from appointments and my first week back to work in early November. I was allowed to work limited hours at first, but gradually returned to normal. The people, other than my family, that have helped me the most seemed to materialize just at the right time.(Thank you, Lord!) Dr. Pradhan, from India, got me started on homeopathy that finally helped me turn the corner and see some improvement after spending the first two weeks at home confined to darkness. Dr. Audette, a chiropractor, administered frequency specific microcurrent, to heal specific parts of my brain. My neck feels better than it has in years (thank you, Geri!) and I no longer have to do my vestibular ocular reflex exercises (thank you, Andrea!)

My first bike ride was on Thanksgiving day (how appropriate) with Scott. I have been able to run for several weeks now. I feel incredibly fortunate! I have to be a bit careful yet not to overdo, but each week I am still making gains and in some ways feel better than I have in years.

Saturday, December 17, 2011


This article is well worth your time reading..... The website is full of information you may not get from mainstream media or your health care providers.

Sunday, September 25, 2011


(Photo Jay Richards - skinnyski.com)

I finally notched a win in a Minnesota Series race. The only thing that would have made it better is if Sara would have also won the women's race. As it is, she is still nursing a concussion that keeps her on her back most of the day with her eyes closed. She is able to go for short walks on occasion, but she has to be very careful not to overdo it. This is the most time she's been off the bike since she started riding in 2002.

The St. Cloud race sarted pretty mellow with Barry T. taking the lead on his fully rigid singlespeed. I was content following his wheel until he pulled over and then continued a fairly mellow pace. Even though Brendan won the MN Singlespeed Championship earlier in the day, he was antsy following and decided to lead going into the singletrack. I shadowed him while Josh Tesch followed me. We rode together until the rock section on the first lap where Brendan and I established a little gap. Brendan was content to lead for a little over half the race and then I went to the front. I'm not sure I could have ridden the course any fast than I did because it seemed we were at the terminal velocity for the tight, twisty singletrack.

(photo by Jay Richards - skinnyski.com) Final section of two track

That said, I had to go pretty hard on each of the cross-country ski trail sections because whoever had the lead going into the last section of singletrack would be at a huge advantage for the sprint finish. I was able to hold the lead and outsprint Brendan for the win.

Josh ended up holding down third, Lance B. got fourth and Jake Richards had another impressive race, nailing down the fifth spot.

The Trek Top Fuel worked flawlessly once again and the Bontrager XR1's had great grip. I made sure to drink plenty of Hammer Heed, gulp down some vanilla Hammer Gel and pop some RACE CAPS before the start since I cramped so badly at Chequamegon.

Thanks to the St. Cloud crew for putting together a great course and a smooth running event.
Trek Mountain Bike Demo October 1 & 2

Savage, MN

Sat & Sun Oct 1st & 2nd, 2011 @ 10:00 am—3:00 pm

Your Twin Cities Trek, Gary Fisher Collection and Bontrager Dealers will be the host of this demo at Murphy. The new MTB trail is a ribbon of dirt cut through the beautiful woods and prairies of Murphy-Hanrehan Park, traveling up and down ridges, around small knolls, and across drainages and marshes. The trail is not super twisty and has fairly long sightlines. The goal here was flow. At almost 10 miles, it is one of the longer metro trails and has some great views from the top of the big ridge on the advanced loop. On a clear day you can see the skyline of downtown Minneapolis through the trees. More info can be found at http://www.morcmtb.org/ Please note if weather conditions threaten health, safety, conditions of the trails and participants we reserve the right to cancel the event. Thanks for understanding!

For more details visit: http://www.trekfactorydemo.com/region.php?region_id=3

CR-75/Murphy Lake Blvd
Savage, MN 55378
Murphy-Hanrehan Park Reserve is located just south of Savage, not too far from the Burnsville Center mall. The easiest way to get to the area is Interstate 35 (35W or 35E). Take the County Road 42 exit. Go west on CR-42, past all the malls and down the long hill. After roughly 2 miles on 42, take a left onto West Burnsville Pkwy. Shortly after Cam Ram Park, W. Burnsville Pkwy turns into Hanrehan Lake Blvd. Continue down Hanrehan Lake Blvd until Murphy Lake Road - the gravel road heading up into the prairie on your left. The trailhead parking is a short distance up Murphy Lake Road on the left.

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Almost One Minute Per Mile

Up until Thursday Sara was still contemplating doing Chequamegon. Thankfully she went to see the doctor on Friday afternoon and was told to steer clear of anything that causes symptoms to flair up. Essentially, that's work, exercise, reading, driving, screens, phones, etc. As difficult as it was for her, she knew competing was impossible. Hopefully her symptoms will clear soon so she can at least start riding the bike again.

I ended up having a clean start and getting into a good group: Eppens, Hall, Pattycakes, a couple others I didn't know, and eventually Jack Hinkens before Fire Tower. The pace felt perfect and I finally felt like I had my shot for a top 10 finish. I started cramping a little before Fire Tower and it was all I could do to limp to the finish. My quads and hamstrings were giving me serious grief and ended my hopes of a top finish. Looking at the finishing times, I gave up almost a minute per mile from Fire Tower to Telemark...

All in all it was a good day. It was the most fun I've had at Chequamegon even though I couldn't push hard to the finish. I don't think I went out too hard because I never was at my limit before cramping. I didn't drink much though and even gave up a bottle after OO because I didn't want to carry the extra weight.

Thanks to Gary and crew for year 29.

Friday, September 09, 2011

Maplelag/Seeley Recap

photo: Eve Stein

The Maplelag stage race is a must do mountain bike race. Jay, Jonelle and crew do an amazing job pulling off a gigantic amount of races, hosting hordes of folks at the resort, feeding the competitors, etc., etc. Sara and I felt bad about not bringing Kiera along but it made for a much easier race weekend than last year. In addition, we got to sleep in a little and could recover a little between races.

Sara came into the weekend really banged up. She shouldn't have raced but she didn't talk with the doc until Sunday evening on the way home. The good doctor Swank ordered her to stay off the bike and give her ailing brain a break. She hasn't been on the bike since Maplelag and Chequamegon is up in the air. It is a major bummer seeing how she is able to push the pedals pretty good right now...

Sara ended up winning all thee races at Maplelag but she did so very carefully. She said if felt like she was riding with bifocals and the more she rode the more difficult it was to stay focused. Thankfully she was on the Trek Top Fuel so she could let the bike do all the work.

I ended up having a good weekend as well. This place is my favorite spot to race. The short track course is amazing and the new cross-country loop is fantastic. Jay knows how to build tough single track and a technical sound rider does well on this course. One needs fitness, but fitness alone won't allow a racer to win this one. Brendan put on another clinic and easily beat us all. I was down 1:20 or so after the first of two laps so I knew I didn't have a chance. He is so powerful on the short, punchy climbs and his sound technical skills leave no chinks in the armor. I know his mind was elsewhere during the weekend but he was still able to win the overall title. Doug was flying in the short track and time trial (Sara said he looked ilke the "old Doug") but my second place finish coupled with a third in both the short track and time trial enabled me to snatch second overall on the weekend.

The Bontrager XR1s worked perfectly for the conditions as did the full suspension Trek.

Sara and I really enjoy staying at the lodge and hanging out with everyone. Even Dan Swanson showed up so it was just like the old days!

Quick Seeley re-cap: Sara crashed really hard in the single track. Of course she was feeling strong and riding fast when she wacked a tree with her shoulder. It stopped her dead, bruised some ribs and rattled her brain. She limped in for the win but she went downhill health wise the week prior to Maplelag.

I ended up twisting a link in my chain about three miles into the race and wasn't able to fully trust my drivetrain. I didn't know what was wrong at the time but the drivetrain made plenty of racket and did some phantom shifting so I had to be really careful. I'm impressed that it held together and I was able to finish the race in 6th. I'm really bummed I didn't get to race Adam and Patty in the single track. Maybe next year....

For once in my life I am excited about Chequamegon!

Monday, August 22, 2011


The White Tail Ridge mountain bike trails just keep getting better. Last year's course was great but this year's version was even better. The local club has really turned these trails into a top notch race course by adding another twisty, slightly technical descent and a technical rocky climb. Chad Sova lives 10 minutes from these trails and it is obvious that his input is invaluable when it comes to laying out the race course.

Sara sat this race out since Ore2Shore is such a long, brutal race and because we are racing the next two weekends in a row which would have had her racing six consecutive weeks. She also wants to do well at Chequamegon so it made sense to have a little break.

After crashing out at the start of last two races in a row, and having a still sore, slightly separated shoulder, I decided to lead the group most of the way up the opening climb. I cannot afford to fall and aggravate my shoulder so I had to put in a big effort at the start. I felt pretty good and settled in on the field leading into the single track. I made the mistake of following Rients into the single track and he let a gap open up. Jesse didn't bring his race legs and the added pressure of imminent fatherhood surely had something to do with this rare off day. That said, I was sitting in 6th and had to chase DB for the better part of the first lap before finally catching him and going by. DB happily sat on my wheel and recovered while I slowly reeled in Ben K. (Ben helped me quite a bit since he got off his bike a couple of times). We were a small group of three for most of the second and part of the third lap before I almost fell off one of the many bridges and got gapped.

I ended up riding alone for the rest of the race. Ben and Darrin passed a bonking Brian Eppen but I didn't have the legs to move up - probably because I went a little too hard at the start. I was busy gulping lots of Hammer Heed, Endurolytes and Vanilla Hammer Gel in hopes I could give one more push, but I couldn't muster up the energy to chase down Brian and ended up in 6th.

Like usual, the Trek Top Fuel did a terrific job and the Bontrager XR1 tires hooked up nicely. I think I would have had even better traction with a little wider tire than the 1.9 and 2.0s.

Sara did a great job getting Jesse, Ron Raymond and me feeds, cheering and taking a little video at the start. I'd upload it but our modem is shot and I can't make our wireless work.

Another great thing about this venue is that there is a daycare center on the course and it has a playground. Kiera, Luke and Ben (the Raymond boys) played after the race while Sara and Kathy (Ben and Luke's mom) went for a ride on all the single track White Tail has to offer.

Thanks to the Raymond family for letting us stay at their house and to Kathy for entertaining Kiera while Sara, Ron and I were at the race.

Monday, August 15, 2011


Women's top 3 podium spots (Sara, Chloe and Kim)

I do enjoy watching Sara compete. The Ore2Shore is the one race I consistantly do hand-ups and play daddy day care (for the Raymond family) and it is a hoot. The day flies by because I have to rally the Eurovan to four viewing/hand-up spots and the third spot is always nip-and-tuck but I always seem to barely make it.

This year I didn't see Sara come by at the first view point and I thought she either went down in a crash or had a mechanical. I waited for an extra 15 minutes before venturing on hoping that I'd missed her. Sure enough, at the 16 or so mile mark I saw Chloe come through looking strong and Sara was next about 1:30 back. Obviously, I was relieved and a little bit surprised since I missed her at the first spot but saw all the other top women. At this point Chloe was in a small group of men and Sara was in a huge group (20 or so). As it is in mass start gender mixed races, the women's race is always played out at the mercy of men. Sara knew it was better to play it safe and try to stay in her group rather than try to move up on her own because it almost always spells disaster later in long races like this. A downside to the large group this year is that it was really dusty and guys were going down because they couldn't see what was happening and this caused Sara to stop/jump off the bike three times to avoid crashes. She also would get buggered up on techincal climbs a bit so she had to run more than she would have liked.

Chloe had a consistant 1:30 - 1:45 margin on Sara until the last feed spot at about six miles to go. I wasn't surprised to see Sara in the lead at this point but I was surprised that Chloe wasn't closer to her. Sara said she passed Chloe with twelve miles to go and by the time they came through with six to go Sara was about a minute up. It turns out Choe's stem loosed up (TJ??????) and she had to stop to tighten it up.

Sara rode a smart race to the finish and kept the gap a little over minute. Considering how she's been riding the past month, it doesn't surprise me a bit that she won. The women's field was stacked and it is too bad that Jenna got a flat while in third at around the 10 mile mark. Kim Eppen rounded out the top three, and our neighbor Diana McFadden had a great ride and nabbed the 4th spot for the second year in a row.

On a side note, Sara was able to keep the keep her legs from cramping, but I'm convinced part of the reason was the Trek Top Fuel 100. It is SO nice to have a super light weight, full suspension fast bike for marathon races. Another reason was downing plenty of Hammer Endurolytes and Hammer Head drink.

Another bonus of me not racing is that Kiera gets to join us. She has so much fun playing with Ben and Luke Raymond and hanging out with Ron and Kathy. She also enjoyed playing with Ellie Schouten at the playground and during the awards ceremony.

Thursday, August 11, 2011

This pic sums up my race at the GHC last Sunday. I think Jay Richards took the picture and Eric O sent it my way.

My injured thumb is going to be fine in time. This is the first summer I was able to squeeze a water bottle again since injuring it Nordic skiing two winters ago...oh, well.

My right shoulder on the other hand is still pretty sore. With effort I can lift my arm over my head so I'm taking that as a good sign. Sara has me all kineseo taped up, so I'm sure that helps assist the lifting. It is separated because I have the tell-tale dip which now will match my left shoulder and make me symetrical once again. The last time I seperated my left shoulder was in 2007 on a bike ride with Sara before she tried racing. We were riding in Bagley Nature Center when I attempted to bunny hope a downed tree and totally misjudged it and crashed. A litte over a week later I finally realized I mistakingly put Sara's contacts in while coaching track at the Doc Savage meet (hence the crash because I couldn't focus quite right). This time around my only excuse for crashing is that I felt good and was going faster than normal over the rock drop I've ridden EVERY TIME without problem for 4 or 5 years.

It will be a while before I can ride bumpy tails again. Hopefully I'll be ready for the Boarder Battle in a couple of weeks.

Thanks again to Dave, Dr. Matt and J Boyce (who a few weeks ago had a horrendous 30 + mph crashed through the side window of a car that pulled out right in front of him) getting me ice asap, assessing me, taping me up, etc. I owe you fellas!

Monday, August 08, 2011

A Win For Sara, Homecurse Disadvantage for Scott and Two Weddings in Two Days

I picked up this little gift in Cuyuna

The poison ivy continues to pop up in new places going on week two

Sara had another impressive showing at The Great Hawk Chase in Lester Park on Sunday. We rode the course three times last week and she was disappointed in her singletrack skills. She was able to put something together by race day, however, since she won the Pro/Expert Women's race and the Men's Comp race (by one second). Michelle Flanagan-Haag had an impressive ride and ended up second on the day. Sara is best in tough conditions so it is really quite impressive she was able to do so well on this course since it is pretty fast, flowy and smooth. She had nary a problem in the slippery sections even though she used her favorite Bontrager XR1 tires.

I on the other had had plenty of adversity. For the second race in a row I was on the ground at the start - this time 10 feet off the line. Thankfully nobody ran me over and was able to practice my passing skills starting off dead last. I redlined it and got into second place before the end of the first lap. I really wanted to ride with Brendan a little but there was no way I was going to catch him after my mishap. I was leading an old coaching buddy at CSS, Josh Tesch into the singletrack on lap two when I launched off a rock, ended up going over the bars and mashed my left thumb and right shoulder into a nasty pile of sharp rocks. It took me awhile to get going and a group of four went by while I was taking stock of my body and bike. The chase was on once again albeit much more slowly and painfully since I couldn't stand up and pedal or lift up on the bars because my shoulder wouldn't allow it. I somehow managed to ride back into third place until the start of the fourth and final lap. I came unglued early in the lap and had to soft pedal to the finish. I couldn't hold off Jake Richards and Kevin K. going down the ski trail finish and had to settle for seventh. I've never worked so hard and passed so many people to end up seventh....

Great job to Mick at the SKIHUT for putting together a terrific course and to COGGS for pulling off the second Minnesota Series event.

I will get to recover next weekend since I'm Sara's waterboy for the Ore2shore.

Dan Swanson's wedding was a hoot on Friday! Kiera loves playing with Stella (Doug and Ann's daughter) and having an excuse to eat a bunch of sugar. Two nights in a row of being up late has taken its toll on us though. I can't wait to get rid of this poison ivy so I can sleep again...

Monday, August 01, 2011

Bachelor Party and Elk River Race

The entire family is blown after this weekend. Sara and Kiera stayed home while I ventured to Crosby with Harry Anderson to celebrate Dan Swanson's upcoming wedding. Doug organized a 3 + hour ride on the fantastic Crosby trail system the family company built last year and gave our group of 13 or so the grand tour. If you haven't explored this trail system, it is a must. Of course, it was super hot and humid but luckily Doug provided pretzels, cookies and Gatorade so we could press on. Dan was showing off his mad waterskiing skills once we got back to the cabin and like usual, Hollywood provide plenty of entertainment. Harry and I left early to get back to our ladies but it sounded like we missed out on some fun by not spending the night.

Sara was excited to race at Elk River on Sunday so I loaded up the car in the AM and we headed out. We dropped Kiera off at Grandma and Grandpa Kylander's house so she could play with the cousins and we continued on to Elk River.

Sara had a gap going into the powerline climb and ended up riding with fellow Duluthian, Nikolai Anikin for most of her race. She said she struggled mightily in the tight single track and did hundereds of excelerations per lap. This is one course where pre-riding would make for a much smoother, faster first lap.

I didn't know what to expect but I felt good right from the start. I tried making a sweet inside line pass at the top of the powerline climb but I had the door slammed shut. Instead of hitting the brakes I decided to ride into the tall grass and into a bunch of big boulders that were hiding in the grass. Needless to say, I was over the bars and back into 20th place or so. I had to ride harder than I wanted to for about 5 minutes and by the time I worked my way into 4th the leaders were long gone.

Sara and I were talking about how great the Trek Top Fuels worked on the rough climbs and everywhere in between. The Bontrager XR1 tires worked perfectly once again. The more we use these tires, the more we like them.

We went back to Sara's parents and watched Kiera play with her cousins. Her parents have a farm so the kids were climbing the haystack, picking rasberries, chasing each other around the yard, trying to catch the wild kittens and messing about with a variety of things. Good times and fun to watch the kids have fun.

Up next is hometown race, the Great Hawk Chase.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

HOT du Lac and Projects

Since we are getting new windows, I had to replace some cedar. I'm told they will blend in with the old boards in time.

Kiera and Sara went strawberry picking while I powerwashed the house.

I've got no race pictures to show... I'm sure they will surface at some point but I can't give the visual of how hot it really was. I had my full zip KUHL jersey flapping open the entire race and I still thought I was going to melt. Thanks a ton to Rosco and Dodzee from THE SHIHUT for dumping water on our heads and for the hand-ups. Thanks too to Kate Tesch for giving me water even though her husband Josh was only about 30 seconds behind me the entire race. I can't believe how many Hammer Race Caps I put down and how well the Hammer Gels/Heed worked in the rain forest like conditions.

Sara, however, seems immune to the heat because she was on fire (no pun intended). Not only did she win the women's race, she worked her way up to sixth place overall in the men's expert field even though she started two minutes back. She finished about 8 minutes ahead of the first place male comp winner. If only she could have had this kind of day at the National in Wisconsin a couple of weeks ago. Ah, bike racing and form can be so fickle (along with the timing of illness). Needless to say, Sara is pretty stoked about her race day.

I'm pretty happy too since I was able to finish and go pretty hard for most of the race. I bridged up to Brendan and Jesse in singletrack but they rode away from me on the climb each lap. I could barely see them at the start of the forth lap and they were out of sight by the fifth and final lap. I was pretty happy considering I didn't ride my bike last week but instead worked on the house. Yesterday I stained it with $85 per gallon Sickens in 90 degree heat.

No racing this weekend and then off to Dan Swanson's bachelor party at the Cayuna trails and Elk River the following day. Should be interesting.

Monday, July 11, 2011

Buck Hill Debacle

Scott and I decided to go to Buck Hill because of the shorter course and temps in the 90's along with leaving Kiera at home to be watched by Grandpa. The day before the race Scott and I had to bike in long sleeve jerseys due to the cold temps(thanks to Kuhl our new long sleeve jerseys work perfect in Duluth's foggy and 55 degree summer days).

Scott felt he raced maybe a lap before he just went backward through the pack. It is tough to figure out why he is not racing well as we don't have cats anymore (he is very allergic) and he is off work for the summer. He seems to feel best early in the race season and then it seems to go downhill from there. He is more than perplexed. We have been doing a lot of house projects (Scott ripping out years of insulation) and other things that fill his day so there is very little down time, especially with Kiera.

I felt much better racing than I did at the WORS race a few weekends ago. I led up the start of the first climb, but could sense Rebecca close behind. I slowly grew my lead with each lap. Unfortunately, I did an extra lap (6 instead of 5) but have absolutely no idea how I miscounted. There are times like these that I feel I am completely losing my mental faculties. It was a very frustrating way to end an otherwise good race.

Thank God the next race is close to home at Mont du Lac. Not much chance of miscounting laps there!

Sunday, June 26, 2011

WORS Subaru Cup

After loading up the van, Scott, Kiera and I headed to the Subaru Wors Cup. We missed this race last year because I had injured myself and we didn't want to miss again, but Scott caught Kiera's cold earlier in the week and myself a day later. Since we'd already pre-registered we went anyway....

The course was fantastic! A lot of roots and rocks; terrain that reminded us a lot of Duluth. There were three more technical sections on the Pro course that I chose not to ride during my preride. Scott mentioned afterward that all three were "no problem and no big deal."

Our camping arrangements the night before the race proved to be a terrible mistake. There was an outdoor music concert on the campgrounds until 10 PM, then hollering kids until after midnight, etc. It wasn't too much difference from when Kiera was little in terms of lack of sleep. Scott had an especially bad night of coughing and being chilled. I didn't feel quite that bad, but am used to less sleep than he is. Ironically, Kiera had a fantastic night of sleep and didn't start coughing again until morning. She also was a little snuggle bunny in the morning so we could rest more.

I knew in my warm up that I didn't feel well. My legs were lethargic and I could tell my cold moved into my chest. Since we had come all this way, I decided to start anyway. I got a fairly good call up and relatively decent start. I could tell I was not climbing well and could have been a bit further up going into the first section of single track where the line stalled. I was in a line of riders and followed their lines through the three technical sections on the course, sections I did not ride the previous day. Other times I got buggered up by riders just ahead of me that would get caught up in sections of rock gardens. Overall, I was very pleased that I rode the technical sections better than I had been riding yet this year, but then bummed because after three laps I could tell my cold was moving further into my lungs and I was wheezing (I don't have asthma). I decided to be done at the end of lap 3 (of 5 and riding in about 12th place per Scott). Amy and Steve, both from Marquette area, along with local Duluthian, Josey, had some kinds words of encouragement after my DNF.

After my DNF, Scott decided not to even start his race. His cold was worse than mine at that point and he had run up and down the hill carrying Kiera during my race (he already got his race in for the day). We packed up the van and made it back to Duluth before dark. A bit of a disappointment after 11 hours in the car, but at least our family got to spend a lot of time together and it was really good to see a lot of our friends and other racers that we had not seen in a while. Don and WORS put on a great event. The course was one of the best National courses we have ridden.

Monday, June 20, 2011


Heat = 80s and sun... Sara on her way to beating the heat and a WIN!

More Heat... On the other hand, I'm on my way to a DNF

Back Home = 46 degrees and light mist... I had to grab my pants, jacket and hat to unload the car once we arrived home.

Today's weather = same as most days this spring - 47 degrees and clouds

I'm not sure how Sara is able to manage the temp swings from Duluth to (insert race venue here), but she does it. Yesterday she was able to give the finger to the Afton course (and mother nature) while it completely whipped me. I started off fine but anytime Jake or Devin would surge I would immediately wilt. It's hot for everyone, so I guess I'll have to head south and start riding in the sun/warm weather or set up the trainer in the sauna if I plan to finish humid, hot races.

It was a bummer that Chloe was unable to race at Afton because Sara was really looking forward to toeing the line with her (and Jenna for that matter). While Jenna was off at Nature Valley, Chloe was at Afton, but nursing an injury. Sara is constantly trying to guage her fitness but it isn't easy to do on the mountain bike based on all the variables and inconsistant women's field. She's excited to race the WORS CUP but she is also a little hesitant because she's not sure if she's got the form to do as well as she'd like. I'd say she is 99% certain she's doing it, however.

As for me, I'll probably do it too, but it is going to be ugly if it's hot and humid. I've got my fingers crossed for cold temps and lots of rain...

Friday, June 17, 2011

New KUHL Kits

Sara sporting the new kit

Kiera and I enjoy going to the aquarium now that school is out.

She really likes the boats and the slide.

Thursday, June 09, 2011

Kiera at Park Point on my last day of school with students.

Mankato = Heat
Sara had a good day at Mankato all things considered. Since we've been riding in pretty cold conditions (40s - 60s) and Mankato was around 91 or 92 according to the Volvo; it was rough. Thankfully the Treks worked flawlessly even as we continue to dial them in. It's tough to get them just right since we also got new Bontrager shoes and XTR pedals. Furthermore, we don't have much time to ride trails, and when we do, they have been too wet up to this point so we have been adjusting the bikes at the races and hoping for the best.

Sara tried to follow Jenna on the first lap but went down hard, sliding out on the ski hill at speed. She pushed hard the whole time but Jena was flying and trying to make time up against Jenna on her home course wasn't going to happen. Jenna's time was fast enough for her to win the Comp men race so she was moving. Sara's time was fast enough to get second overall in the Comp men's race so both of them were going pretty good.

I tried to race but I knew during the warm up it was going to be a long day. My legs didn't respond on the climbs but I was still able to ride along in the 6th spot, about 30 seconds behind Sam O., for 4 out of 5 laps. Going into the fifth lap, I started to go backwards in a hurry and was just happy to finish the race.

On a side note, this is the first time I haven't DNFed at Mankato in about 8 years. It seems like it is always over 90 down here...

Up next for us will be Afton. I'm hoping for mud or at least temps in the 70s.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

First MN MTB Series Race - Inver Grove Heights - Sat 21st

Once again rain and wet conditions were the theme of this year's race. Unlike last year, however, the race was not shortened and then the rain stopped half way through the race making the race course sticky and slow. The race conditions were very similar to Mont du lac last year; thick mud, slipery corners, low speeds, but unlike Mont du, the race course is relatively flat.

We picked up Doug Swanson, dropped off Kiera with Anne and Stella, and headed to the race. Thankfully, Scott got an extra set of rims ready complete with mud tires friday night. Scott pulled his mud tired out out of the car saturday morning at the race site only to find the front flat and the rear tire low. He put 30lbs of air in and hoped for the best.

Scott got a clean start and worked it way up to 2nd place by the end. His tires held too much air and cornering was a bit slick. Sara went to the front at the start and stayed there for the duration of the race for the win. Our Bontragger Jones Mud X tires worked perfectly! Thankfully, we were able to get the big chuncks of mud off our bikes for the car ride back to Doug's. Scott must have spent 3 hours that night washing the bikes, then another couple hours the next day after we got home doing some more polishing. He is meticulous about our bikes; new chains, cables, housing, and brakes on their way with the later thanks to Ron Raymond.

On our drive back to Duluth, we stopped in Forest Lake. Turns out we were very lucky to have been just north of where the tornado hit. (The paper says a funnel cloud touched down twice in Forest Lake, but didn't cause much damage with the majority of the damage was just south of us). One of my sisters and dad were with us. My dad just got out of Abbot, where he was for a few days after getting airlifted there for what initially was thought to be a heart attack (on his 72nd birthday). He was diagnosed with pericarditis and, thankfully, is doing well.

A big thanks to Anne and Stella Swanson for watching Kiera while Scott and I raced! We could not have raced without Anne's generousity of her time and Stella sharing her toys! The girls even took a bath together! Kiera is looking forward to playing with Stella again......

Friday, May 20, 2011


SATURDAY MAY 21 TREK DEMOCANCELLED!!!We’re as bummed as you, but the folks who manage the park asked us to give the trails a break.On Sunday we plan to head out to Murphy Hanrehanas scheduled. If it’s too wet to ride we’ll just hang out and talk bikes. Thanks for understanding!

Sunday, May 15, 2011


(photo by Jay Richars on skinnyski.com)

I'm perplexed about my pedal problem.
(photo by Jay Richards on skinnyski.com)

Sara and I got to Lakewoods to pick up our packets and bumped into Gary Crandall, the Chequamegon director and Mountain Bike Hall of Fame inductee. It's always fun to listen to Gary's stories and hear what he's been up to. He mentioned a slideshow he put together about the Fat Tire and showed it in Cable this spring. Hopefully we'll be able to see it sometime.

As soon as I stepped out the door I bumped into Jay Richards, owner of Maplelag Resort, MNSCS race director for the Maplelag Stage Race and pro mountain biker. It was nice to catch up after a long winter, but I was bummed out to hear lymes still has a grip on him (albeit not as bad) and keeps him from racing. Jay's positive attitude and ability to be around the races all the time is proof that all things mountain biking runs in his blood.

At the start of the race it was a blustery 38 degrees according to the Volvo and the wind was howling. I was hopping up and down at the start trying to stay warm, and unbeknownst to me, lodged a rock between my cleat and new Bontrager shoe (the new shoe by the way have really slick updated buckles and "cat's tongue" fabric that keeps the heel firmly in place). Anyway, it took me until the gravel to finally pick the rock out while trying to pedal/coast and thankfully the start was pretty mellow so I didn't lose much ground.

Sara had a great start and rode with Nikolai and Tesch for almost 13 miles before falling off their pace. She was happy considering she injured her leg pretty badly less than a month ago and this was her first real test. Since we rode the Hayward end of the CAMBA trails the previous weekend with Bontrager XROs, I decided they should work fine for the race. Even though the course was pretty muddy and slippery, the tires hooked up fine for us and we wouldn't have switched over to a more aggressive tire if we had it to do all over again. It's always a little tricky trying to decide which tire to use, but we usually go with a lighter, less traction tire and hope our skills are good enough to get us through. Sara had a super strong finish and ended up with the same finishing time as last year even though the course was much slower this year. She ended up 16th overall which is considerably better than last year. We were trying to figure out how many times she's won this race and we are pretty sure this is her 8th time.

I had no idea how the race would go since I haven't done one interval workout this year. I went hard once in Moab three weeks ago, but I have yet to get any structured work in. I've found that if I try sneak in any intensity workouts at the end of the school year I get sick and have to take time off so I have race my way into shape. So, I'm pretty happy I was able to push most of the way without cramping troubles. I rode with Brendan, Todd, Chad and Tyler most of the race. Before the last section of singletrack I rode some shorter climbs steady and the group whittled down to three before I missed a turn. We were basically all back together again with 12 miles to go. I led until the 5 or 6 mile mark with Brendan following until he went by. He said he felt terrible but I still couldn't match his small increase in the pace and I ended up losing him and riding steady until Todd caught me on last section of two track before the long railroad grade finish. I gave Todd some water and he proceded to pull me all the way to the finish into a seriously strong and persistant head wind.

The new Trek Fuels are the absolute perfect race bikes. They are unbelievably responsive and fly in all conditions. Thanks Trek!

Thanks to the Cable Off-Road Classic crew for putting together another incredible course. I think there was even more singletrack this year. Can one ever have enough?

Up next is Minnesota Series race #1 at Inver Grove Heights next weekend. We will also get to hang out with Ken and Maury at Trek Demo Days at Lebanon on Saturday and Murphy on Sunday. Demos start at 10 and go until 3. See you there!

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Our yearly MTB trip to Moab, UT has already come and gone. We left last Thursday and returned late Friday evening. US 80 was shut down in Nebraska for about 100 miles last Thursday due to a blizzard. Rather than plow, they wait until the snow melts and then open up the highway again. The VW campervan had no trouble in the snow while plenty of other vehicles did. I'm sure we would have made it but the gates were down and troopers wouldn't allow us to give it a go. After waiting around in North Platte for four hours I decided to take a detour and made it to Sterling, CO. The roads were rough in spots, but we prevailed.

We met up with my brother Brad in Moab and ended up having the best weather ever over the 15 + years we've been there in the spring. Sara's new Top Fuel worked flawlessly and she really likes the new XTR components. She crashed really hard while pulling her zipper down and now she can barely walk and definitely can't push the pedal with her left leg so it looks like Iola is out for us. It's quite a bummer because she is getting up to speed and was making Tom Bender and me work pretty hard on the gravel road back to camp from Porcupine Rim. Tom is our KUHL team manager http://kuhl.com/ this year and he came down from Salt Lake to ride with us (and drop off soome carbon tubular Renolds wheels and Carbo Rocket - Thanks Tom!) for a day.

I ended up taking my new Superfly hardtail and it also worked perfectly. I usually ride a fully rigid bike in Moab but I sprained my thumb two years ago and since I can finally squeeze a water bottle with my left hand, I figured I shouldn't push it.

We rode a couple of new trails - Pothole Arch and Rockstacker - and they did not disappoint. I'm pretty happy anytime I have to hang my rear end over the back wheel and grab a handful of front break to keep my speed in check before launching over a drop off. We also rode in Fruita at the Loma trails on our way back home on Thursday afternoon.

Kiera and Boppy (Grandpa) had a great time on the trip as well (even thought Kiera had a cold the entire trip and she puked the last day and continues puking as I type). Buddy Bill, Bushey and Sean O'Brien also rode with us here and there during the week.

Over the six days of riding we sampled the following trails: Porcupine Rim, UPS, LPS, Hurrah Pass, Jacob's Ladder, Amasa Back, Jackson, Slickrock, Mary's, Horsethief, and More Fun. We got in almost 30 hours of warm weather riding so I'm pretty content to sit around and be lazy for the next couple of days.

It looks like the Cable Classic will be our first race as long as Sara's leg heals up.

Saturday, March 26, 2011

We are making hot water today. The panels were at 150 degrees and it was 28 degrees outside. The sun is pretty amazing!

We finally got our solar hot water system up and running this winter. We also put in an on-demand hot water heater in and got rid of our old hot water heater. So far we are super happy and saving money every day.
Sara and I are excited to be riding once again on the Trek Co-op Team. We have partnered up with Maury which means we'll be able to help out with Trek Demo rides that Ken Derico organizes. Ken's the guy at Chequamegon, Iceman and a host of other events around the country with the huge fleet of Trek demo bikes.

We are also going to be riding for KUHL, the sweet outdoor clothing company based out Salt Lake City, Utah. A former Wisconsin Elite MTB racer, Tom Bender, is the manager of the mountain bike team and he wanted a WORS presence, so we'll be hitting up more WORS races than last year to splash the KUHL brand around at some WORS events.

We'll be wearing KUHL kits when racing in Wisconsin/Michigan and Trek Co-op kits when competing in events around the Twin Cities.

We'll also be fueling up with HAMMER NUTRITION PRODUCTS for 2011. Our good buddy Ron Raymond was able to hook us up with the fine folks at Hammer. He was also kind enough to line us up with an old sponsor, OAKLEY. We absolutely love all our Oakley glasses and we are stoked to try some new eye wear this season.
What's better than this?

Or this?


Sara and I are quite excited to have our bikes already. Last year we didn't get our new bikes until the last week in June and this year we got our Fuels in February (Thanks Maury!) and our Superfly showed up at the SkiHut yesterday (Thanks Whitey!). I can't believe how easy the bikes were to put together, especially the Fuels since they have internal cable routing. Alas, no problems dialing in the new XTR stuff or getting the lock-outs set up.

I put the Superfly together in about a 1/2 hour and that includes switching the brakes around to make them normal (the front brake is ALWAYS on the right side).

Sara and I rode for about 3 hours in 25 degrees and sun this morning while my dad watched Kiera. This is probably our last weekend on snowmobile trails since the sun is getting so high, softening the trails up rather quickly. There is a lot of ice, which keeps it interesting, since I hunt for the fastest rolling, least resistant line.

A couple of weeks ago we rode in the toughest conditions possible: new snow and warmer temps. It made this year's Mont du Lac race feel easy.

Sunday, February 27, 2011

Scott and I got rid of our internet back in August. (Thus the lack of posts). We have been very busy with Scott just finishing coaching cross county skiing at Marshall. I helped when I could, but not as much as I would have liked. Kiera joined us a few times, but practice was her usual naptime.

Scott had this past week off, so we went up for a night to stay at Bluefin and ski the Picnic Loop. The skiing was so good! The piston bully just finished groooming before we skied the first day - perfect skate skiing. The next day there were 2-3 inches of new cold snow in the tracks to break through, but still great skiing and beautiful terrain.

The cross country skiing has been really good in Duluth this year. Scott and I did a couple of races - Nordic Spirit in Duluth and the 35k at the Mora Vasaloppet. Nordic Spirit is a great local race for us as we ski the race course trails most often. Both of us were climbing well on race day, but our skis were really slow on the downhills - not even able to keep up in the person's draft just ahead of us. I was sick and would not have raced had I not preregistered. It was nice to race Mora again as that is my hometown race. Scott had a bad day, but my skis were quite good until the last 10K, keeping up with the gal in front of me. Ski racing in the winter is more to test our fitness. Usually by mid-February I am ready to be done skiing and get back more consistently on my bike.

We have been riding mostly on snowmobile trails. Since the warm up a few weeks ago, the riding has been good - icy in spots. Yesterday, all three of us took a tumble on the ice as we got a light cover of new snow.

Kiera is doing well and very busy! She talks nonstop, except during naps. We are working on potty training, but she is mostly resistant unless there is a treat involved. Grandma bought her a musical potty chair that she will be bringing in a few days. Her potty chair had a lady bug it in and since then she doesn't want to use it.