Sunday, February 24, 2008


I rode 22.5 miles OUTSIDE today in MN! Definitely a day for fenders however. Glad to finally see some weather that allows some fun outside...

delayed update

I wrote this last weekend, but didn't have a connection to post it. Here it is:

It’s been a fun past week and a half. MN’s winter has been getting to me like it’s so good at doing to people who like to play outside (and on terrain), so I left a couple times. I used my benefits to fly out to the Portland, OR area last weekend, and to bay area in CA for the past few days to visit college friends- Mark Rodgers and Edward Doerr. It was in the 50’s in both locations, and I was able to play outside quite a bit. OR was so green and fresh smelling. It was much like being in a greenhouse the whole time. I was able to do some hiking at a state park (already forgot the name) which boasted 10 scenic waterfalls. Later, we headed out to the coast and listened to sea lions while eating fresh seafood and enjoying a local brew master’s pale ale. Good times. I really need to find a way to get a road bike out to OR at some point, because the state is home to endless country roads that lead not only through scenic vineyards and coastline, but up into mountains as well. Nice.

CA was equally as cool, but different. Definitely more populated and polluted, but scenic nonetheless. I hadn’t been out there since Alison and I honeymooned in the area, and it was good to spend some more time in the region. I visited Rivendell Bicycle Works in Walnut Creek, which is an expensive custom frame builder of steel bikes. They have a really different philosophy of riding than about 99 percent of the industry, and it was cool to spend a couple hours talking with the founder of the company. He was extremely nice, and even offered to let me take a $2,500 bike out to see the area for the day (free of charge), but I had too much on the schedule. I’ll have to go back for that offer. What I ended up doing was my first flight in a Pitts Special with Edward. For those who don’t know what that is, it’s an extremely twitchy aerobatic aircraft that is very powerful. Edward gave me the chance to get the control feel down, and then had me do a very basic aileron rolls (going upside down then right side up again in one rolling movement). Fun. I was pretty slow to jump into them, cause they’re a huge no-no in most everything I’ve flown so far. It actually felt really good to let loose. It was like being in a video game, only real. J Later that night I flew a Grumman Yankee to do a few night landings. Not the greatest idea learning a squirrelly little airplane at night in a semi-mountainous area, but everything went really smoothly. I miss flying regularly.

We also got the chance to do some climbing on Mt. Diablo sandstone. I got beat by the route I tried leading, since I’m carrying my frozen Midwest winter softness, but it was fun. I also had my first piece of trad gear pop out on me- scary. I lace up my routes pretty well though, so no big deal. Just exciting.

Overall, it’s great to be able to travel west on a whim. It’s keeping me sane until I get to move that direction again. I’m hoping not to be inside wondering what to do to keep myself busy when it’s minus 20 and dark out for too much more winters. We’ll see though.

Gulls at Newport Beach, OR.

South Falls at a State Park in OR of which I can't remember the name already...

My long trusted pair of Vasque Sundowner hiking boots in the Pacific...

Another waterfall; can't recall the name of it, but I'm standing behind it in an orange rain jacket...

On top of Mt. Diablo in CA...

Me, Edward, and the Pitts. Yeah.

Me doing a wussy turn in the Pitts...

Climb that beat me down. You can see my last placements just above the section where the crack goes to a negative grade. Doesn't even look hard. Couldn't pull it this time. I'll be back.

Also, check out:


Monday, February 04, 2008

We've worn rings for two years now...

Happy Anniversary Alison! I love you...

Saturday, February 02, 2008

slow weekend

So the weather has not been able to settle on what to do to us here in MN. Last weekend, 40 degrees, followed by rain. Then below zero weather for awhile. Now upper 20’s. The result is really bad snow conditions. Unacceptable for snowshoeing or skiing. Too icy to do much hiking in, and grey to the point I feel I’m in a black and white picture. Yuk. I tried to fly to UT this weekend where the real snow is, but flights were packed and I don’t pay to fly. (I know, complain about a real problem.) So I’m killing some time inside going through pictures of old adventures. I do it often, and find new things to find amusing each time. Today it’s the progression of my own cycling fashion. I’ve discovered that one can tell what period of life I was in during a ride picture by looking at my clothing. I’ve picked out two pictures that show it well.

The first shows me on one of my famous college trips to Moab, UT. I clearly have no money in this picture. My jersey is from ebay. My shorts are from a clearance rack online. I’m wearing non-cycling thermal underwear that were employee-purchased while working for Scheels in Grand Forks (the lowers are sold as hunting wear), That helmet never sat any other way than the crooked position displayed. My gloves were a gift from college girlfriend (Kelly says they were the only good thing that came out of that relationship :) ). The shoes I bought on sale in high school, and I do actually still use them 11 years later, but are dying. Sunglasses, also an employee discount. All in all, probably no more than $200, despite being performance outdoor gear.

The second photo is me at the 2007 Headwaters 100 decked out in my current matching road garb. Shoes- Specialized Body Geometry road. Socks, cycling specific with “Dopers Suck” moto- reaction to the latest Tour de France scandals. Castelli Italian Pro road bibs. Clif Bar Team Jersey. Specialized Arm warmers. Giro Eclipse road helmet New pair of Smith Toaster sunglasses. Specialize Body Geometry gloves. Tucked into jersey pockets, shed with warming weather during the day- Pearl Izumi leg warmers, Cannondale waterproof cycling jacket (convertible to vest to serve picky choosers), and windfleece overgloves, cycling specific. All in all, retail value (not my paid price, I still shop deals and built this arsenal over much time) around $815. Wow, I’m suddenly feeling guilty. Not really, some of you have TV’s that cost
many times that and provide no health benefits. I’ll wear my bike bling proudly….