Wednesday, February 27, 2013


Backed in the garage for a full blown run at the snow. I got about 10 feet.

Not sure what to say. Almost 17 inches of snow overnight. Huge drifts. A month ago I might have been pumped, but not so much today. I guess I really am past the designated pray for snow time. The video is about as stuck as a little crappy in the snow car can get. I hate when that happens.

Where was this two months ago. As of 1pm, my car is still stuck in the drive. Plow guy wont get to me until late afternoon. I hitched a ride to the store. Nothing going on. Streets around the store are not even passable with a car yet.
I should of just called a snow day.

The snow is mostly lake snow. Inland did not get near as much, which is opposite of what usually happens. With the planned store move tomorrow and Sunday, I will also try to get a grooming in tomorrow morn. 

That's about it for now. Prepping for the move. I expect a run on ski rentals and will prepare to handle that along with the move.

Next time we talk it will be game on, truck rented, full blown moving mode.
Wish me luck.


Monday, February 25, 2013


As good as it gets for classic.

Its been so long for me. Having a weekend away. I have so much to say. The past month the blog was getting a bit boring Im sure. Working 10 to 12 hours a day for 6 days a week does that to a person.
Today, I feel so much better mentally. I could post a week on what I did and saw. But I wont.

Friday we went up late afternoon pretty much right in the snow storm. Was down to 40mph on the highway sometimes. But it only took an extra 20 min to get there. I knew the weekend was going in the right direction when I found out the hotel "room" I booked was really a condo. Bedrooms upstairs with full kitchen\living room. Two and a half bathrooms. Nice. Less than a mile from the park. I love Fish Creek. Mostly cuz of the park. I would consider Peninsula Park my second H.P.  Its huge. And full of cool stuff. I try to get here at least 5 times a year.

 Its been at least three years since I skied on trails this good. Perfect, fresh snow. 30 degrees. Sun. Both Saturday and Sunday I skied without hat or gloves. It was that nice out.

Almost two hours on Saturday. About a hour Sunday. Ive been pretty stagnant for the last month so Im not sure I could have done much more than that. Im sore.

Saw this guy Saturday. This pic was with my phone. I got about 15 feet away. Saw another (or same one) flying Sunday. You dont see a Pileated too often.

Late season skiing is the best. The sun is high during the day making things warmer. More people are out. The snow may be softer but thats fine by me. Slows me down going downhill so I dont fall as much. Again, I cant remember skiing in better conditions, ever.
Now that Im home, they got a lot more snow that we did. Double. The woods was deep for the snoshoers too. People were out in the park by the numbers.

I have never skied Peninsula Park before. Just MTB'd it. The huge park has a ton of trails. Some skate too but we stuck to the classic only.

I love skiing on systems like this. Sure the big trail systems are cool. 30 yards wide, like a highway. Skaters flying past.

But to me, this is the way to CCski. Compared to those big systems, this is like single track.  Its narrow and twisty turny thu the woods. Sure there are some fun hills. But not neck breakers. When Im on a big system, a good portion of my time is either climbing or trying to slow down. Here, your just skiing. So much better.

This stuff is why I dont skate ski. I have no intentions of doing the Birkie. I just not fond of skiing a trail 30 yards wide that can accompany 100 skiers at a time. For me, its getting in the woods and seeing cool stuff. Like a cool woodpecker.

I would love to come back here soon. Like within a few days soon. 2 hour drive. I would be lucky to get any skiing in this week.

Alas this is hell week for me. And we seem to have more snow on the way so Im planning on grooming the local trails as some point this week. The store will be moved Thursday and Fri. And will be open during. But will be closing early on Friday to move the computers and such.

Tomorrow is new carpet, Wednesday is electrician. Wednesday is product moving. Friday is product, display and and phone\computer.

Its going to be one hell of a week.

Most likely will not post tomorrow. this one is late so consider this Tuesday morning. All in all this weekend did what I wanted it to do. Talk my mind somewhere else. And it sure did that. But it already seems like a million years ago.

Time to set everything up. Time to move.
And so it begins....


Friday, February 22, 2013



Today is the day. The day I forget about life for awhile. Still, a ton of loose ends this morning but right after lunch I will be headed north for some rest and relaxation. And some skiing.
Some fresh snow has made the trails groomable but I wont be back to do so till Monday. Seems right that we get some good snow the day Im leaving, and when I no longer want it. Looking ahead, it looks like mid to upper 30's all next week. It is near March. I hope to get the cross bike fired up for some base miles soon.

As crazy as this sounds, and for the first time in well over 10 years, I have not been on a bike in one month.
You heard right.
Its been over 30 days since. That is a personal record. And Im really not that upset about it. Which kinda concerns me. But the crappy or cold weather hitting only on the weekend, and all the new store stuff, it seems almost right. Im going to pardon myself on this one. And when its time, Im going to hit the saddle with a vengeance.

That's not going to be far away as Im doing the fatbike Birkie in two weeks. That will be an expensive trail ride for me. No way am I in shape to race anything or anybody.
I will go into that race as I do any other. My expectations will be the same. My threefold criteria is as follows: Don't crash. Don't take last. Pass someone on the last lap (or near the end).
If I get those issues done its a good race for me. Im easy to please in that respect. Keeps it fun.

The store is ahead of schedule by design, so I can sleep well this weekend.
The fresh snow will make the skiing and hike very nice I hope. Should be a nice weekend between the skiing, hiking, eating and drinking.
However, in the back of my mind is the impending move next Thur\Fri. Its going to be quite a week.
But that's next week. This is still this week.
Have a great weekend.


Thursday, February 21, 2013


April 2009
As I said a million times in the last two days Im working on all the issues that come up in store moving. Mostly construction problems. The timing of the carpenter, plumber and electrical, painter, carpet guy.

It consumes me.

But today, as I sit back, all problems solved for now, thinking about the pending out of town weekend.

That puts my mind in neutral. Slowing it down from the 24 hour storm it has been in the last few days. Ive been taking sleeping aid pills to sleep at nite. If not I would just be staring at the ceiling, thinking about stuff.

So this morn, as my mind slows and tales a breath, I got a little sentimental. I really cant believe the store is moving. 4 years to the month in this ol' corner spot. Its just seems like  a week ago I started this deal  I am exited about the new place but sad to leave where it began.

 For the most part, Im here more than at home. And in a day over a week I will be somewhere else. Makes me realize things.
May 2009

Ive made a lot of new friends going into the bike biz. But lost a couple too. But it kinda felt like their ghosts still hung out when at this old store. Day to day I still felt their presence.  And moving will put the past behind me and it makes me a bit sad if the new store erases those memories. 

Moving on always makes you rely on your memory. And I have a ton of good memories here that I hope I can bring with me when the final truckload of product is carried into the new store on March 1st, and I turn the lights off here for that last time. The businessman in me is glad for the move. It sets up growth. Its the right thing to do. A business's window for such things are small and sometimes you have to do it when its available,  not when you want to. All these sad thoughts will be short lived. Once in the new place it will be game on and I will not have the time to look back. At least not right away.

So before that happens I just want to thank all the individuals who helped get this thing off the ground in the first place. No names. You all know who you are. I cant write enough here. I planned on this being two posts but when its in my head I gatta type the words.

If these people did not do what they did back then I would not be able to do what I do today.
Thank you.
I hope your ghosts follow me to the new store.

I have a ton of people to thank pertaining to the new store. That's another post.

Moving on......


Wednesday, February 20, 2013


Dont have a pic from this morn. So its a file foto on the new store as looking from across the river. Complete with fishing boat. The boat is not part of the deal. Although commercial fishing would not be a bad thing to do when sales are slow.
If I did have a boat it would need to much faster than that one.
Issues at store are consuming me right now. Flooring issues. Electric issues.
And, to change things up, Im going to complain about the weather.
What the hell. If its not 40 and rain its single digits. How many times have I said that in the last three weeks. Its 6 today. Remember Monday was 45 and rain.
Ive always complained about things I cannot change and the weather is one of the things that affect the store greatly. Bothers me to no end.

But then after someone slaps me I regain composure and keep on truckin'.

I want to think about this weekend but I cannot. Not just yet. Soon.


Tuesday, February 19, 2013


A spot of winter blew thru last nite. Yesterday it hit 40+ degrees and was raining when I hit the sheets. This morning is another day if ice. This is about the third time in the last two months that it rained, then froze. Huge ponds of water and ice everywhere.

Today my mind is pulled in two directions. 
One is the store(of course). Things are ramping up this week. All major projects need to be done by Friday. Next Monday its maybe some finish work and carpet. Then, its haul stuff in. I think we are still on schedule for March 2nd. I have what I think is a two day buffer built in for issues. I for sure will have to open with temp signage on the building. I'll get a big banner made until the permanent sign is done. In the back of my mind I know things are in order. But the back of my head is not talking to the rest of my head. So Im still pretty stressed out. Which leads me to my second direction.

I was waiting to see if I could cover the store this weekend, and it seems it is covered. So come Friday afternoon I am out for some R and R.
Heading up to Door County and Washington Island.
Looking for some hiking, skiing and dining. Its a good feeling to actually confirm this as Ive been close before and had to bail (Houghton a few weeks ago).

So its going to be nice to leave and forget as much as I can. And getting the major projects at the store done by Friday will do that. We are staying Friday nite in Fish Creek and Saturday nite on the Island. I cant wait. Im already daydreamimg a bit and its only Tuesday.
I understand we might get some more winter weather Thursday. Perfect timing. A fresh snow cover would be cool up there.

Id better stop thinking about it and get to work.


Monday, February 18, 2013


She's a biggin'

Man, what a crappy weekend. 
Big plans laid to waste. No riding. No skiing. Nothing.
I was absolutely positive I was riding the fatbike Sunday morn. Then found out was going to be single digits again. So then I loaded the car with skinny skis and was sure I was going skiing. The morn comes and go's and I just did not have the motivation to head out at 6 degrees. By the way, today, this morning, its 37 degrees. Thought of riding this morn but just no time on Mondays. Hope the temps stay normal.

walk right in!

Yesterday I had to attend the WCA cross directors meeting in Delefield. I left early and after a stop at Trader Joes headed to the Milwaukee port to see who was there. Three big ships. 
Unlike my visit to Sturgeon Bay a few weeks ago you can drive right up to these guys. Heck, if I had the nerve I could of walked right up the stairs and into one.

Again, very cool to see them here after watching them float past town a few times...

As far as the WCA meeting, things were discussed. And only two out of 10 there did all the talking but its still good to stay in the loop.

I now have three races to do in 2013\14. Cross race on Sept 7th, WORS race on Oct 6th, and a Fatbike winter race in Feb of 14.
Thats a busy summer of directing.

I'll need help.


Saturday, February 16, 2013


Neil putting up my new office wall.
A rare Saturday post. I got up, spent the 40 minutes to get dressed to ride, drove to the store, saw it was 3 degrees and took it all off. I sure am getting weaker in my old age. Three riders did show. They laid down a 30 minute ride and called it quits, with two stopping at new store to check things out.

 The Saturday group ride is taking a huge hit this winter. It used to go on regardless. Religiously. There were winters I did not miss a one.

The weather has been brutal. Sure, there were cold days in the past. But its been consistently single digits almost every Saturday morn. 30's during the week, brutally cold at ride time. Today it was 3. On Tuesday its going to be 40 and rain. This has been for sure a very strange winter.

I like the winter rides way better than summer. I suffer less. No hills to climb. riding the frozen beach of Lake Michigan. Most of the time Im on a cross bike, so when we hit the road its easier to hang on for me. There was a time in my life I looked forward to Saturday morn every week. Sometimes that ride was the center of my social life. Soon the temps will moderate and the riders will come back, me included. I hope so. I was doing pretty good in January averaging almost 10 hours per week. Now, Its been 3 weeks since I rode a bike. Thinking as far back as I can. I don't remember ever going 3 weeks besides 2010 when I got hit by a car.

With the store taking up my time I guess I expected a little time away form the bike. Its just a bummer when I do keep a small window to ride a bit and the temps plunge. Its just bad luck I guess.

Tomorrow I will have the chance to try again. As I mentioned yesterday, I plan on riding the fatbike a bit in the morning. Temps should climb a little. But its all woods so its easier to stay warm, then after a couple hours its off to a WCA directors meeting to set up my cross race.

So today was a bust. Heres to slightly warmer temps.


Friday, February 15, 2013


Sun! 815am

Milestone # 3  First product in store!
Well what do ya know. The sun is out.
HP visits are much better when the sun warms your face. Even if its only 14 degrees. Id rather have it 15 and sunny than 40 and gloomy.

Things are hopping at the new store. 2 carpenters and one electrician this week. This weekend is a big push. Then will keep it rolling into the week. I will be selling stuff in this place in 14 days.

And Im keeping the heat on during the next few days as I plan to actually take some time off. Heading out of town on Friday the 22nd. Returning Sunday the 24th. A much needed break away from this crazy time. Since I ditched last weeks race up in Houghton. I am counting down the days till. Destination unknown.

Tomorrow I am torn what to do. Its going to be cold and I would ride in the woods but not sure if I would ride the entire group ride along with the road. This strange winter once again has it warm and raining but it seems every Saturday morn its single digits and that is just a bummer. Its doable, Ive ridden in colder, but my tolerance for that is less with age. I might just grab the ski's (the day after I want to ditch them) and head to Greenbush. But that's a long shot. And a hours worth of driving. Im leaning to riding the fatbike and staying in the woods. Need to be back at store sooner than later anyway.

Sunday I'm riding the fatbike for sure, in the morning. Then, its a a drive to Delafield, WI and the WCA Crossrace directors meeting. That's a full day. To end a full weekend.
I'm looking forward to slowing down a little at some point. But when this stuff is all done the store picks up. And that's when I can afford to bring in some help on the sales floor.
And take a deep breath.
Have a good weekend.


Thursday, February 14, 2013


file foto

File foto is a cold morning on the lake. Maybe two weeks ago. Right now, this morning, its 37 degrees and about to rain. Ive always been a winter kjnd of guy. Love the snow. I have always prayed for a snowy winter. After getting out three days in a row on the ski's last weekend I was just getting back my form. I was loving the new fast, expensive ski's. It was a week ago the awesome snow hit.
Today, it feels like that was months ago. A week ago tomorrow morn I groomed the park in a winter wonderland. Today, gloom and a cold rain.
So today, on Feb 14th, Valentines day, Im declaring winter over.

I am now stopping the wishing for more snow. Today I turn the corner.
I am now going to wish all the snow away. I wish for warmer weather. I wish the snow to melt. I wish the temps to moderate for some road rides. I'll take 30's and sun. For now.

I do not want to ski anymore this winter. I want to put storage wax on my ski's and put them away. (I do hope to use them up in Hayward in 3 weeks tho). Then put them away.

I want to ride bikes again. Its been over two weeks for me. I want to get back to 10 hours a week very soon. Very.

This weekend it will be colder. I'll give in to that. That's acceptable  But then that's it. Im sure it will snow again. Maybe even a lot (doubt it). But as long as the roads are open and temps are up I'll take it.
Winter retail is funny. A nice groomed snow in December and the ski's fly off the shelf. A even better snow in late Feb and no one cares.
And that's where we are today. Its over. Im moving on.
Think bikes.

You should too.


Wednesday, February 13, 2013


First batch of bikes.

This dude was hungry.
Another milestone. The first of many shipments to the new store.

But first I had a pretty good view of this Coopers hawk nailing a pigeon in mid air. I saw him hit and wrestle his prey to the ground. He then tried to pick it up and fly and did get about 30 yards before he dropped it. This is maybe a block from the new store. Cool stuff.

So everyday when I roll to the new store it will be with a bunch of stuff. Things are being boxed but left on the floor if needed. Crazy as it sounds, bike traffic is started up. Several people shopping bikes, and maybe 4 or 5 tune ups in just this week. I was hoping to move before this started. So I gotta keep pushing it here. No slowing down. Too slow and I might end up like the pigeon.

That would suck.


Tuesday, February 12, 2013


There are times in my life when I bite off a little more than I can chew. Im not saying that its happening today, but when I get in this mode Im blinded. Some things just take awhile to build up and when it hits you its too late, your committed win or lose.

Along with the new store issues, Im working on a racing team this summer. Both need a ton of pre planning. Both are happening at the same time. So its a bit of work\thought\planning\executing right now.

Then throw in that I have not taken a day off since the middle of last Sept when I raced Chuammy. You can include most Sundays in that too. Add that up and I am getting a bit burned out. Maybe Im getting smarter as I get older cuz I can recognise it sooner. And thats a good thing I guess. But that does not change the task at hand.

So.... I need to remember I do have a weekend away planed in a month. Heading to Telemark in Cable,Wi to do the Fatbike Birkie. But already Im stressed out over the fact that I will only be in my new store a week when I leave it for two days. Will have to work on minimizing that.

Also, I am trying to make up for last week's fail to leave town. Im glad I stayed with the snow, but that does not change the "wanna get away" feeling I still have. So... Im working on a quickie weekend thing up to Marquette,MI for some Fatbiking. Most likely will not happen but maybe. Just maybe.

That aside, it seems this is going to be a pretty busy summer for me, good or bad. In four to five weeks(when I get home from Cable) the store should be busy enough to bring back hired help. I can take some time off even if its a few hours in the morn to get in my LRW's again (Long Ride Wednesdays). Just those few hours make a huge difference in my stress levels.

So... I will continue to push hard. These days Im home pretty much only to sleep. 12-13 hours days in store. Once Im in and settled at the new place, then take that weekend up north should be the turning point Im looking for. And Im pretty sure I can make it that long no problem. 

Monday, February 11, 2013


New store!

Awesome woods and groom! Friday morn.
I have not posted since Thursday. Pretty busy.
Here's another sneak peek at the new store. Your standing behind the million dollar cherry wood sales counter. Looking at stairwell to the second floor and the entrance.  Nice to have those things close. Easier to keep on eye on things. Just a matter of time before I try riding down the stairs. With cameras at the ready of course.

Friday morn had me out grooming the ski trails with the best snow of the year. In fact, I cant remember the snow being better or the woods prettier. When grooming I was careful not to knock and snow off the branches. The trails were in great shape. I could have laid down a double track pretty easy but I didn't. If fact, even with the near perfect snow, I groomed fairly minimally  knowing that it will only last less than two days.
And of course the weather dudes were right as it rained all afternoon  Sunday.

I did get out right after I groomed and skied Friday, then again Saturday morning and Sunday morning before the rain started. As I type, the trails are once again gone. Lost to 40 degree rain. Very disappointing. 

Ice pushed up from the river. Sunday before the rain
This was the first weekend in a pretty long time I did not ride a bike. But was glad to get the time in on my expensive ski's. While at first was was kinda weird about spending all that money on them, after some time on them Im glad I did. They really are so much faster than the stores rental ski. Like night and day. Even for a novice like me. Still classic tho.....
I also skied the other trail system in town. The park we have our yearly MTB and cross races at. Along the river huge ice chunks were pushed up along the trail. Making it ungroomable with machinery. So you had to wing it for a little while. No biggie.

Time to go do something pertaining to bike store.


Thursday, February 7, 2013


Little by little I can leak out a little on the new store. Your looking at the sales counter. In the back behind that is going to be the clothing area. To the right, by the vacuum, is accessories.
Both the sales counter and the wainscoting behind, and all around the store is made of cherry. When new, that counter retailed for almost 5 grand!

For real this place is nicer than my house. This is downstairs. The floorplan both up and down are the same. 2100 ft per floor. Its not going to be all sales floor.
Upstairs will be a spin studio and meeting room clubs can use for their meetings.
Also the service center will be up there too.

Have a ton of work planned this weekend. Another update maybe Monday. Right now Im waiting for the pending snow to hit. I have plans to grab the groomer and get those ski trails back in order. Its been way too long. I really need to ski more.
Cuz spring is only a month away. Maybe.
I remember a little over a week ago when it was so warm I mentioned to someone that I remember riding in colder weather in May last year. And this was late January.
So... Im pumped about the snow, but never get my hopes up too high.
Bring it.


Wednesday, February 6, 2013


Shit's getting real.

First off, today's visit to my Happy Place was very nice. Sunny and 22 degrees. Its been a long time since that has happened.
With the more moderate temps the park is just more alive.
Most critters are out and about as the pic to the left shows. This little dude left tracks just about everywhere. Sure was on a mission to do something....

I had plans to head to Houghton to do the bike race. I made hotel reservations. This morn, I called to cancel. But Im not too bummed.

Its not that I cant go, its just I shouldn't.

The store's buildout is falling a little bit behind and, to my delite, some snow is coming tonite. So I decided to stick around this weekend. If we get the snow they are talking about that should be enough to groom the local park. And then the ski rentals will be game on. Ski sales too.
So I chose not to go this weekend even tho I need a few day away very badly.
I promised myself to take the very next chance that comes along, and I will. Maybe in a few weeks.
As far as the new store, we are coming close to the end of tear down. By Monday, the beginning of build up will start. By the end of the week it finish work.
During finish work is when I take out all the displays off the walls and such in the old store and  install in new store. That will start maybe the 18th. By the 21st I will start moving product. 
Fully operational on Saturday, the 23rd.
Pretty ambitious of me.
I usually think big.


Tuesday, February 5, 2013


As you can imagine, Im spending a lot of time in the new store. The building is about 25 years old and was a frame shop. Its full of stuff to still be framed.

Like this.

This is the real deal. A John Kennedy campaign poster. Early 60's?

I wonder what something like this is worth. I asked if I could have it but of course my new landlord wants to keep it.
 He went on to tell me someone brought it in to be framed and never returned. He has no idea who it was. He has no record of it anymore as it was over 10 years ago. So he said he will just keep it in case that person ever shows up.

Just will pass it down to his kids.

So its early morn's and late nites here. 
I still hope to be in the new store by the 23rd.
Goona do it for real!


Monday, February 4, 2013


Between the new store and the cold temps you can believe my activity has been in the crapper lately.
Last two weeks has been about two hours per. That's bad.
And I don't see it getting much better in the next month or so. I hope Im wrong.

Saturday I ditched the group ride. Along with everyone else. One rider showed, and I took him out for coffee for being such a trooper.
I do ride in the cold, but the last 7 hours of saddle time have been in the single digits and thats kinda worn me down a bit. Im getting old. Temps are on the ride tho, with 30's by the end of the week. That will be a nice break.
Sunday was our bi-weekly fatbike ride. Sadly attended by me and JohnM. It was not in the single digits (10) for temp. But it was a great ride. Sun and a little fresh snow made it that way. 
But alas, I flatted in the woods. Thats a bummer to change out a tube when its 10 degrees. I was eager to try out my 40oz "Bigair" CO2 to see if it was enough to fill a 3.8 tire. And I never got the chance as my screw on thingie was cracked and all the CO2 leaked out before I got to use it. John had a hand pump. So hand pump I did.
For about 10 minutes it seemed. I got enough air in the tire to ride so off we went. Not sure what pressure I had in the tire but it was well off the rim so thats how I rode it home.
And it was quite a death march to get back to the store. Its almost 5 miles of road. Into a stiff 10 degree wind. Mostly up hill. On a very low pressure fat tire.
I managed maybe 8 to 9 mph all the way home. And pushing hard.
Very cold. Especially after stopping to change out the tube. I suffered and just concentrated on the task at hand. Made it back to the store and was happy to do so.
The extra workout was needed. I was so sore after.

This week begins the real work in the new store. Carpenters  electricians and other high priced people in there tearing down, building up. Going to completely finish the new place before moving in. And that means moving displays and product in one day. Its going to quite the planned out event.
But thats going to be stage 5, and Im still on stage 1, so Im not even thinking that far ahead right now.
I need to finish one stage before moving to another.
All according to plan.