Saturday, April 29, 2006

Soaked One word, SOAKED! Unbelievable conditions this weekend made for a race to remember. The race started at 4:00am with the best conditions of the day. Overcast with a light sprinkle and hardly any wind. Guitar Ted led us out for a three mile prologue on a paved road. From there it was a left turn onto the gravel roads of Iowa. The conditions got worse and worse. The first few miles were a set of grueling hills. The guys at the front of the pack, including Matt Maxwell, were setting an insane pace. I tried to hang with them, but only lasted a few miles. I overheated and had to slow down to recover. The roads were like peanut butter which made that hard. The rain just got worse as the miles ticked by. I was soaked from head to toe. I came to the first B-level road. A few guys were already walking in a small patch of grass on the side of it. I did the same. After probably 50 feet, the grass disappeared, and my tires were so caked with mud they wouldn't budge. I had to carry my bike for almost a mile. After getting all the mud scraped off it was back on the gravel. It was soft and it was slow going. I don't know how slow because my computer quit working from all the mud being wedged around the sensor. A short stretch later, and another B-level road awaited. Luckily this one had a nice wide ditch to ride/walk in. From there it was a short paved road to the first town, Alton, IA. There were a few cars parked on the side of the road waiting for their riders. I waited around and a few guys came rolling in. We decided to call it quits, and ride the paved road to the next passthrough town. Six hours and 45 miles from the start of the race I was cold, wet and ready to get off the bike. Paul Jacobson and I decided to pull the plug and his ride was kind enough to give me a ride to Algona. We called G-Ted to tell him we were DNFing. He said that there were only 8 0r 9 guys left on the course. They were still 80 miles away from Algona, and there was no way they were going to make the time cutoff at 6:00pm. Ted and Jeff decided to call the race at Algona. So the first one to Algona would be the winner. Matt Maxwell and Paddy H had both dropped out of the lead group that had been going all out from the start. Very impressive race for those guys in the horrible conditions. Great job guys. I picked up my drop bag, and Ted and Jeff were nice enough to hand out some freebies to everyone. A big thanks to those two for putting on an incredible event! Even with the bad weather it was still a great experience. One that I won't soon forget. Thanks guys. Sorry that I don't have much of a story to tell, but I'm sure there will be a lot of good ones coming on the MTBR forum and blogs. Stay tuned. Also check out the Trans-Iowa Radio broadcasts on the Trans-Iowa site. Priceless : ) Later.

Thursday, April 27, 2006

Almost there Well it's almost time to head out for Iowa. I figured I'd get a quickie in before leaving. The bike is ready, the bags are packed, and I'm getting anxious. I can't wait to meet all the crazy Trans-Iowans tomorrow night. The forecast for the race is looking like rain and a headwind. Ouch! Oh well, it will be more memorable that way. I hope to have some good stories and pictures when I get back. So, until then here is a great quote from Kent Peterson's blog. Enjoy : ) To be truly challenging, a voyage, like a life, must rest on a firm foundation of financial unrest... "I've always wanted to sail to the South Seas, but I can't afford it." What these men can't afford is not to go. They are emmeshed in the cancerous discipline of security. And in the worship of security we fling our lives beneath the wheels of routine. And before we know it our lives are gone.What does a man need, really need? A few pounds of food each day, heat and shelter, six feet to lie down in -- and some form of working activity that will yield a sense of accomplishment. That's all, in a material sense, and we know it. But we are brainwashed by our economic system until we end up in a tomb beneath a pyramid of time payments, mortgages, preposterous gadgetry, playthings that divert our attention from the sheer idiocy of the charade.The years thunder by. The dreams of youth grow dim where they lie caked in dust on the shelves of patience. Before we know it, the tomb is sealed.Where, then, lies the answer? In choice. Which shall it be: bankruptcy of purse or bankruptcy of life?-- Sterling Hayden, Voyage, 1976 (Thanks Doug Hackney)

Friday, April 21, 2006

Update Not much happening lately. Trying to get ready for the big event next weekend. I can't wait for it to get here. This time next week I'll be snug in a bed in Hawarden, IA. Then it's a 4:00am start to the other side of Iowa. Here's a picture of what it's going to look like at the first B-level road : )

One big log jam. Just imagine that those trees are all 70 Trans-Iowans converging at the first B-level road. Notice the "TRAVEL AT YOUR OWN RISK" at the bottom of the sign. Comforting isn't it. 340 miles of Iowa, coming up : )

Well it's off to bed. Get to work at the bike shop tomorrow. I'll try and post some pictures of the Trans-Iowa Slayer later this week. It's starting to look like a touring bike. Later.

Sunday, April 09, 2006

Slacker Sunday I was a slacker today. It felt good. I had a long ride planned, but upon waking this morning I decided to sleep in. Oh well there's always tomorrow : ) I should probably start training for this little Trans-Iowa race soon : ) April 29th is coming up too fast. I did drive out to Turtle River State Park to check out the trails though. They are drying out nicely. I think they were ridable, but there were signs up asking not to ride on the trails because they are too wet. I did see a badass Jeep out there with some bike tire tracks heading away from it though. So someone was tearing up the trails. Anyway they should be good to go by next weekend barring any late week rain. Keep your fingers crossed Greg. Are you going to bring your bike up with you next week? Brian, Fox are you guys coming back to the promise land for a Sunday night ride? It is my B-day on Sunday : ) Everyone should plan for a Sunday night ride next weekend. Followed by a Hub Burger. In other news the flood of 06' is on its way out. Here are some pictures for your viewing pleasure. Enjoy.

Here is a marker that was put up after the flood of 97'. The river was up to the 1979 mark earlier this week.

The Sorlie Bridge with water still up to the bottom. Whitey's restaurant, in the background, has some good food if you're ever in town.

Some of the singletrack at TRSP. A little too sticky yet.

Some more trails. I wonder what happened to the no bikes allowed sign? Hmmm : )

Anyone know what kind of animal track this is? Probably just a dog.

That's all for now. Later.

Tuesday, April 04, 2006

Flood of 06' The Red River Valley is in it's flood stage this time of year. The river here in Grand Forks is around 48 feet now. Not quiet like the flood of 97', but still impressive. The river made it to an all time high of 54 feet in 1997. The dikes have since been raised to 60 feet, and are stonger than ever. So that means everyone heads down to the river to see what's happening. Including the Dingle blogger and I. We went on a little ride tonight and took a few pictures of the spectacle that is the Red River of the North. Enjoy : )

The Dingle blogger on the Lincoln Park dike striking a pose. Nice Surly Cross-Check!

The mighty Poprad with the Mighty Red River in the background. The river is usually on the other side of those trees in the background.

The point bridge was closed due to water running over it on Sunday night. The stink factory is in the background. Otherwise known as the beet plant.

The new floodwall was erected, closing off the Sorlie Bridge on Demers Ave. Only one bridge left between Grand Forks and East Grand Forks. That won't be closed unless the river goes above 50 feet.

The Sorlie Bridge with water bubbling under the girders.

On the left side of this picture is what's left of the old railroad bridge that was torn down after the flood of 97'. This is the center pier that the bridge would pivot on to let steamboats through back in the day. Pretty amazing to think that was possible back then.

I'll try to post some more tomorrow.

In other news Nathan, a crack mechanic at The Ski and Bike Shop, had an Ultimate Fight on Saturday night. I heard it was intense. Unfortunely he fell victim to a choke hold once again. That's okay though. It takes some big ones to get into a mixed martial arts fight with a guy who has a pay per view fight coming up. Keep your chin held high my friend. Or better yet keep it tucked in to defend those choke holds : )