Monday, April 29, 2013


Saturdays group ride. Big turnout.
Rarely do I get weekends like the last. Sunday I ended with about 9 hours of saddle time in the last four days.

And Im pretty blown out. The kind of blown out that you dont feel until you stop riding the next day. Thats today.

 Im pretty happy about it too. Just what I needed to get things (fitness and weight loss) going. I can ride a million hours and if I dont push or work it has no effect. Spent four days of riding with ending with a sufferfest and I hurt so bad and feel good about it.

After two tame rides Thursday and Friday I hit the Saturday group ride. It was maybe a bit tame due to the long ride on tap for Sunday.
But there was more than once I had to turn it up to 11 to stay attached to the peloton. And sometimes I failed to do so. Its all good tho as these are a good bunch of guys and we were still on the "winter" route. That will change next week as the group ride switches to "summer" mode and heads farther west to some hills. Thats where and when I get in trouble. In fact I might lay off that ride for a month or so to get a little faster on the bike.
While I like this ride a lot its just a bit tougher on the summer route and I dont want to hold everyone up. On the other hand, I wont get better unless I ride hard and this ride forces me to do so. I'll think about it I guess.

How do I know I will struggle on that ride?

Sundays ride, the Cheesehead Roubaix, was a bust for me. Of sorts.
I had no idea how much climbing was in that route. A lot.
I was pretty much in the lead group (with 50 others) until the first climb. That was a gravel grinder maybe not quite a half mile long. I started the climb up front and ended it OTB (off the back). I chased for maybe 20 minutes alone at 22 or 23 mph but everytime I started to catch I had a hill just hold me back and I had to start the chase all over again.

The beginning of the end for me. Long climb.
I did this maybe three times before I decided to stop. I was dropped. This was about mile 16.
At the time I was heading east, toward the lake and knew it was going to get colder the closer I rode to it. I did have a vest along to put on but I figured if Im riding by myself why don't I just stay west and warmer.
So I flipped it.

It wasn't long before I met a buddy from Milwaukee area. Bubba was shamefully dropped as I and I talked him into staying warm and re routing with me. And we did putting on about 30 more miles before we pulled the plug and rode back to the parking lot with about 45 miles in total.
Even then, I was blown out from the climbing. Hitting the tops of some climbs had us looking at huge vistas that we could see for at least 10 miles. We were up high in the kettle moraine for sure.

I found this as I strolled into a grove of trees to pee. I left it there and forgot where that was but maybe later today I might head out and look for it.
So it was a great weekend of riding even tho I was reminded of my weight on Sundays ride which was still a blast. Its nice to ride somewhere else every once in a while. With someone else.
And as with every spring, I have my work cut out for me.
Its go time.


Friday, April 26, 2013


Yesterday round noon.

Everyone is pretty pumped about spring finally getting here. I know I am. Yesterday was my first nooner ride. First ride on the Felt F1. First ride on a road bike since October last year. First ride on I bike I ride that has Dura Ace. Di2 no less.
It was a crazy first 30 min as I had a huge wind on my back that allowed me to cruise at 20mph. Talk about a wake up. Riding cross\Fatbike for the last six months then jumping into that scenario had me thinking about the pro peloton. It was fun while it lasted. I will publish my thoughts on this bike soon. After a couple hundred miles. Its really the first bike I ever rode that was not a Trek. Will let you know when I know. First ride impressions are good tho...
Did get out to the HP today. The deer once again were there to greet me. Most likely see them later as Im taking another nooner on the bike. And will be riding the F1 on the group ride tomorrow too.

Sunday Im riding a ride called the Cheesehead Roubaix. Another ride in the now super popular crappy road genre. Its cross bike on this 60 or so mile ride. 

Add that up and I will have about 150 miles or more in 3 days. That's going to wake up the legs weather they like it or not. And I cant wait to complain how sore my legs are Sunday afternoon.

 Its going to be a great weekend.
Get outside!!
I know I am.


Thursday, April 25, 2013



Ive started to take my real camera with me more and not just rely on my phone for pics. Now that I have some of my pictures up for sale in the store I might carry it around more. In fact Im looking for a new camera. The one I use for all those pics, if not my phone, is a 99 dollar Walmart camera.

As I sit here in my office Im waiting for employees to show up and maybe get a bit warmer to get out for the first ride on the Felt F1.

Maiden voyages on $10k bikes was something I never thought I would do. Even owning a bike store its a bit tough to swing that expensive a bike. But the manufactures have programs to let guys like me ride their stuff and I take advantage of it. Really, you don't get rich owning a bike store so you have to take advantage of every perk you can get you hands on.

In a way, it ruins some of the experience. I remember back in 08' I bought my first Madone. It was a 5.2 that I got for $2500 bucks. I was pretty pumped. Today, with the store, bikes like the F1, Madone and Domane are no big deal. Get em, demo em, sell em.

Ive always said its really like a rental program. Sure, I can ride these cool bikes but I cant keep them. From day one they are bikes for sale. So its not like its mine. I cant personalize it. All the warning stickers still plastered all over the bike.
So here's the bike all ready for me to ride. All measured up. Dura Ace Di2 all charged and ready to go. My only decision was wheels. Easton or Dura Ace... or both. How bout Easton Monday thru Thursday and Dura Ace Friday thru Sunday. Such tough decisions.

I realize its going to be a bit tough to get any sympathy for this situation as I roll up to the Saturday group. And even tho I complain a bit about this I really do enjoy riding this stuff as much as anybody.

So being able to ride all these bike do I have a favorite? I do.

Its pretty much the only bike I own. Pinky is a 2002 Trek X01. Its been in many different configurations. Road bike, cross bike, single speed and tour bike.

Today its sitting in storage and is waiting to someday be reborn. And it will. Pinky is very patient with me. Sometimes sitting over a year before rebuilds. And when I do rebuild its  always with new parts. That bike can clean up pretty good when finished.

I have a lot of memories on this bike and someday will have a post about all the bikes it has been.

I will never sell it. Its worth a lot to me and almost nothing to everyone else.

And that makes it my favorite bike in the world.


Wednesday, April 24, 2013



Almost daily trip to the HP this week. Soon my posts will come later in the day as I hope to start riding in the morn. At least two days per week. Maybe start up long ride Wednesday again.
Today I will be prepping the Felt F1 for tomorrow's planed maiden voyage. Throwing on a set of Easton EC90's. I was waiting for Easton's 11 speed freehub and got that in the mail yesterday.
Soon the temps will be warmer and more and more people will show up at my morning HP visits. I'll back off a bit with car visits by then.

Mostly then my rides will be "nooners" with the window from 11 to about 2ish. Even tho the road bike will be up and running I use the cross for those rides. An hour of woods and a hour of road. Its my favorite ride.
Hope to do a ton of those.
Those rides are always solo. Me, myself and iPod.

On the other side of things. I have half a mind to head up north for some CC skiing. Such good conditions this late in the year one might not ever see again. Just a four hour drive puts you in January conditions.
Marquette and Houghton,MI
I wont go as I have a lot of riding on tap this weekend and the warm temps are coming now even for those areas. But how cool would that be.


Tuesday, April 23, 2013


Setting the piers the river behind the store.

Is it for real? Looking at the 10 day has no temps below freezing. The city has started to put the boat docks back in the water. These are sights and sounds of spring.
News that the DNR might even open some MTB trails this weekend!
This....... this is all happening so fast.....

I have things to do:
First off, I need to get my million dollar plastic\electric road bike ready for the road. Today or tomorrow I will get it on the fit table and measure it up for me. Then go thru the bike one more time. It looks like the maiden voyage will be maybe Thursday. Before the weekend. I always put a first ride in by myself. Its easier to stop and tweek. Then...

I will go thru my clothing bag. I can pull out all the "winter" stuff such as Amfib tights and cold weather gloves. I'll take out one top layer too making the bag a bit lighter. I will add in arm and leg warmers. Then I will have room for two kits instead of one. And the bag will follow me everywhere I go. Or at least always be in my car at the ready.
Instead of my winter boots I will have thicker socks and shoes. I have not rode with regular bike shoes since early November.

Looking at the weekend it looks like almost 60 and sunny.
I promised myself I wouldn't cry....


Monday, April 22, 2013



Feels like a million years since I last posted. I worked more than I thought and rode less than I thought this weekend. In my Happy Place this morn I sat on a certain bench that I spent most of my mornings last year for the first time. You get hit by the sun, which happened to be out and are kinda blocked from the wind. Its a warm spot. So spring is kinda on its way.

The weekend went well. With a slow start to the sale\open house I had poor expectations going into Saturday morn. But I had this feeling in the back of my mind and I cut the bike ride very short in the morn to head back sooner.
Arriving to the store I found a packed house. At 11 am. I had two guys working and they gave me the "its about time" look. I changed as fast as I could and jumped in. It was a incredible day and we broke the store's one day sales record. Thanks to everyone!

Heres a pic from the same bench last Sept. A lot less grass and stuff on the sand. The tree there looks different also. The branches seem higher now. Not sure how tho...

Sunday was a day of rest. I thought about a small ride around noon but just has no motivation  So I sat in the house and ate all day. Not a good thing to do and hope I dont have many more days as such.
We do have some rain moving in but the temps are on a steady rise the next week. 60's are being talked about next week. 
I might have to bust out that expensive road bike.
Goona measure it up for me this week.

And hope for the best as far as weather go's.


Friday, April 19, 2013



Holy crap. Its not raining. Feels strange. During the last few days you just detach from thinking about the weather. Kinda ignore it I guess. Saw a pic on facebook this morning of northern Wisco. They got even more snow. Reports up in Hayward of temps in the teens tonite.
At what point does one decide to call bullshit.

At what point does this go from "unseasonal" to "what the hell is going on" ?
I remember last Friday I said I was going to throw my bike in the river if I woke up to snow on our Saturday morning ride. Now a week later and I could say that again. At what point do we stop saying it will get better soon? Or just wait another week. How many times have I said that lately.

I can remember a few months ago setting up the store's grand opening and saying that I should be in the clear by the third week of April.

I remember many asking why was waiting and those dates seemed a bit too late. Now I wish I would have set it a week later. But then, maybe that would not have been any difference  Today, snow next week is not out of the question.

I remember, back in the day, when I would actually blog about a bike ride and not about the weather. I hope those days return.

Todays HP visit was nice as it was not raining. Even the animals seems kinda confused as to why they were dry. Strangely  whenever I drive around the park the deer come out to the road and I have to stop and wait till they move. Sometimes I have to shoo them off.
Makes we wonder if they are being fed out of cars. I hope not.
I hope they are just wanting to hang out.
Time to get the store ready. Its going to be a busy weekend. However, I will get the group ride in tomorrow morn and I purposely overstaffed the store.
I need my seat time.
Have a good weekend and stop by the grand opening!


Wednesday, April 17, 2013


This is a pic taken last Saturday (the 15th) in Marquette,MI. One of my favorite places. Its unbelievable but the skiing there is still about as good as it gets. Makes me think road trip. And no where near the one I thought I was thinking about. I swear if the store's open house was not this weekend I would so head up there.

If ya cant beat em.... then dont.
One nice thing about a bigger store is that I dont need to store the ski stuff anymore. Its out all year...... All I need to do is scrape the storage wax off and Im back to winter mode.

This crazy weather has me all over the board as to what I want to do. Its like its January all over again.
But as I think about it.
I'll stick to the bike.


Tuesday, April 16, 2013



Another sunny morning. We all need this.
Today would be a good day for a nooner bike ride but I have a lot to do at the store cuz this weekend is the grand opening party. Starting on Wednesday to Saturday. Advertised sale. Hope its busy. Lot of prep.
I just hope it doesn't snow.

This morning I saw a glimpse of the ship Mesabi Miner. Heading to the Indiana port. Most likely carrying ore for the steel mills. Ship sightings are far and few now. You cant see them right from shore but if you get high up somewhere you might catch one on the horizon.

With the busy week blogging might take a back seat. Dont have a lot of time this morn cuz I gatta deliver two bikes sold yesterday. I like to do that sort of stuff. Gets me out of the store.

In the back of my mind Im dreaming up another long weekend out of town. As soon as the opening\sale is over and things calm down a bit.
And it warms up at least a little.


Monday, April 15, 2013



Saturday when we started riding it was snowing. Hard. Then an hour later the sun was out.

Yesterday I planned a ride around 10am. I ditched it cuz it was back to snowing. Hard.

This morning it is 55 degrees and sunny. Im having coffee out on the stores deck.

I was just thinking how mentally tough one needs to be to ride in the upper midwest. I'll pick Wisconsin since I live here. But the entire region in general.

This time of year its so hard to prepare for a ride when you have to take the time to layer up with all your winter thermal stuff. In January its not a big deal. Its expected. But in April its mentally tough to do. As I get older it get harder. Dressing myself for a ride these days is like going to the dentist. You hate doing it but know you have to.
But once you're set and rolling its all good and you're glad you took the time to do so.

I was just thinking this morning that I can remember dressing in my thermal stuff in mid November. That was a full 5 months ago. Think about it. Its been winter layers on the bike for 5 full months! Almost six!
This spring has been the hardest to take mentally since I can remember. A day in the 50's, then snow for a week. Another day in the upper 40's, then snow for a week. Throw in some flooding to keep us out of the woods till May. 5 day forecast has Friday nite in the upper 20's and snow.

It gets to a point where your mind is numb to it. You almost expect it. You try to trick yourself in believing that its normal so that when its back to winter it doesn't hit you as hard. I say do what ya gatta do to ease the frustration. I have some Jedi mind trick I play on myself so that when its cold and rainy I dont freak out. But those tricks only last so long. You wise up to your own shenanigans. Thats where I am today.

I am mentally drained and have a strong urge to hop in my car and drive south until its 60 degrees. Ride in shorts and jersey with no thermal anything.  But thats not going to happen.
If the weather dudes are correct, next Saturdays group ride will be in the upper 20's at ride time. Maybe snowing. And on April 20th I will have to once again put on my layers of thermal winter gear to ride. There is no other alternative for me. Im not going anywhere soon. And I need the seat time.
At some point this will end. It will get warmer.
Thats what I was telling myself a month ago.
I know what some of you are thinking. Its Wisconsin. This spring should be no surprise. And thats very true.
But does not make it any easier. Then I hear that I should just move if I don't like it. Hmmmm....let me think about that one...


Friday, April 12, 2013


My back yard.
Really not much to say Pic says it all.

Day 6 out of 7 with rain. Not a normal rain. Lots of all day rain.

How strange this weather is. Looking at the 10day once again there's rain called for in the next 5  days. So we are looking at about 10 days of rain out of maybe 12. 
How is that even possible?

Slight chance of a break in rain for the ride in the morning. And I must do it or lose whats left of my sanity. Its been a long time since I saw the sun. And it affects me greatly.

All I can say is stay optimistic, sleep a lot, ride every little chance you get, even if its for 30 min.
We'll get thru this. Just lay low. It will get warmer and it will stop raining sometime.
I promise.

Lets see how things are after the weekend. 
Do the best you can to have a good one.


Thursday, April 11, 2013


Even the crappiest of days has me starting out in my Happy Place. You just never know what you get day by day. Saw these guys prancing around. They never gave me a second look. The pic is from my phone so I did get pretty close and took the pic from my car. In spring (whenever that is) there is a ton of cranes in the park. Ive seen flocks of 15 fly by. You hear them more than see them.


Then these two were maybe 50 yards past the cranes. Like the birds, they just saw no reason to get up. Seems even the animals are finding this weather depressing. This is day four of no sun and rain. Its way beyond the complaining point. Just like the animals, one (me) just needs to hunker down and ride this out. Ive been sleeping a lot. That helps pass the time.

Looking at the 10day, its not good at all. At this point you over look the cold temps and just need to be happy with days that only have a 40% chance of rain or less. And there's not a lot of those coming up.
I wish I could hibernate.


Tuesday, April 9, 2013


Crap tastic weather. 915am
There is two things I try to keep off this blog. First is work. Nobody want to check in here and read advertising about the store. I have a website for that. Second is complaining in general. Nobody want to hear your problems.  And my weight. Wait, thats three. 
So its three things I try to keep off the blog as much as I can.

But its times like this that I cant help it.

This weather is the worst spring ever. For the store.
March was a bust. Compared to last March, which was unseasonably warm, is nite and day. One of the hardest things to do in this biz is budget. Its almost impossible to plan. You can do everything right, set up your spring inventory to a "T" and have a March like the last one and its all out the window.

The spring revenue has yet to hit. But I did one thing right. I held off my spring bike order to this week. This yearly order is the biggest cuz the company's give price breaks to large orders. Last year this order happened in February. This year I held off as long as I can so payment terms are pushed farther into the selling season.
Its a waiting game. Wait too long and people are walking into your store with nothing to look at. Order too soon and its payment due with all the bikes still on the floor and snow on the ground.
I must say my instincts were correct this year. I waited.

Maybe more lucky than correct.

Dreaming of warmer, drier weather.


Monday, April 8, 2013


W8,ing for me
Rainy and gloomy today. But the rain will be washing all the salt off the roads in preparation for us to get on our carbon bikes.

While my current cross bike is carbon, its not high end carbon. So I can beat the crap out of it in the salt and sand and not feel too bad.

But its got to pretty damn nice out for me to bring this  one out.

The Felt F1 just hangs on the wall in the store until then. I always took a little pride in riding what I sell and since Felt is now on the floor Im itching to ride this Protour bike. With the Easton EC90's it comes in at just a bit over 14 pounds. Super light.
With Dura Ace Di2 no less.
But just like a parent of twins I cant exclude the other. I will be on a Trek Domane in late July\early Aug to finish out the summer.
Demo'ing these bike is a tough job but someone has to do it.

This weekend had a lot of riding. Saturday had the usual breakfast ride rolling out. Its was a good 40 miles and good oatmeal.
Sunday I called out a small ride from the store but one of the guys busted a spoke so at midpoint I flipped to ride back with him and was happy to do so. I was not feeling the best on the bike. I rode like I had a brake dragging. But seat time is seat time. Almost 5 hours on the weekend. I'll take it.

This week is going to be a washout. Cold rain the next four days. Snow maybe on Thursday. It just wont leave. My patience for temps in the 50's is growing thin. Thursdays high in the 30's.

I would say something like we will just have to sit and wait for it but really we have no choice in the matter.

Today I'll sit and stare out at the river. 
Maybe a road trip south?


Friday, April 5, 2013


Finally got in a daytime ride yesterday. While I do have a Felt F1 waiting in the wings, I'll stick with my cross bike until the snow is gone and we get some rain to wash the roads of salt.

Its a Origin8. Thats the house brand from popular parts distributor J&B.

Origin8 has always been a low cost, lower end bike and it has never claimed to be anything else but. A nice bike priced without the hype.
So when I saw they came out with a disc specific carbon cross frame I had to give it a try. And I like it. Its not a racing piece being pretty heavy compared to the name brands, but rides great.
Currently I have 28c road tires on it and it rides as smooth as it gets. And in spring Im all about the smooth. People ask me how much the bike would cost.

 The frame is inexpensive at a tick over a grand (full carbon) but the wheels are pricey at another grand. Im running Sram Apex and while thats not top end there is still stuff cheaper. So with all the bolt on's being good stuff the bike is still around 3k. But I could pull over a grand out of that easy with a few part swaps. This Fall I expect to ride either a Trek or a Felt but for now this is a pretty good ride.
Saturday will be the group ride in the morn but I wont stay for breakfast as the store is now rockin' and i gatta make up for the crappy March.
Sunday I was thinking of calling our another ride in the morning. Will see how that go's. Either way I hope to have more than 5 hours in the saddle this weekend.

Bring it on.


Wednesday, April 3, 2013


Yeah. That really happened.

I took this pic maybe two years ago. Lately I have been going thru all my pics to pull 10 or so out to sell. I task much harder than I thought as I have hundreds  As I stumbled on this one and first now did I notice the ship in the background. At that time I was not into that sort of thing. Did I even notice it? Most likely not.

Im planning a ride in the morn tomorrow. Its showing a high of 50. I hope to have someone in the store at 10 to let me take a two hour ride.
Im still riding a cross bike. The ride is so much smoother. Currently I run some 34c cross tires but today Im putting on a set of 28c road tires to help with the roll on the roads since the woods are too wet (and still full of snow) to ride in. Once the woods is available to us again I will put the cross tires back on so I can throw down some trail on a ride.
But for now it big fat road tires. A bit less resistance but still a bit of a comfy ride. At least when compared to a full on 23c road tire.

This has been the longest Ive ever went into spring without having my summer demos set up. I do have a Felt F1 waiting. And hopefully a Trek Domane coming around July\Aug. 
Still wont get my Superfly till June. I dont think we will start riding that much sooner anyway. I have time. And I have my fatbike if it gets warmer sooner.
So Im covered.
So many options. So many bikes to ride.
Its a tough job but somebody's gatta do it.


Tuesday, April 2, 2013


Another sunny but cold morning. I am watching the weather (like I always do) and notice the temp on the way up again. It still has not hit 50 here by the lake but that's expected. But I'll take anything that's sunny and in the 40's. Maybe Thursday I'll bring someone in the store so I can ride.
Soon I should start Long Ride Wednesdays. Soon.

Your looking at the Stewart J Cort heading up to Superior,WI. This is about as close to the shore as they get now. The big ships are almost all working now. There everywhere out there. Most of the time you cant see them at all.

My next ship trip will be a good one.
I would like to head up to Marquette, MI when a ship is loading at the ore port there. I believe that's the only one around and the closest. And you can walk right up to it. I took this pic of the dock when I was up there last fall. No ship tho...
The ships pull up on the right or left and trucks rumble overhead and dump the ore in bins. Then the dock dump the bins into the ship. They can dump any bin depending on where they want to distribute the weight. I don't know who long it takes but I know what ships work out of there so I can watch them and when I see one heading there I can plan the four hour drive.
Of course this trip will have some bike riding too.

Maybe as soon as the snow melts.


Monday, April 1, 2013


I cant believe its April 1st already. Feels strange cuz really spring just started last week. Usually about his time we would have experienced spring for a month already.

Over in my Happy Place you can still see remnants of the ski trails. Dying a slow death. But there are some trail systems where you can still skate ski if you go early in the morning. A huge base of snow holds in the woods for quite some time. So..
Everything is one month behind. Its about one month to the day for the first MTB race in Wisco and no way could you ride in the woods yet. But the good thing is that everyone is behind. Unless you traveled south we are all in the same boat. I remember maybe three years ago having to ride my new Superfly around the block of the store to get some time on it before the first race.
Arriving to said race with about 30 minutes total on the bike, or any MTB for that matter.

So this year will be like that. I rode both Saturday and Sunday. Over four hours total and I can already feel it coming back. As I mentioned earlier, I was so afraid for getting blown out of the group. I thought there was no way I could hang. But really, everyone is as far back as I am. In fact I was not the worst off. That makes me feel a bit better of my riding fitness to date.

But I must remember Im road riding on a cross bike when everyone else (most) are on MTB's. Actually on Saturday we had almost a even mix of cross, MTB and road. About 5 or 6 each. So I guess my advantage was not that good. I'll take it.
I have not been on the fatbike in quite a while. But Im going to be on it eventually as my MTB wont be here till June. So when the woods does dry out, whenever that is, I'll be on the fatbike in the woods in summer time. Sounds like fun.

This week in the store, is rental ski storage waxing. Putting them away till fall.  Also waiting the arrival of about 25 bikes....

Looking back, I should have skied more. I got myself those expensive ski's and should have been on them way more. Sadly, I believe I was not out on them more than 5 times. Not sure why that was.
I did, however, ski in two new places this winter. Up in Peninsula Park (my second happy place) and up in Hayward, WI. Both times having the best ski's of my life. I guess in the future I would like to do more of that. Something to think about when I consider keeping those new ski's......

I'll consider this weekend a success. Rode two days in a row, that not happening more than twice before this year so far. And I felt better on the bike at the end. So, yeah, it was good.

Having all the kids and grand kids over for Easter negated any chance for weight loss having hamburgers and brats on the grill, along with stealing some of the grand kids candy out of their baskets when they weren't looking (what?). But thats OK. Stuff like that is not every weekend.