Friday, April 21, 2006

Iowa and Bikes

When I first started riding a bike, I lived in the small suburb of Chicago called Carol Stream. We would ride from morning to night without worries of cars or anything else for that matter. This began my obsession with bikes. I would rebuild them, swap out parts, and even have derbies in the driveway. This little neighborhood had a street called Iowa Court which amazingly enough is where I lived. Through this period of my life I rode often with friends and more importantly with my father.

Upon graduating from High School, I headed away from the influences of my friends to Iowa State University. My first roommate was from the town of Mallard, which is a TIv2 pass thru town, and spent many a weekend learning about rural farm life. Spending five years in Ames I frequented Michael’s Cyclery a bit. They built up a great set of wheels for my campus bike and gave me a glimpse into a cycling lifestyle. There was a guy called Scooter on my dorm floor who was a racer and I was always in awe at his dedication to the sport. He would be on the trainer as we headed out to the bars. I have become that dedicate person.

From Ames I moved to Marshalltown, where my wonderful wife is from. She had done Ragbrai five times and I thought she was the coolest. I still do even though she is more of a marathoner now. I ventured back to Michael’s Cyclery to purchase my first bike, a touring Schwinn. From there I added another bike, this time more of a racing one with indexing downtube shifting. The touring bike turned into the around town bike and the other was one I headed out in the fields of Iowa. Having lived in Marshalltown for a year it was time to marry and move on.

This brought us to the great State of Texas! Lived in Houston for awhile and held tight to the Iowa roots I had planted by becoming involved with the alumni association. Here my passion for bike could not be quelled by the looming chemical industry or the mass of cars. I hooked up with West End Cycles and started racing mountain bikes. We traveled all over the state to attend races, from Lajitas to Tyler. I was a great time to race as it was more about the hanging out drinking beer and riding than anything else. During this period we traveled to Austin a lot. One trip was to watch the Tour of Texas. A college roommate came down to watch his brother race in Zilker Park.

Finally, we moved to Austin. I got a job with the electric utility and quickly got caught up in the road racing scene. One of the first rides I showed up on my Borthwick, which was handmade in Marshalltown, and many of the riders asked if I knew Porky. Porky was the son of the frame builder and the black sheep of the family. Some of these guys would head to Iowa for Ragbrai and then to Super Week. Also, I met a few Iowa transplants who came to Austin to race. After a great stint in what I consider my favorite city, it was time to move on.

We ended up in the mountains of Colorado. Here life took a drastic change. No job other than keeping up with one child, who is an Austinite! We added another for good measure and to make sure I was getting enough on the bike strength work hauling them around. One of the new neighbors happens to have grown up in Mallard, Iowa and knows my first college roommate.

Now I head on the longest and probably toughest thing I have ever done, TransIowa. The journey of life takes us on paths that at the time do not seem relative but in ways bring us back to the roots imbedded in our psyche. Life is an adventure and for those who would rather sit life out, I feel sorry for you.

Thanks for reading! I will be disconnected for the next week so please go out and do something enjoyable.

Wednesday, April 19, 2006

What I could be doing instead of TIv2

If I wasn't doing TIv2, the family would be celebrating Fallon's birthday here or I would venture to the western slope for this.

Here are some photos from last year in Fruita. The folks from QBP, Surly, CrC, and Team Evil all made the event a drinking good time.

PBR and Carhart models!! Doesn't get any better.

Looking for something? Having fun on some awesome singletrack.

More Racing action.
Hitching a ride with a Boulder chick.
Never let a hippie chick apply lipstick!
My kind of bike.

Not many more posts before I head east to Iowa.

Saturday, April 15, 2006

Whirl Wind

Wind has been blowing

Spinning the legs

10 days

Enjoy life

Friday, April 14, 2006

Day off

Migas for breakfast! I love migas! There is nothing better than a big plate of them, smoothered in homemade salsa. This is the way I like to start a day off the bike. Doubled up yesterday with a morning ride pulling the trailer through Red Rocks and then hit the Grn Mtn Trails to end the day.

Did some tandem work this afternoon, getting little Miss Fallon better positioned in the cockpit. After our last outing to Boulder she was complaining about her position. I have to make my stoker happy!

Weekend filled with riding and hiding eggs.

TIv2 Update: Ordered up some tubes and barends. Only 15 more days..........

Wednesday, April 12, 2006

Midweek rambler

Recovered from the weekend, somewhat. The legs feel great and I am ready for TIv2.

Some nice easy singletrack that is out my backdoor.

Morning sunrise on Dakota Ridge and Red Rocks.

Mounted the racks on the van for its TIv2 adventure.

TIv2 update: I am mentally disorganized and a tad overwhelmed by the looming logistics of the weekend. Still no firm tire selection - that will wait until I get a few miles of central Iowa gravel. My Father is securing a large cooler of PBR for the finish! Now that is some incentive.

Back to being a domestic slave.......

Sunday, April 09, 2006

Lakewood - Boulder - Lakewood

I was a bit ambitious this weekend. I rode to the Republic of Boulder for the Boulder-Roubaix race. It was a long 45 miles to the start besides getting turned around in Boulder and not properly eating. I made it to the line with the 35+/cat 4s (and yes, I am old and slow). Gravel at 25 mph on skinny tires is amazing, almost rethinking about my TIv2 tire selection. Body gave out with 2 out of the 4 laps complete - not enough fuel in the tank. Ate large amounts of calories and headed to my cousins for a spot of tea. Rode home and finished up the day at 114 miles.

The Sunday ride was a bit shorter and more laid back. Met a buddy in Golden, then did a mountain bike loop at White Ranch. Then home to watch OLN for my tv cycling fix.

Thursday, April 06, 2006

Out of the funk

I gave a good kick my lethargic butt! Last evening, I went to an old standby route up to the top of Lookout Mtn to gaze west at the snow cap peaks. It was a slow slog up to the top as the winds were howling. Blasted down to Red Rocks with lights on high - there is nothing like overdriving your lights going 30+ mph. A quick ride through Morrison and headed for home.

Today, just to kick myself again, I hooked up the trailer and headed out. Dropped one kiddo off at school, then headed to BCLP for a quick loop. The ceders/pines are shedding there nasty yellow pollen which is finding its way into my brain. Popped allergy pills and tylenol when I got home which makes me more bearable.

Only 23 days left until TIv2! A couple more long rides and then its taper time. I am not concerned that I will not make it, as I know there are going to be times when all I want to do is curl up in the ditch and die. Thats is why I hope I can hook up with some riders to help the me get to the second sunrise. Misery loves company.

It is nice to have more than 5 minutes for an update. I will try and get some ride pictures soon.


Wednesday, April 05, 2006


After a great ride on Saturday, a day in the mountains the energy has been sucked from my body. My confidence level entering the week was high but it has dipped in the last two days. I am popping allergy pills and sleeping over 8 hours a night and still don't have the energy to wash the dishes let alone knock out some good rides. I have been then focusing on the other preparations for TI like securing my Hammer gel and flask, checking in with the new team, procuring a new Jandd saddle bag, and checking the weather.

A front is blowing in tonight and I hope it blows this funk far into the eastern plains.

TIv2 update: Looks like the Denver metro area will have 3 people representing it, including a last year finisher.

Monday, April 03, 2006

Saturday ride

A 4 am start to a 100 mile day. Actually, it was more like 4:20 am as the dog was getting sick and pacing around the house. I headed out with the temps in the 40s which quickly dipped into the low 20s as I hit the Bear Creek Trail. It is about a 6 mile descent to Morrison where I pick up the trail, so I spent some time trying to warm up after the chilly ride down. Made my way over to Cherry Creek SP, pealed some clothes and rode home. The sun came out for awhile but was rather elusive most of the day.

Random TI thoughts I had on the ride:
What tires?
Will the bar in Mallard suck me in again?
Are pickled gizzards and eggs good endurance food?
Should I buy a lottery ticket at every stop?
Is PBR good for recovery?