preparations have been made

Time to head off and meet Laura and the others to ring in the new year. Have all my gear laid out, my custom cue cards organized, my bike ready to go, my back-up plans ready to be initiated. Plan to set the alarm for 6:30 am tomorrow and head out down the 2009 Almanzo course regardless of what the day brings. Wallow not in sorrow shall I, the untimely demise of the North Shore Winter Ultra only provided this new and more worthy opportunity. What better way to truly ring in the new year than to ride a bike from day break to dusk (or possibly much longer), alone, with single digit temperatures at best.

I told Laura not to tell anyone I was doing this and certainly didn't tell many others. You know how I feel about the "normal" people and their "wind chill", their "it's too cold for snowboarding", their "there is nothing to do in Rochester"... THEIR WHINING ABOUT HOW HARD IT IS TO SINGLESPEED...

fret for your latte my small minded friends- the floods they are a comin'


my "own" rescue

rather than continuing the riveting story below (it's really over at that point anyways) I figured I'd mention my new friend "Balls". I'm not only thinking of him because he is sitting here helping me type, but also because he is pretty much awesome. He was also the first addition who was initiated by me...
I found him at Eastwood after one of the mini-cx practice races, he watched from the parking lot. He was so eager to see people and get attention that I was sure he was someones cat, but he seemed too far from any houses for me to feel comfortable leaving him. Decided to bring him home for the night and then deal with hopefully finding his owner or whatever in the AM. Long story short was unable to find anyone who would claim him. Over the next couple of weeks he hung out in the house and we tried to find friends who wanted a kitty and still looked for his "owner". His ability to be outgoing and sociable while quickly adapting to life in our house, with 5 (7?) other animals was impressive. This was particularly true when it was becoming more and more obvious that he was "just a stray". I particularly grew fond of the way he would always come see me when I got home from work and join me on the couch. Long story short my (our) efforts to find him a new home sort of tailed off after I realized how awesome he was. Laura and I couldn't agree on a name for him for quite a while... then Laura started calling him Balls and it caught on. He did, at that point, have his balls intact. It's a bit odd having a Balls and a Dickie in one household, but I suppose it was the inevitable result of having a Dickie at all (although, and this is an aside... Dickie happens to be one of my favorite names of all time and was in no way meant to be a joke nor reference the obvious Dick 'n' Balls combo such as we now have. I just wanted to give him a proper "English" name because his original name was Basil and he just looked "proper). Eventually, I had my mind made up that we needed to keep the little guy. I kept that to myself for a little while, not wanting to appear weak to Laura... but after a while it sort of became apparent I'm sure. Last week we had him neutered and brought up to speed with vaccinations.


ended up in some farmer's driveway

Entered the freezing windstorm of the morning at around 8:45 today hoping to get a "legitimate" ride in before work. Needed it after taking an unplanned rest day Sunday after just not feeling like I should ride (in the legs).

Had planned to drive to the gravel and begin there, but once I got outside and organized decided to ride from home. There was fresh snow on the road which hadn't been plowed and the going was a bit slippery, but left the neighborhood at a good clip. Cut through the back way and out to 48th. 23 minutes after leaving my door I was at the doorway to all of the gravel that is SW of Rochester and beyond. Literally flew the first few miles, relishing the fact that the packed snow/gravel of the road actually felt faster under the Nokians than the snow crusted pavement had. Around 4 miles out I realized I was going much faster than I should have been able to... the 38x18 gearing of the Monocog didn't seem to be enough? At mile 7 I reached the airport and another stretch of pavement, skirting the airfield itself. As soon as I turned to the right the wind hit me... Two minutes later my beard was frozen solid, my chest was frozen to my long underwear and my ears were freezing. This was going to be like sailing. Two hrs later I was still "tacking" back and forth across the hills trying to get my miles without ever feeling the full brunt of the wind for too long when I crossed the Almanzo course to the North. I decided to try crXX or whatever it was prior to looping back to the course and heading home. Two miles of gravel later (complete with normal road signs) I turned a corner and found myself in someones front yard with no discernable road continuing elsewhere. Additionally, the owner himself was bearing down on me with a tractor.


slacking on posting- but not much else

Pictures don't nearly say it all, but they are worth a lot of words eh?
Bike stuff-
marin as above! 42/20 is magic gear, also ordered salsa cromoto fork for winter and singleator for when I need different gearing. decided I had to thrash it this winter once I realized the swamp things fit so well.
el santo (first off- if you don't know what it means wikipedia it)- I swapped to a manitou minute 3 with travel adjust and about a 1.2 lb savings. Still hoping to swap to shimano shifters/rear derailleur at least before next spring.
winter is here, obviously. Was amazing how long it held off though. Had some great late fall rides in shorts that now seem so distant.
I had been dreading the beginning of winter for months, fall was such good riding I didn't want it to end. Now that it's here I'm nothing but excited. I've gotten excited about winter riding and decided to enter the north shore winter ultra... haven't decided which length yet though.
Huge props to Chris S. for his continued efforts to organize and create a community here in Rochester! The micro cross races are awesome and I've already met people and gotten to do things I never expected because of your efforts.
Last Sunday I went for a long solo ride on gravel/pavement. It was the first "winter" road riding I've done and probably means a lot about how serious I'm trying to be. It was pretty brutal riding that heavy ass monocog with the studs 65 miles, but I had "the joy" for the last 20-30 minutes of the ride in a way I haven't felt it since the last few minutes at maplelag (when I knew I was having a "breakthrough" race.
Another great ride was heading out from Cannon Falls with a group and riding gravel/cvt out to Welch and back. Had a great time ripping up Dud's Dream on the Monocog... if you know what I mean.
Other than that it's been a lot of medium but longish training rides and riding with Eric. Very little time on the trainer thus far. I did get to almost 17 hrs last week though...
More soon, hopefully.