Monday, February 26, 2007

TBB Jerseys

The jersey design for Team Brown Bear is finally posted. I can't wait to get my hands on them. They look really furocious. Check it out. Thanks Tonia, Brian and Brooks!

Sunday, February 25, 2007

Red Ass 300 The registration is open for the Red Ass 300 up in Manitoba. 300 miles in 36 hours on June 9th and 10th. Anyone thinking of going? I know I am. It's so close it would be stupid not to do it. How about it GF guys? Sound off.

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

First Podium

My first podium ever! Thanks to the cold temps at the Arrowhead last week. I won the weekly stage in the WCRS. Complete with podium girls and a yellow jersey. Thanks Gary. You are a very talented photo shopper. Those poor girls froze their lips off : )

Also I wanted to answer Dave Byers question as to what I would change for next year, if anything.

I need to get my clothing dialed in a little better. What I wore this year definitely kept me warm, but maybe too warm. There is a fine line there somewhere that I need to find.

I want to come up with a better packing system other than a backpack. The pack held in too much heat and it just wore on my shoulder and back muscles after a few hours. Also, trying to mess with buckles and zippers in the cold is no fun. I want to find something simpler that I can get into with big mitts on if I have to. I just might buy an old sewing machine and mess with making my own bags or have my wonderful mother-in-law sew me up some : )

More water carrying capacity. Two liters just wasn't enough in that cold. Also, I really like the idea of a small thermos with hot coffee or soup inside. I think it would be worth the weight if it's that cold again next year.

Other than that I just need to try and lighten everything up even more. Maybe a Salsaesque drill job on the Large Marges. Along with an Evingson or Surly non-offset fork and front hub.

Any other ideas out there?

Friday, February 09, 2007

Arrowhead 135

The rest of the story

After the first 14 miles section, which was totally flat. There was about a 20 mile stretch to the Gateway Store that had a few rolling hills. After about five miles I decided that I was too hot, and took off my down jacket. I was cold at first, but once I started moving again I felt just right. Definitely won't be wearing my down jacket unless I'm standing still and it's an emergency situation next year. The sweat on my windproof jacket froze solid. It melted and evaporated after a few miles though.

This is about the point that I started riding with Chris Finch. We had the same pace and it was good to have someone to push me a little bit. About 5 miles before we got to the Gateway store there was a plane flying over head. Dave Gray's Dad and Uncle said they were going to be out taking pictures in a plane at the pre-race meeting. They also said that if anyone mooned them they give em $50. I'll do pretty much anything for money, and this was no exception. They circled back a couple times, and finally got really close on the last pass. I loosened my tights and down they went. I'm still waiting for my $50 guys : ) Maybe Pierre will post that picture on the Arrowhead blog. After I got all my layers back where they belonged we pressed on to the Gateway Store. We pulled in and went inside to get some hot food. They had wild rice soup and sloppy joes. As well as anything you could ever want out in the middle of nowhere. We ate, drank, warmed up and dried out our clothes a little bit. After an hour or so we got back on our bikes and headed down the trail to MelGeorge's resort about 40 miles away. Pat, Jim and Matt Maxwell all passed the store. They figured they could make it to the resort with what they had.

The first 10 or so miles were fast. The trail was packed really well and frozen solid. Then it started to deteriorate the further we got. We stopped about every 20-30 minutes to eat and drink. The sun went down and the cold settled in once again. We stopped at one of the shelters along the trail for a break and checked the map. We figured we had about 15 miles to go. We later found out we were way off, and had 25 miles to go to the resort. We came up on Pat and Jim. They were on the side of the trail taking a break. We stopped and did the same, asking them how they were feeling and how their bikes were doing. They had another flat earlier. What bad luck. Chris and I kept going and left them behind. Then we came upon Matt Maxwell. He was walking and looked pretty beat. He said he had lost all energy and was walking a bit to rest. At this point I figured we had to be getting close. I picked up the pace a little and left Chris and Matt behind. The trail just kept going and going. I thought the lake where MelGeorge's is on would be around the next corner or the next or over that hill. Nope. Just more of the Arrowhead. I started to lose energy and started to get colder and colder. I imagine this is what Matt was feeling earlier. I started walking more and riding less. I came upon a couple riders on the side of the trail. One was in a bivy sack and the other was PJ Ramstack. I said hi and kept going. Then I passed Don Gabrielson. He told me that the guy in the bivy sack was in rough shape and really cold. He told me if I got to the cabin before him to send out the snowmobiles for him. So, I took off and tried to go as fast as I could. I just had no energy at this point and had to start walking. I heard a couple snowmobiles coming up the trail and waved them down. They were the rescue team for the race. I told them what Don had told me and asked how much further to the checkpoint. They said about 4.5 miles. That was a real downer since I had been thinking I was sooo close for over an hour already. They tore off to get the guy in the bivy sack, and I kept pushing my bike. I was getting really cold now and figured I better get my down coat on again. I couldn't get the buckles on my pack to work so I took off my gloves. That was a BIG mistake. I got my coat on, but my hands were so cold I couldn't bend my fingers to pull my gloves on. I pulled my hands inside my sleeves and started to run up and down the trail trying to get them to warm up. After a few minutes of this they were still cold, but PJ and Don were coming down the trail just then. I asked PJ if he could get me a chemical hand warmer pack out of my bag. He did and that did the trick. My hands finally were warm again. Thanks PJ! They went ahead and I kept walking. Eventually I made it to the lake. After you get to the lake you have to ride about a mile across it to MelGeorge's. That was the longest mile of the race. I finally made it to the resort at 11:00pm and went to the cabin to check in. Then I went to the restaurant and had a tasty burger. Matt and Jim were already there. They had gotten picked up by the snowmobiles and just left their bikes out on the trail. Pat stayed out there and made it to the checkpoint around 3:00am. We were pretty worried about him since was alone and hadn't stopped at the Gateway Store earlier. But, he made it and we were sooo glad to see him. It got down to -32 that night. Very cold. Brrrrr. Pat and I were still officially in the race. We went to bed, but decided to call it quits in the morning. My knees were swollen, and I really didn't want to lose any fingers or toes out there. I don't regret my decision one bit. Especially after seeing Pierre come in off the lake in the morning and hearing that he had some pretty serious frostbite on his feet. That's all for my race report. If anyone has any questions, fire away. Until then enjoy the great pictures that Rick took at the Gateway store and MelGeorge's Resort.

Charlie Farrow smiling as usual : ) Charlie ended up in sixth place overall. Even with five flats!

Don Gabrielson coming into the Gateway Store.

Frosty beard. I think this is Chris from Quality?

Don Gabrielson and PJ Ramstack.

Me getting out some money to buy that Red Ryder BB gun behind me : ) Looks like I missed a bib strap after mooning the Gray's : )

Doug posing for a picture.

Chris Finch, Josh Peterson and me enjoying that good wild rice soup. Mmmmmm!

Mr. Clif Bar himself, DJ Burns. Thanks to Clif Bar and DJ for all the goodies. I definitely used them.

Mike Bernhard, the winner of the Myrtle the Turtle award. Way to go Mike!

Chris and I heading out again towards MelGeorge's Resort.

DJ and Mike heading out too.

The steamy Bass cabin checkpoint at MelGeorge's Resort.

Some of the wonderful volunteers inside. You guys and gals are the BEST.

Joe Cahalan I think. He was the first to make it to MelGeorge's. That's quite the insulated camelbak hose.

Dave Pramann, last year's winner, trying to get the chills under control : )

I'm spent.

Chris Finch frozen in time. That picture makes me shiver.

Matt and his long lost bearded brother : ) Those burgers are the best.

Pat at 3:00am. Brrrr!

Pierre is somewhere inside all that ice and gear. Sounds like he had a long night.

Sarah Lowell not to far behind Pierre. "No pictures please" : ) Sarah would go on to become the first woman walker to finish the Arrowhead 135. Way to go!

Chris Finch all ready to go again in the morning. He ended up 8th place overall. Next stop Alaska. Great job Chris. Your one Bad Mother!

The North Dakota and Iowa contingent. From left to right: Jim, Pat, me, Rick (Director Sportif/Photographer) and Matt. It was fun guys.

What a great event. Everyone involved did a fantastic job. A big thanks to the race organizers, all the volunteers, the fine people at the Gateway Store and MelGeorge's Resort, the sponsors and anyone else I forgot. I can't wait for next year. They say the third time is a charm. Hope to see you all next year!

Thursday, February 08, 2007

Arrowhead 135

Race day (the first 14 mile section)

The day started off at 6:00am. The weather channel said the temperature was -28F. It would dip down to -30 before the start of the race. We got all the bikes loaded up and headed down to the start line. It was a staggered start, so you could start when you got there. I got my bike off the van and checked in with the race officials. The first few pedal strokes it felt like my rear hub wasn't engaging. Then it finally caught and I was on my way. I'll have to get some of that Morning Star Lube that Dave Byers was talking about for next year. I was bundled up in every piece of winter clothing I had with. Including my down jacket. I didn't think it would be possible to overheat in those temps, but I did. I took off one of my hats and the neoprene facemask I was wearing. The trail was pretty solid. In the marshy sections there were some good bumps. The first 14 mile section was uneventful for me, but Pat had a flat about five miles in. I couldn't imagine having to change a flat at -30F. That had to have been miserable. Our director sportif, Rick Mangan, was waiting at the end of the first section taking some pictures. I wish I would have taken some pictures out on the trail, but there was no way I was going to dig for my camera and stop in that cold. Here they are.

That's me. The only way I can tell is those big honkin yellow boots : ) Man did they work great. My feet stayed warm for most of the race. Only when I had to walk for most of the last five miles did they start to get cold. But they still weren't nearly as cold as they could've been.

Here's Chris Finch. He's one "Bad Mother F**ker". At least that's what the little bear on his handlebars said. Chris and I rode most of the trail to MelGeorge's Resort together after this point. Chris ended up finishing the entire 135 miles again this year. I think the bear says it all : )

Here's Doug, the MN Bicycle Commuter. His jacket matches his Pugsley. Very nice jacket and an even nicer guy. Great job Doug!

Josh Peterson giving the thumbs up.

Not sure who this is, but he was flying on those snowcats.

Pat and Jim rolling through after one of their three flats. Jim had a little frostbite on his nose the next day. My nose just lost a layer today. I think I had a little bit of the bite as well.

Pat White looking strong. He's got one tough face.

PJ Ramstack fueling the furnace. A BIG THANK YOU to PJ for stopping to help me out later in the race.

Jim Ishman's titanium Moots snowbike. Look at those rims! Drool. Unfortunately it was caught by this stop sign, and he had cut his race short : ) The lube in his 14 speed Rohloff rear hub freezing is what really stopped him.

John Storkamp actually running the course. He was the first walker/runner to reach MelGeorge's Resort at mile 74. He's an animal! I passed him earlier and he was selling hot lemonade : )

The Flying Frenchman Pierre. Sorry to hear that Pierre had some serious frostbite by the time he got to MelGeorge's. Get better Pierre.

Scott Wagner taking a drink. Those sun rays make it look warm. Don't let them fool you. The high only got up to -6F.

The rest of the race tomorrow. Too many pictures for one post.

Wednesday, February 07, 2007

Arrowhead 135


The day started bright and early at 3:00am. I drove up to Grand Forks to meet up with fellow Arrowheaders Pat White and Jim Grijalva, and our Director Sportif, Rick Mangan. We got all loaded up and headed off to International Falls, MN for the 9:00am gear check.

The Team Brown Bear Global Cooling Project sticker was already working : )

We headed into the hotel and found race organizers, Pierre and Cheryl Ostor. As well as the dreaded "gear nazi" Don Clark : ) Pat and Jim were pretty nervous about going through the gear check. I kept telling them that Don doesn't bite : ) He's just there to make sure we're all safe. We all passed the gear check with no problems. The rest of the morning was spent checking out all the cool bikes and gear that everyone had until the pre-race meeting. Lots of great ideas for next year.

After the meeting we checked into our room and started to get our bikes all packed up for the morning.

That's all for today. I'll recap the race tomorrow.