Saturday, July 31, 2010

Get Dirty.

By the same people that brought us "Performance".
As I post this its Saturday morn and its once again raining during my ride time slot. My lack of riding a bike is getting almost hilarious. Beyond the point of unbelievable.
So I guess its to the store for me this morn. However I did once again over staff so if the weather breaks I am so outside. Lets hope for the best.


Friday, July 30, 2010

Lots of Money.

I forgot to mention yesterday that I'm in Chicago for my day job. Our new office is in Warrenville. Our last office was in Elmhurst. Both high end burbs. Its mind staggering the money that's around here. Huge SUV's driven while texting is the norm here. I noticed also the higher the property values, the less you see bikes. 

Last nite I had to stop into a Walgreen's to pick up some over priced shaving cream that I forgot back in Wisconsin. At the checkout I was right behind a family that has a shopping cart full of stuff. I over heard the father saying how they just stopped for some small insignificant item and his two teenage daughters fill the cart with crap to the tune of $192 dollars. And was laughing about it. He had no idea what was even in the cart. He paid cash. And loaded everything into his full size Mercedes sedan. What a difference in life style compared to the way I was raised. 

I tried to put myself in that position and I honestly think I would not handle it. Its just too much. Too many people have way to much stuff. Some people handle it well but many don't. Those are the people I cannot stand next to in a line at the checkout at the local Walgreen's. Very irritating.

One thing I did notice about the new office is that the Prairie Trail is only a mile away. This trail screams cross bike and I will for sure hit it up during one of my visits here.

Its Friday so I must have a shit ton of riding plans for the weekend that most likely will get dashed. Road on Saturday, MTB on Sunday. I hope it happens but I wont get my hopes up only to get disappointed. And then document said disappointment on this blog.

Time to get upbeat. Hopefully I wont be able to post till Monday. That's the sign that I had a busy weekend.

So........ see ya Monday.


Thursday, July 29, 2010

Time Management

 I was talking to a buddy at the velodrome last Tuesday. I asked him how his riding was going this summer and he mentioned he has not rode or raced in a long time due to a new job he has started. I can relate. 

Its a tough situation to be in. Sometimes we forget that all this emphasis we put on bikes and riding always takes a backseat to real life stuff. 

And its hard to give up the riding when needed. For me its to the point where I resent the reasons that cuts into my ride time. New job, family issue or whatever. If it cut into my saddle time its gatta be bad. The week of my Secret Training Camp I put in 15 hours in 5 riding days. The 14 days following I put in less than 5. That, my friend, is not acceptable and has a ripple effect. I ride less, lose my fitness, then have to cut, then completely eliminate my racing schedule. Now I'm not riding and racing. That's about 70% of my summer down the tubes.

I've said in the not so distant past that I really need to reorganize my life's schedule. Easier said than done. My life has changed so much in the last two or so years that I really cant keep up. I really need to look ahead and see what direction Im going. Instead I'm waiting until things happen and then try to react as fast as I can. But I'm always a few steps behind in that regard and that means I'm living my life very unorganized right now.

I need to be better at this. And I mean need to. Its not a option. I'm to the point that I will do whatever it takes to get me where I want to be. And I mean anything.
I have the store, day job and family life plus other issues to tend to and its a bit much. I need to reorganize my priority's pertaining those issues and make a life style change.

 One of those issues will need to go or at minimum cut extremely back.  In the past, I would have said that all issues had potential for jettison, but things change and the family situation I now have I wont change, things are going well there. Looks like its the day job and the store that might need the most attention. 

Hence lies the decision. I'm leaning one way but its not the slam dunk you may think.


Monday, July 26, 2010

Weekend Update (Sunday)

Some days my ride to my Happy Place is almost routine. I'll do it without thinking. Some days is very much needed. Like today.
A bunch of stuff has me stressed out. Hope it passes soon. Life's too short to lose sleep over crap like this.

With Saturdays riding a bust I grabbed the MTB for a small ride called out in the Northern Kettles of Greenbush on Sunday. My first thought is that it was too wet but it was not as bad as one would think. However the small block tires I run were useless on the greasy trails and I couldn't ride fast enough to keep up without putting my life in jeopardy so I pulled back for a solo ride. I love those small block treads, Ive been rocking them two years now and they sure are fast on the dry, but even a small amount of moisture will cause one to Tokyo drift the corners. I must have came close to washing out my front end 15 times before I slowed.

Thats the first time I rode the MTB hard. And I was hurting on the hard efforts. I just have not been riding hard enough I guess. Hours in the saddle does nothing for my top end and that is nonexistent right now. I feel like scraping most of my racing this summer. With the exception of Iceman.

I'll just set another training and weight goal for fall. I'm good at failing at all my goals and just setting another in its place. Frustrating.

I'll let the trails dry a few days and grab the Madone today.


Saturday, July 24, 2010

Down time

Very rarely do I want to post on Saturday. That means things are not going as planned. My early morning ride was a rain out today. The minute the store opens the sun comes out. So I was cheated out of a ride. So then I overstaffed the store to plan an early exit for a ride and then down to Beertown for the stupidweek race and I get a call in so Im stuck here at the store.
I took the early downtime to dig pinkie out of the basement. 
This bike has been with me for a long time and I will never part with it. Its been in many configurations and I am going to put it back to SS as it was in the big pic above. Little pic is Crossrace Pinkie. Currently, its in road bike mode. This is also the bike I used for my tour of Wisco in 08. 
Exept now instead of cobbling it together with parts I had laying around I can order cool new stuff.
Its starts Monday. Its gonna be fun.


Friday, July 23, 2010

Its Friday and....

...... I have nothing much to say. Gatta work in the store Saturday. Wanna race Sunday.
Minimal riding due to work and rain of late.

Saturday after work will be a trip to Downer Ave.

Sunday will be a trip down to Franklin,WI.

Now that I think about it, I have a lot to do this weekend.

Bring it on.


Thursday, July 22, 2010

Slow Day

Today I spent a good amount of time at my HP. Rain drops falling.
I have a few real life decisions to make that I have been putting off. And I need to make them before the end of the month. I hate that stuff. Visiting my Happy Place helps and cool sand castles rule.
Spent the morning watching the tour live for the first time. Otherwise its always been to try and not hear what happened and watch later in the evening.
As far as today's stage.... how boring a finish. It had all the right ingredients for a fist fight and... nothing.
I have said this before.... give me the one day classics.

Other than that nothing to speak of.

Rainy days and Mondays always get me down.


Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Losing a bike.

Today I'm pretty sure I sold my cross bike. Its the cheapest bike I ride and my most favorite. Show here in full race mode.

I'm glad we had that long ride last week at STC. Makes it a little more tolerable.

Now..... what to replace it with. Pretty sure its gonna be this.

Time will tell as I do not want to wait for one. I cant go a long time without a cross.

After two twelve hours days Mon and Tues Im kinda caught up between my two jobs and will resume the bike riding today. However I have made the unpopular decision (with me) to scrape the entire track season. I had high hopes to hit the track by the end of this month but I just have too much weight right now. Very sad that I have a new Blue track bike that I have never even rode. So its gonna be sold for now. More on that later.
The only races I can do is MTB right now, with the Iceman and maybe a few cross races (and those are still pending for weight results).
I am working very hard on changing my schedule to free up some time for myself. But wont hit till August.

Wish me luck with that.


Monday, July 19, 2010

Secret Training Camp (day six)

With the big day on Thursday I only needed a bit over 2 hours Friday, last day of STC,  to hit my goal of 15 hours and I pulled into the cabin with 2 hours 24 min. About an hour and a half on the Madone and the rest on the Superfly. The Garmin told me I ended the Training Camp at 15 hours 15 minutes in 5 days (one rain out).  I was happy.

Saturday was a total pack,travel, unpack day.  Hated it.

All in all it was a good week filled with riding, naps, eating and naps.

The ride time was almost distributed evenly between the three bikes with the Madone getting in less than an hour over the others. I'm sure that Im feeling better in the saddle and hope to show up for the MTB race next Sunday.

Other than that I have two jobs to catch up on and that makes Dan a dull boy the next few days. The only thing worse than coming back to a desk thats piled high of crap is coming back to two. 

That will be my focus and it will take me till Wednesday.


Friday, July 16, 2010

Secret Training Camp (day five)

One word. Epic.
After trying to get to the Bearskin trail for several days yesterdays cross ride will be one that I remember for along time. After adding up the mileage including the miles to get there and back I knew I was on the longest ride of the summer, rolling in with 65 miles. Just a few miles more than the other day. But what I did not add up so well is the time. I knew my average speed would be a bit down from a road ride but I had no idea I was going to roll back to the cabin with 4 hours 50 minutes in my legs!

The ride started with a 12 mile road ride into a huge head wind. 

Took me over an hour to do this.

I love the "whirring" sound of a cross tire on the road.

Then I arrived at the trail head. This is the same trail I rode in April but never went end to end.

Then once I hit the trail it was game on. This rails to trail is all hard packed lime stone and is 18 miles long. It runs thru and past tons of lakes and marshes. Sometime on both sides at the same time. This is the stuff a cross bike loves and I blasted all 18 miles out and back with gusto. I was a true bike path warrior and no other had anything for me today. I was on fire.

Once I got about 5 miles out the trail thinned but close to Minoqua the trail was packed. I saw an elderly woman hit the dirt riding her cruiser. She got to far off to one side and washed out in the marbles. Her husband was there and I offered my cell phone if she needed help, and told her to take her time getting up. After what seemed to be an hour but was just minutes, she slowly got back on her bike. That was scary. But the huge crowd of weekend riders were every where. I saw several parents with a very young child (like a year old) in those rear seat things. And no helmet. What are those people thinking? Thats a long way to the ground for a one year old.

Farther out the riders thinned and I turned it up. At this point I saw several riders who were headed back but could see by the look in their eyes, were in trouble as they bit off more than they could handle. They forget that they ride out until their in pain, and then have to ride back. Saw several walking their bikes 8 or 9 miles out. Several tandems. Almost no one had a helmet. 80% did not.
Anyway, I rode pretty hard and took in the sights. Very scenic ride and highly recommended.

This bridge was almost 1000 feet long.
After completing the 36 miles of trail, and negotiating the Minoqua rush hour,( comparable to New York), I hit the road back to the cabin and was happy to find the wind still going strong. So I put it in survival mode and peddled the road route back.
 This ride I believe has been the longest in almost two years for me and although I did not plan it that way, was glad to see it. I was plenty sore when I returned and had to fight cramping for several hours after I got back.
Today I had planned a Madone road ride but the once again huge winds will once again kick me into the woods. Hopefully dried out from the rain the other day.

So as I was a little upset about not hitting my 15 hours but as I sit here this morning, the last riding day of Secret Training Camp, I need only 2 hours 10 min to hit the 15. Tomorrow is the drive home.
While the weight loss is a bust of sorts, I'm convinced my riding fitness has been turned up a notch or two. Maybe not back 100% but way better than a week ago.
I will leave you today with a way bigger PB pic than the other day. And one that I'm going to visit tomorrow for breakfast.
Next post after the weekend.


Thursday, July 15, 2010

Secret Training Camp (day four)

Yesterdays day four was a complete washout.
 Early on I saw the rain coming and grabbed the cross, loaded it in the car to drive over to the Bearskin Trail that I had planned on riding. With sprinkles in the air I started out on the 18 mile long rails to trail. Just a few miles in I heard the sirens go off in Minoqua and I flipped it just in time to get back to the car when the storm hit.
Got back to the cabin only to watch it rain the rest of the day with some huge lightning strikes just a few hundred yards from the cabin. Very cool.
So I napped, ate, napped some more and then ate.
This morn the sun is shining but very windy. The huge amounts of rain we got here has the Superfly already back on the car. Its just too muddy and wont dry before I leave Saturday morn. So today its the cross bike. Gonna road ride the 12 miles back over the the Bearskin, then the 36 miles out and back on the crushed gravel trail, then the 12 miles on the road back home. Should be a good day as I only have 2 days to get in the 7 hours needed to hit 15 this week. Planning a huge route for the Madone tomorrow.

Hope she's up for that.


Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Secret Training Camp (day three)

Day three was an off day of sorts. While I did manage a total of 2 hours 25 min most of the effort was low. Took a nice ride with my wife, then laid low most of the day. While my fitness is coming back for sure, weight loss is going to be a no show here at STC.
There is food everywhere up here. So although Im burning a ton of calories, they mostly get replenished while sitting around the campfire.

I did manage a twilight MTB ride with a few good efforts. I hit the trails at around 745 for a solid 45 min of heartrate. I only stopped twice. Once to take a bathroom break and once for this porcupine who just did not want to give up the trail. I had to wait several minutes. He stared at me like I was kind of weirdo. Must of been the fact that he has never seen a Superfly 100 before.
Speaking of which, the 29er wheels are nothing but spectacular here on these double track fire lanes. I sure am using the right bike for this application. 

As it stands Im around 8 hours into my 15 with a big day yet to come. Today is going to be a fairly long cross ride and I cant wait. Road / trail / road.

Its a bit windy so that might keep me in the woods a bit longer.

Like thats a bad thing......


Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Secret Training Camp (day two)

Day two of STC went a bit better than the first. Almost no wind and higher temps had me out on the Madone for 3 hours 37 min. Total of 56 miles to make that the longest ride of the summer for me. And holy crap did I feel it when I got back. Very sore.
I even stretched a bit and I never stretch.

I hit a very cool loop on some of the rolling roads in the Sayner\Star Lake area. Then I headed down to the Boulder Junction area and rode on the bike path they have there but did not stay on it too long as it was full of kids and families and I wanted to keep my speed up.
I am on pace for my 15 hour week up here, so far hitting 5 hours 37 min in two days. It amazing how easy the ride time racks up when you dont have to go to work.  
Everywhere you look up here you find Paul Bunyon. I'm pretty sure he was from MN tho. At least that what they said in the movie "Fargo".

This morn is day three and its kinda a day off as Im going for a ride with my wife and then maybe a bit of MTBing back in the woods later in the aft. Maybe two hours max.
Im shooting for my biggest day on Thursday. We'll see how ambitious I get.
75 miles?

Wednesday looks like cross bike day.

My fave.


Sunday, July 11, 2010

Secret Training Camp (day one)

Day one of Secret Training Camp (STC) went well. Cooler temps and higher winds had me scrap the planned two hours on the road for the woods. Riding the woods up here is a blast. You can follow the snowmobile trails for miles.

I found the same bear den from last year so here's the Superfly Edition pic. I get here in July so I'm not sure if it gets used as it would have already been empty for about four months but since it looks like no other animal moved in could mean its still active.

The cool thing is that every road or trail crossing has a map or just a sign like this so you always know where your headed.
You can ride forever on these trails. Mostly double track fire lane but every once in a while you get stuck when you come up to a lake or river as the snowmobiles will of course ride over the frozen water. I dont have that option so I gatta be careful with my side tracks as one can get lost in the woods pretty quick.
Here's what the end of the line looks like.
Now I have to double back and re plan my route.
Navigation is half the fun. Here I found some kind of man made levy thingie that allowed me to cross and pick up the trail on the other side. I got in a full two hours almost right up to the minute as planned. And covered exactly 20 miles of snowmobile trail and hit three towns.
Next time I want to double that and I will be on the cross bike.

Tomorrow is day two and I have a choice of either 3 hours on the Madone or two on the cross bike on a Rails to Trails that starts in Minoqua. I'll decide in the morn. I looked and never found the bears den the sign stated. 
More to come....


Friday, July 9, 2010

Yearly Pilgrimage.

This weekend starts our yearly week long stay in northern Wisco. I have been doing this with my wife's family since I met her back in 1977. 

When the kids were small it was kinda OK. But after the kids grew I started to really dislike this week. We spent a lot of money to do nothing. Her family (and her) spends the week sitting down by the pier and talking. A practice I can only stand for a short time. 
There was a 10 year span when I tried all I could to get out of it, blaming work and other issues for having to cut the week short.

Then, back in 02' I discovered the bike. Then things changed for me as the bike was a new way for me to enjoy this wasted period in time for me. Now... I look forward to this week of pristine solo riding. At some point during the week I try for a century. Also love to MTB the snowmobile trails from town to town. Both of those rides are two full days in itself.

This year will be no exception. I will bring the Madone, XO1 cross and the Superfly. And I wont be afraid to use them.

Last year during one of my MTB excursions I ran across this bear den. Very cool stuff.

In the past I would sign off for a week here but no more. I have cellular Internet and Im pretty sure the signal is good there. That along with my Blackberry will keep me in touch but not any more in touch that I want to be. 

When relaxing up there I have no problem turning them all off.

I am hoping to get in over 15 hours in 6 days up there. If I have the guts to try 100 miles that will give me 6 hours alone. The route I use for that ride is on some of the coolest roads I have ever rode on. Tons of evergreens with lakes on both sides. All county roads to keep the traffic down. I am looking forward to it.

The only draw back to me is that its quite a bit of alone time. My wife will join for a few miles during the week but mostly its solo. Not that its a way bad thing but it does get a bit lonely at times.

But still beats the pants off sitting down by the pier.


Wednesday, July 7, 2010

There is no "waiting" in the Tour.

As I sit work in Chicago today I really don't have anything so I'll comment on the tour. First off, the hotel did not have VS so I had to sign up for the VS tour tracker for $29 bucks. Not really sure what I'm getting for my money but I figured with me heading into the north woods all next week I might get some use out of it up there. I have cellular Internet so I have visions of sitting on the beach with the tour blasting out of the laptop.

So, first off. I think it was a bit lame that F.C. pulls a neutral in stage 2. I understand that it was a dangerous stage in the rain. But really? I cant believe that someone just didn't say FU and go. I would.
I understand no one wants to lose the tour because of a fall or crash. Everyone wants to say they beat the other guy by out peddling him in the hills and not by some accident.
I say bullshit. Its the tour. First off, they knew the route about what? Nine months ago? So don't blame the promoters. Secondly, falling down is part of bike racing. When I race I do it all the time. I realize its different here but bad luck is bad luck.

Nobody waited for Lance yesterday when he had a flat tire. And nor would he want them to.

If Andy S. wins this thing its gonna be tainted cuz F.C. made everyone wait for him on stage two. Put a asterisk next to his name.

Nobody wants to lose a tour due to bad luck, but nobody wants to win due to a mulligan either.

I so do enjoy the one day classics more. There's no waiting in those races. Theres no crying due to tough courses.

Take away the crashes and this tour is kinda boring. No real racing. Im sure that will change when they hit the hills.

I cant wait. I hope they don't.


Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Back in Chicago

Back in the big town again. Goona hafta get used to this again as my day job is going to get a office here that I must work with. We closed our Chicago office in 08' but the higher ups seem to think we need to get back into this market. I disagree but then my opinion does not count. Again I always look for something weird down here and never get disappointed.

Got in another hour and a half on the Madone yesterday and I can almost feel the bike fitness coming back. It just feels so much easier to hold 20mph (or maybe that was the tailwind). Anyway.... I'm optimistic about my return to competition by the end of the month. At least be good enuf to show up.

After I take care of biz here, until late Wednesday, Im back in Wisco packing and planning my week of training camp (family vacation) up in the north woods. I'm very exited to be able to put in the miles in beautiful northern Wisconsin. Hope the family understands why Im not going to be around the cabin for hours every day. 

I so need some time away.


Monday, July 5, 2010

The Weekend. The 29'er.

The weekend went well for me. 
3.5 hours on Friday, 3 hours on Saturday, 1.5 hours on Sunday.
But with almost 3 of those hours in the woods. 
I called out a MTB ride in the Northern Kettles of Greenbush on Sunday and had about 6 bikes show up. Check out John A's mode of transportation. Love the bike rack on the back of his BMW.

I've had the 29'er now for a long time but due to circumstances could not start riding until recently. Ive had a ton of people asking my opinion on the bigger wheels and I always put off an answer due to lack of time on the bike. I have now put in some time on it so here it go's.

First off, I can see why the big wheels are not for everyone. But, they are for me. I can use the big wheels because being a bigger guy I try to use my momentum to my advantage. And the bigger wheels play into that. On the downhills and flats I can just roll better so the bike plays into my strengths. If you are a rider that excels in climbing and use the hills to make your move then I would say not. And besides the bigger hoops the bike itself has a little more movement in the rear suspension than the Topfuel. Even I can notice it. But since I suck at climbing anyway it does not bother me as much.

In the tight singletrak I can also notice the bigger wheels but nothing that I cant get used to.

So..... yes. I am on the 29 inch wheels until further notice.

Training (riding) is going well. At least Im getting the time in. For now.


Friday, July 2, 2010

Cross Pick Me Up.

Did I ever mention I love a good cross bike ride? Had another one of those yesterday to pick my broken spirits back up again. 30 min on the road, hour in the woods then 30 min on the road to get back to the store. If I say this a million times you gatta forgive me but this is about the best bike ride I can think of right now. Ive been thinking of selling my crossbike but now I think I might keep it for a little while longer. I just do not want to be without one for any length of time.
As I type this morn I have the Superfly strapped to the car and am going to hit the woods for about an hour. In what will be only the second time I rode this bike. After that its off to get some work done, then over to Steve M's for a small and hopefully pleasant group ride on the Madone. Looking for a ton of bike riding this weekend (I always type that on a Friday) And would love a majority of that to be on the Superfly.
I have 3 weeks till I resume racin' and plan on 15 hours of saddle time per week. I'll keep a running total starting tomorrow.
I'm gonna do it for real.
Who's with me?


Thursday, July 1, 2010


Last nites Wednesday Nite Worlds Social Group Ride was a disaster for me. I was in it for about 2.6 miles and then spit off. I barely made it out of town.
At this point I have no idea where I stand as far as riding fitness. My hip only hurts a little bit. I again put out about 22 mph for at least five minutes but to no avail. Getting dropped has happened to me a million times but I never get used to watching a group ride away from me. Mentally, its a tough thing to watch. Its in slow motion as your in zone 5 and suffering. Very disappointing.
Not blaming anyone but myself. However its become apparent that this weekly ride is for sure turned into a "no wait" ride so I'm out until further notice. And could mean the rest of the summer and that bums me out greatly. I so do enjoy these rides. But the reality is I'm now on the outside looking in. Hopefully I get a good month in and could maybe return sometime in August.  But for now its game off and its become apparent that I have a lot of solo miles ahead of me.
I cant get discouraged. That happened last year and ended selling my Madone the next day for a grand. I gatta keep my head up and just try to peddle my way back to the light. Maybe concentrate on the MTB for awhile. Ive had the Fisher Superfly 100 since June 5th and the only time I rode it was at the Wausau race. Thats just wrong.
I think I need a little pick me up that includes a couple hours on the trails of the Northern Kettles. Its July 1st and I have yet to ride there. And that also is just wrong.

I need to start making things right.