Friday, June 28, 2013

GOOD START

805am

Living next to the lake give you opportunity to see stuff like this. Its raining like nuts over there. Today is a early post. Im headed out on the Felt F1 in a few minutes. Such a beautiful day today. Store is staffed so I dont need to be back anytime soon.
Another bonus start to the day. While I was watching that storm the ship Mesabi Miner comes out the side of it. It seemed to have powered right thru it.

Rarely do you see a ship in the lake in the summer as they are either on the other side or  just down the middle of it. The Miner must have came closer to shore to try to steer around the storm.

So far up to now its been a great start to a good morning.Im going to hop on a bike and continue that. So being Friday I have no set plans for the weekend and thats kinda a good thing in my book. All options are open.

Options are good. I'll be sure to use one.

DLD

Thursday, June 27, 2013

LRW

"Im a loner, Dottie. A rebel"

The lack of post yesterday was due to the resumption of Long Ride Wednesday. With what I can assume is summer here, I gatta get my ass on the bike more. Yesterday the 3 hours was good. On the cross bike.

Between racing the MTB in the U.P. and last weekends cross riding its been nearly two weeks since I was on the road bike. In fact, I might just go ahead and sell the F1 earlier than needed. Replacing it with a higher end cross bike that I would just use on the road to close the summer with.

Also, in the back of my mind (there's always a lot of room there) Im dreaming up a small tour. Maybe a four day jaunt. Something going somewhere. I have not sat on my tour bike in a long time. Its been sitting on the sales floor, waiting.
If you remember last year I had the heat induced trip to the north woods of Wisco. I had one really bad day.

So Im looking forward to doing summer things soon. More riding, racing and touring.

Call to action.

As every Thursday, the weekend looks good for riding, I work a little on Saturday (after a ride) and Im off Sunday. Sunday Im thinking epic MTB.
Subject to change.

DLD

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

INTERBIKE 2013

Yesterday I made it official and booked a flight to Interbike.

Ive been going every year since I opened the store except for last year, exchanging the Fat Tire 40 for the trip to Vegas.
But since that bike race has raised its fee to over a hundred bucks I'll gladly ditch it.

Ive been to this convention now three times. This will be my forth. However, I spend about 4 hours total in the show and the rest of the week goofing off. Usually hitting a National Park. So far its been Zion and Death Valley  And of course the Dam.

But theres a main reason I go. Its not the sight seeing or looking at bike stuff. Its CrossVegas.

If you gave me one bike race to see per year it would be this one. I usually get VIP passes and rub shoulders. Its fun.

So I guess I have something to look forward to in mid Sept.

That, and watching all the weirdos stumbling around Vegas.

I'll get there Tuesday nite. Hit the show Wednesday, the race Wednesday nite, then hit the road from Thursday to Saturday.

At least thats the plan. Subject to change.

DLD

Monday, June 24, 2013

REMEMBER YOUR CROSS BIKE?


So it was a bit of a uneventful weekend. Since I took my mini vacation last week it was my turn to work the entire weekend. So no group rides. I did manage to get out both Saturday and Sunday for some solo miles. Both days on the cross bike.
You ever ditch riding a bike, only to pick it up after some time and wonder what the hell you ditched it for?
Thru winter and the crappy spring I have rode my cross bike, then put it away when I got the Felt F1 in April.
Saturday I grabbed it for a quick ride before the store opened and was reminded why a cross bike is my favorite bike in the world. An hour on the road and a hour in the woods. Sunday too. I have more fun on a cross bike than any other. Including MTB.

But Im always solo when riding it. No way could I bring it on a group ride. Or any other ride for that matter. Unless its all cross bikes which is not possible cuz not everyone owns one ( I do not understand why).
Its funny how even roadies who race cross never ride them for fun. I never understood that since I am the complete opposite. In June\July a cross bike seems to be a afterthought. 


Sunday
To me, its a perfect time to ride such a versatile bike. Even if its just road the wider, lower pressure tires are just so much more smoother on our citys crappy roads.

Generally a cross bike has a higher headtube so its a bit relaxed to ride.

So this weekend I was re introduced to the perfect nooner bike ride. And I plan on riding this bike more. In the summer no less.

There seems to be a upswing in the gravel/crappy road rides. I just heard of a metric century gravel ride this last weekend up near Houghton. Those things sound like fun.

People ask me if they should ditch a road bike for a cross bike and switch tires for road riding. For some people I think that would work fine. But you would want a higher end cross bike. Without disc brakes. I remember a couple years ago I was riding both a Trek Cronus and Blue Norcross at the same time. Both bikes weighed in at 15 pounds and some change. Both bikes cost right around 4k. Both bikes would have made a fine road bikes once fine tuned. I remember the Norcross having a compact driveline, perfect for road riding. The Trek had cross specific chain rings and that might hurt you a bit during the faster road rides.

But overall I think a high end cross bike is roadworthy to the common rider. Still plenty light. Still plenty stiff.

So in closing, if you have a cross bike collecting dust hanging in the basement, get it out for a ride. Hit the woods. Have some fun.

DLD


Friday, June 21, 2013

I MISS OTTO

Huge field. I think it was 2\3's?

Ive said this many times before and I'll say it one more time. I miss Superweek. Not the Superweek of late. The Superweek of 10 years ago.

Not to knock Americas Dairyland. Its a great series run very well by seasoned veterans. To the man off the street, the races are awesome. But to the cyclist who have been around, the fields can't compare to the Superweek of old. But then again, maybe they are not trying to.

Last year, it was Kenda\5 hour that pretty much pulled the peloton around. Really, nobody else brought a full team. It got boring. This year, Kenda is a no show, at least last nite. And the only full on team here is United Healthcare. And it showed. Nobody could touch them. However, they are only here for the first 4 races, which are NCC points, then they will be gone for the final 7 races of the series. Maybe its just me but I see even less teams here than last year. Sure, some team may have brought a couple riders. But you don't notice them. Wheres Kenda? Wheres Vanderkitten?
I did notice United Healthcare. Each rider knew what to do when. Each rider knew who was doing what. Each rider found their own specific spot in the lead out. When they came thru on the last lap I predicted a 1\2 finish for them. I have not confirmed but I might have been wrong as it could have been 1\2\3.
Whatever the case it was cool to see a pro team and full strength do that. I don't get to see that stuff to often in real life and not on TV.

Here's a cool looking team with a cool bus and a cool double deck 10 bike rack.
They get cool points.

Back to my point, again, Im glad the Tour of Americas Dairyland is here.

But I miss Otto and his 40+ year old series. I miss a 10 bike break where nobody speaks English. I miss European teams even if they only brought a few riders.


I miss the International Cycling Classic when it was run by Otto.

DLD


Thursday, June 20, 2013

ITS HERE

910am

Not sure how many times Ive said this, only to have my hopes and dreams dashed. But today feels like the first day of summer. Sun's out. Its warm. People are everywhere.

At 8am I was driving with my window wide open. At 8am! Usually its in the 40's but today its almost 70 already! It feels good.

How many times have I said Im going to start my morning training rides. Only to get sick and tired of all the extra clothing needed when I could wait till early afternoon and ride without it. Looking at the forecast it looks like that time slot will be much more desirable to ride in. About time. It feels good.

How many times have I said the store about ready to break open, and schedule all hands on deck, only to have it drop 30 degrees and rain for 3 days ongoing. Looking ahead it looks like this is not a drill. People are actually going to ride bikes outside. For real. Store is busy. Real summer busy. It feels good.

As pumped as I am, Im not going to get in a ride today as Im headed to Milwaukee later for the first stage in the Tour of Americas Dairyland. The show stops here in town on Monday. As cool as it was to have a bike race zoom past the front door of the bike shop, Im OK with being three blocks away now. It was hard to get anything done that day. With me constantly chasing the employees back in the store all day long.

So Im calling officially summer here. Its arrived. To stay.

It feels good.

DLD

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

OTHER STUFF

Drove here but did not ride.

Besides blowing the race there was a lot to do. Mostly sight see. After the race I drove the 40 or so miles to Copper Harbor. Too blown out to ride but killed some time and I needed to sit down after the race anyway. So I sat in the car.
There are so many trail systems up here. Houghton has the Hancock system to the north, thats the stuff I raced on. And the Mich Tech trails to the south. Heading up to Copper Harbor (another system) you pass the Swedetown system. Holy crap you can ride up here a week and not hit the same trail twice. And all these systems are putting on a race of their own. Pretty soon you can race every weekend up here!
When not on the bike or in the car we walked the streets of Houghton. And how could we pass up the Seafood Festival. We ate there Saturday night. Strangely, I had a brat. And not a very good one by Sheboygan standards. 

So between the path riding in Marquette, ship watching, walking and hanging out with the local flavour we had plenty to do.

As much as Marquette is a college town, Houghton is even more so. Mich Tech is a pretty big place. And even tho school is out there still was quite a few kids left. Not sure what the drinking age is in MI but they looked pretty young at the Brew House.


Overlooking the Superior Dome in Marquette. If I had a choice I think I would call Marquette over Houghton. They have a Ore dock for big ships, plenty of trails of their own, only four short hours away too. Plus Ore to Shore. Houghton was nice tho. In its own way I guess.

But its Marquette Im going back to...

DLD

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

THE RACE


So the reason for the mini vacation was the bike race. But when I do this type of thing I get caught up in the vacation part of it and forget that I need to prep for the bike race. So I didn't. And it showed Saturday morn.
30 yards to go. About to get knocked off the podium.
I was having such a good time as we rolled into Houghton that I forgot I had a race in the morn. We tooled around town for awhile  Walked main street. Ate and hung out at Keweenaw Brewpub.
We stayed in the hotel adjacent to the start area so a early wake up was not needed. I rolled out of bed to realize I had nothing to eat in the room. I grabbed a blueberry muffin and washed it down with some Poweraid.
And that was the extent of my pre race meal. Not the best.

I did take on a couple energy chews just before we left but it was too little to late. I really was not that concerned since I was not taking this race very seriously anyway.
I of course opted for the shorter 16 mile course. And I must say, those were about the hardest 16 miles I have ever done. The amount of elevation change was like nothing I have done before. I've raced on several ski hill (and not liked it) but this was harder.  Maybe because I had no idea where I was going all of the time. I never knew how long the climbs were. So I never knew how hard to start at the bottom.
Many times you would start, and see a turn, only to turn up again, then again.

For the most part I always finish a race strong. I just plan it that way. I usually pass a few riders in the last few minutes of almost every race I do. Weather its a 50 minute WORS race or the Fat Tire 40 at over 3 hours. I always plan to finish strong.

I did not finish strong Saturday. In fact, in the last two miles I got passed by at least 10 bikes. These were bikes I managed to stay ahead of for over an hour. And this is the first race I can remember that I ran out of gas before it was over. At that point Im pretty sure I was winning the Clydes. I saw one big dude pass me for sure. Maybe another. Then, as it turned out, I was out sprinted at the line for the podium. I was running third up to about 10 feet to go. Saw him coming and could do nothing about it. I gave it a go. That hurt to the point of puking. When that happens it kinda leaves the race on such a negative note. So in Clydes I finished fourth. Out of just 6. Overall I was 116 out of 178.
Again, after the race I noticed I drank less than half of my bottle. And ate one muffin. In a hour and forty five minute race. Pretty stupid. By hey, I was on vacation.
Huge dehydrated headache for hours after. And even tho my stomach was ridiculously empty I could not eat for hours. I was in pretty rough shape.
I guess I only have room for improvement in the eating\drinking dept then...
Next time I will prepare better. Unless Im on vacation. Then I wont.

Part 3, after race stuff tomorrow.

DLD

Saturday, June 15, 2013

MARQUETTE

Rolling in.
Thursday nites drive to Marquette was uneventful. We arrived around 9pm. Checked in. Plans to hang downtown and ride the city's lakefront trails. As I type this its Saturday nite and Im in Houghton and just finished the bike race. Thats a post for another day. This is Mondays post. Just found some downtime to do it early. This post is about Friday.
Getting loaded

All week I checked the site for any ships coming in to the ore dock in Marquette. Nothing. Then, as I looked one more time Thursday nite the Canadian Michpicote was now scheduled to come in around noon Friday. That was perfect timing for our ride along the citys waterfront.
Marquette is a very cool town. A collage town.  Bike and commuters everywhere. Except all the commuting is not done on fixxies. Their all duel suspension MTBs. With wide handlebars. 
After coffee on the main street we rode all along the waters edge. With a 45 minute stop to watch the boat sail in. Then it was back to main street to a pizza buffet and then it was a late afternoon departure to Houghton, MI and the MTB race at 10am on Saturday.

But before I left town, I made my reservations for Ore to Shore. So I'll be back to this town soon. And I already cant wait.

Next post on Houghton and the Keewenaw Chaindrive.

DLD

Thursday, June 13, 2013

MY FRIDAY

825AM

To me, today feels like the first day of summer. Sun is out. Its warm enough this morning to drive with your window wide open. Tunes blasting. People are all in a good mood.
This usually happens at some point in early May, but its mid June.

If I cant mention this enough, Im in a good mood cuz in four hours Im headed to the great north woods of the UP of Mich.
Arrive in Marquette tonite, hang and ride there tomorrow, then over to Houghten Friday nite for Saturdays Chain Drive. Then hang in Houghton Saturday nite, then work my way back thru Marquette on Sunday.
I'll be able to post a bit from up there as Im bringing my netbook.
So for me, today is Friday, sort of.
I found a good spot for that old bike I found along side the road in April.
It is now a work of art.

Since its my Friday I will say have a good weekend.
Im out!

DLD

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

NOTHING IMPORTANT

815am
Its been awhile since I had a decent HP visit. Tons of people chase me to find another secluded spot to hang. But soon school is out and that might just be impossible to do. Unless, like today, its raining.

It seem very hard to string a couple good days together. Yesterday was a good day. Today almost 20 degrees cooler and rain.

Really, yesterday was the first day warm enough in the morning to sit on the stores deck. On June 11th.

Today Im getting all my ducks in a row to leave tomorrow afternoon. Ordering ahead in the store. Things like that. Also want to get a small road ride in between the raindrops if possible. Need to keep the training going for the race on Saturday. Since I first started training last Thursday...... I figure that should be plenty for Saturday.

Did I ever mention how pumped I am to be headed back to the UP?
I did.
On the issue of my new big ship hobby, Marquette has a big ore dock that ships frequent. And one of the ship tracking sites I watch has a list of port including that one. Its shows all the scheduled arrivals. I hope one it in port when I get there tomorrow nite. It shows two ships arriving today but most likely will be gone by the time I get there late Thursday. Bummer.

But whatever happens it will be good to be back in Marquette. Love it there.

DLD

Monday, June 10, 2013

MTB!

Sunday.
This happens every spring. This year more than before. I spend the spring riding road, then, I get a MTB and remember that I was a MTBer way before I had a road bike.

I mean, I am the current president and race director of the local MTB club.

But this spring has been strange for me. Not having a MTB for so long in to spring\summer.

The I get a bike and the first time I ride in the woods I remember why I started riding in the first place. Those who did not know be back in the day would not know but I absolutely love riding a MTB over a road bike.

First off, its hard to get hit by a car, so its game on with the earbuds. Loud. That is my best solo scenario. Tunes blasting while deep in the woods.
Sunday was one of those rides. The kind of ride that makes me wonder why I have a road bike in the first place.

I speed up and slow down with the tunes. Greenday has me hitting zone 5. Then some old school Billy Joel has me slowing down and take in the sights. It is by far my favorite way to ride a bike.
 Its Monday morn and Im already pumped about heading to the UP on Thursday. On Friday I will be up in Marquette riding the trails there, then Saturday in Houghten for the race.
I cant wait. Its all I think about. Especially since my day off last Thursday got rained out. Im not leaving until Thursday at 3pm and the bike is already on the car. Yeah, Im pumped. Or stoked as the kids would say.

DLD

Friday, June 7, 2013

I HAVE A MTB


I finally have a  MTB. Prior, I was waiting for a carbon Superfly that has been on backorder. Now, those bikes are rolling in and Trek announces the Project One Superfly's. So I ditched the current bike I had on order and quickly put in for a Project bike. That bike will be a 2014 and will be due in August. In the meantime I just picked up the highest end aluminum frame bike. Superfly 100 AL Pro. Full XT.
It came out of the box at 26 pounds 10 oz.  I of course added all my personal effects to the bike including but not limited to the Easton EC90 carbon wheels. Its now a full 2 pounds lighter. Small 1.90 tires mounted tubeless. The hoops are light and rocket fast. That helps a ton. I rode it once so far. And its for sale in August. Just sayin'
When I was tearing it up I did not even notice the frame material. It felt and rode just like my 9k carbon bike I had last year. On a MTB, the only drawback to aluminum is weight. Unlike a road bike it rides the same. Im very happy with it. And have to ride it a lot in the next few days so Im prepped for my race next weekend.

Next weekend is looking good for me. Leaving Thursday nite for Marquette  Ride Marquette Mountain on Friday, then over to Houghten for the race Saturday morn...
Im kinda getting excited already.

The weather looks good this weekend. People has cabin fever. In June.
Get outside this weekend. I insist.

DLD

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

BURN OUT

Im doing it again.

Ive had several business's and with every one I burned myself out. The business consumes me and its all I do and think about.

Today is the 17th day in a row I will be in the store open to close. Actually  two hours before open to close. And I promised my self I would not do this when I started this deal.

How many times has someone took their hobby, turned it into a biz, and ruined it for themselves. It would be super easy to work myself into the ground and turn on cycling. Even hate it. Im not going to lie. Ive been close. Too close. Especially now with the store open 7 day a week.

Today, as I finally get some time to type, I am on the first stage of burn out. First thing that brings me back is actually finding the time to type this. That helps. Getting out on a bike helps too. Maybe later today.
But when you hit the second stages of burn out, which is very close right now, you lose perspective. Make bad desitions. And pretty much freak out all the employees.

So... tomorrow Im taking the the new MTB and taking the day off. Going to throw the store keys at the guys today and run. One full day of no store and no work. Just bike riding. And whatever. Maybe Door County. Maybe southern kettles. Something.

While I caught myself....this time. I should never let it get this bad. I should take at least one day a week away from the store. Now that I have a MTB to ride I'll do a few races. In fact as stated earlier, Im heading up to Houghton,MI next week for the Chaindrive.

So Im feeling better already.

And thats good cuz I dont want to be another guy who stops liking bikes and cycling cuz he owns a bike store.

DLD

Monday, June 3, 2013

MONDAYS POST ON TUESDAY

FILE FOTO

Monday mornings are very busy for me. Its pretty much ordering day. Re stock from the weekend. Order Monday, receive Tuesday\Wednesday.
My weekend went as planned. Early morn ride on Saturday, no riding on Sunday.
Thats a bummer. Its cold again too. I just put some clothing away back home and dragged some back out again. Mid 40's every morning this entire week.

Its not worth complaining. I did that last week.
I did figure out my MTB dilemma. Since Trek is doing Projectone for MTB's I have one on order. Arriving in early Aug. In the meantime Im getting the highest end aluminum Superfly. Toss on the Easton carbon wheels and its not a bad ride. And totally sellable when Im done with in in August. That arrives tomorrow. So I'll hang up the fatbike for a few months. I have two weeks to train as Im signed up for the Keweenaw Chaindrive in just two weeks. Thats not a lot of time. Looking forward to hanging in the UP again.

And getting back to some major Clydesdale racing.

DLD