2011 Bone Ride report

“When the clouds, take the sky 
Does the storm give you life?”

 – Led Zeppelin

25th Annual Bone Ride.  5/18/2011.  Schuler’s house.  7:30am.  50 degrees and raining.  155 miles to go.  Awesome.

Not sure how many riders rolled, but it was substantially less than last year’s idyllic conditions.  We were rained on for the first 20 miles or so, then the rain gave way to mist and wet roads.  Roads stayed wet for most of the day, and the sun decided to come out for 10 minutes when we were almost back, then it disappeared again for good.  I’m no Andy Hampsten, but rolling 155 miles in the grimy rain felt pretty cool – not unlike our own “Spring Classic”.

I rolled out with the group and immediately felt the effects of my “over-hydration”.  With the low temps and no real sweat happening, all that water was just sitting in my bladder waiting to go somewhere. I spent half of the ride to Madison looking for places to stop and then bridging back up to the group.

A delicious burrito in Madison with the Team, a group picture and then back on the road.  Since I was so hydrated on the way there, I neglected to drink much and found myself with empty water bottles halfway back.  Not good.  At 135 miles I started to feel like a raisin, so I ducked into Attitude in Pewaukee and slammed a Gatorade and rolled back to Schuler’s with a strong guy from Appleton.

I had enough foresight to put a 6 pack of Anchor Steam on ice in the morning, and I handed them out to anyone standing around when I got back.  Success never tasted so good.

May Networking Ride ~ aka: “Cloosterfook”

A wise man once told me “…don’t apologize for things you didn’t do…”

So here’s my apology:  I’m sorry we got off the route.  It created some confusion for sure, but once we got back on track we were good.  If you ever see me at the front of the pack without a map, feel free to jam a pump in my spokes.  I have no business leading any route.  We had about 2 dozen riders yesterday, a few of whom were new to the ride – we usually do a much better job of sticking to the route.

Now, the unfortunate stuff:

  • It’s unfortunate that the ride started with a confrontation with a douche-bag in a pick-up truck – not the best way to start any ride.
  • It’s unfortunate that the weather didn’t hold out.  Fortunately, it was warm and it didn’t rain too hard (until Andrew and I rode home).  Nothing like putting on soaking wet shoes at 5:30 for a ride this morning…
  • It’s unfortunate that we had 2 speeds: “Ridiculous” and “Ludicrous”.  Fortunately we didn’t hit “Plaid”.  We usually try to keep this ride at or below 20 mph, and yesterday we were going way too hot for a casual chat ride.  Some of us have no problem with that pace, for others it’s insanity.  This group is about riding, but it’s also about talking.  It’s hard for some guys to talk when they are choking on their hearts.  Let’s save the testosterone for Glacier Hill, and keep the ride speed reasonable.  I’d hate to lose participants because some guys are doing race training.  Again, I sometimes find myself in that group – so everyone needs to do their part to keep the speed casual and keep this ride slightly challenging but fun.

The worst part about a group as a whole going faster than it should is that it creates a lot of danger.  From the back, our “peloton” looked like a pile of drunken sailors.  Last month the group flowed very smoothly, as everyone was riding in their comfort zone.

OK – now the good stuff!

  • Beer sponsor… BRILLIANT! Thanks once again to Nelson Williams from Briohn Building Corporation for the idea AND the 1st sponsorship.  Nelson gave us a quick intro to Briohn while Andrew held the douche-bag trucker at bay before we took off.  Along the ride route, we passed quite a few Briohn–built buildings, I had no idea how big they are.  By the way, if you’re down with Nelson you know it’s pronounce “Brian”…
  • Did I mention the beers?  They were delicious as always and we packed that place.  The best part of the rides (for me) is getting to know everyone after the rides.  Seesters has our group on their calendar now, and the owner told me that she is going to let some of the soda stay warm in order to stock more Dos XX in the fridge for us next month!  So bring your thirsty friends next time.
  • The ride: It’s always a good day to ride your bike, even if yesterday was not exactly ideal.  I think the crazy route put us around 30-ish miles (?) for anyone keeping track.
  • No one suffered any severe sunburn! (OK, now I’m reaching a bit).
I’ll see you ALL on June 8th!

Team Wisconsin Whitnall Spring Classic

The Big Red Train rolls out!

My first race in the new kit, hard not to feel fast in this gear!  This was my 2nd road race of 2011, and that means the 5th of my life.  Great time, but I still have a lot to learn.  12th overall in the Masters 4/5.  I’m just not getting up to the front on the last lap fast enough.  All on me.

Team Wisconsin had a very strong showing, especially in the 3s where we took 1st and 2nd.

Now onto Iola where the real season begins!

Training vs. riding – what are you doing?

Most weekdays, my alarm goes off at 5:00am (4:30 on sunny Tuesday summer mornings).  I roll out of bed, throw on my gear and head to the ride of the morning.  I don’t wear a heart rate monitor, I don’t use a PowerTap, and I don’t even have a computer on any of my bikes.  I’m not using RPE, VO2 max or wattage (unless you count the wattage in my lights).  I’m getting up at that ridiculous hour to get a ride in before I start my work day, and I’m riding because I need to.

I have always loved bikes, but we had a trial separation that lasted about 12 years or so when life got in the way.  I started a family, started a business, survived a horrible motorcycle accident and forgot about riding.  I put on some weight, and prepared to become “Middle Aged Man”.  At some point though, things started to change.  For some unknown reason, I got back on my 15-year-old mountain bike, and on a beautiful fall day I headed out to the Southern Kettle Moraine trails with my friend Mark.  I think we did 1 Blue Loop, which was enough for me at the time, and all the old feelings came rushing back.  As we exited into the parking lot a photographer snapped a picture of my fat ass for the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.  I was literally back in the saddle from that day on.

“Then” (Milwaukee Journal Sentinel picture)

"Now" (www.xtrphoto.com)

Fast forward some years, and I more fit than I’ve ever been.  I’m riding 12 months a year, putting on more miles than I ever have, racing mountain bikes, and starting to add road bike races to the 2011 calendar.  I built a cyclocross bike this winter which can only mean there’s at least 1 ‘cross race in my future too and I’m starting to ride with a lot of people who train now.  I’m starting to get questions about my training too.


When exactly did my riding become training??

As Mark will tell you, this is a dangerous spot for me to be in.  I would make the World’s worst poker player because I have a habit of just going “all in”.  He knows (better than I do) that if my riding becomes training, I will instantly suck all of the life out of my greatest passion.  I’ll begin posting Zone charts and uploading HR data and buying books about science and other crap I could not care less about.  Worse yet, I’ll start geeking out about bike stuff – relying on the latest high-tech garbage to shave seconds off my time, blah, blah blah.  Worst of all, I’ll start to hate all of the “work” I have to do just to get out and ride.  I’ll forget why I ever got back on the bike on that beautiful fall day…

Thankfully, (and thanks to my friend Mark and others just like him) I know that I love riding too much to train.  If it means I lose a race because of it, or even skip a race to do a ride, then so be it.


2011 ~ Race # 1 is in the books

My idea of racing the Barry Roubaix for the first time this year seemed to fizzle out when my potential racing partners ended up with alternate plans.  So, against my better judgement I made a last minute decision to drive down to Illinois for the Super Spring Criterium.

Weather was fantastic… for ice fishing.  24 degrees with occasional flurries and high winds.  Despite the winter freeze, the field for the Masters 4/5 was about 75 strong.  Since it’s actually a car racetrack, the course has about 3 inches of elevation change over a 2 mile loop, and the pavement is as smooth and crack-free as Whitney Houston in the 80’s.

Dennis, bc and I all lined up together and then we were off.  Took a nice easy pace as everyone scoped out each other’s winter fitness or lack thereof.  I’ve been riding outside with bc and the Spokesmen all winter, so the temps were no problem and I settled right in with the early pace.  I have always been a mountain biker, and last year was the first time I ever spent so much time on a road bike.  I’ve always been a cycling fan, and I understand the dynamics of road racing, but my actual racing experience is pretty much limited to drinking PBRs and cheering at the Great Downer race every year. (mmmmm… PBR…)

Everyone stayed fairly cordial until the bell lap, and then you could just sense the nervous energy ramp up to 11.  I stayed close enough to the front to monitor any breaks, but (stupidly) not really close enough to be in them if they did happen.  The pace ramped up throughout the lap but I could tell that no one was really going for it.  Now, hindsight being 20/20 and all, this is where I was supposed to jump, but I just sat there waiting for SOMEONE to go.

Rounding the last corner everyone got on the gas and I heard someone go down HARD right behind me  (medical had to pick him up).  As we headed up to the finish I found a nice open space on the left side of the course and started hammering.  I was making up spaces quicker than I thought I would, and then I heard someone else go down to my right.  That guy knocked someone into me, and I was forced to ride into the grass to stay upright.   By the time I got back onto the pavement, my sprint speed was more like dial-up.

So I rolled across the line in 13th, further testament to what could have been.  I’ve only done 4 road races, but each race I do I get a little more experience and each race I end up wishing I would have just aired it out.

One of these times I’ll just pretend it’s a WORS race and FINISH IT…


Drugs in cycling – AFFIRMATIVE.

Why is there so much controversy about drug testing? I know plenty of guys who would be willing to test any drug they could come up with

–       George Carlin

Have you heard, they busted another pro cyclist for doping.  Yawn.  In an unrelated story, the sun came up today.  It’s not that I don’t care, but I don’t care.  Pro cyclists are dopers.  All of them.  So are NFL players, and MLB players and Olympians, etc., etc., etc.  Since when do we care so much about drugs, but ONLY in cycling?  In 1980 there were (3) 300 pound guys in the entire NFL.  In 2010, there were 532. That’s a 17,733% increase. I’m sure they all just eat more bacon now… that explains it.  When was the last time you heard about the Federal Government going after the NFL for doping?  Never?  So why cycling?

I’m not defending these jack-wagons for doping, I think it’s ridiculous to train your body to be among the fittest athletes in the world, and then inject synthetic chemicals into your body to purposely push it beyond the human limits.  I understand that if “everyone’s doing it”, it’s impossible to compete if you’re not.  I understand the money that’s at stake, the fame, etc.  I don’t understand the witch hunt though.

I will never be paid to ride a bike for a myriad of reasons, number 1 being I’m just not good enough (by a LONG shot).  But I will always ride.  I will never have a bad day on the bike, ever.  Cycling IS my drug, but that’s me.  Whether you think these guys are clean or dirty, what does it matter?  Do I think that my son will do drugs because Alberto Contador “ate some tainted meat”?  No.  Do I think the FBI will be visiting the set of 2 ½ Men to piss test Charlie Sheen anytime soon?  No.  Sheen’s an admitted drug user who is publicly spinning out of control, so why are we spending millions to go after household no-names like Yaroslav Popovych?

I guess the only point I have is that Spring is right around the corner, and I’m excited for the cycling season to start again in earnest.  I will watch any and all television coverage I can find of the pros, and I will ride my bike anytime that I can.  If this year’s TdF winner is NOT involved in a doping scandal of some sort, I will consider that to be newsworthy.

Here are some recent “feel good” headlines:

Sports Illustrated “The Case Against Lance Armstrong”

Sky may relax ‘zero tolerance’ doping policy

Now let’s see some racing, jack-wagons!


January 2011 Networking Ride recap

I’ve been riding a lot in the dark, snowy mornings lately, so I figured why not show up to the Networking Ride on my single-speed mountain bike?  The roads looked a little sketchy, and I wasn’t sure who’d be showing up (if anyone) for the 20-something degree ride yesterday.

Thankfully, someone DID show up – Bill King; Centurion Data Systems VP and IS Corp road racer.  He did NOT show up on a SS though.  His bike was having some work done, so the shop gave him a brand new, full Dura Ace BMC race rig to use for the afternoon.  Obviously a very even match in rigs – not.

Thankfully, Bill humored me with a nice easy roll around Oconomowoc Lake, then we hit Seester’s for some XX Ambers and a great conversation about strategies for growing business with social media (did I mention that this is a Business Networking event?).  Bill’s got some great ideas, I’d encourage anyone who’s not comfortable with social media to look him up.

Next month’s ride is February 9th, and Spring will be here before you know it.  Bundle up and jump on the train!