2012 ~ the year of the fat dude?

Maybe I should consider racing Clydes?

With the world coming to an end in just 353 days, I figured that I had better get a little scientific about my race plan this year.  For the last 2 years I’ve only averaged about 4,000 miles (that’s 6,400 Km for the roadies), but I’ve also managed to average a ride every other day (year-round).  I have never really done any focused training “program” and I tend to burn out halfway through the year.  My strategy has been ride whenever I can, and ride as hard as I can.  Usually that means quick, early morning rides before work.  No LSD miles in Spring, no recovery rides to speak of, no focus on weaknesses, in fact no focus at all.  

As much as it sucked to think about it, I picked up some training books and got a new HR strap for the Polar monitor collecting dust in my closet.  I structured a plan that will get me to peak fitness for ToAD, and leave me fresh enough to finish WORS too.  On paper it looks good, even though my mileage will go up by somewhere between 25 and 50% (depending on the end of season tapering).  The real challenge will be embracing a plan that makes me better without sucking the life and fun out of riding.  As far as my weight, I’m not a twig like most of the guys I’m racing.  I usually focus on gaining some weight in Fall/Winter, but this year I’ll focus on taking it off too.

Today felt good, but it’s Day 1.  Even crack addicts can probably stay focused for 1 day.  The real test will be my results and overall fitness this year, as well as avoiding mid-season burnout.

I’m excited about doing some real road racing this year, and moving up to SS Open @ WORS.  I’m not really built for the longer courses, so hopefully the focus on my weaknesses will pay off.  I might even try to dial in my diet a bit, although a quick Google search reveals that “cake” and “beer” are the top 2 diet choices among competitive cyclists.

Now, if I can just avoid crashing…

2012 Windy 500 dates are set!

Next year’s 2nd Windy 500 will take place from August 3rd to August 6th.

500 miles in 4 days.  Nothing but bikes and beers.   This year’s adventure left us all with some great stories as well as something to brag to our grand-kids about someday.

The goal this year will be to (at least) double the number of riders.  We’ll have a support vehicle and even more fun (did I mention beer yet?)

Bookmark the website, and check back for details:


ToAD and WORS schedules are posted, this does not interfere with either, so get it on your calendar.

I’d like to get a preliminary count of people who are interested, and we can all do the planning together in Spring.


Let my friend Chevy explain why you should “…go for it!”:

The end of an era

7,437 miles and counting…

In the past 2 calendar years, the longest I’ve been off the bike was 9 days: November 30 to December 8, 2010.  Before that, I wasn’t keeping track.

I’ve enjoyed every mile – every adventure, every race, every crash, every one of the 316 rides so far.  But it’s time for a little time off the bike.  I’ll run, lift, do something else.  Don’t get me wrong, I’ll still be riding on a regular basis, just much less… for now.

Ah, who am I kidding?  I’m riding tomorrow.

July Networking ride report

Absolutely perfect weather greeted 30 riders as we toed the line at Attitude for the July networking ride.  Actually 31, as Jim Mitchell missed the launch but followed behind solo.

A great time was had by all – once again we held the speed to a comfortable chat pace.  Billy O. and Bill King led the group out and we followed the route to a T, with not one single wrong turn (could be a first…).

Afterward we crammed into and outside of Seester’s for dozens of Dos XX, generously purchased by Brad Babcock.  Brad works with surety bonds and has a ton of customers in the construction trades.  He appears to be extremely well-connected too, so I’m anxious to talk to him more on the next ride.

We had quite a few new riders to the group as well, (Brad Kussow shot me a quick note to say he had a great time on his first networking ride) which is always great to see.  This is first and foremost a networking opportunity for like-minded business-people.  I am currently working on a stand-alone website for the group which will list ride info, as well as info companies and individuals that participate.  I am hoping to have the website be a great “go-to” for connecting people outside of the 3 hours we spend together once a month.  Please feel free to email any suggestions to me of content you’d like to see on the site.

Next ride is Wednesday, August 10th.  Mark your calendars now!

I can crush you, but I won’t… yet.

I was born a loser – small, weak, not into sports… in fact I was the last kid on the block to learn to ride a bike.  My parents moved us to a different state when I was 7 and then divorced when I was 10.  Since I didn’t play sports and was relatively shy, moving to new towns didn’t do much to boost my self-confidence.

I tried to be competitive, even raced BMX when I was 10 and 11.  I won a few trophies when the class was so small that everyone got one, or the time I had to beat a 10-year-old girl to get into the main moto.  I just never knew how to win; I never had the drive to be better.  Don’t get me wrong, I WANTED to be better.  I idolized my little brother who was consumed with the desire to win.  He lettered in 3 sports in high school – was all-conference on offense and defense in football and was romanced by 2 universities to play football.  But I didn’t feel that same drive, I was OK with just participating and then making up excuses for why I wasn’t the best.  I blamed everything and everyone and when things got too tough, I quit.

As a 20-year-old, I raced a few mountain bike races.  It was a relatively new sport [people were wearing acid-washed jeans and Billy Ocean had one of the top-selling records (yes I said records)].  My goal in these races was to “not finish last”.  That meant that my goal was second to last, a goal I always managed to hit.  That’s like setting a goal of breathing at least once every hour.  I had fun, but my “…bike was never good enough…” for me to do better or this reason or that reason.

I carried that same attitude into every aspect of my adult life.  It was OK for people to walk all over me and it was OK if I wasn’t the best, as long as I tried (a little).  But at some point, that changed.  I started to find focus – in my work, in my life and in things that I enjoyed doing.  I found a competitive drive deep inside me that brought out a will to win.

At one point, I got away from cycling and worked at a health club for a couple of years.  My high school graduation weight of 148 eventually went to 205 as I found something tangible and rewarding in working out.  I eventually returned to riding, and my weight settled in at 180, but I was a different person.  I put together a mountain bike that was too small from spare, used and borrowed parts, and I started riding like I never had before.  I felt an inner drive every time I clipped in to go harder.  I found a serious job that would support my family and I became very good at it.  I started a company and grew it into a successful business.  But over time I had stopped riding again.  I had lost that harmony that I was just starting to tap into in my 20’s.  So, on a beautiful fall day 5 years ago, I dusted off my old mountain bike and took a ride.  I was rusty and slow, but I felt the passion come through stronger than ever.  From that point forward, I made time for myself every day and I let that inner drive fuel me instead of defeating me.  3 years ago, I signed up for a few WORS races.  I didn’t do very well, but each time I raced I learned and I worked on getting better.  I had no excuses, and that felt great.  I owned the losses 100% and that felt even better.

Fast forward to today – I love to toe the line at races.  My heart is beating like a lawnmower and I can’t sit still until the race gets underway.  I am racing to win and I’m disappointed if I don’t.  I expect to win now, yet I’ve never stepped onto the top step of any podium.  I have a lot of 2nd and 3rd place medals, which now represent “1st & 2nd loser” to me.  I still wrestle with the demons of mediocrity though, like Gaylord Focker with his wall of 8th place trophies.  I still want that recognition of a job done “well-enough”, but I know I won’t stop until I step on top of the podium.  I might be 80 when I do it, but I know deep down inside that it’s mine for the taking now.


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!