Thursday, December 21, 2006

Team Brown Bear Brian and Brooks are making their Team Brown Bear roster for next season. They decided that I would be worthy of riding for them. Thanks guys! I can't wait to see what the team jerseys look like. Hopefully they aren't too furry : ) Chris and Dave send some of that snow up this way!

Monday, December 18, 2006

Arrowhead Recon

Rick and I headed up to International Falls on Sunday to check out the trails and do some riding. Well we ended up doing more driving around than riding. We started out at Melgeorges Resort on Elephant Lake. There was quite a bit of snow up there. I'd say a good 6-8 inches on the trails. There was a couple inches of packed snow under a layer of icy snow with 4-6 more inches of fluffy snow on top of all that. There weren't any snowmobile tracks and the trails haven't been groomed yet. So, that meant they were pretty much unrideable except going downhill. On any incline we'd just spin out on the icy layer of snow. We pushed up a really long hill and then rode down it. Short but fun. We only lasted about an hour before we packed up the bikes and had the "Lumberjack" breakfast special at the Melgeorge restaurant. The ham that came with it was an inch thick and filled us right up. Good stuff!

We decided to go check out some other areas of the trail to see if we could find a section where snowmobiles had packed it down. We only found one trail crosssing where there was a snowmobile track. That was at the Gateway Store crossing. We quickly unpacked the bikes again and headed up the road to the trailhead. We started down the trail, but again found it unrideable. We rode back out to the road and packed up the bikes for the ride home.

Kind of disappointing, but Rick got to see how much work it can be to push a loaded bike through snow up a hill : ) And that was priceless. We had plenty of time on the drive there and back to talk about what we could change on our bikes. Most of the conversation on the ride home was about what gear we could lose or lighten up to save weight. I think everyone would be a weight weenie if they had to push a 60 pound bike up a long hill in the snow : ) Here are a few pictures of the adventure. Enjoy.

Rick at the trailhead by Melgeorges Resort.

The Pugs all loaded and ready for the Arrowhead.

Rick powering through the snow.

Rick not feeling so well after powering through the snow : )

Rick taking the Pugs for a spin down a hill. Weeeeeee.

Cooling down after a long ride : )

A picture in the Melgeorge Restaurant in tribute to Mrs. Paddy : )

Thursday, December 14, 2006

Tagged Well I've been "tagged" by Paul. So now I must tell you six things that most people don't know about me. Here goes nothing. 1. I sleep walk sometimes. This really makes Jen nervous when I sleep out on our third floor balcony : ) 2. Like Kerkove, I don't drink alcohol. Sorry Mr. Nice and all you Guiness conisuers : ) 3. Brian gave me the cycling nickname "Vino". After Alexander Vinokourov. I guess I kind of look like him, and I like to try and make big breakaways on our group rides. Notice I said "try" : ) 4. I was a wrestler in high school. Not the WWF kind, but the "I don't wear tights. I wear the required uniform" kind. 5. My favorite movie is "Joe vs. The Volcano" with Tom Hanks. "Lone Wolf McQuade" is a close second though. 6. I'm getting married in two weeks to the bestest girl in all the land : ) Hi Jen That's all your getting out of me. Now I tag all the ND bloggers. Sound off Brian, Greg, Fox, Brooks, Lane, Dr. Dingle, Budget and Sears.

Monday, December 11, 2006

Pugs Update

Well I dropped off the Pugs at The Ski and Bike Shop Saturday afternoon to get some parts put on. To my delight Sears had everything done by the close of business on Sunday. He did an awesome job. Top notch I tell ya. Just check out the pictures below. I was sooooooooooo excited to be able to have it back so that I can start scoring some points in the WCRS. I promise to start riding again this week Gary : )

This morning I was going to go and take some pictures of the Pugs to post, but my camera wouldn't turn on. I thought that I might have left it on and run down the battery, so I put it on the charger to see if that fixed the problem. It didn't. So, I took it too Best Buy, where I had bought it, to see what they could do for me. At first the service guy looked at it and checked it out with his gadgets. Then he said to just go and pick out a new one to replace this one. I thought that was pretty cool. So, I went to the camera department to get another one. I told the sales person what had happened and he said that he could give me a comparable camera that was about $200 dollars less than what I had paid for the original camera. I said no thanks, and told him that was a pretty sh**ty deal. He said that this new camera was better than my old one, and that they don't have one like my old one. I still told him that wasn't good enough. I had spent a lot of money on my other camera only 6 months ago, and now he was going to give me a cheaper camera. I don't think so. So, he went and talked to someone in back, and they said that I could pick out any camera that I wanted that was equal to what I had originally paid for the first camera. That seemed fair. I picked out this one, and was on my way. Long story, but I had to vent. Here are some pictures from the new camera of the new parts on the Pugs. Enjoy.

This is the Pugs before all the new goodies were installed. Also the last picture taken with my old camera.

New center-lock rotor.

The Paul Thumbie with Dura-Ace 9-speed bar end shifter. I really like this setup. Very nice!

This deraileur has seen more action than Squez : ) Still going strong.

Mmmm, gears. 9-speeds and a new XT hub.

New spokes and brass nipples for Marge.

Full length housing with a little Sears Rasta flare on the zip ties. It is very Festivus!

Thanks again Sears and SBS!

Thursday, December 07, 2006

Cold Night #3

Slept out again last night. Made it down to -8F. I added my down jacket over the lower portion of sleeping bag inside the bivy for some extra warmth. I also wore a Patagonia R2 fleece and my wind pants over a mid-weight base layer. This system is the warmest so far. I fell right asleep and didn't wake up at all from the cold. Very cozy. I feel very confident that I can bivy out overnight in almost any conditions now.

Also, I got most of the parts that I ordered for the Pugsley. Just waiting on the Paul Thumbies. Now I just need to have the new XT hub laced into the rear wheel, and the 9-speed shifter and deraileur installed. Then the Pugs will be ready for the WCRS. Watch out Dr. Cale : ) The good guys at SBS will be doing the dirty work for me. Hopefully I'll have it back in time for the trip up to the Arrowhead Trail on the 16th. Think snow! That's all for today. Here's some pictures to spice things up a bit.

Sleeping bag and pad inside of bivy sack.

Me inside of bivy sack.

A view from inside the bivy sack. That is my down jacket at the bottom of the bag.

All the goodies that will soon be consumed by the Pugsley.

The poor 8000 has lost something.

Sunday, December 03, 2006

Second Gear Test Did another sleeping gear test last night up in good old Grand Forks. A little colder last night than earlier this week. It got down to -3 degrees F with a 15 mph wind. I lasted until 4:30am when the cold started to creep into my bag with me. I used my Bibler Bipod Bivy this time. It definitely helped to keep the wind off of me and add a little bit of warmth. I slept very well. I really felt comfortable for the first time. I didn't have any of the claustrophobic panic attacks that send me clawing for the zippers in the middle of the night. I think that I will continue to try and get more comfortable by sleeping outside whenever the forecast calls for temps below 0 degrees F. We'll see how many nights I can get this winter : ) Cold Night Count: 2